With Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season in the books, fantasy football teams have already begun taking shape. Dynasty owners are constantly scouring the waiver wire, hoping to pick up a hidden gem or two to bolster their roster for 2021 and beyond. Multiple wide receivers have already emerged from obscurity and now warrant weekly fantasy consideration, posing interesting conundrums in dynasty leagues. Below is a look at players whose dynasty stocks rose and sank as I forecast what they are worth and what we can expect moving forward.
WR K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings
A week after tying for second on the team in targets and reeling in seven of nine targets for 76 yards and a touchdown, Osborn caught five of six targets for 91 yards and another touchdown. He opened the game with a 64-yard touchdown on Minnesota’s second play from scrimmage as he finished third on the team in targets, just one behind Adam Thielen. Through the first two weeks, Osborn has stepped into the production that many were hoping would go to Irv Smith Jr. prior to his season-ending meniscus surgery. He has proven to have a significant ceiling but as the third option in the passing game (and possibly fourth, depending on Dalvin Cook’s involvement in certain weeks), his floor remains remarkably low. In games with a high projected total, such as Minnesota’s Week 3 clash with the Seattle Seahawks, Osborn is worthy of a spot in leagues with multiple flex spots in starting lineups. Though Osborn won’t have a consistent enough weekly role to warrant a significant asset, he should absolutely be a priority waiver pickup if available in your dynasty (and even redraft) leagues.
WR Cedrick Wilson, Dallas Cowboys
After putting Michael Gallup on injured reserve with a calf injury, the Dallas Cowboys saw their receiving corps take another hit as Amari Cooper bruised his ribs in Sunday’s victory over the Chargers. Wilson caught both of his targets for 20 yards against Los Angeles after catching all three targets for 24 yards in Week 1 against Tampa Bay. His presence on this list isn’t about his production to date, though, it’s about his opportunity. If Cooper were to miss Monday night’s game against the Eagles, Wilson would immediately become an attractive WR3/flex option in deeper leagues as the second receiver on a pass-heavy Cowboys team. He’s proven to be talented when presented with an opportunity, posting five catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns against Seattle in Week 3 of the 2020 season.
It is also important to note that the wide receiver room in Dallas will likely look different in 2022. The Cowboys can move on from Cooper’s contract after the 2021 season with just a $6 million dead cap hit, while Gallup’s contract expires after the season. There is a real scenario in which Wilson begins the 2022 season as the third receiver in Dallas. With so much uncertainty surrounding Wilson’s role, he doesn’t warrant a third-round rookie pick. However, he is worth picking up as Monday night insurance for Cooper owners and especially for owners of teams with an eye towards competing in 2022 and beyond.
WR Marquez Callaway & TE Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints
Week 2 of the Jameis experience went poorly for New Orleans, as the signal caller completed just 11 of his 22 passing attempts in a forgettable 26-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers. A week after attempting just twenty passes in a Week 1 victory, the distinct lack of volume for Saints pass catchers is certainly troubling. Callaway caught just two of four targets for eight yards (a week after catching one ball for 14 yards) as his nominal target number managed to rank second on the team behind Alvin Kamara. Johnson saw three targets for the second week in a row, catching just one of them for 23 yards and no touchdowns.
With Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith inactive for the second game in a row, the Saints’ offense put together a largely forgettable performance. Any good memories of Callaway’s dynamic preseason are quickly fading as his rampage feels like a flash in the pan. Johnson continues splitting time with Adam Trautman, lagging behind the sophomore tight end in snaps for the second week in a row. With the New England Patriots, New York Giants, and Washington Football team on the docket over the next three weeks, the road ahead doesn’t get much easier for the Saints. In dynasty, Callaway still remains a speculative buy at the cost of a late rookie pick (2022 third-round pick) and an easy sell for a rookie second-round pick or better. While the tight end pool remains shallow, Johnson profiles as a back-end bench player who can be cut in favor of a higher upside option such as Osborn or Wilson above.