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2024 Second-Year Scouting Report: Tank Dell

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The new rookie class around the NFL gets all the attention over the summer. They’re the flashy new pieces for fantasy football, and of course, they can be anything.

But last year’s rookies aren’t fully formed yet. The players entering their second season aren’t the fancy new thing anymore. That can open up some value in fantasy drafts for players still due to break out, and it can lead to fantasy mistakes for players who had a good first season that turnedout to be a mirage. Everyone knows Year 1 to Year 2 is one of the biggest jumps an NFL player can make, but this still happens.

To try to head this off, over the course of the summer, we’re going to revisit last year’s rookie class in our Second-Year Scouting Report series, looking at the incoming sophomore NFL players to see what went right in their rookie season, what went wrong, and what we can expect from them going forward.

Tank Dell, WR, Houston Texans

Checking in at 5-foot-8, weighing 163 pounds, there was a lot of concern whether Tank Dell could perform at the next level despite logging 90-plus grabs for 1,300-plus yards and 12-plus touchdowns in each of his last two seasons with the Cougars. He earned first-team All-ACC honors in 2021 and 2022, leading the entire FBS in receptions (102) and receiving yards (1,327) as a senior, scoring 15 touchdowns through 12 games in his final collegiate season. Still, Dell fell to the third round, coming off the board at 69 overall, and may have slipped even further had his new quarterback C.J. Stroud not vouched for him during the draft process. The chemistry between Dell and Stroud was well apparent in year one, looking like a lethal connection for years to come.

What Went Wrong

Size was not an issue for Tank Dell for much of last season, until Week 13 when he suffered a fractured fibula. The injury required immediate surgery, sending Dell to the IR, and putting an early end to a spectacular rookie season. It’s too early to label Dell as injury-prone, but he’s already missed significant time in his short stint in the NFL. And you can’t exactly call this something likely to recur, but as far as “what went wrong” goes, he even got shot earlier in the offseason. 

What Went Right

Dell hit the ground running as a rookie, catching 49 balls on 75 targets for 709 yards and 7 touchdowns, despite exceeding a 50% snap share just eight times. Extrapolating the games Dell played on at least half of the offensive snaps would have put him on pace for a 1,300-yard season, to go along with 87 grabs and 15 touchdowns. When on the field, Dell was dominant, barely edging out Nico Collins as the No. 1 wide receiver in Houston, and the favorite of C.J. Stroud.

Prognosis Entering 2024

Dell has reportedly made a full recovery from both the fibula surgery and the gunshot wound, ready to go for training camp. Entering his sophomore season, Dell is a buy in 2024, ready to make the next leap even with the added target completion in Stefon Diggs who was acquired earlier in the offseason. He’s currently being drafted as the third wide receiver on his own team, despite being the youngest and most productive player of the bunch, when given a full complement of snaps. There’s no telling how the target tree will shake out in Houston, but Dell stands out as the best value with arguably the most upside. 

Dynasty Outlook

For all the reasons mentioned above, Tank Dell is an even bigger buy in dynasty, currently being selected multiple rounds after Nico Collins who is entering his fourth season in the league. His ceiling may be capped with the addition of Stefon Diggs this upcoming season, but his future outlook is sky high, tied to and up an up-and-coming offense, with one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL.

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