Waivers of the Future: Week 12 - Footballguys

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. 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 twelfth week of Waivers of the Future! The author shouldn’t have complained about the quarterback position being dry last week, because injuries and poor play impacted it this week. Alex Smith suffered a season-ending leg injury. Despite Mike Vrabel insisting Marcus Mariota suffered a neck stinger, he may have re-aggravated his elbow injury and was seen shaking his hand after hitting the ground after a sack. Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched for Jameis Winston after throwing three interceptions. Other positions are still razor thin, but the good news is that there are now some quarterback pickups to take advantage of if you are needy at the position.

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.

RIDE THE WAVE

(These are plug-and-play options who might patch a hole on your team in the short-term.)

QUARTERBACK

Contending 5-20%, Rebuilding 1-10%| Jameis Winston, TB- It’s unlikely he’s out there on your dynasty waiver wire, but if someone dropped him because he lost his job, he’s worth thinking very hard about if you need high-quality quarterback help. Winston took over after Ryan Fitzpatrick turned the ball over three times against the Giants and almost brought the Buccaneers back from a large deficit. They’ll have a favorable passing matchup when they take on the 49ers.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Nick Mullins, SF- It’s unclear if C.J. Beathard will be healthy enough to get a start against the Buccaneers in week 12. If not, Mullins makes a fine start against a defense that has no bite to its bark.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Colt McCoy, WAS- With Alex Smith out for the year, McCoy will once again be tasked with running the Washington offense. He’s had some modest fantasy success with this role in the past. They’ll face their division rivals in the Dallas Cowboys this week.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Blaine Gabbert, TEN- There’s a good chance that we may not see Marcus Mariota on Monday night against the Houston Texans after Mariota appeared to re-aggravate his ulnar nerve injury in the Indianapolis game. While Gabbert is by no means a quarterback that will score more than a couple of touchdowns, the Texans secondary can be passed on.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Cody Kessler, JAX- Blake Bortles is on a short leash going forward, especially as the team continues to lose games. That said, Kessler is worth a speculative add. They’ll play the Bills this week, but Bortles remains the starter… for now.

RUNNING BACK

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Elijah McGuire, NYJ- He’s getting the bulk of the work when you factor in his passing game contributions. Though the offense isn’t spectacular, he can be a spot starter for you while the bye-week crunch is on. The Jets will take on the Patriots in the upcoming contest.

Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| LeGarrette Blount, DET- Kerryon Johnson’s ankle injury moves Blount into the primary back role again. Against the Bears in week twelve is not an ideal week to use him, but if you have few options, he’s going to be serviceable, especially going through the bye week blues.

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. They’ll play the Giants in week 12.

WIDE RECEIVER

Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%| Adam Humphries, TB- Humphries isn’t fading to the background, even as the Buccaneers continue to lose games. 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 is truly your last chance to snag him if he’s out there based on his production over the last couple of weeks. They’ll have another fantastic matchup against the 49ers.

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| David Moore, SEA - Moore didn’t come through for owners against the Packers, but the targets are still there. He had eight of them in the game against Green Bay. 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. The generous Panthers secondary is next on the docket for the Seahawks.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Seth Roberts, OAK- He’s one of the few healthy receivers in Oakland right now and will get targets, despite those targets not being of high value. They’ll play the Ravens in the upcoming week.

Conending 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. The Browns are back in action against the Bengals in week 12.

TIGHT END

Contending and Rebuilding, 1%| Lance Kendricks, GB- Kendricks will have increased opportunity with Jimmy Graham banged up, but the writer questions whether or not he can make good on it, considering he’s had golden opportunities earlier in his career to be the guy and done very little with them. It’s at least worth a low-cost addition to find out. Green Bay will face the Vikings this week in a must-win game for both teams.

CHANGING TIDES

(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 1-10%| Malcolm Brown, LAR- For the time being, Brown, not John Kelly, is the primary backup to Todd Gurley. 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, Gurley appeared to get his leg rolled up on in the week 12 contest. If he were to miss significant time, Brown would become extremely valuable, possibly a league winner. 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. Keep in mind that Brown could also have value in week 16 if the Rams decide to rest their starters.

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. Smith also tends to fill in for Elliott when he is winded, which is good for a few opportunities a game. There could be value here again if Elliott is out for any reason.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR- C.J. Anderson was cut, putting Artis-Payne directly in the number two role in a potent offense. He’ll get a few touches per game and has the chance to do more if Christian McCaffrey ever gets dinged.

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.

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.

THE SPLASH

(May be available in 30 or fewer roster spot leagues.)

QUARTERBACK

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 even got some work in the blowout against the Bengals in week 10. 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.

RUNNING BACK

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Ameer Abdullah, MIN- Abdullah still has a lot of the traits that draftniks loved but needs the right opportunity to unlock his value. Perhaps it will be with the Vikings, whose runners have a history of injury concerns. Abdullah will merely be depth for them at this point, but if an injury occurs to Latavius Murray or Dalvin Cook, we need to keep Abdullah in mind.

WIDE RECEIVER

Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1%| Laquon Treadwell, MIN- Treadwell continues to be used 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. 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 A.J. 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 in week eleven. 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 has been a scratch in recent weeks but has had flashes of potential during the season. He did a nice job high-pointing Trubisky’s Hail Mary throw in week seven 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.

TIGHT END

Contending and Rebuilding, 20-40%| Jonnu Smith, TEN- Smith had let us down up to this point in the year considering that Delanie Walker has been out for the year and Smith was primed to build on a strong rookie year. That may have caused some inpatient owners across more shallow dynasty leagues to drop him. We have begun to see him turn the corner in recent outings and become a trusted target. This is likely your last chance to snag him if he’s still out there.

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 on most weeks. Herndon very well could be their future at the position and we need to treat him as such in dynasty leagues.

Contending and Rebuilding 10-15%| Jeff Heuerman, DEN- Heuerman continues to be heavily targeted and our own Cecil Lammey tells us the current coaching staff sees him as the team’s future at the position. The offense will often play from behind, which is favorable for Heuerman’s prospects.

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 three games with back and ankle injuries and doesn’t look like the player he once was. That fact makes Hollister a lot more interesting from a dynasty perspective.

THE DEEP

(May be available in 30 or more roster spot leagues or leagues with large taxi squads.)

QUARTERBACK

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.

RUNNING BACK

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 seven 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 chance down the road.

WIDE RECEIVER

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.

TIGHT END

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.)

Devontae Booker, DEN- He’s droppable with Royce Freeman back in action.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB- Back to the bench means back to the waiver wire.