Welcome to the Dynasty Watch. For those of you playing in deep dynasty leagues, this is where we’ll help you keep track of some bench stashes. These are players who have a small chance of becoming regular contributors, but for the few that do, we’ll try and help you beat your league-mates to the punch.
None of note.
Ito Smith (Atl) — While Todd Gurley had a solid debut in Atlanta, Smith still managed 20 snaps while running 17 routes. The only thing standing in his way of more usage is Brian Hill and Hill did absolutely diddly with his chances last season. Smith’s pass-catching chops could help him ascend as the primary hurry-up/3rd-down back.
Scottie Phillips (Hou) — The undrafted rookie out of Ole Miss was just brought up from the practice squad to help replace the injured Duke Johnson. Phillips has some juice and should see a little playing time this week, which will serve as an audition for the future.
Jordan Wilkins (Ind) — There was a time when there were high hopes for Wilkins in Indy. Those times sailed on by as Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines led the way last season. Then, the team invested an early pick on stud Jonathan Taylor, which pushed Wilkins even farther out of the running. Now with an injury to Mack, Wilkins has worked his way back to 3rd on the depth chart.
Darrel Williams (KC) — To put it succinctly, every Andy Reid RB needs to be owned. He’s proven time and time again that he can make a fantasy stud out of almost any RB who can tie their laces. Williams can do a lot more than that and is an injury away from seeing significant snaps.
Devontae Booker (LV) — The Raiders have built a large part of their offense around stud RB Josh Jacobs. The team also uses Jalen Richard as a change-of-pace back, but it will likely be Booker who steps in as the handcuff to Jacobs if Jacobs were to miss time.
Myles Gaskin (Mia) — Gaskin turned a lot of cardboard cutout heads in Week One, rushing for 40 yards on 9 carries and 4 grabs for 26 yards on a team-leading 39 snaps. Coach Brian Flores reportedly likes Gaskin as an uptempo option for the offense. He’s got three other backs to compete with, but stranger things have happened than a 5,300-yard rusher in college sneaking under the radar to earn a starting gig.
J.J. Taylor (NE) — Need we warn you of any player involved in a Bill Belichick backfield? Alliteration aside, we may then also remind you that BB does not give a damn about draft capital or seniority or even height. The 5’6” Taylor played 9 snaps but looked solid in the limited time he saw the field, gaining 28 yards on 4 attempts. He was also a dangerous kick returner in college.
La’Mical Perine (NYJ) — With Le’Veon Bell on short term IR, and maybe on long term AGRE (Adam Gase Ruins Everything), Perine may get a chance to flash some of the skills he displayed at the University of Florida that made him a 4th round pick for the Jets. The team did sign Kalen Ballage, but even Gase can’t ruin Ballage any more than Ballage has ruined himself.
Benny Snell (Pit) — We had Snell pegged as James Conner’s backup and sure enough he stepped right in for Conner when he got injured. Perhaps just as important, Snell was getting snaps while Conner was healthy. Snell looks leaner and more agile now and is a strong bench stash with RB1 potential when Conner is out.
J.D. McKissic (Was) — McKissic was noticeably involved in this backfield, particularly in the passing game as we expected. He played 31 snaps, including 8 snaps as a wideout or slot receiver. If this backfield were to be one fewer, McKissic has PPR value in the mold of former Washington pass-catching back Chris Thompson.
Miles Boykin (Bal) — Boykin led all Ravens wideouts with a 68% snap share while running 26 routes. He turned 40 snaps and 4 targets into a 3/37 line, and the one drop was a designed TD play for him. Boykin largely lined up as the X receiver and hauled in a few deep passes. After a busted rookie campaign, Boykin’s strong camp was quickly followed by a promising Week One.
Gabriel Davis (Buf) — The Bills love this guy and are already finding creative ways to use his size for mismatches. The fourth-round rookie played 43 snaps, lining up mostly in the slot, but also lining up in the backfield on 6 plays. His 2/26 line isn’t indicative of his true value: a potential 2021 starter.
Darnell Mooney (Chi) — Even before a disgruntled Allen Robinson let it be known that he’s not happy, the Bears were already in love with Mooney and his 4.38 40 speed. The 5th-round pick played on 32% of the team’s snaps, catching all 3 of his targets for 38 yards. The Bears used his burner speed on the outside, and if he can develop a more diverse route-tree over time he could be a legit threat for whoever happens to play QB for this team.
Quintez Cephus (Det) — Filling in for an injured Kenny Golladay, Cephus played practically the whole game and saw a whopping 10 targets. And while the rookie had trouble connecting with Matthew Stafford, he did haul in 3 catches for 38 yards. It was a great chance for Cephus to get some game action as he works to develop as a potential replacement when Marvin Jones, Jr. moves on. The Lions are high on Cephus in the long run.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB) — While last season was categorically a bust for MVS, the vibes have been good out of training camp, and that continued into Week One. Valdes-Scantling played 42 snaps, splitting time on the outside and in the slot. He parlayed 6 targets into a tasty 4/96/1 line. We had heard all camp that he had turned things around. Perhaps Aaron Rodgers has found his #2 wideout.
Keelan Cole (Jax) — Oh, snap! Cole is back. He led the Jags in target share (25% - similar to A.J. Green and Allen Robinson), posting 5/47/1 in the new-look Jacksonville offense. With Dede Westbrook a thing of the past, Cole has a firm grasp on the starting gig opposite D.J. Chark.
K.J. Hill (LAC) — Between Mike Williams’ and Keenan Allen’s list of injuries over the last few years, the Chargers need someone else to rely on. That player could be Hill, who was solid all summer. He played just 12 offensive snaps in Week One, but there’s room for him in this offense if he can keep progressing.
Jakeem Grant (Mia) — While the Dolphins look to be set on the outside with Devante Parker and Preston Williams, Grant still managed to carve out 33 snaps. If one of those two goes down, Grant is likely next in line. He could also see more time in the slot.
Olabisi Johnson (Min) — Johnson logged 33 snaps in his first game as a sophomore. He caught 3 of 4 targets for 56 yards. He looks to be the third receiver behind Adam Thielen and rookie Justin Jefferson.
Damiere Byrd (NE) — Byrd dominated snaps on the outside across from N’Keal Harry. He played 56 snaps, posting a…well, he didn’t draw a single target. But hey, he was out there!
Tre'Quan Smith (NO) — Smith has been flirting with dynasty owners since his rookie season in 2018. He’s flashed some big-time playmaking ability but has yet to earn enough trust for Drew Brees to look his way often. That time might be now, as Michael Thomas is dealing with a high-ankle sprain and will miss several weeks. Smith played 44 snaps in Week One, catching his lone target. We’d need to see more than one good game for Smith to move up the pecking order, but he’s got his opportunity over the next few weeks.
Trent Taylor (SF) — Operating mostly out of the slot, Taylor played 24 snaps. All he could muster was 2/7 on 5 targets, but he was also involved in the return game (for those in return yardage leagues).
Logan Thomas (Was) — Thomas logged 52 snaps as the primary TE in Washington. An encouraging sign was that he stayed on the field both as a blocker (24 snaps) and a receiver (28 snaps). He looks to be the guy and a red zone threat. Thomas was targeted 8 times and reeled in 4 catches for 37 yards and a TD.
Dan Arnold (Ari) — Arnold had been generating buzz this offseason, and the Cardinals love him as a player. He was used in multiple alignments over his 45 snaps, including 11 from the slot and 4 in the backfield. The problem for Arnold is that the TE doesn’t have a productive role in this offense, so his upside is limited. All that moving around resulted in a 2/27 line.
Harrison Bryant (Cle) — Rookie tight ends require patience. It’s usually in about the 3rd year where we see them take off. In this new Cleveland offense, Bryant should grow into a significant role over time. We're realistically looking at 2021-2022, but he’s a stud and is worthy of a stash.
Dalton Schultz (Dal) — With Blake Jarwin out for the rest of the season, Schultz will get a chance to step up. He looked shaky filling in for Jarwin in Week One, dropping a few catchable balls, but he’s basically going to get every opportunity to shake off the jitters and produce.
Jordan Akins (Hou) — Akins caught 2/39 and a TD on 48 snaps in Week One. If he can keep up that usage and remains a part of their red-zone plan, Akins can come through in a pinch. But this could be the start of an increasing role in this offense, as the team tries to find their identity with no DeAndre Hopkins.