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 eight 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| 85% rostered on MFL
Sam Darnold, CAR| 86% rostered on MFL
Mike Davis, ATL| 95% rostered on MFL
Darrel Williams, KC| 93% rostered on MFL|
Devontae Booker, NYG| 82% rostered on MFL|
Latavius Murray, BAL| 80% rostered on MFL|
Alexander Mattison, MIN| 84% rostered on MFL|
Tony Pollard, DAL, DAL| 89% rostered on MFL |
Marquez Callaway, NO| 78% rostered on MFL
Tim Patrick, DEN| 76% rostered on MFL|
IN THE WATER
Teddy Bridgewater, DEN| 63% rostered on MFL| Contending 4%, 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 and Tim Patrick. Hopefully, he will add Jerry Jeudy to that list. The practice window has opened for Jeudy, who was designated to return from injured reserve. The Broncos will get an easier matchup against Washington in week eight. The Cowboys in week nine are a defense that can be passed on.
Taylor Heinicke, WAS| 58% rostered on MFL| Contending 3%, Rebuilding 1%|
Ryan Fitzpatrick is on injured reserve with a hip subluxation and will not be back for several 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 Broncos in week eight are a top-five unit against the pass, so Heinicke is not a recommended play in the short term. The Buccaneers in week nine are a more permissive unit in terms of passing yards allowed.
Carson Wentz, IND| 78% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%|
He has earned the injury-prone label and has not played particularly well the past couple of years. He is playing through two sprained ankles currently. 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. He will face the Titans porous secondary in week eight. In week nine, the Colts will square off with another lackluster pass defense unit, the New York Jets.
Davis Mills, HOU| 27% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 5-10%|
Mills relieved Tyrod Taylor in the second half of the contest against Cleveland. Mills will get the start for a little longer until Taylor is ready to play. Mills is a rookie in 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. Stay away from Mills in week eight when he faces an aggressive Rams defense. In week nine, the Dolphins matchup will not be anything that should scare away general managers.
Mike White, NYJ| 27% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1%|
Zach Wilson left Sunday’s contest with a knee injury, so we will see if he is ready to go next week. If not, Mike White came in and was able to engineer a touchdown drive, albeit throwing a couple of interceptions as well. The Bengals are a top pass defense right now, so next week looks like a poor time to utilize White. The Colts in week nine have a middling pass defense unit.
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. 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| 20% rostered on MFL |
Gardner Minshew, PHI| 20% rostered on MFL
Drew Lock, DEN| 30% 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| 6% rostered on MFL |
Case Keenum, CLE| 7% rostered on MFL|
D'Ernest Johnson, CLE| 19% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-15%, Rebuilding 1%|
Kareem Hunt was not able to put weight on his leg as he left the field in week six. Nick Chubb is getting closer to returning, but we can expect that Johnson will remain involved as long as Hunt is out. Johnson is nowhere near as dynamic as Hunt or Chubb, but since the Browns have a quarterback with an injured non-throwing shoulder and they favor running the ball anyway, it is likely Johnson will be more of a factor, at least for a few games. The Steelers are on tap in week eight and are a bottom-dwelling unit in terms of stopping the run. In week nine, the Browns will face a very tough Bengals rushing defense.
Khalil Herbert, CHI| 75% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%|
Even with Williams back, Herbert was the primary rusher and receiver. He did not disappoint fantasy-wise, even though his team got blown out. He totaled over 100 yards on the ground and through the air. The 49ers in week eight are good at defending the run, so it may not be the best time to deploy Herbert. The Steelers are not quite as stout but also are not a great draw in week nine.
Kenneth Gainwell, PHI| 63% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%|
Miles Sanders exited with what looks to be a significant ankle injury. That is where Kenneth Gainwell comes in. He will split carries with Boston Scott, but as thin as the running back wire is, we have to take what we can.
Dwayne Washington, NO| 0% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%|
While Tony Jones remains on IR, Washington becomes the primary backup to Alvin Kamara. Washington has prior NFL experience and while he will be no Kamara, he can be competent and marginally fantasy relevant if called upon.
Justin Jackson, LAC| 38% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1-5%|
He has not been the healthiest himself, but he is the primary backup to Austin Eckler. 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.
Malcolm Brown, MIA| 38% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, 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.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE| 45% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-20%, Rebuilding 20-40%
Be aware that Peoples-Jones sat out the last contest after suffering a groin injury in warmups. Nevertheless, he is a dynasty asset every team needs to consider with Odell Beckham Jr struggling to stay on the field. It is largely a run-first attack, but there will be games in which Peoples-Jones has more value. His long-term value has never been higher. If Peoples-Jones can go in week eight, he will play the contest against the Steelers. The Steelers can be passed on, but are also susceptible to the run, so this may not be a week to expect a big game. In week nine, a tough matchup with the Bengals looms.
Byron Pringle, KC| 23% 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.
Collin Johnson, NYG |9% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 5-10%|
The Jaguars’ new regime cut Johnson and New York picked him up off waivers. The writer was not convinced that Kenny Golladay would stay healthy and live up to his paycheck in the Big Apple and it appears that has come to pass with Golladay suffering a knee injury in week five. Kadarius Toney injured his ankle in week six and was not back for week seven. Also, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton have been banged up regularly, which means Johnson can get more involved going forward. Johnson flashed somewhat in his limited work during his rookie season, so he is worth a look.
Josh Palmer, LAC| 25% 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. Williams was a game-time decision in week six, so that time may be sooner rather than later.
Tyron Johnson, JAX| 5% 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 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.
Tyler Johnson, TB| 22% 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 or COVID devastate the Buccaneers receiving corps or if Antonio Brown’s off-field issues once again become a problem.
Ricky Seals-Jones, WAS| 57% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-15, Rebuilding 1%|
Seals-Jones is the very definition of a veteran journeyman, which is why Logan Thomas’ knee injury opened the door for more work. The other options on the roster are inexperienced rookie John Bates and undrafted free agent Sammis Reyes. The Broncos contest in week nine is a stiff matchup, but with the shortage of starting tight ends, general managers may not have a choice. The Buccaneers contest should be a little bit better in terms of opportunities for Seals-Jones.
Dan Arnold, JAX| 41% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-10%, Rebuilding 1%|
While it is not a great organization, Arnold at least gets a quarterback upgrade and was utilized from the get-go after being traded a couple of weeks ago. In week eight, the matchup against the Seahawks will not be too tough. The week nine contest against the Bills should be avoided.
Harrison Bryant, CLE| 20% 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.
Tyler Conklin, MIN| 46% rostered on MFL| Contending and 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. In eight week, the Vikings will face the 31st-ranked Dallas pass defense. In week nine, they will face off against the Ravens, who have been below average when it comes to pass defense.
Kyle Rudolph, NYG| 18% 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. In week eight, the matchup becomes more favorable when the team faces the Chiefs. In week nine, the Raiders are going to present more of a challenge.
Kaden Smith, NYG| 15% rostered on MFL| Contending 1%, 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.
Out to Sea
Ameer Abdullah, FA| 3% rostered on MFL|
Cut by the Vikings, he signed with Carolina but is buried on the depth chart. It is safe to let him go and revisit him if Chubba Howard gets hurt.
Damien Williams, CHI| 69% rostered on MFL|
Activated from the COVID list, Williams “split” with Khalil Herbert and totaled only four touches. The offense is barely functional anyway, so getting meaningful touches is critical to being startable. Drop Williams until such time as the situation changes.
O.J. Howard, TB| 36% rostered on MFL|
Even with Gronkowski out, Howard just has not become as relevant as we had hoped.