2024 Dynasty Rookie WR Taxi Squad Sleepers: Stash Tahj Washington, Johnny Wilson, Jamari Thrash

With a wide array of exciting rookie prospects available for free on the dynasty fantasy football waiver wire, which sleepers should you prioritize?

It’s hard to ignore the rookie fever; many talented prospects were not selected in your rookie drafts, which are available at the cost of a simple waiver claim. These players are what I like to call taxi-squad sleepers.

When we think of the benefits you can enjoy if everything pans out for your beloved waiver claim, the first name that comes to mind (and everyone chases) is Puka Nacua. Nobody should ever expect an immediate, Puka-like ascendance from any NFL rookie, as the chances of it happening are slime-to-none.

We can only obtain assets in hopes of “beating the breakouts” or increasing their value before they happen.

TAHJ WASHINGTON, WR, MIAMI DOLPHINS

With one of the final selections in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Tahj Washington out of USC in the seventh round. Washington has a unique background; he started his collegiate career in Memphis before transferring to the University of Southern California.

Prior to that, Washington was able to showcase his dual versatility after putting up a 45-868-12 receiving line, three rushing scores, and 255 rushing yards on the ground in his senior year at Marshall High School in Texas.

As a freshman at Memphis, Washington produced 743 receiving yards on just 43 receptions (17.3 yards per reception) and 6 receiving touchdowns – earning himself a spot on the 2020 Football Writers Freshman All-American first team after leading all freshman nationally in receiving yards.

In his second year with USC, Washington could repeat what he did as a freshman at Memphis – as he put up 785 receiving yards on a mere 50 receptions (15.7 yards per reception) and six receiving touchdowns.

Washington then had a career year in his final collegiate season, producing 1,062 receiving yards on only 9 more receptions than he had in 2022 (59)—fitting for a resilient 18 yards per reception—as well as 8 receiving touchdowns.

One predictive metric used to differentiate between prospects is breakout age—with his electric freshman year at Memphis, Washington has an 82nd-percentile breakout age. Additionally, Washington was a bit of a target hog in college, showcased by his 26.8 percent college target share (80th percentile).

Washington has a habit of finding the open space in zone coverages and does his best work on plays that go off-script. Washington is a dynamic player in yards-after-catch situations as well.

Amongst all receivers with 70 or more targets last year’s college football season, only 16 had a yards per route run of 3.00 or higher – including the two stud wide-outs from this 2024 class in Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers. Tahj Washington was a surprising name to see on this list.

Despite his somewhat smaller size, Washington has incredibly consistent hands and tracks the ball at a league-ready level. Not only that, but Washington has outstanding control of his body in the air and is not afraid to contest an opportunity in traffic to make a game-changing catch for his team, considering he had the 3rd-best contested catch rate (66.7 percent) amongst the 2024 WR class, just behind Rome Odunze.

Washington surprisingly had a similar breakout age to Rome Odunze, while gloating a higher career yards per route run. In fact, only Harrison Jr.,Nabers, and Troy Franklin posted a better combination of break-out age and career yards per route run.

There is a reason why I have Tahj Washington stashed in my taxi squad in 100% of my dynasty leagues. 30-year-old Tyreek Hill is entering his 9th NFL season, and the Dolphins only signed 31-year-old Odell Beckham Jr. to a one-year deal.

Do not hesitate to grab this multi-purpose wide receiver off your waiver wires as a great insurance option!

JOHNNY WILSON, WR, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

It’s almost hard to believe this prospect is a wide receiver – nonetheless, let me introduce you to the Philadelphia Eagles’ sixth-round pick out of Florida State: Johnny Wilson. Not only does Wilson have the largest wingspan seen in the NFL over the last 25 years, but he is also the 6th-most athletic wide receiver of all time (per Player Profiler).

The NFL community thinks Wilson should convert to tight end because of his unique size – both the Eagles and Johnny seem to have no interest in moving their newly acquired wideout to tight end. With DeVante Parker retiring in Philadelphia, the WR3 spot appears open for competition. Wilson can certainly act as a big-slot receiver for Jalen Hurts and provide some extra physicality to this offense. 

Despite a solid combine, the assumption might be that Wilson’s 4.52 40-yard dash time was far too slow and that there is no chance a guy at his size can move quickly enough at the NFL level. At six-foot-six, that same 4.52 40-yard dash time earned Wilson a 98th-percentile speed score – plus his 99th percentile catch radius, shown by his incredible wingspan. Wilson is more than capable of breaking a few tackles and showing off that special short-area quickness for a player of his size.

There are metrics to support Wilson’s prospect profile as well. His best collegiate season came in 2022, when he caught 43 receptions for 897 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns, good for an outlandish 20.9 yards per reception. Between 2022 and 2023, there were only six 2024 Power-5 wide-receiver prospects that put up more than 3.00 yards per route run versus both man and zone coverages – which includes Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, Malik Washington, Javon Baker, Troy Franklin, and Johnny Wilson.

When you dig into Wilson’s profile further, you find that he had the 3rd-highest career yards per route run, excluding screens, out of the entire 2024 rookie WR class. Even with screens included, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers were the only wide-outs who topped Wilson’s yards per route run from 2022 to 2023. Wilson posted higher yards per route run during that span than a few highly-touted WR prospects – including Rome Odunze, Xavier Worthy, Ladd McKonkey, Brian Thomas Jr. and Keon Coleman.

One aspect of football that this Eagles team arguably embodies the most is blocking – it certainly will not hurt to have a six-foot-six, 230-plus pound receiver with the ability to block for his teammates in order to gain extra yards on those big plays.

Wilson also provides Philadelphia with a versatile run-after-the-catch weapon. He has a chance to be a solid red-zone target for the Hurts-run offense – as he possesses elite aerial ability. With his absurd size, Wilson can create mis-matches for any defense and put his first-class ball skills on full display.

Johnny Wilson is on the waiver wire in nearly all leagues post-rookie draft. I am acquiring as many shares of him as possible, as he is completely free. I do not think Wilson will make a huge impact right away in 2024, but I’d much rather be early and safe than feel the regret of not picking him up. Again, Wilson has unbelievable athleticism for a player of his size—the dart throw here is much more enticing!

JAMARI THRASH, WR, CLEVELAND BROWNS

Besides Amari Cooper, who is heading into his 10th NFL season, there is not much you can say about the Cleveland Browns receiver room. Jerry Jeudy has been average since he was taken in the first round by the Denver Broncos in 2020, while both Elijah Moore and Cedric Tillman have been underwhelming. The Browns’ newly selected receiver out of the University of Louisville, Jamari Thrash, is a player I see earning his way to opportunity in this offense.

By utilizing twitchy footwork in his releases (cuts, too), Thrash exhibits high-end route-running skills and is an expert at identifying certain coverages (specifically single coverage) shown by opposing corners – emphasizing his exceptional understanding of the game. Once he’s open, Thrash is always prepared to show defenders his reliable ball-handling ability. Over the last two college football seasons, Thrash owned the 5th-best yards per route run versus single coverage amongst all 2024 WR prospects.

Considering how often Thrash gets open, it’s easy to see why he posted a college target share of 28.2 percent (85th-percentile). Thrash had a career year in 2022, producing 1,122 receiving yards on 61 receptions (18.4 yards per reception) and seven caught touchdowns. What’s interesting is that out of all 1,000-yard plus seasons posted by non-Power five wide receivers since 2006, Thrash’s 2022 season ranked 5th-overall in yards per team pass attempt (per Scott Barrett) – just ahead of another one of my favorite sleeper wide-outs I mentioned in my 2024 Dynasty Rookie WR Sleepers article: Jacob Cowing

With an inferior amount of targets and routes run per game than Malik Nabers, Thrash still scored extremely similarly in the expected points added (EPA) metric during their college careers. Keep in mind that only Marvin Harrison Jr., Troy Franklin, and Malik Nabers were able to exceed Jamari Thrash in this metric.

Football Insights put Jamari Thrash in a distinctive group of high-caliber prospects. Just five wide receivers garnered more than 50 percent of their targets over the middle. They posted more than 2.5 yards per route run over the last two draft classes (minimum 30 games played) – Javon Baker, Rome Odunze, Marvin Harrison Jr., Jamari Thrash and (wait for it) Puka Nacua. This may not speak volumes to you, but it’s definitely not easy for me to turn a blind eye to.

The Cleveland Browns have one of the weakest wide receiver rooms in the league. Thrash is a solid deep-ball receiver and loves to cause havoc over the middle. Head coach Kevin Stefanski will figure out a way to use Thrash to the best of his abilities – I am willing to use a taxi squad spot on the rookie Browns wide receiver in case he does break out.

OVERVIEW

Suppose Tahj Washington, Johnny Wilson, or Jamari Thrash are not available in your dynasty league for some unknown reason. In that case, I would consider adding a few other wide-outs with compelling resumes to your taxi squad. Those honorable mentions include Bub Means (New Orleans Saints), Ainias Smith (Philadelphia Eagles), Anthony Gould (Indianapolis Colts), and Ryan Flournoy (Dallas Cowboys). 

I could make an entire list of wide receivers in this 2024 class you should be stashing on your taxi squads, but these sleepers are the ones whose profiles looked most intriguing. On top of them being completely free, these fascinating prospects also provide the entertainment of manifesting a break-out into existence.

In the worst-case scenario, you end up dropping them in the future due to poor performances, which is not really any risk at all compared to the upside these players may possess. Go ahead and grab these prospects off of your waiver wire before it’s too late!

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