2024 NFL DRAFT Day 1 Recap – Fantasy Football and Dynasty Fantasy Football Takeaways

by Theo Gremminger · Featured

Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft is in the books. There were plenty of surprises in store, including Michael Penix being selected at pick No. 8 overall to the Atlanta Falcons. What other fantasy football impacts did night one of the NFL Draft bring?

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Caleb Williams: Chicago Savior

The Chicago Bears selection of Williams with the first pick was an incredible moment for Bears fans. Chicago has yearned for a franchise QB with this level of talent for years. They may have selected the next Aaron Rodgers – a player that tormented them for the better part of a decade in Green Bay. 

Williams steps into one of the best situations in recent memory for a young signal caller. D.J. Moore, Keenan Allen, and Cole Kmet were not enough. Chicago used the No. 9 overall pick to select Rome Odunze. Williams will have the best set of WRs in the NFL to work with. 

There is no doubt that Williams is the 1.01 in Superflex Dynasty rookie drafts. He can also be considered with a Top 6 Pick in Single QB formats. The main question with Williams, is just how highly he should be selected in Redraft and Best Ball formats. He will be ranked as a QB1 by most but has top 5 upside as a rookie. Draft away. 

Washington Chasing Baltimore – The Commanders Select Their Own Lamar Jackson 

Despite some posturing and rumors, Washington selected Jayden Daniels with the No. 2 pick. With new ownership, a new head coach, a new offensive coordinator, and now a new franchise QB, the Washington offseason makeover continued. For years, Commanders fans witnessed their I-95 neighbors, the Baltimore Ravens, dominate them in the win column with Lamar Jackson behind center. Putting Jackson-like expectations (two-time NFL MVP) on a young signal caller is a difficult standard to live up to, but Daniels possesses a similar electric rushing ability. 

Daniels rushed for over 2,000 rushing yards during the last two seasons at LSU. He is the first Hesiman Trophy winner to play for Washington since Robert Griffin III. The expectations will be through the roof – as will the Daniels jersey sales. Commanders’ fans will be hoping that Daniels accomplishes what RG3 did during his first season in Washington- win the NFC East. 

Drake Maye New England Savior

The Patriots were one of a handful of teams connected to multiple rumors heading into the NFL Draft. Instead of trading down or selecting J.J. McCarthy, they did what they were projected to do months ago. They drafted Drake Maye.

Maye gives New England the most hope they have had since Tom Brady left for Tampa Bay. Unlike Mac Jones, Maye was viewed as a top 5 NFL Draft pick for two seasons. He has a cannon of an arm and mobility. The skill position players around him are not ideal, but Maye should have an added fantasy floor with the rushing attempts he should receive. 

After being tormented by Josh Allen for years, New England now has their own Josh Allen lite. Much like Allen, there are some skills that Maye will need to improve on to have success in the NFL. However, when it comes to physical tools, Maye checks a lot of boxes. 

Kirk Who? Atlanta Curveball – the Falcons shock the NFL. 

Atlanta sent shockwaves throughout The NFL and Fantasy circles by selecting Michael Penix Jr. with the No. 8 overall pick. General Manager Terry Fontenot signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract this offseason. Falcons’ fans and fantasy managers ecstatic about the stability that Cousins brought to the position. They were also head over heels about his ability to elevate the fantasy ceilings of Drake London and Kyle Pitts. Now? Who knows.

Most are taking the approach that Michael Penix will be buried behind Cousins and will be on the Jordan Love pathway to viability. But Jordan Love was not a top 10 pick. Neither were Jalen Hurts or Lamar Jackson – two other testaments to fantasy patience. How this plays out remains to be seen. The Michael Penix selection will go down as one of the most surprising picks we have ever seen.

Marvin Harrison Jr. – the Next Julio Jones/AJ Green Outside Alpha

Harrison Jr. enters the league as the highest-drafted WR since Amari Cooper in 2015. A “can’t miss” prospect for several years now at Ohio State, Harrison Jr. landed in arguably the best possible landing spot of any team in the top 10. The Arizona Cardinals offense is good enough to compete right now at multiple positions and were in desperate need of an Alpha WR. Enter MHJ. 

With Kyler Murray locked in at QB, Harrison Jr. joins TE Trey McBride in one of the leagues rising offenses. He should have no problem clearing 140+ targets as a rookie, and should finish top 10 in Red Zone targets. The last time we saw Murray attached to a proper Alpha WR was back in 2020. DeAndre Hopkins arrived from Houston and proceeded to finish as WR4 Overall with 115 catches. 

Over the last four seasons, three rookie WRs have posted top 6 PPR WR finishes. MHJ not only has the ability to post a rookie season finish similar to Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, and Puka Nacua, but he has potential to finish as WR1 Overall. 

In redraft and best ball, MHJ’s second round price tag will be one of the best values on the board when drafting for upside. 

Odell Beckham Part 2. History Repeats Itself as the Giants Draft an LSU Star. 

The Giants drafted LSU star Malik Nabers adding a much needed weapon to an offense devoid of skill position talent. Instead of drafting J.J. McCarthy, the Giants added a future star who will not only lead them in targets but be the featured weapon on offense. At No. 6 overall, Nabers is the highest drafted WR in NY Giants history. 

Nabers is an explosive and highly productive playmaker. He is LSU’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. After breaking out as a freshman, Nabers ascended to back-to-back All-American seasons. Nabers was among the nation’s leaders with 17.6 yards per reception. Athletically, he has sub 4.4 speed, a 42-inch vertical, and had 15 reps on the bench press.  

Giants’ fans cannot help themselves if they envision another LSU WR who lit it up his first season as a Giant. In 2014, the Giants selected Odell Beckham Jr. with the No. 12 overall pick. He went onto average 24.6 PPG and won Offensive Rookie of the Year. Could history repeat itself this season? Giants’ fans sure hope so. 

The Fall of Rome? Not So Fast. Odunze is on the CeeDee Lamb Track

There are some frustrated Dynasty managers that were envisioning Odunze receiving a similar target share as Harrison Jr. and Nabers this year. Instead of landing in an offense devoid of WR talent, Odunze was instead drafted to Chicago completing Chicago’s Infinity Gauntlet of WRs. Odunze joins last season’s WR6 (D.J. Moore) and WR8 (Keenan Allen) as well as Cole Kmet (TE8). To put it mildly, there will be competition for targets. 

There will be dynasty managers with fear and trepidation about this situation, but in fantasy football life finds a way. Odunze is oozing with talent, size, and athleticism. He scored more fantasy points than any other WR in college last season. He is now attached to a future star in Caleb Williams

Ceedee Lamb Similarities

The situation is not unlike CeeDee Lamb‘s in 2019. Lamb was drafted in the first round and joined a WR room with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Those two are certainly not of the same caliber as what Odunze is facing now, but it only took Lamb a half of a season to overcome a locked in talent like Cooper and ascend to Dallas’s WR1 overall. 

Unlike Lamb and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Odunze was selected in the top 10 overall. Players with that sort of draft capital are not role players, they are treated like future WR No. 1’s. It will take some patience but passing up on a talent like Odunze because of target competition is the wrong way to approach a player of his ilk. Enjoy the discount. 

Bo Nix Rocky Mountain High

Much like Michael Penix, Nix was rumored as a possible first round target during the NFL Draft process. Not only did Nix land there, but he went off the board at No. 12 overall. With 61 career starts, Nix does not lack for experience. He also does not lack for production, having passed for insane video game like numbers last year at Oregon. 

Unlike Michael Penix, Nix has a clear path to fantasy viability, and it would be a huge surprise if he was not the Week 1 starter in Denver. Nix is one of last night’s winners in Dynasty rookie drafts. 

Jacksonville Trades Back…and Still Gets Their WR Target

The Jaguars have been long rumored to be in the running for Brian Thomas Jr. and got him despite trading back six spots. Thomas Jr. completes the Jaguars WR makeover. After signing Gabriel Davis as a free agent, they continued to get bigger, faster, and younger after losing Calvin Ridley to Tennessee. After a disappointing fantasy season in 2023, Jacksonville has put Trevor Lawrence in a great position for a bounce back year. 

Thomas Jr. led the nation in TD receptions last season at LSU with 17. He has size, speed, and athleticism. There are some that point out his limited route tree, but athletically he can impose his will like a young DK Metcalf. Thomas Jr. completely dominated at the NFL Combine, running a 4.33 40 with a 10-6 Broad Jump. He also has underrated YAC ability.

Ridley was targeted 25 times in the Red Zone, finishing among the NFL league leaders. Thomas Jr. can immediately step into this role. Christian Kirk, Davis, and Evan Engram cap Thomas Jr’s target ceiling, but this landing spot is still a massive win for his Dynasty value. Thomas Jr. is very much in the mix as a first rounder in Dynasty rookie drafts. 

Dream the Impossible Dream. Xavier Worthy is Now a Kansas City Chief.

If there was an ideal landing spot for any player in this entire draft class, it would be Xavier Worthy to the Kansas City Chiefs. Worthy, the fastest player in the history of the NFL Combine, now joins Patrick Mahomes. One of the greatest QBs to ever play the game now has the fastest player he has ever played with at any level at his disposal. The last time we saw Mahomes attached to a WR who could run away from any NFL defense, it was Tyreek Hill

This is a match made in fantasy football heaven. 

Rashee Rice‘s off the field issues could cast Worthy into a heavier early season workload than expected. Even with Rice on the field, Worthy should be able to co-exist. The dynamic Worthy was an early breakout star at Texas, and finished his Longhorns career in the top 6 in receptions, receiving yards, and TDs. There is no guarantee that Worthy becomes a star, but the chances of him doing so just went up exponentially with this landing spot. 

Ricky Pearsall Replaces Deebo Samuel…or is it Brandon Aiyuk?

Pearsall has been an offseason riser. An older prospect out of Florida, Pearsall put up a dominant NFL Combine performance. He led all WRs with a 42-inch vertical leap to go along with a 4.41 40 Yard Dash. He displayed unique athleticism and wowed NFL teams. 

Many people, including myself, had projected Pearsall to be selected in the second round. Instead, he lands on one of the NFL’s top offenses in San Francisco. Pearsall continues the trend of the 49ers drafting highly athletic WRs. They drafted Samuel No. 36 overall in 2019 and selected Aiyuk No. 25 in 2020. 

Will Pearsall be joining the Niners talented duo or replacing one of them? That remains to be seen, but there are multiple rumors linking Samuel (and possibly Aiyuk) to a trade. If one is moved, Pearsall will be a fast riser in rookie drafts. 

Xavier Legette Shuffle

The Carolina Panthers moved up to select a WR. To clarify, they moved up one pick to draft a WR. Carolina has long been linked to Legette. The South Carolina standout brings a physical athletic presence to a Panthers receiving room that could badly use an alpha. After minimal returns on Jonathan Mingo last season, and the failure of Terrace Marshall in 2021, the Panthers drafted another SEC WR with size. 

Legette was a late bloomer and a very late bloomer at that. Still, his physical tools are undeniable. With imposing size at 6-1 229 pounds, Legette ran a 4.39 40 yard dash. He added a 40-inch vertical and a 10-6 broad jump. While it took Legette a while to get going, he still posted a 1,250-yard season in the SEC- albeit in his fifth collegiate season. 

When you add in the Diontae Johnson trade, it is clear that Carolina is doing their best to help Bryce Young improve off of a disappointing Year 1. Young’s success will now be tied in with Legette’s fantasy impact.

NFL Quarterback: the Most Valuable Position in Sports

NFL teams showed just how valuable the QB position is. Six QBs flew off the board, tying an NFL record for the most ever selected in the first round. For better or worse, NFL teams have to take shots on these QBs. Failing at that pivotal spot leads to coaches and GMs losing their job. There is also immense value in QBs on rookie contracts.

Could this also be a testament to a weak 2025 class? That remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure. Never underestimate the QB thirst. NFL teams are willing to take shots and risk being wrong on the hope of getting it right.

For more from Theo Gremminger, check out this article – Dynasty Fantasy Football Landmines – 2024 NFL Draft Implications (playerprofiler.com)