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 eight edition of Waivers of the Future! Unfortunately, there were a few injuries and benchings across the skill positions in week seven that will have fantasy ramifications. On the flip side, if you need help at these positions, this will prove to be one of the more profitable waiver weeks for your team this late in the season. As the season wears on, don’t be afraid to be more aggressive with your bids if you need help. Unless your budget rolls forward to the next year, there’s no reason to hold back and wait for a better time to claim.
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
- Keke Coutee
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling
- 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- Surprisingly, Osweiler is playing competently for the Dolphins and for fantasy general managers. The quick turnaround on Thursday night to play against a hot Texans front seven isn’t ideal, but Osweiler has a safe floor (even if a low ceiling) on most weeks going forward.
Contending and Rebuilding 1% Derek Anderson, BUF| It turned out that Anderson, who was signed off the street, was preferable in the minds of the Bills to playing Nathan Peterman. Against a lacking Colts defense, Anderson didn’t do much, especially with LeSean McCoy sidelined early in the game. We can’t expect much better against the Patriots on Monday night. Only start Anderson in an emergency situation.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Cody Kessler, JAX- With Bortles benched after two fumbles, he’ll be on a short leash going forward. That said, Kessler is worth a speculative add if you need help. Out of all the quarterback pickups, he has one of the best sets of receivers and running backs with which to work. In week eight, they’ll face the Eagles, who have struggled to defend the pass this season.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Kenjon Barner, NE- While Sony Michel avoided serious injury, it does not necessarily mean he will not miss some time. Barner should see an increase in touches if Michel does indeed sit. With this offense being one of the more viable in the league, one of those touches might produce a touchdown. The Patriots will compete with the stumbling Bills in week eight.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Jalen Richard, OAK- Marshawn Lynch will be out for at least the next month, paving the way for Richard to have the most fantasy relevance of any of Oakland’s backfield options. They’ll need to pass to keep up with teams, meaning Richard could be the recipient of a few more targets as well.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Chris Ivory, BUF- With LeSean McCoy out with a head injury, we might be able to get a few starts out of Ivory. With a relatively new quarterback at the helm, the Bills will do their best to try to run the ball. Against the Patriots in week eight, that might be enough to net you a few fantasy points if you really need help at the position.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Raheem Mostert, SF- Matt Breida’s shoulder, knee, and ankle ailments are adding up and Alfred Morris doesn’t appear to be the back that Kyle Shanahan can trust to execute the offense. Mostert may get an extended look as this coaching staff acknowledges a lost season. They’ll get the Cardinals next, which is a great rushing matchup to exploit.
Contending and Rebuilding 1% LeGarrette Blount, DET- The Lions seem determined to use Blount as the goal line back and he made good on his opportunities versus the Dolphins. They’ll be up against the run-stuffing Seahawks in week eight, so this may not be the matchup to count on Blount for touchdown production.
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 draws a neutral Lions matchup in week eight.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Danny Amendola, MIA- Albert Wilson was hurt and his hip injury is likely to send him to injured reserve. Amendola did a good job of filling his shoes and should retain most of the value that Wilson had in the offense. The Dolphins play the floundering Jaguars this week.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1-10%| Josh Reynolds, LAR- Reynolds got elevated from the watch list two weeks ago 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 has 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 Packers defense has played well at times this year, but should still have trouble defending arguably the NFL’s best offense.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Jermaine Kearse, NYJ- Quincy Enunwa is hurt yet again. When Kearse has been given opportunity in this offense, he has made the most of it and given desperate fantasy general managers a solid five to six points a game. It didn’t work out against the Vikings last week, but it may be better against the Bears in the coming week.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10% | 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. He scored last week and will get a very bad Buccaneers defense in week eight.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Geoff Swaim, DAL- Swaim continues to be targeted enough each game to have some 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. After their bye in week eight, they’ll face the terrible Titans secondary on Monday night.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jeff Heuerman, DEN- Heuerman had a touchdown called back against the Cardinals and is getting more looks with Jake Butt out of commission for the year. The Broncos will get a Chiefs defense that’s playing a little better recently but did allow a tight end touchdown in Week 7 to C.J. Uzomah.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Michael Roberts, DET- Roberts may have been just a game plan anomaly, but if the Lions will use him as a true red zone threat going forward, he could excel in that role. He’s worth a speculative add to see if he can repeat against the Seattle Seahawks in week eight.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jermaine Gresham, ARI- Ricky Seals-Jones just has a forearm bruise, but if he misses the next game against the 49ers, Gresham may be worth a desperation play based on the state of San Francisco’s porous defense.
(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 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- 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.
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. 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 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.
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 in week six. 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 5-10% | Chris Herndon, NYJ- The Jets have started to give Herndon more high-value work in the last two weeks and he’s come through with touchdowns in both situations. He was targeted a season-high seven times and may help the Jets pick up the slack from losing Quincy Enunwa.
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 now missed a game with a back injury, 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 1-5%, 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.
Update: Kelly was arrested shortly after this was written, putting his future with the team in question.
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 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 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| 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 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. Harris reminded us of this when he scored in week seven against the Bengals.
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.)
Jordan Matthews, PHI- He’s not getting enough work to be fantasy relevant, so as promised last week, we’ll cut him loose this week.
Albert Wilson, MIA- He's likely headed to IR after a significant injury.
Alfred Morris, SF- Even with the Breida injury situation continuing to be an issue, Morris just looks gassed. He’s also not seeing as much work as Raheem Mostert at this point. Toss him back to the waiver wire.
Peyton Barber, TB- He didn’t get carries in the fourth quarter and Dirk Koetter hinted that he has an injury. Ronald Jones is also being ramped up, rendering Barber irrelevant going forward.