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 three 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.
Jameis Winston, NO| 89% rostered on MFL
Mike Davis, ATL| 97% rostered on MFL
Ty'Son Williams, BAL| 86% rostered on MFL
Elijah Mitchell, SF| 84% rostered on MFL
Marquez Callaway, NO| 79% rostered on MFL
IN THE WATER
Sam Darnold, CAR| 58% 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. To his credit, he scored two touchdowns and led a 99-yard touchdown drive against the stingy Saints defense last week. Things will get easier again in week three when the Panthers face the Texans. The week four matchup against a questionable Cowboys secondary is an additional incentive to keep rolling him out there.
Teddy Bridgewater, DEN| 57% 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 Tim Patrick. Denver has a good week three matchup against the Jets, but a much tougher draw against the Baltimore Ravens.
Taylor Heinicke, WAS| 33% rostered on MFL| Contending 3%, Rebuilding 1%|
Ryan Fitzpatrick is on injured reserve with a hip subluxation and will not be back for some weeks, if at all this season. 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 serviceable in certain matchups. The Bills contest in week three is not one of those times. The Falcons in week four promises to be a better opportunity for Heinicke and Washington.
Tyrod Taylor, HOU| 45% rostered on MFL| Contending 3%, Rebuilding 1%|
It should be noted that Taylor is dealing with a hamstring injury and may be out in the upcoming contest against the Panthers. When healthy, he will continue to hold down the fort until the Texans decide they want to see what they have in Davis Mills. Taylor was more productive earlier in his career than in the recent past, but he cannot really be blamed for the medical accident in week 2 of 2020 and Justin Herbert’s emergence that closed the door on his return to the starter role.
Carson Wentz, IND| 63% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%|
We will need to see if Wentz can go after leaving the week two contest due to an ankle injury. He has earned the injury-prone label and has not played particularly well the past couple of years. 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. If he plays in week three, he will get a very soft Titans secondary. In week four, he will draw the Dolphins, whose secondary did not perform the best against Josh Allen last week.
Davis Mills, HOU| 15% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 5-10%|
Mills relieved Tyrod Taylor in the second half of the contest against Cleveland after Taylor rolled his ankle. Mills could get a start or two in while Taylor heals. Mills is a rookie on one of the worst-managed organizations in football, so we cannot expect too much, but there is more upside in the unknown than in some of the other prospects on this list. The Panthers are up next and gave us some pause with how they shut down the Saints last week. The Bills in week four is an even more daunting prospect.
Jacob Eason, IND| 17% rostered on MFL| Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1%|
We will need to see if Wentz can go, but if he cannot, it will be Eason against a very soft Titans secondary. In week four, if Wentz still is not better, Eason will draw the Dolphins, whose secondary did not perform the best against Josh Allen last week. Eason did not inspire confidence by throwing an interception in relief of Wentz last week, but given the quality of the team he is playing, he should be serviceable if called into action.
Jacoby Brissett, MIA| 13% rostered on MFL| Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1%|
Tua Tagovailoa left Sunday’s contest with bruised ribs and could be out for a few games. Brissett did not look great in his relief, but he was playing a very tough Bills defense. Brissett has starting experience with the Colts. He was very average in his time as the starter. He is really recommended only if you desperately need help. The Raiders defense has been surprisingly staunch to start the season, so playing Brissett in week three is not advisable. In week four, he will take on his old team, Indianapolis.
Sam Ehlinger, IND| 2% 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| 23% rostered on MFL
Drew Lock, DEN| 33% rostered on MFL |
Tyler Huntley, BAL| 8% rostered on MFL |
Blaine Gabbert, TB| 2% rostered on MFL |
Chad Henne, KC| 4% rostered on MFL |
P.J. Walker, CAR| 7% rostered on MFL |
Case Keenum, CLE| 5% rostered on MFL |
Latavius Murray| 85% rostered on MFL| Contending 20-40%, Rebuilding 1-5%|
We must account for the possibility that Ty'Son Williams will not be able to succeed in his new role. The Ravens have turned to this experienced veteran to help shoulder the load. While Murray is not technically the starter, he will get a significant load and could become the primary ball carrier if Williams cannot handle the pressure of starting duties. Roster Murray now if he is out there, for he will not remain on the waiver wire for much longer.
Alexander Mattison| 70% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-20%, Rebuilding 5-10%|
Mattison is not out there in many dynasty leagues, but if he is, roster him right away. This is likely the only opportunity you have to get him if he is available. Dalvin Cook had an ankle sprain near the end of his contest and it is unclear currently if it is minor or if it is the dreaded high ankle sprain. Assuming Cook misses time, we can expect a split with Mattison and Ameer Abdullah with Mattison getting the bulk of the work. The bad news is that Mattison has not made the most of his opportunities when he has spelled Cook in the past. The good news is that Minnesota has a better run-blocking offensive line than they had the last time Mattison got his shot.
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. Third-stringer Corey Clement is not much of a threat to Pollard’s potential production.
Justin Jackson, LAC| 51% 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.
Tony Jones, NOS| 61% 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| 46% 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.
Peyton Barber, LVR| 20% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-15%, Rebuilding 1%|
Barber led the way on the ground for the Raiders in week two with 13 carries to Kenyon Drake’s seven. While Drake holds more fantasy value because of the pass-catching aspects of his game, Barber is still worth thinking about in standard leagues or PPR leagues in which you do not want to take a 0 at the running back position.
Trenton Cannon, SF| 6% rostered on MFL| Contending 1%, Rebuilding 1%|
Trey Sermon (concussion), Elijah Mitchell (shoulder), and JaMychal Hasty (ankle) all exited against the Eagles and did not return. It is unlikely that all three are unable to play in the next game. Even if they are all unavailable against the Packers, San Francisco would likely look to free agency for help. It may be worth putting in a small claim on Cannon on the off chance he earns a significant role in the next contest. Cannon was playing for the Ravens in week one, was cut following the game, and was claimed by 49ers on waivers. Cannon reminds me of former Raiders runner Taiwan Jones. Though diminutive in size, with the right fit, he could be productive for fantasy at times. Cannon could enjoy the same success if he gets a chance.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE| 33% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-20%, Rebuilding 20-40%
Peoples-Jones jumped up the list when Odell Beckham Jr continued to miss games. Now, Jarvis Landry looks to have a significant knee injury, making People-Jones the starter. It is primarily a run-first attack, but there will be games in which Peoples-Jones has more value. His long-term value has never been higher. The contests against the Bears in week three and the Vikings in week four are unlikely to make Cleveland deviate from their winning game plan.
Byron Pringle, KC| 19% 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. He should be rostered everywhere.
KJ Hamler and Tim Patrick| 44% and 57% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-20%, 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.
Devin Duvernay, BAL| 17% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 5-20%|
It is shocking to see Duvernay’s roster percentage so low, especially with Sammy Watkins’ and Marquise Brown’s 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.
Josh Palmer, LAC| 29% 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| 8% 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 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| 8% 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.
Harrison Bryant, CLE| 22% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%
With multiple injuries at the wide receiver position for the Browns, the ancillary pass catchers are getting more involved. 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.
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. An easier Falcons matchup looms in week three. The Saints in week four should probably find Rudolph on the fantasy bench.
Dan Arnold, CAR| 26% 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. The Texans are on tap in week three and it is not a particularly challenging matchup. The Cowboys in week four are also a secondary to exploit.
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 Cardinals and Bengals, which is a mixed bag. It does not help that while Manhertz had a productive week one, he was blanked in week two. Start him only if desperate.
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 Seahawks have a vulnerable secondary, so Conklin is not a terrible play next week. The Browns defense may be a bit tougher, so do not necessarily trust Conklin in week four unless you want to bank on volume coming through.
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.
Out to Sea
Andy Dalton, CHI| 34% rostered on MFL|
He was knocked out of the game with a knee injury. Even if Dalton ends up only suffering a multi-week injury, it will be hard to go back to him once Chicago sees what Justin Fields can do. It is fine to drop him in all but the deepest of leagues.
Le'Veon Bell| 52% rostered on MFL|
It appears the Ravens prefer Latavius Murray as the primary backup to Williams. They even activated Devonta Freeman to the active roster over Bell. If there is another injury at the position or if Williams cannot handle his role, we will reconsider Bell in our leagues.
Chris Conley, HOU| 19% rostered on MFL