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5 Polarizing Players: Cases For & Against (2024 Fantasy Football)

5 Polarizing Players: Cases For & Against (2024 Fantasy Football)

With best-ball season in full swing earlier and more popular than ever, drafts were happening before the 2023 season had even fully disappeared from view. ADP is falling into place quickly, but when it comes to some players, should we be giving them a little more thought at their current price?

This article will look at five players who are tricky propositions right now, with a wide range of outcomes in 2024. We’ll make the case for and against them to help you decide what to do with each this year.

The Case For & Against These 5 Players in 2024

Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAC)

Three years ago, there was no surer thing than Lawrence becoming a stud in the NFL. In dynasty drafts, Lawrence was the unanimous 1.01. He was the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, and there was no way that he could fail at the next level.

Lawrence, for his part, has been far better than any quarterback in that class, with only Justin Fields possibly still a starter in 2024. However, Lawrence has never really developed into the truly elite player many had hoped. He has played 50 career regular-season games but has only scored 23 or more points in eight of them (16%). Even in the post-Urban Meyer era of the last two years, Lawrence has finished as a top-twelve QB in 13 of 34 games, making him a fringe starter in single-QB formats.

Lawrence has played three seasons without a true WR1, with Calvin Ridley disappointing in 2023 after coming off almost two full years without a game. In 2024, Lawrence could easily take a step forward after developing more chemistry with Ridley along with Christian Kirk and Evan Engram continuing to be reliable options. This draft class is bubbling with WR talent, and if the Jaguars add someone significant, Lawrence deserves fantasy football’s faith in him for one more year at least.

Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND)

In early best-ball drafts, Taylor is being taken in the middle of round two with an ADP of 15.3. That might seem a bit steep for a player who never strung together two consecutive top-20 weekly finishes in 2023, but Taylor returned from injured reserve in Week 5 and also missed time between Weeks 13 to 15. The missed time left a huge opportunity for Zack Moss, who shone and made it hard for Taylor to resume full three-down duties when he was healthy.

Taylor averaged a 61.7% opportunity share in 2023 compared to 67% in 2022 and 69% in 2021. This difference might not sound massive, but going from 22 touches per game to 17 makes it much harder to dominate. The other knock against Taylor is that we saw him and Anthony Richardson on the field together for just 22 snaps in 2023. With only a single season at 40 receptions or more, it’s unlikely Taylor can earn targets at such a high rate that it makes up for Richardson prefer to check it down than run.

If one were to make an argument in favor of drafting Taylor in 2024, it would largely come down to running backs in backfields with dual-threat QBs tend to be more efficient with defenses forced to defend both positions. There is the possibility that the Colts might try to reign in some of Richardson’s aggressiveness around the goal line as well, which led to several injuries. If that happens, Taylor might find himself as fortunate as Gus Edwards did in 2023, with many easy touchdowns there for the taking.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Sam LaPorta (TE – DET)

It was a record-breaking rookie season, LaPorta became just the second tight end ever to score double-digit touchdowns in their rookie season. That in itself is a slight cause for concern heading into year two, as LaPorta is being drafted as the TE1 with an ADP of 29.8.

Touchdowns are one of the least sticky stats in football. If LaPorta had scored three fewer touchdowns, in line with nearly all the top options at the position, then his total points and points per game for the season would have dropped him to TE4.

There is no doubting LaPorta’s abilities. and at a position as nightmarish as tight end, having a reliable player can help you sleep easy at night. If LaPorta regresses slightly in the touchdown category and other players in round two perform well, then the opportunity cost of drafting him might not be worth it at the end of the season.

The counter to this argument would be that Travis Kelce is going to be 35 in 2024. On top of that, Mark Andrews is dealing with the emergence of Zay Flowers and Isaiah Likely. TJ Hockenson is recovering from an ACL injury, and George Kittle is one of the most volatile players in fantasy.

Zay Flowers (WR – BAL)

Speaking of the Ravens, Flowers’ emergence over the second half of the season was everything Baltimore fans hoped for after years of spotty play from highly-drafted receivers. From Week 12 forward, Flowers had four performances in which he scored 19.6 points or more, finishing inside the top-15 WRs in all of those games.

The biggest barrier for wide receivers in Baltimore has been earning the trust of MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson’s faith in his own legs has led him to prefer running at times rather than trying to throw to a covered receiver. Flowers earned Jackson’s trust in a way no receiver has done since Marquise Brown was in Baltimore. It was especially obvious in the red zone, where Flowers led the team with 14 targets and caught 79% of them.

The case against Flowers would be that he did his best work while Andrews was out injured, scoring almost twice as many points per game and most of his touchdowns with the star TE sidelined. Was this a case of Flowers breaking out or simply seizing on available targets? That’s the question drafters have to ask themselves.

Keenan Allen (WR – LAC)

Even the most optimistic drafters last year probably didn’t expect Allen to turn in his first top-five WR season since 2017. With injuries to Mike Williams and Josh Palmer combined with ineffectiveness from Austin Ekeler and Quentin Johnston, Allen was the man who stepped up for the Chargers and did his best to keep the offense moving whenever he could.

Allen was the WR3 in PPR points per game, averaging a league-high 11.5 targets per week – more than both Tyreek Hill and CeeDee Lamb. Allen was mercurial and rolled back the years. With Williams a likely cap-casualty, there’s a chance Allen could be a top receiver again in 2024.

The biggest barriers for Allen could be his age, as he will soon turn 32, and the overhaul of the Chargers in a soft-rebuild. Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers never finished above 29th in total pass attempts in the four years he was their head coach. His Michigan teams in 2023 and 2022 both finished in the bottom 10% of pass rates across 130 qualifying teams.

Greg Roman gets more abuse as an offensive coordinator than is deserved, but it’s undeniable his passing game schemes aren’t helpful to wide receivers. Sheer volume alone might not be enough for Allen in 2024.

Early 2024 Fantasy Football Draft Prep

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