Waivers of the Future: Week 8

Your guide to making preemptive waiver pickups in the context of dynasty fantasy football.

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 8 of Waivers of the Future! Injury casualties continued to mount this week. Andy Dalton, Odell Beckham Jr, Phillip Lindsay, Tim Patrick, N'Keal Harry, and Deebo Samuel were among the fantasy assets who were knocked out of games and are likely to miss more time. As usual, fantasy managers will pick up a few more players off the waiver wire and just keep trucking.

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.

RIDE THE WAVE

(These are plug-and-play options who might patch a hole on your team in the short-term.)

QUARTERBACK

Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Nick Foles, CHI- Chicago finally had enough of Trubisky and made the switch to Foles a few weeks ago, despite a winning record. While Foles is himself an inconsistent and streaky decision-maker, he has some quality weapons such as Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller who can help elevate his play. The Saints’ contest in Week 8 really is not one to fear. The Titans’ leaky pass defense in Week 9 is a great matchup for Foles.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Kyle Allen, WAS- Allen is not a desirable starting choice, but you may have no choice. At least he will get a soft Giants unit in Week 8. The Lions are not a lockdown pass defense for Allen to face in Week 9 and they lack the pass rush to force Allen into mistakes.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Joe Flacco, NJY- Flacco will play as Sam Darnold rehabs a right AC sprain. There are limited passing options in this offense currently and the offensive line will do Flacco no favors. The Chiefs and Patriots are up next and should be difficult draws. Play Flacco only if you absolutely have to.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Ben DiNucci, DAL- If Andy Dalton cannot clear the concussion protocol this week, the Cowboys will have no choice but to roll Ben DiNucci out there against the Eagles. DiNucci did not do much in relief of Dalton, but he at least has a lot of weapons around him if you need to roll the dice.

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 Bears in Week 8 are a tougher defense to crack. The Buccaneers are also an elite unit right now.

RUNNING BACK

Contending 20-30%, Rebuilding 1%| Boston Scott, PHI- It looks like Miles Sanders had a significant knee injury that will keep him out for a while. Scott has been great in spot duty for Sanders the last two years and will be one of the more valuable backs to be available on the wire this season. Favorable matchups against the Cowboys and Browns also reward those that use their budgets to acquire his services. This is likely the last week you will be able to acquire Scott if he is still out there.

Contending10-15%, Rebuilding 1%| Giovani Bernard, CIN- Joe Mixon is dealing with a foot injury that could linger. Bernard has extensive experience as a starter in this offense and could be serviceable for general managers. The Titans in Week 8 are a favorable matchup, but the Steelers in Week 9 are a matchup to avoid if you have better choices. This is likely the last chance you have to roster Bernard.

Contending and Rebuilding 10-15%| JaMycal Hasty, SF- Reading between the lines, it sounds like Jerrick McKinnon may be dealing with an injury situation. JaMycal Hasty has short-term value as the primary ball carrier Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert rehab their injuries. It sounds like it is weeks away, but when either of those two get back, all bets are off for Hasty. However, this column is about using players to get through short-term situations, so take advantage while possible. The Seahawks and Packers are up next.

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 8, Johnson may struggle against the surging Raiders. In Week 9, The Texans could present more opportunity for Johnson for general managers that need help.

Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Gus Edwards, BAL- Mark Ingram II II’s ankle injury opens the door for J.K. Dobbins, but it also means more usage for Gus Edwards. Edwards is a no-nonsense north and south runner, but that can have value with defenses preoccupied with defending Lamar Jackson and his many weapons. They will face the Steelers and Colts in Weeks 8 and 9, both of which have a tough run defense.

Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%| Malcolm Brown, LAR- Some of the luster has come off Brown as the Rams have started to feed Darrell Henderson increasingly, but Brown will still get work, particularly green zone work, and the waiver wire is thin. Week 8 against the Dolphins is worth a look if you desperately need a running back. The Seahawks also have trouble containing the run at times.

WIDE RECEIVER

Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE- If Odell Beckham Jr’s knee issue proves to be serious, Peoples-Jones could get more work going forward. He is more advanced than a typical rookie in terms of route running and body positioning. The Raiders are not a particularly good draw for Peoples-Jones in Week 8. In Week 9, the Texans’ lacking secondary is one against which Peoples-Jones could have success.

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Demarcus Robinson, KC- With Sammy Watkins out, Robinson continues to be the one who absorbs his targets in the offense. The game script this past week did not lend itself to the passing game having to do much of anything, but general managers will hope for more favorable circumstances against the Jets and Panthers in the coming weeks.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| 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 depleted 49ers secondary will present favorable opportunities for Moore to keep the scoring streak alive in Week 8. Should the Bills get their corner group healthy in Week 9, it will be a tougher matchup.

TIGHT END

Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Trey Burton, IND- Since returning from a foot injury, Burton has been excellent. It is unclear how long Mo Alie-Cox could be out, but as long as he is unable to play, he will not cut into Burton’s target share. If Burton himself stays healthy, he will continue to be one of the heavier-targeted options who is also commonly available on the wire. The Colts will face the Lions and Ravens in Weeks 8 and 9. The Lions will not stop Burton, but the Ravens are defending tight ends well right now. This is likely your last chance to grab Burton.

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Cameron Brate, TB- When the game scripts have been right, Brate has reprised the O.J. Howard role. The Giants and Saints are up next for Brate. The Giants present an opportunity for Brate to have a productive day. The Saints are a little tougher against tight ends, but in a divisional matchup and with the addition of Antonio Brown, it is possible Brate could find the end zone.

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. After the bye week, the Dolphins and Bills in the next two contests are at least good matchups respectively for those who need to plug-and-play Arnold.

CHANGING TIDES

(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.

Contending and Rebuilding, 1%| Ryan Nall, CHI- David Montgomery was able to play in Week 1 despite a groin injury sustained in preseason practices. In Week 2, he had some sort of stinger that kept him out for a quarter of play. If Montgomery were to re-aggravate either injury or suffer a more substantial problem, 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.

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.

THE SPLASH

(Could be available in 30 or fewer roster spot leagues.)

QUARTERBACK

None this week. Please see other quarterback sections of this report for pick-up ideas.

RUNNING BACK

None this week. See other running back sections of this report for pick-up ideas.

WIDE RECEIVER

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| 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. While Godwin and Mike Evans look like they will be good to go going forward and the team just added Antonio Brown, Johnson is merely a name to keep in mind if injuries once again devastate the Buccaneers receiving corps.

TIGHT END

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. Also, there is chatter that Herndon could get traded, which also would open up opportunities for Griffin.

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.

THE DEEP

(Could be available in 30-or-more roster spot leagues or leagues with large taxi squads.)

QUARTERBACK

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.

RUNNING BACK

Watch List| C.J. Prosise, HOU- The Texans signed him to their practice squad and then promoted him in Week 2. David Johnson and Duke Johnson Jr Jr have not always been the picture of health. 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.

WIDE RECEIVER

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.

TIGHT END

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

(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.)

Ryan Fitzpatrick, MIA- The Dolphins made the switch to Tua Tagovailoa during the bye week, so it is okay to dump Fitzpatrick.

Case Keenum, CLE- Mayfield was able to go this week, so we will send Keenum back to waivers. We could see Keenum back in consideration if Mayfield’s injury continues to bother him or if his play is so bad that he gets benched.

Anthony Firkser, TEN- Jonnu Smith’s ankle injury was not serious and he was able to play in Week 7. If Smith should re-injure that ankle, it will be time to consider Firkser again.

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