Like many of the #Footclan members, the Fantasy Footballers Writers have been active and engaged during the NFL offseason. The offseason is an excellent time to make strategic dynasty fantasy football moves in order to plan for the upcoming fantasy season. Our writing staff put our minds together to come up with a list of players that we are trying to target in dynasty fantasy football leagues. Please see our staff’s dynasty trade targets below! As always, happy trading.
Mike Gesicki (TE, Dolphins)
How long does it usually take NFL tight ends to develop? Three years. Guess who’s entering year three in the NFL – Mike Gesicki, TE for the Miami Dolphins. Last season, Gesicki was fantasy’s TE8 from Weeks 10-16, flashing the athletic upside we saw at the Combine and in college at Penn State.
What makes me really excited about Gesicki in dynasty formats is the lack of reliable pass-catching options on the depth chart. DeVante Parker finally took a step forward as the team’s WR1, but Preston Williams is coming off a torn ACL, Albert Wilson has struggled to stay on the field, and the rest of the depth chart is uninspiring, to say the least. Gesicki should exceed his 2019 target count (89) and continue to grow into the team’s second receiving option. Buy Gesicki now before the Dolphins spend the 5th overall pick in the NFL Draft on Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. – Matthew Betz @TheFantasyPT
Calvin Ridley (WR, Falcons)
Calvin Ridley will be entering his third season in the NFL, which is a common breakout age for young wide receivers. He’s also on a team that was top-3 in passing yards and pass attempts last year. In 2019, he quietly averaged more points per game than DJ Chark, DJ Moore, and Jarvis Landry. Ridley has already scored at least seven touchdowns and averaged double-digit fantasy points every year of his young career. Fortunately for Ridley, Austin Hooper (97 targets in 2019) has left the team. This provides an opportunity for Ridley’s target share to increase. Although it is a very small sample size, here is the comparison of Calvin Ridley games with (10 games) and without (3 games) Austin Hooper in 2019, below.
- Calvin Ridley with Austin Hooper: 4.1 receptions / 6.1 targets / 55 receiving yards / 0.5 TD per game.
- Calvin Ridley without Austin Hooper: 7.3 receptions / 10.7 targets / 106 receiving yards / 0.7 TD per game.
Calvin Ridley is a rising star, and there’s a legitimate chance that he passes Julio as the alpha wide receiver in Atlanta in the next year or two (although I’m not projecting it). Ridley is the perfect dynasty upside buy. I’d be happy to have him as my WR2 and thrilled if he’s my WR3. For context, I just traded my 2020 rookie 1.07 and 2.10 picks for Calvin Ridley. – Jeff Greenwood @TheFantasyEng
D.J. Moore (WR, Panthers)
D.J. Moore finished as the WR18 last season, a big jump from the WR38 finish he posted as a rookie in 2018. It’s even more impressive considering he made the jump catching balls from Kyle Allen, Will Grier, and a busted up Cam Newton. With newly acquired Teddy Bridgewater under center, Moore is poised to break into WR1 territory. Bridgewater himself may not be a fantasy stud, but he can absolutely support a top fantasy wideout. Michael Thomas averaged 18.8 fantasy points in the five games that Bridgewater started last season, the exact same that he did when looking at the entire season that saw him finish as the WR1 in 2019.
Moore should have plenty of room to operate in the Panthers revamped offense. Defenses will have to respect Christian McCaffrey in the backfield and Robby Anderson can stretch the field with his top-end speed, giving Moore space to work the short-to-intermediate part of the field and use his athleticism to make big plays after the catch. Most importantly from a dynasty perspective, Moore will only be 23 years old when the season starts. The Panthers may be a bad team in 2020, but bad teams can still support fantasy wideouts. If they’re bad enough, they may even be in a position to draft a top-end quarterback, like Trevor Lawrence, a year from now, which could cement Moore’s fantasy value for years to come. – Aaron Larson @aalarson
Deshaun Watson (QB, Texans)
While Watson isn’t your typical “Buy Low” candidate, this may be your one and only opportunity to acquire one of the best young QBs in the NFL. When the Texans inexplicably traded away DeAndre Hopkins, Watson’s value took a hit that has absolutely nothing to do with anything he has done. Watson is just 24 years old and has finished as the overall QB4 in each of the last two seasons. While Hopkins certainly helped his passing numbers, his rushing numbers were all him and last time I checked, he still has his legs.
Watson has rushed for 1233 yards and 14 TDs in just 37 NFL starts. That ranks 2nd among QBs in yards since 2017 and 3rd in TDs. In fantasy football, rushing QBs have an almost unfair advantage, especially in 4-pt TDs settings. While there is no doubt that he will miss Hopkins and that his passing numbers will take a step back, he could see an increase in his rushing stats to make up for it. You may not get him cheap but this might be the best time to add Watson to your dynasty roster, especially if you play in SuperFlex. – Ryan Weisse @TheFantasyFive
Diontae Johnson (WR, Steelers)
I wanted to go slightly off course here and suggest a name that should be a bit cheaper than the other guys on this list. Diontae Johnson is heading into his second season in Pittsburgh and he’s flying under the radar in most dynasty leagues… Those of you that remember JuJu’s rookie season should recall that he was able to thrive in the Steelers offense alongside target-machine and touchdown magnet Antonio Brown. When Big Ben is at the helm, their offense can easily maintain two strong fantasy assets in the passing game.
Speaking of JuJu, let’s go there for a second. The injury to Big Ben gave him a pass for 2019 in most people’s eyes, which I agree with – but not entirely. If JuJu is as strong of an asset as we think, then one would assume he’d still outproduce everyone on the field, regardless of who’s behind center. Enter Dionte Johnson. The rookie from Toledo outproduced JuJu outright in nearly every category last season, and their numbers were identical on a per-game basis. I’m not trying to tout Johnson as a better asset by any means, but there’s a chance that he could grow into a strong second option the same way that Smith-Schuster did alongside AB.
Johnson had more receptions in his rookie season than Courtland Sutton, DJ Moore, AJ Brown, Deebo Samuel, Christian Kirk, and Terry McClaurin – all without his starting quarterback. He even had more touchdowns than Sutton who makes his living in that department. He led the Steelers in target share, yards, and touchdowns – ahead of both JuJu and James Washington. Every receiver who’s eclipsed 650 yards in their rookie season since 2016 currently sits in the top seven rounds of dynasty ADP – except Keelan Cole and Dionte Johnson. Johnson’s current ADP is 11.02, and that’s a crime. Go trade for him and thank me later. – Rob Wilson @TheFFGator