QB/WR Chemistry | Ascending Fantasy WRs and QBs Who Will Elevate Each Other in 2024

by Joel Ybarra · Draft Strategy
Fantasy WRs

PlayerProfiler is home to the award winning redraft rankings and tools. Our Player Rankings are second to none, and the World Famous Draft Kit contains detailed player write ups and cheat sheets to help You dominate fantasy drafts! Check it out. Below, Joel Ybarra identifies some fantasy WRs who are getting a QB upgrade for the coming season and some who will elevate their QB’s play, resulting in more fantasy production for the pass catchers. 

ADP Wins at Wide Receiver

Every year, there are players who beat their ADPs handily and are difference-makers in all kinds of fantasy leagues. 2023 was no different. There were some big ADP wins at every position. Here, we take a look at some wide receivers who outperformed ADP expectations last season. Then we identify receivers who have the highest potential to outdo their ADP by massive amounts in the coming season. Finding late round WR values in drafts is as crucial as ever with so many receivers going off the board early in drafts. The sure studs are still available at the beginning of drafts, but finding value receivers later helps us fill out our rosters and means we can use some early round capital at other positions.

There are always a number of wide receivers who beat their ADPs by significant amounts and land in the top-12 at the WR position. 2023 was an exceptional year for ascendant WRs, however. Eight of the top 12 PPG scorers at the position beat their ADPs by at least three spots. Here they are:

QB Play Matters

Some of these were not surprises. Lamb, Allen, St. Brown and Samuel are high-end talents matched up with capable quarterback facilitators. Others were surprises: Nacua, Collins, Moore and Evans. Those four all beat their ADPs by double-digits. A couple (Moore and Evans) had established themselves as high-end talents in previous seasons, but drafters were unsure of the ability of their QBs to facilitate top-end fantasy seasons for them.

Three of the group’s QBs – C.J. Stroud, Justin Fields, and Baker Mayfield – outperformed expectations and vaulted their receivers to WR1 finishes. In 2024, as in every season, we are looking for breakout passing offenses – QBs and WRs that find some chemistry and become league winners.


Not only does the QB elevate the play of his pass catchers, but the wide receiver can also elevates the QB’s play. That was the case with Justin Fields/DJ Moore and Baker Mayfield/Mike Evans last season. Up until Moore arrived in Chicago, Fields’ best target was Cole Kmet. Moore elevated Fields to a level where he helped Moore to his best fantasy season to date: a top-10 finish. Mayfield also got an upgrade in his pass catchers, coming from Carolina and a Cooper Kupp-less LA the year before. He was in Cleveland before that. The Tampa receiving corps of Evans and Chris Godwin has been one of the best in the league for a number of years. It was a massive upgrade over the targets Mayfield had early in his career. That led Evans to another 1,000-yard season and a top-12 fantasy finish.

The pass catchers elevate the QB and vice-versa. It’s not just one or the other. It’s called circular causality, and it can help us identify some late-round WRs that are going to ascend in the coming season. Below, we identify undervalued receivers who are getting an upgrade at QB and then some that will elevate their QBs, in turn feeding the receiver fantasy points.

WRs Getting A QB Upgrade

Garrett Wilson | Underdog ADP WR8

Garrett Wilson is being drafted at the end of the first round in Underdog drafts and could very well reward those who grab him there. Drafters are scared off by the potential of the aging Aaron Rodgers getting injured again. If Rodgers stays healthy, Wilson could go off to the tune of a top-3 finish. Even with new Jets backup, Tyrod Taylor, Wilson will eat. He earned ten or more targets in nine of 17 games last season (30.1-percent Target Share, No. 7, 25.2-percent Target Rate, No. 19). Only 67.9-percent (No. 65) of those were Catchable Targets. The passing accuracy will improve in the coming season. Additionally, the players the Jets added (Malachi Corley and Mike Williams) are not big threats to Wilson’s volume.

Drake London | Underdog ADP WR10

Drake London is up to WR10 on Underdog. However, he is still available in the second round. The upgrade he is getting in Kirk Cousins is still being underestimated. Cousins’ WRs and TEs have been No. 9, No. 2 and No. 1 in PPG scoring the last three seasons when he has been on the field. Yes, Justin Jefferson has accounted for a lot of that production. London is no Jefferson, but he is going to be the focal point of an offense that figures to be high in pass rate and the third-year receiver will be the main beneficiary.

Terry McLaurin | Underdog ADP WR31

Jayden Daniels recorded the highest pass efficiency rating (208.0) of all-time in a college season (QBs since 1956, minimum 14 attempts per game, per sports-reference.com). He powered a 1,569-yard, 14-touchdown season for Malik Nabers and a 1,169-yard, 17-touchdown season for Brian Thomas Jr. – in the same season. No wonder he won the Heisman. Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson may not be on the level with Nabers and Thomas, but they are proven professional receivers. They will each get an upgrade from the QBs with whom they have played thus far. McLaurin is the Alpha and if Daniels does what he has proven to be able to do – provide production for his receivers – McLaurin will register his first top-18 WR season.

WRs Who Will Elevate their QB and Vice-Versa

Diontae Johnson | Underdog ADP WR45

Drafters are also underestimating the upgrade Diontae Johnson is over the receiving talent in Carolina last season. ESPN’s Open Score metric tracks the likelihood that a receiver would be able to complete a catch on every snap and therefore on every route they run. Johnson was No. 12 (78) in ESPN’s Open Score. The top Panthers receiver in 2023 was Adam Thielen with an ESPN Open Score of 62 (No. 37). Thielen owned a 25.7-percent Target Share on the season. Additionally, he was the WR9 in PPG through nine weeks last season.

Thielen will still be in Carolina, but he fell off in the second half of last season. He will also turn 34 before the season starts. The other target competition around Johnson (Xavier Legette, Jonathan Mingo) are unproven young players. Johnson has finished as the WR39 in PPG in back-to-back seasons and he is getting a QB upgrade in Bryce Young.

Courtland Sutton | Underdog ADP WR49

Drafters are unsure about the talent of Bo Nix, as he was the sixth QB off the board in the NFL Draft. Nix, however, facilitated 1,100-plus yard seasons for both Troy Franklin and Tez Johnson in 2023. Johnson is a slot receiver with decent projected draft capital (second round) in 2025, but Nix’s top passing option, Franklin, was a fourth round NFL Draft pick this season. Courtland Sutton is the unquestioned Alpha in Denver, and is an upgrade for Nix over the receivers he played with at Oregon. Sutton is also be getting a QB upgrade in Nix. Don’t forget, Jerry Jeudy is gone and his replacements on the depth chart are middling.

Brian Thomas Jr. | WR42

It is not far-fetched to believe Brian Thomas Jr. is an upgrade over an aging Calvin Ridley, who the Jaguars let go in free agency. Thomas just posted an 1,100-yard season and scored three more touchdowns than teammate and top-6 NFL Draft pick Nabers. Ridley was No. 3 in the NFL with 25 red zone targets in 2023. Those targets have to go somewhere.

It also isn’t a stretch to project Thomas as Trevor Lawrence‘s top target by end of season. He is himself a first round draft pick with 4.33 speed.

Mid-round Value

Stud fantasy WRs are being drafted highly as a trend, but there will always be some receivers available in later rounds that will provide league-winning production. WR production is always tied to QB play, but there are under the radar passing offenses that emerge every season because drafters were underestimating the ability of QBs and pass catchers to elevate one another. It is just one more way we can mine value in the middle and late rounds and build great receiver rooms.

Read Joel’s breakdown of the underrated QBs and offenses here: Underrated QBs and Offenses to Watch in 2024 Fantasy Drafts