2024 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Instant Reactions: All In My Ass

The first round of the 2024 NFL Draft has come and gone, and this one was bonkers. Zero nixes were supposed to go in the top fifteen, and both Bo and Michael Pe went in the first twelve picks. There were also a record fourteen offensive players taken to start the draft. Plus, Roger Goodell got drunk again!

Let’s take a look at the 14 players taken in the first round at fantasy football-relevant positions. I am writing this paragraph on Thursday morning, and I can tell you, that I already knew that none of those would be a running back! Let’s dive into the other fantasy football-eligible players who had their names called on Thursday night.

Chicago Bears (Round 1, Pick 1): Caleb Williams, Quarterback, USC

When Caleb Williams has time to throw the football, it’s easy to see why he’s the prohibitive favorite 1.01 in the 2024 NFL Draft class. He has a big, sexy, full-of-touch deep ball and a ton of zip on his shorter passes. Williams is also extremely athletic and can spin out of a ton of sacks, like early career Russell Wilson. The first knock on him, which I noticed against Cal in 2023, is that he occasionally “pushes” the football on deep passes due to a somewhat wonky throwing motion, but that’s also the game where I fell in love with the fact that he scrambles but keeps his eyes downfield, always looking for a deep man.

Unfortunately, he struggles a bit when he’s forced to move. Williams doesn’t stay in clean pockets and loves the 2006 hit film Happy Feet, instead choosing to roll out to throw balls, which tend to sail on him as he isn’t as good on the move as he thinks he is. Williams uses his athleticism and ability to keep his eyes downfield to throw “alley-oop” balls to running backs or crossers the moment a defender commits to him, turning a loss or a short gain into a decent chunk play. Ultimately, the more he has to think after the snap, the harder it becomes for him, like some sort of anti-Kirk Cousins.

In the end, Williams should be the top quarterback—and player—off the board in the 2024 draft class. He’s still a raw talent, however, and I don’t see him hitting the ground a la C.J. Stroud, but I also don’t see him struggling like Bryce Young. His ceiling is short Patrick Mahomes, but he needs to get some of his worse tendencies coached out of him before he can tap his potential. I like him to go #1 overall, but I fear for the Bears’ faithful if he goes there.

NFL Comparison: Short Patrick Mahomes (ceiling) to big-armed Alex Smith (derogatory), Prime Russ

2024 Opportunity:

The Chicago Bears cleared the deck for Caleb Williams, trading Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional sixth-round pick. They also set him up for success, snagging D.J. Moore from the Panthers before the 2023 season, and Keenan Allen & Gerald Everett before this season. They also snagged him Rome Odunze, by WR2 in the draft, with the ninth overall pick. We haven’t seen a Bears’ QB setup for success like this since they got Jay Cutler had Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Matt Forte. That might not feel like that was that long ago, but this is the tenth anniversary of the last time they all played together.

2024 Outlook:

Caleb Williams will be set up for success immediately, and he has a profile that would fit immediately into top-ten consideration by season’s end. I don’t foresee him bottoming out like Bryce Young did last year, as the Bears are actually giving him weapons to succeed, something that escapes the Panthers. He’s draftable as a tandem quarterback in a 1QB league and is an ideal second quarterback in a 2QB or Superflex league. I prefer him over guys like Kirk Cousins, Justin Herbert, Jared Goff, and Trevor Lawrence.

Washington Commanders (Round 1, Pick 2): Jayden Daniels, Quarterback, LSU

Jayden Daniels is a confusing comparison for me because he’s extremely skinny and fast, but he doesn’t have a lot of the same skillsets as recent dual-threat quarterbacks. He’s fast and mobile with good zip on passes over the middle, but balls outside the numbers die on him pretty easily. Daniels has good second-level feather on him, and a good enough deep ball, but his accuracy is all over the place on things over 15 yards.

Daniels didn’t rely on his legs as much as other dual-threat quarterbacks like Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson, but he can fly when he decides to let one go. His arm also isn’t as big as guys like Daniel Jones and Josh Allen. He’s a tweener at the NFL level because he plays like Cam Newton while carrying roughly the same BMI as Ben DiNucci so that limits his upside as a rusher. Daniels struggles to just make a decision.

Here comes the downside: nothing about what he did jumped off the page to me, and I feel like the draft industrial complex is doing a redo of the 2022 NFL Draft, where people mocked Sam Howell Desmond Ridder, and Malik Willis up into the first round without next-level quarterbacks. He’s likely going in the top-ten in the real-life NFL, which gives me hope for him in 2024 fantasy leagues. He should have the rushing ability and passing prowess to turn into a top-ten fantasy quarterback in the first couple of seasons. He feels like a quarterback who is going to have a decent NFL career but who isn’t going to be a top-line starter at any point, sort of like Justin Fields.

NFL Comparison: Robert Griffin III

2024 Opportunity:

The Washington Commanders are a bit light on overall options, though they do have one of the more underrated WR1s in the league with Terry McLaurin, and a former first-round receiver in Jahan Dotson. But, there isn’t much behind them in the wide receiver room, so this is going to be a situation where Daniels isn’t particularly set up for a lot of passing yards. Luckily, that’s not really what Jayden Daniels is best at. He’s a great runner, which is great because he will make a wonderful pairing with Brian Robinson and Austin Ekeler. The franchise set him up with upgrades along the line in the offseason, adding Nick Allegretti from Kansas City, and Tyler Biadasz from the Cowboys.

2024 Outlook:

Daniels should end up running the ball 10 times a game or so, which will immediately make him viable in 1QB fantasy football leagues. He will at least get you a great floor rushing the football, and his big arm should get Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson some interest. I would, however, take another quarterback to pair with him. We learned the lesson last year with Anthony Richardson that this type of profile could end up with you in a hole sooner rather than later. Luckily, he is likely to settle outside the top ten in ADP when all is said and done, making a pairing with Daniels or Kirk Cousins, or even Caleb Williams, a great move in your leagues.

New England Patriots (Round 1, Pick 3): Drake Maye, Quarterback, UNC

It’s not often that you see an NFL player’s carbon copy, warts, and all when you watch a prospect. But, at 2 inches and 6 pounds lighter, and the same uniform number, Drake Maye feels like you’re watching Justin Herbert out there. Maye is also a decently mobile quarterback, who uses long strides rather than fast strides to make his way upfield. Maye has incredible pocket mobility, though he tends to wait a little too long to make decisions. But, when he releases the ball, he really lets it fly. He has some great zip on shorter throws, and good accuracy/precision on said throws. On intermediate throws, he feathers the ball exceptionally well, and he had more “wow” throws than Caleb Williams did. That includes a dime touchdown against South Carolina where he’s getting double-sacked and falling down, for a touchdown.

But, there’s a bad side. He struggles seeing rotating defenders underneath, and his anticipation doesn’t make much room for adjustments. Sometimes he trusts his arm a little too much, and he’s an above-average improviser, but he occasionally has some incredibly out-of-control misses. He has a higher floor than Caleb Williams, but a lower ceiling. He still deserves to be the second quarterback in this class, and he might be closer to Caleb than some want to believe.

NFL Comparison: Justin Herbert

2024 Opportunity:

It took three picks for me to hate a landing spot for a rookie in 2024 fantasy football leagues. I dread this setup for Maye. I loathe this landing spot for Maye. This is the worst-case scenario for a guy who doesn’t make his fantasy points on the ground. While I love Maye as a prospect, we’ve already seen a team fail to set up a talented quarterback like him for success with… Justin Herbert. I fear that the questionable weaponry in New England will leave us looking into 2025 with a highlight reel of receivers giving up on balls, dropping passes, or getting blown up by failing to get open.

There’s also the issue that much like Herbert, the Patriots have a Jacoby Brissett who could potentially act as a bridge until they are ready to hand over the keys to Maye. I expect that to be Halloween at worst, but that still deflates his draft-day stock.

2024 Fantasy Football Outlook:

Drake Maye has a great chance to be a decent second quarterback in 2QB leagues, but the weapons around him (Kendrick Bourne, K.J. Osborn, Jalen Reago, and Pop Douglas) make me extremely worried that he will fail to gain any sort of traction in 2024. I would let someone else draft him in August, and see if you can scoop and stash him in late September if you feel like you want to wait and see if he can develop.

Arizona Cardinals (Round 1, Pick 4): Marvin Harrison Jr., Wide Receiver, Ohio State

The presumptive, and prohibitive #1 wide receiver in the 2024 NFL draft already looks the part of an NFL wide receiver. When you see college wide receivers, so much of the time they look like they’re just the most athletic guy in the room, and they don’t seem particularly refined in the nuances of the game. Not so for Marv Jr, who had a bit of a leg up in making himself the most refined college receiver in a long time, because he literally learned from a Hall of Famer… his dad.

Watching Marvin Harrison felt really weird because he already had the chops, route running, and poise of an NFL veteran. He didn’t have a ton of explosive plays with YAC like you usually see. Instead, what you saw was a player who already knew how to get open against zone, how to be open when he isn’t against man, and who could catch anything thrown his way. He isn’t without flaws though, as his game and his size don’t exactly match up. At 6’4” and 209 pounds, he’s remarkably similarly built to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Christian Watson, both deep ball speed threats. Harrison is a more refined, do-it-all, type receiver. He reminds me a lot of A.J. Green or Alshon Jeffery, though both receivers played with about 15 pounds on Marv Jr.

And that’s the one-sentence scouting report on Marv Jr: incredibly refined, great at getting open, incredible at contested catches, and needs to eat a cheeseburger. His weight is a problem if the defensive back decides to make his life a mess on a 50-50 ball, and it frequently leads to him getting jammed at the line of scrimmage. All-in-all, however, he’s a stunningly good receiver who should hit the ground running in 2024.

NFL Comparison: Skinny Alshon Jeffery

2024 Opportunity:

Marvin Harrison Jr. has absolutely zero competition for even a single target in the wide receiver room. Michael Wilson turned out to be a fever dream, Greg Dortch is only good for three games a year where he gets 10 targets each, and the rest of the receiver room has less talent combined than MHJ has in his pinky toe. The rookie record for wide receiver targets is 167… which feels like it isn’t even the ceiling for MHJ’s target upside his rookie year. Last year, Puka Nacua set wide receiver records with 1,486 yards and 105 receptions in his rookie year. Those both also feel like great upsides for Marvin Harrison Jr. There’s simply nobody else there to take targets from Harrison in his rookie year. There’s a reason the Cardinals were in the bottom three in wide receiver yards last season.

2024 Outlook:

With that type of upside for Harrison, I fear that he will end up in the second round in redraft leagues. At that price, I am more than out on Harrison, especially since it’s incredibly rare for rookies to finish inside the top ten at wide receiver during their rookie season. I am fairly cautious about Harrison, as I am with all rookies because I am okay with being wrong. That being said, I would still take him with a late third or early fourth-round pick. With that in mind, I am unlikely to have any MHJ in 2024 while folks have New Toy Syndrome with Harrison and ignore his warts. Still, if you want him, I wouldn’t get mad at a third-round pick.

New York Giants (Round 1, Pick 5): Malik Nabers, Wide Receiver, LSU

Malik Nabers is everyone’s favorite college prospect at wide receiver not named Marvin Harrison Jr. but to be brutally honest… I’m not so sure I see it. Though, that having been said, he only drops to three for me behind Rome Odunze, who is already a rock-solid route runner and reliable receiver. He doesn’t do much to get open, mostly running digs, slants, crossers, and in routes that move across the face of a zone, though his ability to cut & go does get him nice separation in man on these routes, as well. Unfortunately, not much else about his game excited me. He seemed like his main trait was his athleticism, which he used inconsistently, though when harnessed, it was incredible. He didn’t want to fight for any sort of contested catch at all, though if he did have the ball in his hands, he was a slippery fish to bring down. That YAC ability will likely carry him a long way, though I believe he has a chance to struggle out of the gate his rookie year if he is forced to learn on the job. However, nothing seemed to be too big for him at LSU, and he’s as fast as anyone, which will help him turn small gains into huge ones.

A very funny trait that he has that I couldn’t quite fit anywhere is that on deep passes if he’s covered, he flails and sells DPI. It’s hilarious to see once you realize that it’s happening.

NFL Comparison: Upgraded Torrey Smith

2024 Opportunity:

Going into the draft, the Giants needed a wide receiver on offense. They also needed a quarterback, a running back, a tight end, and multiple offensive linemen. Well, at least they have a wide receiver now. All disrespect to the bevy of “just okay” receivers there, but Malik Nabers is immediately lapping every other receiver on this roster in terms of talent level. However, Daniel Jones hasn’t thrown the ball a ton in the last two seasons, averaging fewer than 30 pass attempts per game since Joe Daboll’s arrival. Granted, it took until year three with Daboll for Josh Allen to break out, thanks to better weapons around Allen. Daniels could be on the same path… Maybe. Maybe not. Probably not.

2024 Outlook:

I’m not as high on Malik Nabers as a lot of folks are, though they have nothing in the way of Nabers as their WR1 this season. He’s going to have all the opportunity to succeed, though I fear that he might struggle with his quarterbacking early in the season, but I don’t fear that he won’t succeed later. Luckily, while he figures it out, he will likely get the ball in a variety of ways to make the offense go, which will buoy his floor while he figures it out. Don’t think 2023 Jaxson Smith-Njigba, think more about 2022 Garrett Wilson. Through the first seven games of Wilson’s career, he averaged 4 catches for 45 yards on 7.5 targets per game. That didn’t have anything to do with Garrett Wilson’s talent level, it had more to do with the quarterbacks there. That’s the same fear I have for Malik Nabers in 2024.

That having been said, the upside and speed are too much to ignore. He should end his rookie year with about 110 targets, which will be enough to give him top-36 viability in all leagues.

Atlanta Falcons (Round 1, Pick 8): Michael Penix Jr., Quarterback, Washington

Penix is an extremely tough evaluation because he does some things exceptionally well (deep balls), but because an NFL offense isn’t NFL Blitz, you can’t run Da Bomb on every play. Luckily, if the offensive line can keep him clean, Penix has the mental acuity pre- and post-snap that allows him to carve up defenses. Unfortunately, if you get him off his spot… That’s where Penix starts to struggle. He doesn’t trust what he sees in front of him in traffic while on the move, which leads to him hitching or hesitating on tight-window throws, causing his mechanics to skew and the ball to potentially miss its target. This happens on nearly every tight window throw that I saw him take against Michigan, Texas, and Oregon. Luckily, the balls still made it where they needed to be more often than not, a testament to his arm strength, but that won’t fly at the NFL level. He will need a strong offensive line to have any sort of a chance to produce at the NFL level with any consistency.

He will have some eye-popping deep balls, and his ability to drop it in the bucket is the best I saw out of the five quarterbacks I watched to start the evaluation. Unfortunately, however, the nuts & bolts of quarterbacking elude him. His athleticism is just enough to trick fantasy evaluators into thinking that it could be a part of his game in the NFL, but it cannot. He mostly runs straight through open lanes and doesn’t create on his own.

Comparison: Jay Cutler

2024 Opportunity:

You don’t give Kirk Cousins $100 million to make him the backup. He is the QB of the future, and if he sees the field at all, the Falcons’ season is in trouble.

2024 Fantasy Football Outlook:

If he makes it onto the field, it’s hard to see a rookie with a better trio of weapons than Drake London, Bijan Robinson, and Kyle Pitts. This trio dragged Desmond Midder to some top-12 fantasy football weeks. They can do the same with a better player in Michael Penix, Jr.

Chicago Bears (Round 1, Pick 9): Rome Odunze, Washington (6’3” 212 lbs)

Rome Odunze is the most fun receiver to watch in the top five, as he is a great blend of speed, strength, and toughness to immediately become a team’s #1 wide receiver. He is a strong receiver, with good contested catch ability thanks to his ball-tracking ability, his good late hands, and his body control. He runs a variety of routes and wins with a blend of speed and power after he catches the football. He can simply outfight many defenders in the NFL, especially if he goes to a team with a strong WR1 that will take the best defender away from him.

There’s not a whole lot to sway about Rome Odunze: he has an incredibly well-rounded skill set, and he is already well-refined as a wide receiver. He is a blend of Harrison & Nabers, and he takes the good from his Harrison side to make him the #2 receiver in my opinion in this class. Destination might be a problem, as he is a top-fifteen pick in this draft, and those teams will give him some trouble with consistent target volume.

NFL Comparison: Keenan Allen

2024 Opportunity:

That NFL comparison makes me extremely excited for Rome Odunze’s future in Chicago. Odunze already has the talent to stick as a top-10 to top-15 wide receiver for years to come, but having the opportunity to sit behind Allen and learn at his feet will do a ton to develop Odunze throughout his career. The keyword there is sit, which is… he’s the third-best receiver on his team, despite his talent. I don’t see a world where Caleb Williams throws enough in his rookie year to sustain three wide receivers. The record for rookie pass attempts and yards both belong to Andrew Luck, who threw for 4,374 yards on 627 attempts back in 2012. Even then, he had only two receivers over 90 targets. There just isn’t room for Rome in his rookie year, but that’s not why the Bears took him. They took him to grow and develop with Caleb.

2024 Outlook:

I am not bullish on Rome Odunze his rookie year. We just saw this happen with Jaxson Smith-Njigba last year, where two absolute stud receivers were ahead of him on the depth chart. It choked out JSN, and it will choke out Odunze. I fear he won’t have the targets to matter in his rookie year. He’s on my watch list, but I don’t know how he finishes as a top-36 receiver in his rookie year without an injury to D.J. Moore and/or Keenan Allen this season.

Minnesota Vikings (Round 1, Pick 10): J.J. McCarthy, Quarterback, Michigan

Jim Harbaugh called McCarthy generational, but I was a 49ers fan long enough to know that Harbaugh gasses literally every player in his uniform. So, I will respectfully disagree. That having been said, Harbaugh held back McCarthy more than anything else, because the system led to McCarthy occasionally throwing the ball in a way that wasn’t a dumpoff or an RPO. McCarthy unloads the ball maybe once per game, and when he does, it’s usually a nice one. He can rip it, though he doesn’t have the deep ball strength to consistently air it out.

McCarthy’s pocket jitters will give him trouble at the NFL level, but he should go in the first round of the draft, to a team that trades up to ensure the fifth year of contract control or a team that has an aging, established quarterback. Unfortunately, his best traits will give him a limited upside for fantasy football, as he likely settles in as a top-fifteen fantasy quarterback who can kiss top-eight, like Derek Carr or Kirk Cousins.

His best traits are getting the ball out on time and with anticipation, two things that Sean McVay would love to have after he sits for a year or two behind Matthew Stafford.

NFL Comparison: Alex Smith or Mobile Jimmy Garoppolo

2024 Opportunity:

The only other quarterbacks on the roster are Sam Darnold and Nick Mullens, making the two 49ers legends the only things standing in the way of J.J. McCarthy. He will likely start week three, at the latest, for the Vikes, and he has an incredible setup around him. The Vikings were third in pass block win rate last season, and McCarthy will step into basically the same role as Kirk Cousins, with Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson (when he returns from injury) at his disposal.

2024 Outlook:

Kirk Cousins, in his best seasons, was a top-eight quarterback in fantasy football. In his worst seasons, he was around QB16 or QB17 most weeks. It’s a very nice setup for Cousins’ successor, who is a mobile Kirk Cousins in a lot of respects. While I don’t want to draft McCarthy in 1QB leagues, he’s a player I am keeping an eye on as the season develops.

Denver Broncos (Round 1, Pick 12): Bo Nix, Quarterback, Oregon

Bo Nix doesn’t have the big arm of Michael Penix, and he doesn’t check all the boxes on what throws he regularly uncorks at Oregon, but I still like him more than Penix. He’s far more comfortable when the pocket breaks down than Penix, and his ability to improvise outside of structure puts him as my fifth quarterback on the board over Penix. Nix has good precision and accuracy, as his game is predicated on slicing and dicing you rather than uncorking a big one to snap your defense in half. Nix also has good pocket awareness and a knack for subtle movements inside the pocket to help him stay free from defenders.

All told, Nix already looks like an NFL-caliber quarterback. Granted, he will be 24 when the season starts, but he already can execute an offense, meaning he should get some starts in 2024. I’m not particularly interested in him for fantasy, however, as he doesn’t run the ball too much.

Comparison: Brock Purdy

2024 Opportunity:

Bo Nix already has the inside track in the Denver QB room, as his main competition is… *checks notes*… Zach Wilson?! That can’t be right. Anyway, he is set to be the QB1 in Denver, but I am not so sure that is worth a whole heck of a lot in fantasy football. The Broncos have a decent offensive line (eighth in pass block win rate last year), but their weaponry and their head coach are both a bit of a puzzling mess so far in Denver. The Broncos moved on from Jerry Jeudy, leaving annual underachiever Courtland Sutton and all-potential team Marvin Mims as his top two weapons. They also have Javonte Williams, Josh Reynolds, and Adam Trautman, but tell me if you see a name there that will carry a rookie receiver like Nix to glory.

2024 Fantasy Football Outlook:

I have zero interest in Nix in 1QB leagues and he’s a low-floor QB3 in 2QB and Superflex leagues.

Las Vegas Raiders (Round 1, Pick 13): Brock Bowers, Tight End, Georgia

Brock Bowers is the entire package. He’s an excellent blocker and an incredible pass catcher, and he has the YAC ability of the best of them in the NFL. The Bulldogs used him all over the formation, in a variety of roles, and he thrived in all of them. Bowers is as comfortable as the lead blocker as he is the leading target, and he runs real, big-boy routes. So many times you see tight ends who just find a hole in the defense and sit, racking up whatever the defense gives them because they’ve decided to not see the tight end as a threat. Not Bowers, he pushes the issue with defenders and he makes them pay for their mistakes. He has great hands and is hard to bring down. He does struggle in traffic and with contested catches, but that’s true of most tight ends at the college level. Bowers ticks all the boxes to be a great tight end for a long time, and unlike Kyle Pitts Jimmy Graham, and other guys who are tight ends in name only, Bowers puts his hands in chests and moves people. He truly does it all and is head and shoulders above the rest of the class.

NFL Comparison: George Kittle

2024 Opportunity:

There is exactly one (1) decent option on the offense outside of Brock Bowers for the Raiders in 2024. Unfortunately, that includes the quarterbacks. While I don’t think that Bowers will take away from Davante Adams, he kills Jakobi Meyers’ value, as well as Michael Mayer. Unfortunately, Aidan O’Connell will be his quarterback this season, at least until Gardner Minshew takes over when the Raiders want a meme. Unfortunately for Bowers, they ranked outside the top half of the league in accuracy and passer rating statistics.

The Raiders and head coach Antonio Pierce wants to be a hardnosed football team, which makes me fear that they drafted Bowers for his blocking as much (or more) as they did his receiving.

2024 Outlook:

He will get (nearly) an unprecedented opportunity to succeed in fantasy football his rookie year, and he falls firmly inside of The Blob for me this season. I will need to see it from a rookie tight end before I can move him out of The Blob because doing otherwise is looking for trouble. That being said, the era of outright degrading a tight end for being a rookie might be at an end, but I still don’t want to take him with a single-digit round pick.

Jacksonville Jaguars (Round 1, Pick 23): Brian Thomas Jr., Wide Receiver, LSU

Brian Thomas is 209 pounds and ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine. That’s .02 seconds slower than Troy Franklin, who he has over 30 pounds on. He’s an athletic marvel, and he isn’t just a freak at running in a straight line. Thomas is adept at various routes, and he is a fun player with the ball in his hands. He can chew up the field if defenders give him space, and if he can’t get away from them, he is an extremely adept high-point receiver, as well. He could have had better numbers, but Jayden Daniels kept betraying him. He’s always looking for YAC, which is an incredible trait to already have, as he is extremely comfortable on the field, and has the proprioception to catch the ball while being fully aware of the players around him at the catch point.

He’s a raw route runner, and he sometimes gets a bit of boneheaditis, but he is an athletic specimen who can make highlight catches as well as being able to get 10+ receptions if he needs to be called on. He thrived at LSU with a presumptive top-ten pick across from him, he will do fine in Jacksonville with Christian Kirk & Gabriel Davis in the room.

NFL Comparison: George Pickens

2024 Opportunity:

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a wide receiver room bereft of a WR1. They lost Calvin Ridley this offseason, and Christian Kirk & Zay Jones are better suited as WR2/WR3 in an ideal situation. He will cap off this offense with someone who could be a true #1 for them in 2024, and grow with Trevor Lawrence. Calvin Ridley vacated 136 targets (the fourteenth-most in the NFL) and 1792 air yards (the eighth-most in the NFL). The Jags went out and got Gabriel Davis in free agency, but we saw in 2023 just how little you can rely on Davis. It’s more likely that Davis moves Zay Jones down the depth chart than it is he takes that opportunity away from Brian Thomas.

2024 Outlook:

Brian Thomas feels like the kind of guy who gets lost in the shuffle for 2024 drafts because he isn’t sexy like the top-three guys, and he isn’t going to go to a situation where he is going to be the WR1, like Adonai Mitchell in Buffalo. I like him as a mid-round pick who should provide solid upside thanks to his big play ability and his opportunity with a good offense and quarterback that will allow him to produce right away. The Jaguars’ offense feels like it’s primed to take full advantage of Thomas’ skill set.

Kansas City Chiefs (Round 1, Pick 28): Xavier Worthy, Wide Receiver, Texas

Let’s get one thing out of the way, first: Xavier Worthy holds the combine record for the fastest 40-yard dash. The last player to hold that honor was John Ross, who the Bengals took in the first round, and who had negative fantasy points his rookie year (look it up). Speed is a useful component to success but speed itself is not a guarantee of success at the NFL level. With that out of the way, let’s look a bit further into Xavier Worthy.

Xavier Worthy is good at using his speed to make life hell on opposing defenders, not just by cracking off nine routes, but also using his speed to create the requisite space for comebacks and curls. He also does a really good job of beating man coverage by creating leverage between the quarterback and worthy. Worthy is also good for an end around or two, and he’s a beast with the ball in his hands. That having been said… his quarterbacks at Texas sucked out loud. They were so bad. So, Worthy didn’t get a ton of good and varied looks. He did, however, learn to have a terrible quarterback without screaming in his face. That’s a plus, I guess. Worthy is a fast NFL wide receiver, not a fast player playing wide receiver, like so many players in the league.

NFL Comparison: Darnell Mooney (the Nick Foles Year) or Marquise Goodwin

2024 Opportunity:

It’s hard to say how much opportunity Xavier Worthy will get, mostly because so much of that is going to be predicated on whether or not Rashee Rice is playing football in the 2024 season after he tried (and failed) to go Henry Ruggs on someone in April. That having been said, it’s incredibly clear that they plan to get as fast as humanly possible, after snagging Marquise Brown and then Marquise Brown But Better in Xavier Worthy.

If Rice is playing in 2024, then I am not entirely sure where the offense fits enough targets for Worthy to have a major target impact in 2024. The second receiver with the Chiefs has been a weapon we’ve desperately chased for almost a decade now, to no avail. It’s been a tough go of things for receivers behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill/The WR1 du jour for the Chiefs.

Then, there’s the world where Rice doesn’t play. This trade is a sign that the Chiefs are likely not very bullish on his chances of making it onto the field for more than half of the 2024 season since you wouldn’t use this pick for a depth receiver if you thought your WR1 was playing this year. If there’s no Rice, then anything is possible for Worthy, even returning as the new Tyreek Hill for this offense.

2024 Fantasy Football Outlook:

Again, it is too soon to tell. But, that speed in this offense is a tough thing to deny. I can’t help but think that the goal for this is to dust off those old Tyreek Hill plays to get Xavier Worthy going. He’s worth a middle-round pick this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes it up into the sixth round.

San Francisco 49ers (Round 1, Pick 31): Ricky Pearsall, Wide Receiver, Florida

Pearsall is an extremely willing blocker with athleticism to spare (9.90 RAS), who also loves to do a ton of silly highlight catches. Pearsall is also a route technician who can work himself open and is currently holding his own in offseason training with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. He works best against zone coverage, as he possesses a great ability to find himself open. Even if he isn’t open, he has some of the craziest highlight catches this draft season, though he can get bodied by DBs on traditional 50/50 balls.

NFL Comparison: Kenny Stills

2024 Opportunity:

It’s too soon to tell because so much depends on whether Brandon Aiyuk is still a 49er when the season kicks off in 2024. If he is, then Pearsall will just be a supersized version of Jauan Jennings, who the 49ers went out of their way to re-sign. They threw the ball the fewest times last season, which means that there isn’t really room for Pearsall if there is also Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle to contend with. If Aiyuk isn’t a Niner, then Pearsall will have quite a bit of opportunity to produce for the 49ers, as they will desperately need a WR2 with oft-injured Deebo Samuel as their WR1 next season. Shanahan loves technicians with good hands, and who love to block. He is a great fit for the system… if he was a second-round pick. As a first-rounder, I hate this as a 49ers fan.

2024 Fantasy Football Outlook:

I doubt that he will find his way up the pecking order enough to be more than a late-round dart throw in your 2024 fantasy football drafts.

Carolina Panthers (Round 1, Pick 32): Xavier Legette, Wide Receiver, South Carolina

Xavier Legette is a fun player to watch, as he is a beefy receiver who is also as fast as the dickens with the football in his hand. He invites contact, and he sheds it just as easily, as his compact frame allows him to take on defenders with a couple of inches on him. Legette got open a lot on tape, but Spencer Rattler frequently missed him due to Rattler having a terminal case of “Being Spencer Rattler,” but that doesn’t mean that Legette didn’t impress on tape.

However, he struggles sometimes as he wants to go one-on-one with his defender once he has the ball in his hands, sometimes focusing too much on the guy in front of him instead of the rest of the defense. He has the jets to turn any catch into a touchdown with his speed, agility, and overall YAC skills, and he does it with legs like Christmas hams. He’s also a willing and skilled blocker, which will be very helpful in real-life football.

NFL Comparison: Wish.com Deebo Samuel

2024 Opportunity:

The Carolina Panthers’ offense is one of the most talent-bereft groups in the entire NFL. Legette will fill their Laviska Shenault role, but he is a much better football player than Shenault. Unless the offense takes a huge step forward, I am not exactly enthused about whatever is going on there in Carolina for 2024.

2024 Fantasy Football Outlook:

I am not at all interested in Legette, despite his dual-threat skillset likely getting some folks hot and bothered.

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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