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.
We’re almost through the regular fantasy season! With the playoffs rapidly approaching, the waiver wire has become a wasteland in typical dynasty formats. Not only is there a lack of talent from which to choose, but the percentage of budget required to land said talent tends to be higher. That being said, let’s look at potential pickup candidates in your league!
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.
- Dak Prescott, DAL
- Sam Bradford, MIN
- Brock Osweiler, HOU
- Trevor Siemian, DEN
- Colin Kaepernick, SF
- Jerick McKinnon, MIN
- Jay Ajayi, MIA
- Charles Sims, TB
- Jordan Howard, CHI
- Jacquizz Rodgers, TB
- Christine Michael, GB
- James Starks, GB
- Tim Hightower, NO
- Rob Kelly, WAS
- DeAndre Washington, OAK
- Jalen Richard, OAK
- Marvin Jones Jr, DET
- Travis Benjamin, SD
- Tajae Sharpe, TEN
- Stefon Diggs, MIN
- Tyrell Williams, SD
- Willie Snead IV, NO
- Quincy Enunwa, NYJ
- Chris Hogan, NE
- Terrelle Pryor, BUF
- Sammie Coates Jr, PIT
- Cameron Meredith, CHI
- Davante Adams, GB
- Kenny Britt, LA
- Cole Beasley, DAL
- Jamison Crowder, WAS
- Ty Montgomery, GB
- Seth Roberts, OAK
- Robert Woods, BUF
- Tyreek Hill, KC
- Cameron Brate, TB
- Dennis Pitta, BAL
- Jesse James, PIT
- Zach Miller, CHI
- Ladarius Green, PIT
- Charles Clay, BUF
- Jack Doyle, IND
- C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU
(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN 25 OR FEWER ROSTER SPOT LEAGUES)
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%| Josh McCown, CLE- With Cody Kessler set to miss time, McCown is back in the lineup. He’s far from ideal, but will likely be playing from behind and have the ample garbage time opportunities we look for from our quarterback streamers.
Contending 50-70%, Rebuilding 20-40%| Wendell Smallwood, PHI- It’s unlikely he’s out there in your league. However, if he has slipped through the cracks, now is the time to pounce. Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles are banged up, leaving Smallwood to be the primary ball carrier for the Eagles for the foreseeable future.
High Value Handcuffs Contenders May Want to Stash...
Contending 10-20%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Mike Gillislee, BUF- We’re hearing that McCoy is going to be OK after exiting week eleven action with a thumb injury, but McCoy has been nicked up all season. Gillislee does have some standalone value, but if McCoy does go down, Gillislee becomes a potential season winning asset.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Andre Ellington, ARI- Talent was never the question -- it’s been the injuries that have derailed Ellington. David Johnson is still the man in Arizona, but Ellington is only one injury away from having a significant role once again. It may not happen again in the desert with Ellington, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him once again producing as a starter with another team.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Kapri Bibbs, DEN- Bibbs’ role didn’t increase as much as some believed it would, but he’s certainly a high value handcuff in the event that the dinged Devontae Booker can’t hold up to the pounding he’s taking as the lead man.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Alex Collins, SEA- Prosise will miss time, meaning Thomas Rawls is now the only thing standing in the way of Collins getting a primary role in this rushing attack. As injury prone as Rawls has been so far in his career, Collins is an easy choice as a back-of-the-bench lottery ticket that could pay off big.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Kenneth Farrow, SD- Farrow is the backup to Melvin Gordon III. 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 5-15%, Rebuilding 10-20% | Justin Hunter, BUF- Could Hunter be reviving his career with the Bills? It’s possible. We’ve seen him get red zone looks and convert a few of them for touchdowns in recent weeks. He’s worth picking up just to see if the trend continues, especially with both Watkins and Woods out of action.
Contending 5-15%, Rebuilding 5-10%| Taylor Gabriel, ATL- Gabriel is being used to open up the deep passing game for Atlanta and Matt Ryan has found him on several deep shots. He’s a desperation play on any given week, but one that has the potential to boom in one of the best offenses in the league.
Contending 30-50%, Rebuilding 5-10%| Jared Cook, GB- Fantasy owners need to understand that Cook is likely to be very volatile from week to week, as he has been throughout his career. Yet with Aaron Rodgers struggling to find reliable targets, Cook has a weekly upside that few waiver options at this point in the season can provide.
(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN MORE THAN 25, BUT FEWER THAN 40 ROSTER SPOT LEAGUES)
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.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1% Kenjon Barner, PHI- Increased opportunity will certainly be there for Barner with Mathews and Sproles out of action, but I’m skeptical as to whether that will translate to significant fantasy production. He’s still worth a speculative add if you have the roster spot and don’t have a better candidate to add.
Contending 1%, 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.
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.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 10-15%| Michael Floyd, ARI- I doubt Floyd gets extended in Arizona at this point and may even be hitting the waiver wire in some of your more shallow formats. While I’m out on using Floyd going forward, he’s worth adding just to see if he can be flipped when he lands in a different situation in free agency.
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, 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. Strong’s talent is such that I’m taking notice and stashing him where I can.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Virgil Green, DEN- Be patient and pick up Green on the cheap where you can while the price is depressed. If Paxton Lynch can find his way into the lineup over Trevor Siemian this season, things will get even better for Green.
(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN 40+ ROSTER SPOTS LEAGUES/ LEAGUES WITH LARGE TAXI SQUADS)
Contending and Rebuilding 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 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 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.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Rex Burkhead, CIN- The brutal injury to Giovani Bernard will give 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 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 and will miss a great deal of the season (and perhaps more if they do not elect to activate him), he’s someone to watch for 2017.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Zach Zenner, DET- Zenner couldn’t do much behind the Detroit offensive line, even with Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington sidelined. However, he’s shown enough acumen in the past that I’m still monitoring him and holding him if the league is very deep.
Contending and Rebuilding 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 Watch List| Dwayne Washington, DET- I’m downgrading Washington in part because he’s done little with increased opportunity and in part because this offense isn’t doing its runners any favors.
Contending and Rebuilding 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 Watch List| Daniel Lasco, NO- A SQARQ standout, Lasco is seemingly buried behind Mark Ingram II 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 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 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 Watch List| Corey Grant, JAX- Here’s another athletic back who is buried behind Ivory and Yeldon 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.
Contending and Rebuilding 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 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. While I do believe Treadwell ultimately will get on track, any of these three make a good desperation play at receiver on any given week. Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson in particular would benefit from a change of team to elevate their dynasty statuses.
Contending and Rebuilding 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 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.
Contending and Rebuilding 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 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.
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.)
Case Keenum, LA- Goff has replaced Keenum in the lineups, rendering him valueless.