Final roster spots are the most liquid commodity for dynasty teams. The tide of the weekly churn for those spots due to the waiver wire points to a transient nature. Unlike future rookie picks, which has no limit on the number a team can collect, roster spots are finite. Each week of the regular season and periodically with waiver runs in the offseason these roster spot players will be tested to warrant their spot. With trade deadlines beginning in most leagues starting this week, or the next week or two at a minimum, points to picking a team direction with trades. But final roster spots are pivotal to align with team direction in the closing weeks of the dynasty season as well.
Insulation and Upside.
These are the tenets for contending teams to maximize their final roster spots. Especially once the trade deadline has passed, the trade value of those final players is not as important. Plenty will change before trading opens up in the offseason and protecting and insulating your contending roster and lineup is paramount.
Truly strong teams I refer to the principle of double lineups. Essentially, you want to get to the point of having a decent lineup on your bench most weeks. If the lineup is 1-2-3-1 with a flex at the skill positions, for example, there would still be a mirror of that which can compete with plenty of teams in the league, on your bench after setting your lineup. This insulates your team, especially in-season and in the closing weeks, from 1-2-3 injuries which could derail non-insulated playoff teams at a critical moment.
The other tenet is upside. The What if? of one thing occurring (typically an injury) on the player's depth chart and your stash player surging to prominence. You want a shot-in-the-arm type appeal from your bench-stash spots to both aid your own team pushing for a title but also play keep away as this type of player on the waiver wire means they could be picked up by your competition in the playoff push or the postseason itself.
Finally, here is a list of contending team-centric players at the skill positions to fit the criteria above for final roster spots. Shallow-league availability was not considered, but rather 25+ man roster availability in at least a cross-section of dynasty leagues and going deep enough to provide options for all dynasty teams for consumption:
The low-level current starting quarterbacks available in 1QB formats are likely low-upside options in general. Nick Foles, the Jets pairing, Alex Smith, Andy Dalton, Nick Mullens, and Jake Luton are some possibilities. Depending on the timeframe you are seeking, different options are preferred. For example, Alex Smith has a quality matchup this week for a streaming start (CIN) and also Seattle in Week 15. The Jets have Seattle in Week 14 and also an optimistic Week 16 matchup with Cleveland. The Bears offer Jacksonville in Week 16. If seeking upside, backup quarterbacks might be in order and this is the likely route for premium formats from the waiver wire and final roster spots. Robert Griffin III III for rushing potential in Baltimore, Chad Henne in Kansas City is a big one, Case Keenum is one of the more proven NFL backups in Cleveland and the same applies to Matt Schaub in Atlanta.
Primary backup running backs are the theme here. This week's backup could be next week's strong streamer (or for the rest of the season). Ensure no primary backups are available on the waiver wire in your league. Some of the lower Roster Rate backs (outside RB80 on MFL) in this present role are Jeremy McNichols, D'Onta Foreman (both Tennessee but important ones), Devine Ozigbo, C.J. Prosise, and Alfred Morris.
Wide receivers are more nuanced as simply an injury in front of them on the depth chart is not enough for many ancillary options in the NFL to be strong streaming candidates in dynasty leagues. Be selective with which offenses and high-upside for the rest of the season stash you make. Some which warrant consideration on the lower-end of the Roster Rate spectrum include:
For tight ends, we are looking for the highest upside injury-away options or underrated starters who could get on a run of production late in the season.
For non-contending teams, the theme is talent and/or pedigree to stash into the offseason. If there are notable free agents on the depth chart, including themselves, this is also a factor. The key is getting some probability chance they are worthy of keeping through your annual rookie draft or having clarity you want to keep him after NFL free agency and the NFL Draft are complete in the next 5-6 months.
- Jordan Love: More available in 1QB formats, but there's an outside chance he is the starter in 2021 and with Round 1 pedigree.
- Andy Dalton: Free agent in the offseason
- Ryan Fitzpatrick: Free agent in the offseason
- Dwayne Haskins: Unlikely to be in Washington, Round 1 pedigree, full Josh Rosen Reclamation Project mode
- Rex Burkhead: Free agent in the offseason
- Eno Benjamin: Kenyan Drake is a free agent, Benjamin has a quality profile
- T.J. Yeldon: Blocked in Buffalo, free agent
- Kerryon Johnson: Adrian Peterson a free agent, could be the primary backup in Detroit
- Royce Freeman: Blocked in Denver, needs a change of team
- Gabriel Davis: John Brown a potential cap cut
- Andy Isabella: Strong metric profile, Round 2 pedigree, Larry Fitzgerald is a free agent
- James Washington: Needs to be a shallow league or low-level trade acquisition but JuJu Smith-Schuster is a free agent
- Quintez Cephus: Low-pedigree but Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr, Danny Amendola all free agents
- John Ross: Round 1 pedigree and slated to be a free agent
- Tyler Johnson: Has flashed as a Day 3 rookie and Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown are both Tampa Bay free agents
- John Hightower: Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are both potential cuts for the Eagles
- Van Jefferson: Blocked for now, but Josh Reynolds is a free agent and Jefferson has Round 2 pedigree
- Donovan Peoples-Jones: Rashard Higgins is a free agent and Odell Beckham Jr will be coming off a season-ending injury
- Blake Jarwin: Slated starter for 2020 and suffered injury
- Drew Sample: Round 2 pedigree and 2020 starter but high competition for targets currently
- Will Dissly: Murky depth chart in Seattle but Greg Olsen could be out of the picture in 2021 and Jacob Hollister is a free agent
- Mo Alie-Cox: Streaming possibilities this season but Trey Burton is a free agent to aid 2021 offseason
- Donald Parham Jr: Hunter Henry is a free agent
- Anthony Firkser: Jonnu Smith is a free agent
- Cameron Brate: Rob Gronkowski is a free agent
- Dalton Keene: Strong metric profile, Round 3 pedigree, injured in 2020
- Brycen Hopkins: Strong metric profile, Gerald Everett is a free agent