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.
Players on this list have previously appeared in this article as pickups, but have had value spikes that make them unlikely to be out there in your league. If they are still on your waiver wire by some miracle, blow your budget to acquire their services!
- Dak Prescott, DAL
- Christine Michael, SEA
- Jerick McKinnon, MIN
- Jay Ajayi, MIA
- Jordan Howard, CHI
- Marvin Jones Jr, DET
- Travis Benjamin, SD
- Stefon Diggs, MIN
- Tyrell Williams, SD
- Willie Snead IV, NO
- Quincy Enunwa, NYJ
- Cameron Brate, TB
- Dennis Pitta, BAL
- Jesse James, PIT
- Zach Miller, CHI
(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN 25 OR FEWER ROSTER SPOT LEAGUES)
Contending 10-30%, Rebuilding 5-10%| Sam Bradford, MIN- While many (self-included) are not fans of Bradford’s game in recent years, we must admit that things are looking up for Bradford. With Adrian Peterson shelved, Bradford will need to take to the air to win games. Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph can handle the more traditional receiving roles while Jerick McKinnon catches passes out of the backfield and shares some between-the-tackles work with Matt Asiata.
Contending 10-20%, Rebuilding 5-10% | Brock Osweiler, HOU- The Texans have used Will Fuller V to stretch the field, which has opened up this offense and made Osweiler a viable streaming option when the matchup is right. Lamar Miller hasn’t been fantastic, but is doing enough in the run game to keep the offense from becoming one-dimensional.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick, SF- As San Francisco struggles, the cries for replacing Gabbert with Kaepernick are getting louder. While both may not play well in real NFL games, their mobility and work in Chip Kelly’s high-volume offense makes whichever them gets the starting nod a viable fantasy play.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Brian Hoyer, CHI- Hoyer isn’t a destroyer, but he is someone who makes a nice desperation play for quarterback-needy teams while Cutler is sidelined. He’s a lock to score a touchdown or two a week in garbage-time action.
Contending 10-20%, Rebuilding 10-50%| Charles Sims, TB- Being placed on IR may cause owners to cut Sims, but know that he was performing well before his knee injury and that he will be back to serve a valuable role for this team. Stash him in PPR leagues where you can do so, even if you are contending.
Contending 10-15%, Rebuilding 10-25%| DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, OAK- When Latavius Murray was inactive for week five, I expected Washington to get the majority of the carries with backup Jalen Richard getting a touch here and there. Instead, the Raiders basically split touches between the two (also known as the dreaded “hot hand” approach), with neither of them doing anything spectacular. We’re hearing that all three will be mixed in when Murray returns. This usage muddies the value of any of the three Oakland backs going forward. I still favor Washington’s talent out of the three, but acknowledge that Richard may not be as far away in ability from Washington as I originally thought.
Contending and Rebuilding 20-50%| 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 with Tom Brady. He’ll be heavily targeted and should be owned in all leagues.
Contending and Rebuilding 20-50%| Terrelle Pryor, CLE- A metrically freaky converted quarterback project for the Browns, Pryor is one of the few bright spots for a season that is slipping away with each injury and loss. He’s showing that his development as a wideout is complete. He will continue to be the heart and soul of this team and should only get better when Josh McCown is healthy enough to start.
Contending and Rebuilding 20-50%| Sammie Coates Jr, PIT- Coates is still having issues with drops, but was able reel in two touchdown passes this Sunday, albeit against the leaky Jets secondary. Coates is will be a boom-bust play weekly, but the booms could help win your week, as they did in week five. As the number two option in this potent offense, we have to take Coates seriously at this point.
Contending 10-20%, Rebuilding 20-40% | Davante Adams, GB- Adams has the second-round draft pedigree and metrics that suggest greatness, but he has yet to put it all together on the field. He’s had moments of brilliance and moments of inconsistency each week thus far. He is in one of the more prolific offenses in the league, and his holding down the wide receiver three job counts for something. If we see the light bulb stop flickering and come all the way on, Adams’ value will continue to rise.
Contending 1-10%, Rebuilding 10-30%| Tajae Sharpe, TEN- Sharpe’s contending stock cooled when we saw that this passing offense wasn’t going to run efficiently on most weeks, but we need to stash Sharpe on our rosters in all but the most shallow formats. 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. While Tennessee’s offense has been woeful as of late, brighter days may be ahead in the long-term picture with a coaching staff change likely on the way.
Contending 15-20%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Cole Beasley, DAL- At least while Dak Prescott is at quarterback, Beasley will be heavily targeted in the passing game and be a high-floor play in PPR dynasty leagues.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| 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 and be an important part of the Raiders passing attack.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Robert Woods, BUF- With Watkins out of the line-up, Woods and Clay are absorbing his targets. Though it's a low-volume pass offense, Woods may do enough weekly in PPR leagues to be a viable fill-in, especially during the bye-week crunch time.
Contending 20-30%, Rebuilding 10-30%| Ladarius Green, PIT- Pittsburgh was one of the most exciting landing spots Green could have found. Unfortunately, he’s been shelved so far this year with what appears to be concussion symptoms. We are hearing that Green may return to the lineup in week seven, hence the major bump up in value on this report. He could be a savior if you’ve been struggling at the tight end position and he happens to be out there in your league.
Contending 15-25%, Rebuilding 10-20%| Vance McDonald, SF- McDonald does matter in the Kelly system. He got plenty of snaps and opportunity until he was injured against Seattle. He will slot right back into the lineup when healthy and help a passing offense depleted of weapons.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Virgil Green, DEN- Green was involved in the offense, but didn’t find the endzone before going down for multiple weeks with an injury. 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.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Charles Clay, BUF- Sammy Watkins missing time is meaning more targets for Clay and Robert Woods. If your team is struggling at tight end, Clay makes a nice plug-and-play option until such time as Watkins returns.
(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN MORE THAN 25, BUT FEWER THAN 40 ROSTER SPOT LEAGUES)
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.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Jimmy Garoppolo, NE- Groomed behind Tom Brady, Garoppolo has learned from one of the best in the business. He looked somewhat impressive in game two before going down with a shoulder injury versus the Dolphins. Some other team (or New England themselves) will likely give him a shot to be their quarterback of the future.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Trevor Siemian, DEN- Siemian was showing a calm poise and is leaning on his defense, which is exactly what his coaches wanted him to do. Then he suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the game against the Falcons. Fortunately for Siemian, Lynch performed poorly and the team says they will turn back to Siemian going forward. 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 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Cody Kessler, CLE- With RG3 and Josh McCown sidelined, the young rookie has had an audition to show what he can do. We’ll have to see about the injury he suffered on Sunday, but the latest report is that he'll play in week six. He’s very impressive on short throws, but his deep game is very lacking.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Jeremy Langford, CHI- Langford’s ankle injury dipped his value because it opened the door for the more talented Jordan Howard to overtake him. However, if he can get back from it quickly, he may temporarily postpone the takeover by being put into a committee situation.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1-5%| James Starks, GB- We’ll see about how severe Lacy’s ankle injury ends up being, but what we know as of this writing is that Lacy appears on track to start in week six. Starks has looked like the better back on his carries and he’ll still have value if Lacy’s injury gets worse to the point he misses time.
Contending 1-10%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR- Artis-Payne scored twice in Monday night action, but against a defense that had suffered a slew of injuries along it's defensive line. Stewart will probably be able to go in week six, 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 1-10%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Jacquizz Rodgers, TB- Rodgers is the do-it-all guy until Martin returns from his hamstring injury. He’ll make a nice fill-in option in PPR leagues until Martin can go again. He may even retain value as a passing downs guy when Martin does return.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Orleans Darkwa, NYG- Rashad Jennings is a fantastic back when healthy, but as his career has played out, those injury-free times have been few and far between. With Jennings out of action, Darkwa is the next man up and 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. Jennings may be back soon, but if Jennings’ hand issue lingers or Jennings gets banged-up again, Darkwa could pay dividends for the Giants and our dynasty squads alike.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Dwayne Washington, DET- I don’t see Washington as being superior to Zach Zenner, but he and Theo Riddick did get all the carries when he was healthy. It’s worth grabbing him to see what happens in leagues where he’s not owned or tossed back after his injury.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Andre Ellington, ARI- Talent was never the question -- it’s been the injuries that have derailed Ellington. Chris Johnson’s injury may open the door for Ellington to get a little more work, but David Johnson is still the man in Arizona. 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 1-10% Cameron Meredith, CHI- The Bears acquired Cameron Meredith as an undrafted free agent in 2015. In terms of body dimensions, Sigmund Bloom recently compared him to San Diego’s Tyrell Williams. I believe that is an apt comparison. With Kevin White on IR and the rest of the Bears receiving corps playing banged up, Meredith is getting additional opportunities on the field. The losing game scripts in which Chicago finds themselves will continue to force Brian Hoyer to throw often. Most of the coverage attention will be on Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, and Zach Miller - meaning Meredith could present covert value for those in deep leagues. He also makes sense as a stash on dynasty rosters with 35 or more roster spots.
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 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%| Jack Doyle, IND- Doyle’s usage faded on Sunday against the Bears in favor of Allen. The Colts ran more three receiver sets and Doyle only saw 28 of 68 snaps. We’ll have to monitor this situation closely, but unless Doyle’s snaps get bumped back up soon, Doyle may be headed out to sea.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| C.J. Fiedorowicz, HOU- Fiedorowicz is benefiting from the fact that Bill O'Brien took over the playcalling duties and that Ryan Griffin is banged up. If both of these things continue, Fiedorowicz can be a viable fill-in for those teams that are hard-up at the tight end position.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Crockett Gillmore, BAL- Gillmore is back after being washed out to sea before the season. With Maxx Williams placed on IR, he steps into the second tight end role. He even managed to score this past Sunday, despite Dennis Pitta dominating targets. It will be hard to know which tight end will benefit from week to week as much as Flacco spreads the ball around, but there are much worse desperation options to toss out.
(MAY BE AVAILABLE IN 40+ ROSTER SPOTS LEAGUES/ LEAGUES WITH LARGE TAXI SQUADS)
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List| Trevone Boykin, SEA- Russell Wilson’s MCL sprain didn’t result in missed time for Wilson, but Boykin is there and competent enough to run this offense should Wilson actually miss time in the future.
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 light bulb is coming on, even though his measurables are enviable.
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 and Rebuilding 1-5%| 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. Now with Martin and Sims injured, he’ll get some touches behind Jacquizz Rodgers and perhaps earn a more sizeable role going forward if he does well with them.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Zach Zenner, DET- It appears Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner, and Dwayne Washington will split work in the Lions’ backfield for the remainder of the year. While all the buzz surrounds Washington and Riddick, I believe it will be Zenner who proves to be superior to those two options. It will take the coaching staff giving him increased touches and good matchups to unlock his fantasy potential.
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 if a LeSean McCoy injury occurs.
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 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 if Matt Jones falters.
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, 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 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 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 to grasp the offense and see meaningful snaps on the NFL field. With Stefon Diggs banged up, 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. He had been getting snaps before sustaining a torn labrum that will keep him out for a few weeks.
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 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| 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. He is getting some targets weekly which is encouraging.
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.)
Jacob Tamme- Hooper is rapidly taking over as the primary tight end in this offense. We can no longer trust Tamme in our lineups.