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4 Fantasy Football Breakout Candidates: Second-Year Players (2024)

4 Fantasy Football Breakout Candidates: Second-Year Players (2024)

While the 2024 NFL Draft has come and gone, it’s important to remind ourselves of the players drafted in 2023 and how they could contribute to fantasy football coming off their rookie campaigns. Let’s take a look at a few fantasy football breakout candidates ahead of the 2024 NFL season.

Fantasy Football Breakout Candidates

Below, we’ll explain a player from each position and forecast their 2024 breakout.

Anthony Richardson (QB – IND)

Playing in just four games last season and getting hurt in some of those, Anthony Richardson was 14th in average fantasy points per game from Weeks 1-5 (18.4).

That average includes not playing in Week 3 and scoring just 4.4 in Week 5 after getting hurt again. He posted a 29.6-point performance in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Rams, passing for 200 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 56 yards and another score.

This season, health is pending, but Richardson should pick up where he left off — a competent passer who can throw the ball downfield with rushing upside.

The Colts also added wide receiver Adonai Mitchell in the second round and Jonathan Taylor will be there from Week 1 onward.

Richardson could very well become a top-five quarterback in fantasy football next season.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – SEA)

We saw flashes last season from the Ohio State product, but due to the wide receivers on the roster — DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett — and being a rookie, he didn’t quite have the season many expected of him before the draft.

Now, with a year into the league and with Lockett another year older, Smith-Njigba will be in for a great season.

Last year, he caught 63 passes on 90 targets for 628 yards and four scores. He didn’t have a multi-touchdown game and never went beyond 63 yards in a single game.

He was a relatively consistent Flex option, depending on the size of your league, but again, Lockett will be 32 during the first part of the season. Comparing his 2023 season to 2022, Lockett had one more drop, and despite the same number of targets, he recorded fewer catches, yards, touchdowns and yards per reception.

Look for Smith-Njigba to be featured more this season.

Chase Brown (RB – CIN)

Joe Mixon has left town. The top of the running back depth chart in Cincinnati is up for grabs.

The Bengals brought in former Indianapolis Colts running back Zack Moss on a two-year, $8 million deal, so he’ll get the first crack more than likely, but there were some flashes from Chase Brown last season.

Brown is also more than three years younger than Moss and proved to be a workhorse in college with Syracuse.

Brown averaged 4.1 yards per game, but there were games such as the one on the road against Jacksonville, where he saw nine carries for 61 yards. In Week 18, he had 11 carries for 43 yards.

It’ll be intriguing to see how Brown comes out of the gate this season, but when it comes to projecting a breakout, Brown has the upside in a weak depth chart to emerge as “the guy.”

Tucker Kraft (TE – GB)

We often think of Luke Musgrave when considering the Packers’ tight end depth chart, but Tucker Kraft, who was drafted a round later, was slightly more involved than Musgrave in many ways within this offense.

Last season, Kraft finished third in receiving snaps at 336, trailing Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed. That was 40 more than Musgrave. Kraft also had one more touchdown.

Musgrave and Kraft were similar, stat line-wise, but you can likely get Kraft a lot cheaper than Musgrave in drafts. He’ll be especially good value in deeper leagues.

Musgrave caught 40 passes on 52 targets for 418 yards. Kraft saw 48 targets, catching 36 of them for 379 yards. 

There are plenty of mouths to feed in Green Bay, but the term “breakout” is relative, especially at the tight end position.

Don’t be shocked to see Kraft finish just outside the TE1 range. His competition for that slot will be Musgrave, Juwan Johnson, Cade Otton, Dalton Schultz, Cole Kmet and Pat Freiermuth — all players he could certainly top.

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