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The Dynasty Buy Low Report: Third Year Breakout Candidates

Trading is one of the most enjoyable and difficult aspects of fantasy football. The Buy Low Report is here to help.

With season-long trade deadlines having past, I want to focus on dynasty buying opportunities heading into next year. If your season-long league is still allowing trades, see last week’s Buy Low Report for some last-minute sell candidates and mid-November’s Buy Low Report for the best playoffs buys. Even if your dynasty league locks trading during the playoffs, owners still have the opportunity to plant the seeds of offers with potential trade partners, as trading is usually full-go again come Week 17.

Use the final few Buy Low Reports of this year as guides for players whose dynasty value is likely to rise in the off-season (and maybe into next year). Consider buying the suggested players as soon as possible not just because their production is likely to increase next season, but because their public dynasty value should rise before Week 1 of 2019, giving you the opportunity to flip your end of season buy for value at summer’s end.

Last week’s piece targeted rookie wide receivers who should accrue value next season. This week, I am highlighting two third-year wide receiver breakout candidates. Both candidates probably lack top-24 upside at their position, but given their current values they are nice buy lows with top-36 starting caliber upside.

Zay Jones

Zay Jones was one of the worst receivers in football in his 2017 rookie season. According to the RotoViz Screener, his fantasy points below expectation per attempt were worst in the league.


Blair Andrews’ latest research shows that Jones’ poor rookie efficiency puts a damper on his long-term outlook.

However, it is prudent to contextualize Jones’ performance and value. Yes, Jones is unlikely to provide top-24 wide receiver value, but there are reasons to believe he can be a starting caliber top-36 wide receiver dynasty asset whose value will increase from its current mark.

While Jones’ rookie season was exceedingly poor, his rebound performance this year in a historically poor team situation should not go unnoticed.


It is an accomplishment that Jones is producing near expectation given how miserable Buffalo’s offense is.

Buffalo is bottom1 in the league in nearly every offensive efficiency category.


League Rank

Passing Yards Per Game


Yards Per Pass Attempt


Passing Touchdowns Per Game


Completion Percentage


Average Team Passer Rating


Yards Per Play


Points Per Game


This poor offensive performance has been captained by rookie quarterback Josh Allen who has the lowest completion percentage in the league and some of the worst per attempt metrics, as well.


Buffalo’s offense can only improve in years to come. It is unlikely they will be one of the better offenses in the league, but it reasonable to expect them to become palatable as Allen improves.

This is good news for Jones going forward, as he has led his team in both opportunity and efficiency this year.



The above graphic from the Weekly Explorer omits Kelvin Benjamin, who was just below Jones in opportunity.

Evidently, Buffalo wants Jones to be their number one pass-catching option.

Jones’ age adjusted metrics are average at best, with a 21.8 breakout age and 22-year-old rookie season, but investigating players with comparable two-year starts to their careers gives reason for optimism.


Third year breakout comps like Davante Adams and Tyler Boyd along with intermittent starts like Will Fuller and Marvin Jones suggest Jones potentially does have upside in his range of outcomes.

The real key, though, is that Jones’ value is destined to increase by the start of next season. He will be the clearly defined top receiving option for his team and should produce at least up to expectation. His value likely varies league to league, but if he can be acquired for a late second, then go for it.

Curtis Samuel

Like Jones, Curtis Samuel has had a mini Year 2 breakout after thoroughly struggling in his rookie year.


Samuel’s rookie year injuries make it hard to evaluate how much stock should be put into his production that year. The Ohio State grad battled ankle and back injuries all season leading up to a season-ending injury in Week 10. Samuels again encountered hardship this offseason and was kept out to start the year following a heart surgery. It is possible we are just starting to see what Carolina’s 2017 second round pick is capable of.

Per the Weekly Stat Explorer, Samuel’s usage is on the rise.


Looking at the weekly variation in Samuel’s average depth of target illustrates how Carolina is getting him involved in many different parts of their offense. His success in these varied roles, demonstrated by his strong FPOE and overall PPR output, proves his versatility and suggests he can have a lasting role.


We could see this coming, too, given Samuel’s prospect profile.


RotoViz College Breakout Age2

Draft Round

Rookie Age

Early Declare?

NFL Breakout?

Curtis Samuel






Since D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey are likely to be volume hogs that soak up the majority of usage, the key to Samuel’s long-term value is the presence of Devin Funchess.

Funchess is a free agent this offseason. With Moore and Samuel seeing their usage steadily grow, it seems the writing is on the wall for Carolina to let Funchess walk.

The young and versatile Carolina playmaking wide receivers, Moore and Samuel, will undoubtedly have their roles cemented if Funchess’ targets and air yards are vacated.


Like Jones, Samuel is a strong candidate to have building hype this off-season. The moment Funchess goes unsigned, Samuel’s value will spike. Buy him now before that happens.

  1. Arizona is the only team that has been comparably as bad.  (back)
  2. from Anthony’s article  (back)
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