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Dynasty Rookie Draft Outlook & Advice: Round 1 Picks (2024 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Rookie Draft Outlook & Advice: Round 1 Picks (2024 Fantasy Football)

This is what we’ve been waiting for, fantasy football enthusiasts. The NFL Draft is under way, and we finally get to see where the rookie prospects are going to launch their professional careers. And NFL Draft landing spots allow us to start to zero in on fantasy football and dynasty rookie draft pick values.

Throughout the draft, we’ll take a closer look at fantasy-relevant prospects, giving you an overview of their strengths and weaknesses, and assessing their fantasy value in both redraft and dynasty formats.

Let’s dig into Round 1 picks and their fantasy football draft outlook.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Outlook

Here’s what Fitz expects for each of the skill position players selected Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Bears Draft Caleb Williams

The Chicago Bears have spent decades in search of a franchise quarterback, and they hope they landed one Thursday night when they selected USC’s Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.

Widely regarded as the top quarterback in a good QB class, the 21-year-old Williams won the Heisman trophy as a sophomore after setting school records for passing yards (4,321) and TD passes (38) in 2022. Williams wasn’t as statistically prolific in 2023, with 3,633 passing yards and 30 TD passes, but USC’s offensive line struggled to give Williams adequate protection, and the play of Williams’ pass catchers was uneven.

Williams’ special sauce is his ability to improvise and make plays on the run. He’s a creative problem-solver capable of using clever footwork to escape a disappearing pocket or varying his arm slot on the move and still delivering a perfect strike à la Patrick Mahomes.

Although he can be a virtuoso jazz musician when plays break down, Williams is capable of making plays from the pocket, too. He has a strong, accurate arm. He makes anticipatory throws, and he’s able to fit balls into tight windows. Williams threw only 10 interceptions in 599 pass attempts over his final two college seasons.

While he’s no Lamar Jackson, Williams should offer some fantasy value as a runner. Although Williams usually keeps his eyes downfield while he’s on the move, looking for an available receiver, he isn’t afraid to take off and run. He has some speed and elusiveness, and he had 21 rushing touchdowns in his final two college seasons.

The biggest knocks on Williams are that he can be a little too quick to leave the pocket and a little too aggressive in trying to create big plays rather than making safer throws. Williams also coughed up 33 fumbles over his three college seasons.

Unlike last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Bryce Young, who as a rookie was hamstrung by a dreadful supporting cast in Carolina, Williams appears to be entering a reasonably healthy ecosystem.

The Bears already had one terrific wide receiver with D.J. Moore and added another, trading for Keenan Allen in March. Even with that duo, the Bears are likely to draft another receiver from an outstanding WR class. Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett give the Bears some pass-catching firepower at tight end. Chicago’s offensive line isn’t great, but it’s not a train wreck either. PFF graded the Bears 23rd in pass blocking last season, and the Bears ranked 26th in adjusted sack rate last year, per FTN (though former Bears QB Justin Fields is notorious for taking too many sacks).

Williams had a predraft Expert Consensus Ranking of QB18 for redraft. His predraft ADP in Underdog best-ball leagues was QB17. Those are fairly conservative rankings, and I think it would be reasonable to regard Williams as a high-end QB for redraft — somewhere in the QB13-QB15 range.

In dynasty leagues, Williams figures to be the consensus 1.01 in superflex leagues. Some people holding the No. 1 pick in superflex leagues might opt for the relative certainty of one of the top wide receivers, but QB strength is critical in superflex leagues, and Williams has a realistic chance of becoming a top-five NFL quarterback. I have Williams ranked QB6 in dynasty, one spot behind Anthony Richardson and one spot ahead of Joe Burrow.

In 1QB dynasty leagues, where the QB position isn’t as important because of ample supply and reduced demand, Williams should be a late-first-round rookie pick. He has the potential to make a significant impact even in 1QB dynasty leagues, but it would be hard to justify spending a top-7 pick on Williams in such leagues when there are so many outstanding WR prospects in the 2024 draft class.

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Commanders Draft Jayden Daniels

The Washington Commanders have tabbed Jayden Daniels as their quarterback of the future, selecting him with the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft.

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Daniels turned in a remarkable season for LSU in 2023, throwing for 3,812 yards and 40 touchdowns, with only four interceptions. Daniels also had 1,134 rushing yards and 10 TD runs.

It’s Daniels’ rushing potential that will most appeal to fantasy managers. He’s fast and elusive, and Daniels isn’t shy about tucking the ball away and running when he sees open space in front of him. Over his last three college seasons dating back to his final season at Arizona State in 2021, Daniels averaged 70 rushing yards per game — and that’s with sack yardage counting against a quarterback’s rushing yardage in college football.

The 23-year-old Daniels is no slouch as a passer either. He completed 72.2% of his throws last year and averaged an outrageous 11.7 yards per pass attempt. Daniels throws a pretty deep ball and throws accurately to other levels of the field, too. His lightning-quick release will serve him well in the NFL.

Perhaps the biggest concern with Jayden Daniels is the combination of a slender build and a propensity to absorb some big hits. Daniels is 6-3, 210 pounds, and he can be a little too fearless as a runner, leading to the sort of jarring shots from defenders that leave his coaches wincing. For example, Daniels was having a big game vs. Alabama last season, with 219 passing yards, 163 rushing yards and three total touchdowns, but he was knocked out of the game after absorbing a big hit early in the fourth quarter in a game LSU wound up losing 24-15.

Daniels doesn’t come into a bad situation in Washington. PFF graded the Commanders’ offensive line a respectable 15th in pass blocking. Terry McLaurin is a high-quality receiver, and Jahan Dotson could become one. Offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury didn’t exactly preside over high-powered offenses during his stint as the Cardinals’ head coach, but he’s regarded as something of a quarterback whisperer for his work with QBs such as Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Johnny Manziel at the collegiate level.

Daniels had a predraft Expert Consensus Ranking of QB21 for redraft, and his predraft ADP in Underdog best-ball leagues was QB20. Those both look like good values considering that Daniels has immense rushing potential and is likely to play right away. I have him ranked QB16 in redraft and feel like that’s a conservative ranking.

In dynasty superflex leagues, Daniels figures to go somewhere from 1.02 to 1.05, depending on how dynasty managers holding top rookie picks feel about Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Drake Maye. It seems unlikely that Daniels will go ahead of Caleb Williams unless there’s an extreme Daniels truther sitting on pick 1.01. With Daniels’ remarkable athleticism and exciting run/pass potential, he’s worth an early pick.

In 12-team 1QB dynasty leagues, Daniels figures to go late in the first round or somewhere in the top half of the second round. The importance of the QB position is reduced in 1QB dynasty leagues, but Daniels still has appeal because his rushing ability gives him the potential to be a top-five fantasy scorer at the position. In 1QB dynasty leagues, Daniels figures to go somewhere in the late first or early second round.

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Patriots Draft Drake Maye

The New England Patriots are charting a new course with Drake Maye as the helmsman of their offense after selecting him with the third overall pick of the NFL Draft.

A University of North Carolina product, the 21-year-old Maye started for the Tar Heels the last two seasons. He was the ACC player of the Year in 2022, throwing for 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns in 14 games, with seven interceptions. Maye also ran for 698 yards and seven touchdowns that year.

There was some statistical slippage for Maye in 2023, as he transitioned from offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s Air Raid offense to the more conventional offense preferred by Longo’s successor, Chip Lindsey. In his final season at Chapel Hill, Maye threw for 3,608 yards and 24 touchdowns in 12 games, with nine interceptions. He ran for 449 yards and nine touchdowns.

Maye has a nearly ideal NFL toolkit with regard to size, arm strength and mobility. He measures 6-4, 223 pounds. Maye has a powerful arm, and he’s more than just a one-pitch pitcher, able to either drive the ball into tight spaces with high velocity or feather a throw with a softer touch, depending on the situation. Maye is a willing and able runner with the speed and agility to elude would-be tacklers, and the size and strength to power through arm tackles. He’ll add value as a runner in fantasy.

If there’s a knock on Maye, it’s that his decision-making can be suspect, and he can be guilty of trying to do too much. Maye can make some curious choices about throwing to traffic or vacating the pocket prematurely. He’s fumbled 10 times over the last two seasons. And as Dane Brugler of The Athletic notes, Maye had a 39-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio in the first half of games during his college career and a 24-12 ratio in the second half.

Maye walks into a difficult situation. The Patriots ranked 30th in total offense last year. They have one of the weakest groups of pass catchers in the league, and PFF graded the Patriots 31st in pass blocking last season. Maye will nevertheless be a coveted asset in dynasty leagues, but it’s hard to see him having significant value in redraft leagues as a rookie.

As a toolsy QB prospect with top-three draft capital, Maye should be top-five draft pick in superflex dynasty rookie drafts. He could go as early as 1.02, behind only No. 1 draft pick Caleb Williams, but some dynasty managers will prefer the rushing upside of Jaden Daniels, and some will prefer the relative safety of the top two WR prospects, Marchin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers.

In redraft leagues, Maye is either a low-end QB2 or high-end QB3. He won’t be draftable in smaller leagues or leagues with shallow benches, but his combination of arm talent and rushing potential makes him worth a draft pick in deep leagues.

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Cardinals Draft Marvin Harrison Jr.

The Arizona Cardinals hope they’ve landed an alpha wide receiver with their selection of Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. with the fourth overall pick of the first round.

The son of former Colts great Marvin Harrison is even bigger than his Hall of Fame dad. Harrison Sr. was 6-0 and played at around 180 pounds. Harrison Jr. is an imposing 6-3, 209-pound physical specimen. The younger Harrison may not be in his dad’s class as a route-runner, but Junior is good and improving in that area. FantasyPros NFL Draft and college football analyst Thor Nystrom writes that Harrison Jr. is “precise and calculated into the route break, and utterly violent out of them, exposing back to top speed quickly.”

Where Harrison Jr. shines brightest is at the catch point. He has a big catch radius, impressive leaping ability and extraordinary body control. Harrison Jr. is a faithful user of a modified JUGS machine, and it shows — he has great hands.

Despite seeing frequent double-teams and getting less-than-stellar quarterbacking in his final college season, Harrison Jr. had 67 catches for 1,211 yards and 14 touchdowns in 12 games. That came on the heels of a 1,263-yard, 14-TD season as a sophomore.

It’s hard to find weaknesses in Harrison’s game, but he hasn’t been a particularly affective tackle-breaker after the catch.

Harrison immediately becomes the No. 1 wide receiver in Arizona. Trey McBride is a high-quality tight end, but the Cardinals’ other receivers — Michael Wilson, Greg Dortch, Chris Moore and others — don’t provide a lot of target competition. It’s easy to see a path to 130-140 targets for Harrison as a rookie. He’ll also get to work with a solid quarterback in Kyler Murray.

Harrison has a FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking of WR18. He’s being drafted aggressively in Underdog best-ball drafts, with an ADP of WR11. I’m bullish on Harrison as a redraft value and have him ranked WR9. First-round wide receivers tend to be good fantasy values, as we’ve recently seen with players such as Justin Jefferson (rookie ADP: WR49) and Ja’Marr Chase (rookie ADP: WR27). The market is higher on Harrison Jr. than it was on Jefferson and Chase, and deservedly so. I think Harrison Jr. has the same sort of fantasy ceiling as those established stars.

In dynasty, Harrison is the consensus WR1. I concur and would take him first overall in 1QB dynasty rookie drafts and second overall in superflex rookie drafts, behind only QB Caleb Williams. Harrison Jr. profiles as a foundational cornerstone for a dynasty franchise.

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Giants Draft Malik Nabers

The New York Giants have added one of the most highly regarded wide receivers in this class, selecting Malik Nabers of LSU with the sixth pick of the first round.

The 6-0, 199-pound Nabers is coming off an electric final season in Baton Rouge in which he caught 89 passes for 1,569 yards and 14 touchdowns in 13 games. As a sophomore, Nabers led the SEC with 72 receptions and had 1,017 yards and three TD catches.

Nabers is the best route-runner in the class. He has the acceleration of a performance sports car and can stop on a dime or change direction without losing speed. Nabers is an elite separator who seems destined to draw huge target totals in the NFL because he’ll be open so often.

As good a route-runner as Nabers is, he might be even better after the catch. Nabers ran a 4.38 at his pro day and seems to play even faster, slaloming around defenders as if they were traffic cones. And though he’s not a big receiver, Nabers is hard to bring down. In his final season at LSU, Nabers forced 30 missed tackles and had 309 receiving yards after contact.

Some will regard Nabers’ lack of size as a drawback, but his modest frame certainly hasn’t hindered him thus far.

Nabers should immediately become the go-to receiver in Brian Daboll’s offense. The Giants don’t have another high-volume receiver on the roster. Frankly, it’s not entirely clear whether the Giants have another good receiver on the roster, since the jury is still out on Jalin Hyatt and Wan’Dale Robinson, and Darius Slayton is average at best. The Giants are also awaiting word on whether TE Darren Waller will retire. QB Daniel Jones isn’t an ideal target distributor, but he’s not terrible either, so he’s not likely to singlehandedly torpedo Nabers’ fantasy fortunes.

Nabers can play inside or outside. He’s likely to spend a lot of time on the outside in his first year with the Giants, who have slot guys Robinson and Isaiah McKenzie on the roster.

In dynasty, Nabers has a consensus rookie ADP of WR2, and that’s where I have him as well. I’d take him second in a 1QB rookie draft and third in a superflex rookie draft, behind only QB Caleb Williams and WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

For redraft, Nabers had a predraft FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking of RB28 in half-point PPR redraft leagues and an Underdog best-ball ADP of WR23. I think he’s a phenomenal value at those prices and have him ranked WR16 in half-point PPR.

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Falcons Draft Michael Penix Jr.

The Atlanta Falcons pulled off a first-round stunner, selecting the University of Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. with the eighth overall pick of the NFL Draft.

Penix is a fascinating case. He’ll turn 24 in early May and is one of the older QB prospects in this class. He spent four seasons at the University of Indiana, each one ending with a significant injury — a pair of torn right ACLs and an injury to each of his shoulders. With two years of eligibility left, Penix transferred to the University of Indiana, where he thrived in offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb’s spread offense, taking the Huskies all the way to the National Championship Game, where they lost to Michigan.

Pennix averaged 340.9 passing yards per game during his two seasons at Washington, with 67 TD passes and 19 interceptions in 28 games. He was also able to stay healthy, in part because he rarely took sacks. Penix was sacked only 16 times over the last two seasons.

The 6-2, 216-pound Penix is a left-hander with a big arm. Although he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds at his pro day, Penix does his best work from the pocket and probably isn’t going to provide much rushing value in the fantasy game. With his injury history, Penix simply can’t afford to be an aggressive runner.

Michael Penix throws a terrific deep ball and has the arm strength to fit the ball into tight windows. His accuracy can be inconsistent, however, particularly when he’s pressured or when he’s forced to throw on the move.

The Falcons acquired Kirk Cousins in the offseason, and Cousins will no doubt be the Falcons’ starter in 2024 as long as he’s healthy. But Cousins turns 36 in August and is coming off a torn Achilles. Penix provides the Falcons with not only QB insurance but a succession plan at the position.

Obviously, this is bad news for Penix enthusiasts in terms of his short-term fantasy outlook. Penix is basically undraftable in redraft leagues.

In dynasty, I’ll have Penix ranked either QB5 or QB6 among the rookies, and QB24 overall. Expect him to go late in the first half of the first round in superflex rookie drafts, and in the late second round or early third round in 1QB rookie drafts.

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Bears Draft Rome Odunze

The Chicago Bears have injected even more talent into their vastly improved WR room, taking Washington’s Rome Odunze with the ninth overall pick of the draft.

A member of the “Big Three” in this year’s rookie WR class along with Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers, Odunze had a fantastic final college season helping fuel the Huskies’ run to the National Championship with 92 catches for 1,640 yards and 13 touchdowns in 15 games. He had broken out in 2022 as a junior, catching 75 passes for 1,145 yards and seven touchdowns.

Odunze has extraordinary ball skills. He’s excellent at tracking the ball and is a beast in contested-catch situations, coming down with 20 of the 27 contested-catch passes he was thrown last season. Nabers was charged with only seven drops the last two seasons while making 167 catches over that span.

A terrific athlete with good size, the 6-2½, 212-pound Odunze ran a 4.45 at the NFL Scouting Combine and posted a dazzling 9.91 Relative Athletic Score on a 10-point scale. Odunze saw a lot of press coverage in his final season and had a high success rate against it. Odunze is a smooth route-runner and good after the catch.

As with Harrison and Nabers, Odunze has few discernible weaknesses. He’s not the threat after the catch that Nabers is, but he’s no slouch in that department either.

Odunze will face stiff target competition as a rookie, since the Bears already have WRs D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen. Odunze’s arrival could mean a short stay in the Windy City for Allen, who’s entering the final year of his contract. But the presence of those two established receivers puts a lid on Odunze’s target upside as a rookie, barring an injury.

But the future looks bright for Odunze considering that he’ll be paired with Caleb Williams, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, for the foreseeable future. Williams is an electric playmaker, and it’s easy to imagine Williams and Odunze making beautiful music together for years to come.

Odunze’s rookie ADP in dynasty formats is WR3 behind Harrison and Nabers, though there are Odunze fans in the dynasty community who rank Odunze WR1 or WR2. I have Odunze ranked WR3, just a notch below Harrison and Nabers. I’d draft Odunze third overall in a 1QB rookie draft and either fourth or fifth overall in a superflex rookie draft.

For redraft, I have Rome Odunze ranked WR36 for half-point PPR redraft leagues. Although I’m bullish on Odunze overall, he faces serious target competition from Moore, Allen and Kmet.

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Vikings Draft J.J. McCarthy

A steady riser throughout the predraft process, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy landed with the Minnesota Vikings after they traded up one spot to take him with the 10th overall pick of the draft.

McCarthy quarterbacked Michigan to a national championship last season, throwing for 2,991 yards and 22 touchdowns in 15 games. He completed 72.3% of his throws and averaged 9.0 yards per attempt.

There’s a long-running debate about how much credit a quarterback should get for his team’s record, but regardless of where you stand on the issue, it’s noteworthy that McCarthy’s teams have gone 63-3 in games he started at the high school and college levels.

Former Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who will coach the Los Angeles Chargers in 2024, has praised McCarthy’s leadership. The 21-year-old McCarthy has a strong, accurate arm and good mobility. He’s good at throwing on the move and completed 71.4% of his passes while scrambling last season. McCarthy also draws praise for his decision-making, toughness and poise under pressure.

At 6-2½, 219 pounds, McCarthy has less-than-ideal NFL size. He also played in a run-heavy scheme at Michigan, where he averaged only 22.1 pass attempts per game in his final season.

J.J. McCarthy lands in a terrific spot from a fantasy perspective. He’ll get to throw to one of the best pass-catching groups in the league, headlined by star WR Justin Jefferson. The Vikings also have talented second-year WR Jordan Addison, who was a first-round pick in 2023, and TE T.J. Hockenson (though Hockenson is coming off a major knee injury).

With early-first-round draft capital and a terrific landing spot, McCarthy could conceivably go as early as 1.03 in superflex dynasty rookie drafts, and it’s hard to see him falling past 1.07. I preferred Drake Maye as a QB prospect, but with Maye landing in a poor situation in New England and McCarthy landing in a near-ideal situation in Minnesota, I now prefer McCarthy in dynasty. In 1QB dynasty leagues, where there’s reduced demand at QB because of the greater supply, McCarthy will most likely be an early second-round pick.

In redraft leagues, J.J. McCarthy should be regarded as a midrange to low-end QB2. I tentatively have him ranked QB22.

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Broncos Draft Bo Nix

The Denver Broncos have selected Bo Nix with the 12th pick of the NFL Draft and hope the University of Oregon product can help solve their QB woes.

No quarterback in this draft has taken more college snaps than Bo Nix, and perhaps all that playing time will help Nix make a quick transition from the collegiate ranks to the NFL.

Nix started 61 games over five college seasons — three at Auburn, where his dad had played quarterback in the ’90s, and two at Oregon. For a recent example of a battle-tested QB who overachieved early in his NFL career, consider the case of Brock Purdy, who made 46 starts at Iowa State and has become a successful starter for the 49ers despite being the last pick of the 2021 draft.

After failing to live up to expectations at Auburn, Nix thrived after transferring to Oregon, aided by a QB-friendly offense and a strong supporting cast. At Auburn, Nix completed 59.4% of his passes, averaged 6.9 yards per attempt and had a 39-16 touchdown-to-interception ratio. At Oregon, Nix completed 74.9% of his passes, averaged 9.2 yards per attempt and had a 74-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

The 24-year-old Nix isn’t especially big (6-2, 214 pounds) and doesn’t have a bazooka arm, but he has adequate arm strength and good mobility, and he gets high marks for turnover avoidance. Nix seems to know his limitations and might be sneaky-good is he lands in the right system — much like Purdy. Nix should add some fantasy value with his legs. He had 38 touchdown runs during his college career, with 14 of them coming in his first season at Oregon.

The big question is whether Nix can adapt to a pro-style offense where he won’t be able to pad his production with screen passes and other quick, easy throws. (Nix threw 418 screen passes over his college career.)

Denver isn’t a bad landing spot for Nix. He’ll be coached by Sean Payton, who had a great run with Drew Brees in New Orleans. Brees didn’t have a cannon for an arm, and neither does Nix. Perhaps Payton can craft the same sort of effective ball-control passing attack for Nix that he designed for Brees in the Big Easy.

The Broncos graded out fifth in the league in pass blocking last year, per PFF, so Nix should be well-protected. Courtland Sutton is an established wide receiver, and second-year WR Marvin Mims has promise.

For dynasty, I have Nix ranked QB5 among rookies, behind Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye. I prefer Penix as a QB prospect, but I had to move Penix behind Nix after Penix landed in Atlanta, where he’s likely to be a backup for a year or two. I have Nix ranked 23rd overall in dynasty. He’s likely to go at the tail end of the first round in superflex rookie drafts, and in the late second round or early third round in 1QB rookie drafts.

For redraft, Nix is a high-end QB3 who probably won’t be selected this year in most 1QB redraft leagues.

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Raiders Draft Brock Bowers

The Las Vegas Raiders didn’t have a screaming need for a tight end, but they couldn’t pass on Georgia’s Brock Bowers when he fell to them at Pick No. 13, so they happily snatched up one of the best pass-catching TE prospects to enter the NFL in years.

Bowers was a force from the moment he set foot on campus in Athens, catching 56 passes for 882 yards and 13 touchdowns as a true freshman. He had no fewer than 56 receptions in any of his three seasons at Georgia, and he finished with 56 catches for 714 yards and six touchdowns last season even though a high-ankle sprain limited him to 10 games. Bowers had 193 rushing yards and five TD runs during his college career.

An ultra-versatile chess piece, Bowers can line up anywhere – inline, in the slot, out wide, or in the backfield. He’s a crisp route-runner with a bagful of tricks to get defenders off-balance and gain separation. Bowers has spiderweb hands, and he’s an absolute menace after the catch, breaking tackles or using his speed to elude defenders.

Bowers didn’t test at either the NFL Scouting Combine or his pro day, but he’s a terrific athlete who can generate good speed for someone who measures 6-3, 243 pounds.

The knocks on Bowers? Well, he’s probably never going to be an exceptional blocking tight end. Do we care about that in that fantasy game? Not one little bit. Bowers is going to be an extraordinary pass-catching weapon in both real life and the fantasy realm.

The Raiders have a high-volume wide receiver in Davante Adams, they already have a tight end they like in 2023 second-rounder Michael Mayer, and they have one of the shakier quarterback situations in the league, with Gardner Minshew the likely starter and Aidan O’Connell the No. 2. It doesn’t seem like the best of situations for Bowers, but he’s such a versatile Swiss army knife that I’m not inclined to fade him based on his ecosystem. I suspect Bowers is going to catch at least 55-60 passes as a rookie.

The consensus TE1 in this rookie class, Bowers is likely to be taken 1.04 in most 1QB dynasty rookie drafts, after the WR trio of Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze. In TE-premium leagues, it’s possible Bowers will go in the top three. Expect him to come off the board near the middle of the first round in superflex rookie drafts. I have the 21-year-old Bowers ranked as the overall TE1 for dynasty.

In redraft, I’m being a bit more conservative, ranking Bowers TE9. He had a predraft FantasyPros Expert Consensus ranking on TE10 in half-point PPR formats, and he had a predraft Underdog best-ball ADP of TE7.

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Jaguars Draft Brian Thomas Jr.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have selected Brian Thomas of LSU with the 23rd pick of the first round.

A high-ceiling WR prospect with a tantalizing combination of size and speed, Thomas measures 6-2½, 209 pounds, and blazed a 4.33 at the NFL Scouting Combine. Thomas also posted a 9.97 Relative Athletic Score, 10th-best among all wide receivers to have posted a RAS since 1987, according to RAS pioneer Kent Lee Platte.

Thomas was a touchdown machine in his third and final season at LSU, with 17 TD catches in 13 games. He had 68 catches for 1,177 yards, averaging 17.3 yards per catch. Thomas had a 147.8 passer rating on his targets last season.

Thomas is remarkably fluid for a bigger receiver, and the number of big plays he made downfield last season attests to his tracking ability and ball skills.

After running a very limited route tree — mostly go routes, comebacks and slants — in Baton Rouge, Thomas will have to become a more complete route-runner at the professional level. He had only one impactful college season, and he did it with Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels as his quarterback.

Brian Thomas joins a Jaguars WR room that includes Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and free-agent addition Gabe Davis. It’s possible that Thomas could be Jacksonville’s No. 4 receiver to start the season if he doesn’t get up to speed quickly. The Jags also have a prolific pass-catching tight end in Evan Engram. But Thomas probably has a higher ceiling than any of the Jaguars’ other wide receivers, and it’s a plus that he’ll be playing with QB Trevor Lawrence.

Thomas has the potential to develop into Jacksonville’s lead receiver, but it’s not likely to happen in his rookie year. More likely, he’ll provide some splash plays in 2024 but not a lot of catch volume.

In dynasty, Thomas is the consensus WR4 among rookies. I agree with that ranking and would take him fifth overall in 1QB rookie drafts behind Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze and Brock Bowers. In superflex rookie drafts, Thomas should come off the board at pick 1.09, behind the top four quarterbacks, the “Big Three” wide receivers, and Bowers. Thomas is my dynasty WR30.

For redraft, Brian Thomas had a predraft FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking of WR60 in half-point PPR leagues. His Underdog best-ball ADP before the draft was WR41. I have Thomas ranked WR46.

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Chiefs Draft Xavier Worthy

The Kansas City Chiefs have injected a shot of adrenaline into their WR room, selecting Xavier Worthy of Texas with the 28th pick of the first round after making a trade with Buffalo to move up four spots.

Kansas City is a dream landing spot for a wide receiver, and Worthy seems like an especially good fit for Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s system.

Speed is Worthy’s calling card. He broke the record for the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting combine with a 4.21. Worthy combines that explosive speed with high-quality route-running. He’s no mere deep threat; the Longhorns endeavored to get the ball into Worthy’s hands on shorter routes, too, positioning him to do damage after the catch. Worthy played both outside and in the slot at Texas, and that versatility should help with his transition to the NFL.

Worthy was productive from the get-go at Texas, catching 62 passes for 981 yards and 12 touchdowns as an 18-year-old freshman. He finished his three-year run in Austin with 75 catches for 1,014 yards and five touchdowns last season while sharing targets with WR Adonai Mitchell ad TE Ja’Tavion Sanders.

Xavier Worthy is 5-11, 165 pounds, so he’s not going to win many tests of strength against NFL defensive backs. His lack of physicality shows up in contested-catch situations. He also has questionable ball skills, with 12 drops over the last two years.

The good news is that Reid is going to find all sorts of creative ways to get Worthy into open space, and QB Patrick Mahomes isn’t going to force Worthy to make a lot of contested catches. The Chiefs value speed at wide receiver, but they’ve taken some missteps in trying to add speed at the WR position, signing Marquez Valdes-Scantling, trading for Kadarius Toney, and drafting and reacquiring Mecole Hardman. Worthy is a better player than any of those three and should quickly become a valuable fantasy asset in the Kansas City offense, even though he’ll have to share targets with TE Travis Kelce and WR Rashee Rice.

In dynasty, I had Worthy ranked WR6 among rookies before the draft but have moved him up to WR4. I have him ranked WR28 overall for dynasty. He’s likely to go somewhere from 1.04 to 1.07 in 1QB dynasty rookie drafts, and in the late first round of superflex rookie drafts.

Xavier Worthy’s predraft FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking in half-point PPR redraft leagues was WR66. His predraft Underdog best-ball ADP was RB58. He’ll get more expensive after landing with the Chiefs. I tentatively have him ranked WR46 for redraft.

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49ers Draft Ricky Pearsall

The San Francisco 49ers have selected Ricky Pearsall of Florida with the 31st pick of the first round, pumping up Pearsall’s fantasy value.

After catching 65 passes for 964 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games as a senior at Florida, Pearsall boosted his draft stock with excellent showings at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. The 6-1, 189-pound Pearsall ran a 4.41 at the combine and had a 42-inch vertical jump. He posted a Relative Athletic Score of 9.90, 32nd-best among all wide receivers to have posted RAS scores since 1987, according to RAS creator Kent Lee Platte.

Pearsall is a crisp route-runner with ultra-reliable hands. He had only five drops over his final three college seasons while recording 146 receptions. Pearsall also has excellent ball skills and is laser-focused on making the catch even if it means taking a big hit.

As talented as Pearsall was, his numbers in his final three college season weren’t exactly eye-popping. He never recorded a 1,000-yard season in college, and over his final three years he had 13 TD catches in 38 games.

The extent to which Pearsall contributes to the 49ers as a rookie largely depends on whether San Francisco keeps reportedly disgruntled WR Brandon Aiyuk or trades him away. If Aiyuk stays, Pearsall likely spends the 2024 season as a fourth wheel in the San Francisco passing game behind Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle (not to mention RB Christian McCaffrey). If Aiyuk goes, Pearsall will play a more robust snap share and have an easier path to targets. Pearsall has the versatility to play inside or outside, and I would expect him to primarily man the slot for the Niners in 2024.

In dynasty, I have Pearsall ranked WR6 among rookies and WR32 overall. He’s likely to go somewhere in the back half of the first round in 1QB rookie drafts, and in the early second round in superflex drafts.

Pearsall’s predraft FantasyPros Expert Consensus ranking was WR78 in half-point PPR formats, and he had a predraft Underdog best-ball ADP of WR80. I have Pearsall ranked WR70 for redraft but will bump him up at least 10 spots if the 49ers part ways with Aiyuk.

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Panthers Draft Xavier Legette

WR Xavier Legette of South Carolina will make a short trip north to begin his professional career after being drafted by the Carolina Panthers with the final pick of the first round. The Panthers traded up with the Bills for the right to select Legette.

Legette might be the toughest evaluation of any wide receiver in this draft class. He’s a sculpted 6-1 and 221 pounds, with extraordinary athleticism. He ran a 4.39 at the combine, giving him a 98th percentile speed score, per Legette also has a 40-inch vertical jump and posted a Relative Athletic Score. Legette’s speed and athleticism shows up on film. He’s dangerous after the catch, and he has a good pair of hands, too.

It’s Legette’s college production profile that raises questions. During his first four seasons at South Carolina, he was an afterthought in the Gamecocks’ offense. In his fourth year, he had 18 catches for 167 yards. But Legette exploded as a fifth-year senior, with 71 catches for 1,255 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games.

Legette played quarterback as a senior in high school, so it’s understandable that things didn’t click for him right away as a college wide receiver. But do we trust a player who didn’t break out until his fifth college season? The 23-year-old Legette is also a somewhat underaged prospect, which might be a turnoff for some dynasty managers.

Carolina isn’t an optimal landing spot for Legette. Diontae Johnson, whom the Panthers signed in the offseason, figures to be the Panthers’ lead receiver, and Carolina is likely to have a low-octane passing game overall. The Panthers had 3,245 passing yards last year, fewest in the league. Even with significant improvement from second-year QB Bryce Young, the Panthers aren’t likely to have a prolific passing attack in 2024.

On the bright side, Legette could ascend Carolina’s WR depth chart quicky if he can make a smooth adjustment to the NFL. Adam Thielen turns 34 in August, and Jonathan Mingo didn’t show much as a rookie.

In dynasty, I have Legette ranked WR10 among rookies and WR50 overall. Expect him to come off the board early in the second round of 1QB rookie drafts and in the mid-to-late second round of superflex drafts.

Legette’s predraft FantasyPros Expert Consensus ranking was WR82 in half-point PPR formats, and he had a predraft Underdog best-ball ADP of WR72. I have Legette ranked WR77 for redraft.

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Dynasty Rookie Draft Rankings

Our analysts provide their latest rookie draft rankings below. And also check out our expert consensus dynasty rookie draft rankings!

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