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Pat Fitzmaurice’s Early 2024 Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Pat Fitzmaurice’s Early 2024 Fantasy Football Mock Draft

December is the height of the fantasy football season, with the climactic build-up to Week 17 championship games in early January. But I have a confession: There are times in December when I just want to get the fantasy season over with so I can turn my attention to the next fantasy season.

It’s not about being bored with the current season; it’s just that I love trying to get the lay of the land for the following season. Who’s likely to be undervalued in next season’s fantasy drafts? Who’s likely to be overvalued? How will free agency affect player values? Which incoming rookies have the potential to make an immediate splash? It’s fun to wrestle with these questions and put together a set of early draft rankings. I love that stuff, man.

I’m done with my first set of 2024 draft rankings, so I thought it would be fun to run through an early five-round mock draft.

You will disagree with the ordering of some players. You might disagree with the ordering of a lot of these players. It’s the nature of the beast: We all value players differently.

And of course, since this is a very early 2024 mock draft, some of the players listed here will gain or lose value based on how Week 18 and the postseason play out.

Oh, and please don’t pay attention to how the so-called “teams” in this mock draft are balanced at various positions. There are no teams in this mock. This is just an approximation of where players will land in fantasy drafts.

Early 2024 Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Round 1

1.01 Christian McCaffrey

Through 17 weeks, McCaffrey had generated 102.6 more half-point PPR fantasy points than the next-highest scorer at the RB position, Raheem Mostert. The only two players to outscore CMC this season in half-point PPR were Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts. In full-point PPR, McCaffrey outscored them all. CMC is a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and Shanny isn’t shy about working McCaffery hard.

1.02 Tyreek Hill

He won’t be everyone’s No. 1 wide receiver, but Hill delivers the goods week in and week out. There was only one instance this season in which he didn’t have at least 60 receiving yards or a touchdown. Hill has topped 110 receptions and 1,700 receiving yards in each of his two seasons with the Dolphins. The chemistry between Hill, QB Tua Tagovailoa and head coach Mike McDaniel has been pure magic.

1.03 Justin Jefferson

Jefferson’s talent is undeniable. The interesting variable here is the Vikings’ QB situation. Kirk Cousins is about to hit free agency, and Minnesota doesn’t have another decent quarterback on the roster. We’ll have to drop Jefferson a couple of spots if the Vikings can’t come up with a suitable QB solution.

1.04 CeeDee Lamb

If someone wanted to draft Lamb at 1.02, I wouldn’t try to talk them out of it. The 24-year-old Lamb is now a bona fide superstar. He enters Week 18 leading all wide receivers in fantasy points and receptions. Bring on the mint jelly.

1.05 Ja’Marr Chase

Bengals QB Joe Burrow wasn’t himself early in the season and then sustained a season-ending wrist injury after playing 10 games, but Chase still produced 96-1,197-7, even though he dealt with injuries of his own. If he and Burrow get a full season together in 2024, look out.

1.06 A.J. Brown

Early in the 2023 season, Brown exceeded 125 receiving yards in six straight games. A true alpha receiver, Brown finished WR5 in half-point PPR scoring in 2022, he’s currently WR5 in fantasy scoring, and he’s my WR5 for 2024.

1.07 Amon-Ra St. Brown

The Sun God has scored a career-high nine touchdowns this season. He’s had 100 or more receiving yards in 8-of-15 games. One of the most consistent receivers in the league, St. Brown had delivered double-digit PPR points in all but three games this season.

1.08 Bijan Robinson

The misuse of Robinson by Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was jaw-dropping. It’s absurd that Bijan has only 23 more carries than teammate Tyler Allgeier. Smith won’t be the head coach next year, and a new playcaller should be able to unlock Bijan’s extraordinary skill set.

1.09 Breece Hall

Hall has gone berserk down the stretch, with 33-179-2 rushing and 21-138-1 receiving in Weeks 16-17. It might be a preview of things to come in 2024. The Jets will likely have Aaron Rodgers back at QB, which will brighten Hall’s fantasy outlook. If the team can refurbish its subpar offensive line, the sky is the limit for Hall.

1.10 Jahmyr Gibbs

The air crackles with electricity whenever Gibbs has the ball in his hands. He’ll have to share work with David Montgomery again in 2024, but no matter. Gibbs has demonstrated in recent weeks that he can return RB1 value even in a timeshare.

1.11 Kyren Williams

Williams will be higher on some people’s boards. Admittedly, I can be a little snooty about measurables and prospect pedigree. Williams is smaller and slower than Bijan Robinson, Breece Hall and Jahmyr Gibbs. Robinson and Gibbs were first-round draft picks, and Hall was an early second. Williams was a fifth-rounder. Williams has proven to be a terrific RB, however, and Rams head coach Sean McVay is willing to force-feed Williams in much the same way he force-fed Todd Gurley a few years ago. Maybe I need to get over my hangups about measurables and pedigree. It’s like dating: If you meet someone who’s smart, funny, interesting and makes you feel a tingle whenever you’re around them, should it matter if that person doesn’t look like a supermodel?

1.12 Jonathan Taylor

Taylor began the year on IR and missed three games in December with a thumb injury. But when JT was revving his engines at midseason, he reminded us that he’s one of the most talented runners in the game. I can’t wait to see the read-option stuff that Taylor and Colts QB Anthony Richardson are going to bamboozle opponents with next season.

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Round 2

2.01 D.J. Moore

This will be too early for some people’s taste, but Moore’s first 1,300-yard season burnished his credentials as one of the elites at the WR position. He’ll thrive in 2024 whether he’s catching passes from Justin Fields or Caleb Williams.

2.02 Garrett Wilson

Wilson deserves some sort of medal for managing to squeeze out a 1,000-yard season while catching passes from Zach Wilson, Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian. Talent certainly isn’t an issue for Wilson, one of the better young wideouts in the league. A healthy Aaron Rodgers could really perk up Wilson’s numbers.

2.03 Davante Adams

Adams just turned 31, and the Raiders will go into the offseason with an uncertain QB situation. But Adams is still a terrific player, and he’ll once again be a premium fantasy asset if Las Vegas can solve its QB puzzle.

2.04 Puka Nacua

Puka’s eye-popping rookie numbers (101 catches for 1,445 yards and five touchdowns going into Week 18) put him in elite company in terms of rookie production, right up there with the likes of Randy Moss, Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. Puka has been a hand-in-glove fit in Rams head coach Sean McVay’s offense, and the young receiver should continue to thrive.

2.05 Travis Etienne

Etienne was on fire early in the 2023 season, but his production fell off down the stretch, as Jacksonville’s mediocre offensive line struggled to open holes in the running game. Etienne remains a dynamic playmaker with run/catch diversity. He has the potential to deliver high-end RB1 value if the Jaguars can patch up the O-line.

2.06 Kenneth Walker

The presence of Zach Charbonnet will continue to be at least a small thorn in the side of KW3 investors, but the Seahawks have made it clear that Walker is the leading man in their backfield, with Charbonnet playing a supporting role.

2.07 Marvin Harrison Jr.

There’s only one rookie in this early mock, but this one is a gem. Even in a superb rookie WR class, Harrison stands head and shoulders above the pack. The son of former Colts star Marvin Harrison Sr. is much bigger than his dad, measuring 6-4, 205. Marvin Jr. is also fast, runs crisp routes and has exceptional ball skills. He’s the total package, and he’s going to be a high-volume receiver from Day One.

2.08 De’Von Achane

With his track speed and remarkable contact balance, Achane is the second coming of Warrick Dunn. In 10 games, Achane produced 20 or more points (0.5 PPR) five times. He enters Week 18 averaging 8.0 yards per carry. (No, that’s not a misprint.) At 5-9, 188 pounds, Achane is too small for workhorse duty, but he can still be immensely valuable even if he’s sharing work.

2.09 Rachaad White

One of the more pleasant surprises of the 2023 fantasy season, White is currently RB5 in half-point PPR scoring. Heavy usage accounts for much of White’s value — he’s averaging just 3.6 yards per carry. But White has run-catch versatility, and he’s shown he can handle a heavy workload.

2.10 Chris Olave

Olave has gone over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons. It feels like there’s still some meat left on the bone here. Olave and Saints QB Derek Carr weren’t always in sync this season, and Olave has scored only eight touchdowns in 30 career games. But Olave is a terrific route runner with lethal speed. The best is yet to come.

2.11 Jaylen Waddle

He might be playing second fiddle to Tyreek Hill, but Waddle is the Charlie Daniels of second fiddlers. Waddle has gone over 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons, and he’s averaging a remarkable 9.4 yards per target for his career.

2.12 D.K. Metcalf

On talent alone, Metcalf should be ranked higher than this. But if he’s once again sharing targets with Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, it will be hard to justify drafting Metcalf as a WR1.

Round 3

3.01 Saquon Barkley

Saquon is about to hit free agency, and his landing spot will affect his perceived value. He showed this year that he can still handle a heavy workload, but Saquon will be 27 next season, putting him on the wrong side of the age curve for NFL running backs. It’s also somewhat concerning that Saquon hasn’t been dynamic as a pass catcher since 2019. He averaged just 3.9 yards per target this season.

3.02 James Cook

Cook’s usage spiked when the Bills fired offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey in mid-November and turned the playcalling duties over to Joe Brady. Since the change, Cook has been RB5 in fantasy points per game. At 5-11, 190 pounds, Cook might not be able to handle an immense workload over a full season, but we now know just how valuable a fantasy asset he can be.

3.03 Deebo Samuel

Deebo’s usage can be somewhat unpredictable, but there are few players more explosive when they have the ball in their hands.

3.04 Brandon Aiyuk

Ranking Deebo and Aiyuk next to each other might make it look like I’m taking the easy way out. But entering Week 18, the two San Francisco receivers are separated by only 1.8 fantasy points (0.5 PPR). Aiyuk is the more conventional receiver, and he’s having a banner season. He enters Week 18 with 1,317 receiving yards, and he leads the NFL with 18.3 yards per catch.

3.05 Josh Allen

The QB position will be deep in 2024, so there’s no need to reach. The second round is too early for a quarterback. The mid-third seems like the right time to break the seal, so let’s do it with the league’s most dependable run/pass threat. Allen has finished either first or second in QB fantasy scoring in each of the last four seasons.

3.06 Sam LaPorta

Surprised? A lot of people will still have Travis Kelce as their TE1, but LaPorta is averaging 0.6 more fantasy points per game than Kelce and has a decided age advantage. LaPorta has been a rookie revelation in his age-22 season. Kelce is 34 and has slipped statistically over the second half of the season. All hail the new TE king.

3.07 Travis Kelce

As mentioned above, age might be a reason to shy away from Kelce in 2024. Not that we’d be shocked to see another mammoth season from Kelce. But no longer does he deserve first-round consideration. In fact, patience is recommended at the TE position for 2024. Thanks to a wave of young talent, there is now extraordinary depth at the position, hence less incentive to reach for one early.

3.08 Mike Evans

Some of us faded Mike Evans in 2023 fantasy drafts because we were nervous about QB Baker Mayfield getting Evans the ball. What a colossal mistake that turned out to be. Evans is wrapping up a 10th consecutive 1,000-yard season and enters the final week of the regular season with 13 touchdowns. He’s only 30, so we probably shouldn’t expect an age-related dip just yet. We won’t be fading Evans in 2024.

3.09 Patrick Mahomes

It’s been a disappointing season for Mahomes. My theory is that he simply doesn’t have enough pass-catching firepower. TE Travis Kelce is getting older. WR Rashee Rice is talented, but he thrives on manufactured touches close to the line of scrimmage.

3.10 Jalen Hurts

Hurts has run for 15 touchdowns this season and 28 over the last two regular seasons. Long live the tush push! But should we be nervous that Hurts derives so much of his value from short TD plunges? Hurts has been a less efficient passer in 2023 than he was in 2022. Some minor statistical slippage isn’t reason to sound the alarms, but it’s a reason not to reach for Hurts.

3.11 Lamar Jackson

A deserving MVP, Jackson has made remarkable strides as a passer this season, and he’s still lethal as a runner.

3.12 Nico Collins

Some people might prefer Texans WR Tank Dell, but I’d rather have Collins. The third-year receiver has been a revelation this season, with 1,107 receiving yards and seven touchdowns entering Week 18. Collins has improved as a route runner, and there are few receivers harder to tackle.

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Round 4

4.01 Keenan Allen

Allen will be entering his age-32 season. With his route-running artistry, his game should age fairly well, but will his body cooperate?

4.02 DeVonta Smith

Playing with A.J. Brown puts a cap on Smith’s target totals, but the Slim Reaper is a terrific receiver in his own right.

4.03 Rashee Rice

I worry that Rice’s fantasy value could be dented if the Chiefs draft or sign a highly skilled receiver in the offseason. Rice is electric with the ball in his hands, but his average depth of target this season is just 4.8 yards. Can he develop into a high-quality route runner who can consistently win downfield?

4.04 Tank Dell

Trying to cover Dell must be like trying to cover a hummingbird. He’s almost impossibly quick. Dell averaged 12.9 fantasy points per game (0.5 PPR) before a broken leg ended his season. At 165 pounds, Dell’s durability could be an issue. His playmaking ability is beyond question.

4.05 Amari Cooper

Perennially underrated, Cooper has established a new career high with 1,250 receiving yards. He’ll be entering his age-30 seasons but seems to be getting better with age.

4.06 Stefon Diggs

Diggs has now endured December slumps in two straight seasons. Cause for concern? Maybe. Diggs averaged 9.3 yards per target in 2022 and slipped to 7.2 yards per target this season. If you’re going to draft him, insist on a discount.

4.07 Michael Pittman Jr.

This might be too low for a receiver who enters Week 18 with 104 catches and 1,108 yards. But Pittman has a career average of only 10.9 yards per catch, and he’s scored 15 touchdowns in 61 career games. We appreciate the volume, but we’d love to see more big plays from Pittman.

4.08 Mark Andrews

Andrews’ regular season was cut short by leg and ankle injuries, but he’ll again be a key component of the Baltimore passing game in 2024.

4.09 Isiah Pacheco

Some other people have Pacheco ranked as a second- or third-rounder, and I don’t have a major beef with that. He runs like his hair is fire, and he’s become a credible pass catcher, too. I do worry a little bit about Pacheco’s take-no-prisoners running style. He’s not one to shy away from contact, with could lead to persistent injury problems.

4.10 Alvin Kamara

Kamara’s pass catching will continue to be valuable, but he probably needs a platoon partner. He’s averaging 3.9 yards per carry and probably can’t be an effective three-down back at this stage of his career.

4.11 Rhamondre Stevenson

Don’t forget about Stevenson just because he’s missed significant time with a high-ankle sprain. He’s a dual run/catch threat who’s built to handle a big workload.

4.12 George Kittle

Kittle is wrapping up is first 1,000-yard regular season since 2019. He’s as ridiculously hard to bring down as ever. Safeties have nightmares about trying to tackle this guy.

Round 5

5.01 Tee Higgins

We’re about to see Higgy-mania break out, with Higgins about to enter free agency. The hope among Higgins enthusiasts is that he’ll get to be a No. 1 receiver after sharing targets with Ja’Marr Chase. His landing spot will have a major impact on his draft position.

5.02 Terry McLaurin

McLaurin’s talent isn’t in question, but he had a disappointing 2023 season even though Commanders QB Sam Howell led the league in pass attempts and completions for much of the season. Washington’s QB situation is unsettled going into the offseason, and McLaurin’s value will depend heavily on how that situation is resolved.

5.03 Joe Mixon

Mixon is about to hit free agency, and while running backs no longer break the bank when they hit the open market, some team is going to be happy to sign a veteran running back with a three-down skill set and the durability to carry a heavy load.

5.04 C.J. Stroud

What a rookie season this kid is having. It’s going to be fun to see how high Stroud can soar.

5.05 Nick Chubb

I’d like to rank Chubb higher, but he’ll be entering his age-28 season and is coming off a devastating knee injury.

5.06 Josh Jacobs

The Raiders are expected to let Jacobs walk in free agency. As with Joe Mixon, Jacobs has a three-down skill set and can handle workhorse duty.

5.07 Javonte Williams

Williams wasn’t as explosive this season as he had been before a torn ACL ended his 2022 season, but perhaps he’ll be closer to his old self in 2024.

5.08 Cooper Kupp

Kupp seems to be slowing down. He averaged a career-low 7.8 yards per target this season. He’s no longer an alpha receiver now that Puka Nacua is around. And Kupp dealt with a series of nagging injuries in 2023. Approach with caution.

5.09 Jordan Addison

Ideally, Addison wouldn’t have to share targets with Justin Jefferson. But man, this kid is good. He enters Week 18 with 854 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, and he looks like a future 100-catch guy.

5.10 Tony Pollard

In recent years, Pollard had been remarkably efficient in a part-time role. That efficiency didn’t carry over into a bigger role in 2023, and his fantasy season has to be considered a disappointment. It will be interesting to see what Dallas does with its backfield for 2023.

5.11 Drake London

The 6-4, 213-pound London makes some catches that will drop your jaw. He has all the makings of a high-volume receiver, but in Arthur Smith’s offense, London hasn’t been featured as prominently as he should be. Expect that to change in 2024.

5.12 DeAndre Hopkins

Hopkins will be entering his age-32 season, so don’t reach. But he posted another 1,000-yard season in 2023 and can still dominate in flashes.

(Near misses: Anthony Richardson, D’Andre Swift, Aaron Jones, Tyjae Spears, Christian Kirk Calvin Ridley, Rome Odunze, Malik Nabers, David Njoku, Evan Engram)

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