Dynasty Drafts | Players to Target in 2024 Startups

by Aditya Fuldeore · Draft Strategy
Dynasty Drafts

PlayerProfiler is home to award winning dynasty rankings and tools. Our Dynasty Deluxe package includes complete Dynasty Rankings, Rookie Rankings, Trade Analyzer, Draft Planner, Mock Drafts, and more. Check it out. Below, see Aditya Fuldeore’s players to target in dynasty startup drafts. 

With the NFL Draft over, May becomes a busy dynasty month. Rookie drafts are taking place and new dynasty startup drafts are beginning. With team situations formulating, dynasty ADPs are solidifying. While there are the obvious players like Justin Jefferson and Christian McCaffrey to target in startups, there are a few players going later that you do not want to leave drafts without. Below are some top players to target in dynasty startup drafts.

Top Targets

Khalil Shakir

With Stefon Diggs out the door, there is a void in the Bills receiver room. Whether or not you believe in “vacated targets”, Diggs and Gabriel Davis leave 241 targets behind while heading to the Texans and Jaguars, respectively. The leading wide receiver left in Buffalo is Khalil Shakir, who caught 39 passes for 611 yards and two touchdowns last season.

Shakir’s best fantasy showing in 2023 was a 20.5-point Week 11, good for WR9 on the week. He averaged 13.6 (No. 1) Yards Per Target, seeing some deep shots from Josh Allen. Shakir also displayed shiftiness in the open field, totaling 282 (No. 35) Yards After Catch with just 58.9 percent (No. 88) Route Participation.

Nearing the WR age apex, Shakir has shown flashes of production and is in line for an increase in opportunity. The Bills added to their receiver room with Keon Coleman and Curtis Samuel, but Shakir is the returning top receiver and poised to take on a larger role.

Shakir is currently WR57 on KeepTradeCut for Dynasty Superflex half-PPR leagues. He is behind rookies Troy Franklin and Xavier Legette in addition to receivers like Romeo Doubs and Jahan Dotson. Take Shakir’s proven quarterback play and efficient sample size from last season. At this value, Shakir’s risk is lower than the reward, making him a buy in dynasty startups.

Tyjae Spears

Entering year two with the Titans, Tyjae Spears is set to split the backfield with the newly signed Tony Pollard. That may scare off some dynasty managers, and with where that has pushed Spears, you do not want to leave you startup drafts without him. He is going RB20 on KeepTradeCut, a price to target him at for long-term production

Spears posted a 14.7-percent (No. 7) Target Share as a rookie. He was active as a receiver and efficient as a passer, also achieving a 7.0-percent (No. 5) Breakaway Run Rate, 5.5 (No. 6) Yards Per Touch an 4.58 (No. 5) Yards Created per Touch.

He achieved these stats with Derrick Henry, one of the biggest workhorse backs in recent memory. Now, he shares a backfield with Pollard, who showed signs of regression last season. While Pollard’s opportunity numbers went up between 2022 and 2023, efficiency numbers went down. He lost burst, shown by his Breakaway Run Rate decreasing from 8.8-percent (No. 4) in 2022 to 4.4-percent (No. 25) in 2023. His 5.9 (No. 5) Yards Per Touch also decreased to 3.16 (No. 37) in 2023. Some of the decrease can be attributed to ankle surgery in the prior offseason, but Pollard is also nearing the RB Age Apex.

It would not be far-fetched to see Spears take a large opportunity and become a big value in dynasty PPR leagues. You can take him over older RBs going in his range, like Pollard, Joe Mixon, and Najee Harris for an upside shot at his long-term production.

Rookie Targets

Trey Benson

Coming out of Florida State, running back Trey Benson has entered the conversation for the top back selected in the draft. His last season saw him run the ball 156 times for 905 yards, adding 20 receptions for 227 yards and scoring 15 total touchdowns. Benson also tested well athletically, running a 4.39 (97th-percentile) 40-yard dash. He holds a 103.2 Athleticism Score, good for No. 5 in this year’s running back rookie class.

At 6-0 and 216-pounds, Benson has a large frame to go with his athletic ability. His PlayerProfiler Best Comparable is J.K. Dobbins, who was an efficient rusher with a little receiving usage when healthy. On KeepTradeCut, Benson is currently Dynasty RB22, a few spots behind Jonathon Brooks. PlayerProfiler’s Rookie Guide has Benson as the rookie RB2, also just behind Brooks. Benson’s ACL injury came as a freshman and he has not missed a game since, while Brooks tore his ACL last November. That sets Benson up as a safer bet in the short-term.

Benson is headed to the Cardinals, where the incumbent James Conner will be 29-years-old and in the last season of his contract. As a rookie, Benson will be 22-years-old, set for prime production over his rookie deal. Take hime in your startups as a back that got third-round draft capital from a team with long-term opportunity.

Brian Thomas

After a formidable Combine showing and being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Jaguars, wide receiver Brian Thomas is an attractive startup target. At LSU, Thomas tallied 68 receptions for 1,177 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. He was named Second-Team All-SEC for his breakout, catching passes from fellow NFL first-rounder Jayden Daniels. Thomas ran a 4.33 (98th-percentile) 40-yard dash at the Combine, finishing with a 108.3 Athleticism Score, third among receivers in this draft class.

Thomas has an infusion of size and speed, with a 122.2 (99th-percentile) Speed Score and 10.44 (98th-percentile) Catch Radius. He profiles as a vertical threat who can play both outside and inside. While he may need time to improve his physicality to meet NFL standards, Thomas is a good ball-tracker with the athletic ability to inject life into a receiving corps. He is dynasty WR29 on KeepTradeCut, around guys like George Pickens and Jayden Reed. If Thomas lands in a situation with major opportunity, his deep target potential will help optimize his fantasy output.

Thomas will run the outside opposite Gabe Davis with Christian Kirk in the slot. Turning 22 during his rookie year, Thomas is an early-declare with a chance to take the WR1 job in Jacksonville. Take Thomas’ upside as a rookie and capitalize before the NFL production comes to rocket his dynasty stock.

Read Theo Gremminger’s Dynasty Landmines piece here: Dynasty Fantasy Football: Unveiling the Dynasty Landmines! Players Set to Gain and Lose Dynasty Value in the 2024 NFL Draft

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