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Fantasy Football Rookies: Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy, Drake Maye, MarShawn Lloyd

Rookies are one of the last remaining edges to exploit in all of your drafts in 2024. ADPs lag. Upside is hard to contextualize for some, and plenty of people will shy away from drafting them because “they haven’t seen them produce yet.” Not me. Give me all the late-season rookie hammers I can get ahold of, especially the undervalued one. These are my favorite undervalued rookies to target in fantasy football in 2024.

2024 fantasy football draft kit undervalued rookies

DBro’s Undervalued Rookies to Target in 2024

Jayden Daniels (QB – WAS) – QB16

Let’s get this out of the way. If Daniels starts every game this season, his rushing equity alone will push him into the top 12 of fantasy quarterbacks. In his final season at LSU, Daniels rushed for 1,134, and now he’s paired with an offensive coordinator who is quite familiar with game planning with a mobile quarterback. Kliff Kingsbury’s offense will feature play-action and deep passing, which are two of Daniels’ stand-out strengths. At the height of Kyler Murray‘s powers under Kliff Kingsbury (2021), he ranked fifth in deep ball rate and 11th in play-action dropback rate. In 2023, Daniels led all collegiate passers in deep passing grade and deep adjusted completion rate while also ranking fourth in play-action passing grade. Daniels being ranked outside the top-12 fantasy quarterbacks is a gift. Enjoy it.

J.J. McCarthy (QB – MIN) – QB26

McCarthy’s ranking is as low as it is because of the uncertainty of when he will be the team’s starter in 2024. If we knew he was walking into Week 1 as the guy under center, he’d be a mid-range QB2. McCarthy is a strong bet on talent and situation not only to start this year but also to surpass expectations when he does. In his final season at Michigan, he ranked 10th in passing grade, fourth in adjusted completion rate, and 11th in yards per attempt. A player with this talent level in Kevin O’Connell’s system should flourish. Last year, in the eight games, Nick Mullens and Joshua Dobbs played at least 70% of the offensive snaps; they finished as the QB11 or higher in weekly fantasy, scoring 63% of the time. That would have been the sixth-highest QB1 scoring rate in fantasy last year. Draft McCarthy as an upside QB2 this year.

Drake Maye (QB – NE) – QB30

Maye is in a similar situation as McCarthy. We have no clue how long Jacoby Brissett starts this season (if at all). Maye has the talent also to be a strong QB2 and flirt with some QB1 production if he gets the gig at some point. In his final season in college, Maye ranked eighth in passing grade and big-time throw rate. He adds some value also with his legs with some possible rushing utility. New England has some underrated skill players in-house (Antonio Gibson, DeMario Douglas, and Javon Baker) that could help Maye make some noise in his rookie season.

MarShawn Lloyd (RB – GB)  RB53

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably already aware that MarShawn Lloyd was one of my man crushes throughout the NFL Draft cycle. While his landing spot has turned many off, I’m not fazed. Will Josh Jacobs be heavily involved weekly? Sure, but that doesn’t mean that Lloyd is a zero or change-of-pace option only. Lloyd crushed every part of the predraft process after jumping off the stat sheet during his final two collegiate seasons. In each of those two years, he finished in the top 20 in yards after contact per attempt, breakaway percentage, and PFF elusive rating. Lloyd will quickly be a major factor in this backfield, with his main competition for touches (Josh Jacobs) hoping for a bounceback year. Last year, Jacobs struggled mightily to break tackles and create big plays as he ranked (among 49 qualifying backs last season per Fantasy Points Data) 41st in explosive run rate, 37th in missed tackles forced per attempt, and 44th in yards after contact per attempt. Lloyd is an RB3/4 who can easily out-kick his ADP this season.

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