6 Dynasty Veterans to Target Following the NFL Draft

May 13, 2024
6 Dynasty Veterans to Target Following the NFL Draft

I have written some recent articles examining pre-draft targets, draft winners and losers, and rookies to target following the NFL Draft, all from a dynasty lens. Many of those are names that glaringly stood out to me but were maybe more expensive options across the dynasty landscape. Today, I wanted to dig a little bit deeper while also giving very realistic options for who you can attain quickly. I believe all the options I’ve presented could be acquired today if you aggressively went after them in your dynasty leagues.

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Veteran Targets

Trevor Lawrence, QB - Jaguars

The addition of Gabe Davis during free agency and first-round draft selection Brian Thomas Jr. have slotted the wide receiver depth chart into very distinct and sensible roles. With target hogs Christian Kirk and Evan Engram manning the middle of the field, Trevor Lawrence has a coherent path to take the significant leap forward that dynasty managers have been waiting for the past few (decent) seasons. It is possible his current dynasty manager is sick of waiting and is ready to give him up for a reasonable offer, which would be a huge mistake. Pounce now before he is again viewed as a cornerstone dynasty asset.

Note: As I expressed in prior articles, I want to find any way to attach myself to this ascension. Lawrence is the most direct path and largest expected riser, but at varying costs, I too would consider acquiring Kirk and/or deep stash Parker Washington.

Rashee Rice, WR - Chiefs

This offseason really could not have gone much worse for Rashee Rice, at least off the field. Regardless of his likely impending suspension (seemingly in the 6 to 8 range which is up from a few expected games for his reckless driving), I think this remains the best buying window that you will see on Rice. If he can receive some organizational support and guidance to turn things around personally, he should still be in a volume slot role paired with Patrick Mahomes for the long term. This is a risk I would be actively looking to take considering the depressed cost paired with the extremely high “what you win when you win” upside.

Rico Dowdle, RB - Cowboys

While has received the attention of early best ball drafters, there still seems to be some disbelief that Rico Dowdle can either obtain or hold a significant portion of the workload in the Dallas Cowboys backfield this season. The return of Ezekiel Elliott surely removes many high-value touches in the passing game and at the goal line. However, Elliott also appears to satisfy owner/GM Jerry Jones’ perception of need at the position. This essentially ensures that Dowdle will get a shot at an incredibly valuable chunk of the Dallas pie.

Note: Don’t forget about Jalen Tolbert either in this offense. Given that Dallas made no substantial additions and lost Michael Gallup, acquiring Tolbert may be another inexpensive, young pathway to this offense that has minimal cap flexibility, strapped by their need to extend superstars CeeDee Lamb, Micah Parsons, and of course (probably Dak Prescott). A previously traditional third-year leap does not seem farfetched given Tolbert’s step forward in his sophomore campaign and the expected opportunity in front of him.

Keaton Mitchell, RB - Ravens

The influx of new rookie running backs into our lives makes us forget about the allure of some truly special players that flashed last season. An inconvenient, late-season ACL tear, plus the addition of superstar running back Derrick Henry has muted the conversation about how electric Keaton Mitchell was last season. Following the draft, the Ravens have only Justice Hill, Mitchell, and fifth-round rookie Rasheen Ali behind Henry.

Even though you find Henry’s picture in the dictionary next to the word durability, time comes for every great back. It is not that I expect Mitchell to ever be described as a workhorse or even lead back. He appeared to be De’Von Achane-lite as the spark that the Baltimore offense badly needed. Look for Mitchell to return to a lightning role when healthy, but you will not want to wait until then to acquire him.

Demario Douglas, WR - Patriots

Significant energy was injected into the New England Patriots offense during the first post-Belichick draft, resulting in the selections of Drake Maye, Ja'Lynn Polk, and Javon Baker. Drowned out in the excitement is forgotten man Demario “Pop” Douglas. He just so happens to also be the Patriots' best wide receiver, ranking fifth amongst rookies in targets per route run (TPRR) last year.

This wide receiver depth chart is the most wide-open in the entire league. With both Jacoby Brissett likely playing a significant portion of the season ahead of Drake Maye, I expect Douglas to again be a significant contributor and have increased opportunity in the offense surrounded by rookie wide receivers and the ghosts of Kendrick Bourne and Juju Smith-Schuster (who I’m embarrassed to say I’m still rostering in many spots without a great justification).

Xavier Gipson, WR - Jets

There might be leagues where New York Jets second-year wide receiver Xavier Gipson isn’t even rostered. I see this as a mistake. Signed last year as a UDFA alongside his pre-draft process buddy Jason Brownlee, Gipson showed promise making the team out of camp, contributing as a returner on special teams, and proving reliability for the offense the slot in the latter part of the season. This did not amount to much fantasy production, hence his continued availability or very cheap cost. Everything changes with Aaron Rodgers back healthy as signal caller. Some minor changes to the wide receiver room, including the addition of a rehabbing Mike Williams and third-round selection Malachi Corley, certainly create some competition behind Garrett Wilson. However, I think there are worse dirt-cheap fliers to take than the player Rodgers and his best friend, Randall Cobb, were grooming to take over the slot all last year.

Note: I think Brownlee is an interesting speculative add as well, if free. This is a similar idea to Gipson, though Brownlee’s physique as an athletic specimen has him competing for a big body role behind Williams and Rodgers’ other best friend, Allen Lazard.

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