Everyone wants a deal. They want sleepers, they want “buy lows”, they want discounts. They want lottery tickets. But lottery tickets, both in fantasy football and real life, are cheap for a reason. Most of them end up in the garbage. 

I’m here today to hopefully convince you to stop buying long-shot scratch tickets or falling knife veterans. You don’t need to dig deep down into the bottom of the dynasty rankings. You don’t need to trick the trade calculator. Instead, invest your assets in the best possible fantasy football value. Start buying players that you actually believe in. Just buy them BEFORE they break out. 

I know, it sounds too good to be true. But it’s really not that hard if you are willing to pay a fair price. There are a lot of talented players that simply don’t get the opportunity we need for high end upside right away. Not everyone gets to be Justin Jefferson joining a team that just traded away Stefon Diggs (congrats to Jefferson on his new mega contract extension, by the way). 

Some players have to wait for the scheme, opportunity, or quarterback talent to open up their upside. My favorite example is Chris Godwin. We loved the talent when he was drafted in the second round. But the Buccaneers already had Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, so he was the odd man out for two wide receiver sets. 

It wasn’t until year three that he became a full-time player. And what happened then? Laser show. Here are some fantasy WRs that could follow a similar path that I believe are either fairly priced or even underpriced by the current market.




Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Both Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jordan Addison started out their rookie year as the third fiddle. JSN was behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Addison behind Justin Jefferson and KJ Osborn. With the Vikings, however, Justin Jefferson got hurt which forced Addison into a full-time role. 

When Jefferson returned, it was now Osborn who was the odd man out. The “flippening” of the roles was complete. Now, KJ Osborn isn’t even on the team, so that full-time wide receiver role is Addison’s for the taking. That has led him to leapfrog Smith-Njigba on sites like KeepTradeCut despite the quarterback issues over there and the target competition.

Some will argue that we should wait to buy JSN because he’s still the third target in 2024 behind Lockett and Metcalf. But Addison is the perfect example of how quickly that can change. Not to mention, there is an offensive coordinator change from Shane Waldron who, according to Rich Hribar, had JSN targeted on the highest percentage of passes behind the line of scrimmage of any wide receiver in the league. 

Ryan Grubb, coming out of Washington who just had three wide receivers drafted in this class, could unlock at least part of JSN’s upside immediately. Or an injury could fully unlock it. I’d rather just buy now than take the risk of missing the window completely. What I see is a talented player that we touted as the #1 WR in his class. And he was drafted first in his class. He only turned 22 in February and the age apex for WRs in 26-29 years old. 

It just so happens that veterans like DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are more game-ready than a 21-year-old-rookie. That happens. When you look and see how high the value has skyrocketed for a guy like Puka Nacua when he landed in a spot with immediate opportunity, you realize what could happen to the value of JSN when he gets his opportunity. And the cost for Puka Nacua is now multiple first round picks, while JSN can be had for a mid-to-late first based on sites like KTC or PeakedInHighSkool.




Jayden Reed

The Green Bay Packers have a wealth of riches at pass-catcher. And arguments could be made for ALL of them in fantasy football dynasty leagues. Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs were the clear full-time starters when everyone was healthy. There are a lot of metrics that favor Watson, plus Doubs was the best WR in the playoffs. Dontayvion Wicks, Bo Melton, and Malik Heath all flashed when given the opportunity. 

Wicks especially has gained a ton of steam this off-season despite him potentially not even starting in 2024. Luke Musgrave looked good as a pass catching tight end then, when he got hurt, Tucker Kraft stepped up and looked pretty decent. They are all worth stashing in dynasty if you ask me. But Jayden Reed is the guy I’m going out of my way to acquire.

Reed is the perfect example of an explosive player who never quite got the full opportunity as a rookie. In fact, he only cracked 70% of the snaps in two games. Even then, he led the team in receptions and yards and was tied for touchdowns with 8. He even kicked in 11 carries for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns. All that on a partial snap share. 

There is a reason we dig into rate stats like yards per route run (1.95 per PFF) and targets per route run (23% per MB Fantasy Life) when looking for fantasy breakouts. The hope is that high-rate stats plus more opportunity equals more production. Packers fans might not want to hear it, but you can’t keep the band together forever. Second contracts will come due for all of these guys. And Jordan Love needs to be paid as well. 

It might not be this year or even next year but, at some point, Jayden Reed will get paid. And he will be paid to be an every down player, whether by the Packers or someone else. That is the moment he goes from being a part-time slot guy to a slot guy that moves over to flanker for two wide receiver sets. That’s how we get the next Chris Godwin or Cooper Kupp or Keenan Allen. And Reed is currently the WR30 on both KeepTradeCut and PeakInHighSkool. You can still buy at face value before he becomes unobtainable. 




Josh Downs

In his rookie season, CeeDee Lamb played over 90% of his snaps out of the slot. The Cowboys ran a lot of three WR sets but, when it was time for jumbo packages, Lamb would come out for the likes of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. We all saw what happened with Lamb once he got a full workload over there.

Obviously, Josh Downs is not CeeDee Lamb. No one is saying he is. But, like Lamb, he was close to a pure slot guy as a rookie in 2023. He was top five both in routes run from the slot and also percentage of routes run from the slot. But it was Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce as the full-time players. 

Now, Michael Pittman is a stud, there’s no doubt about that. He’s the full-time split end. Alec Pierce, however, LED all wide receivers in routes run in 2023 while finishing as the WR61 in fantasy. That’s not going to cut it. So, I expect a change this year.

Some assume that rookie Adonai Mitchell will simply be given the job but that wasn’t the case for rookie Alec Pierce or rookie Josh Downs. In 2022, in Pierce’s rookie year, Parris Campbell was the full-time player, playing slot in three WR sets then moving to flanker for two WR sets. That’s actually exactly how CeeDee Lamb is now used in the Cowboys' offense. 

In fact, the 418 slot routes for Josh Downs ranked third in the NFL and the 385 for CeeDee Lamb ranked fourth. The difference is that Lamb also played 282 snaps out wide while Downs only played 91. If Downs can secure that role at some point, he could be a guy that cracks lineups every week.

Now, you might say that Downs, at 5’9”, 171 pounds with a 4.49 forty, can’t handle that full time role. But look at Tank Dell who is 5’8”, 165 pounds, with a 4.48 forty. He actually ran over 70% of his routes from the outside for the Texans. The league is constantly evolving with lower BMI players changing the narrative constantly in this league. 

Betting on Josh Downs takes a little more faith than JSN or Jayden Reed, but he also comes at a much cheaper price. And a lot cheaper price than Tank Dell, who is now competing with Nico Collins and Stefon Diggs for his snaps.


And, now that we have our trade targets, you might want to check out The Three Books for the Fantasy Trader so that know how to approach your trade partners and seal the deal!