Dynasty Wide Receivers to Trade Before the NFL Draft (2021 Fantasy Football)
Preparing for the future is one of the best things you can do in dynasty fantasy football leagues. With the offseason getting underway with blockbuster quarterback trades, it’s only a matter of time before free agency and the draft satisfies our desire for football-related news (cue the “I need it” SpongeBob meme).
After a stellar rookie wide receiver class in 2020, the 2021 NFL Draft class is shaping up to be a phenomenal group as well. In light of that, plenty of NFL teams will consider taking one of the many wideouts available. To get ahead of the curve, these are a few wide receivers you may want to consider trading in dynasty leagues before the 2021 NFL Draft commences.
DeVante Parker (MIA)
As of this moment, the Miami Dolphins are moving forward with Tua Tagovailoa as their franchise quarterback. The Dolphins have been rumored as a team that could pursue Deshaun Watson, but the Houston Texans seem adamant about making the situation difficult for both sides. Therefore, we’ll assume Tagovailoa is Miami’s Week 1 starter.
In that case, the Dolphins need to make a concerted effort to add wide receivers who can create separation more often. When Tagovailoa was at Alabama, he excelled with a loaded wide receiver group that included Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Devonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle. Having wide receivers that could consistently get open was an issue for the Dolphins in 2020. With that in mind, Miami is expected to add a wide receiver – or two – in the 2021 NFL Draft. They could also decide to add one of the many proven wideouts entering free agency.
Regardless of who they add, DeVante Parker could see his role in the offense decline a bit. Parker has led the Dolphins in receiving in the past two seasons, including a 2019 season where he finished as the WR11 in PPR leagues. But Parker isn’t an ideal wide receiver for Tagovailoa, as he created just 1.7 yards of separation per route run in 2020 (tied for worst in the NFL).
The other wide receiver that averaged only 1.7 yards of separation per route run was A.J. Green. While I’ve had a long-time affinity for Green, this version of Green isn’t a wide receiver you want to be compared to in most metrics.
Ahead of the 2021 season, the Dolphins have named Eric Studesville and George Godsey as co-offensive coordinators. After moving on from Chan Gailey, Miami will likely create an offense that caters to Tagovailoa’s strengths. If the Dolphins draft more pass-catchers as expected, you may want to put Parker on the trade block.
Sterling Shepard (NYG)
The New York Giants have made it clear that Daniel Jones will get at least one more season to prove he’s their long-term starting quarterback. Jones regressed a bit in 2020 after a modest rookie season in which he threw for 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 14 starts. Despite his own struggles, the Giants believe he can reach his potential if they do a better job surrounding him with more weapons that can stretch the field vertically.
Jones has built a nice rapport with Sterling Shepard in his first two seasons. However, Shepard has struggled to avoid injuries, as he’s missed 10 games in that span. Yet when Shepard is on the field, he is a decent PPR wide receiver. From Weeks 7-17 of the 2020 season, a healthy Shepard was WR21 in PPR formats.
Even with Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Golden Tate leading the depth chart at wide receiver, the Giants will more than likely add a wide receiver in the draft. On top of that, New York would probably prefer to take guys like DeVonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle who can take the top off of a defense. Shepard, meanwhile, is at his best when operating in the short-to-intermediate area of the field.
If the Giants want any chance of Jones reaching his peak, they’ll need to surround him with more talent on offense. Shepard’s injury concerns, coupled with the fact that New York could draft or sign another wide receiver, make him a trade candidate this offseason. The return of Saquon Barkley could also lower Shepard’s target share in the passing game.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB)
There’s no way the Green Bay Packers neglect the wide receiver position for a second consecutive draft, right? Last year’s draft class was littered with talented pass-catchers that could have made a difference for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Instead, they traded up to take Rodgers’ possible future replacement in Jordan Love. In the second round, they selected AJ Dillon, who in their defense could start in 2021 if free agents Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams leave.
Similar to last year, this year’s class of wideouts seems poised to produce some long-time starters. With Rodgers not getting any younger and voicing his frustrations on how Green Bay’s season ended, the Packers have to address the position this offseason.
Fans continue to trick themselves into thinking Marquez Valdes-Scantling can be a prominent member of Green Bay’s offense. Valdes-Scantling just finished his third season with the Packers, recording career-highs in receiving yards (690), receiving touchdowns (six), yards per reception (20.9), and aDOT (18.3). Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing in at around 210 pounds — with the speed that can create challenges for opposing defenses — Valdes-Scantling seems like a perfect wide receiver for Rodgers. While he led the league in yards per reception in 2020, Valdes-Scantling has an issue with drops. He recorded the third-most drops among wide receivers this season (nine), which is something Rodgers doesn’t take lightly.
I believe the Packers realize they can’t make the mistake of ignoring wide receivers for the second straight year when they are in win-now mode with Rodgers commanding the offense. Even though Valdes-Scantling may not hold the value that could net you anything special in a trade, some fantasy managers may still be holding out hope that he can be a viable option for the Packers. Try to offload him for anything you can get before Green Bay adds another wide receiver.
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