📈 3 Big-Play WRs To Move Up Ranks

The Draft treated them well...

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It’s time to start drafting (again)…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Underdog Fantasy:

  • 3 veteran WRs who won the draft

  • Watercooler: Puka can hoop

  • Post-Draft Dynasty Stock Watch: A Jags rookie on the rise

  • It’s 4/29. Take it away, Peter Overzet…

The 2024 NFL Draft is in the books, but we’re still picking up the pieces around here.

On Saturday, I shared my kneejerk reactions to all of the fantasy-relevant rookies who went in Rounds 2 and 3. Then on Sunday, I spotlighted the big veteran RB winners who dodged backfield competition throughout the draft.

Now it’s time to hone in on some veteran pass catchers who saw their stock rise after their team elected to not take advantage of this deep rookie WR class.

🦁 Jameson Williams’ time is finally here?

We’ve still yet to see a full 17-game season from the talented wideout the Lions selected 12th overall in the 2022 draft, so it was reasonable to assume that Detroit would take a WR flier in this class (especially after losing Josh Reynolds in Free Agency).

But the Lions stood pat, which means Williams will have the chance to pick up right where he left off in the NFC Championship game. As long as he stays healthy, a Year 3 breakout should be in the offing.

🙌 Rashid Shaheed’s perfect runout

It’s honestly crazy that the Saints didn’t devote an early pick to a WR in this class (they took Bub Means in Round 5), but Derek Carr’s loss is Shaheed’s gain.

Shaheed, who has been consistently efficient throughout his career, remains the clear No. 2 in New Orleans behind Chris Olave. He’s an obvious buy in drafts having avoided any other target competition in the draft.

If you don’t believe me, take Ian’s (or Cooterdoodle’s) word for it:

📉 Darnell Mooney loves Michael Penix Jr.

If there’s anyone else on this planet who loves the Penix Jr. pick as much as Falcons GM Terry Fontenot, it has to be Mooney.

Taking Rome Odunze at 8 overall would have been far more defensible than reaching for a 24-year-old to back up the other QB you gave $160 million to in Free Agency.

It would have also pushed Mooney to the target backburner. Instead, the team didn’t invest anything in the position other than a 6th-round pick on Illinois WR Casey Washington.

Mooney will rarely leave the field in 2024, plays in a dome, and will be catching deep bombs from Cousins. Not a bad setup.

You can draft all three of these guys in early Underdog drafts, which are conveniently scheduled to drop later today…

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🐶 Best Ball Mania V is Here!

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Watercooler

🤠 Jerry Jones finally gets his RB. Can’t keep these two apart.

🙏 Tank Dell suffered a minor gunshot wound on Saturday. Here’s the Texans’ statement.

🤔 Something doesn’t add up here. One of these RBs is getting squeezed.

🛠️ The GM and Coach who are wearing mechanic shirts. Time to get to work.

📺️ The ultimate Best Ball Mania guide. A roadmap to drafting in Underdog’s massive fantasy contest.

🍊 A new Patriots QB can throw an orange how far?! Wow.

Dynasty Stock Watch

The NFL Draft did not disappoint this year. While we ended up with some predictable selections, there were certainly some surprises (looking at you, Atlanta). We finally have landing spots for the incoming rookies so let's take a look at a few players who experienced significant shifts in their dynasty stock. Take it away, Sam

📈 Dynasty Stock Up: Post-NFL Draft

🐆 Brian Thomas Jr., WR - Jaguars

When the NFL Draft started, one of the players I was most excited to follow was Brian Thomas Jr. We had the obvious Big 3 at WR (Marvin Harrison Jr, Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze) but Thomas represented the "next man up" in terms of both prospect profile and expected draft capital.

Dwain McFarland's WR Rookie Model said the same by way of his WR4 ranking.

On draft night, the Jaguars stayed patient despite the early run on wideouts and offensive players in general. They traded back from No. 17 to No. 23 in a deal with the Vikings and landed Thomas at No. 23. He steps into a great offensive environment with lots of potential / upside.

In 2023, Thomas played second-fiddle to Nabers (no fault of his own) but still managed to post an elite line of 68 / 1,177 / 17 TDs as the No. 2 option for the LSU Tigers. Also, his size/speed combination is straight-up unfair. He checks in at 6' 3" / 209 lbs and ran a 4.33 40-yard dash. Ian Hartitz put a bow on his athletic profile with this nugget:

His 9.97 out of 10.00 RAS score ranks 10th out of 3,063 WRs from 1987 to 2024.

The Jaguars lost Calvin Ridley but added Gabe Davis this offseason. Despite the swap, and presence of Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, Thomas has the physical tools to step in and immediately become a focal point for Trevor Lawrence.

Thomas was already valued as a high-end WR3 (WR28) by the dynasty community. His pairing with Lawrence is about as good as we hoped (outside of falling to the Chiefs or Bills). He'll be battling with Xavier Worthy (Chiefs) and the aforementioned tier of top-3 WRs in rookie drafts and I would happily take him in that range.

📉 Dynasty Stock Down: Post-NFL Draft

🐏 Kyren Williams, RB - Rams

Just as we tabbed the aforementioned Mixon as a "winner", Kyren Williams wasn't so lucky. The Rams drafted Blake Corum with the 83rd overall pick in the third round. Corum has been a fascinating case study this offseason. He was a 2023 national champion who posted some truly elite numbers over the last three seasons.

  • 2021 – 144 rushing attempts / 952 rushing yards / 141 receiving yards / 12 total TDs

  • 2022 – 247 / 1,463 /  80 / 19 TDs

  • 2023 – 258 / 1,245 / 117 / 28 TDs

As Jonathan Fuller noted, Corum, "...ranked 10th in the nation in missed tackles forced (73) and 11th for yards after contact (832)...He displayed great contact balance on film and has good lateral agility, which makes him tough to stop in the backfield."

However, his smaller size (5' 8' / 205 lbs) and projected (accurately) lower draft capital pushed him down the boards for many dynasty rankers. Corum did come in at RB4 in our RB Rookie Model but again, this was an underwhelming class.

Regardless of Corum's shortcomings, he's going to cut into Williams' role in LA. Last season, Williams posted a line of 228 / 1,144 / 12 TDs on the ground with another 32 / 206 / 3 TDs through the air on 48 targets. He was the definition of a bellcow RB.

This offense will still funnel through Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Puka Nacua and it's more likely than not that Williams and Corum will cannibalize each other's role. It's a great football move for the Rams but one that will certainly cause Williams' current dynasty ADP of RB9 to drop a sizable amount.

Cooterdoodle's Favorite Tweets (Aug 2022)
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