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Waivers of the Future: Postseason 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 in-season article) will focus on identifying assets that will help dynasty teams build for the future, as well as players that may plug a hole at a position of need on an otherwise strong squad.

THE SHORELINE

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

QUARTERBACK

Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Sam Bradford, MIN- Sadly, it looks as if Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury was so traumatic that he could miss a significant part of the 2017 season. Luckily for the Vikings, they dealt for a more than serviceable option in Sam Bradford. Lost in the shuffle of the 2016 season was how well Sam Bradford played, especially considering he had to move to a new team and system on relatively short notice. He’s been not only an underrated option for the Vikings, but for fantasy, too! He may have been tossed back to your waiver wire in anticipation of Bridgewater returning. If you, like the Vikings, need a viable option for your team, Bradford can be your guy.

Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Tony Romo, DAL- I’m seeing Romo get dropped in some of the more shallow dynasty formats in which I play. I believe that Dallas will show respect to Romo and give him a chance to go play elsewhere in 2017. There are better landing spots than others, (Broncos would be great for Romo’s value) but any gig will bring Romo’s value up from the cellar in which it currently dwells. While Romo is no longer in his prime, there’s enough left in the tank for Romo to be a decent low-end starter or backup for your fantasy team.

Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Carson Palmer, ARI- Like Romo, Palmer is another QB I’m seeing hit the wires in my more shallow leagues. Yes, it’s pretty obvious from watching the film that Palmer’s physical skills are on the decline, but don’t forget that Palmer plays with one of the best receiving backs in the game and one of the most experienced and savvy wide receivers in football. Palmer isn’t the future for any dynasty team, but he can certainly be a bridge option until you’ve found your future at quarterback.  

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Mike Glennon, TB- There’s real interest in Mike Glennon as the starter for NFL teams and it’s justified. He didn’t look bad in his rookie year, but hasn’t gotten another legitimate chance since the Buccaneers took Jameis Winston. He’s not afraid to sling it when he finds his way into a lineup and can be a huge boon to the receivers on his team for that reason. At the very least, Glennon is worth picking up with the intention of flipping for a pick when his value does increase.

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Jimmy Garoppolo, NE- Groomed behind Tom Brady, Garoppolo has learned from one of the best in the business. With free agency looming, Garoppolo is likely to take a swing at starting with another NFL franchise. While I’m not a huge fan of Garoppolo’s work, I do believe in making a speculative add. After he signs with his new team, his value will increase and you can always flip him. I’m also open to him being a bridge option depending on the landing spot.

RUNNING BACK

Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Andre Ellington, ARI- David Johnson has largely helped the fantasy community to forget about Ellington. While durability certainly remains a concern, Ellington will be one of the more appealing options on the free agent market for needy teams. Deployed in the right committee situation, Ellington could once again flash the skills that made owners so intrigued with him the first place.

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Darren McFadden, DAL- He’s a free agent with a high draft pedigree. He continues to get chance after chance in the NFL. He is very likely to land in a nice backup or committee role. If things break right, he could even end up as a starter somewhere again.

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Karlos Williams, PIT- We were excited by his between-the-tackles work before his bone-headedness bounced him from the Bills to the Steelers. There’s still a risk he might end up suspended again, but with DeAngelo Williams likely to depart Pittsburgh, Williams could slip into the primary backup role behind an oft-injured LeVeon Bell. As we’ve seen time and time again, the backup behind Bell tends to get at least a few games worth of action each year.

WIDE RECEIVER

Contending and Rebuilding 5-15%| Michael Floyd, NE- Many a disgusted owner has dropped him after the DUI incident and after the Patriots failed to use him extensively in their playoff run. While it’s likely he will face discipline for his incident, my money is on Floyd landing either with the Patriots or finding a team that wants to take a chance on a supreme physical talent who is looking to redeem himself.

Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Robert Woods, BUF- I’m convinced that Woods is a better player than his statistics to this point would suggest. His quarterback play for the first two years of his career was abysmal. Tyrod Taylor coming to town for the last two improved things, but Taylor still had a bad habit of missing a wide open Woods down the field more often than not. Woods will undoubtedly test the free agent market and be one of the more intriguing options to teams in this class. If he can land in a better situation, I am confident that he can be more valuable for owners going forward.

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Torrey Smith, SF- A poor fit for the 49ers offense, Smith is not likely to re-sign with them. There’s some buzz that the Eagles, who are wideout needy, may be taking a hard look at him. He’s worth picking up to see if he finds a better home in 2017.

TIGHT END

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Dion Sims, MIA- With Jordan Cameron pondering retirement, there’s a very real scenario in which Sims could be the starting option for the Dolphins in 2017 if he re-signs there. This offense had flashes of promise in 2016 and should only improve as Adam Gase executes his plan to rebuild the franchise. Sims has also had his share of injuries, but the athletic upside and cheap cost of acquisition make him a player on whom you can take a flier.

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Erik Swoope, IND- With the news that Jack Doyle is going to test the waters of free agency, Swoope becomes a much more interesting name. He had some splashy plays in 2016 and with Dwayne Allen not really living up to his fantasy potential, it leaves the door open for Swoope to be a receiving threat in what can at times be a potent passing attack.

THE SPLASH

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

QUARTERBACK

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Colin Kaepernick, SF- Despite the early buzz that Kaepernick would be leaving in free agency, there is a chance that he remains a 49er after the regime change that took place. Kaepernick recently changed agents and sat down with newly appointed GM John Lynch, signaling that he may be open to sticking around. New offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has crafted some potent offenses in recent years and may feel he can get the most out of Kaepernick. Many have left him for dead in dynasty leagues, but it’s worth adding Kaepernick to the back of the bench just to see if Shanahan and company can revive his value.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Brett Hundley, GB- Don’t forget about Hundley. Rodgers has taken a great deal of physical abuse in his career and has missed extensive time in years past. Hundley has been groomed behind Rodgers for two years now and seems to be developing nicely. He’s going to eventually get a chance to start, either with the Packers or with another team.

RUNNING BACK

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Peyton Barber, TB- There’s a decent chance that the Buccaneers add a running back through free agency or the Draft, but I can tell a story in which Peyton Barber and Charles Sims start week one of 2017 in a timeshare situation. Barber showed well during a rookie season where Doug Martin and Jaquizz Rodgers went down in front of him. That experience could prove to be the difference maker in the team’s decision of whether to add more help or to roll with what they have.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Zach Zenner, DET- The lack of quality run blocking by the Detroit line held back all runners in this offense in 2016. The run blocking is bound to get better over the offseason, as it will become a major focus of improvement for the Lions. 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%| Jonathan Williams, BUF- Williams is likely to serve a suspension for a DUI that he was charged with before the 2016 season. However, don’t forget about him! LeSean McCoy was injured and dinged throughout the 2016 season, showing signs of the wear and tear he’s sustained through his time in the NFL. If he 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 at this time, but it would not be a surprise if he moves up the depth chart with only Benny Cunningham as his only real competition.

Contending and Rebuilding 1% | Keith Marshall, WAS- Marshall was not healthy in his rookie season, but a year of rest should have reconciled that problem. With unimpressive options ahead of him (Rob Kelly and Matt Jones), Marshall should at least get a fair chance in a camp competition to show what he can do. When at his best, Marshall has an impressive blend of size, speed, and agility.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Alex Collins, SEA- 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. He has impressive foot frequency for a man of his size. Though he’s not imaginative as a runner, he’s a solid, consistent option that the Seahawks can turn to if Rawls and company can’t stay healthy long-term.

WIDE RECEIVER

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Cody Latimer, DEN- Latimer is buried behind the recently extended Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas and didn’t see much action in 2016. Cecil Lammey recently reported that he believes we may have to wait till he gets a new team to see anything out of Latimer. However, 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 either in the Paxton Lynch era or with another team, he could be a big hit for our dynasty squads.

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 is out in Houston, so things are looking up for the offense. Strong’s talent is such that I’m taking notice and stashing him where I can.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Keyarris Garrett, CAR- The Panthers are still looking for quality wideouts and there is opportunity for the UDFA who has gaudy measurables and can high-point passes with ease. He's also a talented vertical route runner who can stretch the field. Don't forget about him!

TIGHT END

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Virgil Green, DEN- I was very excited about Green in the 2016 season, but things just didn’t pan out for him with Siemian at quarterback. I’m more confident that Paxton Lynch or another free agent option will utilize Green correctly and unlock his potential.

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. I liked what I saw in preseason and in limited work when Wilson got dinged last year.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| 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 if Sean Payton sticks around in New Orleans.

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 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. So far, we haven’t seen much to suggest the light bulb is coming on, even though his measurables are enviable.

RUNNING BACK

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 someone we want to keep an eye on in the long-term, especially if he changes teams. The Giants cutting Rashad Jennings is somewhat encouraging for his stock.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Dwayne Washington, DET- Washington is worth stashing long-term. The Lions offensive line really held him back when he was called on to start in 2016. I like Zenner better, but I’m also open to Washington landing the job in the future, as he has a similar talent level to Zenner.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Tyler Ervin, HOU- Drafted in ‘16 by the Texans, the Darren Sproles-sized runner has shown his quicks and a willingness to run between the tackles and take hits. He remains 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. However, Ingram has not exactly been the healthiest of runners in his 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 the ‘16 class, but they did sign a talented UDFA in Ferguson. Frank Gore isn’t exactly a spring chicken (turning age 34 this year) and despite being number two on the depth chart, Robert Turbin looks unimpressive, especially in the passing game. Ferguson is showing chops as a receiver out of the backfield. He needs to improve pass blocking, but there is some long-term potential here if he can do that.

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. With a new regime on the way in, we’ll have to see if they also take a liking to Grant or if he’ll be released and have opportunity elsewhere.

WIDE RECEIVER

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Cordarrelle Patterson / Charles Johnson / Adam Thielen, MIN- Johnson and Thielen are restricted free agents, meaning the Vikings will get an opportunity to match any offers they receive on the open market. Patterson is unrestricted, meaning he is free to sign with any team he chooses. Dynasty owners are hoping the Vikings will let all three go, as they are blocked long-term by Stefon Diggs and LaQuon Treadwell.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Jalin Marshall, NYJ- A former five-star recruit, the UDFA got some game action and special teams work in 2016. There’s potential for more, especially with a quarterback upgrade likely in the works.

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 in ‘17 or beyond.

TIGHT END

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/Watch List| Tyler Higbee- LA- A fourth-round pick due to a checkered past, Higbee certainly has the talent to do great things in the league if given a better offense with which to work. 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.

Contending and Rebuilding Stash/ Watch List| AJ Derby, DEN- If Virgil Green doesn’t catch on like I think he will, I’m open to the very athletic Derby being someone to look out for catching passes from Paxton Lynch. The fact that Denver dealt for him in-season in 2016 is a bit intriguing.