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.
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.
Welcome to Week 14 of Waivers of the Future! If you have made the fantasy playoffs in your league, congratulations! Even in a dynasty league in which you tend to have more year-to-year performance stability across your team, it is an accomplishment to participate in the big dance! This column will do the best to highlight the players you may be able to use to fill in gaps in your lineup as you make your title run.
If you were not so lucky, do not despair. Part of the fun of a dynasty league is taking a team that was not competitive the year before and turning it into a perennial playoff contender. On the list are some players that may not have much value today, but could be worth picking up for a future season. Also, week 17’s iteration of this article will take an even deeper dive into some of the players that you can stash away as you make efforts to improve your team’s future standing.
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.
- Jacoby Brissett
- Gardner Minshew
- Teddy Bridgewater
- Ryan Tannehill
- Malcolm Brown
- Adrian Peterson
- Frank Gore
- Giovani Bernard
- Matt Breida
- Raheem Mostert
- Damien Williams
- Darrel Williams
- Wayne Gallman
- Chase Edmonds
- Brian Hill
- Jonathan Williams
- Bo Scarborough
- J.D. McKissic
- Sterling Shepard
- Demarcus Robinson
- Ted Ginn Jr Jr
- Phillip Dorsett
- Auden Tate
- Zach Pascal
- 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.)
15-25%| Andy Dalton, CIN- Finley was so bad in relief of Dalton that the Bengals decided to change back. Fantasy general managers may need someone due to the abundance of injuries and benchings at the quarterback position and Dalton has been serviceable at points. The Bengals will face off against the struggling Browns, so Dalton is actually a decent start if you are in a pinch.
10-20%| Devlin Hodges, PIT- Mason Rudolph was benched for poor play and Hodges led the Steelers to victory number two. The Steelers get a Cardinals defense that seems to be made of paper, so Hodges is a great play if you need help.
10-20%| David Blough, DET- Blough may have performed well enough against the Bears that the Lions stick with him going forward. It is unlikely we will see Stafford for the rest of the year in a lost season for Detroit. The offense remains fairly fantasy-friendly and will encourage Blough to be an aggressive downfield passer, even if that is not a strength for him. The Lions will play a Vikings squad that will likely beat them soundly, but there may be some garbage time opportunity for Blough and Company.
10-20% Drew Lock, DEN- Lock is probably rostered in most dynasty leagues, but there are some shallow bench leagues in which he might be available. As the Broncos look to the future, they have given Lock a chance to show what he can do. Surprisingly, the Broncos managed to stun the Chargers and Lock passed for two touchdowns while throwing only one interception. The Broncos will face the Texans, who do not have a smothering defense.
10-20%| Ryan Fitzpatrick, MIA- Miami seems to be gaining momentum, getting wins, and having fun. Fitzpatrick appears to be in no immediate danger of getting benched, despite it happening earlier in the year. The Dolphins will battle the Jets, who just lost an embarrassing game to the Bengals.
1%| Taysom Hill, NO- Hill has his own package of snaps in every contest and has a high upside to score on any given week because of the potency of this offense. He is a last-resort option at the position, but for some in very deep or superflex leagues, putting him in is better than taking a zero. The Saints play a league-leading defense in the 49ers, so this is probably not a good week to deploy Hill.
15-20%| Benny Snell, PIT- Jaylen Samuels appears to be in the doghouse with the coaching staff and Snell got the bulk of the carries against the Bengals and Browns. His value is limited because most of the remaining teams the Steelers will play are superior and James Conner may be back soon. However, because there are so few available running backs who will get significant carries, general managers may need to consider Snell against the Cardinals in a tasty matchup this week.
15-20%| Allen Lazard, GB- Lazard has been filling in to supplement a banged-up receiver group and has proven to have value even with Davante Adams in the lineup. He is the clear number two receiver in this offense right now. This may be your last chance to snag him. The Packers get another plush matchup against Washington in the upcoming contest.
10-15%| Chris Conley, JAX- Conley probably is not out there anymore, but if he is, this is likely your last shot at getting him on your team before the playoffs. Conley continues to be targeted and is producing even with the Jaguars reeling as a team and uncertain about whether Foles or Minshew will start going forward. They will have another nice matchup against the Chargers this week, so start Conley if needed.
1-10%| Tim Patrick, DEN- While opportunities in this offense with a rookie quarterback are not extremely valuable, Patrick will be second only to Courtland Sutton in the passing game pecking order and that is worth something. The Broncos will have another favorable passing matchup against the Chargers.
20-40%| Ryan Griffin, NYJ- The Jets were so impressed with Griffin that they already inked him to a long-term contract two weeks ago. The scarcity at the position combined with the fact the Jets have made such an investment should compel general managers to get Griffin on their rosters. This is probably your last shot at Griffen if he is still out there. He has got a good matchup upcoming against the Dolphins, but it remains to be seen if the Jets’ on-again-off-again offense can capitalize.
1-5%| Anthony Firkser, TEN- Could the Titans have made a significant discovery last year with the undrafted Firkser? It is 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, and that looks more likely now with Walker back on IR with a chronic foot and ankle injury. The Titans will face off against the Raiders this week.
(Might be available in 30 or fewer roster spot leagues.)
None this week due to positional scarcity. See other quarterback sections of this report for suggestions.
1-5%| Mike Davis, 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. Enter Mike Davis, who was cut by the Bears and signed by the Panthers. An accomplished runner, Davis would become a lot more interesting if McCaffrey were to go down. He made the active roster this past week, so he is one step closer.
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%| Deon Cain, PIT- Cain gets bumped up here from the watch list because he was elevated to the Steelers’ active roster after being stolen from the Colts’ practice squad. That move shows that they value Cain highly. With the starting group in front of him pretty banged up, Cain has a chance to show what he can do with an organization known for cultivating receivers.
25-40%| 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. Olsen may miss some time again after suffering a concussion in week 13, thus moving Thomas up in priority. Thomas will need seasoning, but with Greg Olsen near the end of his career, Thomas is worth holding.
15-25%| Foster Moreau, OAK- Moreau came up from the watch list earlier this year 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 multiple touchdowns and has been involved in most games so far this year, which is encouraging for his future prospects.
10-15%| Jeremy Sprinkle, WAS- Sprinkle was elevated from the watch list based on the fact that Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis are now on injured reserve and both have careers that may not continue. Sprinkle has proven to be 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 now that the season is lost for Washington.
(Might be available in 30+ roster spot leagues.)
Watch List| Jarrett 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- Kelly moved back down to the watch list due to Jacoby Brissett being recovered enough to play, but keep Kelly in mind. Kelly has talent, but the downside is that he 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. The talent is such that we should keep him on our radar and perhaps on our roster now that he is only one injury away from relevance.
None this week, as the position is depleted. See other running back sections for pickup recommendations.
Watch List| Byron Pringle, KC- Pringle moves back to the watch list with Sammy Watkins returning to the lineup. Pringle 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 him worthy of consideration.
Watch List| Richie James, SF- James is getting more work in the passing game and has the skills to eventually play from any receiver position in this offense. Kyle Shanahan values this kind of multiplicity in his offense. James’ trademark skills are being very shifty and great on contested catches, despite his smaller size.
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. Winfree also should be counted on more with Emmanuel Sanders traded away to the 49ers. 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.
Watch List| Alizé Mack, PIT- Things just keep getting better for Mack. He is now on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad after spending time with the Steelers and Saints earlier in the year. Mack is a good prospect who impressed over the summer as a receiving tight end in the Saints’ camp. If Travis Kelce were to get hurt, Mack would become even more intriguing to fantasy general managers.
LOST AT SEA
Jeff Driskel, DET- Driskel was not able to play on Thanksgiving due to a hamstring issue and went on injured reserve shortly thereafter. David Blough filled in and may have performed well enough for the Lions to stick with him going forward.
Jaeden Graham, ATL- It looks like Hooper may be back this week, so we can let go of Graham for now.