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2024 Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Busts and Avoids

Bo Nix - College Football Rankings, NCAA CFB DFS Lineup Picks

With the NFL Draft complete, every fantasy sicko is diving headfirst into rookie draft season. While this is one of the most intriguing and deep rookie classes for fantasy that we have seen in some time, not every player is going to end up being a home run pick. 

Caleb Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr. are more than likely to be the first two players off of the board in superflex formats - deservedly so. Both are set up for success while combining their talent with elite landing spots. While they have high expectations to live up to, I’m not going to be throwing either player an avoid or bust label. 

Five players stand out to me that you should be wary of during your rookie drafts. Pick these guys with caution this rookie draft season.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Bo Nix, QB, Denver Broncos

Bo Nix is routinely falling to Round 2 in rookie drafts despite being selected twelfth overall and having a clear path to being an instant starting quarterback. At cost, most people wouldn’t bat an eye and would select the guaranteed points in a superflex league. 

With first-round quarterbacks only hitting at a 46% rate, history suggests that only two or three of the rookie signal callers will be a success at the next level. There was not much to like about Nix as a prospect given that the scheme he played in at Oregon rarely had him throwing the ball down the field. As a matter of fact, nearly 30% of his passes were thrown behind the line of scrimmage last season. He won’t have much help at the receiver position with his top pass catchers being Courtland Sutton, Troy Franklin, Marvin Mims, and Josh Reynolds.

Pass on Nix for receiver upside - there is a lot of it available in this draft.

 

Brian Thomas Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville selected Brian Thomas Jr. with the 23rd overall pick, adding him to a room of pass catchers already containing Christian Kirk, Gabe Davis, and Evan Engram. On paper, there is room for Thomas to emerge as the go-to target for Trevor Lawrence. However, it’s not that easy.

Thomas saw little production in his college career until this past season, when he caught 68 passes for 1,177 yards and 17 touchdowns. Despite his ideal size-speed combo that landed him in Round 1, Thomas profiles as more of a deep threat than anything else. He is not the best route runner and lacks run-after-catch threat. While he is raw as a complete receiver and could eventually develop, only having one year of college production matters. Draft with caution.

Ladd McConkey, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Joining a completely barren Chargers’ receiving room after moving on from Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, Ladd McConkey is routinely sneaking into the first round of rookie drafts. Simple: his only target competition is Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnston with an elite quarterback in Justin Herbert calling the shots. Surely McConkey will command targets, right?

Don’t let the rookie fever get to you. Ladd McConkey is not an NFL WR1. Don’t be surprised if Palmer actually leads the team in targets this season. McConkey was not productive as a freshman, only totalled 675 yards as a sophomore, and spent a lot of his junior season banged up. While he runs great routes, he struggles with the deep ball. Big plays are not the name of his game. He could factor in as an efficient chain mover, but he is easily replaceable and the Chargers will eventually grab a real WR1. Draft talent over situation in the first round of your rookie drafts.

A.D. Mitchell, WR, Indianapolis Colts

A.D. Mitchell was projected as a back-end Round 1 pick, but fell in the NFL Draft to the Colts in Round 2. He joins a receiver room headlined by Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs, who both will likely outpace him in targets on a run-first team.

While he has all of the physical traits of a starting outside receiver, Mitchell’s effort has been questioned at times and it shows in his game-to-game inconsistencies. He won’t have a consistent role in this offense as a rookie, and there are plenty of other receivers worth targeting in the second round of rookie drafts over him.

Ricky Pearsall, WR, San Francisco 49ers

Ricky Pearsall was a surprise Round 1 pick at thirty-one overall to the San Francisco 49ers, potentially signalling the end of either Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel’s time in the Bay Area. With so many mouths to feed in San Francisco, Pearsall won’t see consistent volume even Aiyuk or Samuel is moved. If they both remain with the team, he won’t even be startable as a rookie.

After spending five seasons in college, Pearsall is another example of a receiver who broke out late in his career. He only eclipsed 700 yards once - hitting 965 and four touchdowns as a super senior this past season at Florida. If you want to take a bet on a 49ers rookie receiver, look at Jacob Cowing late in rookie drafts and avoid Pearsall.



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