Waiver Wires are hot right now. Guys like Tank Dell, Joshua Palmer, and Jerome Ford are all guys people have been clamoring for the past few weeks. While getting those guys off waivers is fun especially when you get them by bidding just one dollar more than the next guy it’s even nicer already having them on your roster. I’ve got four new names for you this week. Some you might recognize from seasons past and some are new to the game. Like always these are guys who are either on waivers even in your dynasty league or can be thrown in pieces in bigger trades. We explore their pathway to opportunity and what to expect from them if and when they get that opportunity.
Daniel Bellinger- TE, New York Giants
The New York Giants were at a crossroads this offseason. They were staring down both their franchise quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley who needed new contracts. The Giants were able to get Jones to ink a new deal and used the franchise tag on Barkley. They then went out and brought in tight end Darren Waller. They have been trying to surround Jones with weapons. There were high hopes headed into the season after they made the playoffs last year and looked to repeat that. The receiving options for the Giants are Waller, Isaiah Hodgins, Wan’Dale Robinson, Jaylen Hyatt, Parris Campbell, and Sterling Shepard. The 2023 season hasn’t worked out the way the Giants had hoped. They are sitting at 1-2 and are in the bottom three in points scored. Waller in part has been a big disappointment. He has only had one good game.
The Giants have played two top defenses, but the offense as a whole looks inefficient. Waller is also dealing with a hamstring issue which hasn’t cost him playing time but reports are it a long-term lingering issue. He is one play or practice away from missing time. he hasn’t played a full season since 2020. This would open the door for Daniel Bellinger. Currently, Bellinger is only playing on roughly 50% of the team’s snaps. He is blocking on a ton of snaps and only running routes 59.7% of the time. It’s a big drop from him running routes 87.7% of the time last season.
If Waller misses time Bellinger could see a massive increase in snaps and opportunity. Looking even beyond this season the Giants have some big contracts coming due. Besides Barkley hitting the market, backup rusher Matt Breida will be on the market. The offense will also see Slayton and Campbell looking for new deals. On the defensive side of the ball stalwarts Isaiah Simmons, A’Shawn Robinson, and Leonard Williams will all be looking for contracts. The Giants will have a total of 24 players hitting free agency. Waller’s contract has an opt-out clause that would only cost the G-Men $7.8 million in dead cap space. If they retain Waller his cap hit would be almost $14 million. The Giants may need to save money and paying a 32-year-old often-injured tight end who hasn’t been producing might not be in the long-term plans. Bellinger will be on his rookie contract till after the 2025 season so they can save money at the tight-end position and spend elsewhere.
Bellinger had flashes last season with the Giants. Overall, he caught 85.7% of his targets last year. He is a sure-handed pass catcher who came up big on 3rd downs. It was his rookie year and did miss time in the middle of the season but before his injury, he had two touchdowns in six games. For fantasy purposes, he had six games over six fantasy points which puts him in that group of streamable tight ends. Let’s not forget that Bellinger was a 4th round pick just last year. We all want rookies to be great right away but they take time to develop especially at the tight end position. Bellinger wasn’t a college stand out with his best year being in 2019 when he had 201 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bellinger will never be a top-end tight end. We aren’t expecting Travis Kelce’s number. Given that the wide receiver group hasn’t been outstanding and two of the biggest target-getters are possibly leaving via free agency there is room for targets to be had. He had a role last year when the receivers lacked luster and it’s looking like that might continue to be the case in the Big Apple. Bellinger is 6’6 255 lb. He wasn’t used in the red zone which is concerning for his upside, but I like that 151 of his 268 yards last season came after the catch. He’s worth stashing now. The injury history of Waller and how they have been using the tight end this year makes me hopeful that Bellinger can be a spot start player. If he continues to develop as a pass catcher he will have a shot.
Ty Chandler- RB, Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings backfield has been a hot mess this season. They let previous starter Dalvin Cook leave and sign with the New York Jets. They drafted Dwayne McBride in the 7th round and then cut him. They rolled into the season with Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler as their backfield. They ended up signing the Miami Dolphins cast off Myles Gaskin. Through two weeks Mattison has been okay but lacking the burst and explosiveness you expect from a starting running back.
The Vikings ended up trading for Los Angeles Rams former starter Cam Akers but held him out of the Week 3 matchup. They have failed to use Ty Chandler so far this season. He is playing on under 20% of the team’s snaps so far in 2023. He only has seven total carries and 12 total opportunities. The Vikings have to figure out their plans at running back both this year and the future. Both Gaskins and Akers are free agents after this year and then Mattison is due for a contract after the 2025 season when he will be just shy of 27 years old.
Chandler is under contract till after the 2026 season, and will be 27 years old. The Vikings probably draft someone sooner rather than later as they probably do a soft rebuild after this season. The narrative around quarterback Kirk Cousins has been that they have looked to move on which would include shedding his massive contract. When you have Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson you don’t need to put a ton of money into your running back. Evident by them cutting Cook to save money.
Chandler is worth stashing as the Vikings try to figure out their running back situation and make a run toward a championship. Chandler does have a similar yards per carry as Mattison. Both sitting right around 3.9 per carry. The fact that they keep bringing people in to be the guy or at least provide depth shows me that Chandler will get an opportunity somewhere this season. Chandler was a five-year player in college. He didn’t produce a ton of touchdowns his first four years at Tennesee but averages just under five yards per carry. In his final season, he transferred to North Carolina where he racked up 1092 yards and 13 touchdowns. Chandler does have some pass-catching chops. He only had 73 receptions over five years but turned them into 681 yards and four touchdowns. It’s a skill he definitely needs to work on but he has a solid base to start with. He was a 5th round pick by the Vikings. He is a patient rusher who uses his blocks to allow him to be a more efficient rusher. He is a decent size at 5’11 204 lbs, which allows him to be used in all phases of the game. Watching the film you see good balance and attacks on downhill runs. If the Vikings are serious about this being their year to win a Super Bowl they will eventually give Chandler more work. It’s a long season and the wear and tear on rushers gets to everyone. Chandler might have value this year and in the future.
David Bell- WR, Cleveland Browns
Do I think David Bell will be a superstar? No not at all. Do I think David Bell will be a solid WR2 for the Browns in the next year or two? Yes. People forget that David Bell was one of the most consistent wide receivers in college. In his three years at Purdue, he averaged 982 yards and seven touchdowns. This includes 2020 where he only played in six games. He averaged 12.7 yards per reception. He is a good size at 6’1 212 lbs. He was a 3rd round pick back in 2022. He isn’t overly fast running only a 4.65 forty time. His value comes in his route running and ability to play both outside and in the slot. Bell hasn’t seen much work so far with the Browns. He has only seen four targets this year, with three of them coming in Week 2. He only saw 35 targets last season. His role in the offense is limited currently due to the players ahead of him. With Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Marquise Goodwin in front of him, Bell has struggled to get on the field.
The passing game for the Browns has not been what people have expected. Deshaun Watson still looks to be shaking off rust. He has had flashes of his old self but at times looks out of sorts and way past his prime. What does look good moving forward for Bell is the contracts. After this season Peoples-Jones, Goodwin, and tight end Harrison Bryant are all free agents. The following year Cooper and Moore will be seeking new contracts. The Browns will need to re-tool that receiving room over the next two seasons.
This is dynasty. Yes, it’s great to see an immediate return but you need to know who might be coming into a role based on how contracts fall. The Browns will also be looking at the future of Nick Chubb after his devastating knee injury. The Browns are looking at a window that seems to be rapidly closing and they will have to make some tough choices. There could be a change in Cleveland and it might be worth stashing a high-end draft pick as a possible beneficiary of that.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson – QB Cleveland Brown
The Cleveland Browns gave Deshaun Watson a massive contract when they traded for him from the Houston Texans. It was backloaded due to his off-the-field issues that left him suspended for most of the 2022 season. He is now back on the field and under center for the Browns, and they have decided to keep rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson as their backup. So why is Thompson-Robinson (we will call him DTR from here on out) on the list?
Well, let’s start with his pathway to playing. Besides the obvious that a ton of backups play every year due to injuries there could be more than that in Cleveland. Can the Browns get out from under the massive contract they gave Watson? Probably not the traditional way. Not many teams are going to trade for Watson. Mainly because of who he is off the field but also because of what he has done on the field. In his time back Watson hasn’t looked like his old self. He has looked frustrated and impatient. There was a report last week that part of the contract that Watson signed included a clause that if Watson got suspended for more than one game it would void his guaranteed money. Watson received back-to-back face mask calls and also shoved a ref which wasn’t called but should have been. If he can’t control himself on the field he could be facing some discipline from the league.
That could give the Browns the out they need. The Browns are an aging team whose window is closing. Watson is still on the good side of 30 but play looks more like someone closer to 35. Amari Cooper will hit the big 3-0 later this year and also has 9 years of NFL play on his body. Nick Chubb will be 28 coming off a major knee injury. David Njoku and Donovan Peoples-Jones are also starting to get to and past the peak for their position and never hit those peak numbers in production. We just talked about David Bell and his pathway to relevancy which would put him opposite Elijah Moore. The Browns will have some tough money decisions to make over the next few years. If they can get out from under the millstone that is Watson’s contract they could look to DTR as a stopgap for a year or two while they reload. Their division is top-loaded right now with the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens seemingly locked in the top and the Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers left struggling to make a wild card spot. If the Browns need to retool and rethink their long-term plan DTR could be a piece that saves them money which they can spend elsewhere.
Watching DTR at the combine I saw a complete quarterback who just didn’t have a specific skill that stood out among the rest. He had a decent showing in every drill he did and just looked poised and mature. Not surprising for a five-year player in college. Coming into the league at age 23 compared to others who are 21 DTR has that extra maturity that allows him to be an instant leader. DTR was also a solid producer for UCLA. He averaged 1.79 touchdowns per game during his tenure in college. In his last two years where he played 24 games, he had 5578 yards 48 touchdowns, and only 18 interceptions. Let’s also not gloss over that in those years he also added 1254 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground.
He has all the skills you want in the NFL. College production, rushing upside, maturity, and solid skill set. What I continued to see from him was a player who understands the game mentally and used that to maybe make up for some of the lacking athletic talent. Lacking athletic talent sounds bad. He is solid at everything. He just doesn’t have anything that’s amazing. He’s not super fast, only running a 4.56. He doesn’t have the cannon of an arm like some of the guys coming out. He is 6’2” 203lbs. He reminds me a lot of someone like Josh Johnson. A player that will be around the league for a long time and will be very good when he does have to come into the game. I’m not expecting Watson to lose his job anytime soon but there is a chance the Browns want to move on and if there is an area for them to do it they might take it and see what they have from their 5th-round pick in Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
John Metchie – WR, Houston Texans
Below is from December of 2022. The Houston Texans now look poised to be a breakout offense with stars at a bunch of the fantasy-relevant positions. It starts with them drafting quarterback C.J. Stroud, second overall in this past draft. Through three games he has looked like the NFL-ready player we expected him to be. He has taken that young receiver corp and turned them into possibly one of the best groups in the league. That crew consists of Nico Collins, John Metchie, and Tank Dell. Right now people are excited about Tank Dell. The talented rookie with undoubtedly one of the best names around has been lighting up the scoreboard. He has back-to-back weeks of 20+ point weeks and is seeing a ton of volume. What is happening is people are starting to question the roles of the wide receivers on that offense. Let’s break it down.
Nico Collins is an outside receiver. He is your prototypical receiver. Big, tall, and robust route tree. He has played 81.3% of his snaps out wide so far this season. This year he is playing a good number of snaps but not reaching that 80-plus percentage that you see from wide stalwarts like D.K. Metcalf or Ja’Marr Chase. He has an injury history so the Texans may be trying to not overload him and work with other guys to see what they have.
Veteran Robert Woods has been that snap leader. I believe that comes down to his experience and what he brings in terms of comfort for rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. Woods has been splitting his passing down snaps almost exactly 50/50 between the slot and out wide. It’s not uncommon for bigger-name outside receivers like Stefon Diggs and CeeDee Lamb to play a higher slot percentage as it allows them to get better coverage and often wind up in that role when doing pre-snap motion.
Tank Dell is the guy that most people expected to be a slot guy when he was drafted. At only 5’10 165 lbs people were expecting him to have a limited role and only be on the field on three wide sets. What we have actually seen is Dell being the other outside receiver along with Collins. Dell is second on the team in terms of snap percentage lined up out wide at 72.5%. He has been out there a ton of snaps and his production has shown it.
So what does that leave and mean for Metchie? Well in the limited snaps we have seen Metchie this year, he has played an exact 50/50 split between out wide and slot. He is playing more of the role of Robert Woods. Does this mean that Metchie will be off the field when they are in two wide receiver sets? Honestly, it’s too early to tell. We have to remember that Metchie didn’t do much with football last season. No games, no practice, probably limited working out, and maybe some film study. He was fighting cancer. This year he only played Week 2 of the preseason due to a small injury. He only has four games to his resume. The Texans are taking it slow with him. I like that he has the ability to play both out wide and in the slot. It allows him to have a role on his own but also a bigger role if someone goes down. Looking to the future Woods will probably be gone after this year and Collins will be seeking a contract after the 2024 season. This is almost like his preseason. What Metchie’s role in the offense is will be that jack-of-all-trades role. He might come out on some two wide sets but Tank Dell is not great at run blocking. It’s not surprising given his size so that could open up more snaps for Metchie. Are run-blocking snaps valuable? Yes. not when they run but if he is out there for run blocking it helps sell the play-action pass. If Metchie can be better than Dell at run blocking he can find a role.
I’m excited that Metchie’s snaps have increased every week so far this season. Coming off that preseason injury and given he just got over having cancer I was always expecting him to be worked in slowly. He might only be at 27% of snaps in Week 3 but I see that number continuing to climb. I’m also very encouraged that he has caught all three of his targets over that span. Being a sure-handed wide receiver will get noticed not only by the coaching staff who will put you in more but also build trust and chemistry with the quarterback who may look your way more often. Remember that Metchie came from Alabama so he is used to dealing with high-caliber quarterbacks and an NFL offense. The learning curve for him will be a lot quicker than most. Expect Metchie’s value to continue to rise and scoop him up now while he is still on waivers.
It was shocking news when John Metchie was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia only two months after being selected in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft by the Houston Texans. The Texans have been in deep need of a star wide receiver since trading away DeAndre Hopkins before the 2020 season. Hopkins was coming off two seasons of over 1,000 yards and 100 receptions. Since then, Brandin Cooks has been the leading receiver and while having over 1000 yards the following two seasons he has failed to have over 100 receptions. The Texans went from two seasons of double-digit wins to two seasons of not having more than four. Metchie would be the second receiver drafted by the post-Hopkins Texans and would slot across the field from 2021 third-rounder Nico Collins. All reports are that Metchie will make a full recovery and return to the team probably in the off-season. The Texans will be continuing to revamp the offense this off-season. Brandin Cooks had been unhappy and wanted out at the trade deadline, but the Texans did not fulfill his request. Fellow receivers Chris Moore and Phillip Dorsett are set to be free agents. The Texans will have to make a hard choice at what to do behind center, either sticking with Davis Mills or acquiring a new starter either via draft or free agency. The running back position seems locked in with Damien Pierce having a stellar rookie season.
Metchie was a second-round pick coming out of Alabama where he was a three-year player. When it comes to wide receivers, most experts like the ones who come out early. He is 22 years old, so there are plenty of years to grow and hone his craft. He stands at 5’11” and 187 lbs, so he will have to bulk up to compete with physical corners in the NFL. He is a great route runner and played in a pro-style offense at Alabama, so the learning curve should be easier for him. He is a great foil for his receiving counterpart Collins who is 6’4” and 215 lbs. Metchie had 14 career college touchdowns, all of them coming in his last two years. In his final year, he posted over 1000 yards and just under 100 receptions. This was on a team that also had a star running back Brian Robinson and a star wide receiver Jameson Williams. Metchie is a well-traveled individual born in Taiwan, living in Ghana and then Canada before going to Alabama. He showed good quickness on the field, and even though he did not run a 40 at either the combine or pro day he is expected to be in the 4.5 range. The film showed him using his route running to gain a step on defenders and then pulling away. He gets open and presents a solid target for his quarterback. He will have to develop some of his finer skills in his routes like coming out of breaks and not tipping his hand to defenders. He could become a needed and sure-handed receiver for whoever is leading the Texans’ offense in 2023. His cost might be higher than it should be because he is probably in most people’s IR spots or their taxi squad as he was ruled out for the season early on. As trades open back up owners will be living off recency bias and the hype of a new draft class and looking to make roster room. People will assume that a receiver from a low-end offense might not be worth much, but we have seen that even the Texans can support a viable fantasy flex if not a week-to-week WR3.
Teagan Quitoriano -TE, Houston Texans
Dalton Shultz isn’t the answer, developing high volume pass offense.
Tyquan Thornton – WR, New England Patriots
Injured but a deep threat. Mac Jones looks to be developing properly.
Calvin Austin – WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Solid production when given opportunities
Donovan Peoples-Jones – WR, Cleveland Browns
Turning into a solid veteran who can take the top off defenses.
Colby Parkinson- TE, Seattle Seahawks
rotation of TEs in Seattle. Shown flashes of skill.
Snoop Conner- RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
lost his role to Tank Bigsby
Brevin Jordan- TE, Houston Texans
never lived up to the hype
Tyrian Davis- Price- RB, San Fransico 49ers
Been a healthy inactive this season
Velus Jones- WR, Chicago Beats
Bad offense and isn’t playing
D’Wayne “Dee” Easkridge- WR Seattle Seahawks
Suspended and injured. 5th WR on the team.