Ahead of the 2022 NFL trade deadline, Calvin Ridley moving from the Atlanta Falcons to the Jacksonville Jaguars was a shocking move. With Ridley suspended for the 2022 NFL season, the immediate fantasy football impact of the move is irrelevant. However, for those in dynasty leagues, this move has a major impact on Ridley’s value for 2023 and beyond.
Dynasty Value of the Calvin Ridley Trade
Well, this was one move/player I did not think I would be talking about today. But Calvin Ridley is now a Jacksonville Jaguar, which shakes things up a little bit for his dynasty value since that is really the only thing we can focus on at the moment.
Having gambled and lost his 2022 season due to violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, the Jags are taking a home-run swing on one of the more talented wide receivers we’ve seen in the NFL for the past few years.
Between 2018 and 2019, Ridley saw 185 targets, hauling in 127 receptions for 1,687 yards with 17 touchdowns. Where he truly flourished and showed his upside was in 2020, when he became the No. 1 for the Falcons and saw a target volume that matched. Ridley was the WR5 in 2020 while averaging 18.8 PPR/game, catching 90 of his 143 targets for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns.
But the fact that I have to use 2020 stats to talk about Ridley‘s dynasty value is the problem. After playing in five games during the 2021 season, Ridley stepped away from football to focus on his mental health. During that same time, he was suspended, which is why we haven’t seen him on the field.
And it’s not like he’s getting any younger. The next time we see Ridley, he will be closing in on 29 years old and hasn’t stepped foot on the field since Oct. 24, 2021. That’s why this whole thing is so complex.
Calvin Ridley Remains an Uncertainty Despite This Move
I love this move from an NFL standpoint, as there isn’t too much to risk for the Jaguars based on what the initial compensation has been reported to be. I think it’s also great for Trevor Lawrence, as it gives him a potential massive upgrade at receiver to play alongside Christian Kirk.
Kirk signed a massive deal in the offseason and has been treated like a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver with a 23% target share and a nearly 28% air-yard share. Now bringing Ridley alongside, I don’t find it to be a significant decrease in Kirk’s value.
Ridley will play on the outside at the X, with Kirk staying inside in the slot. Throw in Travis Etienne Jr., Evan Engram, and anyone else the Jaguars bring in, and we’ve got an extremely explosive offense on our hands.
The curious part of this all is trying to figure out what Ridley will even look like when he gets back on the field. Was he great the last time we saw him? Yes, if we talk about 2020. Because in 2021, Ridley was averaging 10.4 targets per game, but only 56.2 yards, which would’ve had him on pace for nearly 180 targets, but less than 1,000 yards.
Something likely needed to happen for Ridley, and now he gets a clean slate with the Jaguars, as Trent Baalke further admits that he’s not good at drafting wide receivers. Whether or not this ends up being something that increases Ridley’s value between now and the start of next year kind of depends on what we see out of Lawrence over the remainder of the season.
If he gets back to the style of play we saw in the first four games, where he had multiple touchdowns and three out of four, then Ridley is more valuable. But if Lawrence continues to struggle and the questions begin piling in, you have to wonder what a nearly 29-year-old Ridley, who hasn’t played in two years, is going to look like with a QB that hasn’t developed the way we thought he would coming out of Clemson.
If I had to lean on one side, I think Ridley did go up in value and might be worth a flyer. If you can get Ridley for a late-round pick due to the uncertainty, as more than likely if he’s active, he will be an asset on your dynasty team worth stashing. At that point, the upside is worth the risk.
At the same time, we need to remove the rose-tinted glasses and stop looking at Ridley as he once was because that’s just not the case anymore.