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Waivers of the Future, Week 17 - 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 seventeenth week of Waivers of the Future! If you won your championship, congratulations! Bask in the glory of it, for it is a truly special thing when you come out on top in a very competitive league.

If you were not so fortunate, fear not. This column is just for you! The writer will endeavor to use this last article of the year to give you stash candidates that may not have been relevant this year but have a greater chance of contributing to our teams in the future.

The author of this column would like to stress how important waiver wire management is, even in short-bench dynasty leagues. He won a staff dynasty league this week when he started C.J. Anderson and Damien Williams in place of an injured Todd Gurley and James Conner. You never know when these marginal guys could become very important!

Budget percentages are to give the reader guidance regarding how the writer would prioritize these players. You know your league best. If you think you can get away with bidding less or nothing, go for it!

QUARTERBACK

5-10%| Teddy Bridgewater, NO- Bridgewater could very well be the future starter for the Saints or another team, depending on what New Orleans decides to do during the offseason. The years left on his deal void in early March, so if he’s not locked up by the Saints by then, he’ll explore a free agent market that will be clamoring for his services. Either way, we probably have not seen the best of Bridgewater yet and should be excited about it if we can land him on our dynasty teams.

1-5%| Jacoby Brissett, IND- He’ll hit free agency in 2020 unless the Colts decide to deal him to another team. 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 in 2017 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. Perhaps we will see a needy team up their offer to Indianapolis this offseason.

1-5%| Nick Foles, PHI- Foles was once again pushed into being the starter after Carson Wentz suffered a significant back injury. He has signed with the team through 2020, but it’s easy to see how a quarterback-needy team might trade a significant pick for him.

RUNNING BACK

5-10%| Damien Williams, KC- Kareem Hunt’s departure from Kansas City opened the door for Williams to be the lead back going forward. His audition has gone very well thus far and he’s proven to be a functional pass catcher and runner. In an offense this explosive, it will not take a premium athlete to have relevance. Though his contract is up this year, one could see a scenario in which Williams is extended and overtakes the oft-injured Spencer Ware.

5-10%| Chris Warren, OAK- The team put him on IR early in the year, almost as if they were looking for a way to stash him without having to use the practice squad or 53 man roster to do so. Both Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin have expiring contracts 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.

5%| Elijah McGuire, NYJ- Elijah McGuire proved that he deserves a role in this offense going forward based on how he played with both Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell on injured reserve. A regime change may shake things up, but it’s possible the new coaching staff will also see his value.

5%| Malcolm Brown, LAR- He’ll be a restricted free agent this year and the Rams may be too cap-strapped to match his tender if another team comes calling. He has looked great in limited opportunities behind Todd Gurley and has the skill set to carry the load if a team will trust him to be their lead guy in a committee.

5%| Rod Smith, DAL- Smith is heading to free agency in the offseason and remains an interesting stash candidate. He has done good work with his touches this year and while filling in for Ezekiel Elliott last year. He could end up as a valuable backup or even a starter for another team.

5%| Ameer Abdullah, MIN- Abdullah still has the traits of a good NFL running back but has yet to land in the situation where his value can be unlocked. He’ll hit free agency this year and perhaps he can find a favorable landing spot.

5%| C.J. Prosise, SEA- Injuries and a crowded depth chart have pushed Prosise out of favor with this regime, but he’ll be a free agent this year and has a shot at getting in camp and impressing somewhere else. The skill is there - he just needs to put together a healthy campaign.

5%| Jordan Wilkins, IND- Wilkins has had a limited role this season, which is expected of this rookie runner. The writer believes that Wilkins, when developed, is a more promising do-it-all back than Marlon Mack or Nyheim Hines. The system the Colts have implemented will continue to be similar to Philadelphia, where there is no true lead back. However, Wilkins could still have value because of the effectiveness of this offense.

1-5%| Darrel Williams, KC- Williams has moved quickly from being the fourth-string running back to the second-string option after Kareem Hunt’s dismissal from the team and Spencer Ware’s shoulder injury. He was getting some work each game, even with Damien Williams being the clear lead back. Both Spencer Ware and Damien Williams are free agents headed into 2019. With questions about this position on the team’s depth chart, it’s worth speculatively holding Williams in deep leagues to see how things shake out.

WIDE RECEIVER

1-5%| Robert Foster, BUF- With Kelvin Benjamin cut from the team, Robert Foster is getting some additional looks behind Zay Jones. If you are absolutely desperate, the passing matchup against the Patriots is such that it would not be crazy to throw him in and see what you get.

1%| Laquon Treadwell, MIN- The team made him a healthy scratch in week sixteen, making one wonder if they have decided to move on from Treadwell after this year. We have seen the flashes of talent at times. Perhaps a new team would help Treadwell become the receiver we all hoped he would be. If not, it may take a significant injury to Stefon Diggs or Adam Thielen to change everything for Treadwell’s career trajectory.

1%| Auden Tate, CIN- Tate hasn’t been able to make his mark yet, but perhaps he will get an extended audition in a meaningless week seventeen contest. He showed flashes of what he can do as a big-bodied red zone threat this preseason.

1%| Kevin White, CHI- White hits free agency this year and I could see a scenario where he takes the Robert Woods path to relevance-- as an excellent blocker getting a chance on an emerging offense to showcase what else he can do with another team. The first-round pedigree will be intriguing to teams looking for help at the position.

1%| Chad Williams, ARI- Williams is a bit forgotten on a team that has been very bad, but if they can hire a better coaching staff in the offseason, I’m optimistic that the offense will improve. Williams could eventually end up starting opposite of Christian Kirk. The quarterback situation is also more promising for the long-term with Josh Rosen in the fold.

1%| Richie James, SF- James is one of the author’s favorite deep stashes. He 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 is being used on special teams for the time being and had a return touchdown in week fifteen.

1%| Jordan Lasley, BAL- Lasley did not have a flashy preseason, but he did make the cut over first-round pick Breshad Perriman, which shows you what this organization thinks of him long-term. 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.

1%| Deon Cain, IND- It’s a shame that Cain tore his ACL in year one because he is a technician and has the potential to become what Roddy White was in his prime. The good thing is that you might be able to find him on your waiver wire and stash him on injured reserve.

1%| Justin Watson, TB- Recall that Watson made the initial 53 man roster, despite how crowded Tampa Bay’s wide receiver corps already was. 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.

1%| 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, as I expect him to do.

TIGHT END

5-10%| Chris Herndon, NYJ- The Jets have started to give Herndon more high-value work, and he has 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.

1-5%| Anthony Firkser, TEN- Could the Titans have made a significant discovery with the undrafted Firkser? It’s a possibility. He has size, reliable hands, and the ability to box out defenders in the middle of the field. Jonnu Smith and Firkser could become quite the duo when Delanie Walker moves on in a few years.

1-5%| Jacob Hollister, NE- Hollister is a big, athletic tight end that the Patriots have been grooming for a while now. With Gronkowski’s future uncertain after this season, it’s wise to stash Hollister and see what comes to pass.

1-5% Jeremy Sprinkle, WAS- Jordan Reed can’t stay healthy, Vernon Davis is aging, and Sprinkle is an able blocker and receiver. He’s someone we want to monitor and pick up if we see him start to get more opportunities.

1-5%| Demetrius Harris, KC- Harris will be hitting free agency this year and if he had not been stuck behind Travis Kelce, he may have been the star and not the afterthought. Harris has been simmering behind Kelce for years but is a similar talent. If he does end up re-signing with Kansas City, Travis Kelce owners would do well to roster him as injury insurance.