Last week, we explored some players to target if you’re looking to win it all in 2023. While I hope some of us benefited from that advice, it’s not the right move for just as many.
Yes, if you, like many managers, have already run out of reliable QBs to roll with for this season, it might be time to hang it up.
Now, of course, draft picks are the most premium of targets when tanking. Grabbing a pick from an overconfident manager and watching it blossom into a top-3 selection is as good as it gets.
But in a draft this deep, you’re going to have a hard time prying selections away. If only to enjoy the offseason chatter and hype before the rookie draft, most owners will be clutching their picks.
Instead, think outside the box. Consider targeting players who might be facing new situations in the coming year. If you can take advantage of informational asymmetry, you might just be able to swing a (future) title-winning deal.
Three Players to Target at the Trade Deadline in Dynasty Football for 2024
Demario Douglas, WR, NE
Okay, I’ll admit it up front. We’re going to have to play a bit of the conjecture game when thinking about next year. After all, you can’t have informational asymmetry without a little guesswork.
So call it a hunch, but I’d probably buy a hat to eat if I found out that Josh McDaniels wasn’t on the Patriots staff in 2024. I’d honestly be a little shocked if he doesn’t come on as an assistant at some point this season.
If he did, it could be a case of déjà vu all over again. After all, when McDaniels was last fired as a head coach, he eventually returned to New England in the middle of the playoffs. He would go on to replace Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator the following season.
Mac Jones looks to be cooked, but McDaniels has proven that he doesn’t need Tom Brady to be successful. He made Mac look like the future in his rookie season, and he could do it again either with Jones or a top rookie QB with the Patriots tanking.
For these reasons, you have to roll the dice with the Patriots current no. 1 receiver in Demario Douglas. While he’s been lost in the chaos of bad offense, Douglas has shown out as the 29th-ranked WR in the NFL by PFF.
Acquitting himself well for his rookie season, a better environment could do wonders. He certainly won’t run WR1 prices but could be firmly in the conversation next year. Make a move before the trade deadline and NFL Playoffs.
Michael Mayer, TE, LV
To that same tune, let’s pick on Josh McDaniels a bit more. Michael Mayer might have been expected to contribute in a big way given how McDaniels likes to use his tight ends.
Jimmy Garropolo’s previous chemistry with George Kittle had many believing the Raiders had a plan for the 35th overall pick in last year’s draft. Well, scrap that, it’s over before it even really started.
It’s just not all on Mayer at the end of the day. Rookie tight ends rarely show out, even as Sam LaPorta bucks the trend, and it was unfair to heap those expectations on so early.
Still, if you look hard enough, you can see signs of progress. Last week’s touchdown catch went a long way to reminding people Mayer was drafted to be a huge target in the red zone. With only one TD to his name before the trade deadline, Mayer could be a classic buy-low.
His snap share remains high however which points to trust in Mayer as a blocking option. Perhaps the next regime will be the one to open him up. It could even be Ben Johnson, the Detroit Lions offensive coordinator. With Johnson at the helm, perhaps Mayer could be unlocked the same way as LaPorta.
Khalil Herbert, RB, CHI
It’s hard to defend Justin Fields. With the Chicago Bears fighting for not one, but two top-three picks in the upcoming draft, Fields’ days look numbered.
But he really hasn’t been as terrible as the Chicago Bears record makes it all seem. He has been as reliable as ever rushing with the ball. Had he not been derailed by injury, it’s possible we’re talking about Fields as the long-term solution in Chicago.
Alas, with the Carolina Panthers as horrible as they are and contributing their first-round pick to the Bears, it seems impossible for the Bears to pass on QB again. But for someone like Khalil Herbert, that’s a win.
As I’ve gone over, rushing QBs severely impact the ceiling of the running back on their team. They vulture touchdowns. They also often sprint off rather than make short passes.
While Herbert isn’t a prolific receiver, he’s certainly capable enough for a dump-off. He has still proven to be the team’s best rusher in spite of his recent injury woes. Take the injury discount now and watch next year as a much less mobile Caleb Williams potentially changes the equation.
Also check out our Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Half-PPR by Position | Flex Rankings | Positional Ranks w/ K & DST | Dynasty | Superflex Dynasty