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 two 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.
IN THE WATER
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. Next week, he will face the daunting Rams defense, but he will get a very soft Titans secondary in week three.
Sam Darnold, CAR| 57% rostered on MFL| Contending 5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Darnold has looked reinvigorated since landing in Carolina 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 continue to have a Ryan Tannehill-like resurgence in his new environment. Things will get tougher in a divisional tilt against the Saints in week two, but easier again in week three when the Panthers face the Texans.
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 Jaguars and Jets, which may help break ties in favor of Bridgewater.
Andy Dalton, CHI| 34% 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 until 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 Bengals in week two have a generous fantasy defense. Week three’s contest against the Browns could be a rough one for Dalton.
Tyrod Taylor, HOU| 37% rostered on MFL| Contending 3%, Rebuilding 1%|
With Desean Watson a 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. The Browns in week two are definitely a matchup to avoid if you can. The Panthers in week three will be a slightly better contest for Taylor.
Taylor Heinicke, WAS| 17% rostered on MFL| Contending 3%, Rebuilding 1%|
It looks like Ryan Fitzpatrick may have a significant hip injury. Taylor Heinicke has familiarity with the system and started under Ron Rivera when Cam Newton was hurt in Carolina. He also had one start last year. He will not be anything special, but he could be a decent play against a Giants defense that is not spectacular. The Bills matchup in week three may be tougher.
Sam Ehlinger, IND| 3% 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. 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, BUF| 0% rostered on MFL| Contending Watchlist, Rebuilding 1%|
The development of adding Mitch Trubisky to the roster is concerning. But it may just be that Trubisky is more ready for backup duty than Fromm, and the team is in a contention window. Fromm will have to work his way up the depth chart, but he is the most promising backup the Bills 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:
Mitchell Trubisky, BUF| 21% rostered on MFL |
Gardner Minshew, PHI| 24% rostered on MFL
Marcus Mariota, LVR| 19% rostered on MFL |
Drew Lock, DEN| 34% rostered on MFL |
Tyler Huntley, BAL| 7% rostered on MFL |
Blaine Gabbert, TB| 2% rostered on MFL |
Chad Henne, KC| 4% rostered on MFL |
Jacob Eason, IND| 18% rostered on MFL |
P.J. Walker, CAR| 7% rostered on MFL |
Case Keenum, CLE| 6% rostered on MFL |
Ty'Son Williams, BAL| 74% rostered on MFL | Contending and Rebuilding 30-50%|
Williams probably is not out there in your league, but this is probably your last shot at grabbing him if he is. With Gus Edwards also out for the season, Williams looks poised to get the primary touches in this offense. The Chiefs and Lions are not the stoutest against the run, so Williams might be able to gain momentum and confidence over the next two weeks.
Tony Pollard, DAL| 79% rostered on MFL | Contending 15-30%, Rebuilding 5-10%|
Pollard is not likely to be out there on any dynasty waiver wires. However, if he is available, you need to make sure he is rostered. If Ezekiel Elliott were to miss substantial time, Pollard would likely absorb a great deal of his workload. Recently-added Corey Clement is not much of a threat to Pollard’s potential production.
Both of these guys are listed together. We must account for the possibility that Williams will not be able to succeed in his new role. The Ravens will turn to one or both of these more experienced veterans to shoulder the load if that happens. In a run-first offense, that would have some value.
Justin Jackson, LAC| 57% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-15%, Rebuilding 1-5%|
Injuries have held back Jackson. Most recently, he suffered a groin injury in a preseason contest. However, he is the primary backup to Austin Eckler, and if he can suddenly have a stint when he stays healthy and Eckler does not, Jackson could pay off big for patient fantasy general managers. Eckler had some missed practices leading up to week one but did manage to play.
Tony Jones, NOS| 53% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-15%, Rebuilding 1-5%|
Jones is now the primary backup to Alvin Kamara, with Latavius Murray cut late from the team. Jones is in his second year with the Saints, so the familiarity with the system and playbook are more likely to be there than for a rookie runner. Also, Jones was able to have an impressive 82-yard performance in the preseason against the Ravens. He is worth stashing because his value would skyrocket if Kamara got dinged.
Malcolm Brown, MIA| 50% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-15%, Rebuilding 1%|
Brown is not flashy or as explosive as some other backs in the NFL, but he could easily lead the Dolphins’ running back group in yardage and touchdowns at the end of the year, simply because he understands how to take what yardage is there and he does not lose yardage trying to make a bigger play. If Myles Gaskin goes down again, Brown will still split carries with Salvon Ahmed but will become much more interesting in a two-way split rather than a three-way split.
Elijah Mitchell, SF| 24% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%
When Raheem Mostert went out with a knee injury, Mitchell took up the bulk of the workload, albeit in a blowout contest. One has to think that the scratched Trey Sermon will factor into the backfield at some point. However, for the short term, it is worth picking up Mitchell and playing him until the touches diminish. The Eagles in week two are better against the run than they are the pass. The Packers that the 49ers will face in week three are not staunch against the run.
Marquez Callaway, NO| 82% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 50%
Callaway’s rise in the dynasty community over the summer has been meteoric, in part because of the Micheal Thomas injury news, in part because he was so impressive in camp, and in part because Trequan Smith will miss time for injury. Callaway will not be around long and should be a priority pickup if he is still out there. The Saints will have the Panthers’ remade-but-unproven corner group to contend with in week two and the Patriots re-tooling unit in week three.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE| 37% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-15%, Rebuilding 10-20%|
Peoples-Jones jumps up the list with Odell Beckham Jr being a healthy scratch in week one. Peoples-Jones has already moved ahead of Rashard Higgins on the depth chart and could continue his upward climb if Beckham remains out for an extended time.
KJ Hamler and Tim Patrick| 38% and 30% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1-5%|
Hamler has the highest upside of the receivers on the roster that will fill in for Jerry Jeudy. Patrick is the low-ceiling, high-floor pickup. It just really depends on what your team needs as to which one you go after in your bidding. The ankle injury Jeudy sustained was serious and is likely to sideline him for the foreseeable future. That means both men should have increased opportunity for fantasy relevance with increased snap counts and targets.
Byron Pringle, KC| 18% 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 has jumped 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 opportunity or by injury, Pringle could end the year as the #2 WR in the offense. He should be rostered everywhere.
Devin Duvernay, BAL| 18% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 5-20%|
It is shocking to see Duvernay’s roster percentage so low, especially with Sammy Watkins’ injury history and Miles Boykin and Rashod Bateman on injured reserve. He has a playing style close to that of Percy Harvin. The Ravens offense has yet to show the will to use that type of skill set, but they may have no choice with their current receiver situation.
Chris Conley, HOU| 18% rostered on MFL| Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%|
Conley has had stints on multiple teams, but never one when he could legitimately challenge for the #2 role until now. Brandin Cooks has not exactly been the picture of health in his tenure, so we could see a scenario play out in which Conley becomes more prominent for Houston. While the quarterback situation is not ideal, the volume alone may be enough to make Conley a serviceable option in fantasy lineups. The ball was spread around quite a bit against the Jaguars, and Conley managed only two catches. If the trend continues, Conley could end up in the Out to Sea section of this report.
Josh Palmer, LAC| 32% rostered on MFL| Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%|
As injured as Mike Williams has been, we could see rookie Josh Palmer step in and play Williams’ rebounder role in the offense at some point this year. Palmer was impressive in camp, so he may get an opportunity sooner rather than later.
Tyron Johnson, JAX| 9% rostered on MFL| Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%|
Johnson switched teams this offseason, and while he went to an inferior organization, he may have landed in a situation with greater opportunity for him. Laviska Shenault Jr Jr is not known for his robust health, and Marvin Jones Jr has also spent some of the offseason banged up. There will likely be an opportunity for Johnson at some point this season, especially if he can ingratiate himself to Trevor Lawrence with the limited looks he will get in the meantime.
Collin Johnson, NYG| 10% rostered on MFL| Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-5%|
The Jaguars’ new regime cut Johnson, and New York picked him up off waivers. The writer is not convinced that Kenny Golladay will stay healthy and live up to his paycheck in the Big Apple, which makes Johnson worth consideration. Johnson also flashed somewhat in his limited work during his rookie season.
Tyler Johnson, TB| 19% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%|
A recommendation in last year’s iteration of The Replacements, Johnson showed last season he could win contested balls. Johnson is merely a name to keep in mind if injuries devastate the Buccaneers receiving corps or if Antonio Brown’s off-field issues once again become a problem.
Kyle Rudolph, NYG| 19% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Rudolph signed a short-term deal this offseason and will serve as the primary option until Evan Engram can return from injury. Do not count out Rudolph because he is old -- he has been very good in the red zone and could become a favorite of Daniel Jones when the Giants are in scoring range. Washington is a tough draw for Rudolph and company during week two, but the easier Falcons matchup looms in week three.
Dan Arnold, CAR| 29% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Dan Arnold’s landing spots get better every year! He landed this time in Carolina with Sam Darnold, who is working to rebuild his career. While Joe Brady did not utilize the tight end very much last year, that could change with a competent Arnold leading the group. While not the most talented player, Arnold has landed in a situation where he could very easily put up a career year. In week two, the Saints’ stingy defense could be a problem for Arnold, but the much easier Texans are on tap in week three.
Chris Manhertz, JAX| 0% rostered on MFL| Contending and, Rebuilding 1%|
Manhertz has a new team and came out of camp on the top of the depth chart. It does not hurt that he will have a rookie quarterback using him as a security blanket option. Jacksonville will face the Broncos and Cardinals defenses in the next two weeks, and both can be tough matchups.
Tyler Conklin, MIN| 22% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1%|
With Irv Smith done for the year, Conklin will step 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 Cardinals can be passed upon and so can the Seahawks, so Conklin isn’t a terrible play over the next two weeks if you need help.
Kaden Smith, NYG| 4% rostered on MFL| Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1-10%|
Evan Engram is often banged up (he was yet again this offseason), 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.
LOST AT SEA
None yet this year!