10 Players to Target in Dynasty Leagues (2020 Fantasy Football)
For many dynasty leagues, rookie drafts have been completed. Some are looking to trim down their rosters ahead of the start of the new season by consolidating players and picks into studs. Others are looking to sell off their remaining assets in an attempt to begin their rebuild.
Whatever your position, we’re here to help those looking to wheel and deal in dynasty formats. This week, we’ll examine players that our experts are currently targeting in dynasty fantasy football leagues.
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Q: Which player are you targeting most in dynasty leagues?
Christian Kirk (WR – ARI)
The Arizona Cardinals’ offense is set to explode with Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury running the show. While many may be quick to buy into the hype that surrounds newly acquired superstar DeAndre Hopkins, I’d rather wait and collect all the shares of 23-year-old Christian Kirk. Currently ranked as WR33 in the Dynasty ECR, Kirk exploded onto the scene last year, forming immediate chemistry with his rookie quarterback.
Sure, Hopkins is a good bet to naturally lead the team in targets, but there should be enough passes to go around for Kirk to see 100+ targets once again this season, building on a sophomore campaign where he caught 68 passes for 709 yards and three touchdowns on 107 targets (in just 13 games). With the Cardinals not bringing in a legitimate pass-catching tight end, and Larry Fitzgerald on the verge of retirement, Kirk is well-positioned to be Murray’s go-to-guy in the middle of the field for the foreseeable future.
And don’t let the addition of Hopkins scare you away. If anything, his presence should only help the third-year wideout see more balls thrown his way. Hopkins will draw double coverage and safety help over the top, leaving Kirk with single coverage across the middle on many occasions. Kirk also rarely leaves the field, playing over 92% of his team’s snaps in 11 of 13 games last season. Murray attempted 542 passes in 2019, which tells you that Kingsbury is not afraid to let his quarterback sling it. All the stars are aligning for Kirk to command a large target share in 2020 and beyond in what many believe will be one of the NFL’s most high-powered offenses for years to come. Buy into this offense on the cheap before it’s too late!
– Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler)
Calvin Ridley (WR – ATL)
Calvin Ridley is ready to break out in his third season and will be a stud fantasy wideout for many years. Julio Jones and Ridley will once again form a dynamic duo as the top two Falcons’ wide receivers. QB Matt Ryan recently said, per AL.com’s Mark Inabinett, that Ridley could take a major leap in his third pro season. “He’s a guy I think could explode going into a year like this,” Ryan said. “He’s in phenomenal shape, he’s been running great and I think his grasp of the offense and his mastery of our system is so much further along than it was last year.”
Ridley missed three games due to an abdominal injury, but he hauled in 63 catches for 866 yards and seven touchdowns on 93 targets. The 25-year-old has hit paydirt 17 times in his first two NFL seasons. Julio Jones is 31 and still has a few elite seasons left in him, but Atlanta drafted Ridley in the first round of 2018 to succeed the superstar wideout. He continues to gain helium in redraft formats and is a must-buy in dynasty leagues. The Falcons produce fantasy studs at the wide reciever position year in and year out; Ridley is next in line to be a dominant force for years to come.
– Brad Camara (@beerad30)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire is going to be an elite RB1 for a long time. Reportedly handpicked by the newly extended (and very rich) Patrick Mahomes, Edwards-Helaire could not have asked for a more promising situation. We have witnessed what a talented running back can accomplish in this offense. Kareem Hunt finished as the RB4 in 2017, averaging 16.79 fantasy points per game (half-PPR) with Alex Smith running the show. When attached to Patrick Mahomes in 2018, Hunt averaged 19.75 fantasy points per game and finished as the RB11 in only 11 games. For reference, that average would have resulted in an RB2 finish in 2017 and an RB4 finish in 2018.
It is possible that Edwards-Helaire immediately supplants Damien Williams and becomes the Chiefs’ RB1 by opening week. While Williams showed his worth in the Super Bowl, he provided very little during the regular season, and the team is not substantially committed to him financially. Head Coach Andy Reid comparing Edwards-Helaire to former Eagles great Brian Westbrook certainly adds fuel to the hype surrounding the first-round rookie running back. Similar to Westbrook in both size and skill set, Edwards-Helaire’s tremendous receiving ability should have dynasty players salivating. Edwards-Helaire caught 55 passes from first overall pick Joe Burrow last season and steps into a familiar situation with an elite offense led by a dynamic quarterback.
The Chiefs have scored 121 touchdowns over the past two seasons, even with Mahomes missing two full games and a significant part of another one. Running backs on good offenses tend to produce fantasy gold, so this is the offense dynasty managers want to tie themselves to for the long haul. While Williams will not completely go away this season, Edwards-Helaire is a far more talented player and will become the lead back sooner rather than later. An RB1 finish in his rookie season is within the range of outcomes, and RB1 finishes could be essentially guaranteed for multiple years beyond. Edwards-Helaire is worth the first overall pick in rookie drafts and should be scooped up in the second round of startup drafts, as his value will only soar higher.
– Mark McWhirter (@mmcw19)
D.K. Metcalf (WR – SEA)
Metcalf came into the league with some question marks but answered any doubts with a terrific rookie season. After catching seven touchdowns and racking up 900 yards receiving, he looks poised to become the number one option in the Seahawks’ passing game. A hulking physical presence (6’4″, 229 pounds), Metcalf can easily win one-on-one matchups on the outside while also using his blazing speed to get downfield. While the Seahawks aren’t known as a passing team, their narrow target distribution in 2019 marked the first time in Russell Wilson’s career that two receivers eclipsed 100 targets. Metcalf’s arrival has given Wilson the type of weapon this offense has lacked. Because of that, I have some faith that Seattle will open up the playbook a little more this year. If Wilson gets 50 or more additional pass attempts, Metcalf’s target share bump up. The ceiling here is massive. Metcalf will not turn 23 until December, making him two years younger than Calvin Ridley and Courtland Sutton, two receivers with similar profiles and ADPs in dynasty leagues. Give me all the Metcalf shares.
– Jason Kamlowsky (@JasonKamlowsky)
Travis Kelce (TE – KC)
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is in a peculiar spot for dynasty fantasy football. The dynasty format is built to have its participants gravitate to younger players, with fantasy managers chasing untapped potential – like Evan Engram – in favor of the sure thing like Kelce. While I wouldn’t recommend targeting a running back or wide receiver that turns 31 years old in October in the early rounds of your dynasty draft, the same school of thought simply doesn’t apply to tight ends. Playing a position that ages like a fine wine from Napa Valley, Kelce is in pristine position to continue his weekly matchup-tilting domination.
Kelce is one of the all-time greats that the tight end position has ever seen, joining the likes of Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, and Shannon Sharpe. These all-timers played 17, 16, and 14 seasons, respectively, in the NFL. Just like these Mount Rushmore tight end legends that came before him, Kelce has been a consistent model of health throughout his pro tenure. Having not missed a single game due to injury since his rookie season in 2013, Kelce has plenty of miles left on those tires entering his eighth year for the champion Chiefs. After being the first tight end in NFL history to record four straight 1,000-yard seasons, Kelce is truly in a class of his own at the position.
Since 2015, only DeAndre Hopkins (29.6%), Larry Fitzgerald (27.4%), and Julio Jones (25.8%) have a higher percentage of their team’s receptions than Kelce’s 24.4% with the Chiefs. Did you see any other tight ends mentioned on that list? Didn’t think so. Speaking of elite wide receivers: Since 2016, Kelce has averaged more receptions and yards than consensus overall WR4 Davante Adams, with Kelce averaging just two fewer targets than Adams over that span. Since 2018, however, Kelce has averaged more points in half-PPR (226.5 points) than Adams (221.7 points) and consensus overall WR3 Tyreek Hill (222.2 points). Year in, year out, Kelce gives you WR1 numbers at the most difficult position to find elite production. Kelce’s numbers translated to WR9 in 2018 and WR11 last year in half-PPR scoring. Knowing what we know about the shelf life of an elite NFL tight end — especially when considering Kelce’s clean bill of health throughout his career — Kelce’s mid-third-round dynasty price tag doesn’t add up. For Pete’s sake, do I have to remind you of the situation that Kelce finds himself in? Leading the best offense on the planet — with the best quarterback and offensive-minded head coach – in targets and receptions for the foreseeable future is something that I can’t pass up. Since Patrick Mahomes took over as the starting quarterback in Kansas City, Kelce has averaged 143 targets, 100 catches, nearly 1,300 yards, and eight touchdowns per year. Yeah, that’ll work just fine for me midway through the third round of any and all dynasty startup drafts.
– Rob Searles (@RobBob17)
Miles Sanders (RB – PHI)
I’ll spare you the anecdotes and stick to the statistics. Miles Sanders was the second running back selected in the 2019 NFL Draft. According to the Eagles’ official website, he set franchise records for more rushing yards (818), yards from scrimmage (1,327), and all-purpose yards (1,641) than any first-year player in the team’s history. Last year, his all-purpose yards led all NFL rookies, ranking fifth in the NFC and eighth in the entire league. They were also the most all-purpose yards by any Eagles player since LeSean McCoy’s 2,146 yards in 2013. Even more impressive is that Sanders accomplished all of this on just 168 carries (4.7 yards per carry) and 49 receptions (10.3 yards per reception). If it weren’t for Kyler Murray’s quarterback play in Arizona last year, Sanders would have probably earned NFL Rookie of the Year honors.
Now that Jordan Howard and his 119 carries and 14 targets (in nine games) are out of the picture — and Eagles head coach Doug Pederson seems sold on locking in Sanders as the premier running back — Sanders will only have Boston Scott contend with in the Philadelphia backfield for at least the next year or two (Scott is an RFA in 2021). Assuming that happens and Sanders stays healthy, he should give you the breakout season many fantasy footballers are expecting from him in 2020. What’s more, Sanders’ stellar season will cement the young running back as a fantasy star for years to come, making him a dynasty asset to acquire ASAP. Looking at the FantasyPros dynasty consensus rankings, I would even bump him up one spot over Nick Chubb, which would make Sanders the RB7 in dynasty leagues this season.
– Jim Colombo (@widerightnblue)
Michael Pittman Jr. (WR – IND)
When considering players I’ll target the most in dynasty leagues, I try to think of players that are not going in the first round. Unless I have an early pick, I may not be able to draft them. I really like some of the elite rookie running backs, like Jonathan Taylor and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but they may also be off the board within the first couple rounds in a dynasty league. One rookie I think will be available as a late value with upside is Michael Pittman Jr. Joining a team in desperate need of wide receiver help, Pittman Jr. is slotted to start opposite T.Y. Hilton. He is joining a team with veteran QB Philip Rivers and one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Since he possesses both the size to be a red-zone threat and the speed to be a vertical threat, the Colts have compared Pittman to Vincent Jackson. Pittman has the potential to be fantasy relevant as a rookie, and he has upside to develop into a great receiver as he learns the NFL game. I’ll target Pittman as someone who should be available in the 10th round of dynasty drafts, depending on how many keepers the league allows and how bullish the competition is on rookies with upside.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS)
While I’d love to nab either Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jonathan Taylor in any dynasty draft, Terry McLaurin has become my most sought after target. An unheralded prospect in the 2019 draft, McLaurin emerged as Washington’s best offensive weapon as a rookie, finishing as the WR28 on only 93 targets. At just 24 years old, he’s only scratching the surface and is my bet to be this season’s biggest breakout wide receiver. Dwayne Haskins looked lost for much of his rookie season, but he can only improve in Year 2 with a competent coaching staff led by new head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner. McLaurin is capable of making plays at every level of the field, and he’s got the ability to finish as a stud receiver with more target volume and better quarterback play.
– Matt Barbato (@realmattbarbato)
Denzel Mims (WR – NYJ)
The main reason Denzel Mims is ranked pretty low in re-draft and dynasty leagues is the mere thought of him in an Adam Gase offense that finished fourth-worst in total yards last season. Outside of the obvious dynasty choices like J.K. Dobbins, Jonathan Taylor, and Jerry Jeudy, Mims is a great value to take a chance on in later rounds. He is guaranteed the opportunity to earn a strong target share with the Jets. Robby Anderson is gone, Breshad Perriman only signed a one-year deal, and Jamison Crowder will operate from the slot, which means Mims could be in line for a WR2 workload as soon as this season. Next, the Jets made considerable improvements to the offensive line. This is crucial because Sam Darnold’s struggles were exasperated due to the lack of time to operate in the pocket.
Mims is extremely athletic and may be the Jets’ best red-zone option. At 6’3″ with a 95th-percentile catch radius, he may be the primary red-zone target as soon as Week 1. Though he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine, his struggles to create separation at times will hinder his redraft value. While I have concerns about him playing in an AFC East littered with elite corners and the inefficiencies we have seen from Gase’s teams, there is no doubt the Jets should vastly improve offensively from last season’s finish. Based on his talent and chance to assume the WR1 duties in New York, I believe Mims represents a high-upside dynasty value.
– Brandon Torricella (@Btorricella3)
David Njoku (TE – CLE)
A popular candidate to break out in a heavily hyped Cleveland offense, Njoku instead tallied five receptions in a 2019 derailed by a wrist injury. Considering his only significant snaps came in Week 1, fantasy drafters may have given the former first-round pick a mulligan. That, of course, was before the Browns added fellow tight end Austin Hooper to an already crowded grouping of pass-catchers.
With so many promising young tight ends on the rise, Njoku has cratered to TE21 in FantasyPros’ dynasty ECR. Try to acquire him for pennies before it’s too late. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Njoku has formally requested a trade from Cleveland. While there’s no guarantee the Browns comply, it’s worth placing a low-risk bet on an explosive 6’4″, 246-pound playmaker who broke off a reception of at least 20 yards in half of his sophomore season’s contests. He just turned 24, so it’s far too premature to label Njoku a bust.
– Andrew Gould (@AndrewGould4)
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