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 16 of Waivers of the Future! Are you vying for a championship this week? If so, congratulations! Win or lose, it is a special occasion when your dynasty team is in the mix in the final week of the season. If you got knocked out or were not contending in your league, do not fret. This column will highlight the players you can stash away that may gain trade value or be useful for your team in another year. Also, remember that the week 17 edition 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
- Drew Lock
- 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 Scarbrough
- J.D. McKissic
- Sterling Shepard
- Demarcus Robinson
- Ted Ginn Jr Jr
- Phillip Dorsett
- Auden Tate
- Zach Pascal
- Chris Conley
- Allen Lazard
- Darren Waller
- Jason Witten
- Jordan Akins
- Hayden Hurst
RIDE THE WAVE
(These are plug-and-play options who might patch a hole on your team in the short-term.)
20-30%| 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 play the Dolphins in the upcoming week, so for streamers, Dalton is one of the better plays available.
15-25%| Devlin Hodges, PIT- Mason Rudolph was benched for poor play a couple of games ago. Meanwhile, Hodges has not made nearly as many critical mistakes and has helped the Steelers stay in the wildcard race. The Steelers play the Jets this week, so if you need a quarterback, it is not a game that should cause you to shy away from using him.
15-25%| Ryan Fitzpatrick, MIA- Miami seems to be gaining momentum, getting some wins, playing closer games, and having fun. Fitzpatrick appears to be in no immediate danger of getting benched, despite it happening earlier in the year. The Dolphins get a very easy matchup against the Bengals this week.
10-20%| David Blough, DET- Blough may have performed well enough against the Bears and Vikings 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 the Broncos, who have been a tougher draw as of late.
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 the Titans, who have a very banged-up secondary at the moment and are vulnerable both through the air and on the ground.
50+%| Mike Boone, MIN- Sometimes fantasy championships come down to the last men standing in good situations and Boone may be one of those guys. Dalvin Cook sustained a left shoulder injury and Alexander Mattison’s ankle is unlikely to be healed in time. The Vikings will play the Packers, who have struggled to stop the run this season.
25+%| Boston Scott, PHI- Scott looks like Darren Sproles on the field and he is getting more targets than even Miles Sanders at present. A divisional matchup against the Cowboys in which Scott will see decent usage is a reason to play him if you need help.
5-10%| Patrick Laird, MIA- The rushing efficiency of the offense is very embarrassing, but sometimes you just need someone to plug in. Laird may get you a few points and is better than taking a zero. The Dolphins will square off against the Bengals this week, so maybe rushing lanes will once again be there against a defense that does not seem very stout in any category right now.
50%+ Breshad Perriman, TB- Both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin appear to be out with hamstring pulls, so Breshad Perriman is probably the best receiver to consider if you need help in the championship round. They will get a good matchup against the Texans, giving extra incentive for fantasy general managers to slot in Perriman if in a pinch.
10-20%| Tim Patrick, DEN- While opportunities in this offense with a rookie quarterback are not extremely valuable, Patrick is second only to Courtland Sutton in the passing game pecking order and that is worth something. The Broncos have a good contest coming up against the Lions in which yards could be very abundant.
5-10%| Greg Ward, PHI- There is a shortage of healthy wide receivers in Philadelphia, meaning Ward is getting significant targets. Ward caught the game-winning touchdown against Washington and should have a significant role again when playing the Cowboys this week.
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 Saints this week, so Firkser is only an emergency option.
(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.
None this week due to positional scarcity. See other running back sections of this report for suggestions.
10-25%| 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. He has been productive with the few opportunities he has had, too, so we need to pay attention, especially if you are a non-contending team with a roster spot to stash a guy. With the starting group in front of him pretty banged up, Cain has a chance to continue to show what he can do with an organization known for cultivating receivers.
25-50%| 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 missed more time 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. He showed this past couple of weeks that there are reasons to hope that he can be the future at the position for the Panthers.
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. He suffered a leg injury after being bent awkwardly on a tackle against Tennessee and was placed on injured reserve, but this should not impact his long-term stashability.
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. The fact that Brissett has not been playing especially well may also make Kelly worth a stash.
Watch List| Kerrith Whyte, PIT- Because of all the injuries Pittsburgh has had this season, the Steelers stole Whyte off Chicago’s practice squad and gave him a chance to get some touches against Arizona. He showed good burst, broke tackles, and otherwise looked more effective than Samuels or Snell. He could work his way into being the primary backup to James Conner in time, which would put Whyte in a good situation.
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- Winfree has had a chance to play a part at certain times this year but has gone from being on the active roster to injured reserve. 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 TreQuan 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
DeAndre Washington, OAK- Josh Jacobs was able to play in the previous week and sucked up most of the rushing work. Unless you are looking to net just 5-8 points for one of your roster spots, Washington is droppable.
Mike Davis, CAR and Gus Edwards, BAL- Both of these guys were high priority injury handcuffs, but the injuries never occurred to the starters ahead of them and it is week sixteen. It is time to let go of them and grab guys that can help this week or in the future.