Fantasy Football 2024: 5 bold predictions for 2024

2RYK2WB Miami Dolphins running back De'Von Achane (28) rushes for a 10 yard touchdown during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, in Orchard Park, NY. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

• Two rookie quarterbacks finish top-12 at their position for fantasy football: Both Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels will offer fantasy football managers upside from Day 1.

De’Von Achane finishes as an RB3 (or worse): Despite Achane's incredibly efficient rookie season, the Miami Dolphins have made several moves that indicate he won’t be in for an increased workload.

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As NFL depth charts start to take shape with offseason practices in full swing, it’s officially time for fantasy analysts far and wide to plant their flags for the season to come.

Here are five of my boldest predictions for the 2024 fantasy football season.

Two rookie quarterbacks finish as top-12 fantasy performers

The Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders each hope to have drafted their quarterback of the future in Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels, and fantasy managers willing to take a shot on them could be in for a treat in Year 1.

Williams may have been drafted into one of the most ideal situations for a No. 1 pick in recent memory. Not only does he enter his rookie season with wide receiver Rome Odunze, a blue-chip prospect whom the team drafted ninth overall, but he also has two of the league's best veterans in Keenan Allen and D.J. Moore. Each of Williams' top three receivers earned receiving grades of 87.0 or above and averaged 2.20 or more yards per route run in 2023.

Receiving tight end options? Williams has got those, too! Not only will he play with Cole Kmet, who is coming off a career-high 77.7 receiving grade and ranked top-seven among tight ends in both fantasy points per target and fantasy points per route run, but he’ll have another stable veteran in Gerald Everett, another asset the team signed this offseason.

As for Daniels, it’s no secret that he will have a big-time edge in terms of fantasy production, thanks to his proficiency as a rusher. He emerged from LSU having posted a 92.4 rushing grade in the 2023 season that led all NCAA quarterbacks, totaling 1,301 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the year. He averaged 10.4 yards per carry and 0.72 missed tackles forced per attempt.

Daniels doesn’t have quite the same upside with his weapons in place as Williams. However,  between Terry McLaurin, former first-round pick Jahan Dotson (who’s shown flashes himself), uber-athletic rookie tight end Ben Sinnott and Austin Ekeler as a safety valve, he’s still got the upside. Don’t be surprised when both he and Williams finish as QB1s as rookies.

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De’Von Achane finishes as an RB3 or worse

The Miami Dolphins drafted Texas A&M prospect Achane with the 84th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and boy, did he get off to an incredible start. He racked up 813 rushing yards on just 108 attempts, earning a 93.1 PFF rushing grade that led all running backs with at least 100 attempts. He led all running backs in yards per carry (7.5) and yards after contact per attempt (4.94) while finishing third in missed tackles forced per attempt (0.28). So, why fade him moving forward?

Despite an incredibly efficient rookie campaign, the Dolphins have given fantasy managers plenty of cause for concern that we may not see a substantial increase in Achane's workload. It’s understandable, too, as part of the concern for the former Texas A&M star as a draft prospect was that he was undersized, only to spend his rookie season dealing with a shoulder sprain and a nagging knee injury.

Earlier this offseason, the Dolphins signed Raheem Mostert to a new two-year deal worth up to $9.075 million while trading a 2025 third-round pick to select Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright in this year’s draft. The number of similarly speedy assets competing for touches in the Dolphins' backfield won’t be conducive to a heavy workload for Achane, having already played behind Mostert when both were healthy.

Mostert recorded 10 or more rush attempts in all but three of his 16 games in 2023, while Achane achieved that mark just five times. Though there’s no doubt that there’s tremendous upside and opportunity to continue producing efficiently, his current average draft position at RB9 (a second-round selection, on average) will be difficult to justify.

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Derrick Henry becomes the fifth player in NFL history to post a 300-plus fantasy point season at the age of 30

The Baltimore Ravens signed 30-year-old veteran Derrick Henry to a two-year, $16 million contract, officially teaming him up with Lamar Jackson. Over the past three seasons, the two have combined for 4,305 rushing yards, 48 rushing touchdowns, 270 forced missed tackles and 171 explosive runs, with each player earning a 90.0-plus rushing grade over that span.

Henry and Jackson form what is, without a doubt, the best QB-RB rushing tandem in the league. While some fantasy managers may be skeptical of Henry’s production given his age and the fact that he ranks second among all active running backs in career touches, he’s still got plenty of upside.

At the age of 29, Henry posted the second-highest rushing grade of his career (86.8), ranking top-five among running backs with 0.43 fantasy points per snap and top-10 in yards after contact per attempt. Considering his age and the fact that he played in a below-average Titans offense, his finish as the RB10 in 2023 was all the more impressive.

There have been four running backs in NFL history to post a 300-plus point season at the age of 30 (or beyond), including Priest Holmes (2003), Tiki Barber (2005), Charlie Garner (2002) and Walter Payton (1984, 1985). Don’t be surprised if Henry becomes the fifth.

With limited competition behind him, Henry should be in line for all the work he can handle in 2023.

Diontae Johnson is a WR2 (or better) for fantasy football in 2024

This offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers made waves with the announcement that they’d traded veteran wide receiver Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers.

Though Johnson has not been known for his efficiency, he is coming off a season where he posted career-highs in receiving grade (79.1), yards per reception (13.9) and yards per route run (1.90). His 5.2 yards after the catch per reception was the second-best mark of his career, as was his 99.2 passer rating when targeted.

Unfortunately, Johnson has spent the better part of his career playing with an aging Ben Roethlisberger and a rotation of Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph.

There’s no guarantee that he’ll be in a much better position moving forward, but the fact that he's averaged 10 or more fantasy points per game (including a career-high 17 fantasy points per game in 2021) should be encouraging in terms of both his floor and ceiling moving forward.

The Panthers have done a good job of providing second-year quarterback Bryce Young with more weaponry than he had as a rookie. However, there is no doubt that Johnson is the most likely option to lead this team in targets.

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Dalton Kincaid finishes as the overall TE1

All eyes have been on rookie wide receiver Keon Coleman, but don’t let his way with words detract from the real storyline in this offense: the opportunity for a breakout season for second-year tight end Dalton Kincaid.

The Bills drafted Kincaid with the 25th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft. He was an undersized tight end prospect with sure hands and fluidity as a route runner with a proven track record as a focal point in Utah’s passing game. He showed flashes of those traits as a rookie, finishing as the TE11 for fantasy football in 2023.

Kincaid has room to grow in terms of efficiency heading into Year 2, but there’s no doubt he’ll have all of the opportunity to do so in a good offense with one of the league’s best quarterbacks throwing him the ball.

Stefon Diggs accounted for 702 of Josh Allen’s 2,696 targets over the past four seasons. Gabe Davis also departed the team in free agency, having accounted for 323 of Allen’s targets in that same span, which means plenty of opportunity for the second-year tight end to make a mark.

Kincaid ranked second on the team, behind only Diggs, with a 19.6% target rate on routes run, which is encouraging.

There’s a very real possibility that Kincaid leads this team in targets with the shakeups in the Bills' receiving room this offseason, and at a position as volatile as the tight end, volume can, in the end, be king for production.


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