It’s that time of the fantasy season where keeper or dynasty league owners start to look toward the future.
Even if your teams are doing well, you should always be looking to see where you can add talent at skill positions—just as NFL teams do.
It was around this time last year that I said it was time to go get Bears WR Darnell Mooney (before he started going off) and if you listened and traded for him you’re now richly rewarded.
With that in mind here’s my initial list of non-obvious players to acquire and how their teams see their roles in the future (in no particular order) and I’ll add to this list as I get more information in the weeks ahead:
1) Rhamondre Stevenson/Patriots: He went from having no role for several weeks to now sharing a role with RB Damien Harris in a two-RB backfield.
While there are no signs, as of now, that he’ll eventually take over the starting job, Stevenson gives their coaching staff badly needed speed and explosion in the backfield.
At the very least, Stevenson should garner 10+ touches a game in future seasons, which fits him in nicely as a flex option or higher due to his upside and talent.
2) Tony Pollard/Cowboys: You might look at Pollard and wonder why he should be on here since he’s their #2 RB, but the Cowboys can move on from Ezekiel Elliott after the 2022 season and owe him nothing.
So, it’s possible that Pollard, who has really good versatility, could wind up taking over down the road.
1) Dyami Brown/WFT: His rookie season has not provided much production mainly due to a lingering knee issue.
However, Brown could wind up starting opposite WR Terry McLaurin as soon as next year with WR Curtis Samuel lining up mostly inside.
And Brown gives their coaches badly needed size at WR and he has major big play ability based on his college production and game tape and I know from talking to their coaches they are very high on him.
2) Chase Claypool/Steelers: For whatever reason, the 2nd-year pro has not put up consistently high numbers this season even with WR JuJu Smith-Schuster out of the lineup.
Claypool should take over the starting position full-time next year with Smith-Schuster unlikely to return and the Steelers continue to be very high on him. He just has to be more consistent in his approach each week in order for him to reach his potential, which is large.
3) Gabriel Davis/Bills: The Bill coaches love his versatility (can play inside or outside) and if the team does not re-sign veteran WR Emmanuel Sanders next year, Davis would be in line to start.
What’s interesting about him is that they didn’t exactly envision him as a “shot play” WR (though his per catch average in college was over 16) when they drafted him, but he’s averaging over 17 yards per catch on 52 receptions in less than two years of play.
What the coaches like is that he does a really good job of tracking the ball from QB Josh Allen on scramble plays and I can tell from talking to the team that they envision him having a bigger role down the road.
4) Rashod Bateman/Ravens: He suffered a significant groin injury in August, so his rookie season has not produced the kind of numbers that most expected this season and has yet to score a TD.
However, the coaches are still very high on him and expect his role to grow in the passing game in the future and he has the ability to line up inside or outside, which is really important in today’s NFL.
5) Nico Collins/Texans: While their QB situation for the future is clouded, Collins has continued to see a lot of playing time lately after dealing with some nagging injuries earlier this season.
What the team really likes about him is his size and his ability to make contested catches and separate from defenders.
While he hasn’t scored yet this season or done much from a fantasy perspective, his upside still makes it worth you adding him to your roster for the future.
6) Donovan Peoples-Jones/Browns: Unfortunately, he continues to deal with a lingering groin issue which has curtailed his progress this season.
However, the 2nd-year pass catcher has performed well when healthy and he has taken over as a starter after the departure of veteran WR Odell Beckham Jr.
What the team likes about Peoples-Jones is his ability to win with leverage against smaller DBs and he runs well for his size.
1) Pat Freiermuth/Steelers: The Steelers came into the season with a lot of pass targets to work with, but Smith-Schuster’s 1-year deal will expire in March and it seems rather unlikely that veteran TE Eric Ebron will return for another season with the team.
So it’s very possible that Freiermuth, who has scored in three out of his last four games, could see an increased role next season and beyond.
2) Cole Kmet/Bears: He has taken over the starting role at this position with the team in his 2nd season.
Kmet, while a little robotic in his movements, still has better than average athletic ability and has shown, at times this season, that he can be a high volume pass target and he has really good size.
You can expect him to start to develop better timing and chemistry with QB Justin Fields by working with him more next off-season, so Kmet could wind up being a decent starting fantasy TE down the road.
3) Harrison Bryant/Browns: If the Browns cut or trade veteran TE Austin Hooper, Bryant essentially would move up to the #1 spot on the depth chart at this point and the coaches are very high on him.
And keep in mind TE David Njoku will be a free agent in March, so Bryant could go from not having any value to quite a bit for the future. Stay tuned.
4) Donald Parham Jr/Chargers: He’s playing behind veteran TE Jared Cook, who is on a one-year deal.
Parham Jr is extremely difficult to cover in the redzone area (legit 6-8) and from talking to the team about him over time, it’s clear they want his role to continue to grow.
While he still has improvement to make, Parham Jr is the type of player to stash on your dynasty league roster and watch his progress
Off the Injury Report For Week 12
Note: These players were listed on their team’s injury report for at least one week (week 11), but are not listed on this week’s injury report on any day (for an injury).
Lamar Jackson/Ravens (illness): He had a non-COVID-19 illness, which caused him to miss last week’s game, but is off the injury report this week. And as noted in this space last week, he had been listed with an illness earlier this season which caused him to miss a few days of practice.
Russell Wilson/Seahawks (right middle finger surgery): While he’s finally off their injury report, Wilson did not look good throwing the ball last week.
Tua Tagovailoa/Dolphins (broken left middle finger): He’s one of the players on my fantasy rosters that I’ve been waiting to see not listed on the injury report for a change.
And as someone who has him one on my teams (HOFL/super flex), Tagovailoa can be frustrating because he tends to get hurt a lot, but he’s now off their injury report for the first time since Week 3. And his broken ribs healed enough to have him off the injury report for that injury since Week 10.
Zach Wilson/QB/Jets (PCL sprain): The Jets weren’t kidding when they said his sprained knee wasn’t going to be an issue this week in terms of practicing and being able to play because he’s off their injury report this week.
Miles Sanders/Eagles (foot/ankle): He came out of last week’s game healthy and is off the injury report after being on IR for 3 games.
Carlos Hyde/Jaguars (shoulder): He has dealt with shoulder issues on and off this season, but he’s off the injury report this week and obviously would fill in for 2nd-year RB James Robinson if needed.
Brandon Bolden/Patriots (hip): This guy won’t go away and would be in the mix for carries if Damien Harris or Rhamondre Stevenson couldn’t play. And Bolden is now off the injury report after being on there in Week 11.
Devontae Booker/Giants (hip): He dealt with his lingering injury for a few weeks, but is now off their injury report, which is a key note if you have him as a handcuff for Saquon Barkley.
Chase Claypool/Steelers (toe): He dealt with a toe injury for a few weeks which caused him to miss a game, but Claypool was off their injury report this week.
Keenan Allen/Chargers (knee): The veteran pass catcher was dealing with his injury for two weeks, but was removed from their injury report to start this week.
Adam Thielen/Vikings (Achilles/heel): He was listed with those injuries just for last week and is now off their injury report.
Terry McLaurin/WFT (shoulder): He showed up late in Week 11 on their injury report, but is off it this week.
Tim Patrick/Broncos (knee): He was listed on their injury report for their last game before their bye in Week 11, but is off the injury report this week.
DeVonta Smith/Eagles (left elbow): He suffered an elbow injury which caused him to wear a brace on his elbow starting a few weeks ago, but is off the injury report for Week 12.
Rashod Bateman/Ravens (illness): Any time that a player is listed on the injury report with an illness, there’s an immediate concern that it could be more than that, but that’s all it was and he’s off the injury report after appearing on there last week.
Dallas Goedert/Eagles (concussion): He came out of Week 11 well after being listed with an injury which caused him to miss most of their Week 10 game against the host Broncos.
Gerald Everett/Seahawks (groin): We all know that the Seahawk passing game has been a big disappointment this season and Everett, who they signed to a 1-year, $5m deal, has not done much to give them reason to re-sign him.
However, OC Shane Waldron was a big reason why they signed him due to their time with the Rams together and the team still believes he’s capable of making an impact and Everett also off the injury report after appearing there last week.