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 16 of Waivers of the Future! Are you playing for a championship this week?! If so, congratulations! Contending for a title is special and each opportunity to do so should be cherished. If you got knocked out in recent weeks or were out of the playoffs entirely, there is something in this article for you as well. In Week 17, this segment will be completely dedicated to stash players that general managers can put on their rosters during what is likely the last waiver period of their league year.
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.
- Andy Dalton
- Taysom Hill
- Jerick McKinnon
- Adrian Peterson
- Devonta Freeman
- Jakobi Meyers
- Travis Fulgham
- Keelan Cole
- Boston Scott
- Giovani Bernard
- Myles Gaskin
- Jordan Wilkins
- Malcolm Brown
- Gus Edwards
- James White
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling
- Russell Gage
- Jeff Smith
- Tim Patrick
- Logan Thomas
- Dalton Schultz
- Robert Tonyan Jr
- Mo Alie-Cox
- Trey Burton
RIDE THE WAVE
(These are plug-and-play options who might patch a hole on your team in the short-term.)
Contending 20-25%, Rebuilding 1%| Mitch Trubisky, CHI- While Trubisky has his faults as a passer, his scrambling ability makes him more attractive than many of the options currently on waiver wires. Trubisky is an inconsistent and streaky decision-maker, but he has some quality weapons such as Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller who can help elevate his play. The Jaguars matchup is a very easy one currently, making Trubisky the most appealing widely-available quarterback plug-and-play for championship week.
Contending 1-10%, Rebuilding 1%| Dwayne Haskins, WAS- Alex Smith hurt his leg in the past contest and is unlikely to be able to go for the next week. Dwayne Haskins is the last man standing, so he relieved Smith and will probably start until Smith is healthy enough. In Week 16, the team will take on the Panthers, who have been easy to pass on for most of the year.
Contending 1-10%, Rebuilding 1%| C.J. Beathard, SF- Nick Mullens suffered an elbow injury and it is unclear if he will be able to start this next week. If not, Beathard will take his place. Beathard is prone to mistakes, so keep that in mind when playing in leagues in which interceptions and fumbles are heavily penalized. The 49ers will take on the Cardinals defense that has been more ferocious in the last several weeks, so play Beathard only if your other options are exhausted.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-10%| Ryan Finley, CIN- Joe Burrow suffered a significant knee injury that will keep him off the field for the remainder of 2020. Then Brandon Allen suffered a bone bruise. That leaves inexperienced Ryan Finley as the starter for the time being. Start him only if you are seeking to avoid a zero. In Week 16, he will play the Cowboys, which is an okay matchup in which to use Allen if you need help.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-10%| Jacoby Brissett, IND- As a gadget quarterback and short-yardage specialist, Brissett is a desperation play, but one that could pay off during any given week. He scored two short touchdowns against the Titans in Week 12. The Steelers defense he will face in Week 16 is currently the best in the NFL. It will be pure luck if Brissett scores, so play him only if you have no one else.
Contending 15-30%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Tony Pollard, DAL- Pollard is not likely out there on any dynasty waiver wires. However, if he is available, you need to snap him up and quite possibly play him this weekend if your options are scarce and Zeke Elliott is inactive again. Philadelphia is tougher against the run, but considering Pollard’s utility as a pass-catching running back, he is a good play against a not-very-good Eagles pass defense.
Contending 15-30%, Rebuilding 1%| Jeff Wilson, SF- Raheem Mostert re-injured his ankle, opening the door for Wilson to get the start in Week 16. Wilson injured his hamstring in Week 15’s game but told reporters afterward that the injury is not thought to be serious. In Week 16, it will be rough sledding against a Cardinals defense that is currently surging.
Contending 5-15%, Rebuilding 1%| Ito Smith, ATL- While Gurley played, it was interesting that Smith out-touched him significantly in Weeks 14-15. Could it be that a combination of a losing season and Gurley’s health is pushing the Falcons into evaluation mode, thus allowing Smith to earn more work? It is very probable that is what is occurring here. If the trend continues, Smith will get most of the touches against the Chiefs in the upcoming contest. The Chiefs can be run against, but it is not an especially good matchup.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%| Salvon Ahmed, MIA- It is unclear if Myles Gaskin will return from the COVID list this week, but if he does not, Ahmed is a decent option. He was the first Miami back to tally 100 yards in a game since 2018. If he should get another start in Week 16, he would face the Raiders, who have tailed off in the past three contests.
Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%| Devin Ozigbo, JAX- James Robinson hurt his ankle and it is unclear if he will be ready for next week against the Bears. If not, Ozigbo would earn the start. It is not a fantastic matchup, but for owners with little else to choose from, it may be better than nothing.
Contending and Rebuilding 15-20%| David Moore, SEA- Russell Wilson is cooking and Moore is catching touchdowns on occasion. While the low-target volume can leave Moore with little-to-nothing on a given week, he also can make your day on a deep score. In Week 16, Moore will play the Rams, who have been resurgent in terms of pass defense as of late.
Contending and Rebuilding 15-20%| Tyron Johnson, LAC- Mike Williams has once again hurt his back and is playing limited snaps, leaving Johnson as the clear second wide receiver in the offense. Johnson has a great matchup against the Broncos. He is a fine emergency play.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Greg Ward, PHI- Ward seems to be Jalen Hurts’ favorite target in red-zone work, which could bode well for general managers who need to plug in Ward in an emergency. He has a favorable matchup with the Cowboys secondary.
Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%| Chad Hansen, HOU- With Brandon Cooks ailing yet again, it is time to see what Hansen can do as the second wide receiver in the offense. The Bengals matchup is quite good. It helps that Hansen has one of the better quarterbacks in the game throwing him the ball, too.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Mack Hollins, MIA- DeVante Parker injured his leg in the Week 14 contest, meaning that Mack Hollins was called into action. Hollins has shown flashes in past action with the Eagles and does well on contested catches, so he could be a very good play going forward against the Raiders, assuming Parker remains out.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Darnell Mooney, CHI- Mooney has shown some rapport with Trubisky and though his target volume is low, he can score a long touchdown on any given week. It is a better chance than normal against the hapless Jaguars this week, so play Mooney if your team needs to shoot for a high upside play.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Damiere Byrd, NE- While Jakobi Meyers is rightfully getting all the attention in this receiver group, there may be another option for desperate fantasy general managers. Byrd has multiple years of experience and prior rapport with Cam Newton from their time together in Carolina. The speedster proved in Week 11 that he can get the better of defensive backs who do not properly account for his quickness. In Week 16, the Patriots will play the Bills. The Bills’ pass defense has struggled in recent weeks.
Contending and Rebuilding 15-30%| Dan Arnold, ARI- In the wasteland that is trying to find a tight end off the waiver wire, Arnold may be a stopgap for your team if nothing else. He seems to be one of Kyler Murray’s favorite targets lately. The 49ers are an appealing matchup for desperate general managers needing to start Arnold in their leagues.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-10%| Cameron Brate, TB- While he can just as easily give you a zero, he is also proving he is a fine emergency option that can score touchdowns here and there. A nice fantasy matchup with the Lions is ahead in Week 16.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Adam Shaheen, MIA- When Mike Gesicki exited the game in Week 14, Shaheen came in and was serviceable. He will not light the world on fire, but he could be a decent desperation option for general managers who desperately need a few points at their tight end spot. The floundering Raiders are next on the schedule.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Jacob Hollister, SEA- Hollister is definitely a desperation play, but he does catch a touchdown from Russell Wilson every now and then. In Week 16, the Rams present a challenge but did just get beaten by the Jets, so they could be picked on by a better offense in this contest.
Contending and Rebuilding 1%| Drew Sample, CIN- Sample’s production is clearly a product of an inexperienced quarterback checking down, but the points count all the same in fantasy football. In Week 16, he will have an easier draw against the Texans.
(Could be available in 30 or fewer roster spot leagues.)
None this week. Please see other quarterback sections of this report for pick-up ideas.
None this week. Please see other running back sections of this report for pick-up ideas.
Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 5-10%| Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE- Peoples-Jones did not get as much work with the loss of Odell Beckham Jr as the writer believed he would, but he is still a fine stash player for dynasty. Peoples-Jones is more advanced than a typical rookie in terms of route running and body positioning. He scored a touchdown in Week 13 and has since gotten more usage in the passing game, which is a good sign.
Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%| Tyler Johnson, TB- A recommendation in Matt Waldman’s The Replacements, Johnson got increased opportunity against the Bears a few weeks back and showed he could win contested balls. He also caught a touchdown against the Packers. Johnson is merely a name to keep in mind if injuries devastate the Buccaneers receiving corps or the Antonio Brown experiment ends due to misbehavior off the field.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Collin Johnson, JAX- Johnson hurt his hamstring this past week, but that is ok, because he is a longer-term stash option. Most of us make fun of the Jaguars for their team management, but they do seem to have a knack for finding wide receiver talent. Johnson is the latest find for this coaching staff and has been very effective when he has played a bigger role in the offense. With Trevor Lawrence and a new regime possibly incoming, it could be an exciting set of developments for Johnson if the new regime is willing to give him an increased opportunity in a roster evaluation year.
None this week. Please see other sections of this report for tight end recommendations.
(Could be available in 30-or-more roster spot leagues or leagues with large taxi squads.)
Watch List| Jake Fromm, BUF- Considering Josh Allen’s struggles as an accurate passer and his propensity to sacrifice his body, Fromm is not being rostered nearly enough in dynasty leagues. Fromm will have to work his way up the depth chart, but is the most promising of all three quarterbacks the Bills have in terms of decision-making and accuracy.
Watch List| Josh Rosen, TB- Rosen has bounced around quite a bit in his short career, but he is still one of the more talented backup quarterback prospects in the league. He is signed to the Tampa Bay practice squad where he will get to work to rehabilitate his career. That is one of the better moves he could have made. A year or more to sit and learn behind Tom Brady and work with quarterbacks coach Clyde Christiansen is ideal for the young signal-caller.
None this week. See other running back sections of this report for ideas of whom to pick up.
Contending and Rebuilding Watch List | Jonvea Johnson, DAL- Some teams are so good at evaluating talent at one position that they have an embarrassment of riches. Dallas is a great example of a team that evaluates receivers well. As a result, the talented Johnson lies buried behind Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Noah Brown. Dallas did not have the room to hold on to Johnson and put him on the practice squad. Other needy teams monitoring the situation might be willing to give Johnson a spot on their 53-man roster eventually. It is a long shot, but this camp standout two years running is worth monitoring to see if he gets a true opportunity elsewhere.
Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%| Kaden Smith, NYG- Evan Engram is often banged up and Smith has demonstrated surprising competency for New York when called upon to fill in. Could he be the future for the team at the position? It is certainly possible and worth taking a flier on.
LOST AT SEA
Ryan Griffin, NYJ- A different regime likely incoming and Chris Herdon managing to stay healthy all year are reasons to ditch Griffin if you have been holding on to him.
Vance McDonald, PIT- Ebron stayed healthy all year and the Steelers did not seem inclined to create mismatches with two tight ends very often. It is safe to drop McDonald for now.