As May closes and dynasty fantasy football leagues begin to exit rookie drafts and focus on the upcoming season, this is an ideal time to capitalize on player values in trades or start-up drafts. Whether the market has soured on a player or is slow to pick up on his hype train, these four AFC North players are available at a discount now compared to where they will be valued to start the season.
Baltimore Ravens: Gus Edwards, 28 years old
KeepTradeCut Ranking RB73, Number 273 overall in SuperFlex
Gus Edwards is considered an afterthought by much of the dynasty community. He missed seven games in 2022 after missing all of 2021, is 28 years old and is in one of the most frustrating backfields in the league. However, he has too much upside to ignore at his current price. Edwards is valued similarly to James Robinson, Trayveon Williams, Raheem Mostert, and Zonovan Knight. Of that group, Edwards has the easiest path to returning starter value. He is only behind JK Dobbins on the depth chart, who has struggled to stay healthy. Edwards rushed for over 700 yards in his first three years and, even in a new-look Baltimore offense that should pass more often, will have a role. He is a low-risk veteran option with the potential to deliver a strong season or two before the wheels fall off the Gus Bus for good.
Cincinnati Bengals: Charlie Jones, 24 years old
KeepTradeCut Ranking WR128, Number 348 overall
Despite being in line to be Joe Burrow’s slot receiver in 2024 and beyond, Charlie Jones is the current WR128 on KeepTradeCut! The 24-year-old Purdue product was one of the most productive receivers in college football last year and was a Biletnikoff finalist. He is a good athlete and an NFL-ready route runner with the best hands in his draft class. Jones will be a reliable target immediately in a Bengals offense that can support three fantasy-relevant wide receivers. His future ceiling is sneakily high as a high-end starter in the slot, although his current draft positioning suggests a career backup.
Cleveland Browns: Jerome Ford, 23 years old
KeepTradeCut Ranking RB53, Number 205 overall
The Browns (so far) have elected to let Kareem Hunt walk in free agency without adding a veteran replacement. 2022 fifth-round selection Jerome Ford is next up on the depth chart after Nick Chubb. Although Chubb will be the bell cow and carry most of the rushing volume, Hunt vacates 158 touches. Ford has a three-down profile and was a dynamic runner in his final collegiate year for the Cincinnati Bearcats. He can be a viable complementary back this season for the Browns and would be in line for a significant workload if Chubb were to suffer an injury. Ford is unlikely to ever become a full-time starter, but is a valuable handcuff this year and projects as a committee back for the foreseeable future. That is well worth his price outside the top 50 running backs, although he is rising quickly.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Diontae Johnson, 26 years old
KeepTradeCut Ranking WR37, Number 99 overall
After his historical anomaly of a season in 2022, Diontae Johnson’s dynasty has plummeted. No other player in NFL history has caught 86 passes without a touchdown. Do not expect it to happen again. Johnson is a prime bounce-back candidate in the first year of his extension. His teammate George Pickens gets all the hype as a top-30 receiver, but he is still an unproven talent. Johnson was very consistent in his first three seasons and should return to form in Kenny Pickett’s sophomore year. Offensive coaching and quarterback play are still concerns in the Steelers’ offense, but his profile is safe enough to feel comfortable in the eighth or ninth round of start-up leagues. It feels pretty crazy to see Johnson valued just above riskier players like Kadarius Toney, Jonathan Mingo, and Rashod Bateman after three straight years of 140+ targets and a year removed from being a consensus top-20 receiver in dynasty.
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