The Dynasty offseason is a time to reflect on your previous season, access your current roster and prepare for your upcoming Rookie draft. The offseason is also a great time to be active in your league’s trade market. Trades, along with draft picks can improve your roster, kick start your rebuild and potentially be the final pieces needed as you push for a Championship.
Buying a Dynasty asset can be difficult, and at times costly. Ideally we seek to buy players on the rise, for as little as possible. The reality is there are times that you will need to pay up for players. I have selected 12 players that I am interested in buying this offseason and I have tiered them based on what I would expect these individuals to cost.
1. Top Tier Buys
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns:
It wasn’t supposed to go down this way. When OBJ was traded to Cleveland he finally had a quarterback; he was poised to explode in 2019. This was my thinking and I was not alone. In the end, things played out much differently. Beckham finished as the WR29 appearing in 15 games. 74 receptions on 133 targets for 1035 yards and 4 touchdowns. His 55.6% catch rate was the lowest of his career.
Beckham played the entire season with an athletic pubalgia also known as a sports hernia. A sports hernia is a painful, soft tissue injury that occurs in the groin area. It most often occurs during sports that require sudden changes of direction or intense twisting movements. Beckham will have surgery, with an expected recovery time between 6-9 weeks. He will be ready for most if not all off-season activities.
Compounding his injury and the obvious limitations, was the play of second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield and the questionable coaching and play calling of the recently terminated Freddie Kitchens. Mayfield regressed in a big bad way in 2019. He threw for 5 fewer touchdowns in 3.5 more games than he played in 2018. His completion percentage dropped 4.4% to 59.4%, and his QBR went from 93.7 in 2018 to 78.8% in 2019. Kitchens was lost from the start and may still have a job if he had given up lay calling duties to Todd Monken.
Kitchens is gone, and the Browns will hire a Head Coach that may or may not retain Monken, but in the end, I feel that the new staff will put Baker Mayfield in better situations to maximize this offense. The best way to maximize this offense is to feature OBJ. Find the OBJ owner that is frustrated, that has just finished his third straight season without the talented WR available for the fantasy playoffs and forgets that this man averages 10 targets, 6.2 receptions, 87 yards, and .65 touchdowns a game over the span of his 75 career games. Buy this man with confidence.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons:
Calvin Ridley finished 2019 with 63 catches on 93 targets for 866 yards and 7 touchdowns. In his rookie season, Ridley finished with 64 catches on 92 targets for 821 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 2018 he played in all 16 games and in 2019 he was limited to 13.
The Dynasty community has long talked about the third-year breakout WR. Ridley has all the markings of being just that. He finished both 2018 and 2019 as WR22 in PPR scoring. 195.9 points in ’18 followed by 197 in ’19. Ridley plays in an offense that likes to throw the football. The Atlanta Falcons have ranked 5th, and 1st in pass attempts in Ridley’s first two seasons, that is a trend I would not expect to decrease very much in 2020.
I liken Ridley’s rise in 2020 to be similar to the rise that Chris Godwin and Kenny Golladay experienced in their third seasons in 2019. Godwin saw his receptions go from 34-59-86 along with his yardage increasing from 525-842-1333. He posted 1-7-9 touchdowns in his three seasons and finished as WR86, 34, and 2. Golladay meanwhile saw is receptions go from 28-70-65 along with his yardage increasing from 477-1063-1090. He posted 3-5-11 touchdowns in his three seasons and finished as WR77, 19, and 9.
Calvin Ridley isn’t a secret; he is a well known productive WR. He won’t be cheap, but you are buying a WR with legit top 12 upside for years to come.
Juju Smith Shuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers:
2017 and 2018 were great years for Juju. He totaled 245 targets, 169 receptions, 2343 yards with 14 touchdowns. He finished 2017 as WR30, and 2018 as WR8. I felt that entering 2019 that Juju had top overall WR upside. When the dust settled on the 2019 campaign Juju was WR62.
There were some pretty big factors to consider for Juju. Antonio Brown left Pittsburgh and that thrust Juju into the #1 role and the spotlight, it also left 168 targets up for grabs in that offense. I saw the available targets as a positive and the departure of AB as both a positive and a negative for Juju in 2019. What was unknown of course was the season-ending elbow injury to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in week two.
Mason Rudolph and Delvin Hodges were not at a level even close to Big Ben. The Steelers attempted 510 passes in 2019 vs. 689 in 2018. The 168 AB targets I was excited about simply disappeared. Juju also dealt with injuries in 2019 limiting him to 12 games. There are those that feel that without a WR like Antonio Brown leading the offense that Juju will continue to struggle, I am not one of those individuals. Ben will be back in 2020, James Washington and Dionte Johnson will be a year older and more experienced. Juju Smith Shuster is a buy candidate and the 2020 fantasy comeback player of the year.
Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons:
Of all the players that I undervalued entering 2019, Austin Hooper was likely my biggest miss. I will not make the same mistake entering the 2020 season. Hooper finished 2019 as TE6, and his 15 PPR points a game ranked 3rd behind only Travis Kelce and George Kittle. He concluded 2018 as TE6. Hooper appeared in 13 games in 2019 and he entered the Falcons bye week (9) as the top-scoring TE in fantasy. In week 10 he was injured and ended up missing weeks 11-13. Upon his return, he struggled in 3 of his final 4 games.
I want to buy Austin Hooper for a lot of the reasons I want to buy Calvin Ridley. The Falcons will remain a pass-heavy offense and even though the defense played better after the bye week, I would expect Atlanta to chase points again in the majority of their games in 2020 based on their current roster.
We talk a lot about the 3rd year WR breakout, and it applies to the TE position as well, it takes these guys time to develop and transition from the college game. Hooper is well on his way to becoming an elite TE, and he is worth paying for.
2. Middle Tier Buys
Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears
Anthony Miller needs surgery on his left shoulder for the second time in two years after he was injured on a kickoff return in Week 17. Miller dislocated the same shoulder multiple times during the 2018 season before he had it repaired, and he missed OTAs in the spring as he recovered. There is a possibility that he misses some of the Bears offseason program again this season. This opens a nice buying window for a player I was looking to buy before he injured his shoulder. The injury should reduce the acquisition cost here.
In his rookie season, Anthony Miller caught 33 passes for 423 yards and seven touchdowns while dealing with his left shoulder injury for almost all of the 15 games he appeared in. IN his second season he finished with 52 receptions for 656 yards and two touchdowns. His 2019 was a tale of two seasons and Miller, in my opinion, was a victim of sub-par performances from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, and extremely questionable play calling from Head Coach Matt Nagy. When Trubisky showed some signs of competence later in the season, Miller’s numbers took a big jump.
Through the first nine games of the 2019 season, Miller was seeing on average 3.3 targets a game that he turned into 1.9 receptions and 24 yards scoreless yards. In the final 7 games, he saw his targets increase to an average of 7.9 a game that produced 5 catches, 88 yards, and .4 touchdowns. He was WR91 after the end of week 10, and in Weeks 11-16 he was WR17.
The shoulder doesn’t concern me, and it shouldn’t concern you. Use it however in your negotiations to bring the price down. I expect Miller to be the #2 in the Bears offense for years to come and if the quarterback play and play-calling doesn’t improve, those individuals will be replaced. Miller isn’t going anywhere.
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers
While the San Francisco 49ers prepared for the start of the 2019 season all that talk surrounding the club was what were they going to do with all their running backs. Matt Breida and Jerick McKinnon were returning (McKinnon from injury), and they added Tevin Coleman via free agency. Overlooked and forgotten was Raheem Mostert.
McKinnon landed on IR with reoccurring knee inflammation and when given his opportunities all Mostert did was produce. Raheem Mostert was a basic unknown prior to having a good run late with the Niners in 2018.
Mostert entered the NFL undrafted out of Purdue in 2015 and was at times a member of 4 different clubs that season, in 2016 he had a stint in Chicago before the Niners signed him off the Bears practice squad. Mostert had 1 rushing attempt in 2016 for 6 yards. In 2017 he had 6 carries for 30 yards, and in 2018 towards the latter part of the season, he had 40 touches for 286 total yards and a touchdown. He had his coming-out party in Week 6. Against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. In Week 9 of Mostert scored his first NFL touchdown on a 52-yard rush in the third quarter. However, he fractured his forearm during the game, ending his season.
Mostert started 2019 as a member of a messy running back by committee in San Francisco, by the end of the season Mostert emerged as the top back in the backfield and averaged 14 touches a game over the last 5 weeks of the regular season. In those 5 games, he ran for 379 yards (5.92 YPC) and caught six of nine targets for 69 additional yards. He also scored 6 times in those 5 match-ups. The Niners will certainly have some roster moves to make in the backfield prior to the 2020 season, moves that I could see including the release of Jerick McKinnon and the trade or release of Tevin Coleman. Mostert has top 24 RB upside and he is a player that I am targeting to buy.
N’Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots:
An ankle injury cost Harry the first 10 weeks of his rookie season. He began to carve out a role in the Patriots’ offense over the past five weeks, which includes converting 2 of 4 red-zone targets for touchdowns. Harry is a first-round pick, who is a big target who should be able to win individual match-ups as he matures, the kind of player is the perfect option for Tom Brady (or his eventual successor) in the red zone. Harry’s stock has presumably suffered this year due to his missed time. Upon his return, he only played 42% of the offensive snaps played rate and only saw a 7.4 % target share. N’Keal was a depth option behind Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu Sr. Heading into year two, all of this opens a nice buying window. Harry is an integral part of this team’s future and could be primed for a large step forward in 2020.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Hardman was selected by the Chiefs in the second round out of Georgia as insurance during the height of the Tyreek Hill domestic violence investigation. It turned out that Hill wasn’t suspended, and Hardman would end up as a complementary piece in the KC offense. When Hill went down in week one with a shoulder injury, we got to see what Hardman could do. He finished 2019 with modest numbers; 41 targets, 26 receptions, 538 yards, and 6 touchdowns. I never expected Hardman to replace Tyreek, but I did see a player that could equal what Hill did in his rookie season. Hill’s rookie season by the way; 593 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns.
I am anticipating an increased role in 2020. I am expecting Kansas City to eat the 7 million dead cap dollars by releasing Sammy Watkins, by doing so they save 14 Million towards the Salary Cap. As a result, I see Hardman seeing more snaps, and ultimately targets. He has blazing speed and fits the KC offense like a glove. Hardman’s value is likely as low as it will be for some time as we enter 2020, I recommend that you seek him out.
3. Lower Tier Buys
Andy Isabella, WR, Arizona Cardinals:
His role was certainly not what I had envisioned in his rookie season. Isabella did have his moments, such as his 88-yard touchdown catch against the 49ers’ defense in Week 9, and his 55-yard catch-and-run the following week. It’s not that Isabella didn’t play well, it’s that the Cardinals didn’t give him much of an opportunity. He finished the season having appeared in parts of 15 games and starting in one. His final stats in 2019; 13 targets, 9 receptions, 189 yards, and one touchdown. He added 4 rushing attempts for an additional 15 yards. Arizona leaned on Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald with some usage of Damiere Byrd and Pharoh Cooper.
In Year 2, Isabella will see a substantially increased role, thanks to his versatility – he possesses the ability to be a slot or perimeter receiver who has blazing speed. His versatility and speed are good attributes to possess in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. The Cardinals ranked 18th in pass attempts in 2019 (554) vs. 29th in 2018 (495). As Kyler Murray matures and the Cardinals add pieces to improve their offensive line that ranked 26th in pass protection, I see them throwing even more and Isabella having a much larger role in the years to come.
Justice Hill, RB, Baltimore Ravens:
He might seem to lack the size of a workhorse NFL running back, at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, but it’s not like players of this size can’t succeed at this level — see Austin Ekeler, who checks in with the same measurements and has a third-best-among-running-backs 279.2 PPR fantasy points this season.
Hill was supposed to take on more of a change-of-pace role behind Mark Ingram II this season, but Ingram’s early success rendered it unnecessary, presumably causing many to forget Hill’s presence entirely. I’m not so sure that can repeat in 2020, being that Ingram will be 30 years old and teams will surely spend the offseason trying to find ways to prevent Lamar Jackson from beating them with his legs.
Hill’s speed might help vary the offense, and he’s one of the few backups out there who should be able to step into the role of a starter seamlessly is called upon to do so.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, New Orleans Saints:
Some might have tired of waiting for him to emerge again as an NFL starter, having made only six fill-in starts in the three years, but Bridgewater’s performance while stepping in for Drew Brees earlier this year warrants mention.
Bridgewater averaged 16.7 fantasy points while facing a slightly above-average schedule, but much more importantly for his future prospects, he won all five starts to help the Saints take command in the NFC South.
His performance reaffirmed his status as the most attractive start-worthy current backup in the league. Bridgewater is a free agent at the conclusion of the season. He can seek an opportunity as a starter that might land him in a situation to make him a top-15 fantasy quarterback entering 2020. Or perhaps Drew Brees, who turns 41 in January, might decide to hang up his cleats.
Ian Thomas, TE Carolina Panthers
Thomas entered week 14 with 10 targets and 5 catches on the season. Injuries cost Greg Olsen weeks 14 & 15. In those two weeks, Thomas totaled 13 targets, 7 catches 90 yards and a touchdown.
Greg Olsen is nearing the end of his career and the retirement question is a fair one surrounding the veteran. Thomas is a more than an adequate successor, and most importantly for us in fantasy, he’s an experienced tight end already, a 2018 fourth-rounder who has logged plenty of time as an Olsen fill-in. In the Panthers’ past six regular-season games that Olsen has missed; Thomas has averaged 12.2 PPR fantasy points with a 17.3% target share. This is a position with little depth and dart-throw candidates are a smart thing and Thomas is one of the better ones still widely available, especially when you factor in the acquisition cost.