NFL Draft News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Best and worst potential 2024 NFL Draft fits

2TBF7RM Oregon Ducks wide receiver Troy Franklin (11) runs a route during the Pac-12 Championship NCAA college football game against Washington, Friday, Dec. 1 2023 in Las Vegas. (Ric Tapia via AP)

• The Buffalo Bills need a deep threat. Troy Franklin is that dude: While Franklin doesn’t offer the physicality of a 50/50 jump ball specialist, his speed/length combination could be exactly what Josh Allen needs to keep the deep ball alive.

Jaylen Wright’s fit with the Houston Texans might seem lukewarm at first, but he checks a lot of the boxes for what their offense is lacking, including speed: The ability to play alongside veteran Joe Mixon could also be key to the development of his vision at the next level.

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The 2024 NFL Draft will play out this weekend, meaning we’ll soon put a stop to the endless speculation about landing spots for the top prospects. In place of that speculation will come projection — how will these prospects fit with their new teams, and will they be able to maximize their potential with their new teams?

Here’s a look at some of the best potential prospect/team fits that would increase that rookie’s value for fantasy football, as well as some of the worst fits that could see a decrease in that rookie’s value come draft day.

Best potential fantasy fits

WR Troy Franklin: Buffalo Bills

It’s no secret that the Buffalo Bills need a wide receiver following Stefon Diggs‘ departure this offseason. Unfortunately, their stance at Pick 28 doesn’t leave much likelihood for a trade-up to nab one of the “top three,” but to their benefit, there’s a lot of depth in this class with a specific skill set that can translate to immediate contributions for their new teams. Bills GM Brandon Beane recently shut down conjecture that the team needs a true WR1 on the outside, stating, “What you need are guys that, in this offense, that are smart, versatile, selfless and can make the plays that their skillset allows them to make.” Enter Troy Franklin.

Franklin has been a relatively polarizing NFL draft prospect, offering a unique combination of 4.41 speed at just under 6-foot-2, though his smaller frame at 176 pounds leaves something to be desired in terms of play strength, and that shows up on tape. What is undeniable, however, is that Franklin is one of the best deep ball receivers in this draft class and doesn’t necessarily need to rely on play strength to come up with 50/50 balls thanks to his ability to generate speed with his athleticism. 

Franklin posted an 80.2% open target rate over the past two seasons, which ranked in the 89th percentile for receivers over that span and could be the type of role-player the Bills need for the deep passing game amidst Gabe Davis‘ departure, as he accounted for 29.3% of the Bills’ targets of 20-plus yards since 2022. Franklin’s 94.3 PFF receiving grade on targets of 20-plus yards ranked sixth among Power Five receivers this past season.

RB Jonathon Brooks: Dallas Cowboys

Almost half (47%) of mock drafts using PFF’s Mock Draft Simulator have the Dallas Cowboys selecting Texas running back Jonathon Brooks in Round 2, more than any other team in the market by a landslide. If it does indeed happen, fantasy managers can lock and load Brooks as a plug-and-play top-10 dynasty option on Day 1. In all fairness, any running back to the Cowboys would be an immediate contributor given their current depth chart consisting of… *checks notes*… Rico Dowdle, Deuce Vaughn, Royce Freeman and Malik Davis. Still, it’s difficult not to look at Texas prospect Jonathon Brooks as the best overall fit given his diverse skillset.

Coming off a torn ACL suffered back in November, there will be some concerns that Brooks won’t be ready Day 1 to assume a full workload. He confirmed at the NFL combine that he’s expecting to be ready by “July 1 or the start of training camp,” which is good news amidst the absence of any reported setbacks. So, let’s assume the Cowboys can look past the health concerns — why is Brooks the best man for the job?

A common trope is that the 2024 running back class is bad, but that’s not necessarily the case. This class offers some real grinders with solid size, athleticism and plenty of intriguing production profiles. This class truly lacks a complete prospect, and the argument can certainly be made that Brooks is the most complete prospect and would be considered a complete prospect… if it weren’t for that pesky torn ACL. In his lone season leading the Longhorns’ backfield, Brooks ranked in the 74th or better percentile in quite literally every stable rushing metric projecting value from year to year. 

Equally as impressive as his production as a runner is his production as a receiver, with sticky hands that produced another 286 receiving yards and a score on top of his rushing production over 10 games this past season – a huge plus for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (at least, for now), whose 6.1 targets per game to running backs ranks 16th among 47 qualifying quarterbacks (500 min. attempts) since the 2020 season. 

Pass blocking? He can do that too. Brooks’ 88.2 PFF pass-blocking grade ranked third among all running backs last season (min. 25 blocking opportunities). In fact, he didn’t allow a single pressure on 48 total opportunities. All things considered, Brooks has proven that, when healthy, he can fill the every-down role the Cowboys look to fill with their running backs. 

RB Jaylen Wright: Houston Texans

The Texans made waves earlier this offseason after trading a 2024 seventh-round pick for veteran running back Joe Mixon. Still, given the fact that he’s heading into his age-28 season while ranking fourth among active running backs in total touches, the Texans should still be looking toward contingency plans ahead of the 2024 season. Tennessee running back Jaylen Wright would be a perfect fit.

At 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds, Wright posted a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine (95th percentile for career half-backs, per MockDraftable) to firmly cement his spot as the best athlete in this running back class by a mile. His incredible burst was more than well-reflected by a 14% breakaway run rate in 2023. 

Though Wright has the athleticism that can make him a homerun threat any time he’s on the field, there are some questions about the offensive system he was tasked with leading in Tennessee and how well that system prepared him for a pro-style offense. With the Volunteers, Wright enjoyed a spread offense which did wonders for him along the line of scrimmage. Wright faced just four (!) stacked boxes (eight-plus defenders) in the entire 2023 season, earning a 53.3 PFF rushing grade on such attempts, averaging just 0.5 yards per carry. That grade ranked eighth-lowest among power-five running backs in the entire season. It’s a small sample size, but generally speaking, his lack of experience against stacked boxes

Wright’s fit with the Texans would offer him three important things that will lead themselves to Wright’s long-term value. 1) They need speed, and boy, does he hit the mark. 2) A solid offensive line. 3) The ability to learn, improve his vision and adapt to an NFL-style offense without the pressure to be ready Day 1 thanks to Mixon’s veteran presence.

Worst potential fantasy fits 

Jaylen Wright: New York Giants

Now that we’ve covered the best fantasy landing spot for Tennessee prospect Jaylen Wright, it’s time to talk about the worst… which is the New York Giants. Despite the loss of star running back Saquon Barkley in free agency, the Giants weren’t overly active in free agency, entering the draft with 5-foot-7, 203-pound Devin Singletary leading the backfield. Though Singletary is coming off his third consecutive season with 1,000-plus scrimmage yards, he’s never averaged more than 13 rush attempts per game in a given year, making it all the more difficult to imagine him holding a workhorse role in season six. That means, should Tennessee prospect Jaylen Wright land with the Giants, he’d be immediately asked to step in to play what would likely be a significant role within the offense on Day 1. 

Wright’s elite combination of size, speed and athleticism will always make him a threat for breakaway runs, but playing behind the Giants’ offensive line, whose 41.1 PFF run-blocking grade ranked third-worst in the league last year without many improvements this offseason, could be a recipe for inefficiency and inconsistency on a week-to-week basis.

Keon Coleman: Kansas City Chiefs

Florida State wide receiver Keon Coleman might be one of the biggest “projections” in this class. If you turned on his reel of highlights, you’d enjoy a plethora of jaw-dropping, acrobatic catches that showcase his basketball background and ability as an all-around athlete. However, in between the highlight grabs are some inconsistencies that will need ironing out at the next level in terms of his ability as a route runner. At 6-foot-3 and 213 pounds, Coleman offers more burst than you’d expect, but without some of the nuance as a route runner has generally struggled to separate, which could be an even more apparent issue against NFL corners. 

Though any receiver tied to quarterback Patrick Mahomes gets a bump, his 28.9% open target rate ranked 449th among 450 qualifying receivers in 2023, which could make it a challenge to earn targets from Mahomes right out of the gate. Mahomes has excelled when building chemistry with his receivers who showcase an innate ability to find soft spots in the zone and build trust on scramble drills, which could be a point against Coleman given his current skill set. Furthermore, with some of the weaknesses in this current Chiefs receiving corps (size, namely) and questions regarding Rashee Rice’s availability this season, Coleman could be pegged for extra attention from opposing secondaries… which I’m not convinced Coleman has the ability to beat at the next level. At least, not yet.

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