Waivers of the Future: Week 9

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 9 of Waivers of the Future! It was another bad week for injuries. Sam Darnold, Darrel Henderson, Telvin Coleman, Kenny Golladay, T.Y. Hilton, and George Kittle were among the wounded. As with the week before, there is no time to mourn the losses. Instead, general managers can use the recommendations in this column to patch up their teams and keep competing.

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- 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 Titans’ leaky pass defense in Week 9 is a great matchup for Foles. The Vikings also have not been a lockdown pass defense unit lately and Foles could potentially take advantage of that in Week 10.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Kyle Allen, WAS- Allen is not a desirable starting choice, but you may have no other options. At least he will get a soft Giants unit in Week 9. The Lions are not a lockdown pass defense for Allen to face in Week 10 and they lack the pass rush to force Allen into mistakes.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Joe Flacco, NJY- Flacco will likely play as Sam Darnold rehabs a re-aggravation of his right AC sprain. There are limited passing options in this offense currently and the offensive line will do Flacco no favors. The Patriots are up next and should present something of a challenge. In Week 10, the Jets get their bye. Play Flacco only if you absolutely have to.

Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Mike Glennon or Jake Luton- Gardner Minshew will not play due to an injury, so one of these guys will get the nod on Sunday. Neither are great and the Texans are a superior team at this point, even with all of their issues. Only play whichever starter is chosen if you have no other options. The Packers in Week 10 should also make life difficult for whichever quarterback of the two who ends up starting.

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 Buccaneers in Week 9 are an elite unit right now, but the 49ers in Week 10 could offer a better opportunity for Hill to score.

RUNNING BACK

Contending and Rebuilding 10-15%| JaMycal Hasty, SF- Reading between the lines, it sounds like Jerrick McKinnon may be dealing with an injury situation. Tevin Coleman also reinjured his knee upon return in Week 8. 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 gets 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 Packers who were just gashed by Dalvin Cook are up next. In Week 10, they take on the stingy Saints run defense, which could be more of a problem.

Contending 10-15%, 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 very tough Colts run defense in Week 9, but have the softer Patriots run defense in Week 10.

Contending 10-15%, Rebuilding 1%| Nyheim Hines or Jordan Wilkins, IND- Hines is unlikely to be on the waiver wire in dynasty leagues, but there's a good chance that Wilkins is out there. Either are worth a speculative pick-up with the news that Jonathan Taylor may be playing banged up. The Ravens game in Week 9 isn't a great matchup, but the Titans game in Week 10 is one of the best the Colts will see all year.

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 9, the Browns are on bye. In Week 10, the Texans could present more opportunity for Johnson for general managers that need help.

Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%| Malcolm Brown, LAR- Some of the luster had come off Brown, but with Darrell Henderson’s injury, the Rams will have to go back to relying heavily on Brown to tote the rock. The Rams are on bye in Week 9. The Seahawks have trouble containing the run at times and are the Rams’ opponent in Week 10.

WIDE RECEIVER

Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE- Peoples-Jones will get more work going forward with the loss of Odell Beckham Jr. Peoples-Jones is more advanced than a typical rookie in terms of route running and body positioning. The Browns are on bye in Week 9, but the Texans’ lacking secondary is one against which Peoples-Jones could have success in Week 10.

Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Demarcus Robinson, KC- With Sammy Watkins out, Robinson continues to be the one who absorbs his targets in the offense. It does not seem to matter who the Chiefs face in terms of having success, but they will play the soft Panthers pass defense before their Week 10 bye.

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. Should the Bills get their corner group healthy in Week 9, it will be a tougher matchup. The Rams in Week 10 can be vulnerable to the pass at times.

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 Jets should be an easy draw for Meyers in Week 9, but the Ravens in Week 10 should cause general managers using Meyers to think hard about if he is the best option that week.

TIGHT END

Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Cameron Brate, TB- When the game scripts have been right, Brate has reprised the O.J. Howard role. The Saints are up next for Brate. 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 sneak into 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. 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 1-5%| 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. While it looks like Mike Evans will be good to go going forward, Chris Godwin could miss some time with his latest injuries. Johnson is merely a name to keep in mind if injuries continue to 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

Ben DiNucci, DAL- It is presumed that Andy Dalton will be back in Week 9.

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