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 7 edition of Waivers of the Future! Once again, there are only a few new pickups created by injury situations. We'll have to keep churning through the back ends of our rosters and pick up guys who could have a bigger role down the stretch.
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.
- C.J. Beathard
- Case Keenum
- Joe Flacco
- Frank Gore
- Alfred Morris
- Phillip Dorsett
- 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 and Rebuilding 1%| Brock Osweiler, MIA- He’s not an ideal starter, but he’s one of the few left at this point in the season. Osweiler played competently enough to lead the Dolphins to a win over the Bears while Ryan Tannehill sat out with an injured shoulder. In week seven, assuming Tannehill sits again, Osweiler will face the Lions, who rank among the league’s worst units in pass defense.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Nathan Peterman, BUF- Peterman will draw a favorable Colts matchup if Josh Allen’s elbow injury is serious enough to keep him on the bench. He was not sharp in relief of Allen and should only be started if there are no other options.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Peyton Barber, TB- Barber makes it back into this section because he may have been dropped in your league after a slow start followed by a bye. He and the offensive line looked better against Atlanta. One has to consider the opponent before getting too excited. They'll have the Browns next, who just gave up a big day on the ground to Melvin Gordon III and the Chargers.
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 are up against the Dolphins if you need help and if Johnson’s ankle injury holds him out.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Mike Davis, SEA- Now there’s a three-headed backfield in Seattle, which is not ideal. Still, your options may be limited. The encouraging thing for general managers is that Seattle has shown that they intend to run the ball as much as possible. Seattle is on bye in Week 7 but draws a neutral Lions matchup in week eight.
Contending and Rebuilding 1% Kenjon Barner, NE- While Sony Michel and James White are the options that are more coveted in this backfield, Barner will get a few touches here and there every game. With this offense being one of the more viable in the league, one of those touches might produce a touchdown. He’s a desperation play for now, but if injuries strike ahead of Barner on the depth chart, he could have much more relevance. The Patriots will compete with the Bears in week seven.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-15%| Albert Wilson, MIA- Wilson continues to produce, even in matchups that are less than favorable and with a backup quarterback. It’s clear now that Wilson has become what some had hoped Danny Amendola would be in this offense. Against the Lions, it’s conceivable to think Wilson could continue his streak.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Ryan Grant, IND- With T.Y. Hilton likely to miss significant 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 face a tough Bills defense in the upcoming week.
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 Randall Cobb remains 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 1-5%, Rebuilding 1-10%| Josh Reynolds, LAR- Reynolds got elevated from the watch list last week due to the concussions suffered by both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp in week five. Both were able to play in week six, but Kupp was injured and Reynolds played more of a role from that point. 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. The 49ers’ soft pass defense awaits the Rams’ high-powered attack.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| 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 scored and had 55 yards against the Jets. Perhaps against the Bills and drawing the worst coverage of the wide receivers, he can enjoy a similar stat line.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Jermaine Kearse, NYJ- Quincy Enunwa is hurt yet again. When Kearse has been given opportunity in this offense before, he has made the most of it and given desperate fantasy general managers a solid five to six points a game. With Robby Anderson likely to draw the best coverage against the Vikings, we should consider Kearse if we need help at the position.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jordan Matthews, PHI- Matthews hasn’t been very involved in the past two weeks and we are losing confidence in him. They’ll get the Panthers poor secondary in week seven and if Matthews can’t do more against them, it’s time to toss him back to the waiver wire.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5% C.J. Uzomah, CIN- 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. They’ll get the giving Chiefs defense in week seven.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Geoff Swaim, DAL- Swaim continues to be targeted enough each game to have relevance, especially in a year in which many fantasy teams are struggling to find a tight end that will produce anything in a given game.. A Washington squad that has been up and down will host Dallas on Sunday.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jeff Heuerman, DEN- We may see Chad Kelly soon, which would probably help Heuerman’s prospects. Grab Heuerman now and use him against a Cardinals defense that struggles against tight ends.
(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. 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.
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. 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 having suffered 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.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Kevin White, CHI- 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.
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 saw 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.
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.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Chris Herndon, NYJ- The Jets passing game isn’t prolific, but Herndon has started to come on a little bit. Herndon is raw, but he’s the big, athletic mismatch tight end that could catch on with a rookie quarterback in need of sure targets.
(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| Austin Carr, NO- Carr has shown flashes of what he could be the past two preseasons, which is a big slot receiver with no fear of making contested catches. An injury to Ted Ginn Jr could push Carr back up into relevance in this offense, but for now, we will keep Carr on the watch list.
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.)
Jarius Wright, CAR- He’s not getting enough targets each game to begin with and is converting about one of them per game.
Rhett Ellison, NYG- Engram was out, but he’s wasn’t being targeted enough to matter for fantasy purposes.
Nick Vannett, SEA- Vanett sat with an injury this past week. Even when he’s healthy, the pass offense isn’t giving Vannett enough volume with which to work.