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 Week 6 edition of Waivers of the Future! Thankfully, it was a relatively quiet week on the major injury front. The bad part about that is it did not generate many new opportunities for pickups across an already barren landscape. We will have to dig deep this week and keep working to be preemptive in our pickups.
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
- Alfred Morris
- Phillip Dorsett
- Ito Smith
- Peyton Barber
- Ian Thomas
- Vance McDonald
RIDE THE WAVE
(These are plug-and-play options who might patch a hole on your team in the short-term.)
Contending 10-25%, Rebuilding 1-5%| C.J. Beathard, SF- This is likely your last chance to grab Beathard if he’s still out there. The 49ers continue to generate fantasy value, even in their losses. Beathard accounted for three of their touchdowns against the Cardinals, throwing two and running for one. Even in matchups in which the opponent is stronger, we could see Beathard produce in garbage time. He’ll have a primetime matchup against the Packers next on his docket.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Mike Davis, SEA- Mike Davis and Chris Carson will split time, but Seattle has shown that they intend to run the ball as much as possible. The Raiders game might be another one that you can get away with playing Davis if you need help at the position.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Alfred Blue, HOU- Blue is the clear backup to Lamar Miller and is getting some carries in each game. He got the chance to start for Miller in week five when he was too banged up to go. Even if Miller isn’t back in week six, Blue isn’t ideal against a strong Bills front.
Contending and Rebuilding 1% LeGarrette Blount, DET- Kerryon Johnson injured his ankle in the latest contest and Blount scored twice from the goal line. They have a bye in week six, but Blount may be worth considering in week 7 against the Dolphins if you need help and if Johnson’s ankle injury holds him out.
Contending 10%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Ryan Grant, IND- With T.Y. Hilton likely to miss some time with a hamstring injury, Luck will be looking to Ryan Grant to be the primary receiver in an offense that is setting passing attempts records. The Colts will have a relatively easy matchup against the Jets passing defense.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB- I doubt he is out there in any of your dynasty leagues because he was owned in all the leagues of which this author was a part. However, if he’s out there, he’s worth grabbing while Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb remain sidelined. If either return to the lineup, Valdes-Scantling still may be worth stashing away in deep leagues to see if he can get more opportunity down the road in an offense that is usually potent. The Packers will play the 49ers this week.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Jordan Matthews, PHI- Matthews wasn’t very involved when the Eagles played the Vikings, but perhaps the passing game of the Super Bowl champions will find its stride soon. The Eagles have a good passing matchup against the Giants in week six.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Albert Wilson, MIA- Five receptions for 43 yards isn’t terrible when you consider how bad of a day the Dolphins had against the Bengals. It’s hard to trust any of their options against a furious and bye-rested Bears defense, however.
Contending and Rebuilding 1% Chester Rogers, IND- We want to own Rogers for the same reasons we want to own Ryan Grant -- T.Y. Hilton is injured and Rogers will get increased opportunities. He draws a Jets defense that can be passed on.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jarius Wright, CAR- He saw six targets, but only caught three for 25 yards - a bit of a disappointment. Against Washington in week six, perhaps he can have a better outing.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5% Josh Reynolds, LAR- Reynolds gets elevated from the watch list due to the concussions suffered by both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp in week five. If they can’t go, we can consider Reynolds an excellent spot starter. 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. This injury situation may escalate that prediction. They’ll face the beatable Broncos secondary in week six.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5% C.J. Uzomah, CIN- It was Uzomah, not Kroft, whom the team has given 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. They’ll play the Steelers, which is a decent matchup for the Bengals passing attack.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Rhett Ellison, NYG- With Evan Engram out for a few weeks with a knee injury, we should see more of Ellison. We know the offense isn’t one of the better ones, but Eli Manning not throwing downfield may actually be a positive for Ellison. The Eagles aren’t particularly stiff against the tight end, so you can play him again and hope for better output than the two catches for 17 yards he gave you in week five.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Geoff Swaim, DAL- Swaim’s targets came back to earth, but he did manage to catch all three for 55 yards against the Texans. In a year in which it’s hard to find a good tight end to start in fantasy, it may be all you can ask. Dallas will face the Jaguars defense in week six, which doesn’t elicit a lot of confidence if you are forced to start Swaim.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Nick Vannett, SEA- Vanett did catch three of his four targets for 43 yards and appears to be the unquestioned lead tight end. In an offense that isn’t passing as much, he’s bound to have up and down weeks, but you may not have a better choice. The Raiders matchup should be a welcome relief for those depending on members of the Seahawks passing game.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jeff Heuerman, DEN- Heuerman netted two catches for 18 yards on four targets in what proved to be a disastrous day for the Denver offense. We may see Chad Kelly soon, which would probably help Heuerman’s prospects. Grab Heuerman now, but you may want to wait until after the Rams matchup to use him.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Niles Paul, JAX- Austin Sefarian-Jenkins went out with an injury against the Chiefs. If he misses the next game against the Cowboys, Paul might be worth throwing in if you are desperate for a tight end.
(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 Elliott were to miss time, Smith is the next man up. He did much better than you would think filling in for Ezekiel 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. While I expect 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- Jonathan Stewart looks completely gassed and 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.
(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. There’s still a possibility we see a trade happen before the deadline. 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. We’ll see if Abdullah gets used more with Kerryon Johnson suffering an ankle injury.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1%| Laquon Treadwell, MIN- Treadwell continues to be used more this year but seems to still be struggling with confidence and drops. 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, Tate is worth keeping in mind. He showed flashes of what he can do as a big-bodied red zone threat this preseason. With Eifert out for the year, we should be monitoring to see if the Bengals will use Tate more in the end zone.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Kevin White, CHI- With Anthony Miller’s shoulder injury, White may get a chance to redeem himself at some point this season. 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, especially if the Matt Nagy offense begins to click soon.
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 1%, Rebuilding 1%| Austin Carr, NO- Carr hasn’t been as involved as we would wish so far, which is why he is moving down this list a little bit. An injury to Ted Ginn Jr could push Carr back up into relevance in this offense.
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 hasn’t missed time yet, but if he did, Hollister would become very interesting.
(May be available in 30 or more roster spot leagues or leagues with large taxi squads.)
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 5%-20%| Chad Kelly, DEN- Case Keenum continues to lose his hold on the job with poor play. Our Cecil Lammey indicates Kelly may be in the lineup sooner than fans expect. In standard formats, now is the time to add him. In superflex formats, be willing to put a 40-50% bid up for him if he’s still on waivers.
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 after this season.
Watch List| Chris Warren, OAK- He’s blocked by Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin for now and was put on IR due to a knee procedure. However, both 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. If Melvin Gordon III were to go down, it’s doubtful that Austin Ekeler would carry the load alone. They would likely ask Jackson to split time with Ekeler in that scenario and he could surprise.
Watch List| Chad Hansen, NE- Hansen has the size, speed, and skills to be a viable perimeter threat. Observers of his work with Jared Goff and Sam Darnold this summer said that they saw Hansen make strides in his development. Hansen flashed at times with the Jets and was a casualty of Cutdown Day. The Patriots snapped him up on waivers. They then cut him, but he was quickly added to the Titans practice squad. As they are very thin at the position, we should monitor his progress closely and see how he looks after spending some time acclimating to his new team.
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 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.)
Brandon Marshall, SEA- There’s just not enough offensive production to go around in Seattle, and Marshall’s play hasn’t been particularly good.
Jaron Brown, SEA- Brown also can’t overcome the lack of a passing game in Seattle. Until this offense demonstrates more willingness to throw, Brown is relegated to the waiver wire.
Marcus Murphy, BUF- After several weeks of waiting, it appears the league won’t be acting to suspend LeSean McCoy any time soon. McCoy also continues to play effectively through a rib injury. We’ll revisit Murphy if things change.
Corey Grant, JAX- Grant went on IR with a foot injury.
Tyler Kroft, CIN- The author wrongly thought that Kroft would take the lead after Eifert went down. He did get hurt in the Dolphins game, but it appears C.J. Uzomah is really the tight end to own in this group.