In Dynasty Trade Targets 2020 – Wide Receiver Edition, Curtis Patrick gives away the names of three wide receivers he’s buying right now.
As rookie fever sets in across the dynasty community, the offseason trade window also begins to crack open. I’m sharing three of my top dynasty trade targets at the wide receiver position for the 2020 offseason. One of these players should be valued as an elite dynasty asset, but isn’t being treated that way, the second is being overshadowed by bigger name rookies, and the third was highly efficient and is tied to the best quarterback in the league. These three receivers aren’t the only ones I’ll be shopping for this offseason, but they’re the three I’m targeting right now. To ensure that Dynasty Trade Targets 2020 – Wide Receiver Edition is actionable, I’ve also listed multiple trade offers to consider for each player.
Dynasty Trade Target 1 – Cooper Kupp
I’ll start with the only non-rookie on this list, 2019 mega-fantasy star, Cooper Kupp.
This recommendation is based on what I’ve found to be an extremely soft market for the soon-to-be fourth year receiver. I’m not sure if there’s any direct attribution, but here are some reasons I suspect dynasty players aren’t widely viewing him as an elite-level asset:
- He was a confusing rookie evaluation due to being an old prospect from a small school who peaked before his final year and had a wide range of possible NFL outcomes
- He has two other well-known fantasy receivers on the same roster (Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods)
- He missed half of 2018 with an ACL injury
- He’s primarily a slot receiver
His prospect profile largely became irrelevant after he proved his rookie year wasn’t a fluke when he scored nearly 17 PPR per game in his second season. Regarding his “name brand” teammates, Cooks has slowly become an afterthought in the offense due to concussions, leaving Kupp and the older Woods as the primary weapons. In 2019, Kupp replicated his crazy scoring pace from 2018 and didn’t appear to suffer from any lingering effects from the knee injury. Yes, he’s a slot receiver, but he’s one of the best slot receivers in the game (he led the NFL in yards from the slot in 2020) thanks to his incredible yards after catch abilities (he’s ranked top-16 among wide receivers in YAC in all three of his seasons).
Despite the evidence that concerns around Kupp as a dynasty asset have been addressed, the market doesn’t seem to be moving. In recent polls (with greater than 1000 responses), the community prefers Odell Beckham Jr. to Kupp at nearly a 2-1 clip, and the 2020 1.04 rookie pick to Kupp at nearly a 3-1 clip.
Collecting the top slot receivers in the game has been an easy way to find elite production at discount levels in recent years. Players such as Jarvis Landry, Julian Edelman, Tyler Lockett, Doug Baldwin, and late-career Larry Fitzgerald all showed they could produce at (or very near) WR1 levels despite high slot percentages. My experience has been that all of those players were very easy to buy in my leagues.
Kupp is one of only eight wide receivers to average more than 16 PPR per game in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The rest of that list: Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, Julian Edelman, and Keenan Allen. If you want to get really picky, we can add Antonio Brown to that list, though he only played one game in 2019.
Using a slightly gentler approach (smoothing production from the two seasons), here are the top wide receivers in fantasy football on a per-game, cumulative basis for the past two seasons.
Kupp ranks seventh over the period and he’s younger than four of the players ranked above him on the list (only Evans and Tyreek Hill are younger).
Trade offer ideas – A pair of late 2020 1sts (you might even be able to get a future 2nd back in a deal like this), 2020 picks in the 1.03-1.06 range, Odell Beckham Jr. (you’ll probably be able to get more added on the Kupp side, too), Julio Jones
Dynasty Trade Target 2 – Terry McLaurin
McLaurin was a personal favorite of mine in 2019. I ended up with a handful of dynasty shares in rookie drafts (including a really fun share at where I traded up to 2.12 in a draft that took place before the NFL Draft) based on my familiarity with Ohio State’s offense. Let’s consider what he endured as a rookie before revisiting his production:
- Two head coaches
- Two quarterbacks
- There was literally ZERO extra help for him in the receiving game; no other Washington receiver posted more than 34 receptions or 365 yards
Even in the face of this significant adversity McLaurin started his career hot, pacing for over 64 receptions and 1000 yards regardless of who was throwing to him.
Over the past decade, third-round wide receivers who pop as rookies have largely gone on to be strong dynasty investments. Since 2010, here are the third-rounders who have managed at least 500 receiving yards as rookies:
|Player||Season||Draft Pos||Rec Yds||200 PPR Seasons|
First, note that the Washington rookie posted the second-most receiving yards by a third-round rookie in the past decade. Second, note that 70% (7/10) of the players in this cohort posted at least one more 200-point PPR season after posting 500 receiving yards as a rookie.
Given that we aren’t talking about elite, blue-chip prospects in this range of NFL drafts, seeing McLaurin land within such a strong list of players is really encouraging when using such a simple screening tool. I’d argue that McLaurin’s rookie campaign was every bit as impressive as A.J. Brown’s and he’ll cost much less to acquire. I think he’s an interesting (and attainable) trade target because some owners might be tempted to sell high so they can lock in the roster equity they gained last year, especially if he was simply a dart throw pick for them on draft day.
Trade offer ideas: 2020 picks in the 1.06-1.10 range, Kerryon Johnson, David Montgomery, Adam Thielen
Dynasty Trade Target 3 – Mecole Hardman
Only 13 rookie wide receivers who were top-100 picks in the NFL Draft since 2000 have posted 40 or more receiving fantasy points over expectation (reFPOE).
Two of those seasons happened in 2019. They belonged to A.J. Brown and Mecole Hardman. So, we have 11 examples of players who posted 40 or more reFPOE as rookies and played at least a second season. Of that cohort, 91% (10/11) went on to produce at least one more season of PPR WR24 or better in points per game (Michael Clayton was the lone player who who never popped again).
Connecting for six touchdowns on 38 targets certainly boosted Patrick Mahomes’ adjusted yards per attempt in his battery with the rookie. On a per-target basis, nobody came close to Hardman on the 2019 Chiefs in terms of quality of production. The thought of a growing role for a young player who showed game-breaking ability and is tied to Mahomes is an exciting one.
Hardman didn’t get many volume games; he only had four contests with five or more targets. When he did get additional looks he made them count, though, producing at a pace that would’ve registered just five points shy of a rookie breakout at 195 PPR. It can be dangerous to depend too much on extrapolation of a small sample size, but given all of the other positives in Hardman’s rookie profile, this seems more like just another feather in the cap rather than squinting too hard to see something that might not be there,
Team depth chart analysis also reveals reason for extreme optimism about a growing role for Hardman in the next year or two. The Chiefs can cut Sammy Watkins (90 targets, 18% market share) loose before the 2020 season and create $14 million in cap savings (albeit with $7 millions dead cap). Demarcus Robinson (55 targets, 10% market share) will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and given Hardman’s encouraging rookie season it’s difficult to imagine the team spending to retain his services.
Trade offer ideas – 2020 picks in the 1.09-2.04 range, Robby Anderson, Devonta Freeman, Marlon Mack
If You Liked Dynasty Trade Targets 2020 – Wide Receiver Edition, Check Out This Piece, Too
Shawn Siegele recently located 15 potential 2020 wide receiver breakout candidates using the RotoViz Screener. Two of the names on the list were McLaurin and Hardman.