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 ninth edition of Waivers of the Future! It was a relatively quiet injury week across the league. However, a benching, a firing of a head coach, and a few surprise emergences may shake things up and provide additional opportunities for fantasy general managers to get some help at positions of need.
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
- Peyton Barber
- 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 15-20%, Rebuilding 1%| Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB- Jameis Winston was benched after throwing four interceptions against the Bengals and Fitzpatrick nearly brought the Buccaneers back from a multi-score deficit. With Fitzpatrick named the starter for their game against the Buccaneers, one has to think that the team is giving up on Winston and rolling with Fitzpatrick the rest of the way. Fitzpatrick has proven that he and this potent offense can have stellar fantasy days. They’ll play the Panthers on Sunday and be forced to pass a lot to keep up, which is good for Fitzpatrick and company’s fantasy prospects.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Brock Osweiler, MIA- Surprisingly, Osweiler is playing competently for the Dolphins and for fantasy general managers. The Dolphins draw an easy defensive matchup in the Jets that should make Osweiler a favorable streaming option.
Contending and Rebuilding 1% Derek Anderson, BUF| It turned out that Anderson, who was signed off the street a few weeks ago, was preferable in the minds of the Bills to playing Nathan Peterman. The Bears is another matchup to avoid. Only start Anderson in an emergency situation.
Update: Anderson suffered a concussion in the game against the Patriots and now Nathan Peterman is expected to start against Chicago.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Cody Kessler, JAX- With Bortles benched after two fumbles in week seven, 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. The Jaguars will be on bye in week nine and we’ll see if they make a quarterback change heading into a matchup with the Colts in week 10.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Kenjon Barner, NE- While Sony Michel avoided serious injury, he continues to miss time. Barner has benefited from extra touches but will continue to get a few touches each game even with Michel healthy. With this offense being one of the more viable in the league, one of those touches might produce a touchdown. He and the offense will be up against a Packers defense that can be stingy against the run.
Contending 5-20%, Rebuilding 1%| Jalen Richard, OAK- If he’s still there, this is likely your last chance to snag him. Marshawn Lynch was placed on IR, 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. The fantasy friendly 49ers are up next.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Mike Davis, SEA- While the backfield is technically a three-headed attack, Davis and Carson are the two backs that are making the most of their touches. Seattle is showing they want to run the ball to control games, which means Davis is getting work and the occasional rushing touchdown.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Devontae Booker, DEN- Royce Freeman sat with an ankle injury, giving Booker a chance to get work in both the rushing and receiving game. If Freeman misses again, Booker is a decent start against a Texans defense that is not impenetrable.
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. The Eagles will be on bye this week, but they come back to a matchup against the Cowboys in week ten.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Chris Ivory, BUF- McCoy had enough time to clear the concussion protocol and get ready for the Monday night game, but we know McCoy is an older back a prone to missing time at this stage of his career. Ivory is dealing with a hamstring issue of his own but has proven to be able to produce for fantasy purposes when he gets a shot. The Bears matchup is not one that general managers are particularly wanting to throw Ivory into.
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 in week seven. Against the Seahawks in week eight, it didn’t work out so well. They’ll play the Vikings in week nine, who are a little more giving in the run game, but it’s still not a particularly great matchup.
Contending and Rebuilding 15-20%| Danny Amendola, MIA- If he’s still on waivers, this is likely your last chance to grab him. Albert Wilson is out for the year and Amendola has done a good job of filling his shoes. He should retain most of the value that Wilson had in the offense. The Dolphins play the floundering Jets defense this week.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1-10%| Josh Reynolds, LAR- Reynolds got elevated from the watch list three 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 since. 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 Rams clash with the Saints in an important NFC matchup in the upcoming week.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| David Moore, SEA- He leads the team in targets (albeit on limited attempts) and seems to be gaining the trust of Wilson in the end zone. 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. We will want to monitor this situation closely as Seattle plays the Chargers.
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. He met that expectation in a tough Bears matchup this past week and faces a much easier one against the Dolphins in this 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. The Bengals are on bye this week but will play the Saints in week ten.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Jeff Heuerman, DEN- Heuerman had a touchdown in week eight and continues to be heavily targeted. The offense will often play from behind, which is favorable for Heuerman’s prospects. The Broncos will get to play a beatable Texans secondary.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Ed Dickson, SEA- Dickson was activated for his first game with Seattle and converted his limited targets into 54 yards and a score. We’ll monitor Dickson to see if he can keep building on this against the Chargers 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%| 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 have seen 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 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 three weeks and he’s come through in all three weeks with touchdowns. He may continue to 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 and appears to be slowing down, 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%, 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.
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.)
Chad Kelly, FA- He ended up in legal trouble that got him kicked off the Broncos team. As he had character issues before he arrived in the NFL, it’s unlikely he’ll get another shot to prove himself.
Raheem Mostert, SF- Breida continues to be healthy enough to play and Morris appears to be back ahead of Mostert in terms of usage.
Albert Wilson, MIA- Wilson has landed on IR with an injury and one must question if the Gase regime will even be intact when Wilson is ready to return next year.
Auden Tate, FA- Was cut from Cincinnati.
Geoff Swaim, DAL- He’s dealing with an injury and just hasn’t been consistent enough for one to feel good about starting him week in and week out.
Michael Roberts, DET- Roberts appears to have been just a game plan anomaly in week seven. He had only one target in week eight.