Buy Low Dynasty Targets – Pre-Draft (2021 Fantasy Football)
Many things can skew player values in dynasty leagues. Factors such as their age, recency bias, and possible changes to their roles can affect opinions about them. If the reasons are minor or unwarranted, gain the upper hand by trading for them while they’re at a discount. Below are some of the best buy-low targets ahead of the NFL draft.
Deshaun Watson (QB – HOU)
Some ominous clouds are hovering over Deshaun Watson’s head. His value couldn’t be lower between his threats of holding out and a possible suspension looming from his legal woes. If you ever wanted to acquire an elite quarterback on the cheap, the time to buy is now.
Since entering the NFL, Watson has done nothing short of finishing among the Top 5 fantasy quarterbacks every year except for his rookie season. In 2020, his 92.5 PFF player grade was third-best at the position. Even with an inadequate supporting cast, he consistently produces and racks up points with his legs.
Watson may not play all or part of this season, but he’s worth the bench spot for if/when he’s in the clear. At only 25 years of age, he’s someone who can return handsome dividends for countless seasons ahead. If he’s on a QB-needy team, you can land him for something comparable to Baker Mayfield and an early second-round pick.
Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN)
A few issues are suppressing Courtland Sutton’s outlook. There are concerns regarding his recovery from his knee injury, the poor play from his quarterback, and the possible emergence of second-year receiver Jerry Jeudy.
Before his Week 2 injury in 2020, Sutton was regarded as the team’s top pass catcher. After amassing 1,112 yards and finishing as WR19 in 2019, expectations were lofty for him. He also saw a whopping 125 targets despite subpar play from Drew Lock.
In Sutton’s absence last season, Jeudy failed to make a case for himself as an elite receiver, although Lock’s accuracy issues didn’t help. Jeudy was targeted a healthy 113 times in 16 games, but he and Lock only connected an uninspiring 46 percent of the time. That lack of chemistry should help Sutton reclaim his alpha status in 2021.
Reports on Sutton’s rehabilitation have been highly favorable. The 25-year-old has already resumed running routes, and he should be a full-go for practice by training camp.
If the Broncos upgrade at quarterback, as they reportedly would like to do so, it would further enhance his fantasy prospects. If you can get him for Odell Beckham Jr. or an aging Adam Thielen, I would do it.
Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
No player has been more polarizing among the fantasy community recently than Joe Mixon. The bias against him stems from his less than ideal yards-per-carry average. It also doesn’t help that injuries held him out of 10 games in 2020. Alternatively, he finished among the Top 15 running backs in the two consecutive years prior. Not an easy feat while trying to run behind a porous offensive line.
Things are trending up for Mixon’s fantasy prospects moving forward. The Bengals already added some key linemen in free agency like tackle Riley Reiff to help open lanes for him. They could also still draft a high-profile player like tackle Penei Sewell at fifth overall. Toss in a healthy Joe Burrow, and the entire Cincinnati offense should improve in 2021.
The team is also open to trading backup Giovani Bernard to free up $4.1 million in cap space. Mixon was a lot more involved in the passing game before going down last season. More touches will open up for him if Bernard is dealt away, particularly in the red zone.
Mixon will barely be 25 years old at the start of the season and could return high-end RB2 numbers or better for years to come. It would be ideal to acquire Mixon ahead of any buzz coming out of the draft or the offseason. If you obtain him and Bernard subsequently gets traded, it’ll feel like hitting the jackpot.
Robby Anderson (WR – CAR)
It’s perplexing that Robby Anderson doesn’t get more respect. In his first season in Carolina and with Teddy Bridgewater under center, Anderson finished as WR19. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady changed Anderson’s role from a vertical threat to a lower aDOT complier who can win after the catch. As a result, he was the 10th most targeted wide receiver in the league and recorded his first 1,000-yard season as a professional.
Anderson could lose targets when Christian McCaffrey returns from injury. But the workload he’ll gain from Curtis Samuel’s loss to Washington should offset CMC’s return. Carolina didn’t add any meaningful competition in free agency, either. They signed former Seattle wide receiver David Moore, who won’t be much of a factor. Newly acquired Dan Arnold will split snaps with Ian Thomas at tight end, a position often overlooked by this offense.
Anderson will turn 28 in May, so he has a few years before reaching the dreaded age cliff. Unless the Panthers add another high-end receiver in the draft, Anderson should return WR2 value. I’d trade a more highly regarded DeVante Parker for him who’s oft-injured and subject to the play of Tua Tagovailoa.