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.
May be available in 25-or-fewer-roster-spot leagues.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 5-1% | Brock Osweiler, HOU- The big money Osweiler received in free agency shows that the Texans are committed to him, at least for this year. Osweiler is the unquestioned starter for the first time in his young career. The Texans added Lamar Miller via free agency and took Will Fuller V in the first round of the Draft. Fuller played well enough in the offseason to earn a starting spot opposite of DeAndre Hopkins and Jaelen Strong will be the third option when three or more wideouts are on the field. The offensive line injuries are a bit concerning, but the talent around him can mitigate that somewhat.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 5-1%| Sam Bradford, MIN- While many (self-included) are not fans of Bradford’s game in recent years, we must admit that he’s been traded to one of the better offenses in the league. He’ll have a line upon which the Vikings spent massive capital in the offseason. He also will have an all-timer at running back and competent receivers in Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson, and Kyle Rudolph. Shaun Hill will get the reigns while Bradford learns the offense, but Bradford will be starting sooner rather than later.
Contending and Rebuilding 20-50%| 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. McKinnon should be rostered in all formats, but is still out there in some shallower dynasty formats. Not only is he a season winner if Peterson goes down, he’s the likely future at running back for the Vikings. If he’s still there, snap him up!
Contending and Rebuilding 20-50%| Charles Sims, TB- Doug Martin got an extension, but I still see Sims as someone who will have a large role in that Buccaneers offense, especially as a pass catcher. The Buccaneers did not add a running back in the draft, something I believe signals their contentment with their running back situation at this time. If Martin’s injury issues pop up again, Sims is also a potential season winner in PPR leagues.
Contending and Rebuilding 20-40%| Christine Michael, SEA- Michael earned the start over Rawls on Sunday, signaling that the “reawakening” we’ve heard so much about isn’t just coach speak and that Rawls still may not be fully recovered. While there will still likely be a committee in play in Seattle, Michael is currently the most valuable member.
Contending 20-35%, Rebuilding 10-20%| Jeremy Langford - Langford appears to be the back that Chicago trusts (for now) with the slight majority of the carries. He’s a clear sell-high for me in dynasty, but if you can’t trade him at value, he makes a fine bye fill-in or starting option on a rebuilding dynasty squad.
Contending and Rebuilding 20-50%| Marvin Jones Jr, DET- Jones should have been grabbed this offseason, but I’ve still seen him out there in shallower dynasty formats. With Calvin Johnson retiring, Detroit felt a strong need to go out and fill the void opposite Golden Tate. While he won’t completely fill the shoes of Megatron, Detroit (unlike Cincinnati) will definitely look to make him a focal point in their offense.
Contending and Rebuilding 20-50%| Travis Benjamin, SD- Benjamin landed in a great situation in which a secondary wide receiver to play opposite of Keenan Allen was sorely needed. Now with Allen out for the year, his stock really takes flight. We saw that he could fill that role nicely last year in Cleveland. He'll likely do even better this year with Phillip Rivers throwing him passes. Surprisingly, he’s still floating out there in some dynasty leagues.
Contending and Rebuilding 10-20%| Stefon Diggs, MIN- Diggs came on strong for the Vikings in the middle of 2015. He was sometimes being traded for two future first-round picks in dynasty leagues. His value comes crashing back to earth with the addition of Laquon Treadwell, signaling the Vikings don’t view him as the primary option. Some dynasty owners in shallow leagues overreacted and threw him back to the wire. Diggs will be one of the nicer complimentary options in the league and be the main target while Treadwell experiences the rookie growing pains of learning the complex Zimmer offense.
Contending and Rebuilding 10-20%| Tajae Sharpe, TEN- It’s evident that Tajae Sharpe is the most trusted receiver on the roster in the eyes of Marcus Mariota. A savvy route runner, Sharpe always seems to be at the right place on the field. He’s seen a huge value spike and is sometimes being traded for first-round picks in dynasty leagues.
Contending and Rebuilding 10-20%| Tyrell Williams, SD- This raw small-school prospect had my attention before the door of opportunity opened. His height, speed, and movement skills are very intriguing. Malcolm Floyd retiring, Stevie Johnson getting injured, and now a season-ending injury for Keenan Allen are all things that portend a big chance for the young wideout.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Virgil Green, DEN- Despite the conservative game plan on Thursday night, we saw how much they wanted to get Green involved. Green was wide open on a touchdown toss, but the ball was tipped away.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Jesse James, PIT- With Ladarius Green’s career hanging in the balance, James will get the start in Pittsburg. He was impressive in red zone drills this offseason and could be a nice target down there for Big Ben.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Zach Miller, CHI-Chicago traded away the disgruntled Martellus Bennett to the Patriots. Meanwhile, Miller quietly signed a 2-year deal to remain with the team. He showed well when Bennett was out last year and becomes much more interesting now that Bennett has been dealt away. The Bears also abstained from drafting a tight end, making us believe they are very comfortable going forward with Miller as the starter. With a banged up offensive line that lost its center before the season, we could see a hurried Jay Cutler passing to him quite a bit this season.
(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN MORE THAN 25, BUT FEWER THAN 40 ROSTER SPOT LEAGUES)
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 5-10%| Dak Prescott, DAL- Not only has the rookie shown impressively thus far, but Romo’s frequent injuries have put Tony’s career longevity in question. Prescott has the physical tools and will have one of the better offensive lines and running backs in the game to lean upon while he adjusts to NFL life. So far, the game does not look too big for the young man.
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 Rogers for several years, but he’ll get his shot, either with the Packers or someone else. He looked outstanding in the preseason reps that he got.
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 give him a shot to start.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Trevor Siemian, DEN- Siemian showed a calm poise against a tough Carolina Panthers team. While Paxton Lynch is clearly the future in Denver, Siemian showed us why the Broncos may be content to delay that era for now.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 10-20%| Jay Ajayi, MIA- Ajayi’s dynasty stock has taken a tumble with the signing of Arian Foster and the pouting that left Ajayi declared inactive this past Sunday. We need to remember that Foster has chronic soft tissue problems that could crop up at any time. We also need to hope Ajayi learns from the experience of being left behind and works to be ready for the opportunity that awaits him down the line. Though his stock is currently depressed, we should still be very interested in Ajayi and use this as an opportunity to buy him at a big discount.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1-5%| James Starks- I saw Starks discarded in a lot of dynasty leagues when he hit free agency. After testing free agency, Starks decided to re-sign with the Packers. He’ll have value this year should Lacy’s weight woes creep up again or should Lacy suffer an injury. He's worth stashing in deeper leagues to see if you hit the production jackpot.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Andre Ellington, ARI- Talent was never the question -- it’s been the injuries that have derailed Ellington. It may not happen with Arizona, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ellington once again producing as a starter with another team.
Contending and Rebuilding 10-15%| Chris Hogan, NE- Stuck in a tepid Buffalo offense for the last three seasons, Hogan has shown flashes of what he could do with a better situation. He's got that situation now in New England. It wouldn't be a huge surprise to me if Hogan produces better than most expect in 2016, especially when Tom Brady returns from suspension.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Terrelle Pryor, CLE- A metrically freaky converted quarterback project for the Browns, Pryor had a magnificent preseason and showed development. He was one of the few bright spots in Cleveland’s opening loss to Philadelphia. He will continue to play a role in three wide sets even when Josh Gordon returns from suspension.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 5-10% | Davante Adams, GB- He managed to beat out Jeff Janis, but that’s not really saying much. Adams has the second-round draft pedigree and metrics that suggest greatness, but he has yet to put it all together on the field. If he can, however, he is in one of the most prolific offenses in the league. We saw him make a nice touchdown catch in week one action.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Cody Latimer, DEN- Latimer is buried behind the newly extended Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, but he has 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 and Rebuilding 1-5%| Sammie Coates Jr, PIT- The offseason buzz died out when Coates had a couple of horrible preseason performances. He was very raw coming in, but the physical gifts are definitely there. He just has to hold on to the ball! In an explosive Steelers offense and with Martavis Bryant about to serve a year-long suspension, Coates has the potential to make a splash in Bryant’s absence if he can display surer hands.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Seth Roberts, OAK- 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. He continues to make big plays, including a long touchdown snare in Sunday’s contest.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Willie Snead IV, NO- With the Saints taking Michael Thomas in the second round, one has to think they eventually see Thomas and not Snead as the #2 option to Brandon Cooks. However, Snead could present sneaky value while Thomas adjusts to the speed of the game. If he was dropped in your PPR dynasty league, he’s worth holding on until Thomas splashes onto the scene.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Quincy Enunwa, NYJ- A Chad Parsons favorite and an elite athlete, Enunwa was very active out of the slot in the Jets close loss to the Bengals. This kind of usage could become commonplace, as Fitzpatrick tends to be a short-area thrower. He’s very much worth an add to hold and see what happens.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jaelen Strong, HOU- Strong had, well, a “strong” training camp. He didn’t win the #2 job from Fuller, but he will be in during three wide receiver sets. Though Osweiler’s accuracy doesn’t inspire loads of confidence, Strong’s talent is such that I’m taking notice and stashing him where I can.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Ladarius Green, PIT- Pittsburgh was one of the most exciting landing spots Green could have found. Unfortunately, his career hangs in the balance after experiencing lingering concussion symptoms. He’s been placed on the PUP and now we’ll have to wait it out. He’s still worth grabbing speculatively if someone has outright dropped him.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| 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 he’ll have the starting job for the 49ers in 2016. Perhaps he will surprise with offensive mastermind Chip Kelly.
(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN 40+ ROSTER SPOTS LEAGUES/ LEAGUES WITH LARGE TAXI SQUADS)
Contending and Rebuilding 1-3%| Blaine Gabbert, SF- A laughing stock for many years, Gabbert showed development and poise during his time as the 49ers starter in 2015. After Kaepernick's offseason struggles, Gabbert won the starting job. We will see if Chip Kelly can get the best out of Gabbert.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Mike Glennon, TB- Trade rumors swirled around Glennon leading up to and during the Draft, but Tampa hung on to him as the backup to Jameis Winston. He will need an injury to Winston or a change of scenery (he is a free agent next year) to unlock his value.
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. Nassib 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 lightbulb is coming on
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Garrett Grayson, NO- He was cut recently 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 3-5%, Rebuilding 5-15%| DeAndre Washington, OAK- Showing impressively since arriving with the team, the round-five Draft pick and Texas Tech product earned first-team reps frequently in training camp. He is now the backup to Latavius Murray. Murray is far from tenured and it’s conceivable that Washington could earn a sizeable portion of the passing down work in an ascendant Oakland offense.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Zach Zenner, DET- An injury marred his rookie season, but he was outplaying fellow rookie Ameer Abdullah at that point. With Joique Bell cut, it appears Zenner and Dwayne Washington will split work at Bell’s old power back role this year.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jonathan Williams, BUF- Williams is the more talented of the two Arkansas runners that went in the draft. He recently got a DUI, but it probably will not result in a suspension until 2017. It’s going to give him time to get his foot in the door, especially with Williams cut.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Jordan Howard, CHI- Howard is the back to target long-term in Chicago. While I doubt John Fox breaks his precedent of not starting rookies on account of Howard, I do not see Langford as the long-term answer for that team. Howard is a much more dynamic back than both Carey or Langford and I believe that will become evident over time. Get him cheaply while you can.
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. He will be the Rams’ third string back this season.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Peyton Barber, TB- This Matt Waldman favorite and UDFA was cut, but immediately added back to the 53-man roster behind Doug Martin and Charles Sims. He raised eyebrows in camp and seems to be a coaching staff favorite. His talent makes him worth stashing or placing on a watch list in very deep leagues.
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 has battled back and even flashed at times during camp practices. Though he was placed on IR and will miss at least the first few weeks of the season, he’s someone to watch if Matt Jones falters.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Tyler Irvin- 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- A SQARQ standout, Lasco is seemingly buried behind Mark Ingram II, C.J. Spiller, and Tim Hightower. However, all three of 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 most recent depth chart, Robert Turbin looks unimpressive. 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, 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 they can do.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Cordarrelle Patterson/ Charles Johnson, MIN- Minnesota took Laquon Treadwell in the first round of the Draft, a clear indicator that they are relegating these two to situational work. Bridgewater also got hurt, meaning the rapport that Johnson built with him this offseason is null and void. It’s clearly going to take a team change for either to have the fantasy relevance they once enjoyed.
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|| Crockett Gilmore, BAL- The injury to Ben Watson opened the door for Gilmore to once again enjoy relevance. We’ll have to see what Dennis Pitta does after years away from the game, but I’m more confident in Gilmore’s abilities at this point.
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 departing for Green Bay and no established options on the depth chart, Higbee has a chance to eventually be the guy at tight end for the young Jared Goff.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Erik Swoope, IND- Dwayne Allen ended up sticking around, but we know he hasn’t exactly been the picture of health. If he were to go down again, the very athletic and developing Swoope may see the field, especially with Coby Fleener no longer standing in the way.
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.)
Robert Griffin III III, CLE- Griffin's stock takes a dramatic tumble after sustaining a shoulder injury and being placed on IR, leaving his return to play this season very much in question. The offensive line was not protecting him well up to the point of his injury. We need to see signs of life from the rest of the Browns team and a healthy Griffin before he will enter back into relevance in typical dynasty formats.
Colin Kaepernick, SF- He became a media spectacle and could not outplay Blaine Gabbert in the preseason. Unless Gabbert gets hurt or Kaepernick gets a fresh start elsewhere, Kaepernick is not someone to roster in typical single quarterback dynasty leagues.
Mark Sanchez, DAL- Trevor Siemian managed to beat out Sanchez for the starting job and Sanchez was summarily dismissed by the team. The Cowboys picked him up because of their dire injury situation at quarterback, but they’ll be loathe to play him. It’s officially time to let him go in most formats.
Chase Daniel, PHI- Daniel did get the Bradford trade that would have elevated his value somewhat, but the Eagles surprisingly decided to turn to Carson Wentz in week one. Daniel doesn’t have any value to us unless Wentz gets hurt, and it would be very minimal value in such a low-octane offense.
Javorius Allen, BAL- Unfortunately, Allen’s value took a major hit when Baltimore drafted the more talented Kenneth Dixon in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Terrance West has also supplanted him on the depth chart, pushing Allen out to sea.
Karlos Williams, BUF- Williams’ stock is down and he has no one but himself to blame. Gaining weight throughout the offseason and then earning a four-game suspension to start the season has sent his stock into a tailspin. Then he got cut and didn’t get claimed by a single team. He’ll likely get another shot somewhere before the season is over, but until then, he’s basically valueless.
Dreamius Smith, SD- Released by the Chargers, we’ll need to see him land in another good situation before he appears on our dynasty radars again.
Jeff Janis, GB- I’ve finally decided to call it quits. Sometimes, the metrics just don’t translate and this appears to be the case with Janis.
Brandon Coleman- Brees has the ability to feed a lot of mouths in New Orleans, but Coleman just hasn’t opened his, despite the impressive athletic profile.
Kenny Bell, TB- The Matt Waldman favorite got waived and reached an injury settlement with Tampa. We need to see him land on another team before he’ll make his way back from the deep.
DeAndre Carter, NE- Cut by New England and not re-signed to the practice squad, we must sadly wait to see if the talented Carter will get another chance to stick elsewhere.
Ben Watson, BAL- His achilles injury was such a big disappointment. At his age and with that injury, I doubt we see Watson playing a meaningful role for fantasy ever again.