Perfect 2024 fantasy football draft strategy, round by round: Picks 4-6

2T0R811 Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

• A top-five wide receiver is all but guaranteed: The top six picks in most drafts should be Christian McCaffrey and the top-five wide receivers. Ja’Marr Chase is the ideal option from Picks 4-6.

• It’s not too early to pick a quarterback in Round 2: Round 2 quarterbacks were league winners last year and Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts fit that description again this 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: 14 minutes

The perfect draft series combines current ADPs from expert and casual drafts to see who should be available at each pick and make the best picks given that information. This draft is designed for 12-team PPR leagues for anyone picking fourth, fifth or sixth.

Last updated: 7:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 10

Round 1, Picks 4-6: Draft a wide receiver

In most leagues, Christian McCaffrey and two wide receivers will be the first three picks, leaving three more top-five wide receivers to choose from. It’s too early to pick a quarterback or tight end and a little too early for Bijan Robinson or Breece Hall. The only debate here is which elite wide receivers to target. If you pick fourth, you will have options, but if you’re picking sixth, the decision is easy.

Top Target: Ja'Marr Chase

Chase was WR5 as a rookie but has fallen just outside of the top-10 the last two seasons because he missed time due to injury in 2022 while Joe Burrow missed time in 2023. He’s ranked among the top six in fantasy points per game each season when only including games where Burrow is healthy. Chase should benefit this season from Tyler Boyd leaving the team, allowing Chase to line up in the slot more often. All of the other wide receivers with a top-five ADP have lined up in the slot significantly more than Chase these last three seasons, and it’s time for Chase to catch up.

Possible Targets: Justin Jefferson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, A.J. Brown, Puka Nacua, Garrett Wilson

Round 2, Picks 19-21: Draft a quarterback or wide receiver

Last season, the perfect pick in the second round was often a quarterback. Patrick Mahomes ADP was a bit high, but either Jalen Hurts or Josh Allen was typically the best pick. Those two quarterbacks also happened to be the quarterbacks most frequently on ESPN championship game teams last season. While Hurts lost Jason Kelce and Allen lost Stefon Diggs, they are both still worthy of second-round picks.

Hurts' ADP varies significantly from one site to another, as he often falls to the mid-to-late third round on some sites. Depending on the site, you could gamble and wait until the second round and hope Hurts falls. In this case, we’ll play it safe and pick Allen here.

Top Target: Josh Allen

Allen has finished as a top-two fantasy quarterback in each of the last four seasons. He’s the third-highest-graded passer and has the third-most rushing attempts in that time. He is the only quarterback who is elite at passing and rushing while running a lot. There is an obvious risk with the Stefon Diggs loss but the Buffalo Bills‘ general recharge means they will need to depend more heavily on Allen, which should allow his fantasy production to remain high.

Possible Targets: Jalen Hurts, Drake London, Brandon Aiyuk, Mike Evans, D.K. Metcalf

Round 3, Picks 28-30: Draft a quarterback or wide receiver

As mentioned in Round 2, the hope is for Hurts to fall to this pick to get a top-two fantasy quarterback at a value. If a quarterback was selected in Round 2, or if both Allen and Hurts are off the board, then wide receiver is the clear choice in Round 3. Several players are the clear top wide receivers on their team with a long history of fantasy production to pick from.

Top Target: Brandon Aiyuk

Aiyuk has been a very talented receiver held back by the San Francisco 49ers‘ run-first offense and quarterback situation. This past season, Aiyuk was unleashed with Brock Purdy. His average depth of target and deep target rate shot up, allowing him to finish at WR12 despite how often the 49ers run with the ball.

Trade rumors have run rampant around Aiyuk given his desire for a new contract and the 49ers' cap situation in 2025 and beyond. A new team would likely result in less accurate passes thrown Aiyuk’s way but also a large increase in pass routes per game, allowing him to accumulate more stats.

Possible Targets: Jalen Hurts, D.K. Metcalf, Michael Pittman Jr., Deebo Samuel Sr., Patrick Mahomes

Round 4, Picks 43-45: Draft a running back

This is the last opportunity to draft a clear-cut starting running back. This tier of running backs is valuable if everything goes according to plan but a lot can go wrong. All six backs available at this point have averaged at least 14.5 PPR points per game over a significant stretch of time during the last two seasons, but most of the teams these running backs played for have invested a significant draft pick on another running back. Enough has been invested in these six that they are unlikely to completely disappear even if they lose playing time.

Top Target: Alvin Kamara

Kamara finished third in fantasy points per game this season despite averaging less than 4.0 yards per carry. He accomplished this by leading all running backs in receptions despite missing the first three games due to suspension. Kamara has a new offensive coordinator in Klint Kubiak who spent last season with the San Francisco 49ers and the year before with the Denver Broncos. Both teams ranked top 10 in receiving yards to running backs in those seasons.

Kamara could start losing playing time to Kendre Miller this season, but given Kamara’s salary and the New Orleans Saints cap situation, they clearly still have big plans for Kamara.

Possible Targets: Joe Mixon, Kenneth Walker III, Aaron Jones, Rhamondre Stevenson, David Montgomery

Round 5, Picks 52-54: Draft a tight end

Round 5 is a sweet spot for adding a star tight end, which is why that position was ignored at the end of Round 2. The top tight ends available at this spot have either finished as top-six fantasy tight ends each of the last two seasons with the same quarterback and offensive play-caller or are young with a great opportunity to have a career year.

Top Target: George Kittle

On a per-play basis, Kittle has been roughly as good as Travis Kelce, but he plays for the San Francisco 49ers, who have been one of the most run-heavy teams in the league, while Kelce is with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are among the most pass-heavy. Having Brock Purdy at quarterback has helped Kittle’s efficiency with more big plays and more touchdowns. Kittle was the only tight end last season to reach 1,000 yards, but he doesn’t get as many receptions as other great tight ends. Kittle has ranked in the top six in fantasy points per game for a tight end in each of the last six seasons, and it’s reasonable to expect him to extend that streak to seven seasons.

Possible Targets: Kyle Pitts, Evan Engram, David Njoku, Jake Ferguson, Brock Bowers

Round 6, Picks 67-69: Draft a running back

The running backs, at this point of the draft, are favorites to start when healthy but are facing significant competition. While these running backs aren’t necessarily the most exciting names, only so many are expected to be clear starters on their team even if they are on the older side. It’s good to have someone you can put in your starting lineup every week as long as they aren’t injured.

Top Target: Rhamondre Stevenson

Stevenson didn’t quite live up to expectations last season with 12.1 fantasy points per game, but a lot of that had to do with the New England Patriots offense more so than Stevenson. The Patriots ran 98 plays in the red zone — 22 fewer than the next worst team. The quarterback situation should be a lot better this season, as well as the wide receivers. Ideally, the young offensive linemen can also improve, leading to more efficiency. At the very least, the Patriots still believe in Stevenson after recently signing a four-year, $36 million extension.

Possible Targets: James Conner, Zamir White, Jonathon Brooks, D'Andre Swift, Tony Pollard

Round 7, Picks 76-78: Draft a wide receiver

With a top-six quarterback and tight end secured, the next several picks will be some combination of running back and wide receiver. When you have a top-six quarterback or tight end, you’re not benching them because a backup has a better matchup. That means a backup is only necessary in case of injuries, so you can draft more running backs and wide receivers before making lineup decisions based on matchups and who breaks out.

In this case, a wide receiver is best to pick because several proven players are in new situations this year. Ideally, the new situation allows them to outperform their ADP. If it doesn’t, then hopefully one of the several sleeper wide receivers picked later ends up breaking out.

Top Target: Diontae Johnson

Johnson was able to finish as WR28 in 2022 while tied for sixth in targets with Kenny Pickett in his rookie season. He was traded to the Carolina Panthers where he should be their X receiver and be the clear leader on the team in targets. Everything indicates we could be in store for a similar season to 2022 this year if Young can’t improve. If Young can improve, we could see a season like 2021 where he was the overall WR8.

Possible Targets: DeAndre Hopkins, Rashee Rice, Ladd McConkey, Jordan Addison, Tyler Lockett

Round 8, Picks 91-93: Draft a wide receiver or Javonte Williams

It took a while to add a third wide receiver on this team because there was value at other positions in earlier rounds. To help make up for that, another wide receiver makes sense here. There is a combination of some of the top young unproven wide receivers available as well as veterans who no longer have a high upside, but also have a long history of fantasy success.

Top Target: Ladd McConkey

McConkey is one of a few wide receivers picked in the late first or early second round who landed with an elite quarterback and a team that needed a wide receiver. Since Justin Herbert was drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Jalen Guyton, Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett represented 60% or more of the Chargers receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. None of them are currently on the Chargers roster. They didn’t add any wide receivers in free agency. Hayden Hurst and J.K. Dobbins are the closest receiving replacements at tight end and running back. 

McConkey joins Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnston, so he should be able to play in the slot and potentially lead the team in receiving. The Chargers have a new offensive coordinator in Greg Roman. His slot receivers have consistently played better and given more opportunities compared to the league average. This includes when he worked with Jim Harbaugh with the San Francisco 49ers a decade ago. Los Angeles might continue to look for upgrades at wide receiver in future seasons, but as long as McConkey remains their slot receiver, he should maintain his value.

Possible Targets: Tyler Lockett, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Courtland Sutton, Rome Odunze, Javonte Williams

Round 9, Picks 100-102: Draft a running back or wide receiver

While there are plenty of good wide receivers available at this point, we are pivoting to running back specifically because Devin Singletary should still be available. A few of the better wide receiver options here should still be available in Round 10.

Top Target: Devin Singletary

Singletary has consistently graded well as a runner, posting a 73.0-plus PFF rushing grade and at least 78.0 in each of the past three seasons. He joins the New York Giants this season where he should be the feature running back. Typically, feature backs are picked much higher,  but he will be playing behind one of the worst offensive lines, and he has never graded well as a receiver and possibly might not play on third downs. That should prevent him from getting picked in the first half of drafts, but he can be a steal in the second half.

Possible Targets: Tyler Lockett, Courtland Sutton, Brian Thomas Jr., Keon Coleman, Nick Chubb

Round 10, Picks 115-117: Draft a wide receiver

The next four rounds are mostly about picking your guys. If your favorite sleeper quarterback or tight end is available, it’s OK to pick them, but I’d lean toward stocking up on even more running backs and wide receivers. I lean toward picking a running back and wide receiver at each of the next two pairs of picks, selecting whichever players are at the top of the board.

Top Target: Tyler Lockett

Lockett had been a consistent fantasy asset with four straight 1,000-yard and eight-plus touchdown seasons, but he gained fewer yards and caught fewer touchdowns last season at 31 years old. His decline was only in his statistics, as his PFF receiving grade was very consistent. He’s finished between 77.0-83.0 in each of the last six seasons. The Seahawks have a new offensive coordinator in Ryan Grubb. While everyone is excited for Jaxon Smith-Njigba, ideally, Grubb will be able to take advantage of Lockett’s talent to keep him fantasy-relevant.

Possible Targets: Mike Williams, Jakobi Meyers, Curtis Samuel, Brandin Cooks, Rashid Shaheed

Round 11, Picks 124-126: Draft a running back or wide receiver

Top Target: Zach Charbonnet

Charbonnet was the third quarterback on our big board in 2023, just behind Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs, and just ahead of De’Von Achane and Tyjae Spears. The second-round rookie won the third-down and two-minute drill job by November. He had three games playing over 60% of his team's offensive snaps when Ken Walker III was injured, but those were against the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys — three top-12 run defenses by PFF grade.  The most likely scenario is he’s a passing back and handcuff to Walker, but with a new offensive coordinator in Ryan Grubb, we could see a completely different running back rotation — potentially one where Charbonnet is the starter.

Possible Targets: Jakobi Meyers, Chuba Hubbard, Brandin Cooks, Rico Dowdle, Rashid Shaheed

Round 12, Picks 139-141: Draft a wide receiver or running back

Top Target: Brandin Cooks

It took a few weeks for Cooks to start producing in the Dallas Cowboys offense last season, but he scored the 24th-most fantasy points for a wide receiver from Week 6 until the end of the season. The Cowboy offense has lost some of its receiving production and didn’t bring in much to replace them, which should put more emphasis on the other Cowboys receivers. A lot of Cooks’ fantasy production came from touchdowns, which is bound to regress, but three of his best four games in terms of targets and receptions came in the last three weeks of the season, including the playoffs. If Cooks can continue that momentum into the 2024 season, he will be one of the biggest steals of the draft.

Possible Targets: Chuba Hubbard, Rico Dowdle, Antonio Gibson, Gabe Davis, Tyler Allgeier

Round 13, Picks 148-150: Draft a running back

Top Target: Chuba Hubbard

Hubbard was used in a variety of situations over his first two seasons, and his role increased significantly for the 2023 season, playing at least 64% of his team's offensive snaps in each of his last seven games. He finished at least RB28 or better in each of those games including two weeks as a top-12 running back.

The Panthers added Jonathon Brooks in the draft as the first running back selected, but he is coming off a torn ACL. A few weeks ago, it was reported that Brooks still has a ways to go in his recovery and will likely be eased into training camp. Hubbard has a decent chance to be the starter at least early in the season, and the Carolina Panthers shouldn’t rush Brooks. Hubbard is a great gamble this late in the draft as someone capable of being a feature back.

Possible Targets: Jaleel McLaughlin, Khalil Herbert, Bucky Irving, Ray Davis, Roschon Johnson

Round 14-18: Fill Depth 

Use any additional picks to pick a kicker and team defense if your league plays with them and forces you to draft them. If not, stock up on more running backs and wide receivers.


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