Whether you’re playing in a redraft or dynasty league, fantasy football rookies are a hot topic each season.

From the moment the Super Bowl ended, the fantasy football community has been fawning over the 2024 NFL rookie class, analyzing tape and flagging favorites at each position. But how do you separate fact from fiction when it comes to knowing which rookies you should (and shouldn’t) draft in your fantasy football leagues?

 

 

 

Who Are The Top Fantasy Football Rookies In 2024?

Caleb Williams may have been the consensus No. 1 pick, but all rookie quarterbacks were getting crazy hype. Marvin Harrison and Malik Nabers lead the rookie wide receivers, but when you look at the current fantasy football ADP, you’ll see that everyone from Rome Odunze to Troy Franklin are getting love. 

And while stodgy, old fantasy pundits will still tell you that you don’t draft rookie tight ends, Brock Bowers is already being called a Top 10 asset at the position. While drafting fantasy football rookies is fun, you have to be smart about it. 

The average rookie’s value is too high in June and early July. Maybe not for all of them, but for most. The key for you is to block out all the hype and all the beat-writer speculation and truly dive into which first-year players will present the greatest value for this season, revealing themselves as one of the top fantasy rookies at each position in 2024. 

And since you’ve purchased our Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Football Draft Guide, we’re giving you a head start here!

Top 10 Fantasy Football Rookies To Draft In 2024

Best Rookie QBs For 2024 Fantasy

Jayden Daniels, QB Washington Commanders

Everyone in fantasy loves a mobile quarterback. It’s the proverbial “cheat code” for those looking for an extra edge. Just ask anyone who drafts Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Anthony Richardson. Daniels is expected to be under center for Week 1 and he is being drafted as QB12, which means people believe his added rushing yards and potential touchdown-poaching will be a huge advantage over the likes of Jared Goff, Justin Herbert and even his fellow rookie quarterback, Caleb Williams

He was a productive three-year starter at Arizona State, showed promise in his first year as a transfer to LSU and then went nuclear in 2023 when he threw for over 3,800 yards with 40 touchdowns while also rushing for over 1,100 yards and another 10 scores for the Tigers. An important factor will be in what type of offense Kliff Kingsbury runs. There were issues with the Air Raid offense he installed in Arizona and adjustments to the NFL game were needed. 

While we know it won’t be the same, we do expect it to be similar in the sense that the focus will be on passing. Daniels, like many mobile quarterbacks we’ve watched, will have to develop his passing skills, but the overall scheme will be designed to spread the defense out which opens up wider running lanes for the quarterback to take off and run on his own. From a fantasy standpoint, this will work nicely, though I’m not so sure I’m drafting him ahead of some of the aforementioned veterans.

Caleb Williams, QB Chicago Bears

He was the No. 1 overall pick of the draft and the Bears have done plenty to surround him with high-end weapons. We’ve already heard stories of Williams working out in the offseason with DJ Moore, and the addition of Keenan Allen gives him a savvy veteran he can use as a security blanket. 

The Bears also brought in a pass-catching running back in D’Andre Swift and a top rookie wideout in Rome Odunze, so he has someone to develop alongside. All the pieces of the puzzle are there. It’s just a matter of Williams putting them all together. While we may rank Daniels ahead of Williams in fantasy due to the rushing upside, the Bears franchise quarterback has some mobility skills of his own. 

He has an elite arm and will torch defenses from the pocket, but he also uses his legs to extend plays and showed a strong ability to throw with both accuracy and velocity from outside the pocket as well. I’m not making a true comparison here, but it’s kind of like those SAT analogies we studied in high school – Williams is to Daniels as Patrick Mahomes is to Lamar Jackson. Not perfect, but you get the point. More importantly, you know they’re top rookie QBs in 2024.

J.J. McCarthy, QB Minnesota Vikings

The beauty of drafting McCarthy this season is that he doesn’t cost you any real draft capital and there is really nothing but upside here. We’re talking a 178.86 ADP, right around where guys like Derek Carr, Daniel Jones and Bryce Young are going. That’s season-long AND best ball. No one is in on him, yet Justin Jefferson is still going in the first round, Jordan Addison is a sixth rounder and everyone seems to think T.J. Hockenson is criminally undervalued.

If those pass-catching weapons are going to return value at their ADP, who’s getting them the football, Sam Darnold? C’mon. Whether Darnold opens the season as the starter or not, head coach Kevin O’Connell wants his shiny, new toy front and center as early as possible and has a pass-heavy scheme that will cater to McCarthy’s strengths. 

It’s difficult to evaluate him strictly off his collegiate performances as he worked out of a run-first scheme at Michigan and was never asked to carry the weight of the team on his shoulders, but we know he’s got the arm-strength and velocity, he’s good at throwing over the middle of the field and he’s got the rushing upside as well. If you’re playing in a single-QB league, he’s a last-round pick if you’re looking for upside down the road. In a superflex league, I wouldn’t mind having him as my QB3. 

Best Rookie RBs For 2024 Fantasy

Jonathon Brooks, RB Carolina Panthers

The Panthers taking Brooks in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft speaks volumes to how they feel about him and how new head coach Dave Canales wants to put his own personal stamp on this team. Brooks has been recovering from a torn ACL suffered in November, but as of writing this, he remains on track to be ready for training camp. 

Maybe they bring him along slowly at first, but when you use that kind of draft capital on a player, you expect him to be the starter at some point, so while Chuba Hubbard currently sits atop the depth chart, he’s running on borrowed time. 

Hubbard may be more developed at this point, but Brooks remains a stronger pass-catcher and so long as his pass-blocking is solid, he should become Canales’ go-to-guy at some point this season. We all witnessed what Canales’ offensive scheme does for his running backs. Last season, no one was thinking Rachaad White was someone you were happy to draft, but the volume of touches he received turned him into a top-five fantasy running back. If that were to be the case with Brooks, this top rookie running back could turn into an asset in the fantasy football postseason.

Even when people were criticizing him for his weak, underlying metrics, he still produced in Canales’ system, and now, Brooks will share in that opportunity. He’s a solid pick at his current 88.8 ADP (eighth or ninth round) but be sure to handcuff him with Hubbard who isn’t coming off the board until five rounds later.

Best Rookie WRs For 2024 Fantasy

Marvin Harrison, WR Arizona Cardinals

It starts with the pedigree and overall skillset. Harrison Jr. may not be as fast as his father was, but he is much bigger at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and possesses the same technical prowess. His highlight reels were littered with examples of how he positions his body to shield the ball from defenders and make those tough catches in traffic, both across the middle and down the sidelines. 

Everything about him, physically and mentally, profiles as a top wide receiver at the pro level. The value in fantasy, at least for this season, because we know he’s a stud for dynasty, is how well he connects with quarterback Kyler Murray. Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing runs a West Coast offense that utilizes shorter routes for the receivers, but also routes that favor more opportunities for yards after the catch. 

He should be the top receiver in this room, though we expect him to compete with tight end Trey McBride for targets. If you want him, you have to act quickly. His current ADP is right around 18.72, a second round pick. It’s a little high for me, but if you’re playing in multiple leagues, it’s always nice to have a share of the top rookie wide receiver.

Malik Nabers, WR New York Giants

No surprises here with Nabers as the second rookie off the board in most, if not all, drafts. There are many who believe he is actually better than Harrison and believe he will follow in the footsteps of other great LSU wideouts like Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase. He may not have Harrison’s size, but he’s a fantastic route runner, specializes in yards after the catch and actually has better speed. 

There is no denying the talent and he should prove to be a star in the NFL. The primary reason he ranks second for me is his landing spot. The Giants are definitely in a transitional phase right now and there are a ton of question marks surrounding this offense. 

What version of Daniel Jones will we see this season? Will the offensive line offer enough protection for the receivers to complete their routes? Who else will step up in this offense so that Nabers doesn’t live in perpetual double coverage? These questions are exactly why Nabers’ ADP has him as a late-fourth/early-fifth round selection.

In Dynasty Leagues, he’s a must-add rookie wide receiver. In redraft this year, I’ll probably pass in favor of more well-established talent – and a better passing game.

Xavier Worthy, WR Kansas City Chiefs

With all the complaining people have done over the years regarding Patrick Mahomes’ weapons, here you go. Last year they added Rashee Rice to the mix and this year Worthy joins one of the most prolific offenses with one of the absolute greatest of quarterbacks. 

Whether you believe in him or not, his landing spot immediately puts him on the fantasy map. Travis Kelce is the lead target but, obviously, on the downside of his illustrious career, Hollywood Brown is on a one-year deal and profiles more as the downfield threat and we’re all still waiting to see what kind of, if any, suspension the league will levy on Rice. 

That puts Worthy in a fantastic spot, not just for this year, but for his dynasty future as well. At 5-foot-11 and just 165 pounds, Worthy is not going to be someone we expect to see fighting for contested catches. His game is his speed and he’s got plenty, as evidenced by his combine-record 4.21 40-time. Even with all of the other mice on the roster – Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore and Mecole Hardman – Worthy is Mahomes’ fastest target since Tyreek Hill

You can probably expect a short aDOT with a heavy dose of screen passes and short slants to get him the ball in stride, exactly what Andy Reid likes to do. Just understand that Reid likes to ease his rookies in. He did it with Rice last year and, if Rice only gets suspended for a couple of games, Worthy may be eased in as well.

Brian Thomas, WR Jacksonville Jaguars

There is plenty of industry buzz surrounding Thomas, though a glance at his current 113.61 ADP (WR49), would indicate otherwise. Another LSU product, Thomas skipped his senior year after posting 1,177 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior playing second fiddle to Malik Nabers and then had a standout performance at the NFL combine. 

He’s got great size, ran a 4.33 40-yard dash and has the physicality to excel at the NFL level. There’s plenty of talent here and, even better, he landed in a spot where his opportunities should be plentiful. The Jaguars said goodbye to Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones in the offseason and the only addition to the room via free agency was Gabe Davis

That puts Thomas in a fantastic spot as he’ll be on the field for all three-receiver sets (the Jaguars used 11-personnel 63.2-percent of the time which was slightly above league-average) and doesn’t have much competition for targets. He could even supplant Davis as the de facto No. 2, which probably won’t be a tall order. Overall, there’s no one being taken in his ADP range that is overly exciting, so if you miss out on that first wave of rookie wideouts, Thomas is an excellent grab.

Ladd McConkey, WR Los Angeles Chargers

Despite not having strong collegiate numbers, McConkey sure gets a lot of love from the fantasy community. He’s got good size, decent speed (his 40-yard dash was a 4.39 at the combine) and runs very clean routes. But where his real appeal comes is from the lack of competition in this receiver room. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are both gone which means a highly underrated Joshua Palmer is the de facto No. 1 and McConkey only needs to out-perform Quentin Johnston and D.J. Chark in order to be on the field in two-receiver sets. 

We know the Chargers are going to be a run-heavy club. Jim Harbaugh was notorious for that back at Michigan and he doubled down on it by bringing in Greg Roman as his offensive coordinator. But, while Roman is a run-first guy, the Chargers backfield is littered with injury risks and question marks, and the last time that happened to Roman (2021), his offense ranked seventh in pass attempts and 13th in passing yards. 

And that was with Lamar Jackson, who is nowhere near the passer Justin Herbert is, so don’t discount the passing attack too much. McConkey has a legitimate chance to make an impact, but don’t go crazy. His sixth-round ADP is a little high, but that could/should go down the closer we are to the season and all the rookie hype fades. 

Best Rookie TEs For 2024 Fantasy

Brock Bowers, TE Las Vegas Raiders

He would have easily been higher on this list had it not been for the landing spot. Not only are the Raiders struggling at the quarterback position, but you still have Davante Adams and PPR-specialist Jakobi Meyers on the roster. No, we’re not worried about Michael Mayer, but Bowers lands as the third target, at best. It’s not terrible, but again, with Gardner Minshew under center, are we going to see enough pass attempts that third on the target pecking order is going to produce what we need? 

No one is doubting the talent. He was amazing at Georgia and the skillset is the reason Mayer will be stuck as the in-line tight end with Bowers running the routes. But if you look at new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s scheme, or at least how it ran in Chicago over the past two seasons, you’ll see the Bears ranked in the bottom five each year in pass attempts. In fact, they were dead last in 2022. 

Perhaps we see some added nuances to cater to Bowers’ strengths as a pass catcher, but just the raw number of targets has me somewhat concerned. Nonetheless, he’s still worth the pick at his current ADP of 90.62. I’d take the top rookie tight end over guys like David Njoku and Dalton Schultz

2024 Fantasy Football Rookies: Honorable Mentions

Best Fantasy Football Rookies For 2024

In no particular order, here are 2024’s top fantasy football rookies at each position:

Best Rookie Quarterbacks

Best Rookie Running Back

Best Rookie Wide Receivers

Best Rookie Tight End

Honorable Mentions - 2024 Top NFL Rookies

You’ve read the analysis – now see the full 2024 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings!

2024 Fantasy Football: Related Draft Guide Articles

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