🤯 A Bombshell WR Trade

Winners & losers...

Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Moby

Get Cole Beasley on the line, Josh…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Moby:

  • Diggs to Houston!

  • Derrick Henry wanted to be a Cowboy?!

  • Rookie WR Super Model Tier 3: The fastest WR in the class.

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

Right when things were supposed to settle down for a few weeks before the Draft, the NFL served us up an absolute humdinger of a trade yesterday:

In a league where every team is jockeying to accumulate as much pass-catching talent as possible, the Texans instantly cement themselves as the most talented passing offense in the league with the addition of Stefon Diggs.

As for the Bills… I’m not sure what they are doing, but it’s not great for their 2024 prospects.

👍️ Winners

The biggest winner by a country mile is CJ Stroud. No other QB in the league—outside of maybe Brock Purdy—has a better trio of pass catchers at their disposal heading into 2024.

Joe Mixon is also a low-key winner. He’s going to need binoculars to see the defensive fronts he’ll face.

Texans Offense 2024

Dalton Kincaid, Curtis Samuel, and Khalil Shakir are the other clear winners (for now), as they become the 1-2-3 on the Bills’ target pecking order. The true biggest winner, though, will likely be whichever WR the team selects with their 28th pick (Adonai Mitchell would be very fun).

🤝 The Texans WRs

It doesn’t feel right to categorize any of Stefon Diggs, Nico Collins, and Tank Dell as “losers,” so they are getting their own ambiguous category.

I understand that there is only one ball to go around and that the ceiling on individual target shares is lower now, but the offensive pie here is going to be massive.

The weekly consistency will likely not be there for this trio (and their redraft ADPs should come down accordingly), but the spikes are going to come in droves (so I wouldn’t be massively discounting them in early Underdog drafts).

Diggs—who was going 18th overall—is probably the one who should slide the most in ADP, considering his selling point was very little target competition (which is no longer the case).

👎️ Losers

If Stroud is the biggest winner, then Josh Allen is the biggest loser. He’s now lost two of his top pass-catchers, and you could argue this is currently a bottom-10 pass-catching room. The organization is essentially asking him to pull a Patrick Mahomes and drag a group of misfit toys to a Super Bowl.

On the other side, Dalton Schultz and Noah Brown both take a pretty big hit here. Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.

🔮 What next?

It’s a shame the Bills couldn’t land a 2024 2nd rounder to take advantage of this deep rookie WR class, but there’s an argument to be made that they cut bait from Diggs at just the right time. Still, the move will cost them an eye-popping $31.1 million in dead money.

The real intrigue here is if the Bills would try to swing a trade for a disgruntled Brandon Aiyuk or Tee Higgins, which would help this move make a lot more sense.

Knowing how wild this offseason has been, I have a feeling they aren’t done yet.

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📺️ Who are the biggest winners from the hip-drop tackle ban?? Ian breaks it down.

🤠 Derrick Henry wanted to join the Cowboys? How did this not happen?!

🔥 It’s time to get fired up about the Falcons. Raheem Morris has it.

0️⃣ The first QB to wear the number 0. Trailblazer.

📝 A statement from Rashee Rice. Still very few details.

🔮 2 obvious landing spots for Michael Penix Jr. Could he go this high?

📣 Stefon Diggs is not shy. Check out this reply on X.

Fantasy Life head of analytics Dwain “The Rock” McFarland has been in the lab GRINDING to evaluate the incoming class of rookie WRs. Many would simply put together a model of sorts to accomplish this task, but Dwain? That wouldn’t be nearly… super enough.

Presenting: Fantasy Life’s Rookie WR Super Model.

🥉 Tier 3 – Foundational Traits With WR2-Plus Upside

💪 Brian Thomas Jr. | LSU

  • WR Super Model: 70th percentile

  • Age: 21.9

  • Height: 6’3

  • Weight: 209

📜 Pedigree

  • Program Quality Index: 80th percentile

  • NFL Mock Drafts: Pick 17, Round 1

  • 247 Recruit Player Rating: 4 of 5 stars

No other WR expected to go in Round 1 of the NFL Draft climbed further. Thomas was considered a Round 2 or Round 3 prospect before the start of the 2023 season. However, only Troy Franklin (3) had a higher rank in the 2021 recruiting class.

😤 Production

  • Adjusted Career RYPTPA Index: 44th percentile

  • Career Total TDs Per Game Index: 59th percentile

  • Career Targeted QB Rating Index: 81st percentile

Thomas didn’t do much in his first two seasons at LSU but came to life in his final season as a junior with a 2.86 RYPTPA. While that wasn’t enough to push his Adjusted Career numbers into elite territory, it was enough to get his number to a respectable territory where his stronger marks in career TDs and targeted QB rating could help balance his production score. 

However, since 2018, WRs with junior-season breakouts after not doing much in their first two seasons don’t have the best track record. The sample size isn’t large, and some of these players have only been around two seasons, so we don’t want to overreact, but the list of players that went in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft is worth noting:

  • Jameson Williams

  • Jahan Dotson

  • Terrace Marshall Jr.

  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

  • DK Metcalf

🔮 Fantasy Outlook: Hit Rates

  • Underdog ADP: WR37, Round 6

  • Rookie Dynasty ADP: WR4, Pick 5

When we include draft capital in the Super Model, the dropoff from Harrison Jr., Nabers, and Odunze to Thomas is significant. The average fantasy points for Years 1 and 2 dip from 14.1 to 10.0, and the hit rate on top-24 finishes falls from 67% to 27%.

Rookie WR Super Model Tiers 2 and 3 by Dwain McFarland

Thomas is coming off the board as a low-end WR3 in early bestball drafts. If Odunze goes almost 10 picks ahead of him in the NFL Draft, that is too close unless Thomas lands in the perfect spot with a path to immediate routes. Still, the overall sentiment of the market isn’t wrong.

🏋️‍♂️ Xavier Worthy | Texas

  • WR Super Model: 59th percentile

  • Age: 21.4

  • Height: 5’11”

  • Weight: 165

📜 Pedigree

  • Program Quality Index: 50th percentile

  • NFL Mock Drafts: Pick 32, Round 1

  • 247 Recruit Player Rating: 4 of 5 stars

The University of Texas is a well-known Power 5 program, but they haven’t produced a first or second-round WR since 2014. Devin Duvernay was the closest in 2020 as a Round 3 selection, but that could change this year. Worthy and Adonai Mitchell are projected as borderline Round 1 picks in the NFL Draft in mocks.

😤 Production

  • Adjusted Career RYPTPA Index: 69th percentile

  • Career Total TDs Per Game Index: 62nd percentile

  • Career Targeted QB Rating Index: 41st percentile

Worthy exploded out of the starting gate as a freshman with 2.81 RYPTPA—the top mark in the class. While Worthy never reached those heights again, he still posted respectable marks of 1.86 and 2.14 in his sophomore and junior campaigns. His 69th percentile Adjusted Career RYPTA ranks fourth out of all the Power 5 WRs in the 2024 class.

🔮 Fantasy Outlook: Hit Rates

  • Underdog ADP: WR50, Round 9

  • Rookie Dynasty ADP: WR6, Pick 8

The Super Model prefers Thomas over Worthy when including projected draft capital, but the two are much closer without it. Worthy has proven more on the field, but Thomas meets the prototypical pedigree and size requirements that teams prefer.

Rookie WR Super Model Tiers 2 and 3 by Dwain McFarland
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Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Moby