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.
With the fantasy season nearly over, for many of you the offseason may have already begun, I will begin focusing on players that make good speculative waiver wire targets with an eye towards 2017. After all, it can be crucial to stash these young players before your opponents grab them.
Last week, I focused on the QB and RB positions, so this week, I’ll wrap up the 2016 season with a look at the WR and TE positions.
1) Josh Doctson, WAS (2%)
2) Laquon Treadwell, MIN (2%)
3) Martavis Bryant, PIT (1%)
4) Josh Gordon, CLE (9%)
5) Dorial Green-Beckham, PHI (5%)
6) Marqise Lee, JAX (17%)
7) Robert Woods, BUF (10%)
8) Kendall Wright, TEN (7%)
9) Sammie Coates, PIT (15%)
10) Leonte Carroo, MIA (0%)
11) Mike Thomas, LA (0%)
12) Pharoh Cooper, LA (0%)
13) Cody Core, CIN (0%)
14) Jaelen Strong, HOU (0%)
15) Jaron Brown, ARZ (0%)
16) Geronimo Allison, GB (0%)
o Redskins rookie WR Josh Doctson was one of the hottest names among dynasty owners last spring, making him a consensus top three pick in dynasty rookie drafts. Plagued by injuries, Doctson missed the majority of the year and many dynasty owners have given up on him. With veteran DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon both potentially moving on, Doctson has a chance to be the top WR for Washington if he can overcome his injury concerns.
o Fellow high rookie draft pick Laquon Treadwell does not have the same injury issues to blame for his disappointing season. Instead, Treadwell was said to be slow to adapt to the NFL and did not meet expectations in practice, which led to very little playing time through much of the season. I still believe in Treadwell’s talent and expect him to turn things around by next season.
o Steelers WR Martavis Bryant remains suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, as does Browns WR Josh Gordon. The story for the two amazing talents is similar as both have been unable to stay on the field due to issues with drugs and/or alcohol. While each have been maddeningly frustrating to own because of this, they have both routinely wowed us with their play on the field. It is unclear if either will ever return, but until we know for sure, both are worthy stashing at the end of the dynasty bench.
o Another case of a highly talented WR who simply hasn’t broken through is Dorial Green-Beckham of the Eagles. The Titans were quick to move on from DGB, trading him to Philadelphia. While he has flashed his skills at times in both of his NFL stops, he has been unable to be a consistent producer. With that said, overall talent and a high upside are important factors to look for when adding stash players, so DGB would be high on my list.
o Throughout a difficult season for the Jaguars, superstar WR Allen Robinson has been a disappointment on the field and his running mate, Allen Hurns has dealt with multiple injury issues, limiting his production. Marqise Lee, a former first round dynasty pick whom many had completely given up on, has often looked like the team’s best receiving option and he’s still somehow on waiver wires.
o While star WR Sammy Watkins has missed much of the season with an injury, Robert Woods has had a chance to be the top option for the Buffalo Bills. Woods was inconsistent in that role, but that has been an issue for much of the Bills offense. Woods will enter free agency following the season and could see his dynasty value increase with a nice landing spot.
o Another impending free agent is current Titans WR Kendall Wright, who was once viewed as the top option for Tennessee. Wright got off to a slow start in 2016, missing time with an injury, but enjoyed a couple of big games as QB Marcus Mariota heated up. Wright is expected to leave the Titans through free agency and could be another player to see his value increase with a better opportunity.
o Steelers WR Sammie Coates looked like a budding top 25 dynasty WR after a couple of huge early season performances. Soon after that though, Coates suffered a hand injury and hasn’t been the same since. If Bryant is unable to return to the team, Coates dynasty value could see a nice jump.
o We saw very little from Miami rookie WR Leonte Carroo this season as he was buried behind Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills on the Dolphins depth chart. Still is a free agent though and if he bolts from South Beach, Carroo could see a nice bump in dynasty value. As was the case with Doctson and Treadwell, it is much too early to give up on a player who was a high rookie draft pick.
o Another rookie WR who saw little opportunity in his first season was Mike Thomas of the Rams. Thomas was a hot name in the dynasty community during the pre-draft process a year ago, but a fall down the NFL Draft hurt his dynasty stock. While Thomas didn’t see the field much, he could be in store for more playing time with both Kenny Britt and Brian Quick entering free agency. The same increased opportunity could boost another Rams rookie WR Pharoh Cooper.
o Since Bengals star WR A.J. Green has been out with an injury, QB Andy Dalton has relied heavily on veteran WR Brandon LaFell. The other WR seeing a nice bump in playing time and targets is rookie Cody Core, who saw a career high eight targets last week. Core didn’t get enough attention in college as he played second fiddle to Treadwell. That could be the situation again as LaFell enters free agency. It is doubtful the Bengals enter 2017 with Core as a starter, but he could certainly earn a consistent role going forward.
o In his first two seasons in the league, Texans WR Jaelen Strong has been a total flop. The path traveled by Lee of the Jaguars gives some hope that the once popular third-year WR breakout is legitimate.
o A deep sleeper, but one of my favorites, Cardinals WR Jaron Brown was seeing an increase in playing time before suffering a season-ending knee injury. The Cards also felt compelled to reward Brown with a contract extension. Add in the recent release of Michael Floyd and continuing injury troubles for John Brown and Jaron Brown could be in for a surprise season in 2017.
o With WR Randall Cobb out last week, the Packers turned to a surprise option. Instead of Jeff Janis or even rookie Trevor Davis, who had seen playing time earlier in the season, it was rookie Geronimo Allison fulfilling the third WR role. Taking a chance on young Green Bay WRs has proven to be a good strategy in past years.
1) Vance McDonald, SF (11%)
2) Jerell Adams, NYG (0%)
3) Tyler Higbee, LA (0%)
4) Seth DeValve, CLE (0%)
5) A.J. Derby, DEN (0%)
6) Dion Sims, MIA (1%)
o In a nightmare season for the San Francisco 49ers, TE Vance McDonald has been one of the few bright spots. Although McDonald’s season ended a month early with an injury, McDonald showed enough promise to earn a contract extension from the Niners. With an expected upgrade at the QB spot, McDonald is a prime waiver wire target in any dynasty league.
o The Giants have developed a history of finding and producing surprise breakout players at the TE position, including Will Tye and Larry Donnell, among others. After previous productive seasons from that pair, each no longer looks like fantasy relevant players. Instead, rookie TE Jerell Adams could be next in line and he’s currently available on most dynasty waiver wires.
o Rams TE Lance Kendricks was one of the nice surprises of the 2016 season, but the Rams need all the playmakers they can find. One of those might be rookie TE Tyler Higbee. The former Western Kentucky star had some off-field trouble late in his college career, but still came off the board in the mid-rounds of the NFL Draft. The Rams will need to find out what they have in Higbee in the near future.
o Another young TE who should get a bigger chance in the future is Browns rookie Seth DeValve. Cleveland has so many needs that after investing a draft pick on DeValve, along with veteran Gary Barnidge, they are unlikely to add another option at the position. If the 31-year old Barnidge slows down, DeValve is likely next in line.
o The Broncos, disappointed with their TE play, made a mid-season deal for A.J. Derby with the Patriots. Derby was able to get on the field as has seen his role increase as the season draws to a close. Although Derby missed Week Sixteen with an injury, he has a shot to be the team’s starter in 2017.
o Miami TEs Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims are both entering free agency but Sims is the player they are likely interested in retaining. With Cameron expected to look for a new home or even retire, Sims should be the favorite for the starting gig next season.