NFL Draft News & Analysis

2024 NFL Draft: Fantasy football takeaways, analysis for all 32 first-round picks

2TAMRC4 Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze (1) lines up out wide during an NCAA college football game for the Pac-12 Conference against Oregon, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, in Las Vegas. (Aaron M. Sprecher via AP)

Welcome to PFF Fantasy's 2024 NFL Draft coverage! The live tracker below provides readers with live pick-by-pick, actionable analysis for all major fantasy football leagues and formats, including re-draft, DFS and dynasty.

Please feel free to submit live questions on X by tagging @PFF_Fantasy, @KateMagdziuk and/or @NicBodifordNFL.

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R1 (1): USC QB Caleb Williams stabilizes the Chicago Bears offense (…finally)

The Chicago Bears drafted quarterback Caleb Williams, into a dream scenario featuring reliable blindside blocking and a star-studded pass-catching corps. Williams’ (84.6 PFF passing grade) rare arm talent keeps Nos. 1 and 2 wide receivers D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen PPR-WR1-viable, while also improving tight end Cole Kmet’s weekly range of outcomes. Should second-year running back Roschon Johnson (62.9 PFF receiving grade in the two-minute drill) solidify his status as the team’s passing-down back, Williams will do the rest.

Most exciting for fantasy purposes, Williams (82.6 PFF rushing grade) possesses the requisite rushing skills to score high-end QB1 fantasy points in year one. GM Ryan Poles has three picks left. Will he stay put at No. 9 or bolster his war chest by trading back? — Nic Bodiford

R1 (2): Washington Commanders kick off their Josh Harris-era with top dual-threat QB Jayden Daniels

LSU quarterback prospect Jayden Daniels is officially the new face of the Commanders' franchise. Daniels led the FBS with a 94.7 offensive grade in 2023, throwing for 3,811 yards and 40 touchdowns (4 INTs) on top of 1,250 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. So yeah… pretty high upside here for fantasy football, where rushing is the ultimate cheat code. 

From Day 1, he’ll be throwing to star receiver Terry McLaurin, who’s posted an 84.3 PFF receiving grade dating back to 2021 despite a 68% catchable target rate in that span, which ranks 72nd among 96 qualifying receivers in that span. Pairing Daniels with McLaurin and former first-round pick Jahan Dotson, whose long speed and big-play potential have yet to be unlocked feels like a recipe for success out of the gate. 

However excited they are for the upside, fantasy managers will probably be holding their breath every time he takes a hit, especially considering Washington's dire needs on the offensive line. Coming in at 6’3 ⅝” and 210 pounds, Daniels is built like a toothpick and hasn’t quite learned how to take a hit gracefully (or avoid unnecessary hits altogether). With the reliable hands of RB Austin Ekeler there as an outlet underneath, there’s a lot to like about Daniels and his value for fantasy – dynasty and redraft alike – the moment he steps on the field. This landing spot is a win for fantasy managers, plain and simple. He's the clear-cut No. 2 pick in dynasty rookie superflex drafts behind Caleb Williams, without question. — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (3): New England Patriots opt for chalk, selecting North Carolina Drake Maye

The New England Patriots selected North Carolina’s Josh Allen-lookalike, quarterback Drake Maye to run their 11 personnel-based offense. Maye’s elite rushing prowess can sustain his fantasy football QB1 status if need be, but the front office is expected to use the No. 34 overall pick on a talented X-wide receiver. Maye immediately improves slot receiver Demario Douglas’ second-year prospects, while potentially breathing life into 29-year-old tight end Hunter Henry. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson is likely the biggest loser as Maye will challenge him for the goal-line rushing role. — Nic Bodiford

R1 (4): Arizona Cardinals draft QB Kyler Murray a new best friend in Marvin Harrison Jr.

No, seriously. Kyler Murray is hyped for his new WR1.

The Arizona Cardinals really never had another option at pick No. 4; this was always written in the stars. There are three blue chip receiver prospects in this class, but none of them as safe as Ohio State prospect Marvin Harrison Jr. — the No. 2 ranked player on PFF's 2024 NFL Draft Big Board.

We’re officially way beyond the era of fading rookie wide receivers, as Harrison stands 6’3” and 209 pounds while somehow running routes with the finesse of a much smaller human being, athleticism and body control. Given the Cardinals’ current depth chart, Harrison Jr. could very well see upward of 140+ targets in his rookie season, with WR1 upside in Year 1. His presence will also raise the ceiling of quarterback Kyler Murray in a big way, having ranked as the QB9 in 2023, despite coming off a torn ACL and throwing to a wide receiver corps of… *checks notes* Greg Dortch, Rondale Moore, Michael Wilson and (for a brief moment) Marquise “Hollywood” Brown.

Is it me, or is this draft kind of chalk-y so far? But I kind of like the chalk. This is good fantasy chalk, folks. — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (5): RIP Justin Herbert's fantasy value </3 Chargers opt to bolster the offensive line, drafting OT Joe Alt at No. 5

Earlier this week, I wrote about how what the Chargers do with the fifth overall pick will tell us everything we need to know about the offensive philosophy they're installing this season.  If they go offensive line, it's wheels up for… not Justin Herbert, but rather the run game. As a former head coach for the 49ers, new Chargers HC Jim Harbaugh built his offense around the run with OC Greg Roman at his side; by all appearances, he's attempting to replicate his earlier NFL run.  Expect the Chargers to draft a running back on Day 2, and when they do, expect this prospect (whoever it may be) to be an immediate asset with rushing upside.

To be fair, the Chargers needed Alt's skillset if they do want to run the ball — and badly so. They ranked dead last in the league in 2023 with a PFF run blocking grade of 40.1. It just doesn't make sense for the sake of their franchise quarterback, who's currently throwing to a receiving corps of former first-round receiver Quentin Johnston, veteran Josh Palmer and… Simi Fehoko? — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (6): The New York Giants finally find their Odell Beckham Jr. replacement in LSU’s Malik Nabers

Fantasy managers must now decide whether the post-ACL reconstruction version of New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is enough to scare them away from the 2024 NFL draft’s most electric post-catch producer, LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers. The simple answer: Don’t play scared. Trust him. Nabers is an elite wide receiver with minimal target competition. He has a chance to lead all rookie pass catchers in targets this year. — Nic Bodiford

R1 (7): Titans bolster the offensive line for new franchise RB Tony Pollard with Alabama OT J.C. Latham

Tennessee brought no surprises to the party, opting for an offensive tackle in Round 1. Though it won't sway fantasy managers' opinions of Tony Pollard much, they can rest assured that he's being set up for success. Between the free agent signing of Lloyd Cushenberry at center and the selection of Latham at tackle, Pollard should enjoy some free lanes. Coming off a leg injury suffered late in 2022, Pollard got off to a slow start last season before finishing as the our top graded running back with a 90.8 rushing grade from Week 11 onward. — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (8): Atlanta Falcons draft QB Kirk Cousins’ future replacement in Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

Former Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is the 2024 quarterback class’ premier sack avoider. He now (likely) gets at least two years to learn from one of the NFL’s most consistent and productive pocket passers, Kirk Cousins.Robust target shares for tight end Kyle Pitts, No. 1 wide receiver Drake London and field-stretcher Darnell Mooney are now solidified, likely increasing all three players’ ADPs. Dynasty managers should consider selling high. — Nic Bodiford

This Tweet below, courtesy of former PFF-er Ian Hartitz, is in fact the vibe. WYD, Atlanta? This pick might push QB Kirk Cousins further down draft boards in 2024, which I think is a win. With that contract in place, it feels like a lock that he'll be the guy throwing to a skill position player group of Drake London, Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson this year… so yeah, I'm gonna have way too many shares of Kirk Cousins on my fantasy teams. — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (9): Bears continue to spoil Caleb Williams with weapons, draft blue-chip WR Rome Odunze

It appears that the Bears are taking absolutely no chances with the No. 1 overall pick, overhauling the entire offense and punctuating it all by drafting the consensus WR3 in this class with Washington WR Rome Odunze. Odunze might get lost in the mix in Year 1 with the support of veterans D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen playing alongside him, but make no mistake that he's a WR1 in this league sooner rather than later.  Redraft managers may avoid Odunze in 2024 due to the sheer messiness of the receiving room (for our purposes, not for Sir Caleb's). However, dynasty managers should still feel comfortable investing given his long-term prospects, presumably tied to Caleb Williams for the length of his rookie contract.

Whatever fantasy value that Moore, Allen and Odunze lose is Williams' to gain. You can feel even better now investing in  the No. 1 overall pick as a top-12 fantasy option in his rookie season, and I don't think that's hyperbole. — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (10): Trade alert! Former Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy stays in the Midwest, heads to the Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings offense was the ideal landing spot for an incoming rookie quarterback. Head coach and quarterback guru Kevin O’Connell gets his next pocket-passing specialist in J.J. McCarthy who should have little issue keeping No. 1 wide receiver Justin Jefferson in the overall WR1 conversation while second-year wide receiver Jordan Addison guns for a WR2 finish. Tight end T.J. Hockenson’s late-season ACL tear is moderately offset by backfield pass catchers, Aaron Jones and Ty Chandler. — Nic Bodiford

R1 (11): New York Jets select Penn State OT Olu Fashanu

After ranking bottom-six in both PFF pass blocking (48.8) and run blocking grade (53.7) last season, the Jets are taking no chances with quarterback Aaron Rogers. It appears that, barring injury, we can probably pencil in Jets WR Garrett Wilson for yet another 145+ target campaign in 2024… a PPR goldmine. — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (12): Sean Payton gets his guy, takes Oregon QB Bo Nix 12th overall

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton wants an error-free distributor to run his offense. Nix’s 0.9% turnover-worthy play, No. 1 in the Power Five (min. 375 dropbacks), fits the bill. Although Bo Nix’s advanced age (24 years old) is a negative for some, Payton likely views Nix as a mature prospect ready to lead a team. The potential quarterback upgrade, plus wide receiver Jerry Jeudy’s departure, clears the way for Nos.  1 and 2 wide receivers, Courtland Sutton and Marvin Mims Jr,. to command fantasy-friendly target shares. — Nic Bodiford

R1 (13): Las Vegas Raiders miss out on quarterback… so they go tight end instead (?) with do-it-all guy Brock Bowers

I'll admit, I did not have the Raiders going tight end in Round 1 on my draft night bingo card. I thought for sure they'd be drafting now-Falcons quarterback Michael Penix Jr. here at No. 13, but alas… we must accept the reality that Brock Bowers will be turning in his Georgia black and red for Raiders black and silver — quite possibly the worst landing spot for his Year 1 fantasy outlook.

As a tight end, Bowers ranked sixth among all receivers (at any position) with a 92.0 PFF receiving grade over the past two seasons and would arguably be the WR4 in this class if you ignored the tight end designation.  Lining up alongside All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams isn't a bad thing either for the sake of opening up the offense. The only question is at quarterback, where they've got Gardner Minshew and Aidan O'Connell atop the depth chart. Bowers is still a top-five dynasty tight end on talent alone, but don't expect a rookie breakout. I'm not crying, you're crying. — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (14): New Orleans Saints draft Oregon State OT Taliese Fuaga to help set the tone up front

QB Derek Carr dealt with a myriad of injuries in his first season with the Saints, whose offensive line ranked 26th in the league with a 55.7 pass blocking grade. Will that make much of a difference for him in terms of fantasy production? Probably not. Carr's 51.8 passing grade from a clean pocket ranked 18th among 33 qualifying quarterbacks. At the very least, though, Fuaga can help keep him upright while also supporting the run game between Alvin Kamara, Jamaal Williams and second-year RB Kendre Miller (who I'm still holding out hope for). — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (15): Indianapolis Colts remember defensive players exist, select UCLA EDGE Laiatu Latu.

Finally, Nic and I have a moment to catch our breath. The run on offense — the longest offensive run in NFL Draft history — is finally over.  — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (16): Seattle Seahawks select Texas DT Byron Murphy, coming in at No. 12 on PFF's 2024 NFL Draft Big Board.

R1 (17): Trade alert! Minnesota Vikings trade up from pick 22 and roll defense with Alabama EDGE Dallas Turner.

R1 (18): Cincinnati Bengals once again attempt to keep QB Joe Burrow upright, drafting Georgia OT Amarius Mims.

Now-Bengals OT Marius Mims came in as the sixth-ranked tackle on PFF's Big Board, a massive force at 6'7″ and 340 pounds to protect Cincinnati's franchise quarterback. Mims has just eight games experience as a starter but is solid in his pass protection despite needing some refinement elsewhere in his game, which is all the Bengals can ask as they look to keep Joe Burrow healthy.

R1 (19): Sean McVay's LA Rams opt for defense, draft Florida State EDGE Jared Verse

R1 (20): Pittsburgh Steelers draft another Round 1 tackle, select Washington OT Troy Fautanu

R1 (21): Miami Dolphins select Penn State EDGE Chop Robinson

R1 (22): The first DB is off the board! Philadelphia Eagles select Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell

R1 (23): WR Brian Thomas Jr. will compete for the Jacksonville Jaguars' No. 3 wide receiver role

Former LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. will compete with Zay Jones for the No. 3 wide receiver role. If Thomas separates early, fantasy managers should expect head coach Doug Pederson to use Thomas and offseason-acquisition Gabe Davis as interchangeable field stretchers, though Thomas will crucially receive more short-to-intermediate opportunities. Pederson prefers his downfield wide receivers run volatile perimeter routes so Davis’ one-trick nature actually benefits Thomas from a usage standpoint. Ultimately, it will be difficult for Thomas to produce reliable fantasy results fighting for targets with Davis, slot receiver Christian Kirk and tight end Evan Engram though. — Nic Bodiford

R1 (24): Second DB is off the board! Detroit Lions select Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold

R1 (25): Green Bay Packers select Arizona OT Jordan Morgan to protect their other Jordan (Love)

R1 (26): Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft their Ryan Jensen replacement in Duke IOL Graham Barton

This isn't a sexy offensive pick, but shout-out to the Buccaneers for giving some support to their new franchise quarterback and in the run game.

R1 (27):  Arizona Cardinals address the defense after rolling with the best receiver in the draft at No. 4, selecting EDGE Darius Robinson of Missouri

R1 (28): Trade alert! The Kansas City Chiefs trade up with the Buffalo Bills, select fastest player in NFL Combine history, WR Xavier Worthy (Texas)

Over the last two seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs attempted to replace wide receiver Tyreek Hill by signing lighting-fast underachiever Marquez Valdes-Scantling and re-signing the briefly departed–and similarly ineffectual–Mecole Hardman. Head coach Andy Reid announced a new era this offseason, signing accomplished veteran Marquise Brown and drafting the NFL combine’s 40-yard-dash recent record breaker, Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy (4.21 seconds).

Patient fantasy managers willing to live with Worthy and Brown’s volatility should draft both players happily at ADP.Second-year wide receiver Rashee Rice’s potential suspension gives Worthy a significant early-season opportunity to carve out a role.The two additions will command safety attention on every play, making life far easier on aging tight end Travis Kelce. — Nic Bodiford

WOWWWWWWW. I can't tell if Xavier Worthy will be overdrafted or underdrafted in 2024 fantasy leagues, but regardless, his sheer presence on the field is excellent news for Patrick Mahomes… especially amidst a likely suspension for second-year receiver Rashee Rice. Mahomes is coming off a career-low 17.5 fantasy points per game and managed to post an 85.8 PFF passing grade with 34-year-old Travis Kielce and a rookie as his top options. Adding Marquise Brown and Xavier Worthy into the mix will pop this offense wide open; expect Mahomes to bounce back to top-three-fantasy-QB territory right off the bat. — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (29): Dallas Cowboys rOLl in favor of the offensive line, select Oklahoma tackle Tyler Guyton

Super excited to see the Cowboys prepping the OL for their soon-to-be starting running back, Jonathon Brooks. (Kidding, kind of). But for real, I stand by my statement that, should Brooks be drafted to the Cowboys, he's an immediate top-10 RB in dynasty and redraft leagues alike. — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (30): San Francisco 49ers draft their Brandon Aiyuk replacement (maybe?), selecting Florida WR Ricky Pearsall with their first Round 1 pick since Trey Lance

Hopefully this first round pick works out better than their last! There's been buzz that the 49ers are looking to move on from one of their star wide receivers, either Deebo Samuel or Brandon Aiyuk. This move doesn't totally cushion the blow of that potential loss for the offense, but it helps, should that trade come to fruition on Day 2 (or later).

Pearsall is an experienced fifth-year receiver out of Florida, set to turn 24 just one day ahead of the NFL's season opener. Coming in at 6'1″ and 189 pounds, Pearsall doesn't offer a ton of physicality, but he does offer some savviness, speed and a Day 1 threat out of the slot that Kyle Shanahan can undoubtedly scheme open with ease. Should one of San Francisco's top receiver's get traded, expect Pearsall to gain some value as a PPR option in a high-octane Shanahan offense. — Kate Magdziuk

R1 (32): Trade alert! Carolina Panthers move up one pick to grab their guy, South Carolina WR Xavier Legette

To be honest, there are a lot of polarizing first round picks. However, there might not be one whose evaluation is more divisive than that of South Carolina receiver Xavier Legette, which is most evident by Nic's analysis of the newest Panther, contrasted immediately against my own. As a fifth-year breakout, he posted his first collegiate season with 200+ receiving yards in 2023 — 1,255 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns, to be exact, posting an 86.9 receiving grade that ranked 16th among FBS receivers in 2023 (min. 50 targets). At 6'1″ and 221 pounds, Legette offers 4.39 speed, culminating in an excellent blend of size and athleticism that would have most NFL GMs drooling. Though he lacks overall refinement heading into his rookie season, he has excellent traits to excel in the next level. Legette is a projection, but as a guy with great reviews in terms of work ethic paired with excellent size and athleticism, I'm willing to roll the dice. Consider me all-in on Legette, even if he is catching passes from Bryce Young. — Kate Magdziuk

Final Round 1 reactions from the 2024 NFL Draft…

Describe your reaction to Round 1 in the NFL Draft as a fantasy football manager in 10 words or less.

Malik Nabers and Marvin Harrison Jr. are in very different situations. — Nic Bodiford

Ouuuuuch. That's all I've got. Day 2 will be better. — Kate Magdziuk

Worst pick for fantasy from Round 1?

Brock Bowers to the Raiders — Nic Bodiford

I'm going to follow suit here with Nic; the most devastating pick in Round 1 is easily Brock Bowers. Las Vegas had many needs. Bowers would have had immediate fantasy value on many teams (the Raiders excluded). Why? — Kate Magdziuk

Favorite pick for fantasy in Round 1?

Xavier Worthy to the Chiefs — Nic Bodiford

I'm gonna zag and say J.J. McCarthy to the Vikings. He enters what was easily the most favorable among any of the potential situations for the rookie quarterbacks, throwing to some elite options between Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson (when healthy). It's a great pairing on both parts, which should both sustain fantasy production for the pass catches in Minnesota while potentially elevating McCarthy's ceiling as a potential fantasy option. — Kate Magdziuk

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