Dynasty league bargain bin: Joe Mixon, Dontayvion Wicks and more devalued targets

As a dynasty manager, you will naturally excel in a number of areas, balanced by those areas which may limit your success. I always suggest objectively identifying both in an effort to maximize your long-term success. You’ve heard me say it before: Objectivity is key!

One of my strengths has always been being able to sift through the echo chamber of social networks and herd mentality, identifying opportunities where most fail to recognize them. Swimming against the current may not be easy, but it is a very valuable tactic when looking to improve your dynasty teams. Specifically, I look to find value gaps in aging players who the dynasty herd is moving away from due to a perceived downside age-production curve or,  recent rookie and youth assets who have gone from the penthouse to the outhouse. As is usually the case, there are plenty of targets to choose from.

Before conducting this exercise, I always caution managers to not “force” the exercise. It’s important to not only properly identify the competitive level of your team, but also to identify those players each offseason who represent the greatest cost-potential ratio. In return for the player, we’ll be offering excess depth or rookie selection assets outside of the first round. The lower the better. In most situations, I’m looking to reduce my targets 6-8 primary assets in hopes of acquiring one or two.

Before diving in, recall that any referenced data comes from DynastyLeagueFootball (DLF), the oldest and largest dynasty-centric site on the planet. For this article, I’ll also be using the DLF Trade Analyzer.

Let’s get to my list!

Joe Mixon, RB HOU
Rank: RB18  Age: 27

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Mixon will turn 28 in late July and found his way to the fast-rising Houston Texans, the first change of scenery in his eight-year career. His new situation finds his production arrow pointing straight up, and while he’s continued to slip in rankings, competitive dynasty teams should be willing to part with a second-round rookie selection in return for his “known” production.  This move can also make just as much sense prior to your 2024 trade deadline should the possessing manager be on the outside looking in as the playoffs near. While I have never been on the Mixon bandwagon in the past, the price-to-production ratio is now too good to pass up if I’m competitive in 2024.

Najee Harris, RB PIT
Rank: RB25  Age: 26

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Those who follow my work understand my current strategy of fading the modern day running back in dynasty. Rather than invest highly in a young premium-laden back, I’m much more content to lay in the weeds and snipe production at a reduced cost. There are exceptions to this rule if I am in dire need of a RB1 but, in most situations, I’ll look for second-round assets with 2-4 years of remaining production.

Harris is on the decline and his dynasty ranking and return value are suffering as a result. Recently turned 26 and having surpassed 1,000 yards rushing in all three professional seasons, I smell value. I’m hard pressed to believe you could acquire Harris for a late second rookie selection as listed, but in rookie drafts with less than stellar upside running back prospects, Harris looms large as a mid-tier production asset with a guaranteed role. Jaylen Warren proved not to be the presence that his social trend promised and Harris produced a 72/317/4 line as a rusher in his final three regular season games to end 2023. I’d be acquiring with both fists anywhere near his listed cost and close to the top of the second round.

Quentin Johnston, WR LAC
Rank: WR56  Age: 22

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Oh, how I love social network movements, especially when it involves rookies and their attached values and expectations.

Johnston was a Top 5 rookie selection in 2023, with many selecting him above both Jordan Addison and Zay Flowers. While I had Johnston as my rookie WR3 in last year’s class, I had very little expectation for production with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Josh Palmer entrenched as starters in Los Angeles. Johnston didn’t post big numbers when the injury bug provided an opportunity, but he still managed an almost 57% conversion rate to his 67 targets while gaining valuable experience. Now projected as a starter, I’m certainly looking to capitalize on his current mid-third value, though I suspect it will take a second-round offer to have any chance at acquisition. When overlaying my 2024 rookie rankings, I would be comfortable with an acquisition cost beyond pick 2.05, when rookie receivers Adonai Mitchell, Xavier Legette and Roman Wilson should be off the board.  Nothing significant has occurred to drop Johnston’s value nearly two full rounds. I’ll take that risk every day on a young upside receiver in return for a rookie pick and its projected 75% bust rate.

Jerry Jeudy, WR CLE
Rank: WR53  Age: 25

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Jeudy will play all of 2024 at 24 years of age and it’s safe to say that every year of his four-year career has been a disappointment. Without question, any acquisition of Jeudy is a risky transaction but, again, we’re talking about potential versus cost. Jeudy’s mid-third value is too low for me not to hazard an acquisition attempt.

I recall struggling with my ranking of Jeudy as a rookie when compared to fellow rookie CeeDee Lamb. Ultimately, I placed Lamb higher. Jeudy’s drafted situation in Denver was less than ideal and that played out as expected, though the Broncos’ trade for Russell Wilson provided hope that things could be different. Now in Cleveland, fully healthy, and with a full offseason to develop chemistry with Deshaun Watson, there’s enough potential here to hazard an acquisition. I’d prefer to keep compensation to something in the third round if at all possible. Second round compensation considering Jeudy’s lackluster health and production just feels too high.

Dontayvion Wicks, WR GB
Rank: WR62  Age: 22

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I’ve been a fan of Wicks since seeing him on the field as a rookie early during the 2023 regular season. He was already on my radar due to his drafted situation, and watching his footwork, route running and release off the line of scrimmage only furthered my longstanding belief that the Packers are one of the top two teams in the NFL at identifying rookie receiver talent — Pittsburgh being the second.

In all honesty, dynasty managers could also substitute the similarly valued Romeo Doubs in this discussion but, when watching Wicks, I continue to see potential WR1 upside. The Packers always possess a full depth chart at the position and Wicks will need to continue developing if his targets are to increase. Working in his favor is the fact that WR1 Christian Watson has struggled to remain healthy and the aforementioned Doubs has struggled with consistency. All the while, second-year Wicks continued to receive coaching staff praise for his work ethic and route-running. To be sure, forecasting greatness from a second-year player and fifth-round selection isn’t my standard fare, but given acquisition cost, I’m not whistling Dixie when I say that Wicks may be the single most common asset I possess across my 15 dynasty teams.

Jake Ferguson, TE 25
Rank: TE15  Age: 25

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One of my favorite rookie draft tactics is to let other coaches overdraft tight ends while I scan the market for upside producers at bargain basement prices. Ferguson easily qualifies as both.

Ferguson finished 2023 somewhere near TE9, is ranked as DLF’s TE15, but priced as a mid-third round rookie asset. Any of these single data points puts the young player in my acquisition crosshairs, but all three together make for an aggressive acquisition attempt. When targeting upside tight ends, I’m first looking at team offensive schemes, followed by quarterback quality. A combination of these two helps to highlight players who may not be marquee names, but with substantial upside production potential when compared to acquisition cost. Ferguson makes for an extremely intriguing acquisition target once again, just as he was in 2023.

I hope you enjoyed this look at just a few of the 2024 dynasty bargains I’m targeting this offseason. If you have any questions or comments, please consider leaving a comment below. I look forward to interacting with my readers. Please give me a follow on Twitter and Threads: @DLF_Jeff

As always, be happy, be well and, please, be good to each other!

(Top photo of Dontayvion Wicks: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

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