As we get to the weeks that are usually past the trade deadline in dynasty leagues (I am in one without a trade deadline, which is fun, but crazy during the playoffs when teams get into arms races), it’s time to look ahead to next year and target speculative players to fill end of the bench spots when we are eliminated from the playoffs. We’ll go position-by-position over the next four weeks and separate players out into Snorkel, Scuba, and Submarine levels to serve dynasty players of all levels. First up, quarterbacks.
Jordan Love, GB - Love should be on a roster in all but very short bench dynasty leagues, but do a check just in case. Aaron Rodgers really might force Love to play out his rookie deal without a start if he keeps playing like this, but Love could actually see his chance of hitting grow if he gets a long time in the incubator, unlike almost all other first round quarterbacks.
Jameis Winston, NO - Yes, Winston looked terrible in his only meaningful action this year and the Saints turned to Taysom Hill instead, but he is still one of the best quarterbacks who is not an entrenched starter and he could be the alternative to Hill for New Orleans next year or land somewhere with an equally simple path to playing time.
Jalen Hurts, PHI - We can all see that the Eagles organization, coaches, and even Carson Wentz himself are losing faith in Wentz as the long term answer at quarterback for the Eagles. Hurts shouldn’t be pushed onto the field this year, but he is the obvious alternative if the team completely sours on Wentz. I don’t know if Hurts can process and react fast enough to hang in the NFL, but he has running ability and enough past success to be worth the roster spot in dynasty.
Dwayne Haskins, WAS - Did anyone else have a first round grade on Haskins? We’ll find out in the trade market this offseason as Washington has made it clear that they have no interest in making him their quarterback of the future or present now.
Marcus Mariota, LV - The Raiders signed Mariota to a deal that implied that they saw him having a shot to displace Derek Carr, but Mariota hasn’t been healthy. Carr has been up and down, most recently down, and if this potential playoff season slips through the Raiders fingers because of Carr’s play, they should be inclined to make this an open competition for 2021. The Raiders only incur a 2.5 million cap hit if they release Carr and his 19.525 million dollar 2021 salary. Mariota costs 10 million for 2021, but the team could renegotiate that number and add some incentives.
Nick Mullens, SF - The coaches have a reasonable amount of confidence in Mullens to run the Kyle Shanahan offense, and he'll be marketable as a free agent in 2022 with extensive experience in the system that is spreading its DNA throughout the league. There's still time for Jimmy Garoppolo to collapse once more and really give the team second thoughts before paying him 24.1 million next year with only a 2.8 million cap hit if they release him. Mullens RFA tender level will be one to watch with other teams potentially on the prowl for his services.
Jacob Eason, IND - Colts fans should be anxiously awaiting news about Eason from the offseason program, as Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett are both free agents next year. Eason has a big arm, and well not much else a la Tom Savage, but he is in line to eventually get a chance to start if the Colts don’t sign or draft anyone of note in the next year or two, assuming his development goes well.
P.J. Walker, CAR - Walker could move up to Snorkel level if the team decides to give him an extended audition after Teddy Bridgewater struggled again in the red zone and cost the Panthers a very winnable game in Minnesota. Walker looked like a better downfield passing threat than Bridgewater in his first start and he has a history with head coach Matt Rhule from their time together at Temple. The Panthers might not draft high enough to take their franchise quarterback next year, but they also might want to save eight million dollars by releasing Bridgewater, who does have 10 million dollars of his 2021 salary guaranteed.
Jacoby Brissett, IND - Brissett hasn’t done a lot to instill confidence this year, as he’s in the goal line package, but is being treated like he has no starting experience and not being given a chance to pass. He should be signed to a good backup deal next year, perhaps on a team that feels that their starter is shaky.
Trace McSorley, BAL - It’s about time that McSorley replaces Robert Griffin III III as the backup to Lamar Jackson. He’s plenty athletic and could start in Week 13 against the easy Cowboys defense to pad his resume as a developmental quarterback.
Easton Stick, LAC - The Chargers have their long term quarterback situation solved with Justin Herbert, but Stick lingers as another Taysom Hill type, oozing athleticism, but still a raw passer. As long as the preseason returns next year, Stick should have a lot of opportunities to show off what he can do.
James Morgan, NYJ - Will Sam Darnold be back with the Jets next year? If he’s traded, or if he can’t stay healthy again, the Jets could turn to Morgan, who is tough and has a big arm. The fourth round pick could even get a look before the season is over with the Jets cruising to 0-16, although Adam Gase recently threw cold water on that prospect.
Josh Rosen, TB - Remember Rosen? He’s still on the Bucs practice squad and they are one of the teams without a long term quarterback on the roster right now. Rosen could benefit from a full offseason in the Bruce Arians system and might even graduate to backing up Tom Brady in time. He’s still only 23 years old.