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. Dynasty general managers have previously been at the mercy of regular waiver segments to assist in dynasty pickups, but these fail to account for the long-term view necessary to dynasty success. This weekly column 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.
Welcome to the tenth week of Waivers of the Future! The waiver wire surprisingly has not completely dried up, but quality pickups become harder to find. Even if you feel set at certain skill positions, it’s never a bad idea to be thorough and stash folks on the back end of your roster. You never know when a rash of injuries can decimate your squad or when you might need a spot starter when multiple players at one position are on bye.
IN 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. If they are still available and you need help contending, consider spending 30-50%+ of your budget on them.
Here are other players that have been featured in this article that are likely to be owned, but are worth only a smaller percentage of your budget:
- Case Keenum
- Joe Flacco
- Frank Gore
- Peyton Barber
- Jalen Richard
- Keke Coutee
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling
- Danny Amendola
- Ito Smith
- Ian Thomas
- Vance McDonald
- Ben Watson
RIDE THE WAVE
(These are plug-and-play options who might patch a hole on your team in the short-term.)
Contending 20-50%, Rebuilding 1%| Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB- This is likely your last chance to grab Fitzpatrick in dynasty leagues. He showed that he can keep this offense viable, even as they continue to lose in shootouts. They’ll face Washington next week in what appears to be a favorable passing matchup.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Brock Osweiler, MIA- Surprisingly, Osweiler is playing competently for the Dolphins and for fantasy general managers. You'll likely get at least two more weeks out him before Ryan Tannehill is ready. They’ll play a very banged-up Packers secondary this week.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Nick Mullens, SF- Mullins played a fantastic game against the Raiders, executing the Shanahan offense just as well as C.J. Beathard. He'll get another start against the Giants, which is is a favorable matchup if you need a streamer.
Contending and Rebuilding 1% Derek Anderson/Nathan Peterman, BUF- Anderson may clear the concussion protocol in time to play this week, but if not, Nathan Peterman will start again. Neither quarterback has much to work with and should be played only in leagues that don’t penalize interceptions. They’ll face a soft Jets pass defense in their upcoming contest.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Cody Kessler, JAX- Blake Bortles is on a short leash going forward. That said, Kessler is worth a speculative add if you need help. Out of all the quarterback pickups not named Ryan Fitzpatrick, he arguably has one of the best sets of receivers and running backs with which to work. The Jaguars will play against the Colts in week 10.
Contending and Rebuilding 10-15%| Mike Davis, SEA- While the backfield is technically a three-headed attack, Davis and Carson are the two backs that are making the most of their touches. Carson has played banged-up and Davis is getting a good deal of work in an offense that is showing they want to run the ball to control games.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Elijah McGuire, NYJ- With Bilal Powell’s future very much in doubt, McGuire instantly becomes relevant. He stepped in this weekend after coming off of injured reserve and was the most utilized back in the passing game. The Bills defense is on tap for the Jets in Week 10 and just gave up a big game on the ground to the Chicago Bears.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Kenjon Barner, NE- While Sony Michel avoided serious injury, he continues to miss time. Barner has benefited from extra touches but will continue to get a few touches each game even when Michel is healthy. With this offense being one of the more viable in the league, one of those touches might produce a touchdown. He and the offense will be up against the reeling Tennessee defense.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Devontae Booker, DEN- Royce Freeman sat again with an ankle injury, giving Booker a chance to get work in both the rushing and receiving game. If Freeman continues to miss time, Booker is a decent start against the Chargers.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Josh Adams, PHI- There’s not a clear back to own in Philadelphia because of the changing week-to-week usage of these runners, but Adams is probably the best bet to do work at the goal line because of his size. The Eagles come back from a bye to a matchup against the Cowboys in Week 10.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Adam Humphries, TB- The effectiveness of the offense and favorable play-from-behind game scripts are working out well for Humphries. Receiving help is hard to come by on dynasty waivers, so Humphries is a great plug-and-play option if your team needs assistance. This week, they’ll get a Redskins defense that is giving up chunks of yardage to opposing pass offenses.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| David Moore, SEA- He once again garnered more targets than Doug Baldwin and seem to be a focal point of this limited pass offense. We’ve seen this team develop relatively unknown receivers in the past (Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin come to mind) and Moore may be the latest example of this. Moore will face a Rams defense who is most vulnerable in their secondary.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Breshad Perriman, CLE- Dynasty owners who’ve been burned by Perriman before will scoff, but Perriman is getting a chance to show what he can do in a lost season for Cleveland. His raw physical skills are intriguing, and perhaps he can leverage this audition into a roster spot next year. With Jarvis Landry hurt, he may have temporary spot-starter value in deep leagues. The Browns will take on an injury-depleted Falcons defense in the upcoming week.
Contending and Rebuilding 15-30% | C.J. Uzomah, CIN- WIth Green banged up and Uzomah becoming a more prominent part of the offense, this is probably your last shot at acquiring him if he’s out there. It was Uzomah, not Kroft, whom the team gave lead responsibilities after the Tyler Eifert injury. They have shown willingness to target him in the end zone in a couple of games this year, which gives him an edge over some of the other guys on this list. The Bengals will play the Saints in Week 10.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Jeff Heuerman, DEN- Heuerman had a touchdown in weeks eight and nine and continues to be heavily targeted. The offense will often play from behind, which is favorable for Heuerman’s prospects. The Broncos will once again be playing at a deficit against the Chargers.
(Pre-emptive running back options that will have value if the starter goes down and that are not as likely to be owned. I see them more as short-term options. For those that have long-term appeal, please see the other sections of this report.)
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Rod Smith, DAL- If Ezekiel Elliott were to miss time, Smith is the next man up. He did much better than you would think filling in for Elliott last year. On a bad offense, he scored five total touchdowns and logged over 430 total yards. Recall that the Cowboys released Bo Scarbrough, showing their complete faith in Smith as the primary backup. There could be value here again if Elliott is out for any reason.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Malcolm Brown, LAR- For the time being, Brown, not John Kelly, is the primary backup to Todd Gurley. We saw this play out when Gurley left the game in Week 2 to get fluids for cramps. We’ve also seen Brown spell Gurley in recent games for a series or two when he needed a rest. While it is likely both would see work if Gurley were to miss significant time, it would be Brown who would lead that committee. Brown hasn’t gotten many chances because Gurley has been very healthy in his NFL career. However, when he has gotten an opportunity, Brown has flashed. He may have value after this year if he can go to another team in the restricted free agency process, but that’s tough to project at this time.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Wayne Gallman, NYG- If Saquon Barkley gets injured, the Giants may have no choice but to turn to Gallman. He is unimaginative as a runner, but his no-nonsense, banging style can work well on goal-line carries.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Alfred Blue, HOU- Owners were able to get a start out of Blue in week five, but Lamar Miller was healthy enough to get back in the lineup in week six, sending Blue back into the backup role. At least we now know he’s the clear backup to Miller and would see significant carries if Miller gets hurt again.
(May be available in 30 or fewer roster spot leagues.)
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 10-30%| Teddy Bridgewater, NO- A trade sent Bridgewater from the Jets to the Saints in exchange for a third-round pick. Bridgewater looks to be fully recovered from the horrific injury that cost him his starting spot in Minnesota and played well in the preseason. He could be the heir apparent to Drew Brees, which is great for his long-term value. In superflex leagues, be willing to spend 50%+ percent on Bridgewater if he’s inexplicably still out there.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Ameer Abdullah, DET- Despite trade rumors swirling, the Lions decided to hold on to Abdullah. For now, Abdullah will be a role player. He will be a free agent next year and will have an opportunity to land a role on a team that has more willingness to use him.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-10%| Josh Reynolds, LAR- Reynolds has moved back to the background with Cooper Kupp back in the lineup, but don’t forget him. As Matt Waldman documented in an episode of the RSP Cast, Reynolds is very skilled and will have the chance to grow as a role player this year with perhaps more usage coming next year. The divisional rivalry between the Seahawks is up next for Reynolds and the Rams.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1%| Laquon Treadwell, MIN- Treadwell continues to be used more this year. While it’s a crowded passing game, one significant injury to Stefon Diggs or Adam Thielen could change everything for Treadwell’s career trajectory. We saw a little of that this past weekend when Diggs missed time. Treadwell should be rostered in dynasty leagues in which there are 40 or more roster spots.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Auden Tate, CIN- With lots of question marks at receiver on the roster, including AJ Green potentially missing time, Tate is worth keeping in mind. He makes this list again because he has once again been promoted to the active roster. He showed flashes of what he can do as a big-bodied red zone threat this preseason.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Kevin White, CHI- White was scratched in Week 9 but has had flashes of potential during the season. He did a nice job high-pointing Trubisky’s Hail Mary throw in Week 7 and would have scored if he had gotten a better push from his teammates in the vicinity. He could be heading for a new team in the offseason, but he may gain enough traction this year to recover some of his dynasty value. Perhaps he is on Robert Woods’ career trajectory-- as an excellent blocker getting a chance on an emerging offense to showcase what else he can do with another team.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Chad Williams, ARI- Wiliams may not be able to flourish with the offense as it is. There could be a time coming when the offense is more potent and this is likely the last year Larry Fitzgerald will play. Keep an eye on Williams for next year.
Contending 10-20%, Rebuilding 20-40%| Gerald Everett, LAR- Everett shouldn’t be available in most dynasty leagues, but if he is, snap him up. The Rams’ passing game continues to grow and we have seen signs of the team finally making an effort to get their early second-round pick from a year ago involved. The targets in this offense are of high value and he’s a threat to score when other teams can keep the game competitive.
Contending and Rebuilding 10-20% | Chris Herndon, NYJ- The Jets have started to give Herndon more high-value work in the last month and he’s come through for both the team and his fantasy general managers. Herndon very well could be their future at the position and we need to treat him as such in dynasty leagues.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-10%| Jacob Hollister, NE- Hollister has some Gronk-like athleticism to his game and the Patriots have been grooming him for a while now. Gronkowski has missed two games with back and ankle injuries, making Hollister a lot more interesting from a dynasty perspective.
(May be available in 30 or more roster spot leagues or leagues with large taxi squads.)
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Jacoby Brissett, IND- Brissett remains one of the few backups that may get another shot at starting down the road. He played well in a really bad situation last year and earned the respect of many around the league. There were rumors in the offseason that multiple teams tried to trade for Brissett, but the Colts declined their offers.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Nick Foles, PHI- He was responsible for winning a Super Bowl and filled in for Carson Wentz in the first two games. Foles is back on the bench, but he’s done enough that another team may want to make him their starter during or after this season.
Watch List| Chris Warren, OAK- He’s blocked by Doug Martin for now and was put on IR due to a knee procedure. However, both Marshawn Lynch and Martin are on one-year deals and Warren caught the eye of both his coaching staff and his fellow players with his preseason performances. Stash him in deep leagues if you have the room. You can let him ride in your IR spot in some leagues.
Watch List| Justin Jackson, LAC- He’s back on the active roster and has some very impressive college tape. Melvin Gordon III missed time in Week 7 and though Eckler got the bulk of the work, Jackson got a few carries. With more opportunity, he may surprise the coaching staff with what he can do and earn a bigger opportunity down the road.
Watch List| Austin Carr, NO- Carr has shown flashes of what he could be in the past two preseasons, which is a big slot receiver with no fear of making contested catches. Ted Ginn Jr went on injured reserve, meaning we need to watch this situation over the next few weeks and see if Carr can gain any traction.
Watch List| Richie James, SF- James made the final roster, possibly indicating that the 49ers didn’t feel he would make it on to their practice squad. James has the skills to eventually play from any receiver position in this offense. His trademark skills are being very shifty and great on contested catches, despite his smaller size. The players ahead of James have documented injury concerns and that may lead to an unexpected opportunity for him in the future. He still remains a long-shot to get playing time without more injuries in front of him, but in a lost season, the coaching staff may want to get a look at him later this year.
Watch List| Jordan Lasley, BAL- Lasley did not have a flashy preseason, but he did make the cut over first-round pick Breshad Perriman. It was obvious when watching practices that he and Lamar Jackson have developed a rapport, much in the way Phillip Rivers and Malcolm Floyd did years ago. It may be a year or two before Lasley has a big role, but he’s worth holding on to if you have the room and placing on your watch list if you do not.
Watch List| Justin Watson, TB- He made the initial 53, despite how crowded Tampa Bay’s wide receiver corps already is. Watson impressed from the Senior Bowl on and made tough contested catches often in camp. If this is truly DeSean Jackson’s final year, Watson may have a chance to jump into his role next year if the same regime is still in power.
Watch List| Javon Wims, CHI- Wims was constantly making plays throughout the preseason, so much so that the Bears dared not put him on the practice squad. It’s a crowded depth chart at present, but Wims can easily work his way up, especially if Kevin White does move on in free agency next year.
Watch List| Demetrius Harris, KC- If Travis Kelce gets hurt, we would want to pick up Harris. Harris has been simmering behind Kelce for years but is a similar talent. Harris served a short suspension to start the season, but now should be on our radar, especially considering the potency of the Chiefs offense.
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.)
Chris Ivory. BUF- The offense is not viable enough to support Ivory and he now has what appears to be a significant shoulder injury.
Chad Hansen, FA- He was let go from the Titans practice squad and has not been re-signed anywhere, currently.
Ed Dickson, SEA- We just can’t trust the week-to-week usage of a Seattle tight end.