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 week six of Waivers of the Future! Whether you are a contender or a rebuilder, this article will seek to help you put yourself in the best position to have success in your dynasty league by assisting you in making preemptive pickups.
Budget percentages are to give the reader guidance regarding how the writer would prioritize these players. However, you know your league best. If you think you can get away with bidding less than recommended or nothing at all, go for it!
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.
IN THE CLOUDS
Players on this list are probably also rostered but are worth less than 30% of your budget.
- Gardner Minshew
- Malcolm Brown
- Adrian Peterson
- Frank Gore
- Giovani Bernard
- Matt Breida
- Raheem Mostert
- Damien Williams
- Darrel Williams
- Wayne Gallman
- Sterling Shepard
- Demarcus Robinson
- Ted Ginn Jr
- Phillip Dorsett
- Darren Waller
- Jason Witten
- Jordan Akins
RIDE THE WAVE
(These are plug-and-play options who might patch a hole on your team in the short-term.)
5-10%| Joe Flacco, DEN- Flacco is the bridge option to Drew Lock, but Lock won’t see the field this year due to being on injured reserve. The Broncos play a Titans defense that is heavily limiting their opponents’ points.
1-5%| Kyle Allen, CAR- Cam Newton is out until at least week eight and possibly longer. This will mean Allen is the starter for the foreseeable future. The Panthers square off against a Buccaneers defense that has stiffened in recent weeks.
1-5%| Mason Rudolph, PIT- This week, monitor Rudolph’s concussion sustained against the Ravens. Roethlisberger will miss the rest of the season and Rudolph has taken his place. He has not had any stiff competition yet but has played relatively well, considering. The Steelers will play the Chargers next.
1-5%| Chase Daniel, CHI- Mitchell Trubisky injured his non-throwing shoulder in week four’s contest. While probably not season-ending, Daniel could be starting for a few more weeks. The drop-off between Daniel and Trubisky isn’t sizeable and Daniel may even make better decisions with the football. The Bears are on a bye this week.
1-5%| Colt McCoy, WAS- Jay Gruden was fired and it is unclear whom the interim coach will roll with, but it is likely McCoy. This past week, McCoy got the start over Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins. While Washington was not able to beat the Patriots, McCoy played responsibly. They will have a tasty matchup next week against the hapless Dolphins defense, but monitor this situation before plugging in McCoy.
1%| Taysom Hill, NO- Hill was already getting his own package of snaps when Brees was healthy and Sean Peyton has indicated that will continue. He is a last-resort option only, but one that has a high upside to score on any given week. The Saints get a tough Jaguars defense this week.
1%| Devlin Hodges, PIT- If Rudolph cannot go, Hodges may be the guy for Pittsburgh in the interim. Start him against the Chargers only if you have no other choices.
5-10%| Chase Edmonds, ARI- Edmonds is the next man up in Arizona if David Johnson gets hurt. Known for his receiving ability, Edmonds might be more valuable in PPR formats than some anticipate should he get his opportunity
20-40%| Byron Pringle, KC- Pringle moves up from the watch list. Tyreek Hill will be back soon from his collarbone injury, but it looks as if Sammy Watkins’ hamstring has flared up again. After Watkins left the contest against the Colts, Pringle became heavily involved. He is a very good route runner and the coaching staff was complimentary of his improvement and professionalism towards improving his game this offseason. The quality of the offense also makes Pringle worthy of consideration. The Chiefs will face off against the Texans in week six.
10-30%| Auden Tate, CIN- Tate comes up from the watch list because he has been getting an increased opportunity since John Ross was sent to IR. With A.J. Green looking like he will not be back any time soon, Tate is likely to get to show off his prowess as a big-bodied red-zone threat. This may be your last chance to snag him. The Bengals take on the Ravens this week.
5-10%| Chris Conley, JAX- Conley seems to be a favorite target of Gardener Minshew and the offense has been competent when playing inferior teams. The Jaguars play the Saints and it is likely that shutdown corner Marshawn Lattimore will be focused on stopping Dede Westbrook or DJ Chark.
5-10%| Jakobi Meyers, NE- With Phillip Dorsett’s hamstring injury, the Patriots will be forced to turn to Meyers as their third receiver. Meyers is not a particularly talented player, but in this offense, he will have good days. One of those good days could be coming against the Giants.
1%| Duke Williams, BUF- Williams took Zay Jones’ place in the offense and did more with it in one game than Zay Jones had done with it in the four games prior. While it will be a low-volume pass offense, Williams has some value if a fantasy general manager is desperate for a player who can net a few catches a game. The Bills are on bye this week.
1-5%| Vernon Davis, WAS- Davis himself is dealing with a concussion, but when he is back, he will continue to fill in for Jordan Reed, who has yet to return from a concussion sustained early in the year. Davis has proven to be a viable stand-in for an offense that uses its tight end position often. Washington will get a good matchup against the Dolphins this week.
(Might be available in 30 or fewer roster spot leagues.)
10-20%+| Teddy Bridgewater, NO- Bridgewater remains the starter while Brees recovers from a thumb injury. Brees may return soon, but remember that Bridgewater is also on track to be a starter for this or another team at some point in the future, so he has appeal beyond just this year. This may be your last shot to grab him after his four-touchdown outburst against Tampa Bay last week.
1-5%| Reggie Bonnafon, CAR- With the waiver wire so thin at this position, fantasy general managers may have to begin thinking about players in productive situations that are also not rostered because they are not thought of as future starters. Bonnafon is such a player. Behind Christian McCaffrey, who rarely misses a snap, Bonnafon finally got an opportunity when McCaffrey was sidelined with cramps. Bonnafon shone with the few touches he played. If McCaffrey were to go down, Bonnafon would become a lot more interesting.
1-5%| Gus Edwards, BAL- Edwards also falls into the category of valuable backup who is unlikely to be rostered in dynasty leagues and is not getting many touches now, but he would benefit greatly if the lead back were to go down. Mark Ingram II has been banged up before, so Edwards having fantasy relevance this year is not impossible.
1-5%| Justin Watson, TB- Watson is not making an impact on the stat sheet yet, but may get more work due to an injury that sent Breshad Perriman out of the game against the Rams. Jameis Winston prefers short-to-intermediate throws, meaning Watson could get more work than we anticipate as the season wears on.
10-20%| Adam Shaheen, CHI- Trey Burton continuing to struggle on and off with health issues may open the door for Shaheen. He has had his own troubles staying healthy but has flashed when he has been on the field, especially in red-zone work. He has been kicked to the curb in many dynasty leagues. However, now that Shaheen is entering his third year, this could be the time we see him come into his own. It is interesting to note that with Chase Daniel as the starter, the Bears have opened the playbook and are running more sets with two tight ends. This could unlock some of Shaheen’s value.
10-15%| Foster Moreau, OAK- Moreau hops up from the watch list because of continued involvement in the game plan, despite the presence of Darren Waller. He is a good pass catcher and a great blocker. Jon Gruden has shown the propensity to target his tight end heavily and there is no one on the roster that is a long-term lock to hold the job. Moreau has scored a couple of touchdowns and been involved in most games so far this year, which is encouraging for his future prospects.
10-15%| Ian Thomas, CAR- Thomas has been tossed back out on some waiver wires. However, when the box score is examined it is clear that he actually acquitted himself well when Greg Olsen was out last year. Thomas will need seasoning, but with Greg Olsen near the end of his career, Thomas is worth holding.
1-5%| Demetrius Harris and Ricky Seals-Jones, CLE- It appears that Harris and Seals-Jones are splitting the work while David Njoku’s broken wrist keeps him sidelined. It keeps both from having a lot of value, but either of the two could catch a touchdown on a given week.
Watch List| Jared Stidham, NE- It is notable that New England cut backup Brian Hoyer and will roll with the rookie. Stidham performed well in preseason and shows promise to be the next in a long line of developmental quarterbacks for the Patriots. He is worth rostering in deep leagues because his perceived value will only grow with time.
Watch List| Chad Kelly, IND- It is a long shot, but if Brissett drops the ball, a talented Kelly waits in the wings. The only downside is that Kelly has had a variety of character issues both in college and the NFL that suggest he might not be mature enough to handle the opportunity, which is why he is not higher on the list. He was moved to the practice squad recently, which does not bode well for him getting a shot this year. Still, the talent is such that we should keep him on our radar.
None this week, as the position is depleted. See other running back sections for pickup recommendations.
Watch List| Richie James, SF- James is buried on the depth chart but remains 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.
Watch List| Deon Cain, IND- Cain got his chance with Devin Funchess’ injury and has so far made good on his elevation to the active roster. With T.Y. Hilton’s quad injury, we will see if his role continues to build in the coming weeks.
Watch List| Juwann Winfree, DEN- After a recent injury to Tim Patrick, Winfree had a chance to play a part. He was a camp standout who may have more upside for the team long-term than DeSean Hamilton. He is one to keep an eye on for the future.
Watch List| Emmanuel Butler, NO- Like Winfree, Butler made a name for himself in camp practices and has a disappointing role player in Tre’Quan Smith ahead of him on the depth chart. Butler currently resides on the practice squad. If he can stick with this team for another year or two, he has a great chance to step into that role.
Watch List| Javon Wims, CHI- Wims was constantly making plays throughout the preseason last year, so much so that the Bears dared not put him on the practice squad. He was doing the same in camp again this year and there have been some games in which Wims has been on the active roster and has even been targeted. He had a nice play against the Vikings in week four that may be a catalyst for more work going forward.
Watch List| Jeremy Sprinkle, WAS- Jordan Reed cannot stay healthy, Vernon Davis is aging and having issues of his own, and Sprinkle is an able blocker and receiver. He is someone we want to monitor for now and pick up if we see him start to get more opportunities.
Watch List| Anthony Firkser, TEN- Could the Titans have made a significant discovery last year 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 or if Walker once again fails to complete the year due to injury.
Watch List| Alizé Mack, NO- Mack is now on the practice squad but impressed over the summer as a receiving tight end. With Jared Cook in the later stages of his career, things could time out right for Mack to take his place when Mack is more developed.
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.)
Dontrelle Inman, LAC- Inman ended up on IR and no longer holds value for general managers.
Robert Foster, BUF- With Zay Jones deactivated, it was Duke Willaims, not Foster, who got the call-up to the active roster. If you have been holding Jones on your roster, it is safe to dump him for someone else.