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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 the week one edition of Waivers of the Future! Many of you are making cuts and finalizing your roster in preparation for the regular season. Whether you are a contending or rebuilding team, this report will endeavor to spark some ideas about whom you might want to claim.
The writer is making changes to the format of this article this year. Instead of listing different levels of pickup options, I will instead add roster percentages for every player. This will be updated each week so that general managers can get a sense of how likely a player is to be available in their leagues. A two-week look ahead at matchups will be provided for prospects that are or will shortly become starters and will be useful to contending teams.
Jameis Winston, NO| 77% rostered on MFL| Contending 6%, Rebuilding 5-10%|
Winston may be out there in a few dynasty leagues-- many dropped him when he became the backup to Drew Brees. Even when Brees retired, many thought Taysom Hill would win the backup job. Winston has looked revitalized in the preseason and the organizational fit was a good one for rehabilitating his value. While Hill will bite into Winston’s fantasy upside, Winston is probably still the best of the bunch when it comes to retaining dynasty value headed into the future. He will not be out there long and his roster percentage is likely to rise dramatically as soon as waivers run before the season. The Packers in week one are not a great matchup under normal circumstances, but it may help that Zadarius Smith might sit due to injury. In week two, the Saints will face off against a much easier Panthers defense. However, the matchup is a divisional rivalry, so that may complicate matters.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, WAS| 65% rostered on MFL| Contending 5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Does it not seem like Ryan Fitzpatrick is on this list every year, just with a new team? This year, it is the Washington Football Team. He remains one of the most prolific backups in the league, which is why he has been successful for so long. He is capable of multiple touchdown outings, but he can also throw interceptions with his daring and aggressive style of play. The Chargers are a tough draw in week one, but he will get a much easier matchup in week two against the Giants.
Carson Wentz, IND| 63% rostered on MFL| Contending 5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Wentz has earned the injury-prone label and has not played particularly well as of late. It should also be noted that Wentz has chosen not to vaccinate and is at greater risk of missing time due to that fact. However, he is back with the head coach who was the offensive coordinator for the Eagles in Wentz’s career year. The Eagles did a great job that year of disguising Wentz’s weaknesses and playing to his strengths. Perhaps we can see that version again in Indianapolis.
Sam Darnold, CAR| 60% rostered on MFL| Contending 5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Darnold has looked reinvigorated in the preseason and has lots of great weapons with which to work, something that could not be said at any prior point in his NFL career. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Darnold could have a Ryan Tannehill-like resurgence in his new environment. The Panthers will have an easier matchup in week one against the Jets. Things will get tougher in a divisional tilt against the Saints in week two.
Teddy Bridgewater, DEN| 51% rostered on MFL| Contending 4%, Rebuilding 1%|
As we saw in Carolina, Bridgewater is not extremely exciting at this point in his career, but he will take care of the ball, which will be a relief for general managers playing in leagues in which interceptions are heavily penalized. Additionally, Bridgewater has some very quality options in Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. Denver also has good matchups for the next two weeks against the Giants and Jaguars, which may help break ties in favor of Bridgewater.
Andy Dalton, CHI| 37% rostered on MFL| Contending 3%, Rebuilding 1%|
Dalton is likely to give way to Justin Fields at some point in the season, but he will be the caretaker for this offense to that point. Dalton has not been very good in a while now, so expect that whatever scoring he accomplishes will also come with some interceptions. The Rams in week one is a matchup to avoid, but the Falcons in week two have a much more generous fantasy defense.
Tyrod Taylor, HOU| 35% rostered on MFL| Contending 3%, Rebuilding 1%|
With Desean Watson likely headed toward healthy scratch status this year, it will be up to Tyrod Taylor to hold down the fort until the Texans decide they want to see what they have in Davis Mills. Taylor has been more productive in his past than in the recent future, but he cannot really be blamed for the medical accident in week 2 and Justin Herbert’s emergence that closed the door on his return to the starter role in 2020. Houston will get a team this week in the Jacksonville Jaguars that is nearly as abysmal as they are, so if there is a week to start Taylor, this is probably it. The Browns in week two are definitely a matchup to avoid if you can.
Sam Ehlinger, IND| 5% rostered on MFL| Contending Watchlist, Rebuilding 1%|
Ehlinger had some great moments in preseason action. He was splitting first-team reps with Jacob Eason before suffering a knee sprain that placed him on injured reserve. Carson Wentz is not a sure thing as a reclamation project, so it would be good for quarterback-needy dynasty teams to roster Ehlinger and see if he continues to develop.
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