It’s that time of year again where we find ourselves vouching for a fantasy title, fighting for a playoff spot, or simply hoping to lose a couple more times to improve our draft position. This is also the time of year where contenders are fighting over, what they hope to be, relevant waiver wire adds. So, while contenders are busy spending the last of their waiver budgets on fourth stringers who are playing due to injury, it’s the ideal time to look for some end of bench stashes for the future. Hopefully I can guide you to a few in your leagues for, wait for it… FREE.
Quarterbacks are tough to stash, especially in 1QB leagues, because often times they end up just wasting a roster spot. In this case, we are going to look at some of the high end backups that should be rostered in ALL 2QB/Superflex leagues, but also might be worth a look (given you have the space) in 1QB leagues.
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Jimmy Garoppolo, NE
Garoppolo has a pretty high own percentage across dynasty leagues, but now would be the time to grab him as contenders may be dropping him for more serviceable options in the short term. He isn’t due to become a free agent until after the 2017 season so we may see him dealt this off-season to the highest bidder, as the Patriots have been known to do. That is, of course, unless New England views him as the heir apparent to Tom Brady, who is approaching 70 years old in football years. Should Brady shock the world and decide to retire after this season, Garoppolo would immediately become a very startable option with some pretty nice upside considering he just turned 25. In his limited work, Jimmy has proven to be a good quarterback and he should get his shot relatively soon. Go get him now before his price skyrockets but, again, only if you have the roster space for him.
AJ McCarron, CIN
McCarron is another off-season trade candidate for me, considering the bad play at QB throughout the NFL this season. Obviously the Bengals would need to be offered a pretty sweet deal for their former fifth round draft pick, who is under contract through the 2017 season. But, as the season approaches and teams become desperate to fill the most important role on the team, he could become expendable. We watched him fill in nicely for Andy Dalton down the stretch in 2015, leading the Bengals to a playoff berth. Similar to Garoppolo above, we would need to see some chips fall into place for McCarron to find the field, but he’s worth a stash in deep leagues and should be rostered across your 2QB/Superflex leagues.
Mike Glennon, TB
My final QB stash is one that has the best opportunity (of the three) to find a starting gig next season, Mike Glennon. Glennon is due to be a free agent this off-season, and the bidding war for his services may turn relatively fierce. Teams like the Bears, Browns, and Jets may be willing to pay for his services, assuming they’re not all able to land a top option in the upcoming draft. As a rookie in 2013, he was able to put together a 2600/19/9 line in 13 starts. He also saw five starts in 2014 while filling in for the injured Josh McCown. Then the Bucs drafted Jameis Winston, and the rest is history. While likely less talented than the two previous options listed above, Glennon has a much clearer line to snaps and is worth a spot in deep leagues, as well as 2QB and Superflex.
Benny Cunningham, LA
Benny Cunningham has been getting a little bit of run as a pass-catcher for the LA Rams over the last few years, and he just happens to be a free agent after the season. Cunningham is far from a three down back, but he is a pretty good pass catcher and may provide some nice PPR production if he can find a good home for the 2017 season and beyond. He should be available in most of your leagues, unless the Todd Gurley owner is handcuffing their struggling asset. If he is available, he is definitely worth a spot.
Keith Marshall, WAS
Marshall is likely only going to be available in leagues that don’t a taxi squad, or possibly a little bit shorter of benches. Though he has struggle with injuries through his college and (short) professional career, Marshall was an elite recruit out of high school as a five star RB, and number five recruit in the country. With the current landscape at the RB position in WAS, Marshall will have no problem taking over if he can get healthy.
Kelvin Taylor, SF
The 2016 sixth round pick is currently riding the 49ers practice squad, but he has plenty of upside to have a role an NFL squad in the near future. Taylor has great quickness and is very good in space, so he could really work as a change of pace back or receiving option for a team in need of some RB help. His chances of hitting a roster with an actual role will be a bit limited until we see exactly what the 2017 RB class is made out of, so be sure to temper expectations. After all, this is just about stashing players.
Devin Smith, NYJ
Yes, that Devin Smith. 2015 second round pick Devin Smith. Smith has really struggled with injuries, as he was recently activated off of the PUP list coming off of an ACL injury. He showed some great promise coming out of Ohio State, and we haven’t really been able to see what he can do on the field quite yet. Whether it’s the injuries, the dynamic duo of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, or the recent emergence of Quincy Enunwa, Smith hasn’t really gotten his “shot” yet. Hopefully, soon, we will see him active and performing well on Sundays. But, before that happens, make sure he’s on your roster.
Jaelen Strong, HOU
Oh boy, where do we start with Mr. Strong? While he is currently nursing an ankle injury, Strong has been entirely underwhelming for the Houston Texans as he watches the WR depth chart fill in in front of him. At one point, we thought he was going to be a great secondary option to DeAndre Hopkins, but instead he has struggle to stay on the field. Most owners have entirely given up and let him hit waivers, but I’m still holding on. He isn’t a great route runner, and is far from a burner, but he is still learning the position. With great hands and the ability to go up and “get it,” Strong should still find himself with a decent role on the Texans if he can get healthy/stay on the field. Scoop him up where you can, and give him a chance to prove himself.
Jaron Brown, ARI
The lesser known of the two J. Browns on the Arizona Cardinals, Jaron currently resides on the injured reserve after really starting to get some run with the team. Set to be a free agent after the season, Brown could find himself a new home on a depth chart that is a lot less clogged than the Cardinals has been for the last few years. He’ll be 27 at the turn of the new year, so his next contract may end up being his last. While on the field, Brown has shown so really nice ability at WR. With 4.4 speed, good strength, and great hands, Jaron is due to make a splash on a new team. Plus, he went to Clemson… So there’s that. If he’s available in your league, throw him into an IR spot and wait for the 2017 season.
Darren Waller, BAL
At one point, I owned Darren Waller on every single one of my rosters with the hopes that he was going to be a superstar in the NFL. At 6’6”, 240 lbs, with 4.4 speed, the sky is the limit for this WR convert. The metric all-star is starting to get some work with the Baltimore Ravens, and that feeling of stardom is returning. Waller is my favorite player on this entire list, not only because he’s a physical freak, but also because his best comparable on playerprofiler.com is Ladarius Green (*faints*) .Go grab a share of Waller before it’s too late.
Jerell Adams, NYG
Adams was thought to be one of the better TEs in the 2016, alongside Hunter Henry, Austin Hooper, and Tyler Higbee. We all know not to expect much from rookie TEs, but Adams finds himself on a pass-friendly offense and he’ll continue to see snaps because he is a great blocker. Obviously we don’t get points for being a great blocker, but snaps are way more important than how fast or big you are. The targets will come with playing time, and Adams’ snap counts happen to be on the rise.
Whew, thanks for sticking with me through all of that. There’s quite a bit to take in here, but the most important part in looking for a nice dynasty stash is the path to playing time. I sincerely hope that this will help you dig a little deeper into your leagues while you scour the underbelly of your leagues in hopes to find some value. Good luck, and have fun!