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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 Fourteen edition of Waivers of the Future! Whether you are a contending or rebuilding team, this report will endeavor to spark some ideas about whom you might want to claim.
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 20-50%+ of your budget on them, depending on your league.
Carson Wentz, IND| 89% rostered on MFL|
Latavius Murray, BAL| 72% rostered on MFL|
Alexander Mattison, MIN| 95% rostered on MFL|
Tony Pollard, DAL, DAL| 93% rostered on MFL |
Marquez Callaway, NO| 68% rostered on MFL
Tim Patrick, DEN| 70% rostered on MFL|
Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE| 48% rostered on MFL|
IN THE WATER
Cam Newton, CAR| 60% rostered on MFL| Contending 15-20%, Rebuilding 1%|
Newton is probably the best of the available options still left because of his rushing ability. Newton will play the hapless Falcons when he returns in Week 14. Then he will face a much tougher test from the Bills in Week 15.
Gardner Minshew, PHI| 21% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%|
We will see how long Jalen Hurts’ ankle injury sidelines him, but Minshew is one of the more valuable backups in the league and has just enough passing and rushing ability to be an above-average fantasy starter. The Eagles have a bye in Week 14, but Washington and the Giants are next on the schedule and both are great matchups for Minshew until such time as Hurts is able to play.
Teddy Bridgewater, DEN| 63% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%|
Bridgewater has been better in Denver than he was at his previous two stops. He takes care of the ball, which is a delight to those playing in leagues in which interceptions are heavily penalized. Bridgewater has some very quality options in Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and Jerry Jeudy. Fantasy general managers starting Bridgewater in Week 14 should be licking their chops, because there are not many better matchups than the Lions. The Broncos will face a tougher test in the improving Chiefs defense in Week 15.
Taylor Heinicke, WAS| 63% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Ryan Fitzpatrick is on injured reserve with a hip subluxation and may not be able to come back this season. Taylor Heinicke has proven himself serviceable in certain matchups. In Week 14, Heinicke will have a divisional tilt with Dallas, who is not great against the pass. He will face a permissive Eagles secondary in Week 15.
Taysom Hill, NO| 64% rostered on MFL| Contending 15-20%, Rebuilding 1%|
Hill’s frequent turnovers can be a problem in leagues that heavily penalize interceptions and fumbles, but he makes up for his poor decision-making with his rushing and big-play ability. In Week 14, he will have an appealing Jets faceoff. In Week 15, the Saints will face a Buccaneers defense that is stout against the run but still is somewhat lenient against the pass.
Davis Mills, HOU| 21% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1-10%|
Mills came in against the Colts and is likely to be the starter going forward as the Texans begin to turn to evaluation mode. We saw Mills earlier in the year when Tyrod Taylor was injured and that is a good frame of reference for what his upside is going forward. Fortunately for Mills, the Seahawks and Jaguars in the next two weeks are not matchups about which to be concerned.
Andy Dalton, CHI| 31% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1%|
It turns out Justin Fields’ injury was more serious than originally thought. His rib fractures will keep him out for a while, so Andy Dalton will once again start for the Bears. Dalton has a low ceiling and floor, so use him only if you have no other options. The Packers can be passed upon, but the quality of the Bears’ offense will likely limit how well Dalton can do, even in a favorable matchup. The Vikings in Week 15 also are not an extremely scary opponent.
Sam Ehlinger, IND| 5% rostered on MFL| Contending Watchlist, Rebuilding 1%|
Ehlinger actually saw very brief action on Sunday when the Colts steamrolled the Texans. He had some great moments in preseason action. He split 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.
Jake Fromm, NYG| 0% rostered on MFL| Contending Watchlist, Rebuilding 1%|
Fromm was stolen off Buffalo’s practice squad and backed up Mike Glennon on Sunday. Despite the downgrade in organization for Fromm, it is still an interesting situation. Daniel Jones struggles in some of the areas in which Fromm excels. He is the most promising quarterback the Giants currently have in terms of decision-making and accuracy.
Josh Rosen, ATL | 4% rostered on MFL| Contending Watchlist, Rebuilding 1%|
It is not encouraging that Rosen has bounced around quite a bit in his short career, but he is still one of the league's more talented backup quarterback prospects. He is also behind Matt Ryan and can continue to learn from another quality veteran as he did last season in Tampa Bay behind Tom Brady.
If you play in a superflex or desperately need a quarterback who might earn valuable fantasy starting work in future weeks if the starter struggles or is hurt, consider picking these quarterbacks up for free or a minimal bid. They are listed in order of the writer’s preference:
Case Keenum, CLE| 13% rostered on MFL|
Mitchell Trubisky, BUF| 19% rostered on MFL|
Drew Lock, DEN| 26% rostered on MFL | (Currently on COVID list)
Tyler Huntley, BAL| 10% rostered on MFL |
Blaine Gabbert, TB| 2% rostered on MFL |
Chad Henne, KC| 4% rostered on MFL |
Boston Scott, PHI| 59% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%
Jordan Howard is out for the foreseeable future with a knee injury and Miles Sanders re-injured his ankle. If they do not play after their Week 14 bye, it makes Boston Scott an appealing option against both Washington and then the Giants.
Dontrell Hilliard and Donta Foreman, TEN| 67% and 64% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%
The Titans run game may get complicated again when Jeremy McNichols returns from injury, but for now, it is a fairly straightforward split with Adrian Peterson out of the mix. Despite the blowout loss to New England in Week 12, both rushers eclipsed 100 yards. In Week 14, the Titans will face a Jaguars team that appears to be mailing it in. In Week 15, they will play the Steelers, who are a bottom-of-the-barrel run defense unit.
Tevin Coleman, NYJ| 52% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%
Tevin Coleman fully took over the backfield in Week 13. While the offense is not high scoring, there are few backs out there getting the workload that Coleman will command going forward. Week 14 will bring a Saints defense that is stout against the run. The Dolphins’ defense has also stiffened in recent weeks, making Coleman not as appealing in Week 15.
Eno Benjamin, ARI| 25% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 5-10%|
Benjamin is a back the writer likes more for the long-term. In the short term, he should still get some additional opportunity with Chase Edmonds nursing an ankle injury.
Justin Jackson, LAC| 31% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1%|
Eckler was benched in the game and Justin Jackson got more work than he has seen all year. It may have been the game script, but it also could have been a function of Austin Eckler fumbling twice. It will be something to monitor going forward. Jackson has the between-the-tackles and receiving skills to carry the load for the Chargers if called upon.
Byron Pringle, KC| 35% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 5-20%
He is a Matt Waldman favorite, but beyond that, he is also in an extremely good organization. He is clearly over Demarcus Robinson for the WR3 spot. Mecole Hardman has been something of a disappointment with the opportunity he has had, so it is not beyond imagination that by more usage or by injury, Pringle could end the year as the #2 WR in the offense. Do not worry about Josh Gordon encroaching on his role. Pringle should be rostered everywhere.
Tyler Johnson, TB| 24% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%|
A recommendation in last year’s iteration of The Replacements, Johnson showed last season he could win contested balls. While not technically a starter, Johnson has become more relevant with Antonio Brown’s multi-week injury situation and now Brown’s suspension for violating COVID protocols.
Josh Reynolds, DET| 35% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%|
Reynolds was released by the Titans, but resurfaced in Detroit and was the leading receiver on Thanksgiving Day. He followed up with a healthy seven targets in Week 13. At a point in the year when any waiver wire help is hard to come by, he is worth considering both for the short- and long-term. The Broncos and Cardinals are on tap over the next two weeks for the Lions.
Collin Johnson, NYG| 6% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 5-10%|
The Jaguars’ new regime cut Johnson and New York picked him up off waivers. Both Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney have had trouble staying healthy this year. Also, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton have been banged up regularly, which means Johnson could get more involved going forward. Johnson flashed somewhat in his limited work during his rookie season, so he is worth a speculative look.
Josh Palmer, LAC| 26% rostered on MFL| Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%|
As injured as Mike Williams has been throughout his career, we could see rookie Josh Palmer step in and play Williams’ rebounder role in the offense at some point this year. Williams has been dealing with a knee issue on and off, so that time could come sooner rather than later.
Tyron Johnson, LVR| 3% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1%|
Johnson was added to the Raiders practice squad as a potential developmental option to replace Henry Ruggs. He is very speedy and should be someone we watch with interest as the team heads in a new direction without Jon Gruden.
Foster Moreau, LVR| 43% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 5-10%
Moreau is a capable blocker and receiver. Darren Waller’s injury could keep him out for a while, so Moreau is a good choice for desperate teams. The Chiefs and Browns lie ahead on the slate and neither is particularly great at defending the tight end.
Tyler Conklin, MIN| 64% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1-5%|
With Irv Smith done for the year, Conklin has stepped in to receive some of the volume that Smith would have gained. Conklin is not a revelation at the position, but he has proven to be serviceable. The Vikings’ opponent in Week 14 (the Steelers) has not been particularly stout against the pass. In Week 15, Minnesota will play the Bears, who are not shutting down quarterbacks either.
Ricky Seals-Jones, WAS| 22% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%|
Logan Thomas suffered a season-ending ACL and MCL injury. Seals-Jones has himself been sitting with a hip injury. However, if he is healthy, he will be extremely valuable to general managers who need help at the position down the stretch because the offense targets tight ends more often than some others in the league.
Harrison Bryant, CLE| 19% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 5-10%|
Bryant has a bright future and may become what the team hoped David Njoku would develop into. Bryant is starting to get increased targets and is worth stashing away for the day when Njoku and Austin Hooper are no longer on the roster.
Kaden Smith, NYG| 3% rostered on MFL| Contending Watch List, Rebuilding 1-10%|
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. Kyle Rudolph is a mere stopgap for the team. We will see if the team lets Engram move on this offseason and if they trust Smith enough to let him take the role of starter. He is currently dealing with a knee injury that landed him on injured reserve, so his value is almost exclusively to rebuilders.
Out to Sea
Trevor Siemian, NO| 28% rostered on MFL|
Taysom Hill was named the starter for Week 13 and going forward. We will revisit Siemian if there is an injury to Hill or if Hill’s frequent turnovers lead to him getting benched.
Tyrod Taylor, HOU| 50% rostered on MFL|
Taylor was benched in a bad loss to the Texans. It is likely Davis Mills will start so he can be evaluated for the remainder of the year. It is okay to drop Taylor in all but the deepest of formats.
Ty Johnson, NYJ| 69% rostered on MFL|
Tevin Coleman took a leading role this week and reduced Johnson’s role to a single touch. If that is going to be the norm going forward, it is ok to let go of Johnson.