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5 Fantasy Football Rookies to Target: Best Ball Drafts (2024)

5 Fantasy Football Rookies to Target: Best Ball Drafts (2024)

With the NFL draft behind us, fantasy football best ball season is truly upon us, with all the major best ball platforms launching not only their flagship options but many other contests catering to all budgets and desires. With months of fantasy football rookie hype not long behind us, it can be easy to adjust too much one way or the other at this time of year, but it’s worth zooming out and deciding how much exposure you’ll want to these rookies by the time fantasy football drafts close in a few months.

Here are some fantasy football rookies to target in best ball drafts, for now at least.

Fantasy Football Rookies To Draft

Here are five rookies to target in fantasy football redraft leagues or best ball drafts following the 2024 NFL Draft.

Ladd McConkey (WR – LAC)

The hype on Ladd McConkey is definitely in full effect, with him the only Chargers player to be drafted inside the top 115, currently going at pick 73 on Underdog. Over on DraftKings, it’s not unusual to see McConkey pushed into the sixth round already, and that trend likely continues. The reason that McConkey still makes this list, though, is because of how he’s getting pushed up draft boards. If people don’t stop drafting McConkey at his current value, then you have to decide whether you want to head into 2024 with no shares of a player who will potentially be Justin Herbert‘s No. 1 target.

The expectation is that the Chargers won’t be a pass-heavy offense, but it doesn’t need to be for McConkey to pay off as WR40. McConkey goes behind Jordan Addison and Calvin Ridley, who both could be WR2s on their offense with questionable quarterbacking, but Herbert doesn’t bring those questions. If or when McConkey gets pushed to a top-60 pick, then it might be time to stop drafting, but right now, we can ensure we have some exposure to a player who has bags of potential coming out of college.

Jayden Daniels (QB – WAS)

In a similar vein to Ladd McConkey, now might be the perfect time for drafting Jayden Daniels, who is the QB13 on Underdog. Daniels sits outside the top 100 picks at 109 currently, lower than Trey Lance, who was embattled in a QB battle during his rookie offseason when he went at pick 80, and lower than Anthony Richardson, who went as the QB10, inside the top 90 picks not long after being drafted.

Drafters are fully aware of both the upside and downside dual-threat quarterbacks bring to the table at this point, and Daniels is fresh off throwing for 3,811 yards and 40 touchdowns in his final season at LSU while also rushing for 1,250 yards and 10 touchdowns. Between 2018 and 2023, 39 quarterbacks averaged 5.0 rushing attempts per game. Of those 39, 64% finished as a top 12 quarterback in points per game, with 46% finishing top 12 in total points scored.

Looking at things from a weekly perspective shows us that 46% of these quarterbacks were a top-12 option in seven or more games, and 50% of them averaged a top-12 performance rate of 50% or greater. These kinds of spike weeks are very useful in best ball and are worth chasing. The hype on Daniels will arrive sooner or later, and it might be better to be out front of it rather than chasing it at an increased cost.

Trey Benson (RB – ARI)

The Cardinals have been consistently effusive about third-round running back Trey Benson ever since they drafted him. Cardinals General Manager Monti Ossenfort said, “I think Trey fits us from a schematic standpoint, in that he’s instinctive, he’s tough, he’s physical, he’s got good contact balance, he’s able to run through and gain tough yards.” Before going on to mention how much speed and burst they see from Benson, they say that he can be the perfect complement to James Conner.

The Cardinals have not only futureproofed themselves for the 2025 season by taking Benson, but they’ve also given a player who could be a potential three-down back if anything happened to Conner this year. Benson averaged over 11 yards per reception in each of his last two seasons at Florida State, along with rushing for over 900 yards in both. Conner recently turned 29 and has never played more than 13 games in a season, with 32 combined over the last three years. Should Conner miss games in 2024, then it might be hard for him to return to RB1 duties should Benson impress.

Jonathon Brooks (RB – CAR)

Another fantasy football rookie running back and another player who could rocket up draft boards before the end of the offseason is Jonathon Brooks. The Panthers recently signed Rashaad Penny, but that move felt more like adding an extra body for offseason workouts than anything to worry about for Brooks, who will miss those workouts due to his torn ACL suffered in November.

Thankfully for Brooks, it was a clean tear with no additional damage, which is very different from those that have hampered JK Dobbins‘s and Javonte Williams‘s careers. With the out-of-favor Miles Sanders and the up-and-down Chuba Hubbard for competition, there’s a real chance that Brooks could be fully recovered and dominating touches by the time the best ball playoffs roll around, and this is when we need those biggest performances the most. Brooks currently goes at pick 9.08 on Underdog, but this will likely rise if he gets to training camp and is healthy or whenever there are positive news reports about his recovery. Don’t be surprised if Brooks finishes the offseason as a seventh-round pick.

J.J. McCarthy (QB – MIN)

The new Minnesota Vikings quarterback, J.J. McCarthy, finds himself going late in drafts, currently at 186.2 in the 16th round, making him the QB25. McCarthy might be coming from a run-heavy Michigan offense, but there are plenty of reasons to believe he has uncapped potential, and the Vikings led the league in passing yards last year despite missing Kirk Cousins for half the season. The Vikings’ defense was partly responsible for that, putting the offense in pass-heavy scripts and with a single defensive draft pick in the top 100. It’s hard to imagine everything will be better this year.

McCarthy finds himself in a beautiful landing spot with Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, an excellent pass-catching running back in Aaron Jones and with TJ Hockenson back at some point during the season. With that kind of setup, McCarthy will inevitably have some spike weeks, and stacking him costs very little but could return great value.

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