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Waivers of the Future: Offseason Edition

Your guide to making preemptive waiver pickups in the context of dynasty fantasy football.

Player value in dynasty football reminds me of watching ocean waves. They ebb and flow, always in a state of flux. Competitive dynasty players anticipate these movements before they happen and act by picking up, buying, or selling players as the situation demands. Owners have previously been at the mercy of regular waiver segments to assist in dynasty pickups, but these fail to take the long-term view necessary to dynasty success.  This segment (which will become a weekly feature in season) will focus on identifying assets that will help dynasty teams build for the future.

Note: Budget percentages will be added to the inseason version of this report for both contending and rebuilding teams as an extra guidepost.

 

THE SHORELINE (20 OR FEWER ROSTER SPOTS)

QB

Robert Griffin III, WAS- He’s fallen far and may not be the physical specimen he once was, but there are still many things to like about Griffin. He’s going to get another chance somewhere else and I doubt we’ve seen the last of him starting in the NFL.

Colin Kaepernick, SF- Whether it’s with the 49ers or elsewhere, I believe Kaepernick is going to get another chance to start in 2016. There’s high upside there if he finds a situation where the coaching staff crafts a system around his strengths instead of asking him to fit into their mold.

Brock Osweiler, DEN- As Manning rides into the sunset, Osweiler will finally have his unadulterated chance to become the franchise signal caller.

RB

Javorius Allen, BAL-He showed pretty well in his rookie year on a team that didn't have much going for it. Forsett’s age (he’s turning 31 in October) and recent injury leave Allen in a prime position to get a significant portion of the carries in the Baltimore backfield.

Karlos Williams, BUF- With reports surfacing that McCoy was in an altercation with police, Williams' value is only rising. The rookie got some starts in 2015 and did a lot with his touches.

Jay Ajayi, MIA- The cap situation is dire in Miami It’s very doubtful they find a way to keep Lamar Miller. If that happens, we can expect Ajayi to have the featured role in what should be a very exciting Adam Gase designed offense.

Matt Jones, WAS- Alfred Morris is highly unlikely to stay and that means the rugged Jones will get to showcase his skills as the lead man in Washington.

Jerick McKinnon, MIN- Adrian Peterson's time in Minnesota is drawing to a close, and the athletic project is losing the project tag with how well he's played when he has seen action.

WR

Marvin Jones, CIN- He's very likely to leave Cincinnati and land on a needy team. He's finally healthy, too, so I could see him putting up solid WR2 production wherever he lands.

Cody Latimer, DEN- We saw Latimer become more involved when Manning wasn't at the helm. With Peyton likely to retire, Osweiler and Latimer have an opportunity to build upon that.

Cordarrelle Patterson/ Charles Johnson, MIN- Both Minnesota wideouts have a ton of upside but were underutilized by their current team. Both need a change of scenery and if they get it, we could see the things that made us so excited about them in the first place bubble back to the surface.

TE

Dwayne Allen, IND- Headed to free agency, Allen has said he wants to play for a team where he’ll be the featured guy. Injuries remain a concern, but the talent is there to be a top-ten option.

Ladarius Green, SD- I’m a fan of his talent and feel he was underused in San Diego. I don’t believe his second team will pay him and make the same mistake.

 

THE SPLASH (MORE THAN 20 BUT FEWER THAN 40 ROSTER SPOTS)

QB

Blaine Gabbert, SF- A laughing stock for many years, Gabbert showed development and poise during his time as the 49ers starter in 2015. There’s a very real chance he could be at the helm for that team in week one, especially if Kaepernick leaves.

Mike Glennon, TB- I’ve always thought that Glennon played well in his rookie season and that Tampa was perhaps a little too quick to move on from him. He’ll likely have his chance elsewhere soon.

Jimmy Garoppolo, NE- Groomed behind Tom Brady, Garoppolo has learned from one of the best in the business. Some other team (or New England themselves) will give him a chance to start.

Ryan Nassib, NYG- Eli Manning has stayed surprisingly healthy, so Nassib has rarely gotten to show what he can do. Now headed to free agency, Nassib will more than likely pick a team where he has a tangible shot at the starting job.

RB

Jeremy Langford/ Ka'deem Carey, CHI- Forte is likely to leave, so both of these backs will benefit. Both had moments in 2015 in which they shined, so it's hard to say which one will take the 1A role.

Christine Michael, SEA- WIth Lynch finally hanging it up, everyone assumes Rawls will be the man when he returns from injury. Don't discount Michael, who quietly played very well in his return to the team. If Michael has finally put the bone-headedness behind him, I could see a scenario in which he, not Rawls, becomes the lead back.

Zach Zenner, DET- An injury marred his rookie season, but he was outplaying fellow rookie Ameer Abdullah at that point. If Joique Bell continues to look miserable, we could see Zenner secure his role this upcoming year.

Charles Sims, TB- Doug Martin is likely to get an extension, but if he does decide to go after the money, Sims did enough in year two of his NFL career to warrant giving him a chance to start in 2016.

Bilal Powell, NYJ- The team loves him and he’s likely the only back that won’t exit in free agency.

David Cobb, TEN- Injury and a woefully inept team hid the potential of Cobb, but with the job wide open and some improvement in the offense likely, Cobb is a great buy-low for 2016.

Robert Turbin, DAL- “Turbo” is an average talent, but if he sticks as the starter with the Cowboys, he’ll do enough to have value for us.

Andre Ellington, ARI- Talent was never the question-- it’s been the injuries that have derailed Ellington. It may not happen with Arizona, but at some point I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ellington once again producing as a starter.

WR

Seth Roberts, OAK- We heard the buzz in camp and it didn't die down when the regular season came. Roberts is behind Cooper and Crabtree, but he is one injury away from being able to step into a number two role in a productive situation.

Jeff Janis, GB- In the nightmare that was the Packers’ 2015 season, Janis had more opportunity than usual, but failed to latch on the way I had hoped he would. I believe the Packers will rebound in 2016 and simply getting on the field may have been enough to jumpstart the development of the metric freak.

Sammie Coates, PIT- He was very raw coming in, but the physical gifts are definitely there. In an explosive Steelers offense, we can’t count him out.

Brandon Coleman, NO- With Colston all but done, Coleman is the most likely name currently on the Saints roster to step up and fill that void. If he can get rid of the dropsies this offseason, he’ll have a fantastic chance to do it.

TE

Jace Amaro, NYJ- Injury robbed him of a chance to show out in his sophomore year, but we could see that change on a blossoming Jets offense.

Vance McDonald, SF- I personally am not a fan of his game, but I cannot deny that there was some improvement in 2015 and that the tight end situation for the 49ers is wide open for 2016.

 

THE DEEP (40+ ROSTER SPOTS, OR LEAGUES WITH LARGE TAXI SQUADS)

QB

Johnny Manziel, CLE- The off-field stuff tells us that Manziel hasn't learned his lesson. Perhaps it will take a "career-near-death experience" to set him straight, but the talent (especially the rushing ability) makes him a very interesting addition.

Garrett Grayson, NO- He’s a little short for the quarterback position, but he’s very smart and poised. Sound familiar? That’s because he’s sitting behind Drew Brees, who had a very similar profile. I look for him to be Brees’ eventual replacement.

Brett Hundley, GB- The Packers had genuinely good things to say about his development in year one. He’ll sit behind Rogers for several years, but he’ll get his shot, either with the Packers or someone else.

RB

Terrell Watson, CIN- A big and athletic back, Watson would likely step into the Jeremy Hill role if Hill were to miss time.

Corey Grant, JAX- Here’s another athletic back who is buried behind Yeldon and Robinson on the depth chart. Yet we only need to look to what happened with David Johnson this year to see that sometimes injuries break just right and allow a buried player to emerge and show what they can do.

Juwan Thompson, DEN- Hillman and Anderson are both set to hit the market. If one or both of them get away in free agency, Thompson has the frame to carry a significant portion of the rushing duties for 2016.

Malcolm Brown, LA- It may take a Gurley injury or a change of team for him to become relevant, but there's a lot to like based on his tape and his excellent showing in the '15 preseason.

Dreamius Smith, SD- He's somewhat raw, but has the athleticism and power to make a splash if he does see time.

WR

DeAndre Carter, NE- We can say with confidence that both Baltimore and New England know how to scout talent. Carter started as an undrafted free agent in Baltimore, where Steve Smith took him under his wing. After being cut and spending some time with the Raiders, Carter drew interest from the Bengals, but ultimately made it onto New England's squad. With a real need for quality receivers on this team, it would be easy to envision a scenario in which Carter is promoted and rises quickly.

Tre McBride, TEN- He's basically “Amari Cooper lite” in my eyes, and with very few established receiving options in Tennessee, McBride has a fighting chance.

Kenny Bell, TB- The Matt Waldman favorite could step in when Vincent Jackson's time is up in Tampa. The skillset is nearly identical.

Tyrell Williams, SD- This raw small school prospect has my attention. His height, speed, and movement skills are very intriguing. Malcolm Floyd retiring could be just the thing he needs to stick on the active roster.

TE

Jesse James, PIT- With Heath Miller looking like a shell of himself, James has a big opportunity to seize the lead job in a hyper productive offense.

Erik Swoope, IND- Allen and Fleener are set to leave, meaning we would finally get a look at the very athletic Swoope.

Derek Carrier, WAS- Carrier was getting some playing time when Reed was hurt, but he tore his ACL. I like what I see on tape and think that he could emerge if Reed were to miss time yet again.