Tank Dell is Fantasy Football's Biggest Wild Card in 2024

Jul 08, 2024
Tank Dell is Fantasy Football's Biggest Wild Card in 2024

After a rookie year full of ups and downs, Texans receiver Tank Dell is one of the hardest players to evaluate in fantasy football for this season. He has arguably the widest range of outcomes among all receivers this year — I wouldn’t bat an eye if you told me he finished anywhere from WR100 to WR1. So, in this article, I’ll be breaking down Dell’s fantasy value to see if he is worth drafting at his current ADP of WR26 and 52nd overall.

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Rookie Year in Review

After being selected in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Dell burst onto the fantasy scene as a rookie. He scored seven touchdowns in 10 weeks and was the overall WR15 in fantasy before fracturing his fibula in Week 12 which kept him out for the rest of the year. Dell quickly jumped veterans Robert Woods and Dalton Schultz as the clear No. 2 receiver in the Texans offense behind Nico Collins, and actually had more fantasy points than Collins when the two shared the field. Dell also joined Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Chris Olave, and Drake London as the only receivers to finish top 15 in yards per route run as a rookie since 2020. Long story short, when healthy, Dell more than proved his capability as an elite fantasy option.

Dell suffered a gunshot wound to his leg in late April that added to his injury recovery process. Texans head coach Demeco Ryans did say that he expects Dell to be ready for the start of the season despite his injuries, but it is worth keeping Dell’s injuries in mind. Dell himself stated that his rehab process for his fractured fibula was going smoothly back in March, and he was a full participant in the Texans OTAs in May. Standing at just 5’8, 165 pounds, Dell is likely more injury-prone than the standard receiver, but his promising updates throughout the offseason make me optimistic that he will hit the ground running come September.

Dell in the Texans Offense

The Texans made a splash addition to their offense this season, trading for star receiver Stefon Diggs to add to their already elite receiving core. It’s unclear how the target pie will be shared between Diggs, Dell, and Collins. Diggs posted solid counting stats last season, but fell off a cliff towards the end of the year — he finished as the overall WR10 but was the WR47 from Week 10 on. I would expect Collins to keep his role as the No. 1 receiver in the offense after an incredible season last year, with Diggs and Dell fighting for the No. 2 spot.

The Texans were frustratingly run-heavy last season despite quarterback C.J. Stroud’s ascension to immediate stardom — Houston ranked bottom 10 in neutral down passing rate but Stroud still finished 7th in the NFL in passing yards. I’m hopeful that they become more pass-heavy this season now that they know everything Stroud is capable of, meaning all three of their star receivers should be able to produce. Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik designed an offense where Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk were all fantasy-relevant when he was the passing game coordinator for the 49ers, and should be able to do the same in Houston.

Assessing Dell’s Floor and Ceiling

Dell is definitely not a safe pick in fantasy this season. Between his injury recovery and potential target competition, there is a possibility that he is forced to take a back seat in the Texans offense this year and doesn’t return on his draft capital. Dell’s talent and the Texans offensive quality means you can always feel comfortable putting Dell in your lineup each week, but his floor is being an inconsistent, touchdown-dependent FLEX play.

Looking at the positive side, Dell has as high a ceiling as it gets. He showed that he could be among the most elite fantasy receivers last season, but now needs to prove that he can do it consistently. If Diggs’ slump from last season continues into this year, Dell could put up WR1 numbers as the 1B to Collins’ 1A. Dell likely won’t out-target Collins barring injury, but his big play ability and explosiveness should make up for that.

The last two paragraphs are a good summary of why Dell is so difficult to assess this year — he is as boom-or-bust as a player can get. Overall, I think his current ADP of WR26 is a solid spot for him to go. His median outcome is likely not going to be super dependable for fantasy, but his upside makes him worth taking in the middle rounds. I would love to have Dell as the second or third receiver on my team paired with a safe, high-floor player in the earlier rounds like Amon-Ra St. Brown or Chris Olave.

The Bottom Line

  • Dell had an exciting rookie season that saw him finish as a top-15 fantasy receiver when healthy, above teammate Nico Collins.
  • Dell suffered a fractured fibula that caused him to miss the back half of last season and also was shot in the leg in April. All reports indicate that Dell will be healthy for 2024, but his smaller size makes his injury situation a bit worrisome.
  • Dell will have to compete with the newly acquired Stefon Diggs as well as Collins in the Texans offense this year. The Texans do, however, have an exciting offensive ceiling under the quarterbacking of C.J. Stroud.
  • Dell is a risky fantasy football pick this year. He has an extremely high ceiling if he can stay healthy and make big plays, but also has a low floor due to potential injury concerns and target competition.
  • Overall, if you are willing to deal with a potential rollercoaster ride of a season, then Dell is a great high-upside draft pick at his ADP of WR26 and 52nd overall.
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