Name a wide receiver who has seen their dynasty stock increase or decrease based on the last few weeks of changes in the NFL. Describe how this affects their value moving forward.
Terry McLaurin, WAS - Look at McLaurin's production and then juxtapose it against his quarterback situation the last two seasons. It's remarkable. So imagine what this talented receiver can do with an aggressive, fearless vertical passer like Ryan Fitzpatrick under center? And then add Curtis Samuel into the mix to force defenses away from bracketing McLaurin on the regular? If there's any receiver capable of vaulting into the elite this year, based on what's happened in free agency, it's McLaurin.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT - After back-to-back underwhelming seasons, I was anxious about Smith-Schuster’s long-term outlook. He seemed to have been passed on the depth chart by Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool by the season’s end. I expected him to get a one-year prove-it deal elsewhere that would light a fire under the young veteran. Choosing to go back to Pittsburgh was a head-scratcher for me, though. Smith-Schuster has averaged just 49.4 yards per game since 2019 and has struggled to find a role since Antonio Brown left. Had he gone somewhere like Green Bay, Washington, or New Orleans, he could have showcased his ability as a game-changer. Another year of getting overshadowed by two younger receivers in Pittsburgh could cause the market to sour even further on him heading into the 2022 season.
I hear you, dave but here's my take on Smith-Schuster. He has been taking a ton of heat for re-signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Kansas City Chiefs. While Patrick Mahomes II is certainly a better option than Ben Roethlisberger, I don’t mind this move for Smith-Schuster’s career. Sure, he seemed to be the second or third option at times in 2020, but imagine what that role would look like behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Smith-Schuster stays in a familiar location on a one-year deal during a tough cap year. He has the opportunity to build off his strong finish to 2020 then hit free agency at only 25 years old. Just two seasons ago he was a first-round start-up pick. He can get there again.
Mecole Hardman, KC - The Chiefs weren't able to improve their wide receiver group, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. They were in on JuJu Smith-Schuster but lost out to Pittsburgh. Sammy Watkins went to Baltimore, so Hardman has the inside track to the #2 receiver job if he improves with the benefit of more offseason activities to accelerate his development after he only moved to wide receiver two years before getting drafted by the Chiefs. Hardman is inconsistent, but the high value of his deep targets balances out the risk of him being unreliable at his current very cheap cost in early best ball drafts and dynasty leagues.
Darius Slayton, NYG - Man, I really like this kid, but the Kenny Golladay signing let the air out of Slayton’s balloon. After showing promise as a vertical threat in his first two seasons, averaging 15.2 yards per catch, Slayton is now a third (or fourth, or fifth) wheel and is stuck with the Giants for at least the next two seasons barring a trade. Golladay is going to get most of those high-value deep targets now, and the Giants even signed John Ross – he of the legendary 4.22-second 40-time at the 2017 Combine – to sprinkle a little more salt into the wounds of Slayton ticketholders. Slayton is a penny stock now, nothing more.
Corey Davis, NYJ - Davis signing with the Jets is good news for his fantasy prognosis. Davis has the 10th most guaranteed money for the position throughout his current contract and has a clear road to a WR1 usage. Davis was massively efficient in 2020, so an uptick in targets should be helpful to his fantasy role.
I am in agreement with Jordan on this one. Davis was a fifth overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, going to the Tennessee Titans. The offense languished with quarterback Marcus Mariota for the first few years of Davis' career. Mariota became a very risk-averse thrower in Tennessee, and his desire to protect the ball hurt the receivers around him. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill entered the picture in 2019, as did A.J. Brown, and while the offense picked up significantly, Brown's arrival pushed Davis down the pecking order. Davis signed with the New York Jets and has a path to be a No. 1 option in New York, whether that's catching passes from veteran Sam Darnold or a rookie quarterback.
DeVante Parker, MIA - Parker was a late-bloomer after starting his career on the bust track as a Round 1 wide receiver. Now, Parker is 28.7 years old to begin the 2021 season, Miami added Will Fuller V, is likely to add at least one playmaker in the draft (if not multiple), and the entire offense hinges on development from Tua Tagovailoa. Parker's upside is a question mark even if expecting the range of WR3/4 for fantasy.
Michael Gallup, DAL - Michael Gallup would be the clear number one receiver on over 20 teams in the NFL. His numbers are astonishing given his limited targets and having Amari Cooper and last year CeeDee Lamb competing for touches. That isn’t going to change in 2021, but dynasty is about looking ahead. For the 2022 season, other NFL teams will be throwing their checkbooks at him with an increased cap and his relatively young age. He should also be usable as a WR3 this year. Much higher after that.
Jamison Crowder, NYJ - Jordan, and Scott both mentioned Corey Davis going to the Jets as a positive for Davis, but this also will likely have a massive effect on Crowder, who went for 20 or more PPR points in 33% of his games in 2020. Crowder has had a fairly productive career, and will only be 28 entering this season. The Davis addition has likely hurt his short-term value, but with an $11.4 million cap number coming up, Crowder is a cut candidate, which could get him to a more advantageous situation than he is in New York. Crowder would be an ideal slot man in a place like Green Bay if that could come to fruition. Crowder is a good example of a player that could pay dividends as a low-cost gamble at this stage of the off-season.
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