The fantasy football season is officially over in the vast majority of leagues, which means it’s time for dynasty owners to start identifying their offseason targets. Winning your dynasty league is a year-long process that requires full focus throughout the offseason. Whether you’re the defending champ or just looking to build a more competitive roster, these are some of the players you should be going after this offseason.
In a perfect world, your fantasy football dynasty targets will be broken up into three types of players: high-end superstars, mid-tier starters, and high-upside depth pieces. Obviously, the price for each tier is going to be wildly different, so “buy-low” is defined as a player that will outplay their respective acquisition cost. Also note that this list assumes a one-quarterback, non-TE premium PPR format. If you play with different league rules, then there will obviously be some variation in player value.
Best Fantasy Football Buy-Low Dynasty Targets
Yes, you will have to pay up to secure George Kittle’s services. However, considering the absolute lack of talent at the position combined with Kittle’s amazing ceiling, it’s safe to assume that Kittle should be one of the top targets in your fantasy football dynasty league. Injuries limited Kittle to just seven games last year (not including a yet-unplayed Week 17), so some owners might have forgotten just how good he can be when on the field.
Based on raw talent alone, Kittle could very well be the best tight end in football. While injury worries may scare some away, he’s only entering his age-28 season and should have plenty of elite seasons left in his tank. He’s my Dynasty TE1, and there are some ranking him as low as the TE3. If you can get him at a discounted rate, you absolutely should.
It’s hard to think of anyone that had as disappointing a season as Michael Thomas. The New Orleans Saints wide receiver was widely considered the consensus WR1, but a combination of injuries and off-field drama caused his stock to plummet throughout the season. With Drew Brees possibly retiring at the end of the year, there is a pretty good shot that the Michael Thomas owner in your league is worried about his long-term outlook.
Now is the time to capitalize on that fear. Thomas didn’t look like himself this year, but that’s pretty common for guys playing through a high-ankle sprain. There are endless examples of athletes needing a full year to recover from the injury, so Thomas should be back to his old self in 2021. Thomas himself gives you nothing to worry about, and the quarterback situation isn’t as bad as you think.
We already know Drew Brees targets Thomas at an absurd rate, so Thomas should be a great fantasy asset if Brees gives it one more go in 2021. However, even if Taysom Hill takes over under center, Thomas should still be a fantastic fantasy asset. In their four games together, Thomas averaged 7.5 receptions for 86 yards on 9.3 targets. This includes a 31-3 blowout win over the Denver Broncos where the Saints actively stopped trying early in the first quarter. While Hill vultures a few too many touchdowns for WR1 overall potential, Thomas should be a top-five option in 2021, regardless of who is under center.
Entering the season, Mark Andrews was widely considered the next big thing at tight end. Coming off a breakout season, the third-year pro was supposed to establish himself as the clear TE3 behind Travis Kelce and George Kittle. However, that didn’t go according to plan, as Andrews largely disappointed early in the season. This sour taste could still be in the mouths of Andrews owners, despite that fact that he’s quietly put together a great second-half run.
Since Week 10, Andrews has recorded 28 receptions for 377 yards and two touchdowns. When extrapolated over a full 16-game sample, this puts Andrews on pace for 90 receptions, 1,206 yards, and six touchdowns. This fantastic pace isn’t influenced by one outlier performance, and it isn’t inflated by unsustainable touchdown performance. This success is very much legitimate, making him a great post-hype sleeper candidate for 2021.
Diontae Johnson has had a weird year. The former third-round pick is currently the WR18 but is poised for a much bigger year in 2021. Based on workload alone, Johnson has a legitimate case to be a WR1 next year. Ben Roethlisberger absolutely loves to throw him the football, but drops and injuries have limited his overall fantasy success. Chase Claypool will probably get all the offseason love, but Johnson is a much safer bet to be the top option in the passing game. With Juju Smith-Schuster likely out the door, you might be able to find a low-end WR1 for a relative bargain.
Curtis Samuel is a fantastic receiver, and the Carolina Panthers finally started using him accordingly in 2020. Since Week 9, Samuel is on a 16-game pace for 94 receptions, 1,077 yards, and five touchdowns. Samuel is a free agent, but he should retain his role in the offense if he re-signs with the Panthers. Additionally, Carolina will probably have a better quarterback in 2021, which can only help the former second-round pick.
Should Samuel leave, he will probably land in a better situation. As good as Samuel has been, he’s had to battle Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore for targets. Chances are, he’ll find a better target share in a new location. Basically, there is a good shot Samuel lands in a good situation with the potential to put up a WR2 season next year.
Chase Edmonds is probably the riskiest name on this list, as he has the widest range of outcomes. Kenyan Drake is set to be a free agent, and it’s hard to imagine Arizona paying up after a relatively disappointing season. Should Drake walk and Arizona not sign an adequate replacement, Chase Edmonds will have full control of one of the most valuable backfields in fantasy football. However, if Drake re-signs or the Cardinals go after somebody else in free agency, Edmonds is nothing more than a flex play and elite handcuff. Still, the upside alone is worth the relatively small cost of acquisition.
High-Upside Depth Piece
Ke’Shawn Vaughn is perhaps the biggest disappointment from the 2020 rookie class. The subject of many a hype piece, Vaughn proved unable of beating out Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette, and LeSean McCoy. Related to a bench role, many have written off the former third-round pick as a complete bust.
However, Vaughn will have an opportunity in 2021. McCoy and Fournette are both free agents, and it’s hard to imagine Tampa Bay bringing either guy back in 2021. This gives Vaughn a clear path to the pass-catching role, with the possibility of taking over all three downs in 2022. Tom Brady’s rookie running backs historically do not produce for fantasy, especially the pass-catchers. In 2014, James White finished with just five receptions for 23 yards. Again, Vaughn is anything but a sure bet, but the opportunity for a breakout season will be there.
New England Patriots running back J.J. Taylor was one of the best undrafted free agents from the 2020 class. Taylor didn’t have much of a chance to do anything as a rookie, as this iteration of the New England Patriots were absolutely loaded at running back. However, with James White and Rex Burkhead hitting free agency, there is an opening for the pass-catching role in New England. Taylor excelled at that role in college and should be first in line to win the job in 2021. With Cam Newton not being the long-term answer, the Patriots could end up with a quarterback more willing to take the underneath stuff, which is good news for Taylor.
Joe Mixon is under contract for the foreseeable future, which means that Trayveon Williams will never have a featured role as long as Mixon is healthy. However, Samaje Perine is a free agent and the Bengals can save over $4 million in cap space by parting ways with Giovani Bernard. This gives Williams the potential to be one of the most valuable handcuffs in the league, and you could probably get him for as little as a 2021 fourth-round pick, assuming he’s even rostered.
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