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

It can be easy to get swept up in the fantasy football rookie hype after the NFL Draft. When contrasted with veteran prices in Best Ball ADP, sometimes it feels like you’re getting a bargain wherever you draft a rookie in fantasy football.

Unfortunately, for every Puka Nacua that hits late, there’s also a Skyy Moore or Kyle Pitts that flops at a greater cost.

These are the 2024 fantasy football rookies to currently avoid in best ball drafts unless they fall significantly past ADP.

Fantasy Football Rookies To Avoid

(ADP courtesy of Underdog Fantasy)

Rome Odunze (WR – CHI)

With Keenan Allen potentially gone and DJ Moore staring down the final year of his contract, the hype around Rome Odunze a year from now could be massive and completely justified.

Still, for now, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the Bears have three very good pass-catchers and two experienced tight ends in Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett. Allen is coming off a year where he led the league in targets per game (11.5), and both he and DJ Moore set career bests in a number of categories.

Odunze is currently being held at a reasonable level as the WR36 behind both Allen (WR29) and Moore (WR17). Yet, with an ADP of 64.6, that’s still a very expensive pick in a range of the draft where we need to maximize our potential each week. Instead of taking Odunze, you could take Calvin Ridley, Jordan Addison or Brian Thomas Jr. in the next 10 picks, all of whom could be the WR2s onintheir respective offenses.

Brock Bowers (TE – LV)

If Brock Bowers had landed with a tight end-needy team like the Colts or the Bengals, it would be hard not to get excited about him. Instead, he landed in a crowded tight end room, with some well-established pass-catchers at wide receiver, a run-focused head coach and a quarterback situation that is far from inspiring.

Gardner Minshew ranked 23rd in catchable pass rate last season, while Aidan O’Connell ranked 32nd. Both players averaged 197 passing yards per game despite their defenses often putting them in pass-heavy scripts.

Jakobi Meyers averaged 1.5 yards per route run and a 21% target share, while Davante Adams stayed above the elite mark of 2.0 yards per route run and had a massive 33.1% target share. Michael Mayer only saw 40 targets in his rookie year. While it’s possible the Raiders have buyer’s remorse, it’s more likely that Mayer is trusted heading into his second year and continues to be a part of the tight end rotation that the Raiders deploy. There is no denying Bowers’ upside, but it becomes very hard to live up to his potential if he comes off the field consistently.

Jaylen Wright (RB – MIA)

The Miami Dolphins always draw interest in their players because of the dynamite scheme head coach Mike McDaniels deploys. After seeing De’Von Achane in his rookie year, it’s hard to argue this isn’t a great landing spot for Jaylen Wright. Still, this Miami backfield is crowded with Jeff Wilson Jr. still on the team, Raheem Mostert signing a new contract recently and Achane primed to take a second-year leap.

Perhaps Achane continues to pick up niggling injuries like he did in 2023, and maybe Father Time catches up with 32-year-old Mostert. All of this would allow Wright to get onto the field and be relevant. Still, there are a lot of hypotheticals in that sentence, and even if Wright does see the field, he’s unlikely to be an every-down back because of a limited ability as a pass-catcher with very little wiggle or nuance to his route running.

In a similar range, you could draft Rico Dowdle, Ty Chandler or MarShawn Lloyd, who all have less crowded backfields to deal with.

Xavier Legette (WR – CAR)

There is plenty of reason to think that Bryce Young can take a significant step forward under Dave Canales as head coach. He also has a rebuilt offensive line and some fresher legs around him. Still, it might not result in Xavier Legette becoming a fantasy football asset.

Legette becomes the latest in a string of big-bodied wide receivers with poor production history that the Panthers have drafted and he’ll have his work cut out competing for targets. Diontae Johnson has a career average yards per route run of 1.70 and has earned over 85 targets in all five seasons, with over 140 in three of them. Adam Thielen ran out of gas by the midpoint of the 2023 season, but he still earned seven or more targets in 11 of 16 games and had double-digit looks in six of them. The ways that Thielen and Johnson win targets – closer the line of scrimmage – will be a lot easier to count on than those outside the numbers or deep downfield to Legette. The former Gamecock had under 200 yards in all but one season at South Carolina.

At pick 140, it might be better to take Brandin Cooks or Josh Downs instead, given that their offenses should be much better than Carolina’s.

Ben Sinnott (TE – WAS)

Rookie tight ends had a banner year in 2023, with Sam LaPorta, Luke Musgrave, Dalton Kincaid and Tucker Kraft all having their moments. Still, it can’t be forgotten that this is the exception to the mean.

Looking back before the 2023 season, 384 tight ends have played in the NFL and recorded a stat of some form during their rookie season. Of those 384, only two have scored 10.0 or more fantasy points in their rookie seasons (Dominique Byrd and Jordan Reed). Filtering things slightly to adjust for only the drafted players, we get a list of 255 tight ends. Within this amount, 43.5% recorded an average of under 1.99 points per game, and only 12.1% scored over 6.0 half-PPR points per game.

That’s the bar we have to set for rookie tight ends, and it looks pretty grim when we consider 19 different tight ends scored over 6.0 half PPR points per game in 2023. Coincidentally, Ben Sinnot is being drafted as the TE19 at pick No. 162 right now. Sinnott is a good player but a better blocker than a pass-catcher and will be competing with Zach Ertz, Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and fellow rookie Luke McCaffrey for touches. Instead of taking Sinnott, Hunter Henry and Cade Otton can be had within a few picks on either side of him, and both look like stronger bets.

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