Dynasty WRs to Target in Startup Drafts

by Seth Diewold · Featured
WR Dynasty

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, Seth Diewold identifies WR Dynasty targets to draft in startups this summer. 

George Pickens

Everything the Steelers have done – every move they have made – has been an endorsement of George Pickens. The first thing they did was get Kenny Pickett out of town and sign Russell Wilson and trade for Justin Fields. Essentially, the Steelers not only upgraded at quarterback, but they were able to sign and trade for two bites at the apple. Next, they traded Diontae Johnson to Carolina, thus making Pickens the unquestioned WR1 in the offense. 

Then, the NFL Draft came, and Steelers fans were thinking, “well, maybe the Steelers will draft a WR in Round 1 or Round 2. This is a fantastic wide receiver draft after all.” Wrong! The team drafted two offensive linemen, one in Round 1: Troy Fautanu and the other in Round 2: Zach Frazier. In Round 3, they finally added a wide receiver in Roman Wilson. However, Wilson has a completely different skill set than Pickens, and projects to be more of a slot receiver in this offense. The Steelers Wilson pick is no threat to Pickens being the unquestioned Alpha in the offense. In addition to Roman Wilson, the Steelers added Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins, who project to be the other outside wide receivers available for three wide receiver sets.

When Dynasty gamers break down the Steelers offseason, it all points to one thing. George Pickens is about to have a breakout season. Pickens is also just 23 years old, and he is currently ranked as the WR26 according to Keep Trade Cut and he is player No. 66 overall in KTC’s Dynasty Superflex Rankings. Dynasty gamers have Pickens too low, and he could soon be amongst the league’s top receivers this time next year. 

Terry McLaurin

Many Dynasty gamers are going to be put off by the fact that Terry McLaurin is 28 years old and past the age apex, but the truth is McLaurin is entering potentially the best situation of his career. Since 2019, when McLaurin entered the NFL, he has played with the following quarterbacks: Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, Colt McCoy, Alex Smith, Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Garrett Gilbert, Carson Wentz, and Sam Howell. Needless to say, Jayden Daniels is the most talented quarterback that McLaurin has ever played with and it might not be close. 

Over the past four seasons, McLaurin has averaged 128 targets, 1,091 yards, and 4.5 touchdowns per season. What has always plagued McLaurin’s upside as the top wideout for the Commanders is the lack of touchdowns in comparison to his total number of targets and opportunity in the offense. With Daniels now at quarterback, McLaurin has a good chance of correcting that in the right direction. Just last season, McLaurin ranked No. 21 amongst wide receivers in Expected Fantasy Points Per Game. He scored 3.59 fewer fantasy points per game than he should have given the opportunity he saw in the offense. This is likely due to the fact that McLaurin ranked No. 76 amongst wide receivers in Catchable Target Rate. 

WR1 in Washington

McLaurin doesn’t have much standing in the way of him being the lead target for a team that struggled defensively a season ago. Washington ranked dead last in passing yards allowed per game and No. 27 in rushing yards allowed per game. This team is not going to be good defensively yet again this season as they haven’t made significant improvements to that side of the ball. As a result, Washington is going to be in a lot of negative game script situations, potentially in a lot of shootouts, and this is going to be a great thing for fantasy football. It should be especially good for the team’s top wideout who is currently ranked as the WR39 and No. 100 player overall in Keep Trade Cut’s Superflex Dynasty Rankings. If your Dynasty team is in need of an affordable win now piece, McLaurin is your guy.

Jameson Williams

Detroit made a big bet on the talent of Jameson Williams this offseason. They decided against drafting a wide receiver in a wide receiver-rich draft class. The Lions also decided against trading for or bringing in a free agent wideout.

Therefore, Williams is in line to be the WR2 and the third receiving option in an offense that ranked No. 2 in pass attempts last season and No. 9 in team pass attempts per game last season. Detroit also allowed the No. 2 most passing yards per game last season, which, to be fair, is an area they improved in the offseason by drafting Terrion Arnold in the first round of the NFL Draft. The Lions won’t be the best pass defense yet again this season, and with the division getting better around them (Green Bay, Chicago, etc.), this could mean shootouts. 

Williams will likely be a player who fits the cliche of being “better in best ball” formats, but there is no doubt he has a ton of upside in an offense that is going to put up points. Most fantasy gamers have turned their attention elsewhere. His ranking of WR49 and No. 127 overall on Keep Trade Cut reflects that. Those rankings would make him a 10th round pick in a 12-man league. At that price, I’m willing to bet that Williams could potentially break out in 2024. 

Darnell Mooney

Darnell Mooney has been at the top of my wish list ever since he signed with the Atlanta Falcons in the new Kirk Cousins-led offense. Sure, the Falcons added Rondale Moore, but Mooney projects to be the WR2 on a team that will look to pass the ball early and often. New offensive coordinator Zac Robinson comes from the same coaching Sean McVaytree as Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell. The transition for Cousins should be somewhat seamless, and we know this Falcons offense is built to throw the football much in the same way the Vikings offense was.

In each of the past three seasons with Minnesota, Cousins ranked No. 4, No. 3, and No. 7 in team pass attempts per game, respectively. And sure, a Dynasty gamer could go out and pay top dollar to draft Drake London (currently WR10 and player No. 29 overall according to Keep Trade Cut’s Dynasty Superflex Rankings), or Mooney (WR81 and player No. 220 according to KTC) could be the target. With all due respect, that ranking is outrageous.

While it’s true Mooney has been less than stellar over the past two seasons, the Falcons decided to pay him in the offseason (three years, 36 million dollars with 26 million guaranteed) and decided against adding a significant pass catcher other than Moore. If the rumors are to be believed, Cousins actively recruited Mooney to Atlanta. All signs point to Mooney being heavily involved in the offense as the third option behind London and Kyle Pitts

A Valuable Role

One more reason why Mooney will likely be a effective in this offense, and good for Drake London as well, is the former Chicago Bear’s ability to win deep down the field. Mooney is fast, and while he has barely seen 60 targets over the past two seasons, once upon a time Mooney earned 140 targets back in 2021. Mooney won’t see that many targets in this Atlanta offense, but he could absolutely earn 90 to 100 targets this season playing on the outside and hauling in deep targets from a quarterback that loves to throw the ball deep down the field in Cousins.   

Rashod Bateman

Dynasty gamers and fantasy football gamers alike have left Rashod Bateman for dead, but the Ravens seem committed to him. Outside of drafting Devontez Walker in Round 4 of the NFL Draft, the Ravens have done next to nothing to address the wide receiver position. Currently, Zay Flowers and Bateman stand alone at the top of the depth chart with options such as Nelson Agholor, Tylan Wallace, and the aforementioned Walker seemingly fitted in as depth pieces. 

Last season was certainly a disappointment for anyone who rostered Bateman, but he was coming off a serious Lisfranc injury the year before and battled through injuries in 2023 as well. The health of Bateman could have been the reason why the Ravens brought in Odell Beckham Jr. last season. Now, Bateman figures to enter into 2024 completely healthy and with a role in the offense.

Currently, Bateman fantasy gamers rank Bateman at WR80 and player No. 211 overall. At that price, Bateman is well worth taking a chance on, and if anything happens to Flowers, who is an undersized receiver, Bateman becomes the WR1 all of a sudden. He’s also a great player to throw into trades. 

Jayden Reed

By all accounts, Jayden Reed had a fantastic rookie season with the Green Bay Packers. He earned 94 targets, caught 64 passes for 793 yards, and caught eight touchdowns. He came in as the WR25 overall and WR26 in fantasy points per game. However, there seems to be a disconnect between what Reed was able to accomplish in Year 1 and his current value in Dynasty. Currently, KTC has Reed as the WR30 and No. 79 in Superflex Dynasty Rankings. Reed is currently being valued at his floor level of production.

When examining the Green Bay Packers depth chart, it appears to be an ambiguous situation. Christian Watson figures to be the lead wide out, but he has yet to prove he can stay healthy or be consistently productive. Romeo Doubs was not nearly as productive as Reed last season for fantasy football (he ranked as the WR36 overall and the WR46 in fantasy points per game), despite seeing two more targets on the season.

Dontayvion Wicks has not yet emerged as a starting caliber player for the Packers, although he is a buy in Dynasty. Reed may be the top target in this Packers offense that is poised to throw the ball a lot. Last season, Jordan Love ranked No. 5 in Pass Attempts and No. 2 in Red Zone Attempts. He also attempted the third-most Deep Balls in the league, came in No. 2 in Air Yards, and No. 6 in Money Throws.

The Packers as a team were middle of the pack in pass attempts per game and Pace of Play, but I would expect those to pick up in Love’s second year as a pro NFL quarterback.

Team Environment

At the end of the day, Green Bay has an offense to get pieces of. Reed is the potential No. 1 target in an ascending Green Bay offense, but currently ranked outside the top-25 wide receivers in Dynasty. Dynasty gamers can not only get exposure to Reed, but trade for Watson (if you think he can stay healthy), Doubs, or Wicks. Hell, KTC even has Luke Musgrave, Green Bay’s projected starting tight end, ranked as the TE17. It’s time to go buy some Packers target earners in Dynasty!

Read Seth’s rookies to stash in dynasty for 2024 here: 14 NFL Rookie Sleepers to STASH in Dynasty Fantasy Football