The purpose of this article is to draw some extra attention to some very deep players who are interesting for one reason or another, positive or negative. While some young players are viable Waiver Wire pickups, this article focuses more on those players who aren’t yet worth owning in redraft leagues, who might be worth a roster stash in a dynasty league.
Players featured previously in this article that are now on the Waiver Wire or fantasy relevant:
- Kenyan Drake
- Adam Humphries
- Josh Ferguson
- Cameron Artis-Payne
- Jordan Howard
- Marqise Lee
- Wendell Smallwood
- Hunter Henry
- Paxton Lynch
- Paul Perkins
Jared Goff (LA) – HBO’s “Hard Knocks” didn’t do Goff any favors, as it revealed that the #1 overall pick is in over his head and has a long way to go to get on the field and contribute. He’s actually the first QB taken #1 overall who didn’t start in Week 1 since the great JaMarcus Russell, which isn’t great company to be with. The Rams made him a healthy scratch in Week 1, but they promoted him to the backup role ahead of Sean Mannion starting in Week 2. Goff will turn just 22 in October, so he’s incredibly young coming into the league – Carson Wentz is 22 months older than him. It’s probably for the best if they give Goff some extra time to adjust to the league, but we’d still guess that he’ll see the field late in the year if the Rams are out of contention.
Jacoby Brissett (NE) – The Patriots’ third-round project was forced into the lineup early than the team hoped for – although they probably hoped he’d never play during his Patriots career. Jimmy Garoppolo sustained a shoulder injury in Week 2 and missed Week 3-4. Brissett suffered an injury of his own, spraining his thumb in their win against the Texans. He was clearly not ready to play this early in his career, but he did hold his own to go 1-1 for the Patriots. Brissett is a developmental QB for Bill Belichick, and he garnered some comparisons to Jameis Winston with his strong arm and scattershot throwing.
Trevone Boykin (Sea) – QB Russell Wilson played through an ankle injury to start the year, and he suffered an MCL sprain in Week 3. Wilson played pretty well through the injury in Week 4, so the Seahawks didn’t need to turn to the rookie QB. Boykin should be ready to go in the future in case Wilson aggravates either if his injuries, and Boykin did fine replacing him against the 49ers, completing 7/9 passes for 65 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. The former TCU Horned Frog Boykin could play in a pinch if Wilson aggravates the injury. He had a strong preseason and training camp, and he has a lot of attributes that Wilson possessed coming into the league with a strong arm and quick feet.
Cody Kessler (Cle) – The Robert Griffin III Era in Cleveland was over after just one game, and if this jersey was still around, it would need to be updated with Kessler’s name. I said before Week 2 that I’d bet a week’s pay that Josh McCown doesn’t make it through the next 15 games unscathed, and it only took two quarters for him to injure his non-throwing shoulder. The Browns made one of the most bizarre picks in the draft by selecting Kessler in the third round – #93 overall – as he showed below-average arm strength and he looked like a marginal prospect at best. HC Hue Jackson targeted Kessler in the draft because of his “pinpoint accuracy,” and Kessler has actually performed well below my low standards in his two starts. McCown has a hairline fracture in his collarbone, so Kessler could make another start or two until he returns.
Andre Ellington (Ari) – I usually don’t feature too many 27-year-old players in this article, but Ellington is an interesting player to monitor because of his explosive skillset and his circumstances. He’s stuck behind David Johnson and Chris Johnson on the Cardinals depth chart, but CJ did suffer a groin injury which could vault Ellington into a bigger role. Ellington is intriguing for Dynasty formats because he’s a free agent at the end of the season, and it’s not out of the question he could get a decent contract and be a fantasy factor elsewhere next season.
Tyler Ervin (Hou) – It’s the Lamar Miller show at running back for the Texans through three weeks, as he handled the rock 84 times (28 touches per game). That means that there’s been little work for anyone else in this backfield so far this year. Miller has handled the ball a ton through four weeks, which he certainly won’t be able to keep up. We’d expect Bill O’Brien to get his speedy rookie RB Ervin more involved in the near future as at least a change-of-pace option or as a receiver in the near future.
Alex Collins (Sea) – Thomas Rawls has been a walking injury since he broke out in the middle of last season, and now he’s going to miss multiple weeks with a hairline fibula fracture. Christine Michael has outplayed Rawls since the preseason, and he took control of the job last week. C.J. Prosise has also struggled to get on the field with his broken hand, and Collins has been more of a factor, although they did bring in C.J. Spiller to be a change-of-pace back to Michael. A window could develop this year for Collins to make an impact as an early-down runner, especially with Michael’s inconsistencies over the years, and Collins is a powerful inside runner who can push a pile.
Daniel Lasco (NO) – HC Sean Payton will do whatever he wants with his skilled players, and he used the rookie Lasco ahead of Travaris Cadet in Week 4 against the Chargers. Lasco is known for his speed and athleticism, which makes him an intriguing prospect if he can an earn a role as a change-of pace back or as a receiver going forward. He dealt with injuries and generally disappointed while at Cal, but he certainly has a high ceiling if he can tap into his talent.
Lance Dunbar (Dal) – It’s good to see Dunbar back on the field after he tore his ACL and ruptured his patellar tendon last season after a promising start to his 2015 campaign. He’s played plenty to start the year, including 22% of the snaps in Week 4 with 2 catches. There’s some hope for him going forward in PPR formats after he averaged 5+ catches in his four games last season. We’ve also seen rookie QB Dak Prescott check it down quite a bit to his TE Jason Witten and WR Cole Beasley, and some of those passes could turn into looks for Dunbar.
D.J. Foster (NE) – The Patriots made Foster inactive early in the year, which was good news for nervous James White owners, as he looks the primary backup to White while Dion Lewis is on the mend. Foster flashed onto the scene in the final preseason game with Tom Brady, posting 9/110 receiving on 10 targets and he added 9/22 rushing – although he did lose a fumble in the game. Foster is an intriguing talent, who split his time between WR and RB while at Arizona State, and he would make a fantasy impact if he ever ascended to the top passing-back role in this offense.
Buck Allen (Bal) – The Ravens finally benched the ineffective Justin Forsett for Terrance West in Week 4, and they actually made him inactive and bumped up Allen into the lineup. Buck isn’t much of a lead runner, but he does have some chops as a receiver to come through for fantasy, like we saw at times at the end of 2015 when he was a rookie. The problem is the Ravens have a more talented option likely coming back in Week 5 in Kenneth Dixon, so Allen will likely go back to being the #3 RB. At least Forsett’s roster spot isn’t completely guaranteed going forward.
Josh Doctson (Was) – Doctson was out favorite WR prospect going into the draft because of his all-around game, but he is slow off the mark because of an Achilles injury that hindered him all preseason and has cropped backed up once again. He was featured on 3 red-zone targets as Kirk Cousins threw him a couple fades in the end zone in Week 2. Doctson isn’t quite ready to break out just yet because of his injury, but he needs to be watched once he gets healthy because they could feature him at some point.
Devin Funchess (Car) – Funchess hasn’t had an easy time in the early part of the season after a pretty good showing in August. He’s also stuck in a rotation with Ted Ginn and Corey Brown for playing time across from Kelvin Benjamin. He’s yet another big target for Cam Newton to throw the ball to, and Funchess will likely need to score to come through in most weeks because Benjamin and Greg Olsen are going to see the volume in this offense. He did a season-best 56 yards in Week 4, but he did suffer a toe injury.
Dorial Green-Beckham (Phi) – The Eagles are looking for a WR to emerge to play with Jordan Matthews, and Nelson Agholor has done a decent job filling the role so far. However, the Eagles will give DGB more opportunities to contribute going forward, and he has the potential to be a dangerous red-zone threat with his size (6’5”, 237 pounds). The Eagles are getting him more involved each week, and he hauled in 3 of his 4 targets for 33 yards against the Steelers in Week 3 while playing 49% of the snaps. He could eventually be a non-PPR option if he starts to play more, and the Eagles certainly have a start in the making with Carson Wentz at QB.
Ricardo Louis (Cle) – Louis was a workout warrior at the Combine and he has ideal size (6’2”, 215 pounds) and speed to eventually make an impact. The Browns got him in the lineup the last two weeks after WR Corey Coleman broke his hand at practice before Week 3. He’s played extensively the last two weeks, including 69% of the snaps in Week 4, and he’s racked 6 catches in that time. He’s more of a long-term project for the future, but he has a chance to make impact in the coming weeks now that Josh Gordon will never wear a Browns jersey ever again.
Braxton Miller (Hou) – First-round rookie WR Will Fuller has stolen all the headlines in Houston, but they have another intriguing rookie WR in Miller. He’s a former college QB at Ohio State who transitioned to WR in his final collegiate season, but his move to a new position has gone incredibly smooth. Miller beat out Cecil Shorts for the starting spot out of the slot in 3-WR sets for the Texans. He did sustain a hamstring injury in Week 2, which has cost him the last two weeks. He clearly has a role in the offense, and while it may be tough to pry away targets from studs DeAndre Hopkins and Fuller, Miller is a playmaker in his own right and he could be lighting up the Red Zone Channel very soon.
Malcolm Mitchell (NE) – Mitchell drew positive reviews during the preseason, which is hard to do for rookie WRs trying to get on the same page with veteran QB Tom Brady. The Patriots have had an absolutely terrible track record of drafting WRs in the early rounds over the last decade, but there’s cautious optimism in New England that Mitchell could break the drought. He’s averaging 18.8 YPC on his first four catches of his career, and he played 36% of the snaps in Week 4. Mitchell suffered a gruesome elbow injury in the preseason, but he recovered quickly and is definitely on the radar if he can give Brady much needed size on the outside.
Paul Richardson (Sea) – Richardson is a former 2014 second-round pick, who’s career has gotten off to a slow start after an ACL tear in his rookie year and a slow recovery and his subsequent hamstring last year. The Seahawks are giving him a chance to rotate in with top WRs Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and Jermaine Kearse. Richardson played 65% of the snaps in Week 4 because Lockett is trying to play through a torn PCL. Richardson has a lot of speed to burn, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes a couple big plays in the near future if this offense can get on track.
Seth Roberts (Oak) – The Raiders love Roberts, a second-year slot WR out of West Alabama, and he’s played plenty early in the year. He’s already scored 3 TDs, which is 3 more TDs than Amari Cooper. He scored 5 TDs as a rookie, and Derek Carr clearly likes looking for him down by the end zone. Obviously, Cooper and Michael Crabtree are going to see heavy targets each week, but Roberts will battle Clive Walford for the #3 receiver role here with an ever-improving Carr at the helm. Roberts is decent-sized target, so he’ll continue to be an annoying vulture for Cooper and Crabtree owners.
Laquon Treadwell (Min) – The start to Treadwell’s rookie season has been awfully painful since he looked to be a perfect fit as the X receiver in a Norv Turner offense, and he was also one of the more pro-ready prospects in the class. Treadwell is buried on the depth chart behind Adam Thielen and Charles Johnson, so he’s not going to bust out any time soon. The good news is that Johnson and Thielen are underwhelming, so it could be just a matter of time before they give Treadwell his shot to win this job. The Vikings used a first-round pick on Treadwell and they are getting nothing across from Stefon Diggs, so it would be wise to give him a shot to develop with Sam Bradford.
Charone Peake and Robby Anderson (NYJ) – WR Eric Decker is going to miss at least the next few weeks with a torn rotator cuff, and it could cost him the rest of the season. Also, rookie Jalin Marshall earned the #4 WR job for the Jets, as he was behind their two standouts and emerging Quincy Enunwa, but he tore his labrum and will miss multiple weeks. That means the Jets are down Robby Anderson and Charone Peake behind Brandon Marshall and Enunwa. Anderson is a speedy UDFA prospect out of Temple in a 6’3”, 190-pound frame, and he played on 87% of the snaps in Week 4. Peake is a bit of a developmental prospect they took in the seventh round, and he’s a more physical player at 6’2” 209 pounds. He wasn’t very productive at Clemson, but he could have a better pro career, and he played on 62% of the snaps in Week 4.
Brian Quick (LA) – Quick isn’t exactly a young prospect at this point at 27 years old, but he’s once again flashing his immense skillset after struggling to recover from a nasty shoulder injury in 2015. He’s scored three times the last two weeks, and he’s averaging 19.1 YPC this season. HC Jeff Fisher gave him some praise after Week 4, saying that the game has slowed down for the fifth-year WR after a struggle couple weeks of practice. He’s certainly never been a consistent player, but there’s still an outside chance he can but it all together and become a force.
Chester Rogers (Ind) – The Colts have an incredibly weak all-around roster, and UDFA Rogers out of Grambling State is now their #3 WR with Donte Moncrief out of the lineup. Rogers actually had 2/39 receiving on 3 targets and played on 65% of the snaps against the Jaguars in Week 4. WR Phillip Dorsett isn’t exactly a strong #2 WR right now because he’s not a developed route runner, so Rogers could have an opportunity for some targets the next couple weeks while Moncrief is out.
Austin Hooper (Atl) – Hooper exploded in Week 2 against the Raiders with 3/84 receiving, and he scored on a 42-yard TD on 4 targets in Week 4 against the Panthers. Jacob Tamme has been active in the first four weeks, but at some point the Falcons need to get a more explosive TE in the fold to help out Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in the passing game. Once Hooper gets some more experience under his belt, the Falcons would be wise to get him on the field more than Tamme.
Trey Burton (Phi) – Starting TE Zach Ertz (ribs) will likely be back in the mix in Week 5, but Burton could be a bit of a thorn for him going forward. Brent Celek has been the starter with Ertz out, but Burton is the much better receiving threat for Carson Wentz. He finished with 7/68/1 receiving on 13 targets in Weeks 2-3. Burton clearly showed he has more potential as a receiver than Celek, who has made a career out of being a blocker first. Burton is another move TE out of the University of Florida, in the same mold as Jordan Reed and Aaron Hernandez, as Burton can move and checks in at 6’3”, 235 pounds.
Tyler Higbee (LA) – Higbee has just a 2-yard catch through four games, and he’s played primarily in just 2-TE sets with Lance Kendricks. He did play 32% of the snaps in Week 4, and QB Case Keenum did miss him for a TD against the Bucs. The Rams eventually need to get more playmakers on the field and Higbee is certainly much more talented than Kendricks. Higbee is unlikely to ever go off in this limited offense this season, but he’s a player to watch for in Dynasty formats if Jared Goff ever starts to show some promise.
Xavier Grimble (Pit) – Grimble is a third-year player who has jumped around the league since signing with the Giants as a UDFA out of USC in 2014. He’s with his fourth team in three years, but he’s finally playing and making an impact playing next to Jesse James in 2-TE sets – 34% of the snaps in Week 4. He’s made a couple athletic plays as a receiver, including a TD in Week 2. Grimble’s biggest knock had been his blocking, but he has the speed, frame, and hands to be a factor in the NFL. The Steelers could look to start using him in some more creative ways.
Jeff Heuerman (Den) – Starting TE Virgil Green (calf) has missed the last two weeks with a calf injury, and the second-year TE finally made his NFL debut in Week 3. He played on 39% of the snaps in Week 4, playing behind starter John Philips, and Green isn’t guaranteed to be back this week. Heuerman could be the TE of the future here if he can stay healthy, which isn’t a bad gig to get if first-round QB Paxton Lynch can take a hold of this job and tap into his potential.
Tyler Kroft (Cin) – Starting TE Tyler Eifert is still out after his off-season ankle surgery, and he might finally return in Week 5, pushing Kroft and C.J. Uzomah to the sidelines. Kroft is the best option to fill in for Eifert, but he missed the entire preseason with a sprained knee, opening up playing time for Uzomah. The two players have split playing time the last couple weeks, with Uzomah actually being the more active receiver. Kroft was one of our favorite TE prospects in the 2015 draft, as we compared him to Zach Ertz at the time, and he has the chance for some fantasy relevance if Eifert struggles in his return to the field.