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2024 NFL Draft Top 5 Fantasy Fits: Expectations for Jonathon Brooks, Keon Coleman’s role with the Bills, more


During draft season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the potential of the incoming rookie class and expect big things from the future first-year players as they start their careers, especially from a Fantasy perspective. And while the 2024 class lacks ideal dynasty options after being a somewhat down offensive skill players draft, it still has talent to get excited about, including some top rookie contributors.

Three of the six rookie quarterbacks drafted in round one should start Week 1 (Williams, Daniels and Nix), and could be quality rookie performers, but they’re unlikely to be valuable outside of two-quarterback leagues. But these five rookies have a great chance to be rookies worth drafting in Fantasy leagues this year.

Carolina traded up to secure the best running back in the 2024 draft in Jonathon Brooks. When he’s back to 100% for training camp, it likely won’t be long until he emerges as the team’s starting running back. Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders, while productive at times in their career, don’t come close to Brooks’ talent. 

Brooks is a small notch below Bijan Robinson as a prospect, with less size and interior running strength but better perimeter running ability and natural feel as a pass catcher. Brooks may need a few weeks to get ramped up to speed, but despite his injury that caused him to drop in the draft, there’s a good chance that, barring injuries elsewhere, Brooks will be the first rookie running back to be a team’s feature weapon.

James Conner has been the Cardinals leading rusher the last three seasons, but when he missed games last season, the team relied upon Emari Demarcado, Michael Carter, and Damien Williams to fill the void. But none have the same explosive, high-upside talent that Benson possesses.

With Conner in the last year of his contract and just hitting 29 years old, Benson, although likely starting the season as the “backup”, will likely start getting the lion’s share of the carries by midseason and emerging as the full-blown lead back by season’s end. 

Benson’s explosiveness and balance through contact will make him an efficient RB3 to start the season, but there’s a good chance he’s starting on playoff Fantasy teams by the time Fantasy playoffs commence.

The last time the Giants had a receiver finish wither 800 yards in a season: 2018, with Odell Beckham finishing with 1,052 yards and Eli Manning throwing him the ball. The Giants have been desperate for a new No. 1 receiver, trying free agent signings like Kenny Golladay and first round picks like Kadarius Toney.

But Nabers feels like their best chance to actually solve their half decade debacle at receiver. He’s immensely talented, but as a route runner and after-catch playmaker but also as a downfield threat with elite speed and separation ability. Daniel jones has never had a receiver near his talent, and a playmaker like Nabers with future WR1 ability can make the entire receiver room better by his presence. But as a rookie, Nabers has a great chance to be a 75-catch, 1000-plus yard, eight-plus touchdown playmaker as a rookie thanks to the opportunities he’ll have.

Last season, as a rookie third-round pick, Michael Wilson finished just 9 yards shy of leading the Cardinals receivers in yards, behind the now departed Marquise Brown. If Arizona could find ways to utilize Wilson last year as a rookie, the potential for Harrison, arguably the most pro-ready receiver in recent draft history.

The last time Kyler Murray played a full season, it was 2020 and DeAndre Hopkins finished with 115 catches, 1407 yards and six TDs, just 79 yards less than Puka Nacua’s rookie record at the position. While breaking Nacua’s incredible record isn’t a realistic goal to shoot for, if Kyler Murray can stay healthy and return to form, Harrison has the talent and every opportunity to be a premiere receiver quickly in the NFL in Arizona.

Last season, Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis combined for 152 catches, 1929 yards and 15 touchdowns, about 45%of the team’s total receiving production. With both departed and no clear featured receiver brought via free agency, that leaves rookie Keon Coleman with an incredibly large role to fill.

Along with being a fantastic and enjoyable personality so far in Buffalo, Coleman is an ideal fit within the Bills offense and for Josh Allen. Coleman is a smooth perimeter receiver with natural speed transition and feel for late-breaking route separation, and can attack vertically with control and finishing ability, two traits that Diggs and Davis shared.

But most importantly, he’s able to finish away from his frame and off-balance, allowing him to finish catches when Josh Allen has to improvise and can’t place the ball perfectly. Good chance Coleman challenges for the rookie leader in receiving yards.

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Author: Eric Galko
May 13, 2024 | 1:25 pm

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