Fantasy Football: 4 players with the most to gain at NFL OTAs

2T6YC8A Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) hurdles Green Bay Packers safety Rudy Ford (20) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

• Is Alvin Kamara’s starting role in the New Orleans Saints’ offense a given?: Now healthy after an injury-riddled rookie season, second-year RB Kendre Miller has a lot to prove. 

Najee Harris plays for his future in the 2024 season: While most fantasy managers are eyeing Jaylen Warren as the key to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ run game after an efficient 2023 campaign, Harris has a lot of positives to build on heading into a contract year. 

• Get a head start on fantasy football: Use PFF's fantasy football mock draft simulator to create real live mock draft simulations to get ready for your live draft!

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

All 32 teams have held their rookie minicamp sessions following the 2024 NFL Draft, which means we’re on to the next step in the offseason program – OTAs! Most teams around the league have kicked off their first of 10 offseason team activity workouts, which means fantasy football managers are getting their first look at the potential depth charts and roles in store for the year to come. Here’s a look at four NFL players with the most to gain in 2024 fantasy football leagues to keep your eye on throughout OTAs. 

RB Kendre Miller, New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints are in cap hell. Though they’ve finally made their way out of the red, sitting with just over $2.4 million in effective cap space at this point in the offseason. Their outlook in the years ahead isn’t much brighter. In 2025, the Saints are projected to be $84.8 million over the cap, and in 2026, they have the third-lowest projected cap space at $29.6 million. In short, they could certainly use some cash. That’s where veteran running back Alvin Kamara‘s contract could come into play, as he has cap numbers just over $7.8 million in 2024 and $29 million in 2025.  That’s where second-year running back Kendre Miller comes into play.

Unfortunately, the Saints did not have a great opportunity to evaluate their future at the running back position, as Miller battled several injuries in 2023. He played just eight games in his rookie campaign, including a seven-game stint on injured reserve as he managed an ankle injury. Miller did end up returning for the final game of the season to play 36% of snaps, totaling 73 yards and a touchdown on 13 rush attempts. His 5.6 yards per carry average (including 3.8 yards after contact per attempt) and 38% missed forced tackle rate earned him an 81.1 PFF rushing grade on the week, which ranked fifth among running backs. 

Fully healthy, Miller should have an opportunity to push for a role throughout OTAs and mandatory minicamp, and if all goes well, could have the Saints in a position to move on from Kamara in a move to save just over $35 million over the next two seasons, either via trade or release.

RB Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers officially declined the fifth-year option for 2021 first-round pick Najee Harris at the deadline back in May, which gave all of his skeptics the ammunition needed to go “full fade.” Instead, fantasy managers have been enthralled with his teammate, UDFA stud Jaylen Warren, who led the NFL with a 35% missed forced tackle rate last season, surpassing 1,000 scrimmage yards in a backup role. Still, in an Arthur Smith-led offense that has ranked top-10 in rushing attempts over the past three seasons, Harris should have plenty of opportunity to redeem himself in a contract year.

Harris posted a career-high 77.2 PFF rushing grade in 2023, averaging a career-high 4.0 yards per carry, 3.03 yards after contact per attempt and 14 runs of 15 or more rushing yards. He also posted a career-high 25.9% breakaway yard percentage, another testament to the step forward he took in terms of vision and the difficulty defenders faced when tackling him. 

Though Harris is once again likely to share a workload with Warren in 2024, there’s no doubt that he should be in for his most efficient season to date working with an improved offensive scheme and a greatly improved offensive line. OTAs could shed significant insight as to how the Steelers plan to deploy these backs in 2024, which could put Harris in a big position to climb back into the good graces of fantasy managers everywhere. 

WR Jayden Reed, Green Bay Packers

Despite a standout season for the Green Bay Packers in Year 1 with Jordan Love as their starting quarterback, not a single wide receiver on the team has an average draft position (ADP) inside of the top 30 on FantasyPros. In part, it seems likely because of the wealth of receiver talent that showed out (unexpectedly) in 2023 along with the long-lasting hope that former second-round wide receiver Christian Watson might actually be able to stay healthy. However, in the second half of the 2023 season, then-rookie Jayden Reed appeared to have carved out a role as the WR1 for this offense. 

From Week 10 on, Reed’s 26% target rate on routes run ranked 15th among wide receivers, also ranking top-10 in passer rating when targeted (123.8), catch percentage (75.4%) and fantasy points per snap (0.48). Reed averaged 14.8 fantasy points per game (full PPR) from Week 10 through the close of the regular fantasy season, which ranked as the WR10 in that span, finishing as a top-12 WR in four of nine final games with just a single finish outside of the top-25 performing receivers. 

OTAs might just be the perfect time to prove to fantasy managers everywhere that his performance as Jordan Love’s top receiving option, having led the team in targets, receptions and receiving touchdowns in the second half of his rookie season.

TE Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens suffered a devastating blow in the second half of the 2023 season with a significant ankle injury to star tight end Mark Andrews. Luckily, they had a studly backup option in second-year tight end Isaiah Likely to keep them afloat. He played 10 games following Andrews’ injury, and in those games, he caught 26-of-37 targets for 377 receiving yards and six touchdowns. He scored 11 or more fantasy points in five of those 10 outings and eight or more fantasy points in seven. 

As impressive as his fantasy production was the efficiency in comparison to some elite tight ends around the league, averaging 13.4 yards per reception (ranked second among TEs with 25 or more targets, only behind star George Kittle), 7.3 yards after the catch per reception (t-3rd) and a 139.5 passer rating when targeted (1st). Though that production came without Andrews on the field, there is some reason to believe Likely might be able to carve out a role in the offense moving forward.

Despite the departure of Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason, who ranked second on the Ravens with 77 total targets in 2023 only behind then-rookie Zay Flowers, Baltimore hasn’t done much to add to the receiving room. They extended former first-round pick Rashod Bateman, who’s struggled to stay healthy, and drafted WR Devontez Walker in Round 4 of the 2024 NFL Draft, but didn’t do much else in the way of providing Lamar Jackson immediate contributors in the passing game. Could that be where third-year tight end Likely comes in as a role player?


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