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Wicked Dynasty Buys – Running Back

Wicked Dynasty Buys – Running Back

In the ever-evolving landscape of dynasty fantasy football, managers constantly seek the next breakout star to fortify their rosters for sustained success. While the spotlight often shines on elite names like Justin Jefferson, there’s an art to uncovering hidden treasures that can elevate your team to dynasty greatness.

In this exploration, we journey beyond the obvious choices, steering away from the well-trodden path of pursuing household names (Yes you should be trading for Chase, you don’t need me to tell you that). Instead, we will focus on those less obvious trade targets that possess the potential to become cornerstone assets or key flex contributors for your dynasty team.

So, fasten your seatbelts, dynasty managers, as we navigate the trade market in search of unsung heroes, players whose potential can redefine the destiny of your fantasy franchise. It’s time to go beyond the obvious and unlock the hidden value that could shape the future of your dynasty team. Let the pursuit of dynasty greatness begin!


1. James Cook

I’ve got this general rule about running backs – don’t buy them. They are the expensive, high-maintenance pets of fantasy football. Always a hefty trade price, constant injury worries, and the whole “bell cow RB” thing isn’t as trendy anymore. Elite production? Here one day and gone the next as their athleticism betrays them overnight.

But if you are going to buy an RB there are 2 requirements: Talent and Opportunity; and James Cook has both. Cook’s got that every-down skillset that keeps him in the mix no matter the game script, and he’s got the potential to drop some serious fantasy points. Ranked RB12 in PPR formats, he’s already catching eyes, but I see a higher ceiling if he finds the endzone more in 2024.

Cook unfortunately struggled to be consistent week to week and you never knew if you were going to get a dud or stud. The Bills’ offense had its share of hiccups overall, and I’m not entirely sold on a miraculous improvement in 2024. And of course, with Josh Allen continuing to run the show and snatching those goal-to-go touchdowns, Cook’s bound to have a few weeks that leave you scratching your head.

All that to say Cook shouldn’t be the MVP of your fantasy team, but toss him into an already stacked roster, and he could be that missing piece to push you over the top, especially if he carves out a bigger role in the offense. If he can bring up his fantasy floor a top 5 finish in 2024 wouldn’t be surprising, just be ready for the rollercoaster – with Cook, there’s always a bit of risk in the mix.


  • Good receiver out of the backfield.
  • Likely to win you some weeks all by himself.
  • Has a clear rb1 role on his offense.
  • Bills may look to establish more of a run game in 2024 to help Josh Allen.


  • Josh Allen doesn’t love taking the checkdown or handing the ball off on the goal line.
  • Very inconsistent production in 2023.
  • The bills offense will abandon the run at times, limiting rushing opportunities unexpectedly.


2. Isiah Pacheco

Pacheco had a solid run in his sophomore season, after making his mark in the Chiefs’ lineup during the latter half of last year. As the clear RB1 on a powerhouse offense, he got the chance to flaunt his no-nonsense running style. Now, he might not be the flashiest running back out there, but he’s the guy you can count on to grind out those tough yards for the Chiefs. His role is well-defined within the offense, and he even dipped his toes into the passing game, hauling in 44 of 49 targets – although he could do more with those receptions, averaging just 5.5 yards per catch and scoring 2 touchdowns.

Don’t expect Pacheco to set your fantasy team ablaze, but he’s the kind of consistent performer that slots perfectly into that RB2 spot in your lineup. I’ve got a feeling he might even flirt with RB1 territory next season, albeit likely relying on touchdowns. But hey, on a team that’s constantly in the red zone, 10 or 12 touchdowns wouldn’t be a shocker.

Now, here’s the deal with Pacheco’s running style – it’s aggressive, no-nonsense, but it also comes with a caution sign. I wouldn’t be gunning for him unless you’re aiming for a championship in the next season or two. Running backs with that kind of aggressive style tend to wear down early in their careers, unless, of course, your name is Derrick Henry.

All in all, Pacheco’s the type of player championship rosters need. Just like in real life Pacheco is the grinder that complements your stars and might just be the ticket to fantasy glory.


  • Strong runner who can create after contact.
  • Chiefs offense should supply him with plenty of scoring opportunities.
  • Has the RB1 role locked down for the Chiefs.


  • The window for good production is small due to running style.
  • Doesn’t provide much as receiver.
  • Will be fairly touchdown dependent.


3. Ty Chandler

Chandler caught my attention at the beginning of the 2023 season, especially after Dalvin Cook and the Vikings went their separate ways. I never saw Mattison as the guy who could lock down the starting gig, so I figured the door was creaking open for Chandler. Lo and behold, it played out just as I thought. Chandler started getting more action around the midseason mark, and after the Vikings’ late-season bye, his role shot up, with a particular explosion in Week 15 when Mattison was sidelined.

Now, Chandler’s done enough to earn a shot at claiming the RB1 spot for the Vikings this offseason. But here’s the catch – he wasn’t so mind-blowingly dynamic that he’s a surefire lock for a hefty snap percentage. My bet is that Minnesota will give him a good, long look during training camp to figure out how they want to divvy up touches in the backfield. If Chandler can climb to the top of that depth chart, we might be looking at a breakout year.

Given the uncertainty and the small sample size, I’m guessing his trade price will stay pretty reasonable throughout the offseason. Now’s the time to snag him for your team before things get clearer and his value takes off. Get in early while the risk is still balanced out by that reasonable price tag.


  • Showed potential in a small sample size in 2023.
  • Has the opportunity to see a large role in a Vikings backfield that needs someone to step up.
  • Effective receiver out of the backfield.


  • No guarantee he sees an increased role in 2024.
  • Offense could regress depending on what happens at QB.
  • Vikings are a strong candidate to add another RB this offseason, even if they like chandler.


4. Tyjae Spears

A new era is on the horizon for Tennessee, with Vrabel out, Will Levis likely taking the QB1 spot in 2024, and the absence of Derrick Henry dominating the backfield. Spears, in particular, caught my eye with his stellar athleticism and elite receiving potential in a limited role during his rookie season. Averaging 4.5 yards per carry and hauling in 52 passes, he made quite an impact.

Now, with a probable significant role increase next season, Spears could easily find himself in RB1 territory by the end of the year. Brace yourself; his value is set to rise throughout the offseason, especially once the dust settles in training camp. While the Titans might explore adding another RB through free agency or the draft, my gut tells me Spears will be the lead man. His prowess as an effective receiver ensures a solid floor, particularly with a young QB under center who’s likely to favor those consistent, easy throws underneath.

Among all the players on this list, Spears strikes me as having the most upside, thanks to the potential volume of work he could command. Of course, he needs to prove himself on the field to seize this opportunity, but I’d wager he’s up for the challenge. I foresee a three-down back who stays in the game plan, no matter the script. Fantasy managers are probably catching wind of this obvious upside, so you might have to sweeten the deal a bit in a trade. However, whatever you give for Spears could look like an absolute steal when fantasy championships roll around next year.


  • Top 5 receiving upside at the RB position.
  • Opportunity to take over the backfield with Henry out of the way.
  • Big play threat that can make a man miss on his way to a big gain.
  • Massive upside play.


  • No telling what this offense will look like with a new staff.
  • Will have to impress a new set of coaches to earn his playing time.
  • Offense may not be very good limiting touchdown potential.


5. Joe Mixon

Last off-season, I caught all the flak for trading for Joe Mixon. The peanut gallery in my leagues had a good laugh at my expense. Fast forward to the end of the season, and Mixon finishes as RB6, securing me a ticket to the championship. Ah, the sweet sound of vindication.

Mixon was a consistent scorer, even in an offense that stumbled out of the gate and lost its QB just when things were looking up. Now, I get the arguments against him. He’s getting up there in age, racked up a fair share of touches, and is certainly a cut candidate. Plus, if you’ve been paying attention, he’s the odd one out on my buy list, as I usually lean toward younger RBs. So, why make an exception for Mixon?

It’s simple – his trade value is rock bottom. Despite consistently finishing as an RB1 in almost every season for the past six years (barring that injury-shortened 2020), you can snag Mixon for pennies in most leagues. It’s a low-risk, high-reward investment with obvious RB1 upside. Now, you should only be eyeing Mixon if you’ve got a stacked roster and you’re in it to compete. If that’s you, this is a golden opportunity. Sure, maybe 2024 is the year the wheels fall off, but with his current price tag in trades, it’s a risk well worth taking.


  • Elite bell cow usage on a good offense.
  • Effective receiver.
  • Proven rb1 upside.
  • Typically, very cheap to acquire.
  • Has the potential to absolutely go off any week.


  • Likely a cut candidate for the Bengals this off-season.
  • The age cliff is steep and sudden for RBs.
  • Could see his opportunity share decline as Bengals look to get younger RBs reps.


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