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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 Fifteen 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.
The fantasy playoffs are either here for you this week, or they are already underway in most leagues. The wire is thin, so don’t be afraid to bid aggressively and shoot your shot this late in the game!
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| 85% rostered on MFL|
Latavius Murray, BAL| 68% rostered on MFL|
Alexander Mattison, MIN| 94% rostered on MFL|
Tony Pollard, DAL| 93% rostered on MFL |
Marquez Callaway, NO| 65% rostered on MFL
Tim Patrick, DEN| 68% rostered on MFL|
Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE| 68% rostered on MFL|
Tyler Conklin, MIN| 71% rostered on MFL|
IN THE WATER
Cam Newton, CAR| 61% 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 face a tough test from the Bills in Week 15. It will get slightly easier when the Panthers face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16.
Gardner Minshew, PHI| 28% 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. Washington and the Giants are next on the schedule in the upcoming weeks and both are great matchups for Minshew until such time as Hurts is able to play.
Taysom Hill, NO| 72% 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 15, the Saints will face a Buccaneers defense that is stout against the run, but still is somewhat lenient against the pass. In Week 16, they will square off against the Dolphins, whose pass defense has vastly improved in recent weeks.
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. The Broncos will face a ferocious Bengals team in Week 15. In Week 16, they will take on a softer Raiders defense.
Taylor Heinicke, WAS| 70% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s hip subluxation was confirmed to be season-ending this week, meaning Heinicke will start for the rest of the way. Taylor Heinicke has proven himself serviceable in certain matchups. He will face a permissive Eagles secondary in Week 15. In Week 16 Heinicke will have a divisional tilt with Dallas, who is not great against the pass.
Tyler Huntley, BAL| 9% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Lamar Jackson suffered an ankle injury that was severe enough to bring out the cart. He did not return to the contest. Huntley is not an amazing replacement and is prone to turnovers, so keep that in mind in leagues in which interceptions or fumbles are heavily penalized. That said, he, like Jackson, has the ability to make plays with his legs, which makes him more valuable than the average replacement. The Packers are not really a matchup to be afraid of in Week 15, but the Bengals in Week 16 are concerning.
Davis Mills, HOU| 24% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1-10%|
Mills will start for the rest of the year according to a report that surfaced last week. This makes sense, 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 Jaguars and Chargers in the next two weeks are not passing matchups about which to be concerned.
Sam Ehlinger, IND| 5% rostered on MFL| Contending Watchlist, Rebuilding 1%|
Ehlinger 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. Since returning, he has seen limited regular-season action, including a very brief appearance in Week 13. 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| 8% 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| 20% rostered on MFL|
Drew Lock, DEN| 26% rostered on MFL | (Currently on COVID list)
Blaine Gabbert, TB| 2% rostered on MFL |
Chad Henne, KC| 4% rostered on MFL |
Rashaad Penny, SEA| 49% rostered on MFL| Contending 20-40%, Rebuilding 1%|
Penny is probably rostered in most dynasty leagues, but we will be thorough and cover the bases in case he is out there in your league. It appears he has finally seized the mantle of being the bellcow on the Seahawks team that is determined to establish the run. The Rams and the Bears are up next for Seattle. The Rams struggle against the run, but the Bears are very stout against it.
Boston Scott, PHI| 60% 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.
The Titans’ run game got complicated again when Jeremy McNichols returned from injured reserve. Basically, you are taking a large risk by starting any of the three, because their usage has not been consistent from week to week. However, with all the injury situations out there, general managers may have few available choices. In Week 15, Tennessee will play the Steelers, who are a bottom-of-the-barrel run defense unit. Week 16 will hold a less-than-desirable matchup with San Francisco.
Eno Benjamin, ARI| 23% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 5-10%|
Benjamin is a back the writer likes more for the long-term. Chase Edmonds is back from injury, so Benjamin’s limited role may dry up for this year, but he is worth stashing with the idea that he may get greater opportunity in the future.
Justin Jackson, LAC| 32% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1%|
Austin Eckler has been a fumbler in recent weeks. 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| 27% 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 as an emergency fill-in option.
Tyler Johnson, TB| 23% 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| 39% 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 Cardinals and Falcons are on tap over the next two weeks for the Lions. Neither has a particularly scary secondary.
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| 28% 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 little while longer, so Moreau is a good choice for desperate teams. The Browns and Broncos lie ahead on the slate and neither is particularly great at defending the tight end.
Ricky Seals-Jones, WAS| 40% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%|
Logan Thomas suffered a season-ending ACL and MCL injury. Seals-Jones had himself been sitting with a hip injury, but he came back this past week. 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| 18% 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| 2% 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
Andy Dalton, CHI| 28% rostered on MFL|
Justin Fields is healthy enough to play and Dalton is dealing with a hand issue. It is time to kick him back to the curb.
Tevin Coleman, NYJ| 51% rostered on MFL|
Coleman sat with a concussion in Week 14 and the offense was positively morose anyway. It is okay to drop Coleman in all but the deepest of formats.