Best Rookies To Draft in Fantasy 2024: Rankings Include Ladd McConkey, Jayden Daniels, and Malik Nabers

Rookies can feel like the lottery tickets of the fantasy football world. Here are some of the best rookies to target in your fantasy draft for 2024.

Players like Puka Nacua, Zay Flowers, and Sam LaPorta are just the most recent examples of how impactful rookies can be on your fantasy team.

Here are some of the rookies you should target in your fantasy football draft heading into the 2024 NFL season.

Which Rookies Should You Consider Drafting in Fantasy?

1) Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Arizona Cardinals

Marvin Harrison Jr. is entering the fantasy football landscape for his rookie season with a similar amount of hype as Bijan Robinson. Quite frankly, it’s justified. His size (6’3”, 209 pounds), speed, great hands, and wide catch radius were already enough to make scouts drool over his potential as an impact player in the league.

Those traits alone are enough to get fantasy managers excited, but when you pair the great physical profile with his exceptional route-running nuance, a great release package, and formation versatility, there is a legitimate chance for him to make a big fantasy impact immediately to start his NFL career.

It’s hard to poke any holes in Harrison’s prospect profile with his outstanding college production at Ohio State. His sophomore and junior seasons combined saw him generate 144 receptions, 2,474 yards, and 28 TDs while competing for targets with NFL-caliber talent like Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Cade Stover, and future NFL prospect Emeka Egbuka.

He even managed to see the field during his true freshman campaign with 11 receptions for 139 yards and three scores while sharing the field with Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.

Harrison checks all of the boxes as a potentially elite fantasy WR producer at the NFL level, which is why you should be very excited he landed with the Cardinals to start his career.

Not only will he be catching passes from a productive quarterback from the moment he steps on an NFL field, but his competition for targets is virtually non-existent at the WR position. Once you get past TE Trey McBride, names like Michael Wilson and Greg Dortch are the only things that stand in Harrison’s way to seeing north of a 25% target share in 2024.

Please understand I’m not suggesting he will be better than an All-Pro talent in his rookie year, but I could see Harrison’s role being similar to that of DeAndre Hopkins’s first year with the Cardinals. Both are players who can dominate in isolation and contested-catch situations as X-receivers, which allows the shorter Murray to push the ball outside the numbers—which is where the data suggests he prefers to go with the football.

D-Hop saw a 29.4% target share in 2020 with 160 total targets, which helped Hopkins produce 115 receptions for 1,407 yards and six TDs on his way to a WR4 overall finish in full-PPR formats.

Obviously, Harrison will still have to acclimate to the NFL game and isn’t guaranteed to see the same amount of volume as a prime version of Hopkins in a completely different offensive scheme in his rookie year. Yet, the similarities in situation, quarterback, and skill set do exist enough to make me believe a WR1 fantasy season in his rookie year is within the range of outcomes.

2) Malik Nabers, WR, New York Giants

The hype around Harrison has potentially made Malik Nabers feel like he is flying under the radar heading into his rookie year, but his explosive playmaking ability and elite movement skills — hyper-suddenness in short areas with plenty of top-speed juice — means we can expect him to be a very productive option in 2024 too.

Perhaps it’s not another elite prospect stealing some of the fantasy buzz away from Nabers heading into his rookie year because the New York Giants offense doesn’t excite anyone.

Fantasy managers have watched players like Kadarius Toney, Jalin Hyatt, and Wan’Dale Robinson all fail to make any fantasy-relevant impact in their respective rookie years. Whether you want to indict the receivers or quarterback, no Giants WR has managed to catch 70+ passes or register 800+ yards receiving over the last five years.

The fact that New York has been a bottom-three passing offense since 2019 makes it very difficult to project any receiver on the roster — even one as dynamic as Nabers — with a high fantasy ceiling in 2024 with Daniel Jones retaining his role under center.

Even so, after the departure of Saquon Barkley from this offense, Nabers is likely to be the featured player in this offense.

Nabers’ collection of elite traits — separation, YAC threat, flashes of route-running dominance, and ball skills — give head coach Brian Daboll is versatile and explosive playmaker to scheme up this year, which should make him a great volume player in a bad offense.

3) Ladd McConkey, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

As much as I like Harrison’s landing spot in Arizona, one could make an argument Ladd McConkey going to the Los Angeles Chargers is even better.

When a team decides to part ways with 229 receptions and 2,339 receiving yards worth of passing production from the season prior, this means a new fantasy differencemaker is going to be forced to emerge as Justin Herbert’s go-to guy.

I don’t believe Quentin Johnston, Joshua Palmer, or Hayden Hurst will be that player, which leaves the lightning-quick McConkey as a leading candidate for this role.

One can make an argument that he’s already the best route runner on the team with his exceptional stem IQ, electric change of direction skills, and tempo variation to create Grand Canyon-sized separation at the breakpoint.

McConkey also provides the type of formation versatility to lead the team in snaps with his ability to operate either outside or in the slot at a high level. Additionally, he was a great YAC threat at Georgia, which probably makes him the team’s best run-after-catch threat with his acceleration, contact balance, and deceptive top speed.

After the departure of the four players just mentioned, there are 320 targets up for grabs from last season. I have yet to hear a compelling argument as to why McConkey isn’t going to see a hefty amount of those looks from one of the best quarterbacks in the league in 2024.

In my opinion, McConkey’s ADP is absurdly underpriced at No. 94 overall as the WR46 off the board. At that price, McConkey will be on every single one of my fantasy teams in 2024.

4) Caleb Williams, QB, Chicago Bears

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft is walking into one of the best situations ever for a rookie quarterback with Caleb Williams having players like DJ Moore, Keenan Allen, Rome Odunze, D’Andre Swift, and Cole Kmet in 2024.

All four of the veteran players listed above registered top-24 fantasy finishes in 2023 at their respective positions and would be more than sufficient for Williams to potentially produce a low-end QB1 season his rookie year, but adding Odunze was truly the cherry on top.

Regardless of where you stand about his 2023 season at USC, Williams’ flashes of operating within structure and playing on time could help make him an instant fantasy star when combined with his elite off-script play extension and improvisation ability under center.

The addition of new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron — who spent last year in Seattle scheming up touches for a talented WR trio in DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba — could help Williams hit the ground running in 2024.

The Chicago Bears have never had a 4,000-yard passer in a single season. If Williams is even 75% of the player I believe he is entering the NFL, then a new franchise record is well within the range of outcomes.

5) Jayden Daniels, QB, Washington Commanders

It’s no secret that dual-threat quarterbacks provide a reliable fantasy floor worth of production with an untouchable ceiling. Washington Commanders QB Jayden Daniels is that type of dynamic talent under center.

More than a handful of productive dual-threat quarterbacks have seen great fantasy success in their first two seasons in the league. Players like Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Justin Fields, Robert Griffin III, and Cam Newton all produced top-10 fantasy seasons at the QB position within the first two years of their NFL career.

The scary thing is… Daniels is arguably the most polished passer of that bunch entering the league with his lengthy stay in the college game.

Daniels’ landing spot with air raid practitioner Kliff Kingsbury in Washington represents an excellent opportunity in multiple ways. He can run an RPO-heavy scheme — which Kingsbury utilizes — to threaten opposing defenses with his arm and legs while being able to run pro-style passing concepts with flashes of full-field reads and poised pocket manipulation.

The number of weapons Daniels is surrounded by in Washington is pretty good, too. Options like Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Austin Ekeler, Brian Robinson Jr., Zach Ertz, Luke McCaffrey, and Ben Sinnott make for a talented and versatile group of playmakers to help lift Daniels’ production through the air.

Although the offensive line still being a work in progress and his pass-catching options are good enough (but not elite) may not give him an elite passing production profile, don’t be surprised if his contributions with his legs catapult him into the low-end QB1 discussion this season.

As we look ahead to the 2024 fantasy football season, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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