8 NFL Draft Predictions With Fantasy Football Implications

Apr 22, 2024
8 NFL Draft Predictions With Fantasy Football Implications

After the usual circus that is NFL Draft season, we're finally just days away from the 2024 version. Countless mock drafts and big boards have been written and redone, and we will finally see where these rookies will call home in the NFL. To celebrate draft week, the staff at 4for4 got together in a virtual draft room, to share predictions they believe will have fantasy implications in 2024.

4for4 will be following along live throughout the first two days of the draft with an updated tracker on landing spots and fantasy impacts of each relevant rookie drafted.

More NFL Draft Resources: 2024 NFL Mock Draft: Connor Allen's 3.0 | 2024 NFL Mock Draft: Scott Smith's 3.0 | 10 Dynasty Players to Buy Before the NFL Draft | 10 Dynasty Players to Sell Before the NFL Draft | 10 Late-Round Players to Targets in Best Ball Before the NFL Draft

2024 NFL Draft Predictions

The Commanders draft Jayden Daniels and he racks up the fantasy points as a rookie. (John Paulsen)

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?

The Bears Double Down on their Offensive Arsenal (Pranav Rajaram)

It is no secret that the Bears plan on taking USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the first overall pick of the draft. Chicago has done a phenomenal job already of surrounding Williams with a comfortable landing spot. After trading for D.J. Moore last year, the Bears also acquired veteran Keenan Allen and running back D'Andre Swift to bolster their offense. However, with the Bears also picking at No. 9 overall, I believe they are in a great spot to continue loading up on offensive talent. If the board falls the right way, highly-touted receiver Rome Odunze out of Washington could be available for the Bears at No. 9. Although receiver isn’t necessarily a position of need for the Bears right now, we live in an era where high-profile passing offenses dominate the NFL, so adding an elite receiving prospect is never a bad idea.

If Odunze is drafted by the Bears, they immediately become one of the most fascinating situations in fantasy football. For one, Caleb Williams could legitimately be a top-10 fantasy QB from day one considering how well the Bears have supported him with talent. As for Odunze, he likely will have a quieter rookie season than if he were drafted to be the immediate No. 1 receiver for a time, but I still love the landing spot for him. Keenan Allen will turn 32 next week, so Odunze could very easily become the 1B next to Moore’s 1A by next season. Modeling what the Bengals have created with Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins, the entire Bears offense would become an instant buy in fantasy football.

The Cardinals draft Jonathan Brooks and he’s a fantasy RB2 down the stretch. (Jennifer Eakins)

The fantasy and real-football communities want to see Jonathan Brooks in Dallas but Arizona just makes more sense for both the short and long term. The former Longhorn is arguably the best all-around RB in this year’s class, coming off 1,400+ all-purpose yards in just 11 games last year, but is still recovering from a torn ACL that sidelined him in November.

James Conner remains the lead back and had a quiet monster end to 2023 as the RB1 in half-PPR points per game from Weeks 15-18, but he does turn 29 before the start of this season and is entering into the final year of his contract. Brooks is primed to rehab and learn to start 2024 and then come in hot for fantasy goodness in the second half of the season when Conner could break down a bit and rookies tend to get going.

Xavier Worthy goes earlier than anticipated and finishes as a Top 15 WR in 2024 (Matt Jones)

Everyone is salivating over the fact that Xavier Worthy could land in Buffalo or Kansas City. I’m not sure he makes it that deep into the draft. With so many wide receivers potentially flying off the board in Round 1, it isn’t a lock. It feels like seven wide receivers are a definite possibility in the first round and there’s a non-zero chance we see eight receivers go in the first round. There’s a pretty clear tier of the top three receivers in this draft, but after that, there’s room for interpretation. If Worthy goes higher in the NFL draft, his fantasy ADP will rise right along with it. With the right landing spot, Worthy could easily be a top-15 wide receiver in 2024.

Whatever RB the Chargers select on Day 2 will be fantasy viable as a rookie (Neil Dutton)

The Los Angeles Chargers have a screaming need at running back, with 283 carries and 368 RB opportunities from 2023 off the roster. This includes 100% of the opportunities from inside the 5-yard line. Well, they have the desire for the position AND the coaching staff that would just love to feed it.

The 49ers RBs averaged 24.5 rush attempts per game during Jim Harbaugh’s run with the team, and as long as Harbaugh can convince Greg Roman to ride the hot hand and dispense with the annoying committee approach he favored with the Ravens, then the rookie back they look destined to take as early as round two should find himself with enough volume to make him fantasy relevant AND viable.

The Atlanta Falcons take EDGE Laiatu Latu at Pick No. 8 (Ryan Noonan)

Defensive players matter! I know IDP fantasy isn't for everyone, but if it's for you, Laiatu Latu is your guy. A defensive end from UCLA, Latu is projected as an early to mid-first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and fits a massive hole in the Falcons' defense. PFF began grading prospects in 2014, and no defensive end has ever graded higher than Latu's 2023 season (96.3). Latu's dominance extends beyond grades—he possesses a full arsenal of pass-rush moves and has consistently produced elite production and metrics throughout his college career.

Latu's journey is an inspiring one. After a neck injury forced him to medically retire during his sophomore year at Washington, his future seemed uncertain. However, a transfer to UCLA reignited his career. Over his final two seasons, he racked up an impressive 34 tackles for a loss and 23.5 sacks, showcasing his remarkable talent. Latu's athleticism sets him apart from his peers. His agility makes him a nightmare for offensive linemen to handle, and his first step and bend are comparable to players 20 pounds lighter than Latu's 6'4" 260-pound frame. He combines this with excellent snap timing and a vast array of pass-rushing techniques, making him a pro-ready force who can contribute immediately in the NFL.

Latu's defensive coordinator while at Washington, Jimmy Lake, is the new defensive coordinator in Atlanta. The only concern with Latu is his medical history, but it's widely believed that the Falcons and the majority of teams have cleared him medically and that the Falcons have him as their top edge rusher on the board.

Marvin Harrison Jr.is a fantasy WR1 as a rookie with the Chargers (Connor Allen)

All of the talk is about how new Chargers HC Jim Harbaugh wants to establish the run and wants to add more talent up front in the draft. When QBs go 1-4 in the NFL Draft and Marvin Harrison Jr.is sitting in their laps at pick 5, I have a good feeling they pull the trigger.

Jim Harbaugh played football at the Colts with Marvin Harrison senior 20+ years ago. He also coached against MHJ at Michigan. MHJ lit them up both times, clearing 100 yards despite Harbaugh going on record saying they were trying to double-team him as much as possible. On top of this, former Michigan DC and current Chargers DC Jesse Minter called Marvin Harrison Jr. the best overall prospect in the last 15-20 years. Not a wide receiver prospect, but the best overall prospect. If the coaches get any say, I believe they select Marvin Harrison Jr.

When they turn the card in, Marvin Harrison lands in a near-perfect landing spot. He is tethered to an elite quarterback in Justin Herbert and has no target competition. Their current starting wideouts are Josh Palmer and Quentin Johnston who is already looking like a colossal bust. MHJ could reasonably see 150+ targets even in a more run-centric offense just because of how little competition he has. On top of that, they figure to be efficient targets since Herbert is so good. I am excited to see where MHJ’s ADP lands after the draft but I will likely be buying.

The Bengals Draft Brock Bowers (Justin Edwards)

The Cincinnati Bengals haven't featured a tight end in their offense since Tyler Eifert became a Pro Bowl option in the 2015-2016 season. But that doesn't mean they haven't tried to find someone in that ilk during the Zac Taylor era.

One of the very first selections during Taylor's tenure was Drew Sample (2019, 52nd overall) and they have continuously looked for a pass-catching TE since then, including Mike Gesicki ('24 free agency), Tanner Hudson ('22 UDFA), and Hayden Hurst ('22 free agency).

Brock Bowers may not have a huge target ceiling while sharing the field with Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase but he would have a similar floor to that of former slot receiver Tyler Boyd and should have great touchdown equity in a high-powered offense. Bowers would be a top-10 option right out of the gate in redraft leagues and his Dynasty value would be incredible.

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