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Waivers of the Future: Week 14

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 bi-weekly segment will focus on identifying assets that will help dynasty teams build for the future as well as players that may plug a hole on a leaky roster.

With the playoffs upon us, we take a look at the few options out there that may help us plug holes on our rosters. For non-contending teams, we shift our focus to stashing players that could gain value in the offseason or earn additional opportunity down the road.

THE SKY

Players on this list have previously appeared in this article as pickups, but have had value spikes at points in the season that make them unlikely to be out there in your league.

THE SHORELINE

(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN 25 OR FEWER ROSTER SPOT LEAGUES)

QUARTERBACK

Contending and Rebuilding, 5-10%| Robert Griffin III, CLE- Same Cleveland streaming idea, different quarterback. RG III has some fairly decent playoff matchups, too, making him worth consideration if you really need help.

Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%| Matt Barkley, CHI- He’s been playing really well, surprisingly enough. If only his receivers would stop dropping things! Against Detroit this week, he’s definitely worth emergency duty if help is needed at quarterback.

RUNNING BACK

HIGH VALUE HANDCUFFS CONTENDERS MAY WANT TO STASH...

Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Justin Forsett, DEN- With Booker banged up as well as underperforming and Kapri Bibbs headed to IR, the team signed Justin Forsett, who has familiarity with the system. Pick him up while he’s under the radar and see what happens, because if he takes the job from Booker, you’ll have to pay much more to get him next week! 

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Kenneth Farrow, SD- Farrow is the backup to Melvin Gordon. As such, he is only one injury away from fantasy relevance. If you can afford the roster spot and there’s not a better addition to your team out there, Farrow is a cheap add that could pay off big.

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Troymaine Pope, SEA- It turns out that Pope, not Alex Collins, is the primary backup to Thomas Rawls at this time. Rawls missed some snaps in the last game while being evaluated for concussion and has not proven to be the most durable back in his short career. 

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR- Artis-Payne is back to the bench, but we know that Stewart has a tough time staying healthy. Artis-Payne may end up back in the line-up again this year. 

WIDE RECEIVER

Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%| Josh Bellamy, CHI- Bellamy is one of the last men standing in a Chicago offense with decent playoff matchups. Despite some horrible drops, Bellamy is catching a few things and doing enough to warrant emergency starter consideration in our leagues. If he can display surer hands going forward, he will have even bigger fantasy days.

Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Freddie Martino, TB- The speedster takes over for the injured Cecil Shorts and Adam Humphries in a Jameis Winston led offense. He’ll be the number three receiving target behind Mike Evans and Cameron Brate, but in an offense that’s moving the ball like the Buccaneers are, he’s potentially someone to look at to make an emergency start for our teams. 

TIGHT END

Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Jermaine Gresham, ARI- Gresham has been involved in the offense while the receivers have been ailing. He has a great matchup this week and is a great emergency option for our teams needing a serious patch job at tight end.

THE SPLASH

(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN MORE THAN 25, BUT FEWER THAN 40 ROSTER SPOT LEAGUES)

QUARTERBACK

Contending 0%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Jay Cutler, CHI- With the news that Cutler may require season-ending surgery, his time is likely over in Chicago. That being said, he’s going to be thrown into the bargain bin in most leagues. He’s worth a speculative add for rebuilding teams that want to see if he lands in a better situation so that they can use or flip him.

Contending 1%, Rebuilding 5-10%| Brett Hundley, GB- The Packers had genuinely good things to say about his development in year one. He’ll sit behind Rodgers for several years, but he’ll get his shot, either with the Packers or someone else.

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Mike Glennon, TB- He’s not afraid to sling it when he finds his way into a lineup. It’s likely he’ll get another chance with a different team at some point.

Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| 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 likely give him a shot to be their quarterback of the future.

RUNNING BACK

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Peyton Barber, TB- This Matt Waldman favorite and UDFA was cut earlier in the year, but immediately added back to the 53-man roster behind Doug Martin and Charles Sims. He still continues to get touches behind Martin and seems to be earning the trust of the coaching staff in his limited role. Sims is coming back soon, but don’t forget about Barber.

WIDE RECEIVER

Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Cody Latimer, DEN- Latimer is buried behind the newly extended Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, but he earned the #3 role. It would take one of them getting injured for Latimer to have value this year, but we are seeing positive signs of his development. Latimer remains one of my favorite stash players because we’ve seen flashes of his talent from time to time. If he can get going in the Paxton Lynch era or with another team, he could be a big hit for our dynasty squads.

Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Torrey Smith, SF- A poor fit for this offense, Smith will likely not be with the 49ers next year. He’s worth picking up to see if he finds a better home in 2017.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jaelen Strong, HOU- Strong hasn’t done much in the regular season. He didn’t win the #2 job from Fuller. However, his development in the offseason suggests to me that he could break out in the future if given the right opportunity. Brock Osweiler has certainly hampered this team and who knows what they’ll look like at the position down the road when they figure out he isn’t the answer.  Strong’s talent is such that I’m taking notice and stashing him where I can.

TIGHT END

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Virgil Green, DEN- I was very excited about Green this season, but things just didn’t pan out for him with Siemian at quarterback. I’m more confident that Paxton Lynch will utilize Green more when his time comes to take over the offense.

THE DEEP

(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN 40+ ROSTER SPOTS LEAGUES/ LEAGUES WITH LARGE TAXI SQUADS)

QUARTERBACK

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Trevone Boykin, SEA- Boykin is there and demonstrated in preseason action that he is competent enough to run this offense should Wilson actually miss time in the future.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Ryan Nassib, NYG- Eli Manning has stayed surprisingly healthy, so Nassib has rarely gotten to show what he can do. He is heading to free agency in 2017 and will more than likely pick a team with which he has a chance to start. We will continue to watch Nassib closely to see if he is showing the signs of development that we want to see in a young prospect. So far, we haven’t seen much to suggest the light bulb is coming on, even though his measurables are enviable.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Garrett Grayson, NO- He was cut earlier in the year to make room for much-needed offensive line help in Jahri Evans, but was stashed on the practice squad. Coach Sean Payton indicated that the cut was a roster move and had nothing to do with Grayson’s development. 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.

RUNNING BACK

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Rex Burkhead, CIN- The brutal injury to Giovani Bernard is giving Burkhead some increased opportunity in this offense, but with star A.J. Green also out, I’m not sure how valuable that is at this point.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jonathan Williams, BUF- Williams is the more talented of the two Arkansas runners that went in the draft. He got a DUI before the season, but it probably will not result in a suspension until 2017. If McCoy gets dinged again, look for Williams to share the rushing load with Mike Gillislee.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Malcolm Brown, LA- It may take a Gurley injury or a change of team for Brown to become relevant, but there's a lot to like based on his tape and preseason performances. He is the Rams’ third-string back this season.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Keith Marshall, WAS- He was drafted in the seventh round by the Redskins. In spite of early reports indicating he would not be healthy enough to make the team, Marshall battled back and even flashed at times during camp practices. Though he was placed on IR in 2016, he’s someone to watch for 2017.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Zach Zenner, DET- Zenner is getting increased looks with Dwayne Washington banged up, but the lack of quality run blocking by the Detroit line is holding him back. There’s several reasons to like him long-term. First, the run blocking is bound to get better over the offseason, as it will become a major focus of improvement for the Lions. Secondly, Ameer Abdullah hasn’t panned out as a between-the-tackles runner yet, leaving the role wide open for someone to seize. That someone could be Zenner.

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Alex Collins, SEA- Sadly, Troymaine Pope seems to have the backup role in hand for the Seahawks, but I really like Collins’ talent long-term. He’s someone I’m stashing wherever I can find room because I’ve seen flashes of more in his limited action.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Orleans Darkwa, NYG- Darkwa is a dynasty favorite of fellow Footballguy Chad Parsons. He has better-than-average athleticism and pass-catching skills and has shown competency as a runner when the Giants have given him touches. He’s not going to get enough work with Jennings once again healthy and Perkins coming on, but he’s someone we want to keep an eye on in the long-term.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Dwayne Washington, DET- Washington is hurt, but I think he’s worth stashing long-term. I like Zenner better, but I’m also open to Washington landing the job in the future, as he has talent similar to Zenner.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Tyler Ervin, HOU- Drafted this year by the Texans, the Darren Sproles-sized runner has shown his quicks and a willingness to run between the tackles and take hits. He is someone to monitor in deep formats.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Daniel Lasco, NO- A SQARQ standout, Lasco is seemingly buried behind Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower. However, the backs ahead of him have not exactly been the healthiest runners in their time in the league. Lasco has the skills to shine if he can find his way into the rotation.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Josh Ferguson, IND- The Colts did not take any running backs in this year’s class, but they did sign a talented UDFA in Ferguson. Frank Gore isn’t exactly a spring chicken at age 33 and despite being number two on the depth chart, Robert Turbin looks unimpressive, especially in the passing game. Ferguson had a nice camp and is showing chops as a receiver out of the backfield. He needs to improve pass blocking, but there is some long-term potential here.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Terrell Watson, CLE- A big and athletic back that Cleveland signed away from the Bengals, Watson would likely step into a Jeremy Hill-type role for the Browns if Isaiah Crowell were to miss time.

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

WIDE RECEIVER

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Cordarrelle Patterson / Charles Johnson / Adam Thielen, MIN- Minnesota took Laquon Treadwell in the first round of the Draft; but so far, he has not been able to see meaningful snaps on the NFL field. With Stefon Diggs banged up for a couple of games, these three receivers have had to step up with Kyle Rudolph and Jerick McKinnon to snag passes. Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson in particular would benefit from a change of team to elevate their dynasty statuses.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Jalin Marshall, NYJ- A former five-star recruit, the UDFA out of Ohio State was impressive in camp. Praised by Ryan Fitzpatrick for being a “sponge,” Marshall made the roster as a kick returner and a depth wide receiver who could eventually develop into more.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Tre McBride, TEN- He's basically “Amari Cooper lite” in my eyes. He’s back on Tennessee’s practice squad, but with few established options in the passing game, McBride might have a shot to catch on down the road.

TIGHT END

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Tyler Higbee- LA- A fourth-round pick due to a checkered past, Higbee made plays in camp and showed acumen on underneath routes. With Jared Cook having departed for Green Bay and Lance Kendricks’ inconsistencies, Higbee has a chance to eventually be the guy at tight end for the young Jared Goff.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Jace Amaro, TEN- Injury robbed him of a chance to show what he was capable of in his sophomore year and the Jets decided to move on. Tennessee snapped him up and there really isn’t much behind Delanie Walker. This landing spot is mildly interesting and I could see a scenario in which Amaro finally delivers on his potential if things break right for him long-term.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/ Watch List| Seth DeValve, CLE- The metric freak is the current favorite to be the Browns’ tight end of the future. He’s out there in most leagues and should be stashed in case the breakout begins next year.

LOST AT SEA

(PLAYERS WHO RECENTLY APPEARED IN THIS COLUMN, BUT HAVE HAD THEIR VALUE DECREASE TO THE POINT THEY HOLD NO VALUE IN ALL BUT THE VERY DEEPEST OF DYNASTY LEAGUES.)

Josh McCown, CLE- With RG III likely back soon, McCown can safely be sent to your waiver wire.

Kapri Bibbs, DEN- He was getting an increased opportunity before going down with a season-ending injury. One has to think that the Broncos may address their problem at the running back position in the offseason, leaving Bibbs out in the cold.

Kenjon Barner PHI- His role didn’t develop even with all the running back injuries in Philadelphia and I have little confidence in his talent going forward.