Dynasty Sleepers 2024: Fantasy Targets Include Nick Chubb, Cooper Kupp, and More

Young prospects are great and the life blood of long-term leagues, but there are a handful of veterans who profile as dynasty sleepers entering 2024.

The term “dynasty sleepers” is a bit difficult to define. In traditional redraft leagues, the “sleepers” are the unproven players with role uncertainty, but in long-term formats, those players aren’t just known, they are actively targeted by most fantasy football managers.

Veterans are the players that are avoided, if not completely disrespected, in dynasty formats. It’s easy to forget that dynasty leagues do in fact have an annual winner. There will be a team that wins your league this season, and it could well be you if you take advantage of the suppressed price of these experienced players who still have plenty to offer.

Which Players Could Fantasy Managers Target in Dynasty Leagues?

Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

The next time Nick Chubb averages under 5.0 yards per carry during an NFL season will be his first. He averages 17.7 touches per game during his career and, in an annual sense, has never disappointed fantasy managers when on the field.

I understand that he is a running back entering his age-28 season and coming off of September knee surgery (MCL and meniscus). However, he is being treated as if we’ve actually seen signs of decline. Of course, risk is involved, but modern medicine is as good as it’s been and all offseason reports have been optimistic for his recovery.

Jerome Ford was fine last season, and his versatility will get him on the field, but nothing he put on tape in 2023 suggests that he deserves to be considered a true threat to work for Chubb (assuming health). With Deshaun Watson under center and 3-4 viable pass catchers, this offense figures to be in scoring position regularly, gold for a pounding back like Chubb who has 48 rushing scores in his 77 career games.

Is the shelf life a real concern? It is, but it is for every running back — not every running back comes with this level of upside. Watson is signed through the 2026 season, and I’m cautiously penciling in Chubb as the leader of this backfield for each of those seasons, optimism that isn’t close to being reflected in his current dynasty ADP.

Joe Mixon, RB, Houston Texans

Like Chubb, Joe Mixon is entering his age-28 season, and that raw number is scaring fantasy managers more than it should. I have my concerns about Mixon as a talent, but our game rewards numbers, not talent, and I have fewer worries in that respect.

The single most valuable thing an NFL franchise can have is a franchise QB on a rookie contract. The Houston Texans are clearly aware of that, as the acquisition of Mixon and Stefon Diggs points to this team looking to win and win big now.

Houston can get out of the final year of Mixon’s deal, but at the very least, he looks like an unchallenged bellcow for an offense that we all think will rank among the five most potent in the league as long as C.J. Stroud is on the field.

Outside of age, what is scaring you? There is no concern about the trajectory of this offense, and excuse me if Dameon Pierce (zero yards last postseason, and his last 30-yard touch came in early November … 2022) or Dare Ogunbowale (30 years old, career highlight is being used as a placekicker) don’t strike fear into my soul.

  • Role
  • Versatility
  • Scoring equity

Those are the first three boxes I lay out in the running back analysis, and Mixon checks all of them. He has three straight seasons with at least 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns, a streak that should extend another two seasons and production that would make him more than worth your while.

Matthew Stafford/Cooper Kupp, QB/WR, Los Angeles Rams

Everyone is giddy about investing in Puka Nacua, but no one seems to approach the other members of this passing game with any excitement. Nacua is clearly the future of this aerial attack, but Matthew Stafford and especially Cooper Kupp can help push a good dynasty roster over the edge in the short term.

Including the playoffs, Stafford averaged over 270 passing yards last season and recorded multiple scores in six of his final seven games. He is what he is, and that’s a strong pocket passer with a pair of pass catchers that at least deserves to be mentioned among the NFL’s best WR duos.

Does Stafford come loaded with some sort of elite ceiling? No, but the floor is reasonable, and the likely scoring regression of Kyren Williams (15+ points in 12 games last season) along with a healthy version of Kupp entering the season gives him room to reach 4,000 passing yards and 30 touchdowns for the fourth time in his career (second time in four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams).

As for Kupp, has any player been dinged more for a poor five-game stretch? He missed all of September while Nacua broke out, but after two strong games upon his return, expectations were that the record-breaking version of him was back.

The injury, however, lingered, and he played at least a part in his disappointing midseason stat lines. He rounded back into form by the end of the regular season and earned a 26.5% target share in the playoff loss at Detroit.

I’m not going to suggest that Kupp is capable of producing the numbers that he was pacing for if you remove that five-game window (of course you can’t do that, but if you did: 114 catches for 1,481 yards and 12 touchdowns) or even that he’ll lead this team in targets, but we know the nose for the end zone is there and that, when we last saw him healthy, he was an asset.

Kupp’s stock has tanked because of Nacua’s ascent, resulting in a buying opportunity. Be careful not to be the person in your draft room who overreacts — Kupp plays a position with an extended shelf life and did enough last season to have me investing in a healthy version of him in all formats entering 2024.

Diontae Johnson, WR, Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers brought in Dave Canales from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason. While I have my concerns about how much of his surprise success last season can be replicated in 2024, he is clearly focused on building the confidence of Bryce Young.

In addition to bringing in Johnson from the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Panthers made Xavier Legette (17.7 yards per catch last season at South Carolina) the final pick of the first round. Johnson is six years Adam Thielen’s junior and should easily pace this team in catches and targets for the foreseeable future.

Johnson isn’t going to produce a ton of highlight plays or outrageous stat lines, but he doesn’t have to. We saw Chris Godwin, a former third-round receiver operating out of the slot, find his form in Canales’ system down the stretch of 2023 (45 targets over his final five games), and with Carolina not having a Mike Evans-esque alpha receiver to delay that growth, Johnson could prove to be sneaky valuable in 2024.

This is a parlay of sorts — if Johnson looks good, that likely means that Young took a few steps forward in Year 2. If that were to occur, entering 2025, you have a 29-year-old WR1 on a team with its franchise quarterback. If that doesn’t happen, no harm; you didn’t invest heavily in Johnson. If it does — you’ve got a cheap player you can start for years to come.

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