Rome Odunze’s Dynasty Rookie Profile | Chicago Bears WR Fantasy Football Outlook

After joining forces with Caleb Williams in Chicago, what can dynasty managers expect from WR Rome Odunze in his rookie year in a crowded receiver room?

The Chicago Bears‘ multitude of big-name acquisitions this offseason on the offensive side of the football has drastically changed the fantasy outlook for the team heading into 2024.

The selection of Rome Odunze at No. 9 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft certainly is exciting for rookie quarterback Caleb Williams, but it does make it tough to pinpoint exactly what to expect from the former Washington Husky in his rookie season.

What kind of fantasy football production should dynasty managers expect from Odunze during his first season in the NFL?

Should You Draft Rome Odunze in Dynasty Fantasy Football?

Odunze has widely been considered a consensus top-three WR prospect throughout this entire draft prospect. He was an elite two-year producer at Washington with all the physical tools to project him as an alpha target earner for an NFL offense.

However, his landing spot with the Bears feels a bit bittersweet for his dynasty fantasy outlook.

On one hand, if Williams turns out to be the next great quarterback to enter the NFL ranks, then Odunze is set up to be catching passes from a gifted passer for the foreseeable future, and the duo could grow into one of the best QB-WR pairings in the league in very short order.

On the other hand, Odunze is set to have a lot of high-quality competition for targets in his rookie year, which could lead to a fairly slow fantasy start to his NFL career.

DJ Moore finished last year as the WR6 overall with 96 receptions for 1,364 yards and eight TDs, which is excellent by any standard.

The Bears also added Keenan Allen to the receiver room by acquiring him via trade from the Los Angeles Chargers before the 2024 NFL Draft. Despite missing four games last year, Allen finished the year as the WR8 overall with 108 receptions for 1,243 yards and seven TDs.

If that wasn’t enough competition already, Cole Kmet finished the year as the TE8 overall with 73 receptions. The team also signed explosive RB D’Andre Swift, who is an excellent pass-catching back, this offseason.

All of these capable pass catchers are set to compete with Odunze for targets from a rookie quarterback this season.

Odunze is a very well-rounded prospect who doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, but I do have some concerns about his ability to consistently create separation off the line of scrimmage, specifically against physical corners who like to play press coverage.

MORE: 2024 Dynasty WR Rankings

These areas of potential improvement, a rookie quarterback, and some of the toughest competition for targets in the league make Odunze’s immediate fantasy outlook a bit similar to that of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who had two very capable veteran receivers in front of him in his rookie season.

Ultimately, Odunze’s dynasty outlook is great because there’s no guarantee Allen — who is 32 years old — is going to be around for very long.

Additionally, the fact Odunze will be catching passes from Williams projects as a potentially big plus for the receiver’s long-term upside, but dynasty managers will need to temper their expectations in 2024 before he can be a truly dominant fantasy force in your lineup.

Who Is Odunze?

Background

Odunze was put on the football map by his success at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. He was widely regarded as a four-star prospect because of his production on the field — which helped him win the Gatorade Player of the Year award in Nevada back in 2019 — and his exceptional athleticism.

He stands at 6’3″ and 215 pounds, which is more than enough size to be able to win while lined up on the outside against smaller NFL DBs.

College Production

Odunze’s collegiate production may have started a bit slow with just 47 receptions for 487 yards and four scores through his first two years, but his production has shot through the roof over the last two seasons.

His sophomore year saw him produce his first big season in the form of 75 passes for 1,145 yards and eight total TDs. His outstanding 2022 campaign helped him secure All-American third-team recognition.

His improvement across the board in 2022 only helped him reach new heights in 2023, when he was named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award with 87 receptions for 1,553 receiving yards and 14 total TDs heading into the National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines.

Injury History

Odunze suffered a broken rib and punctured lung against the Arizona Wildcats back in late September 2023. He did not miss any time on the field due to these injuries.

Odunze’s Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths

  • Great athlete with ideal size and speed to operate on the outside.
  • Consistent hands with a wide catch radius due to above-average body control for a bigger receiver; saw a dramatic jump in his contested-catch rate in 2023.
  • Was used all over the formation and proved capable of winning on the outside, in the slot, or when in motion at the snap.
  • Fluid hips with above-average change-of-direction and start/stop ability for a receiver his size.
  • Nice feel for finding open space against zone coverage; would regularly find open real estate when running underneath-to-intermediate crossing routes.
  • Great field awareness on sideline receptions.
  • Flashed some playmaking ability after the catch on multiple reps to generate yards on designed screens or underneath routes.
  • Great ball-tracking skills with a consistent ability to high-point the ball with catches away from his frame.
  • Smooth operator when running routes, making it difficult for defenders to get a tell on what he is running; sinks his hips quite well for a bigger receiver and has nice instincts for timing his break correctly to bait DBs to flipping their hips when threatening a vertical route.
  • Showcases some high-level patience and timing on certain routes; can change gears quickly, attack leverage, and adjust routes while reading coverage.
  • Tough competitor who played through a broken rib and punctured lung in 2023.
  • Showcased a willingness to run block and even had some moments where he would take DBs and place them on the bench when he decided to finish reps.

Weaknesses

  • Inconsistent winner against press coverage; often relies on finesse releases instead of using his size and strength to win at the line of scrimmage (LOS).
  • Can be a bit vulnerable to physical corners who can connect with their jab, which can allow DBs to control and disrupt his path.
  • Despite having plenty of speed in his bag, he doesn’t do a great job of consistently stacking DBs on vertical routes.
  • Can struggle to shed DBs who get their hands on him at the LOS, and corners can stay glued to his hip pocket in low-shoulder techniques if he can’t get a clean release.
  • Inconsistent effort on some run-blocking reps and pass plays when he isn’t the primary read.
  • Despite being a very good athlete, he doesn’t generate a ton of broken tackles consistently after the catch.

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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