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 Nine 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| 82% rostered on MFL
Mike Davis, ATL| 88% rostered on MFL
Darrel Williams, KC| 93% rostered on MFL|
Devontae Booker, NYG| 83% rostered on MFL|
Latavius Murray, BAL| 77% rostered on MFL|
Alexander Mattison, MIN| 84% rostered on MFL|
Tony Pollard, DAL, DAL| 91% rostered on MFL |
Marquez Callaway, NO| 75% rostered on MFL
Tim Patrick, DEN| 69% rostered on MFL|
IN THE WATER
Taysom Hill, NOS| 32% rostered on MFL| Contending 20-30%, Rebuilding 5-10%|
With Jameis Winston’s season likely done with a torn ACL, it is going to be up to Taysom Hill to lead this team from here on out. Hill himself has been banged up but should clear the concussion protocol in time for his upcoming contest. Hill is not the passer that Winston or Brees is, but he is more mobile and can put up great fantasy numbers, much like Tim Tebow did years ago. He is the most valuable quarterback pickup we have seen all season and quarterback-needy teams might want to think about making a max bid if the need for one is dire. The Falcons and Saints matchups over the next two weeks are also favorable if you need more incentive to roster him. He will go quickly. This is both your first and likely your last chance to make a play for his services.
Teddy Bridgewater, DEN| 68% 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 and Tim Patrick. Jerry Jeudy also was able to play against Washington and will work his way back up to a full complement of snaps to further support Bridgewater. The Cowboys in Week Nine are a defense that can be passed on. The Eagles are a middle-of-the-pack pass defense, so play Bridgewater in Week 10 with no worries.
Taylor Heinicke, WAS| 58% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Ryan Fitzpatrick is on injured reserve with a hip subluxation and may not be back for 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. Washington has a bye in Week Nine. The Buccaneers in Week 10 are a more permissive unit in terms of passing yards allowed.
Carson Wentz, IND| 83% 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. It should 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. We are seeing a better version of Wentz in Indianapolis so far. In Week Nine, the Colts will square off with another lackluster pass defense unit, the New York Jets. In Week 10, Wentz will face the hapless Jaguars.
Mike White, NYJ| 27% rostered on MFL| Contending and Rebuilding 1%|
Zach Wilson has a sprained PCL that is likely to sideline him for the next 1-3 weeks. The Colts in Week Nine have a middling pass defense unit, but the quick turnaround on Thursday night may not be ideal for White. The Week 10 contest does not get any better with the Bills coming to town.
P.J. Walker, CAR| 8% rostered on MFL|
Sam Darnold exited with a concussion and P.J. Walker was able to help the Panthers to a win. If Darnold is not ready to go by next week, Walker would draw a Patriots pass defense that has not exactly been bulletproof. Darnold would likely be back after that. However, should he miss more time, the Panthers will take on the much tougher Cardinals pass defense in Week 10.
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%|
Adding Mitch Trubisky to the roster was 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| 29% rostered on MFL |
Tyler Huntley, BAL| 8% rostered on MFL |
Blaine Gabbert, TB| 2% rostered on MFL |
Chad Henne, KC| 5% rostered on MFL |
Case Keenum, CLE| 23% rostered on MFL|
Jeremy McNichols, TEN| 33% rostered on MFL| Contending 15-20%, Rebuilding 1%|
With news that Derrick Henry will miss indefinitely with some sort of foot injury, McNichols is basically the last man standing in Tennessee's running game with Darrynton Evans recently put on injured reserve. McNichols is also a decent pass catcher, which helps boost his value if your league is a PPR format. The Titans will face the Rams and the Saints over the next two weeks, and neither team is excelling when it comes to run defense.
D'Ernest Johnson, CLE| 77% rostered on MFL| Contending 15-20%, Rebuilding 1%|
Kareem Hunt will be out a little longer and Johnson continues to be a factor, even with Nick Chubb back. Johnson was able to score again for the second week in a row. If he is still out there, this is your last window to grab him. In Week Nine, the Browns will face a very tough Bengals rushing defense. In Week 10, they will play a bottom-dwelling Patriots rush defense, so if Hunt is not back, start Johnson that week.
Khalil Herbert, CHI| 81% rostered on MFL| Contending 15-20%, Rebuilding 1%|
Herbert now has two weeks as the primary rushing and receiving back. The Steelers are not quite as stout, but they also are not a great draw in Week Nine. The Bears are on bye in Week 10. This is likely your last chance to snag Herbert if he is out there.
Carlos Hyde, JAX| 31% rostered on MFL| Contending 10-15%, Rebuilding 1%|
James Robinson got banged up with an ankle injury on Sunday, leaving the backfield almost exclusively to Hyde. While it is not exactly an exciting offense, running backs with over 10 touches a game do not grow on trees. They will have tough matchups with the Jaguars and Colts over the next two weeks, but with a shortage of startable options, Hyde may be the best you can do in a pinch.
Kenneth Gainwell, PHI| 79% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Miles Sanders will miss extended time with an ankle injury and was placed on injured reserve. 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 get.
Jaret Patterson, WAS| 27% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, Rebuilding 1%|
Antonio Gibson’s ankle does not seem to be responding well to no rest and for the first time, we saw Washington split the work between J.D. McKissic and Patterson. Washington is on bye this week, so he will not be of help to your team immediately. The Buccaneers matchup in Week 10 will not be a great time to deploy him either, as they are stout against the run.
Justin Jackson, LAC| 39% 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.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE| 38% rostered on MFL| Contending 5-20%, Rebuilding 20-40%
Peoples-Jones has a groin injury but had been developing into a favorite target of Baker Mayfield. 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.
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.
Collin Johnson, NYG |9% rostered on MFL| Contending 1-5%, 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 and came back in Week Eight, but on a limited basis. 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 speculative 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 has been dealing with a knee issue, so that time could come sooner rather than later.
Tyron Johnson, JAX| 4% 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. Washington is on bye this week. Next week, 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 few weeks ago. The Week Nine contest against the Bills should be avoided. However, the Colts’ passing defense in Week 10 will not be anything to worry about.
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| 52% 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 Week Nine, the Vikings will face off against the Ravens, who have been below average when it comes to pass defense. In Week 10, they will take on the Chargers, who have not been great defending the tight end.
Kyle Rudolph, NYG| 15% 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 Nine, the Raiders are going to present more of a challenge. In Week 10, the Giants will be on bye.
Kaden Smith, NYG| 3% 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
Sam Darnold, CAR| 69% rostered on MFL|
Darnold started the year hot but has cooled significantly, throwing interceptions in multiple games and failing to produce. For leagues that are thin at the position, he is worth holding on to. However, in more shallow leagues, it is fine to let go.
Davis Mills, HOU| 26% rostered on MFL|
Tyrod Taylor is likely to return next week, so it is okay to either stash Mills away in deeper formats or cut him loose in more shallow ones.
Dwayne Washington, NO| 0% rostered on MFL|
Malcolm Brown, MIA| 38% rostered on MFL|
Between the team just being so bad offensively and Brown suffering a quadriceps injury, it is not worth holding on in shallow formats. Deeper formats might want to consider benching him or holding him in an IR spot.