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5 Players to Buy in Dynasty Leagues

By Bill Anderson | 3/4/24

For those of you in dynasty leagues you know the season never stops. For those hardcore degenerates like myself, we are always looking at the latest player news and analysis so we can make moves before our league mates know what hit them.

Trading for players is one of the best (and most fun) ways of improving your team, and in dynasty leagues, this is a year-round adventure often with some of the biggest deals being made months before the NFL season even starts. This time of year is especially fun for making deals, as much of the NFL world is just coming back to life, with the Combine and then the Draft in April.

My trading strategy is pretty simple. I very rarely pay up for players unless my team is so stacked it doesn't matter. For example, I would not be buying CeeDee Lamb right now, as he is coming off an insane season and his value is through the roof. Instead, I like to focus on players whose value has sunk, but if you dig deeper and project scenarios, you can see a big value bump over the next six months or so. The following five guys fit this bill to me and I am looking to acquire all of them in leagues I do not already own them.

1. QB Bryce Young, Carolina

Just a year ago Young was the top pick in the 2023 draft and hopes were high that he would change the fate of the Panthers organization. The 2023 season was a rough one for Young, with a 2-14 record and awful stats including a 11-10 TD/INT ratio, a 73 passer rating and a 33.7 QBR. Young took too many sacks (62) and often times looked lost in a season filled with turmoil, that eventually got the head coach fired.

So why trade for Young you may ask. We have been spoiled by some first-year breakouts in recent years, (C.J. Stroud for one), but most QBs do not have great rookie seasons. Drew Brees, a player that Young was often compared to coming out of college, did not have a good season until his 4th year in the league. While the modern game may not have as much patience, it is still way too early to give up on such a talented player that should get, at minimum, two more seasons to make a mark.

Young has to take some of the blame himself, but he was not helped by the play around him, as two of his top three receivers ranked near the bottom of the NFL in getting open, and the other receiver was 33-year-old Adam Thielen,
who was coming off injury and clearly quite a bit past his prime.

With a year experience under his belt and any upgrades at the skill positions, I predict Young will have a way better 2024 season under a new coaching staff before exploding in 2025. As the old saying goes, buy low, sell high, and with Young, you will likely never have a better buying opportunity than right now for the former number one overall pick.

Kyle Pitts

2. TE Kyle Pitts, Atlanta

Pitts was a fantasy football darling as a pre-draft prospect. He was drafted early as a rookie and expectations were through the roof. His rookie year was actually very good other than touchdowns (only 1) and that definitely put a damper on his fantasy outlook.

In year 2, Pitts took a downturn, as he missed seven games with injury. Before last season some excitement grew, but by almost all measures his 2023 was a disappointment, as he managed a pedestrian 53/667/3 line despite playing all 17 games.

Most managers at this point have moved on, looking at shiny new things like Sam LaPorta, Trey McBride and incoming rookie Brock Bowers, so Pitts might be flying under the radar right in your league. The crazy thing is, Pitts is still just 23 years old and there is reason for excitement around his 2024 season.

First and foremost, head coach Arthur Smith is gone. Smith was a thorn in the side of fantasy managers the past few years, as he seemingly refused to feed his best players, Pitts included, while lesser players got very valuable touches.

Second, many have suggested that Pitts never fully recovered from his 2022 knee injury and even Pitts himself alluded to this in a few interviews recently. With another year removed and an offseason to get healthy, Pitts is finally expected to be back to 100% by training camp.

Finally, a big QB upgrade is almost guaranteed as everyone around the organization has hinted that the Falcons will be aggressive in finding a new QB this offseason, either in the draft or by trade/free agency. To me, this is the perfect time to buy Pitts, as the arrow is pointing up, while others are distracted by sexier names. Go get Pitts now and thank me in about 7 months.

3. RB Rhamondre Stevenson, New England

Stevenson was a popular breakout/sleeper candidate heading into 2023 as his 2022 season was very productive despite only technically starting about half the games. A receiving back with size and power, Stevenson looked the part of a workhorse and many managers were excited to see what he could do. After the Patriots signed Ezekiel Elliott, Stevenson’s stock dipped, but there was still hope he would carry the load. Just a couple games into the season, however, it was clear that not only was Zeke going to take a bunch of touches, but also the Patriots offense was so bad that Stevenson was going to be hard pressed to be a consistent fantasy back. While Stevenson looked good for small stretches, it was basically a lost season from the jump which included missing the last five games due to injury.

Since then, the mighty Bill Belichick has moved on and it seems the Patriots in general, were a hot mess both on the field and behind closed doors in 2023. With a new (but familiar to Stevenson) coaching staff in place, the optimism is slowly starting to creep back in for the Patriots, with good draft capital, a good salary cap number, and likely, a new and improved QB.

Zeke is back in the free agent streets and while they will need to add someone to the backfield, it is unlikely a big name and the draft class is weak enough that Stevenson is likely to keep his starting gig heading into the season.

Stevenson is in the last year of his deal so he has all the motivation in the world to ball out and the offensive environment should be improved enough to warrant hope for him being a top 15 fantasy back. He looks very cheap right now for someone just one year removed from a 1,000-yard rushing season that also had him catching 69 balls and scoring six times as part of a committee.

With limited weapons currently around him, Stevenson could be the focal point of the offense yet he is being treated as a throw-in in many dynasty trades I have seen. Going into the prime of his career, in a contract year, Stevenson is a potential stud at bargain basement prices right now.

4. WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seattle

Smith-Njigba, much like his fellow 2023 rookie counterpart on this list, Bryce Young, was considered by many to be the best at his position in last year’s draft. While JSN did not disappoint to the levels that Young did, he did not have a stellar season by most measurables, especially considering the seasons posted by fellow rookies Puka Nacua and Tank Dell.

JSN started the season with wrist surgery and never seemed to get into a rhythm, as he rotated between decent games with 6+ targets (8 games) and under 6 targets (8 games), and never topped 63 yards.

What I like about JSN, besides the likelihood of a lowered price tag, is he is set up nicely for a second-year breakout based on a few factors. First, DK Metcalf gets a lot of defensive attention, yet is far from a target hog (22nd in 2023), so JSN should get favorable matchups and be the first read on a lot of plays.

Second, Tyler Lockett may or may not be a cap casualty but even if he stays, he is entering his age 32 season and should be more of a role player at this point in his career.

What I really like about JSN’s situation is the changeup in coaching staff, and specifically the hiring of offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, who was the OC at the University of Washington. Under Grubb, the Huskies led the FBS in passing yards per game the past two seasons and called pass plays nearly 62% of the time. This would be in sharp contrast to the Seahawks who have had a much more balanced attack at best the past few seasons.

With natural growth and a more pass-friendly atmosphere I expect JSN to lead the team in targets and receptions and begin to live up to his draft status. With all the hype about the incoming rookie wide receiver class, now may be the perfect time to buy JSN, as many owners would rather chase the shiny new rookie rather than rely on last year’s group that failed to break out.

5. WR Terry McLaurin, Washington

McLaurin was one of the league’s most consistent receivers during his first four seasons, averaging over 1,000 yards and 5 touchdowns, while also averaging a healthy yards per target (8.9) and reception (14.3).

Last season, despite the Commanders leading the NFL in passing attempts, McLaurin’s numbers suffered tremendously, especially his receiving success rate and his catch percentage, both which dropped under his career average, along with his yards per reception (12.7), which hit a career low. Basically, McLaurin was getting the same amount of work as his previous four seasons but was way less efficient with his targets. As someone who watched a lot of Commanders’ games, I can tell you that McLaurin did not look any different, rather the QB play and the play calling were awful most of the season.

With Washington cleaning house in the coaching department, 2024 should be a re-do for the WR crew and there is reason for optimism. First, McLaurin is still in the prime of his career for at least another season and he’s played all 17 games the past three seasons.

Second, it is almost a certainty the Commanders upgrade at quarterback, most likely with one of the top 3 available in this year’s draft.

Third, new OC Kliff Kingsbury may get grief for never winning a lot of games, but there is no denying he likes to pass the ball and feature his best playmakers, which in this case is absolutely McLaurin. With an awful defense, there should be a lot of negative game scripts and Washington should continue to be among the leaders in passing attempts, though this time with improved efficiency.

McLaurin may be flying under the radar in the dynasty community but I think there’s a real chance for a bounce back and possibly even a career-year in 2024.