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 nine of Waivers of the Future! 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.
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
- Malcolm Brown
- Adrian Peterson
- Frank Gore
- Giovani Bernard
- Matt Breida
- Raheem Mostert
- Damien Williams
- Darrel Williams
- Wayne Gallman
- Sterling Shepard
- Demarcus Robinson
- Ted Ginn Jr Jr
- Phillip Dorsett
- Auden Tate
- 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.)
15-20%- Matt Moore, KC- With Patrick Mahomes II II likely out for 2-5 weeks with a kneecap dislocation, Moore will be entrusted with a potent offense for a few weeks and will have the benefit of Andy Reid’s creative playcalling. The Chiefs will get a tough draw this week against the formidable Vikings defense, but Moor remains one of the better streaming options still available in many leagues.
5-10%| Mason Rudolph, PIT- Rudolph has been unspectacular but solid in relief of Ben Roethlisberger. He will be the quarterback for the Steelers for the remainder of the year barring injury. Rudolph has a tough matchup against the Colts this week, so avoid playing him if possible.
5-10%- Ryan Tannehill, TEN- Tannehill has played moderately better than Marcus Mariota and the Titans have gotten two wins with him at the helm. The scheme by Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith still does not seem to fit the strengths of the player personnel, which has been problematic for this offense when they play against quality defenses. They will play a very tough Panthers pass defense this week, so this is not an optimal time to use Tannehill.
1%| Ryan Fitzpatrick, MIA- You can play Fitzpatrick, but just be aware that he is at a high risk of turning over the football and getting benched. It has happened a couple of times already this year. The Jets matchup is not imposing, however, so those general managers who are in desperation mode could do worse.
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 was able to find the end zone last week. 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 are on bye this week.
1%| Brandon Allen, DEN- He will have to start on short notice because Joe Flacco has a neck injury. This week, the Broncos will face the Browns, who are not very stingy in terms of pass defense, but Allen is making his first start and has never played in an NFL game. Use him only if you have no other options.
5-10%| Tra Carson, DET- Surprise! Instead of Ty Johnson or JD McKissic leading the way, it was recently-claimed-from-the-Packers Tra Carson who earned the bulk of the duties. There are rumors that Detroit is interested in acquiring a lead runner via trade, so be aware of this as you make your bids. The Lions will play Oakland next week, so the matchup is good if Carson is able to hang on to the lead role.
1-5%| Brian Hill, ATL- Hill gets a chance to be the change-of-pace runner with Ito Smith ailing. Despite limited carries against the Seahawks, Hill scored a touchdown. Devonta Freeman is still the lead back, but he has also not been the most durable back during his career. There is a chance Hill could emerge as the starter before the year’s end, albeit on a team that is sputtering. The Falcons will be on bye this week.
5-10%| Zach Pascal, IND- Pascal is not a tremendous player and has some quiet weeks, but he does have weeks like week seven when he is targeted often and scores. That is all we can ask for with the waiver wire so thin at this point in the season. The Colts will take on the Steelers, whose pass defense is not an airtight unit.
5-10%| Chris Conley, JAX- Conley seems to be a favorite target of Gardener Minshew and the offense has been competent when playing inferior teams. Marquise Lee is injured again, meaning Conley could soak up even more opportunity in his absence. The Jaguars play against the Texans, who have not been able to shore up a weak pass defense, despite trading a third-rounder for Gareon Conley.
5-10%| Allen Lazard, GB- Lazard has been filling in to supplement a banged-up receiver group. When Devante Adams comes back, we can probably drop Lazard; but until then, we can play him and expect a few catches a game. The Packers will play against a very porous Chargers pass defense.
1%| Jaron Brown, SEA- The lacking pass volume in this offense is troubling, but with Will Dissly out, the targets that do exist will be redistributed. Brown is not amazing, but he has a shot to catch a few balls each week. This week, he will have a good opportunity to do so against a Buccaneers secondary that is getting picked on with regularity.
1%| Alex Erickson, CIN- The fourth-year veteran continues to be the beneficiary of Tyler Boyd and Auden Tate drawing the more difficult coverage. It is not a given that will continue or that the Bengals, who are struggling as an offense, will have success through the air from week to week. However, for teams that are hard up at the position, Erickson is worth a speculative add until A.J. Green returns. The Bengals are on bye this week.
1-5%| Vernon Davis, WAS- Davis will continue to fill in for Jordan Reed, who ended his season placed on injured reserve. Davis has proven to be a viable stand-in for an offense that uses its tight end position often. Washington gets another bad matchup against the Bills’ pass defense this week.
1-5%| Charles Clay, ARI- The Cardinals have started to utilize Clay more and with the wire so thin at the position, we have to consider even tight ends getting three to five targets a game. Clay has a very tough contest against the 49ers upcoming, so he is more of a speculative pickup and hold option at this time than someone to insert directly into the lineup.
(Might be available in 30 or fewer roster spot leagues.)
None this week, as the position is depleted. See other quarterback sections for pickup recommendations.
1-5%| Reggie Bonnafon, 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. Bonnafon is such a player. Behind Christian McCaffrey, who rarely misses a snap, Bonnafon finally got an opportunity when McCaffrey was sidelined with cramps in week six. Bonnafon shone with the few touches he played. If McCaffrey were to go down, Bonnafon would become a lot more interesting.
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 has been banged up before, so Edwards having fantasy relevance this year is not impossible.
1-5%| Justin Watson, TB- Watson is not making an impact on the stat sheet yet, but may get more work due to an injury that sent Breshad Perriman out of the game against the Rams. Jameis Winston prefers short-to-intermediate throws, meaning Watson could get more work than we anticipate as the season wears on.
15-25%| Foster Moreau, OAK- Moreau hops up from the watch list 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 is now on injured reserve and his career is in jeopardy after sustaining another concussion. Vernon Davis is aging and 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.
10-15%| 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. Thomas will need seasoning, but with Greg Olsen near the end of his career, Thomas is worth holding.
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- It is a long shot, but if Brissett drops the ball, a talented Kelly waits in the wings. The only downside is that Kelly 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, which is why he is not higher on the list. He was moved to the practice squad recently, which does not bode well for him getting a shot this year. Still, the talent is such that we should keep him on our radar.
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. He 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 Pringle 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| Deon Cain, IND- Cain got his chance with Devin Funchess’ injury and had moments when he shined. He is a promising young receiver on the roster of an organization that is ascending and does not have an established receiver opposite of T.Y. Hilton.
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. He caught a touchdown in week six.
Watch List| Anthony Firkser, TEN- Could the Titans have made a significant discovery last year with the undrafted Firkser? It’s 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 in a few years or if Walker once again fails to complete the year due to injury. Walker suffered an ankle injury in week six and Firkser has become a contributor in both games since. If Walker is out for a significant time, we will be sure to see more of Firkser, as we did last year.
Watch List| Alizé Mack, PIT- Mack recently elected to sign with the Steelers’ practice squad. The Steelers have Vance McDonald, but like Jared Cook, he is often hurt and the Steelers have been looking for help at this position for some time. He is a good prospect who impressed over the summer as a receiving tight end in the Saints’ camp.
LOST AT SEA
Case Keenum, WAS- Keenum sustained a head injury and his status for week nine is in doubt. The offense has such a low ceiling anyway that it is not worth holding on to Keenum unless you are in a superflex format.
Joe Flacco, DEN- He has a neck injury that will hold him out for an undisclosed amount of time.
Duke Williams, BUF- Two targets in a game in which the Bills trailed is not reassuring. Toss him back!
Luke Willson, SEA- We knew expectations in a low-volume passing offense were to be kept low, but not this low. One target per game is not going to be enough volume to be worthy of slotting him into the lineup.
Adam Shaheen, CHI- Between Chicago’s offense struggles and Shaheen’s lack of growth, there just is not enough reason to keep holding on.