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
- Dorial Green-Beckham
- Andre Ellington
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. Also, Case Keenum continues to be an underwhelming option, so Goff could get his chance if they are in need of a spark.
Geno Smith (NYJ) – The Jets clearly don’t think highly of their former second-round pick, or he would likely be starting already. The Jets’ 2016 season is going down in flames as we speak, and a loss to the Cardinals in Week 6 will put them at 1-5 and likely on the outside looking in at the playoffs, even with a much easier slate in their final 10 games. Ryan Fitzpatrick has a 6-INT and a 3-INT game to his name already this season, and he currently has a 5-to-10 TD-to-INT ratio. If Fitz blows up one more time, Geno could get one last audition as a starter in the near before hits free agency this off-season.
Tom Savage (Hou) – The Texans obviously gave Brock Osweiler a hefty contract this off-season to be their QB, but he’s looked incredibly bad in tough matchups against the Patriots (Week 3) and Vikings (Week 5). They are obviously going to give him a long leash to work things out, but this team also has aspirations of making a run in the playoffs, so Bill O’Brien won’t give him the entire slate to stumble through the season. I’ve never been a huge fan of Savage dating back to his days at Rutgers and Pitt because I thought he was a chronic underachiever, but there’s no doubt he has the arm talent and body to be an NFL pocket passer. The Texans will give B.O. every chance to succeed, but a move to Savage isn’t out of the question.
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 of 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 above my low standards for him. McCown has a hairline fracture in his collarbone, so Kessler could make another start or two until he returns. Kessler is dealing with some bad ribs heading into Week 6, but he’ll try to play.
Mike Glennon (TB) – Jameis Winston is clearly the franchise QB in Tampa Bay, but Glennon is an intriguing player who could be this off-season’s Brock Osweiler – maybe not for that kind of money – as a player who gets a chance to be a starting QB in 2017 after backing up for most of his career. The Bucs were looking for a day-two pick before the draft for Glennon, but they never got any offers that interested them. He’s huge at 6’6”, 225 pounds and has a big arm, and he has the potential to be a mid-to-back end NFL starter.
Jimmy Garoppolo (NE) – Garoppolo certainly wasn’t overwhelmed as a first-time starter this season, and he put some good play down on tape in 1.5 games leading this offense. Jimmy G certainly has the pedigree to become a starter as a second-round pick back in 2014, and I’d guess that a QB-needy team this off-season could move a day-two pick for Garoppolo this off-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 five 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 by the end of the season as at least a change-of-pace option or as a receiver.
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.
Peyton Barber and Russell Hansbrough (TB) – The Buccaneers placed Charles Sims (knee) on the injured reserve, leaving the Bucs with Doug Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers as the top two backs out of their bye in Week 7. UDFA rookies Barber and Hansbrough are also now in the mix, and they could have more prominent roles at some point down the stretch. Barber (5’11”, 225 pounds) is a cousin of Marion Barber, and he’s the early-down type and short-yardage runner, while Hansbrough is an explosive, undersized runner (5’9” 195 pounds) who could be used in passing situations or as a gadget player.
Malcolm Brown (LA) – Brown got some run as the #2 RB with Benny Cunningham out the lineup in Week 5, catching a 26-yard pass and getting two carries playing behind Todd Gurley. Brown is a former 5-star recruit who underwhelmed while at Texas, but he has the size (5’11”, 224 pounds) and skills to excel on three down if called upon to do so. He could remain the top back for another week or two while Cunningham heals up.
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 he 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. However, he did sit out Week 5 with a knee injury.
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. They made him active in Brady’s first game back in Week 5, and he finished with 6/17 rushing while playing 15% of the snaps late in the game.
Buck Allen (Bal) – The Ravens finally cut an ineffective Justin Forsett before Week 5, and they 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 in Kenneth Dixon, so Allen will likely go back to being the #3 RB. Still, he’s a very capable receiver out of the backfield if he’s ever pushed into a bigger role.
Josh Doctson (Was) – Doctson was our 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. I don’t know when that will be at this point, and he could be a candidate for the IR, but he’s still someone you want around for 2017.
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 have a season-best 56 yards in Week 4, but he failed to register a catch in Week 5 playing with Derek Anderson.
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 three weeks after WR Corey Coleman broke his hand at practice before Week 3. He’s played extensively the last three weeks, including 65% of the snaps in Week 5, and he’s racked 8 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 two weeks, and he fell behind Jaelen Strong in Week 5. I’d expect Miller to take back his spot in the slot shortly. 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.
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 has 6 catches in five games so far, and he played 31% of the snaps in Week 5. 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, and he scored 5 TDs as a rookie. 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.
Charone Peake and Robby Anderson (NYJ) – WR Eric Decker could miss more time 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 90% 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.
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 this season, and he’s averaging 18.5 YPC this season. HC Jeff Fisher praised Quick saying that the game has slowed down for the fifth-year WR after a strong couple weeks of practice to start the season. 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 3/24 receiving and played on 79% of the snaps against the Bears in Week 5. 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.
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, Charles Johnson, and Cordarrelle Patterson, 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 aren’t getting a whole lot across from Stefon Diggs, so it would be wise to give him a shot to develop with Sam Bradford.
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.
Jerell Adams (NYG) – Adams was arguably the most athletic TE prospect in the 2016 draft class, but he had some major work to do in the classroom to get on the field. He’s apparently done a good job, as he played 30% of the snaps with Larry Donnell out of the lineup and he had 2/27 receiving. I compared Adams to Ladarius Green and Gavin Escobar in our “Rookie Report” article because of how tall and lanky he is and because of his movement skills, and he clearly has the most potential out of these Giants TEs.
Trey Burton (Phi) – Starting TE Zach Ertz (ribs) was 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 49% of the snaps in Week 5, and QB Case Keenum did miss him for a TD in Week 4. 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 – 17% of the snaps in Week 5 with 2 catches. 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 three weeks with a calf injury, and the second-year TE finally made his NFL debut in Week 3. He played on 21% of the snaps in Week 5, 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.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ) – ASJ’s career has been an absolute mess, but it’s possible that he just needs a fresh start in a new location. In his debut with the Jets, he finished with 2/17 receiving while playing a healthy 34% of the snaps. The Jets have absolutely nothing at TE at this point, and he could develop into a competent receiver if the Jets use more sets with TEs involved.
Crockett Gillmore (Bal) – Gillmore is going to be an annoying vulture for Dennis Pitta owners, as the Ravens have been going with more 2-TE sets. He stole a TD in Week 5 and had 4/28/1 receiving, while playing 69% of the snaps compared to Pitta’s 76%. Second-year TE Maxx Williams (knee) landed on the IR and has been a bust in general, so Gillmore isn’t going anywhere and he could have a bigger role if Pitta’s durability issues creep back in.