With the preseason finally wrapping up this week and the regular season just a short weeks away (finally!), I thought now would be a great time to highlight a few preseason standouts who may be worth a stash on the back-end of your rosters.
While some of our other football writers will be doing some great work on waiver wire targets in redraft leagues, I will be looking for more dynasty oriented pickups. Ideally these waiver wire targets will be young, unheralded, and most importantly, unowned in your leagues.
As always, keep in mind your individual league settings and scoring system. Not all of these players will be rosterable in all leagues, and not all of them will be available on the waiver wire in all leagues. And of course, if you have any specific questions about anything dynasty related (waiver pickups or otherwise!) please post them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer you.
Without further ado, here are my preseason standouts to target on the waiver wire in your dynasty leagues:
RB: Chris Carson – Seattle
By now Chris Carson has become a bit of a hot topic. The rookie 7th round pick out of Oklahoma State hardly made a peep in the news when he was drafted into Seattle’s crowded backfield in the spring. Since then, however, Carson has burst onto the scene with a string of impressive training camp and preseason performances. He currently sits behind Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, and CJ Prosise on the depth chart, but none of them have been a model of health in their careers. If Carson continues to impress he could find himself getting a heavy dose of carries in a run heavy attack.
WR: Paul Richardson – Seattle
Staying in Seattle, we now turn to the 4th year wideout Paul Richardson. Richardson was a 2nd round pick in 2014, but has struggled to break out due to a series of injuries the past three years. If Richardson can stay on the field though, he has the talent to put on a show. Despite limited playing time throughout his career so far, he has made more than a handful of impressive catches (no pun intended). With reports Richardson will play as Seattle’s #2 WR this year, he is finally in line to receive the necessary playing time to become a household name – or at least a solid fantasy contributor.
WR: Dede Westbrook – Jacksonville
Westbrook has been one of the most electric players of the preseason. With 13 catches for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns, Westbrook officially cannot be ignored – regardless of the quality of quarterback play in Jacksonville. After dominating his competition in college at Oklahoma and becoming a 4th round pick this year, Westbrook has the athleticism to be a very good player in the NFL. There’s a very good chance he’s already owned depending on your league size, but if not, I would scoop him up immediately.
QB: Nathan Peterman – Buffalo
I’m actually a big fan of Tyrod Taylor, both as a real life and fantasy QB, but he has not looked strong at all this preseason. Couple that with Buffalo apparently bailing on this season and jettisoning much of the talent they had and Peterman looks like he may be starting in Buffalo before the end of the year. Of course he is only a 5th round pick and his weapons at wide receiver aren’t scaring anybody after the departure of Sammy Watkins, but if you play in a deep enough league or superflex league, he may be worth a stash.
RB: Tarik Cohen – Chicago
The history of success for 5’6”, 180 pound running backs in the NFL is… not great. Cohen is the definition of a long-shot. But the Bears did spend a 4th round pick on the rookie, and Jordan Howard, despite a fantastic rookie season, could be replaceable in passing situations. Most importantly though, Cohen is just exciting. With 19 carries for 121 yards in the preseason, he has had plenty of success against the bigger bodies of NFL defenders. His excellent balance, burst, and ability to avoid crushing hits makes me think he may have a long-term role in the NFL despite lacking the size to be a true bell cow.
If you play in a PPR dynasty league, Cohen makes for an interesting – and exciting – end of the roster target.
WR: Mack Hollins – Philadelphia
Yet another rookie 4th round pick for you to target, Hollins has also burst onto the scene with a successful preseason. Hollins has posted 13 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown so far. At 6’4” and 220 pounds, he ran a 4.53 40 yard dash at the combine showing an impressive size/speed combination. But the real reason to be excited is simply the Eagles receiving depth chart. Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery may be the starters for now, but Jeffery is only on a one year contract, and Smith has been inconsistent at best in his NFL career. It’s possible Hollins enters next season with a large role in a potentially up and coming Philadelphia offense.
FB: Kyle Juszczyk – San Francisco
A Fullback!!?? Yep. Juszczyk is the oldest and last player on this list, and he’s also the one with the most limited upside. But he may be able to help you win some games in a pinch this year. This past offseason, Juszczyk (I really hate that I have to keep typing that name) signed a four-year 21 million dollar contract with $10.5 million guaranteed for the offensive weapon deprived 49ers. That’s a lot of money for a fullback so I expect the 49ers to put him to good use.
He has shown good hands and ability as a receiver with 78 catches the past two seasons in Baltimore, and the 49ers will need pass catchers. With creative Head Coach Kyle Shanahan running the offense now, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Juszczyk haul in 50 or more catches this season (something that Adam Caplan of ESPN also predicted after visiting 49ers training camp). If Juszczyk posts 60 catches for 500 yards and 6 touchdowns he could be worth a few spot starts during bye weeks when you’re in a pinch.
And a few extra names to keep an eye on
- Demarcus Robinson
- Bruce Ellington
- Kasen Williams
- Matt Breida
- Ricardo Louis
- George Kittle
Despite the impressive preseasons of these players, its important to remember that these are still deep waiver wire dart throws. If you have room on your roster, they provide youth and upside to the back-end of your squad. As I talked about two weeks ago in my article on rebuilding your dynasty team, these fliers can turn into key pieces like Tyreek Hill, Tyrell Williams, and Ty Montgomery did last season.
That said, they remain more likely to never amount to much. Always remember to not grow attached to these types of players and be willing to continue to churn the bottom of your roster as the season progresses and situations change across the league.