With Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season in the books, most dynasty leagues are well over halfway done with their regular season. Standings have increasingly become a war of attrition as yet another wave of injuries to key players has owners scrambling to remain competitive while keeping an eye on the future. Let’s take a look at a wide receiver poised to break out in the second half of the season and a wideout that could struggle in the second half of the season.
WR Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens
Absent the first five weeks of the 2021 regular season with a groin injury, the first-round pick has slowly garnered less attention as he comes off his bye week. In Weeks 6 & 7, Bateman was targeted 12 times as he played over 60% of snaps in each game and hauled in seven of his targets for 109 yards. After ranking 32nd in passing attempts per game in 2020, Baltimore has climbed all the way to 21st as quarterback Lamar Jackson is turning the ball loose. The Ravens rank seventh in passing yards per attempt in 2021, which meshes well with the downfield skillsets of Bateman & fellow weapon Marquise Brown.
Worries about a perceived lack of passing volume in Baltimore have proven to be overblown and Bateman is a candidate to see his fantasy value skyrocket in dynasty and be a factor in redraft leagues. His schedule lightens considerably the next four weeks (vs. MIN, at MIA, at CHI, vs. CLE) and with injury absences piling up at wide receiver is a worthwhile flex piece at worst. If I had the opportunity as a contender, I would look to acquire Bateman for any late-round rookie first and would be willing to add an ancillary piece such as a rookie third-round pick or Van Jefferson. I would prefer Bateman in dynasty over similar receivers including Rondale Moore, Tyler Lockett, and Robert Woods.
WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
After a tumultuous few months and past couple of weeks, Tua Tagovailoa remains Miami’s signal-caller through at least 2021 as rumors about Deshaun Watson abounded. This should be good news for Waddle’s fantasy stock through the season as in Tagovailoa’s four games in which he played the whole game, Waddle has a total of 25 catches on 38 targets for 243 yards and three touchdowns. However, he is coming off his least productive game with his former Crimson Tide quarterback at the helm as he hauled in just four of 12 targets for 29 scoreless yards in Week 8 against the Buffalo Bills.
The Dolphins have suffered through various injuries in their wide receiver corps this season, with offseason signing Will Fuller V making it through less than two games healthy, Devante Parker missing Weeks 5-7, and Preston Williams playing in just three games. Waddle’s dynasty stock is replete with situational uncertainty and increased competition for targets could certainly hurt his production moving forward. Waddle is a receiver I would move for even a late rookie first-round pick and would try and flip for any other young receiver in a similar tier including DeVonta Smith, Chase Claypool, Jerry Jeudy, or Michael Pittman Jr.