2024 NFL Draft: Day 1 fantasy football prospects and implications

The first day of the 2024 NFL Draft was littered with offensive picks, increasing the fantasy football intrigue heading into the upcoming season.

From six quarterbacks taken in the Top 12 picks, to seven wide receivers picked in the first round, Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft was filled with offensive weapons.

Let’s take a look at each prospect’s landing spot and what it means for their fantasy implications.

Round 1, Pick 1 (1): Caleb Williams, QB/Chicago Bears

With the selection of Williams, the Bears’ offense instantly gains some much needed credibility. While the Bears have traditionally had some kind of fantasy-worthy players on their team, they usually have come from the run game. Now, with receivers and tight ends surrounding him, Williams has a high fantasy floor as a rookie, with a sky-high ceiling down the line.

Round 1, Pick 2 (2): Jayden Daniels, QB/Washington Commanders

The Commanders get last year’s Heisman Trophy winner in Daniels, who will pair with new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury to form a very intriguing offensive system. With Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson to go with Brian Robinson and Austin Ekeler, Daniels doesn’t enter a situation with a barren cupboard and could have flashes of success early in his career.

Round 1, Pick 3 (3): Drake Maye, QB/New England Patriots

Of the six quarterbacks taken in the first 12 picks of the draft, Maye might have landed in the second-worst situation of ‘em all. The Patriots will move to a new era of football without long-time coach Bill Belichick at the helm, and it is likely going to take a few years to build something there. Yes, the Texans were an exception to that rule as they made the playoffs under a new regime last year. But the Patriots could have a longer, more traditional build ahead of them and that spells a rocky start to Maye’s career.

Round 1, Pick 4 (4): Marvin Harrison Jr., WR/Arizona Cardinals

Harrison to the Cardinals has been expected for quite some time. The oft-anointed “generational prospect” who is the son of the Hall of Fame receiver of the same name, Harrison will immediately step into the offense as the go-to target and have a fantasy impact right away. He will likely — and should — be the first player selected in traditional rookie drafts, will fit right into redraft starting lineups, and will have immense dynasty value.

Round 1, Pick 6 (6): Malik Nabers, WR/New York Giants

I wasn’t thrilled with the landing spot for Nabers in a New York offense that floundered last year. Part of that reason was because they had no significant weapons outside Saquon Barkley, something that Nabers is supposed to alleviate. But another important reason is that Daniel Jones just isn’t that good a quarterback. Nabers will get an awful lot of volume right off the bat, so he’s a fantasy-worthy starter due to that alone. Paired with his explosive burst, the volume could translate to dynamite success.

Round 1, Pick 8 (8): Michael Penix Jr., QB/Atlanta Falcons

Woof! Not only did the Falcons blow it by not giving veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins extra help, but they screwed the long-term fantasy value of Penix as well. Penix was my third-favorite quarterback coming out of this class because I think he’s mature, was productive in college, and was pro-ready. But after the Falcons gave Cousins a massive contract this offseason, Penix won’t see the field unless Cousins misses more time with an injury or suddenly hits a wall of Russell Wilson proportions.

Round 1, Pick 9 (9): Rome Odunze, WR/Chicago Bears

For Caleb Williams, and the Bears as a team in general, this selection was a terrific one, giving the offense even more firepower. But for Odunze’s fantasy value, this one hurts. This is Jaxon Smith-Njigba all over again. For those who had to live through the painful JSN experience last year, you know all too well this story line. Odunze is likely heading into the 2024 season as the team’s No. 3 receiver, just as JSN did last year in Seattle. Who was the offensive coordinator last year in Seattle? That would be new Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who uses a lot of tight ends. Odunze is a very talented prospect, but at least for one year his fantasy value appears tanked.

Round 1, Pick 10 (10): J.J. McCarthy, QB/Minnesota Vikings

McCarthy just might have landed in the second-best situation of all the rookie quarterbacks. He lands with a Vikings team that is stacked with weapons. Obviously, veteran Sam Darnold will likely be the starter heading into the season. But, he’s Sam Darnold. If the Vikings want to win, McCarthy will see the field at some point this season. McCarthy appears to be a good dynasty bet, as long as they re-up Justin Jefferson.

Round 1, Pick 12 (12): Bo Nix, QB/Denver Broncos

What the hell are the Broncos doing? I’ve been wrong before, so I have no problem admitting when I am wrong, but this has bust written all over it. The Broncos must be one desperate outfit to reach for Nix this early in the draft. I don’t even think he was worth a first-round pick, let alone the 12th overall pick. The Broncos do have veteran Courtland Sutton, second-year pro Marvin Mims, and just drafted rookie Troy Franklin, so he’s not headed to an empty offense. But I just don’t think he’s any good and that he’s headed for struggles.

Round 1, Pick 13 (13): Brock Bowers, TE/Las Vegas Raiders

I’m not wild about the landing spot for Bowers, as the Raiders just drafted Michael Mayer last year in the second round. Bowers is obviously more explosive and dynamic and can be lined up in the slot. But this certainly kills the upside of Mayer and caps the upside of Bowers with the questionable quarterback situation they have out in the desert.

Round 1, Pick 23 (23): Brian Thomas Jr., WR/Jacksonville Jaguars

This seemed like a logical landing spot for Thomas. The Jaguars just lost Calvin Ridley, and although they added Gabe Davis, they needed another explosive body to add to Trevor Lawrence’s arsenal. I love big, tall receivers, especially those who pair it with speed. Thomas was a big-time touchdown producer in college, and paired up opposite Davis, with Christian Kirk in the slot, he will make this passing game formidable.

Round 1, Pick 28 (28): Xavier Worthy, WR/Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs traded up to nab another explosive playmaker with speed, snagging the Combine-record breaking Worthy. Pairing him with Hollywood Brown and, presumably after suspension, Rashee Rice will give Patrick Mahomes an array of weapons. Oh yeah, and then there’s that Travis Kelce guy … he’s pretty good, too. I see Worthy as a long-term No. 3 option in fantasy with spike weeks that make him a dangerous Best Ball option.

Round 1, Pick 31 (31): Ricky Pearsall, WR/San Francisco 49ers

I don’t get this one. Pearsall is a slot receiver who lands with a loaded 49ers offense. Yes, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel have both been linked to trade rumors. Getting rid of one of those receivers would create a little breathing room for Pearsall, but until and unless that happens, there are too many mouths to feed and Pearsall is a FLEX backup at best.

Round 1, Pick 32 (32): Xavier Legette, WR/Carolina Panthers

I usually steer away from players with a limited body of work in college. Legette is one of those guys. He had an explosive season last year and that’s about the extent of it. He’s got a great combination of size and speed, which I like, but as the Panthers have been adding more weapons, I think his volume will be capped and he won’t offer much ROI.