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7 Breakouts That Will Sustain in 2024 (Fantasy Football)

7 Breakouts That Will Sustain in 2024 (Fantasy Football)

So much changes year to year in fantasy football and the NFL and leagues can be won by correctly predicting the consistency of players. In 2023, we saw some incredible breakouts, but which of them will sustain into 2024? Let’s dive in.

Breakouts That Will Sustain (Fantasy Football 2024)

Puka Nacua (WR – LAR)

The king of all 2024 breakouts was the rookie sensation, Puka Nacua, who single-handedly dragged teams into the fantasy playoffs while breaking the rookie records for both receptions and receiving yards. Nacua showed the ability to earn targets regardless of whether Cooper Kupp was on the field, with him seeing seven or more targets in every single game during the fantasy season. He also tied Tyreek Hill, CeeDee Lamb and Amon-Ra St. Brown for most top-12 weekly PPR finishes with nine. Rams head coach Sean McVay has shown over the years that he will lean into player’s strengths and go out of his way to scheme plays around those with unique talents and Nacua should have no problem sustaining his success.

Kyren Williams (RB – LAR)

Another Rams player who can expect sustained success is Kyren Williams. Before the 2022 season, reports started to emerge that the Rams were high on Williams only for him to get injured on the opening kickoff. Then, in 2023, we saw the Rams fully turn things over to Williams with him leading all running backs in snap share at 82.1% and ranking fourth in opportunity share at 74%. Sean McVay has never had a worry about leaning into a single running back during his time with the Rams, and with the same leadership around the team, it feels unlikely that Williams could go the same route as James Robinson and be replaced for a player with higher draft capital.

Brock Purdy (QB – SF)

It was fair to enter the 2023 season with some skepticism towards Purdy, as we’ve seen Kyle Shanahan turn pumpkins into carriages before now and the elite weapons in San Francisco can make most quarterbacks look great. But after a season where Purdy finished as the QB8 in points per game, it’s time to give him some respect. Purdy threw multiple touchdowns in nine games, and finished inside the top-12 among quarterbacks on 10 different occasions, making him more reliable than Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes. While Purdy may lack the ceiling outcomes of those quarterbacks, he has all the tools needed to succeed and can be a success in San Francisco for a long time.

Jordan Love (QB – GB)

Another quarterback who it was fair to approach with a pinch of skepticism was Love, who was drafted in 2020 but, thanks to Aaron Rodgers prolonging his stay in Green Bay, rode the bench for three full seasons before getting his opportunity. Love had an up-and-down campaign, but showed that he has enough high-end traits for us to be able to have faith in him for 2024. Love had a higher average depth of target (aDOT) than Matthew Stafford, Trevor Lawrence and Justin Herbert as he drove the ball downfield aggressively, passing for 4,159 yards and 32 touchdowns. He finished as the QB5 in points per game. That could regress slightly if quarterback health improves across the league in 2024, but with Love’s pass-catchers the youngest group in the league, if they take a step forward then Love can see sustained success going forward.

Rashee Rice (WR – KC)

It became very clear early on in the season that Chiefs weren’t going to be able to Moneyball their way through the 2023 season with the hopes that enough middling wide receivers would “get on base” in the same way they got away with in 2022. The one bright light in the entire passing game has been Rice’s emergence as a bonafide wide receiver. Over the first nine weeks, Rice was made to work for his opportunities playing on 45% of snaps and seeing only 4.8 air yards per target. But after the Chiefs Week 10 bye, Rice’s snaps jumped to 74% and as the season came to an end the Chiefs finally integrated him more downfield with 7.3 air yards per target over the final two weeks.

Touchdowns aren’t a particularly sticky metric year to year, but it’s also hard to ignore Rice scoring seven of Patrick Mahomes’s 27 passing touchdowns, a number far lower than the 38.6 per year Mahomes has averaged over the previous three seasons. It’s been a down year for the Chiefs but they’re showing signs of life in the playoffs and can get back to their old selves in 2024, which in turn can only be good for Rice.

James Cook (RB – BUF)

The Bills had been slow to turn over the running back room and show faith in Cook, consistently being linked to other backs and bringing in Damien Harris, Latavius Murray and Leonard Fournette in the past six months. Cook’s youth and ability shone through however proving a game-changer at times when the Bills offense struggled. Cook finished the fantasy season with eight games where he totaled 100 or more yards from scrimmage. Cook is always going to have to worry about Josh Allen vulturing many of the rushing touchdowns, but he cemented himself as an RB2-3 going forward with a reasonable floor and high upside.

Trey McBride (TE – ARI)

There was a distinct difference in McBride’s production when Zach Ertz was healthy, with him relegated to TE2 duties and seeing a distinctly not fantasy-worthy 9.4% targets share. But when Ertz got injured and McBride took over as the clear TE1, his target share jumped to 27% for the rest of the season and he finished as a top-12 tight end in seven of the next nine games. The run was so good the Cardinals decided it was best to release Ertz once he had recovered. McBride did all this without getting into the end zone very often, managing only three touchdowns all year. If the Cardinals offense takes a step forward next year, which feels very possible, McBride could take his breakout to the next level.

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