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Why You Should be Buying Jaxon Smith-Njigba

The summer is a great time to go out and buy players in dynasty. One player that should be at the top of everyone's list is Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

We are in the early part of the summer offseason for dynasty, where it’s a perfect time to buy low on certain players. One player in particular was second-year receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. After a mediocre rookie season in Seattle, the former first-round pick seems to have lost his dynasty value slightly. We will break down his rookie season and discuss how this is a great time to buy the Seattle receiver in dynasty.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba Rookie Season

GPY/RRecTgYdsTDsFP.5 PPRPPR
Jaxson Smith-Nijgba17106393631487119150
2023 Stats.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba was drafted in last year’s first round by the Seahawks. Everyone knew that would be tough for him during his rookie season. The team already had two stars in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in a run-first offense led by old man Pete Carroll. Before Smith-Njigba even touched an NFL field, it would be a difficult start to his career despite his talent. He was coming to the pros having a nasty grade two hamstring injury that knocked him out for all but three games in 2022. For a young player, he barely got the work needed to develop his game even more.

Moving towards preseason in 2023, Smith-Njigba injured his wrist, which required surgery. Usually, the timeline for full recovery is three months, but he was injured on August 19th and was ready by week one of the season. A receiver’s wrist is essential in many aspects of their game. Whether fighting off the line or trying to make a difficult catch, those things can throw off a receiver’s ability. You saw that affect him early on as he played under 60% of the offensive snaps through the first four games. He would combine for 12 receptions for 62 yards in those games. Fantasy owners were likely not thrilled about JSN’s production early on.

Following JSN’s week five bye things picked up for him. He would play over 60% of the offensive snaps for the rest of the season. There would be weeks he would also jump up close to 80%. He would average four receptions for 44 yards per game over the last 13 weeks. That would be around eight fantasy points per game as the third receiver in a decent Seattle offense. It seems like JSN’s production all were shorter passes as he finished his YPR with ten. He was the primary slot receiver, ranking ninth in slot snaps. He was able to do some work with shorter passes, being 21st in yards after catch. He also ranked sixth in target separation, so he was getting open on his targets.

Variable Factors to His Success

Tyler Lockett

Lockett will be one of the biggest variables in Smith-Njigba’s success in fantasy. Lockett is going on to his age of 32 years, which is pretty old in fantasy. Very few receivers can produce at that age at a high level. Locket has been a solid WR2 over the last five seasons in fantasy, but in 2023, he finished as a WR3, averaging just 9.6 fantasy points. While Lockett’s targets and targets per route run stay the same as he has been, there was a noticeable drop in other stats. His yards per route run and yards per target both took big drops. Lockett’s target separation and win rate vs. man both feel the same in 2023. Part of that could have been the play of Geno Smith, which fell, but Lockett is getting older.

Even if you believe Tyler Lockett has enough juice to stay relevant in this offense, it’s still the right time to buy into JSN. Sure, Lockett could have a solid first half, but what if JSN picks up in the second half and Lockett fades? This would be your best time to buy JSN on the low, but he could shine in the season. Lockett has a $30 million cap in 2025 and holding on to the then-to-be 33-year-old receiver doesn’t make much sense. Whether it happens this year or 2025, JSN will get his chance to be in the starting lineup, thanks to the decline of Tyler Lockett.

Ryan Grubbs

The next factor, and likely the most positive, is the hiring of Ryan Grubb as the offensive coordinator. Grubb comes over from the University of Washington as he served as their offensive coordinator. His offense ranked first in passing yards per game with 369.80 and second in total yards per game at 575.80. Grubb helped Michael Penix’s revival of his college career, which led him to be a round-one selection. He also helped groom three very good receivers to produce in his offense: Rome Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk, and Jalen McMillan. Grubb knows how to work with multiple receivers and get the most out of their game.

So far, there has already been a lot of positive noise in OTAs about JSN’s role in Grubb’s offense. I know there is a history of Seattle being a run-first unit with Pete Carroll in the executive office and head coach Mike MacDonald being more of a defensive-minded guy. Whether or not Grubb wants a more balanced approach to the offense will help open up the passing game. Seattle has been in the middle of the road in terms of passing the last two seasons. We could see that spike in 2024.

In Grubb’s offense, you should expect more play-action than you got from Shane Waldron last season. This will allow receivers to get open for big plays downfield. Geno Smith was very impressive in play action in 2023, but it was used so little for this talented offense. Grubb’s offense will look to find more success, especially on downfield throws. Grubb had Michael Penix throwing deep often, which led the nation in 2023. Grubb was also a coach who was very successful on third-down conversions. Seattle ranked 23rd last season in third-down percentage.

You could compare Grubb’s slot guy last year, Jalen McMillian, who dominated when he was on the field. In four of the eight games that he played, he finished over 95 receiving yards. He did that with two other strong receivers on the field. McMillian ran a lot of option routes in the slot, which could benefit JSN greatly in year two. JSN knows how to create space in his game, and allowing him to run many different routes could make him dangerous in the middle of the field.

Final Thoughts

It’s a no-brainer to reach out to the JSN owner and look to acquire the young receiver. At some point this season, JSN’s value will rise due to his play on the field. If not, it will follow the end of the season, and it may be too late then. JSN has the quarterback room to get the job done in 2024. Geno Smith or Sam Howell has shown the ability to get the ball to receivers, especially over the middle of the field. The running backs aren’t likely going to be 60-plus target backs, allowing more work to the offense to have many three-receiver sets. Noah Fant has not shown much since his rookie year that he is a big enough threat to steal targets away from any of the receivers, especially JSN.

Recent Trades on Dynasty Nerds Trade Finder

  • MarShawn Llyod & AD Mitchell for JSN
  • 2025 3rd & Rachaad White for JSN
  • Brain Thomas Jr for JSN
  • 2025 2nd/3rd, Jahan Dotson & Luke Musgrave for JSN

Talent will win out, and JSN has a ton of talent in his game. Take advantage of the rookie fever at OTAs right now and secure JSN. JSN had a better college season than Brian Thomas or AD Mitchell. It’s a great time to move off Rachaad White while his high value remains. While that four-for-one could be a lot for JSN, it’s not. Dotson has planned out very well, and Musgrave has injury concerns. The 2025 class doesn’t have the depth at receiver that this class did. Honestly, don’t hesitate to give up a late 2025 1st round pick if you are a contending team or middle of the road. JSN should help out as a flex option in 2024 at the worst. He should be better valued than whatever you will get in the late first-round selection for JSN. The time is NOW; go buy JSN.

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