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Mon May 31st 2021

Three Tips and Players To Pick Off The Waiver Wire

Most rookie drafts are over for dynasty leagues, though some have yet to take place, I'm sure. I still have two more rookie drafts to go. One is in my Freeks league, my longest-standing league, where we gather in person for the draft over Labor Day weekend, as we have for the last 32 years. The other is my Dynasty Diagnostic Champions League, a 4-division 48-team league with other dynasty analysts. That rookie draft starts June 19th.

Given that most rookie drafts have passed, I wanted to write about what dynasty managers should be doing during this time of the dynasty season, after the rookie draft, and before the NFL's preseason. There are several things dynasty managers can do this time of year to improve their teams, and for leagues with waivers open and roster sizes increased, there are several players I recommend dynasty managers pick up off waivers.

Three Tips After Rookie Drafts

Create Your Scout Team

  • Most dynasty platforms have a scout team feature that allows you to create a list of players you'd like to keep on your radar. At this time of year, it's important to add such players to your scout team. Add all of the rookies that you liked but were not drafted in your rookie draft. Then scour your league's list of available players to add every player that interests you. Finally, reassess your roster and see if there are players you'd like to drop for the players you just added to your scout team. I'll share more about the players I added already later in this article. If you're not ready to perform a waiver move, at least note the 1-2 players at the end of your roster that you'd be willing to drop the second a situation changes, injury occurs, trade is made, or a free agent is signed. Before the preseason starts, situations and opportunities will change, so be prepared to pounce on them if they do.

Study Depth Charts

  • When analyzing the last one to two players on your roster, it's helpful to take a close look at the NFL depth charts. The NFL teams are the only 32 entities that truly know their depth charts, but plenty of outside resources create their educated guesses on depth charts. I always look to OURLADS to see how they list the depth charts, and this time of year, go through every team's depth chart to help me decide which final one or two players I want to add or drop from my roster and which players to add to my scout team. If there are trades, free agent signings, or injuries before the NFL preseason, I'm better prepared to make a quick back-of-the-roster response on the waiver wire while other dynasty managers are sleeping.

Follow Beat Reporters

  • It's important to follow beat reporters from NFL teams during Organized Team Activities (OTAs). Follow the beat-writers on Twitter, subscribe to their websites or podcasts, or check in daily with websites like Rotoworld to get updates on OTAs. Their reports don't warrant wholescale changes to your dynasty teams, but they're the essential bits of information that inform churn at the end of your roster, helping you make the waiver moves ahead of other managers in your leagues. Beat writers are present at OTAs and talk with coaches. Their information can be the first glimpse into the team's depth chart and opinions of players on their rosters, informing dynasty managers what to do with the backend of their rosters.

I've applied these three tips to all of my leagues, and after doing so, have added the following players to my rosters.

Players I've Picked Up Off The Waiver Wire

Frank Darby and Olamide Zaccheaus

  • I already wrote last week about how I added Frank Darby on waivers after rookie drafts or made him the final pick of my rookie drafts in several leagues. I added Darby to my teams based on talent and opportunity, given the likelihood that Julio Jones gets traded. I'd add Zaccheaus based on the opportunity because Ourlads has Zaccheaus ahead of Darby in their depth charts. Kyle Pitts and Russell Gage have the most to gain if Jones is traded, but Darby and Zaccheaus will compete for the WR-3 spot if Jones is traded and will play many snaps if they win the job. I added Darby in every league where he was available. I'm betting on him to beat Zaccheaus, but I've added Zaccheaus to my scout teams if I am wrong.

Qadree Ollison and Caleb Huntley

  • Atlanta is one of the most open backfields in the league after they did not add a running back in the draft. Javian Hawkins, their UDFA, is my favorite player to roster given this opportunity, which is why I drafted him in the third round in several rookie drafts. Even though I love Hawkins based on his speed and college production, I have to admit that Caleb Huntley was also brought in as a UDFA just as Hawkins was, and Ollison was drafted by the Falcons in the fifth round two years ago. Hawkins has a player with equal draft capital and more draft capital ahead of him in the lineup, and Ourlads has Ollison as the handcuff to Mike Davis. Ollison was available in almost all of my leagues. I picked him up in three leagues and lost a waiver bid on him in two of my leagues. I did not add Huntley but noticed he was picked up in almost all of my leagues after the rookie draft. Everyone is speculating on who could benefit if Mike Davis cannot lead the Atlanta backfield. Davis lost steam at the end of last season in Carolina, so he will likely split time or wear out in Atlanta. Someone will benefit either way. I am banking on Hawkins and Ollison.

Marquez Callaway

  • The Saints no longer have the second and third most targeted pass catchers in 2020 on their team, Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook. Granted, that does not include their fourth highest-ranked target who was injured all year, Michael Thomas. Still, there is room for Callaway or Tre'Quan Smith to see a massive bump in targets next year, with one of them winning the WR-2 spot in New Orleans. This week I listened to a podcast when Greg Cosell said Callaway could win the WR-2 job over Smith. I didn't know that Callaway was a top safety recruit in the country and converted to wide receiver late in this collegiate career. He's an outstanding athlete and, as a UDFA, has already received opportunities ahead of Smith, who the Saints drafted in the third round in 2018. I'm betting on Callaway to win the job and picked him up this week in four of my leagues.

Kelvin Harmon

  • Harmon was my number one ranked rookie in 2019 before the NFL draft, but dropped him significantly after being drafted in the 6th round by Washington. I could not believe he was drafted so late but dropped him as a result. It may be my college film bias that causes me to still believe in him, but part of my belief is because we've yet to see him play a season healthy. I was surprised to see that Ourlads has him listed as the WR-3 in Washington, besides Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, and ahead of rookie Dyami Brown. Maybe they, like me, believe he's better than all the wide receivers they have drafted and acquired since drafting Harmon in 2019. Dyami Brown is my most drafted rookie, so I believe in him too, but I'm willing to Harmon one more time to my rosters until it's time to cut rosters down before the fantasy season starts. I want to see what they do during the preseason to decide if it's the last time I'll roster Harmon.

Indianapolis Tight Ends

  • I've added Mo Allie-Cox and Jack Doyle to several of my teams and saw that rookie, Kylen Granson, was picked up in most of my leagues if not drafted in the last round of rookie drafts. Granson was a wide receiver with Rice and made a tight end at SMU, and he was a surprising fourth-round draft pick by the Colts, who like to involve their tight ends in the offense, as does their new quarterback, Carson Wentz. I find it hard to believe that Granson can outplay the veterans ahead of him, Doyle and Allie-Cox. Ourlads lists Doyle and Allie-Cox as co-starters, with Grayson right behind them. Trey Burton, who stole receptions from Doyle and Allie-Cox last year, is, thankfully, now a free agent. Doyle and Allie-Cox had almost the same amount of fantasy points last year, but Doyle played more snaps when they were both healthy, but Allie-Cox has far greater upside athletically. I've added them both in a few leagues and added Allie-Cox ahead of Doyle when I could only add one of the two. I have not added Granson in any of my leagues.

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