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Dynasty Trade Targets Before the NFL Draft

Drew Lock Looking To Secure Seattle's Starting QB

There's still plenty of time between now and the NFL Draft, which means there's plenty of time for fantasy players to make some trades to help out their dynasty teams.

In this article, we're going to be looking at some players you should be targeting before the draft in dynasty leagues. These are players who I think will take a jump in value post-draft due to the things their teams do -- or don't -- do.

Let's get to looking at some trade targets, y'all!

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Lynn Bowden Jr. (WR, Miami Dolphins)

The Dolphins are expected to take a receiver early in this year's draft. Everyone knows this, and I think that's going to depress the value for Miami's receivers.

DeVante Parker and Preston Williams are at some serious risk for losing playing time to whoever the exciting rookie is, but I think Bowden's going to end up with a fairly safe role going forward. If all three guys are available cheaper than usual, Bowden is the one who I want to target right now.

Why? A few reasons:

First, Bowden is young. There's a reason every player in this article is still young: when we're talking dynasty, youth is important. I'm not someone who'll disregard older players in dynasty, but I am someone who'll prioritize youth at this early stage of the offseason. The second-year player -- who Miami gave up a 2021 fourth for in September -- still has a lot of NFLing ahead of him.

Second, Bowden spent his final season at Kentucky mostly at running back, with 185 attempts. While he was used all over the field there, transitioning from receiver to running back and now back to receiver just seems tough. I don't have analytics to support that, but it seems true.

But despite all that, Bowden played well for Miami as a rookie. From Week 13 to 17, Bowden was targeted at least three times in each game, and while he struggled against the Raiders, catching two passes for just eight yards, his other games were solid. Per Add More Funds, Bowden's target share over that span was the highest of any Dolphins wide receiver, and while his air yards were low -- he had 12.4 percent of the air yards over that span, sixth on the team -- he was the team leader in targets over that span.

Bowden's upside is that he can be the short-yardage slot guy in Miami that Jarvis Landry used to be. His 205 slot snaps ranked 37th in the league despite Bowden barely being part of the game plan for large parts of the season. 58.4 percent of his snaps were in the slot. Over the final four weeks of the season, his 162 slot snaps ranked sixth in the league.

 

Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars)

We all know Trevor Lawrence is about to be the quarterback for the Jaguars.

That's why I think you should trade for Jaguars receivers now before the Lawrence pick is official. Because the closer we get to the 2021 season and the more we hear about how Lawrence and his receivers are getting comfortable with each other and their rapport is growing, the more the hype will continue to grow for these receivers.

Shenault and D.J. Chark could both see their values skyrocket, but I'm recommending Shenault because the second-year receiver has more years under contract in Jacksonville and because Chark is coming off a 2020 season that saw him struggle, leading to some (hi, it's me) to think Shenault's the better player and the likelier to be part of the Jags' future.

Shenault found the endzone three times over the final two games of the regular season and was targeted six or more times in each of the last four games.

Last season, Shenault was 26th in fantasy points per target and 18th in quarterback rating when targeted despite a target accuracy that ranked 55th. With improved quarterback play in 2021, Shenault's an ideal candidate for a second-year breakout. Get him on your team before that happens.

 

Cole Kmet (TE, Chicago Bears)

If you're on Twitter, you'll probably be familiar with the Cole Kmet hype train, which has already left the station and is going full steam ahead.

But if you -- and, more importantly, your league-mates -- aren't super active on Twitter, then you probably still have a nice window to buy in on Kmet before the NFL Draft.

Two important things when it comes to Kmet: measurables and end-of-season production.

Let's start with the workout metrics:

workout metrics for Cole Kmet

Workout Metrics for Cole Kmet via PlayerProfiler

Kmet's 40-yard dash is in the 73rd percentile, with an 83rd percentile speed score and 88th percentile burst score. He has the athletic profile needed to be one of those versatile, pass-catching tight ends that are taking over the NFL.

Not that that necessarily will translate to actual production. Someone like Chris Herndon has a great athletic profile, but Chris Herndon is never going to be a high-end NFL tight end. You have to show you can turn your potential into actual production.

That brings us back to Kmet. Rookie tight ends take time to get up to speed, and the first half of Kmet's rookie season saw him struggle to get going.

Targets Receptions Yards TD Yards Per Target
First Nine Games 8 6 79 1 9.88
Last Seven Games 36 22 164 1 4.56

Kmet saw a huge uptick in targets over the second half, and while his yards per target were cut roughly in half, I'm more concerned with the rise in usage than in how that usage happened. Kmet never played 50 percent of the snaps over those first nine games, then never played under 70 percent the rest of the way.

That rise in usage combined with Kmet's athletic profile makes him someone I'd be looking to grab now. The Bears are a quarterback upgrade away from being a Super Bowl contender, and if they can make that upgrade, their pass catchers will all see a rise in fantasy value. Grab Kmet now while that value is still low.

 

Drew Lock (QB, Denver Broncos)

Superflex/2-QB Only

Okay, hear me out here...

We all think that the Broncos are going to replace Drew Lock with someone else this offseason, whether it be a rookie or Sam Darnold or Deshaun Watson or whoever.

But what if they don't?

You can never have too many quarterbacks in a Superflex, especially when those quarterbacks are young and are starters. Lock is someone who can be had at a big discount right now because everyone is (rightly) down on him.

But I'm not ready to give up on Drew Lock just yet. And if the Broncos leave the NFL Draft with Lock still as their starting quarterback, his fantasy managers are suddenly going to want a good bit more for him than they will right now.

Injuries meant Lock's 2020 season was bad. Let's not try to sugarcoat it. While he was fourth in air yards per attempt, he was just 30th in adjusted yards per attempt, 33rd in accuracy rating, and 37th in true completion percentage.

But Lock has a big arm. If he stays in Denver, he'll have an incredible supporting cast -- Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, K.J. Hamler, Noah Fant. We were collectively all high on Lock before 2020 because of that supporting cast. We should be less high on him in 2021 because his 2020 struggles matter, but if Lock survives this offseason to start for Denver this upcoming season, he's got QB2 appeal and can be had for basically nothing.



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