JuJu Smith-Schuster is a high risk in dynasty
By Calvin K (Twitter: @Calvin_SGF)
The wide receiver position is always interesting in dynasty fantasy football. Many players are quite easy to evaluate, but uncertainty around the offseason and free agency can often make it difficult to get a good judgement on others. Those players are the ones I’ll be discussing in this article. Below are five WRs that have the highest risk in dynasty.
1. D.J. Chark (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Chark is a player who comes with just about as much risk as it’s possible to have. He’s got a new coaching staff, a new QB, and a new teammate at WR for 2021. All three of these factors will make it incredibly difficult to figure out his potential target share and involvement in the Jaguars’ offense.
On top of all that, Chark is a free agent after this year. He has shown some flashes of brilliance, but he’s also only had one 1,000 yard season in his career, and his inconsistency could mean he gets buried on another team’s depth chart. If he stays with Jacksonville, it could quite possibly be on a cheap contract to make him their WR3.
Not all of these scenarios will come to fruition, and some may turn out to be a non-issue. However, Chark could potentially exhibit all of the problems that you don’t want in a dynasty receiver. That will end up being a huge issue for his dynasty managers, and if one of the scenarios becomes a major problem, his value could plummet.
2. JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pittsburgh Steelers)
JuJu’s situation is very similar to Chark’s, in that he’s a free agent this offseason and a guy who could be the WR3 on his team. JuJu is slightly more established in NFL circles than Chark, but he could still get stuck in a role that doesn’t provide much fantasy production in 2022.
JuJu’s long-term value is a concern, but he could also have trouble doing much of anything in 2021. Like mentioned, he could be (and probably is) the WR3 on his team, and Pittsburgh just added RB Najee Harris from the draft, who will likely inherit a workhorse role (with lots of receptions) almost immediately. This could leave dynasty owners in a pickle, and a flop this year would cause JuJu’s trade value to drop significantly. If it does, it’ll be hard to get any sort of return at all in a trade, which gives him a lot of risk heading into this year.
3. Tyler Boyd (Cincinnati Bengals)
Unlike the other two receivers on this list, Boyd’s situation should be pretty well established for the next few years of his career. However, that may not be a good thing for his fantasy value. For the forseeable future, Boyd will be playing alongside two young, talented WRs in Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, and while he might still be able to produce as his team’s #3 WR, it could be a problem if he doesn’t.
Chase has a connection with Bengals QB Joe Burrow that dates back to their college days at LSU, and in his rookie year, Higgins showed a great ability to consistently win matchups on the outside. On top of that, Bengals RB Joe Mixon should continue to handle a workhorse role, which could include many receptions out of the backfield, especially on third downs. These three guys could make it difficult for a slot guy like Boyd to establish a consistent role in the offense.
Boyd’s claim to fame has always been as a reliable slot guy with some upside, but with the addition of Chase with the draft’s 5th overall pick, both of those labels could be threatened. If Boyd has neither reliability nor upside, dynasty owners could end up being very frustrated with his production. If this happens, it’d be a long wait for free agency (three years for Boyd, all with Chase and Higgins), and even then, situation improvement would be far from a guarantee.
4. Will Fuller V (Miami Dolphins)
Fuller’s situation might actually end up being a good one this year, but there are just too many extenuating factors to get a handle on how his production will truly look. One of the main factors is his QB, Tua Tagovailoa, who struggled in his 2020 appearances. The addition of Fuller should help Tua’s play improve, but even if it does, there are still many other potential problems.
The addition of WR Jaylen Waddle with the #6 overall pick in the NFL draft could cut into Fuller’s potential production this year. Fuller’s contract also lasts for just one year, so the team could easily decide he’s not in their future and proceed to get rid of him. Tua’s tendency in his rookie year was also often to throw underneath to TE Mike Gesicki or RB Myles Gaskin, so we have no idea if the duo would even thrive alone in an offense. Fuller also has never played a full season in his five NFL years, and the first healthy season of his career was marred by a PED suspension that caused him to miss five games last year (and will force him out of 2021’s opener).
Overall, there’s just an absolute boatload of uncertainty surrounding Fuller and his fantasy outlook. This gives him lots of risk, and it will make him incredibly difficult to evaluate in 2021 alone. However, free agency could bring a whole new set of issues, which could have Fuller’s fantasy managers (and potential trade partners) completely flummoxed on what to do.
5. Michael Gallup (Dallas Cowboys)
Gallup will already face lots of uncertainty over fantasy points this year, as he could be as low as the fifth target on the Cowboys. Gallup will also become a free agent after this year, and he could face the potential of being at the bottom of a depth chart, either on the Cowboys or elsewhere.
It’s important to remember that Gallup has had over 800 yards in each of the last two seasons, so he has certainly had a valuable impact on the Cowboys as a team. However, the competition of WRs CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper, RB Ezekiel Elliott, and TE Blake Jarwin could cause him to be maddeningly inconsistent and unstartable in 2021. This isn’t the situation you’d want Gallup in for fantasy, and he’ll have an opportunity to leave Dallas after this year, but free agency hardly guarantees a positive change. If the potential change of scenery is negative for Gallup’s value (or if it keeps his value the same), it could be difficult to get a valuable return in dynasty, which could make him difficult to trust for next year and beyond.