25 Rookies Drafted in Rounds 1-3 Who Could Make a Fantasy Impact in 2024

Apr 29, 2024
25 Rookies Drafted in Rounds 1-3 Who Could Make a Fantasy Impact in 2024

The 2024 NFL Draft is over, so now it’s time for me to retreat to the rankings cave and develop the first iteration of 4for4’s official projections. But first, let’s run down the early-round rookies that could make an immediate impact this season.

For redraft purposes, I’m mainly interested in players who will (or could) start or play a significant part-time role this season. This year, I’ve broken this article up into three parts, rookies who will make an immediate impact, those who should make an immediate impact, and those who could make an immediate impact.

I’ll add the player’s draft capital and opportunity grade in parentheses. When discussing receivers and quarterbacks, I’ll also refer to Matt Harmon and Derrick Klassen's excellent work at Reception Perception.

More Rookie Content: 8 Late-Round Rookies Who Could Make a Fantasy Impact | 6 Steals of the 2024 NFL Draft | Rookie Player Profiles |

Will Make an Immediate Fantasy Impact

These players should start immediately and have the potential to post starter-type fantasy numbers from the get-go.

QB Caleb Williams, Bears (1st, A+)

Williams will start immediately and enjoy a receiving corps that features D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen, Rome Odunze, Cole Kmet, and D'Andre Swift. Pending good health, having Moore/Allen/Odunze as his top three options gives Williams a leg up on most rookie quarterbacks. Klassen says the Mahomes comparisons are a stretch, but names Kyler Murray as a reasonable comp. Williams isn't likely to run as much as Murray, however. My rookie quarterback model estimates 13.6 yards per game when it uses Williams' final season numbers, but when his 2022 college stats are plugged in, the model returns 19.3 rush yards per game.

Obviously, the more rush yards the better for his fantasy floor, but fantasy managers shouldn't expect Murray-type numbers from Williams. The quarterback position is fairly deep heading into 2024, but if Williams acclimates quickly, it wouldn't be shocking if he posted top-12 numbers.

QB Jayden Daniels, Commanders (1st, A-)

Last year, Derrick Klassen of Reception Perception identified C.J. Stroud as the most accurate passer in last year's draft class. Guess who charted the best this year? That's right, the so-called "running quarterback" Jayden Daniels. Klassen does have some reservations about Daniels' willingness to throw over the middle of the field, but two things are true: 1) Daniels is an accurate passer, and 2) he's going to rack up the rushing yards. Throw Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson into the mix, and this is a recipe for fantasy production.

My rookie quarterback model predicts 43.9 rushing yards per game for Daniels, which is the third-highest expectation in the 97-player sample behind only Lamar Jackson and Cam Newton. Jackson didn't start until Week 11 of his rookie season, but he was the fantasy QB8 the rest of the way. Newton was the QB3 as a rookie. Rounding out the top five in expected rushing yards were Jalen Hurts (QB8 in his first season as the starter) and Vince Young (QB9 as a rookie). See where this is headed?

WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Cardinals (1st, A+)

With Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore gone, the Cardinals have the fifth-most vacated targets (217) and Harrison will soak up most of them. He's landing in a fantastic situation from an opportunity and quarterback standpoint and will immediately be in the fantasy WR2 mix with upside from there.

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