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Fantasy Football Rookie Spotlight: Xavier Worthy

Xavier Worthy - Fantasy Football, Rankings, NFL Draft Sleepers, Injury News, Wide Receiver

The Kansas City Chiefs drafted former Texas Longhorns wide receiver Xavier Worthy with the 28th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft as the team attempts to rebuild its wide receiver room, which was a weakness in 2023.

Heading into his rookie campaign, is Worthy a fantasy sleeper, or is he someone that fantasy managers should be avoiding for the 2024 NFL season?

Below, you'll find our fantasy football rookie profile for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Xavier Worthy.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:

 

Xavier Worthy's Path to the NFL

After originally committing to the University of Michigan, Xavier Worthy switched to Texas. It was a good decision because he was able to find the field in his first season in Austin, making an immediate impact for the Horns.

As a freshman, Worthy caught 62 passes for 981 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year and made the Freshman All-American team. He also set Texas freshman records in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

He actually took a bit of a step back in 2022, catching 60 passes for 760 yards and nine touchdowns. Part of that was because of the emergence of tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders. The Longhorns just had a lot of mouths to feed.

But Worthy bounced back in 2023. In his final season at Texas, Worthy caught 75 passes for 1,014 yards and five touchdowns. Sure, the touchdowns were down, but playing beside Adonai Mitchell was a huge part of that, as Mitchell caught 11 touchdown passes. Worthy bested him in receptions and yards, though.

 

What Xavier Worthy Brings to the Chiefs

The 5-foot-11 Worthy came into the NFL Draft with a lot of hype because of his speed. I mean, look -- this is a guy who broke the NFL Combine record for the 40-yard dash. He's going to make some really impressive plays in the NFL because of his ability to run by defenders.

As you can see in the clip above, Worthy can do a lot when he gets the space to work with. In this play, the defense gives Worthy a huge cushion at the line of scrimmage, which is simply not what a defense should be doing with someone as dynamic as this guy. QB Quinn Ewers slings out the little screen to Worthy, who is able to find the right seam to get by his primary defender. From there, it's a foot race to the end zone between him and anyone who dares try to go out and tackle him. None of them do, and Worthy's gone for six points.

Worthy's also an under-the-radar route runner. He makes his cuts well and uses his speed to get open and find his spots. That's a really enticing skill for an Andy Reid-coached offense, as Reid is someone who can cook up some fun plays to take advantage of what Worthy is best at.

The downside with Worthy is that he's small, weighing just 165 pounds. There are definitely circumstances where that'll come back to bite him. Can he consistently win against press coverage in the NFL? What if he's matched up with a taller defender? There are a lot of situations where that size can be a hindrance.

But that sounds a lot like what we were saying about Tank Dell last year, right? In an NFL world where winning in the short passing game has become more and more important, a player with the ability to work in space like Worthy becomes incredibly important.

Worthy's speed can also allow the Chiefs to get back to using the deep ball. Last year, Patrick Mahomes had the lowest aDOT of his career as the Chiefs just didn't have the personnel to make things happen consistently down the field, especially with the defense working to take that away from him. The addition of both Marquise Brown and Worthy should open that up for the team.

 

Path to Playing Time

Wide receiver was a huge concern going into the 2023 season for the Chiefs and it remained an issue all year, but the 2024 offseason has helped revamp that unit for the Chiefs. Rashee Rice emerged as a top option last year and the Chiefs then added Marquise Brown in the offseason. Those two alone make this unit the best it has been since Tyreek Hill left.

Then the Rashee Rice legal issues. A little under a month before the NFL Draft, Rice was involved in a hit-and-run crash, casting doubt about his status for 2024. He could be suspended for a chunk of the season, which would open a lot of snaps up for Worthy.

With Rice on the field, Worthy looks like the fourth option for the Chiefs, but if Rice is sidelined, Worthy moves up in the pecking order. Reid will mix other guys into the roster, but Worthy should be on the field a ton in 2024 if Rice is suspended.

 

2024 Fantasy Football Outlook

Just like his playing time, projecting Worthy's fantasy value depends on whether or not Rice is on the field. If Rice manages to avoid a suspension, he's the team's No. 1 receiver; Brown is the primary deep threat, and Worthy mostly winds up as a gadget guy. He'd be a strong boom-or-bust pick in best ball, but I'd be worried about him in season-long.

But I think everyone expects a Rice suspension to drop at some point.

In that case, I'd view Worthy as a high-upside WR4. Brown and Travis Kelce will command too many targets for me to feel too confident in Worthy. The fact that he's a rookie playing for Andy Reid means he might be brought along slowly, but his speed makes him impossible to ignore.



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