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2024 Fantasy Football: Rookie Class Redraft Targets

With the conclusion of any NFL Draft, Dynasty Fantasy Football managers start getting hungry for their rookie drafts. I know for me personally, I had four Dynasty Fantasy Football rookie slow drafts the Monday after the NFL Draft. Once we know where an incoming rookie class lands, we start piecing together what it could mean for Fantasy Football, and that is typically with a Dynasty lens. Who could be the long-term Fantasy impacts? Who landed in a favorable situation? How do we rank these players now that they are on an actual NFL team?

During this time of year, Dynasty Fantasy Football content seems to be the focus. What about redraft though? Why not start identifying which of these rookies will end up being an immediate impact, and should be targeted in redraft Fantasy Football Leagues? There will often be people who reference “rookie fever” when Fantasy fans are hyping up rookies for a coming season. Sometimes it is warranted though, take some 2023 rookies for example, and how they finished for the position vs. where they were drafted (ADP) in Fantasy Football:

  • CJ Stroud – QB11 vs ADP QB26
  • Puka Nacua – WR4 vs ADP WR52
  • Jordan Addison – WR23 vs ADP WR33
  • Jayden Reed – WR24 vs ADP WR71
  • Rashee Rice – WR27 vs ADP WR56
  • Sam LaPorta – TE1 vs ADP TE13

In the above examples, you see that drafting these rookies above their ADP benefited Fantasy managers. That is the goal of this article – identify rookies to target in your redraft leagues that can make an immediate impact in lineups in year one. There is a lot of hesitation about being too high on rookies, but I feel the combination of perceived skill, draft capital, system, and opportunity will lead the below list to Fantasy impacts specifically in 2024.

What!? Your fantasy football league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax last season!? Once you see how Fantrax stacks up to the competition, we think you’ll be singing a different tune in the 2024 season.

Rookie Targets for 2024 Redraft Fantasy Football Leagues

Caleb Wiliams, Bears QB (Round 1, Pick 1)

Caleb Williams won the Heisman Trophy in 2022 after finishing third in passing yards and leading the FBS in passing TDs (USC record). Williams had an extremely productive profile as a dual-threat QB. Williams displays his elite arm talent by making plays at all three levels. Williams was noted to have a below-average offensive line and displayed the ability to play under pressure, escape, and extend plays. Williams is mobile inside the pocket and can break off runs when needed, and is solid throwing on the run and making off-balance plays. Via Pro Football Focus, Williams had a TD-to-INT ratio of 46:1 in the red zone since the start of the 2022 season. Williams has a high IQ, downfield vision, and is a playmaker.

Justin Herbert and CJ Stroud come to mind as two rookie QBs who had instant Fantasy Football impacts as rookies. Next up is Caleb Williams. I cannot remember the last time a rookie QB was walking into such a great situation from a weapons perspective:

  • DJ Moore – 1,364 receiving yards year 1 in Chicago last year with 8 TDs. 2023 was DJM’s 4th season over 1,100 receiving yards
  • Keenan Allen – averaged 11.5 targets, 8.3 receptions, and 95.6 receiving yards last season with/ the LA Chargers
  • Rome Odunze – 9th overall pick. Led the FBS in receiving yards in 2023. WR3 of the class
  • Cole Kmet – career-high 719 receiving yards in 2023 as the TE1
  • Gerald Everett – 5 straight seasons of over 400 receiving yards
  • D’Andre Swift – playmaking RB w/ seasons of 39, 48, 62, 46 receptions

The pairing of the tools Caleb Williams has as a complete QB along with/ the weapons in Chicago should result in a Top 10 Fantasy finish as a rookie QB. Williams could easily finish within the Top 5 for the position. The big asterisk for me has been the OL in Chicago, which has hopefully taken a step forward.

Jayden Daniels, Commanders QB (Round 1, Pick 2)

Jayden Daniels won the Heisman and the SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 2023, amongst other awards. Daniels is the only player in FBS history to pass for 12,000 yards and rush for 3,000 yards through 55 games. Daniels has high athletic ability with a great combination of speed, agility, and arm strength. Daniels has solid pocket management and is able to evade pressure while moving around the pocket well. Daniels’ arm strength allows him to make plays at all three levels and he has noted deep ball accuracy. Daniels creates plays, effectively throws on the run, and is an electric runner. Daniels’ numbers indicate he is the epitome of a dual-threat QB.

Jayden Daniels lands in Washinton, pairing up with a promising trio of Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Austin Ekeler. McLaurin has finished with over 1,000 receiving yards for four straight seasons. Dotson showed promise as a first-round selection in 2022 but was disappointing last season. Ekeler finished his tenure with the LAC on a poor note due to injury and misusage but just caught 107 passes in 2022. Veteran Zach Ertz is also new in Washington. Rookie TE Ben Sinnott was selected in this year’s second round; rookie WR Luke McCaffrey in the third round and Brian Robinson as a bruiser RB in the backfield.

Jayden Daniels does not have as amazing set of weapons as Caleb Williams in year 1, but he does have playmakers. Sam Howell threw for 3,946 yards this past season, which ranked 12th for QBs, which shows promise. Howell also punched in five scores with his legs. There is a new coaching staff and system in Washington, but if Daniels can be a more competent Howell with more rushing upside this should translate well for Fantasy Football. The dual-threat ability will give Daniels QB1 upside, it will just be a matter of consistency.

Marvin Harrison Jr., Cardinals WR (Round 1, Pick 4)

Marvin Harrison Jr. won the Biletnikoff Award in 2023. MHJ is the first player in Ohio State history to have two seasons of 1,000+ receiving yards. MHJ’s elite athletic attributes paired with his extremely productive resume make up the DNA of an alpha WR. MHJ has agile footwork, an effective route-running skillset, and elite hands. MHJ shows flexibility with playing both inside and outside. MHJ can be a deep threat and can play even bigger than his 6’4 size with his length. High IQ and commitment as a blocker will mean an instant role.

Marvin Harrison Jr. lands in Arizona, creating a strong trio with Kyler Murray and Trey McBride. Murray has three seasons of over 3,700 passing with a career-high 26 passing TDs in 2020. The WR leader in receptions last season was Marquise Brown, who only caught 51 balls through 14 games, and is in Kansas City now. Michael Wilson and Greg Dortch are average WRs, making MHJ the clear alpha who should demand massive volume. MHJ is in a very good situation where he should see instant volume as a rookie on a consistent level, attached to a very good QB. MHJ should follow the same path as WRs like Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase who ball out instantly and finish as Top 10 Fantasy Football WRs as rookies.

It will be difficult for me to rank MHJ outside of my Redraft Top 12. When you have an elite prospect and you guarantee them volume attached to a solid QB, it paves the way for Fantasy Football success.

Malik Nabers, Giants WR (Round 1, Pick 6)

Malik Nabers ranked second in the FBS for receiving yards in 2023 following his 2022 season over 1,000 receiving yards. Nabers finished his LSU career as the school leader in career receptions and receiving yards. Nabers is an explosive route-runner with plus acceleration. Nabers has great speed getting vertical paired with high leaping ability. Nabers’ ball-tracking skills give him deep-threat potential. Nabers is effective working outside and inside the slot. The yards-after-catch upside makes Nabers a true playmaker.

Malik Nabers joins the Giants, and instantly is not just the best WR in the WR room but the best player within the entire offense at any position. The tie to Daniel Jones is far different than Marvin Harrison Jr.’s tie to Kyler Murray, but like MHJ you can guarantee volume to Nabers. I am a big Wan’Dale Robinson fan, but he along with Darius Slayton and any other Giants WR is pretty average competition. This reminds me of Garrett Wilson this past season with the Jets, who earned 73 more targets than any other player on the roster. We are unsure at this point of what will happen with Darren Waller.

The knock against Nabers is likely going to be the QB play. Jones is coming off of an injury, and even in his “breakout” year back in 2022 he only threw for 3,205 yards on 472 attempts. You could also argue Jones has never had a Nabers to throw to. The talent + guaranteed volume will make Nabers very valuable for Fantasy Football we just will wonder what exactly his ceiling is rookie year. DNA of a Top 12 Fantasy WR.

Brian Thomas Jr., Jaguars WR (Round 1, Pick 23)

Brian Thomas Jr. led the FBS in receiving TDs with 17 in 2023, which meant scoring on 1 of every 4 catches. Thomas Jr. has a strong stop/start and tracks the ball downfield well which makes him a vertical threat. BTJ uses his 6’3 frame to his advantage for bigger plays. BTJ has quality acceleration and top speed along with body control going up for catches. The massive TD season hints that Thomas Jr. could be a red-zone threat in the NFL.

I really like the landing spot for Brian Thomas Jr. with the Jaguars. Calvin Ridley, now in Tennessee, vacates 136 targets. Ridley also earned the 3rd most red zone targets last year, which is an important note since BTJ scored so many TDs in 2023. None of Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, or Gabe Davis are alpha’s, in my opinion, which means that BTJ could carve out a substantial role instantly as a rookie. Trevor Lawrence is still just 24 years old and has finished back-to-back seasons with over 4,000 passing yards. A long-term connection to TLaw is appealing.

BTJ has one major college season under his belt and it was paired with Malik Nabers. Can BTJ step in and become a WR1? Can he earn consistently high volume? Is he better as a WR2? These are some fair questions but I am optimistic about the upside he can bring for Fantasy Football. When you are near guaranteed a big-play WR plenty of looks, and the guy is a TD machine, that translates well. BTJ could be an upside WR play with risk moving forward.

Keon Coleman, Bills WR (Round 2, Pick 1)

Keon Coleman has the size (6’3) and hands to get up and make the difficult catches, which could be tied to his basketball roots. Coleman attacks the ball and works hard to make his plays. Coleman wins with size. Coleman was also highly involved in special teams, ranking 3rd in the FBS for punt returns in 2023.

The Bills had a lot of WR options heading into the 2nd round this year, but they went with the big target in Keon Coleman. Stefon Diggs, now a Texan, vacates 160 targets from last year. Curtis Samuel joins the Bills who has a versatile skillset. Khalil Shakir took steps forward from the slot last season. Dalton Kincaid earned 91 targets as a 1st round-rookie TE last year and could be in line to take a big step forward. Josh Allen threw the ball the 5th most in 2023 with 579 attempts.

If you surveyed Fantasy managers and asked – “who do you want your Fantasy WR tied to?” one of the first answers SHOULD be Josh Allen. Coleman has a huge opportunity straight away as a rookie in one of the best offenses. Should Coleman take on the WR1 role with the volume in the Bills’ passing offense, that will be a massive Fantasy Football translation.

Ladd McConkey, Chargers WR (Round 2, Pick 2)

Ladd McConkey is an extremely athletic route-runner who can effectively get open at all 3 levels. McConkey surprised a lot of us with a 4.39 40-yard dash. This speed can mean getting vertical vs. the expectations of a traditional slot. McConkey has great hands and is competent in making plays when given the opportunity. McConkey has the tools to be a very productive slot WR in the NFL

Great landing spot for Ladd McConkey, on a Chargers roster that pretty much “cleared house” when it comes to their offense. Keenan Allen earned 11.5 targets per game last year and is now a Bear. Mike Williams earned 8.7 targets per game last year in his small sample size healthy and is now a Jet. Austin Ekeler has been one of the most productive pass-catching RBs and is now a Commander. Gerald Everett earned 70 targets and is now a Bear as well. This leaves Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnston who are more compliment role players.

Justin Herbert averaged 35.1 passing attempts per game last season through his 13 games played. Herbert was 1 attempt shy of 700 back in 2022. There is speculation about New Head Coach Harbaugh’s impact on the passing volume, but I’d be shocked if Herbert is not allowed to do what he does best. This gives Ladd a massive opportunity for volume, in year one as a rookie. McConkey could be in line to be the next very productive slot WR for Fantasy Football if he runs away with his role.

Ja’Lynn Polk, Patriots WR (Round 2, Pick 5)

Ja’Lynn Polk has the size and body control to go up and win contested balls at 6’1. Polk finished his college career with a highly productive season. Polk is committed to his routes and focused on finishing deep plays. Polk also puts effort into blocking as a receiver.

The Patriots WR room is wide open, which makes Ja’Lynn Polk’s landing spot very intriguing along with his draft capital. Demario Douglas led the team in targets last season as a 6th round rookie. Kendrick Bourne was off to a hot start but unfortunately tore his ACL. JuJu Smith-Schuster has produced under expectations following his 1 big Steelers season and dealt with plenty of injuries. KJ Osborn has been a decent WR3 option for the Vikings but has always earned that role. Hunter Henry is a fine TE. Polk could fight for the WR1 role as a rookie.

An attachment to Drake Maye for the long run is a plus as well. Maye drew top three draft capital and was some people’s QB2 of this class. I always am looking for guys who get drafted late, but could have substantial roles/importance in their offense and Polk stands out to fit all of that criteria. Should Polk earn the WR1/WR2 role he could turn into a weekly FLEX play.

Brock Bowers, Raiders TE (Round 1, Pick 13)

Georgia has been 42-2 across the last 3 seasons, and Brock Bowers has been “The Guy” for them through the air each year. Bowers won the John Mackey Award in both 2022 and 2023. High volume and consistent production. Bowers has solid long speed and can stretch the field. Bowers has an athletic build and traits that are paired with high motor and energy. Bowers has after-the-catch upside due to creativity and physicalness. Bowers has elite ball skills and great hands.

The Raiders selected Michael Mayer in the 2nd round of last year’s NFL Draft, so the selection of Brock Bowers was surprising. I was hopeful for Mayer to take a year 2 leap, and now – not so much. I guess at the end of the day it has to be tough to pass on arguably the best TE prospect of all time when building a team. I fear Bowers’ impact on Mayer – I do not fear the reverse.

The QB battle between Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew will be one to monitor, but at the end of the day it is 2 very average QB’s competing against one another. This can have an early impact on Bowers vs. landing somewhere w/ an established stud QB. Davante Adams should continue to command extremely heavy targets, which leaves Bowers to compete with Jakobi Meyers for the #2 role who earned 106 last season. I project Bowers to be the #2 target in Las Vegas, and potentially the #1 target post-Adams one day. Bowers STILL should be regarded as a Top 3-5 Dynasty TE, which means having an instant impact in Fantasy Football lineups.

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