Three Buy-Low Players in Dynasty Fantasy Football


We hope you enjoy this FREE article preview! In order to access our other articles and content, including livestreams, projections and rankings, stat analysis and more, be sure to sign up today. We are here to help you #ScoreMore Fantasy Points!

Three Buy-Low Players in Dynasty Fantasy Football

Low overall pass rates limited the production of several talented pass-catchers last season. Luckily, this has created the perfect buying opportunity for three players whose team pass rate should rise in 2024.

We can identify these players with the Fantasy Points Data Suite’s neutral pass rate metric, which measures how often teams choose to pass when a game is close.

Neutral pass rate factors out big leads and blowouts, making it a more accurate reflection of a team’s tendencies than raw pass attempts. Teams ranking much higher in neutral pass rate than in actual pass rate can be expected to throw more in the following season, as overwhelmingly positive game scripts or outlier defensive efficiency often regress to the mean.

All ADP courtesy of DynastyDataLab

Mark Andrews, TE, BAL

Startup ADP: 5.04 (TE5)

Mark Andrews has finished as a top-five TE in FPG in each of the past four seasons. His 2021 season was the fifth-best all-time for a fantasy TE.

At 28 years old, Andrews is a bit older than the other top dynasty TEs, but it’s easy to envision several more productive seasons. After all, Travis Kelce’s two best years came at age 31 and 33. But we don’t have to rely solely on anecdotal evidence — Adam Harstad’s findings suggest Andrews still has a few “prime” seasons left.

Dynasty managers wouldn’t be hung up on Andrews’ age if he were still producing as he did in 2021. Unfortunately, the Ravens made that nearly impossible the past two seasons, ranking 28th and 32nd in pass attempts as the team was almost always protecting a lead and running the clock in the second half. However, in line with new OC Todd Monken’s tendencies, the Ravens ranked 11th in neutral pass rate (60.9%), meaning the team actually threw at an above-average rate when the game was close. In 2024, I’m expecting more competitive games and more pass attempts.

That’s partly because it’s rare for any team to be as dominant as the 2023 Ravens, whose point differential of +203 was the highest of any team since 2019 (when, ironically enough, the Ravens led the league at +249 and Lamar Jackson won MVP). The team also lost defensive coordinator Mike McDonald, and their 2024 schedule includes games against Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Dak Prescott, Jalen Hurts, C.J. Stroud, and Joe Burrow (twice).

I can’t fault anyone for preferring Sam LaPorta, Trey McBride, Kyle Pitts, or Brock Bowers to Mark Andrews. But Andrews is by far the best pick at cost right now, going multiple rounds after most of the other top options. I wouldn’t hesitate to tier down from one of those other elite TEs to upgrade at another position or pick up additional draft capital.

Diontae Johnson, WR, CAR

Startup ADP: 9.09, WR36

In 2023, Adam Thielen had a 25.7% target share, his highest since 2018 and his first season above 20% since 2020. Without other viable receiving options, the Panthers funneled their passing game through the 33-year-old, resulting in Thielen averaging 18.7 FPG (WR9) from weeks 1-9. He fell off down the stretch, but that’s not a surprise for an older WR. Diontae Johnson is now a member of this offense and has a great chance to replicate Thielen’s success as a younger, more talented player.

Johnson has been a high-end target earner and route runner throughout his career. He has ranked top-20 in target share over each of the past three seasons, including a top-3 finish in 2021. Johnson has also scored the highest in ESPN’s Open Score during that span. Looks like good company!

Johnson’s target competition will be nearly as weak as Thielen’s was, even when you factor in newcomers Xavier Legette and Ja’Tavion Sanders. Carolina’s 58.9% neutral pass rate in 2023 (20th) was far friendlier to WR production than Pittsburgh’s 50.5% (last), suggesting Johnson stands to benefit from his new environment.

The 2023 Buccaneers had an identical 58.9% neutral pass rate under Dave Canales, so we can confidently project a similar rate in 2024. Even if Bryce Young fails to make significant strides in his second season, Johnson is well-positioned to bounce back from his forgettable 2023 campaign on the back of sheer volume. On the other hand, a step forward from Young (similar to what Canales has engineered for Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield over each of the past two years) could unlock a ceiling for Johnson that is not being factored into his dynasty value.

Johnson is currently being drafted within one round of Amari Cooper, Marquise Brown, Calvin Ridley, Chris Godwin, Keenan Allen, and Josh Downs. I would trade any of these WRs, or an early 2nd-round rookie pick, for him.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, TEN

Startup ADP: 13.01, WR47

DeAndre Hopkins is my favorite trade target for contending teams. Although he’s coming off his worst fantasy season (13.2 FPG) since 2016, his peripherals were excellent — his 26.9% target share ranked top-10, while his 2.09 YPRR was the most efficient he’s been since 2020.

Unfortunately, the rest of the Titans’ offense let him down. Between a washed-up Ryan Tannehill and a raw rookie in Will Levis, only 69.2% of Hopkins’ targets were deemed catchable, the 8th-lowest among 81 qualifying WRs. To make matters worse, the Titans averaged just 29.1 pass attempts per game (last) on the back of a 55% neutral-situation pass rate (29th). When the game was close, Mike Vrabel was content to put the ball in Derrick Henry’s hands over and over.

Now, of course, both Henry and Vrabel are gone. Over the past two seasons, new Titans HC Brian Callahan’s offenses have posted neutral pass rates of 66.4% (3rd-highest) and 64.6% (4th-highest). This hire, along with the signings of Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd, signal a more pass-first approach in 2024. Overall, Hopkins’ situation has changed for the better, making it significantly more likely he’ll turn his excellent peripherals into actual fantasy points.

In startup drafts, Hopkins is going off the board after WRs like Jahan Dotson, Quentin Johnston, and Romeo Doubs, all of whom are long shots to provide even one season of WR2 production in their careers. Hopkins is well worth a late 2nd-round rookie pick, even if 2024 could be his final fantasy-relevant season.

Paul is an English teacher with a degree in creative writing. He brings a logical approach to dynasty fantasy football, using positional value and market trends to build winning rosters. He also creates dynasty content as a podcaster and YouTuber.