In this weekly series, I will highlight players that are speculative adds in deeper dynasty leagues, since the majority of players often covered in typical waiver wire columns have long been rostered.
No matter how deep your league is or how large the rosters, you should always keep a watch list of players you are considering adding, should the opportunity present itself. The group of names below will help you form that list.
I will note that the data presented is based on all Yahoo leagues, not just those designated as keeper or dynasty.
Editor's Note: This is your chance to try FanDuel risk free! Sign up today and if you lose your first contest, you’ll be refunded the entry fee up to $10. Play now.
First, let’s look back at last week's waiver wire suggestions that gained value, with current Yahoo ownership percentages and percentage change in parentheses.
Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR (43%/+36%)
Christine Michael, SEA (39%/+29%)
Will Tye, NYG (20%/+10%)
Mike Gillislee, BUF (10%/+9%)
Jerick McKinnon, MIN (10%/+7%)
Steven Jackson, NE (3%/+2%)
Zach Mettenberger, TEN (1%/+1%)
Josh Gordon, CLE (3%/+1%)
The large majority of dynasty leagues wrapped up with a Week 16 championship game. If your league’s title is to be decided next week, I would push to change that, but that’s for another article.
With the fantasy season concluded, it’s time to begin building and rebuilding rosters with an eye towards 2016. This week’s waiver wire will cover young players that should be added from the waiver wire right now with the hope they could make an impact next season, even if they haven’t this year. The end of the season and early offseason are prime times to find “stash” players, while dumping any kickers, defenses or short-term value players. There are few “sure things” to be found on this list, and many of the players share the same story- a young player who hasn’t shown much at the NFL level, but could break out with increased playing time.
As always, these players are ranked in the order I would add them from the waiver wire.
1. Johnny Manziel, CLE (5%)
2. Robert Griffin III, WAS (1%)
3. Jimmy Garoppolo, NE (0%)
4. Brett Hundley, GB (0%)
o It seems to be a near-certainty that Johnny Manziel will not be the Browns’ starter in 2016. His play on the field, while solid, just hasn’t been at a high enough level to earn the job. Many expect the Browns to draft a quarterback in the first round and a fresh start with a new team could be the best for Manziel and the Browns.
o Another quarterback who will certainly be with a new team in 2016 is Robert Griffin III. The Redskins were intent on not allowing their former first round pick to see the field this season and the high level play of Kirk Cousins sealed that. RG3 will land with a new team and hopefully one that will give him a legitimate shot at playing time.
o Both Jimmy Garoppolo and Brett Hundley are young backups behind two of the top quarterbacks in the league, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Neither is expected to go anywhere, but in deep dynasty leagues, especially Superflex or 2QB leagues, they are worth stashing over the next few months.
1. Jay Ajayi, MIA (12%)
2. Jerick McKinnon, MIN (10%)
3. Khiry Robinson, NO (1%)
4. Lance Dunbar, DAL (0%)
5. Tre Mason, STL (6%)
6. Zach Zenner, DET (0%)
7. Travaris Cadet, NO (0%)
8. Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (0%)
9. Ka'Deem Carey, CHI (0%)
10. Damien Williams, MIA (0%)
o With starting back Lamar Miller preparing to enter free agency, there is a strong chance rookie back Jay Ajayi could be the Dolphins’ starter in 2016. He’s a must-add if he is somehow still on your dynasty waiver wire.
o We saw Sunday night what Jerick McKinnon could do when given consistent touches. With star back Adrian Peterson over age 30, McKinnon could see a larger role next season. If you’re a Peterson owner, I hope you already have McKinnon on your roster, but he has standalone value, even without Peterson.
o Both Khiry Robinson and Lance Dunbar had their respective seasons ended early with injuries, but both also showed a great deal of promise, even as backups on their teams. Both continue to be underrated, partially due to the missed games in the past months, but when healthy, both players were difficult to keep on the sidelines.
o Rams’ back Tre Mason has been firmly in the shadows of rookie superstar Todd Gurley this year, but if we’ve learned anything this season, it is the value of backup running backs. Considering Mason has already proven he can be a successful NFL back, he’s an ideal player to hold at the end of your dynasty roster.
o Lions’ rookie Zach Zenner was a hot dynasty waiver wire target early in the season, but it wasn’t long before an injury ended his season. The Lions’ running game has struggled all season and while veteran Joique Bell is under contract through 2016, it would not be surprising if he were to become a cap casualty at some point this offseason.
o Speed back Travaris Cadet bounced around the league a bit this season and is now back with the New Orleans Saints. When I think about a player who could become the next Dion Lewis, Cadet is the first that comes to mind. Granted, that is still a longshot. Stories like that don’t happen every season.
o For a trio of young backup running backs, a starter leaving their team could help them in moving up the depth chart. If Matt Forte, Lamar Miller and Justin Forsett are no longer with their current teams next season, it could benefit Ka’Deem Carey, Damien Williams and Lorenzo Taliaferro. Of course, these three are third-string backs for a reason, but each has flashed in limited opportunities.
1. Josh Gordon, CLE (3%)
2. Kevin White, CHI (4%)
3. Jaelen Strong, HOU (0%)
4. Chris Conley, KC (0%)
5. J.J. Nelson, ARZ (4%)
6. Phillip Dorsett, IND (2%)
7. Kenny Bell, TB (0%)
8. Seth Roberts, OAK (3%)
9. Sammie Coates, PIT (0%)
10. Justin Hardy, ATL (0%)
11. Ty Montgomery, GB (2%)
12. Marqise Lee, JAX (0%)
o This is your final reminder to add all-world talent Josh Gordon, who is expected to be reinstated to the league and the Cleveland Browns this offseason. Gordon will have to knock off the rust of a full missed season, but still has top-five overall talent if he’s on the field.
o Other than Gordon, Bears’ rookie Kevin White is the most talented wideout who might have a chance of being available on a dynasty waiver wire. After being drafted early in the first round of the NFL Draft, White missed the entire season with a leg injury. There are concerns about White’s injury and even his age, but it’s difficult to question his talent after his unbelievable final college season.
o Almost all of the remaining wide receivers on the list are current rookies who have failed to make much of an impact in their first season in the league. Of course, that is nothing new. Our expectations have become a little out of control for rookies to make an instant impact and if not, they land back on the waiver wire. It is reasonable to expect each of these players to see an increase in playing time and production in Year Two. As I’m scouring waiver wires in my leagues, I’m adding as many of these youngsters as I can in hopes one or two of them take the next step in the coming season.
o Marqise Lee was once considered the top dynasty prospect from his rookie class. After multiple injuries and being outshined by both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, it looked like there may be no place for Lee. In recent weeks though, he’s showing he is healthy and has a role in the young Jaguars’ offense. It’s a big question mark when it comes to Lee staying healthy, but we know the talent is there.
1. Ladarius Green, SD (16%)
2. Dwayne Allen, IND (19%)
3. Maxx Williams, BAL (1%)
4. Jace Amaro, NYJ (0%)
5. Clive Walford, OAK (1%)
6. Jesse James, PIT (0%)
7. Blake Bell, SF (0%)
8. Tyler Kroft, CIN (0%)
9. Josh Hill, NO (14%)
o Both Ladarius Green and Dwayne Allen have been outplayed most of the season by their fellow tight ends, Antonio Gates and Coby Fleener. Both Green and Allen are also entering free agency and are expected to be with a new team in 2016. Both players are very talented and still relatively young. Each could vault into the top-10 or even top-five tight end range if they land in the right spot.
o One of my top players I’ll be targeting from the waiver wire, or even in trades, this offseason will be rookie tight end Maxx Williams. The Ravens’ entire offense needs to be overhauled after the sickening amount of injuries they’ve endured this season. While Crockett Gillmore has been solid, 2016 should be the season when Williams takes over as the starting tight end.
o Jets’ second year tight end Jace Amaro missed the entire season with an injury but should walk right back into the starting job in New York next season. With a more established offense and the need for a third option after Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, Amaro could have the chance for nice production in a bounce-back season.
o Many of the remaining players on the list are rookies and currently backups for their teams, but all have had the chance to start at some point this season. Both Tyler Kroft and Jesse James have taken over at times for injured starters, while former college quarterback Blake Bell saw increased time following the Vernon Davis trade. In Oakland, Clive Walford has been one half of a solid young tight end pair, along with Mychal Rivera. Just like the rookie receivers, I’m grabbing as many of these players as I can waiting for signs of a sophomore season jump in value.
o When Jimmy Graham was traded out of New Orleans, most dynasty owners jumped at the chance to add Josh Hill to their roster, but it was veteran Ben Watson who ended up producing as a TE1. Watson though, is 35 years old and won’t be around forever. He may not even be around next season. If Watson is gone, or even plays a lesser role, it could be Hill who is the beneficiary.