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, a position that has drawn more attention for deep scouting dives with the rise of 2QB/Superflex leagues.
Gardner Minshew, PHI - Last week we all saw that he still has a future as a top end backup, if not a starter. Teams that miss out on more ballyhooed free agents or trade targets, or otherwise have to work with less cap room and trade assets (cough, Pittsburgh) should be interested in Minshew and we’ve already seen that he can be a fantasy asset when he was with the Jaguars.
Jordan Love, GB - Love didn’t look ready for prime time, and if the Packers part ways with Aaron Rodgers, they could easily bring in a veteran like Matt Ryan to replace him, but for now there is a reasonable chance that Love is the Week 1 starter in Green Bay.
Marcus Mariota, LV - Mariota got no interest on the open market when he was available at a 10.625 million dollar price and instead took a pay cut to 3.5 million to stay with the Raiders. He looked good in his one game driving the offense last year, and still has the goods to hang in the NFL even though his time with the Titans bore no fruit. A smart team will sign him as a backup next year and after that, anything could happen.
Kellen Mond, MIN - If Mike Zimmer is fired this offseason and the team goes into a rebuilding mode, could Kirk Cousins be on the trade block? Cousins is only under contract for one more anyway, and his 35 million dollar price tag would not be appealing to a team looking to the future. Mond has a fantasy friendly skillset with good running ability. He also has a good skillset for the Shanahan/Kubiak offense that features play action and lots of rollouts and moving pockets. Mond should get an audition with the Vikings one way or the other.
Mitchell Trubisky, BUF - Don’t laugh. Trubisky could be a hot name in free agency for teams looking to shake up their quarterback depth chart. After watching Matt Nagy’s offense without Trubisky this year, it’s possible that Trubisky wasn’t all, or even most of the problem in Chicago. Trubisky is athletic and can add value as a runner, so don’t overlook him in 2QB/Superflex dynasty leagues if he’s on the waiver wire.
Ian Book, NO - Taysom Hill could enter the offseason as the #1 quarterback for the Saints, but Book will get the benefit of working with Sean Payton, and Payton could decide that Hill is more effective as a changeup after getting to watch him down the stretch this year, albeit with a banged up finger on his throwing hand. Book projects as the kind of pocket passer that Payton can turn into at least a viable backup, if not starter in the NFL.
Mason Rudolph, PIT - Ugh. Well if the Steelers can’t get anything done at quarterback this offseason, they are staring at Rudolph as their uninspiring starter. He would have value in 2QB/Superflex, but that’s about it.
Kyle Trask, TB - Tom Brady could retire this offseason if the Bucs go back to back I suppose, but chances are he is sticking around for a while, so you’ll need to be patient with Trask. The good news for him is that he will get to watch and absorb everything Brady does to inform his game when he does eventually get a chance, which he should simply because he represents the optimism of the unknown in a league that is always quarterback hungry.
Feleipe Franks, ATL - Matt Ryan could be traded in the offseason as the Falcons turn the page, which would leave Franks as the only incumbent quarterback on the roster. He has a big arm, which teams usually are loathe to give up on without seeing it in game action, so there could be a point next year where Franks gets an audition since the 2022 quarterback class doesn’t really have a marquee franchise prospect.
Sam Ehlinger, IND - Ehlinger got hurt before he could make a mark this year, but he quickly caught up to Jacob Eason on the depth chart despite Eason having a year head start, which is an indication that he is going to overachieve with his classic “gamer” and sum is more than the parts scouting profile. Ehlinger isn’t afraid to run and sacrifices his body for his team, which could help for fantasy if he ever gets a shot.