Under the Radar Dynasty Breakout Players

Sometimes showing off your favourite Dynasty roster can be up there with actually winning championships. Maybe you picked up a future fantasy superstar like Jalen Hurts at the end of a rookie draft. Perhaps you pulled off a blockbuster trade and now have Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase on the same team. But the reality is that unless you were able to acquire these big names before they became fantasy stars, you are going to have your work cutout getting them onto your roster. 

While it can be difficult to acquire these true elite fantasy assets, every year we do see players break into that next level and become reliable starters for our fantasy teams. Most of the time these players are predictable names that everyone is expecting to break out. This means they aren’t cheap. However, there are always some players who go under the radar as they have either had poor seasons in the past or haven’t yet had the opportunity to show their talent. 

Let’s take a look at some players that are currently being undervalued in the Dynasty marketplace that could see big jumps in value during this season. We will be referencing player values according to both Keep Trade Cut’s (KTC) crowdsourced rankings and Dynasty League Football’s (DLF) August 2023 Dynasty Startup ADP. 

Daniel Jones, Quarterback – New York Giants

If we’re being generous, Daniel Jones had a mediocre start to his NFL career. After finally having a competent coaching staff, he took a big leap forward in 2022. Brian Daboll was able to make the most of his strengths (his rushing) and minimise his weaknesses (turnovers). He rushed for over 700 yards and seven touchdowns while having a league low interception rate of 1.1%. Only six Quarterbacks scored more fantasy points than Jones in 2022. With the exception of Geno Smith, they were all elite options and are being valued as top eight Dynasty assets at the position. 

So it seems a little harsh that he is currently the QB15 on KTC and QB14 on DLF. The Giants gave Jones a four year, $160 million contract in the offseason. While there is a potential out in 2025, they are tied to him for at least the next two seasons. That is the sort of stability we want from our Dynasty Quarterbacks. The rushing production gives him a solid floor for fantasy. With Darren Waller and Jalin Hyatt added to the roster, we will hopefully see more big plays through the air from Jones in 2023. The reality is the stink from his first three years in the league will make it tough for Jones to ever be a top 12 Dynasty Quarterback. If he can put together another top 10 scoring season, he could be a bargain at current cost.

Khalil Herbert, Running Back – Chicago Bears

Herbert spent his first two years in the league stuck behind David Montgomery in the Bears depth chart. But when given the opportunity he has almost always produced. He averages just under 16 PPR points per game when he sees over 40% of the snaps. Montgomery has now moved onto the Lions. This initially looked to have cleared the path for Herbert to be the team’s lead back. That was until a few obstacles were added to the path in the form of free agent signings D’Onta Foreman and Travis Homer plus fourth round draft pick Roschon Johnson. 

Herbert will have to convince the Bears that he’s the more explosive back and can handle the increased workload. He got off to a perfect start in preseason with that 56 yard touchdown catch. He appears to have the jump on Foreman and Johnson for the starting role. If he can keep it, and the offense takes a step forward, then Herbert could definitely creep into the top 20 Running Back conversation this season. And because of the crowded backfield, he’s become much cheaper to acquire at RB35 on KTC and 34 on DLF.

Michael Pittman, Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts

Pittman’s WR21 finish in 2021 was supposed to be a stepping stone towards him becoming one of the league’s elite. Ahead of the 2022 season he was valued as a top 10 Dynasty Wide Receiver. He was also a third round pick in Redraft (the 12th receiver off the board). Unfortunately poor Quarterback play from Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles meant he disappointed fantasy managers and finished the year as the WR20. He now gets to team up with rookie Quarterback Anthony Richardson, but is entering the final year of his contract. 

With the jury still out on Richardson’s ability as a passer, Pittman is entering the season ranked outside the top 25 Wide Receivers (WR32 on KTC, 26 on DLF). But it is worth noting that despite the poor Quarterback play in 2022, he still managed 99 receptions, albeit on a career low yards per target and with only four touchdowns. Richardson may have his limitations but is surely going to push the ball down the field more, leading to higher value touches and scoring opportunities for Pittman. If he was seen as a top 12 receiver just a year ago when he was slated to have Matt Ryan as his quarterback, is it that hard to believe that after a year of building a relationship with Richardson that he can’t creep back into the top 20 and push the top 12 mark again in 2024? 

Diontae Johnson, Wide Receiver – Pittsburgh Steelers

It’s hard, no impossible, to imagine a Wide Receiver being as unfortunate as Diontae Johnson was in 2022. His 147 targets were the most ever for a player to not register a single receiving touchdown in a season. This is compounded by the fact that he was 10th in the league for red zone target share at 28.6%. He is due some serious positive regression this season and in all likelihood will get it. 

The touchdown issues and other teething problems in the Steelers offense with rookie Kenny Pickett under center led to Johnson dropping from his WR8 finish in 2021 to WR29 in 2022. Fantasy managers rightly felt aggrieved and his price has now dropped to WR34 on KTC and 33 on DLF. But if the touchdown regression does come and Kenny Pickett continues improving as he showed towards the end of the season, Johnson should easily jump back up into the top 24 point scorers at the position. If he does then his market value will also rebound. He will be a solid second tier receiver for our Dynasty teams. 

Marquise Brown, Wide Receiver – Arizona Cardinals

There are many question marks hanging over Brown heading into this season and so he has slipped down draft boards and Dynasty ranks. He has just one year left on his contract, he will be playing for an awful Cardinals team with a backup Quarterback to start the season and we have no real indication of when Kyler Murray will be back. 

But after the Cardinals cut DeAndre Hopkins, Brown is set to be the true number one target on his team for the first time in his career. In six games with Hopkins suspended last season, Brown was targeted 10.67 times per game and was the fantasy WR5, averaging 18.3 fantasy points per game. The Cardinals are going to be behind in a lot of games in 2023 and so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him earn a similar rate of targets across the whole season. Obviously this is likely to be targets from Colt McCoy and/or Clayton Tune for around half of the season, but if Kyler returns earlier than expected then Brown could be a steal and will almost certainly be valued significantly higher than his current ranks of WR37 on KTC and WR34 on DLF. 

Jake Ferguson, Tight End – Dallas Cowboys

With Dalton Schultz departing the Cowboys after finishes as the TE4 in 2021 and TE9 in 2022, Jake Ferguson appears to be the favourite to take on the starting Tight End role. Ferguson wasn’t featured much as a rookie with just 19 catches on 22 targets for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Despite this, camp reports have been positive and he started preseason off well with three catches for 39 yards in the opening quarter of the Cowboys loss to the Jaguars. 

This is an offense that likes to feature the position. If Ferguson can keep hold of the starting job for the season then there’s every chance he can establish himself as a solid fantasy asset. Recent history has shown us it doesn’t take much to break into the top 12 scorers at the Tight End position. If that’s the case then he would well ascend into the same territory in the marketplace as well. He is currently TE21 on KTC (up from 34 a month ago) and TE29 on DLF. He could be well worth the (limited) risk at those prices. 

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