Two Dynasty WRs You Should Trade For Right Now (Fantasy Football)
Targeting under-the-radar players right after the draft is a time-honored tradition in dynasty leagues. The moves you make now when only half your league is fully engaged can be the reason you hold up a trophy at the end of the year. Rookie reactions and ascending young players always cause polarizing opinions, so if you can get on the right side of a concerned manager’s thought process, it can pay dividends. Running backs are usually more clear-cut in terms of how the depth chart will project, but receivers are a bit trickier because of all the elements that go into high-producing pass catchers. Players like Jarvis Landry, Marvin Jones, Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder, Diontae Johnson, and Will Fuller have been discussed in similar articles of mine over the past two seasons because this is one of my favorite things to do. Identify the players that produce but don’t have the same hype train behind them, and go trade for them at cost. I’ll be putting out a few of these articles throughout the offseason, but these are far and away my favorite two dynasty targets right now:
Deebo is one of the most glaringly obvious buys in dynasty leagues right now. His rookie campaign was historically strong, yet he’s become the forgotten man in San Francisco. Deebo trailed only AJ Brown in 2019 in yards after the catch per reception, and the two of them were head and shoulders above the next closest player in the league. He accumulated 700+ yards receiving and another 120+ on the ground in his first season and was the WR6 in fantasy during the second half of the year. He was a genuine stud and a model of consistency for the last eight games he played in. He produced 12 or more fantasy points in every game but one during weeks 8-17, despite having a (now improved) issue with drops.
He started off 2020 with a higher YPG mark than the previous season, a significant increase in catch percentage, and a higher target total per game until he went down. All of those are signs of a second-year leap. After his injury, Brandon Aiyuk stepped up and became the new hotness for fantasy managers, and everyone forgot about Deebo. Samuel was a very strong prospect who was well on his way to becoming an excellent fantasy asset, then had some bad injury luck. He should be the same player he was in 2019 now that he’s healed up, but he’s being treated as an afterthought simply because someone else stepped up in his place. I’m a huge fan of both receivers, but Aiyuk is being drafted as if Deebo doesn’t exist. While Deebo is being drafted as if Aiyuk somehow showed he’s a better player. By just about every metric, Deebo was more impressive in his rookie campaign than Aiyuk was, including fantasy output.
Both young receivers will be involved in 2021, which may impact each of their ceilings negatively. The reason you want to target Samuel is that he’s going off the board a full two rounds later, at the WR20 mark in dynasty leagues. Aiyuk is being drafted as the WR10, which is absolutely outrageous given the fact he did all of his work without Samuel in the lineup. Samuel has a much higher catch percentage, breaks more tackles, secures more yards per target, and is a much more effective player in the run game. They’re both excellent options in an offense that should be ascending under Trey Lance, but only one of them is being overlooked because of recency bias. Samuel was a more effective fantasy player in his first season than Aiyuk was, but neither of them has been on the field together for very long. When they were on the field together last season for a four-game stint, guess who saw more targets? Deebo. It wasn’t by a wide margin, but it’s important to stay grounded that Aiyuk benefited greatly from Samuel missing time.
There’s not a perfect way to predict who will be the Alpha (or should I say Alpha2 considering George Kittle will always be the alpha), but all of the surrounding metrics point to Samuel stepping right back into the WR1 role in a new-look Niners offense. You can get him for half the cost right now, which makes this a no-brainer.
Quick – if I say “WR1 in Dallas”, who do you think of?
Amari Cooper? CeeDee Lamb? Both of those are great answers. The 2021 Cowboys have two excellent options to lead their receiving corps, but they also have a third guy who functions as an alpha when he’s healthy. Michael Gallup actually saw more targets per game and compiled more yards per game than Amari Cooper in 2019, and the two of them had very similar reception and touchdown totals. Cooper played a full 16, so his final numbers were slightly more impressive than Gallups, but that’s just on the surface. Cooper was targeted 119 times in 2019, while Gallup was targeted 113 times, in two fewer games. Cooper finished with 1,189 yards while Gallup eclipsed the century mark himself, finishing with 1,107. Given the additional two contests that Cooper participated in, it’s surprisingly definitive to say that Michael Gallup was the WR1 on that team when they were both on the field, with nearly a full season of output as a sample size.
I know what you’re thinking. CeeDee Lamb is there now, and 2019 was two seasons ago. Why does this matter? It matters because of Dak Prescott. Dak was healthy for the full 2019 season, while 2020 was a dumpster fire of quarterback play that threw off a lot of the potential from all three of these players. Despite the hiccups behind center, all three of them ended up producing pretty big totals. Cooper and Lamb lead the way in the yardage department, but Gallup only trailed Lamb in targets by six, and all three of them finished with five touchdowns. Gallup surprisingly led the team in terms of yards per reception, even though Cooper is typically viewed as the deep threat in that offense.
It’s not farfetched to say that Dallas has three alpha receivers in their offense, but only one of them has been the top dog for a Dak Prescott lead scheme. Lamb is the sexy new rookie, while Cooper is the consistent producer for dynasty managers. Gallup admittedly doesn’t have the same ceiling as either of these guys, but I think people would be surprised to discover how reliable his floor has been on a season-to-season basis. He’s only 24 years old and should see the weakest coverage amongst the group in 2021, and his statistics back up the idea that he can produce big numbers when they call upon him.
The primary reason to target Gallup is the same reason you want to snag Deebo – and that’s draft cost. Lamb currently has a dynasty ADP of WR4, and Cooper sits a few rounds behind him at WR16. Michael Gallup is being drafted as the WR50. That is not a typo. Five-Zero. My jaw actually dropped when I read that this morning. Gallup was the WR1 in Dallas during Dak Prescott’s last full season, and he paced right alongside Cooper and Lamb in 2020. If Dak even favors Gallup a small amount more than the guys under center did last season, you could be getting a nearly identical fantasy asset for a fraction of the cost.