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 10 of Waivers of the Future! Fantasy general managers are scrambling to replace Kyle Allen, Preston Williams, Laviska Shenault Jr, Christian McCaffrey, David Montgomery, David Johnson, and Jack Doyle, who all are in danger of missing this next wave of games due to various injuries. Have no fear, needy managers! This column is designed to help do just that.
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.
- Andy Dalton
- Jerick McKinnon
- Adrian Peterson
- Devonta Freeman
- Boston Scott
- Giovani Bernard
- Myles Gaskin
- Jordan Wilkins
- Gus Edwards
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling
- Russell Gage
- Jeff Smith
- Tim Patrick
- Logan Thomas
- Dalton Schultz
- Robert Tonyan Jr
- Mo Alie-Cox
- Trey Burton
RIDE THE WAVE
(These are plug-and-play options who might patch a hole on your team in the short-term.)
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Nick Foles, CHI- Foles is an inconsistent and streaky decision-maker, but he has some quality weapons such as Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller who can help elevate his play. The Vikings have not been a lockdown pass defense unit lately and Foles could potentially take advantage of that in Week 10. In Week 11, the Bears will have another divisional rivalry facing off against the just so-so Green Bay Packers.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Alex Smith, WAS- His comeback story has been amazing and he will get the chance to start for at least a few games with Kyle Allen’s ankle dislocation. The Lions are not a formidable pass defense for Smith to face in Week 10 and they lack the pass rush to force him into mistakes. The Bengals, Smith’s Week 11 opponent, also tend to give up a lot of yards through the air.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jake Luton- Gardner Minshew is out with a broken thumb, giving the team an extended look at Jake Luton. The Packers in Week 10 will probably be enough of a challenge to keep general managers from wanting to play Luton unless they have to. The Steelers in Week 11 is a definite matchup to avoid.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Taysom Hill, NO- Hill is not the starter, but he sometimes earns high leverage work in the red zone as a versatile wrinkle in the offense. He is a safe bet to give you at least some points each week and has one-to-three touchdown upside in any given week. That is preferable to taking a zero at the position. The 49ers in Week 10 could offer a better opportunity for Hill to score. The Falcons in Week 11 also present a soft defense that could make Hill worth playing.
Contending and Rebuilding, 5-10%| Ryan Nall, CHI- David Montgomery has been banged up all year and exited Week 9 with a concussion. If he is unable to go in Weeks 10 or 11, Nall could absorb his between-the-tackles workload. Nall is a very no-nonsense, north-to-south runner, but he has a great deal of power to his game. His Week 10 and 11 opponents, the Vikings and the Packers, are middle-of-the-pack in terms of run defenses.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%| D'Ernest Johnson, CLE- With Nick Chubb out, Johnson has been getting more involved. Kareem Hunt can be counted on to get the bulk of the work, but Johnson may pick up some of the slack. He is a developing runner who has some nice wiggle to his repertoire. In Week 10, the Texans could present more opportunity for Johnson for general managers that need help. In Week 11, the Browns face the Eagles, whose run defense has been one of the more solid parts of their struggling team.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%| Malcolm Brown, LAR- Some of the luster had come off Brown since his massive week one output, but Brown is the back primarily relied on in short-yardage situations, especially in the green zone. The Seahawks have trouble containing the run at times and are the Rams’ opponent in Week 10. The Buccaneers in Week 11 are a little stingier but have been giving up some yardage on the ground in recent contests.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jordan Howard or Salvon Ahmed, MIA- With Myles Gaskin and Matt Breida out, Howard is the clear starter and goal line back. He did not have a good Week 9, but he could have more profitable outings against the Chargers and Broncos in Weeks 10 and 11. Both teams are less effective against the run with the injuries they have suffered over the course of the year. Salvon Ahmed is also an option for those who can’t or won’t roster Howard. Though given less touches in Week 9, he outproduced Ahmed and may have earned more work going forward.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE- Peoples-Jones will get more work going forward with the loss of Odell Beckham Jr, Jr. Peoples-Jones is more advanced than a typical rookie in terms of route running and body positioning. The Browns play the Texans in Week 10. Houston’s lacking secondary is one against which Peoples-Jones could have success in Week 10.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Austin Mack, NYG- Mack is getting more opportunity with Golden Tate in the doghouse. He will not overtake Darius Slayton for targets, but he should see more work going forward. Looking ahead, the Giants will play the Eagles and Bengals in the next two contests. Both defenses are good for Mack’s chances for continued relevance.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| David Moore, SEA- Russell Wilson is cooking and Moore is catching touchdowns on occasion. While the low-target volume can leave Moore with little-to-nothing on a given week, he also can make your day on a deep score. The Rams in Week 10 can be vulnerable to the pass at times. The Cardinals have struggled to find consistent corner play all season and should pose no problem for Wilson and the pass offense.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Jakobi Meyers, NE- It sounds like Edelman could be done for the year with a bone-on-bone condition and someone has to catch passes in this offense. The Ravens in Week 10 should cause general managers who are using Meyers to think hard about if he is the best option that week. The Texans in Week 11 is an easy passing matchup for Newton and Meyers.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Dan Arnold, ARI- In the wasteland that is trying to find a tight end off the waiver wire, Arnold may be a stopgap for your team if nothing else. The Bills and Seahawks in the next two contests are at least good matchups respectively for those who need to plug-and-play Arnold.
(These are pre-emptive running back options that will have value if the starter goes down and that are not as likely to be owned. The writer sees them more as short-term options. For those that have long-term appeal, please see the other sections of this report.)
The waiver wire for running backs in dynasty leagues is, as usual, razor-thin. Here are some backups that are widely available in most leagues that have a big upside if their starter is injured.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Benny Snell, PIT- Snell went back to being a preemptive pickup after James Conner resumed his usual workload in Week 2. Due to Mike Tomlin’s preference to give carries to one runner, he is one that we need to have on the back end of the roster in case of a James Conner injury.
These are a few free-agent running backs that are waiting for a call from a needy team. These players could provide fill-in value depending on their landing spot. If you have roster space, they may be worth holding on to in anticipation of a future opportunity. They are prioritized by how likely the writer believes it is that they will be given a shot to compete on a new team.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Bilal Powell
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Rod Smith
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Spencer Ware
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Kenneth Dixon
(Could be available in 30 or fewer roster spot leagues.)
None this week. Please see other quarterback sections of this report for pick-up ideas.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| C.J. Prosise, HOU- The Texans signed him to their practice squad and then promoted him in Week 2. David Johnson is banged up and only Duke Johnson Jr stands between Procise and a starting job. Prosise also struggles with injury, but if he were to get an opportunity in this offense, he might be able to make the best of it with his diverse skill set.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Tyler Johnson, TB- A recommendation in Matt Waldman’s The Replacements, Johnson got increased opportunity against the Bears and showed he could win contested balls. He also caught a touchdown against the Packers. Johnson is merely a name to keep in mind if injuries continue to devastate the Buccaneers receiving corps.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Ryan Griffin, NYJ- As much time as Chris Herndon has missed due to injury, he might as well be named Chris Hernia. While Griffin also is not the poster child for robust health, he is experienced and basically free on all but the deepest of waiver wires. Sam Darnold developed a great rapport with Griffin last year before Griffin’s season-ending injury in December. If that carries over and Herndon gets dinged again, that will be a recipe for fantasy success.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Vance McDonald, PIT- McDonald is oft-injured and the Steelers signed Eric Ebron in the offseason. Those two things are the reason McDonald has been tossed back to the waiver wire in dynasty leagues. We should remember that Eric Ebron also has a checkered past when it comes to injury. There is also another path for McDonald to become relevant again. If the Steelers continue to modernize their offense and run more two-tight end sets, McDonald and Ebron could both be equally as valuable. One can pay a fraction of the price of Ebron to roster McDonald and see if either of these scenarios play out.
(Could be available in 30-or-more roster spot leagues or leagues with large taxi squads.)
Watch List| Jake Fromm, BUF- Considering Josh Allen’s struggles as an accurate passer and his propensity to sacrifice his body, Fromm is not being rostered nearly enough in dynasty leagues. Fromm will have to work his way up the depth chart, but is the most promising of all three quarterbacks the Bills have in terms of decision-making and accuracy.
Watch List| Josh Rosen, TB- Rosen has bounced around quite a bit in his short career, but he is still one of the more talented backup quarterback prospects in the league. He is signed to the Tampa Bay practice squad where he will get to work to rehabilitate his career. That is one of the better moves he could have made. A year or more to sit and learn behind Tom Brady and work with quarterbacks coach Clyde Christiansen is ideal for the young signal-caller.
None this week. See other running back sections of this report for ideas of whom to pick up.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List | Jon'vea Johnson, DAL- Some teams are so good at evaluating talent at one position that they have an embarrassment of riches. Dallas is a great example of a team that evaluates receivers well. As a result, the talented Johnson lies buried behind Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Noah Brown. Dallas did not have the room to hold on to Johnson and put him on the practice squad. Other needy teams monitoring the situation might be willing to give Johnson a spot on their 53-man roster eventually. It is a long shot, but this camp standout two years running is worth monitoring to see if he gets a true opportunity elsewhere.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Kaden Smith, NYG- Evan Engram is often banged up and Smith has demonstrated surprising competency for New York when called upon to fill in. Could he be the future for the team at the position? It is certainly possible and worth taking a flier on.
LOST AT SEA
Joe Flacco, NYJ- The Jets medical staff continues to put Sam Darnold at risk by allowing him to play with an injured shoulder. They have made it clear that Darnold will start when he comes back from the bye.
Cameron Brate, TB- Keep an eye on Brate if a Gronkowski injury occurs, but Brate has not been a viable part of the offense since Gronkowski has become a more involved pass catcher.