This is it dedicated dynasty players. We’ve been battling the waiver wire together all season and now it’s time to either stock up for a championship run, or to get critical pieces to rebuild your roster. This article features players to appeal to both those gearing up for glory and those dedicated to a 2019 turn around. If you have thoughts, questions, or want to engage with me throughout the year, you can follow me on Twitter-I’m always up for talking dynasty!
Justin Jackson (Owned in 0.2% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Target
While your league mates dump whatever is left of their FAAB budget claiming Austin Ekeler you, the savvy fantasy football player, will pivot to Jackson and save whatever measly crumbs of free agent money you have left for playoff blocks and next week’s hotness. Jackson is a 7th round pick out of Northwestern, where he was a star playing against Big 10 defenses. Jackson earned his way off the practice squad earlier this season, and with the injury to Melvin Gordon, now might be his time to shine in the NFL.
Jackson rushed for 5,440 yards, compiled 858 receiving yards, and totaled 42 touchdowns as a four-year starter at Northwestern. He rushed for at least 1,000 yards every season, and for at least 1,400 yards twice. Jackson saw 19% of snaps, a season-high, once Gordon went down in Week 12. He rushed the ball 7 times for 57 yards, showing flashes of upside. Aside from a week 7 fill in for Gordon’s late scratch, Ekeler hasn’t seen more than 42% of snaps in any games-and contributes more to the passing game than the Chargers’ rushing attack. This suggests that Jackson should see a split of the volume as Los Angeles attempts to avoid a devastating, but not unfamiliar, late-season collapse.
Trey Quinn (Owned in 0.6% of ESPN Leagues): Waiver Wire Target
Quinn has an interesting path that has led him to the depths of fantasy football irrelevance to begin his career, but it appears that time is over. Quinn was an exceptional high school athlete in Louisiana, which naturally led him to LSU. The problem? LSU’s offense doesn’t exactly highlight WR talent (see: Odell Beckham Jr. falling to pick 12 in 2014). Quinn found himself underutilized and transferred to SMU, where he excelled: pulling in 1,236 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns in his one season starting for the Mustangs. Quinn, however, was outshined by teammate Cortland Sutton. He was drafted with the final pick in the 2018 draft by Washington.
Quinn caught 7 of 12 targets for 81 yards in the preseason, before suffering an injury that put him on IR to start the regular season. He’s no longer irrelevant; Quinn has been on the field for at least 70% of snaps since returning from IR in Week 11. In those two games, he’s caught 9 of his 10 targets for 75 yards and 1 touchdown. Washington needs playmakers to step up as they attempt to hold onto a rare division title opportunity; and with Crowder out and Doctson, well being Doctson, it appears the 5’11 203 lbs. burner will get his shot to stand out.
Dante Pettis (Owned in 0.7% of ESPN Leagues)
I haven’t been shy about my love for Pettis’ playmaking ability, and it appears he plays well when given the chance. Pettis saw 56% of snaps in Week 10-a season-high, but really flashed (speed joke intended) when he saw 91% of snaps in Week 12, with Goodwin out for personal reasons. Since getting season-high snap counts in back to back weeks, Pettis has caught 8 of 13 targets for 99 yards and 1 touchdown.
The 49ers are in a lucrative state for dynasty players. They’re bad enough this season (due to injuries) for young talent to get a chance to prove themselves, but they have enough of a foundation for those players, once proven, to contribute on a significant level next season. Pettis (who they invested 2nd round draft stock in) is most likely to benefit from that opportunity, and once he does his ownership percentage will soar (second-speed joke, also intended).
Equanimeous St. Brown (Owned in 0.6% of ESPN Leagues)
St. Brown (or simply EQSB) was one of my favorite prospects going into the 2017 draft. Seriously, just flip on some Notre Dame tape and watch him high point the ball like no other (while you’re there watch some Josh Adams and stop telling me Smallwood is the guy in Philly). EQSB is an athletic freak, coming in a 6’5” 214 and with a wingspan that makes him a lethal red zone threat when paired with a talent like Rodgers. He plummeted in the draft (I believe he had 2nd round talent), in large part due to concerns of his passion for the game, which have failed to surmount to anything legitimate.
That landed him in Green Bay, where he’s had to battle through a mass of young wide receivers to find playing time. Still, he’s fought his way up the depth chart, passing (by performance or health) Moore, Valdes-Scantling, Kumerow, and Allison. After not breaking 75% of snaps once prior to Week 9, he’s now seen 88% of snaps twice in the last 3 weeks; culminating in 3 catches (on 5 targets) for 53-yard performance against the Vikings in Week 12. He has talent, and is trending toward volume; there’s not much more you could want from someone ignored by 99% of fantasy players.
Dan Arnold (Owned in 0.0% of ESPN Leagues)
You probably know Arnold best for being one of the guys you’ve never heard of vulturing touchdowns from Michael Thomas, giving your fantasy roster as much acid reflux as you felt while scarfing down that 3rd piece of pie during this week’s Thanksgiving night showdown. Arnold’s NFL career started a little earlier than Week 12, however: he is an undrafted free agent out of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. In college, the 6’5’ 225 boulder of a man played wide out-but converted to tight end when he transitioned to the NFL.
In the last 3 weeks, Arnold has combined his size and pass catching ability to nab 8 of his 11 targets for 95 yards and 1 touchdown. Arnold actually had another touchdown ripped out of his hands on the goal line earlier that game, which probably saved him from stealing the show; and saved you FAAB money.
Arnold’s tight end teammates consist of the lovable, but seriously aging, Ben Watson; who has been essentially schemed out of the offense in recent weeks and Josh Hill; who serves primarily as a blocking tight end for the best offense in the NFL (waits for angry tweets from Kansas City fans). Size, pass-catching ability, and a great offensive system to play within add up to serious potential, and I’m willing to invest into him big time (get it, because he’s tall).