We all have those owners in our dynasty leagues who have very little patience and this is the time of year to take advantage of their impatience. For this article, I would like to focus on three wide receivers who were drafted in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL draft and through a variety of different issues have not lived up to what their owners may have expected. It wasn’t that long ago that it was considered commonplace to give young wide receivers three years before assigning the bust tag to them. Following the dynamic 2014 draft class, this long-held standard was abandoned in favor of instant gratification. As the 2018 dynasty season comes to a close its always a good idea to see if you can buy these types of underperforming assets for pennies on the dollar in the hopes of a Demaryius Thomas like career arch.
Dante Pettis –
Age – 10/23/1995 (23)
Draft – Round 2, Pick 12
Dante Pettis will likely be the most expensive player of those named in this article. His price is likely to be on the rise due to his late-season push while Marquise Goodwin misses time with injuries. However, price is a relative term and I would be inquiring with his owner about the cost of acquiring his services. Pettis has always been seen as a dynamic player with the ball in his hands going back to his time at the University of Washington and it is those skills that make him such an interesting dynasty stash.
One of the many things Pettis has in his favor is draft stock. Not only did San Francisco draft him early in the 2nd round, but they also traded up in the draft in order to get ‘their’ guy. At first many thought that Pettis would serve as more of a return specialist than a wide receiver. As his rookie season has progressed the young man from Washington has shown that he is more than capable of making plays like a traditional receiver. In particular, his week 13 game where he dropped a 5/129/2 stat line on a legitimate Seattle D shows just how much of a playmaker Pettis could be.
Despite the flashes Pettis has shown in his rookie season, many owners may not be satisfied. The 71.2 ppr regular season points he put up during his rookie season leaves him well off the radar of reliable wide receivers. I for one am highly intrigued with this player moving forward. Getting back Jimmy Garoppolo next season can only help the young playmaker. In addition to getting back his starting Quarterback, Pettis will also have the benefit of a legitimate weapon from the Tight End position with George Kittle occupying the attention of defenders over the middle of the field. A healthy Marquise Goodwin could also draw the attention of defenders deep as he takes the top of Defenses’. Dante Pettis could very well find himself in an ideal situation to develop during his second season and grow into the dynamic playmaker San Francisco envisioned when they traded up to draft him. Due to what I perceive as a shallow 2019 draft class for fantasy assets I would be comfortable trading a late 1st for this young playmaker.
James Washington –
Age – 04/02/1996 (22)
Draft – Round 2, Pick 28
Of the three players, I will be listing today James Washington feels like the most speculative of the bunch. Washington had a marvelous college career at Oklahoma State where he won the Biletnikoff Award in his final season. While not the biggest or fastest player to grace a football field this young man made a habit of roasting defenders on the deep ball. He and his Quarterback Mason Rudolph were a dynamic combination during their time at Stillwater. Unlike Pettis, the price to buy James Washington has likely gone down over the course of the season.
Washington has had a difficult time making a meaningful impact for the Steelers during his rookie campaign. His 8/77/1 line reads as more of a single game total compared to a season output. Despite the lackluster showing in his first season, there is reason for hope over the long run. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown currently have firm grips on the starting positions in Pittsburgh. However, Antonio Brown will be 31 at the beginning of next season and due to his large contract, it is fair to wonder just how much longer the dynamic receiver will play his home games on Heinz Field. Let me be clear, I am in no way suggesting that Brown will not be the starting wide receiver in Pittsburgh next season but two years from now when Brown is entering his age 32 season and JuJu will be looking for a big payday is it not conceivable to envision the Steelers moving on from their gregarious playmaker and going forward with Smith-Schuster and Washington? Another factor to consider moving forward is the development of Pittsburgh’s rookie Quarterback Mason Rudolph. Yes, the very same Mason Rudolph who helped make James Washington the award-winning 2nd round draft pick he was in the 2018 NFL draft. If Big Ben retires as he has hinted over the past couple of off-seasons it could potentially jump-start Washington’s development due to his obvious existing chemistry with his college signal caller.
As I stated before James Washington has shown very little in his rookie year. As a result, I would not be as comfortable paying the early 2nd I am willing to pay for Pettis. Despite my slightly lesser opinion of Washington, I would be willing to pay as much as a late 2019 2nd to get this dynamic playmaker on my roster. The incoming 2019 NFL draft class is relatively thin and I feel that it would be a steal to get a player the caliber of James Washington with any pick outside of the top 19 or so players.
DJ Chark –
Age – 09/23/1996 (22)
Draft – Round 2, Pick 29
DJ Chark might be my favorite stash player of the late fantasy season. Coming out of LSU this tall lanky speedster was seen as somewhat of a project from the start. It was his raw physical gifts that caused the Jaguars to make the gamble on him in the first place. Chark offers a 6’4 frame with 4.34 40 speed and a 40’ vert. If you were to build an ideal wide receiver in a database he would likely come out looking something like DJ Chark. Despite all of the physical upside and draft capital invested in him many in the dynasty community are still not very high on him. They look at the crowded position group and the awful state of Blake Bortles game and want no parts of this tantalizing talent.
What is today may not be tomorrow. The situation in Jacksonville will most certainly change next season with the arrival of a new starting Quarterback and potentially a new head coach as well. I for one believe Jacksonville would be an ideal landing spot for Joe Flacco if he is cast off by Baltimore in favor of their 1st round pick Lamar Jackson. While Flacco has never been seen as a top signal caller in the league he has proven highly successful and still possesses one of the stronger arms in the league. Whether it is a veteran like Flacco or a rookie it is hard to imagine the Quarterback play in Jacksonville not showing signs of improvement by removing Bortles from the lineup.
In addition to a new Quarterback, it is near certain the wide receiver room will look drastically different as well. Dante Moncrief is on a one year contract and will likely move on in search of a new home. Keelan Cole has fallen out of favor with the front office and will likely be allowed to test the market once his contract runs out following the 2019 season. Marquise Lee will come back from injury and if healthy likely lead a position group headed by Westbrook, Chark, and himself with Cole mixing in here and there. If the situation plays out in this fashion DJ Chark will be afforded the opportunity of having another year to develop on a team where his talents could pair nicely with the dominant run game Jacksonville seeks to employ.
While Chark’s 2018 regular season stat line leaves much to be desired at 14/174/0, I personally feel this is a wonderful opportunity to buy low on this talented athlete. DJ has an athletic profile few can match. I am perfectly comfortable paying a mid-2019 2nd round pick to gamble on this player. Of the three players, I have listed in this article Chark has the highest potential upside and boasts true wr1 upside.
One of the most rewarding aspects of Dynasty Fantasy Football is building your team through the draft. When building a true dynasty it is often times hard to have patience with players we draft who underperform. It behooves all of us to take stock of our fellow league mates and determine which owners are seduced each year by the prospects of picking new players each and every year. Oftentimes these same owners are the ones who have little if any patience with the underperforming players they drafted the previous year. When we see a class as sparse on talent as the 2019 group appears to be, it is a good idea to shop our picks for players we are intrigued by. After all, you never know if you will be able to buy the next DT who after his first two lackluster years became a dominant player for years to come.