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Five Fantasy Football Breakout Candidates For 2024

Bijan Robinson - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Rookies, Draft Sleepers

With the calendar flipping to June, we are only a handful of weeks away from the start of NFL training camps. That means it’s officially time to start preparing for your fantasy football draft. One of the best ways to get a jump on your league mates is by correctly identifying potential breakout candidates. Nailing a breakout pick can help lead you to that long eluded championship trophy.

But where do you begin when it comes to identifying potential breakouts? One way to do so is by targeting players with high upside.

Make sure you follow RotoBaller on X and check out RotoBaller.com for all your fantasy football needs. With that said, let’s examine five potential breakout candidates you should draft in your 2024 fantasy football league.

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Anthony Richardson, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Richardson struggled with injuries during his rookie year. He would only play in four games and left two of them early due to injury. It was a battle to stay on the field. However, whenever Richardson did start and finish a game, he displayed big-time upside.

In both contests he started and finished, Richardson scored 33.6 and 23.92 fantasy points for an average of 28.76 fantasy points per game. At that pace, Richardson would have finished as the overall QB1 last year. This gave us a small glimpse into his potential ceiling.

Given all the injuries he suffered last year, it is fair to wonder if his body will hold up over a full 17 games. However, Richardson offers Konami code upside at the position due to his rushing prowess. A top-five quarterback finish is well within reach. With a little luck, he could even finish as the overall QB1. Richardson just needs to stay healthy to have a chance.

Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons

During his first two years, London has dealt with terrible quarterback play and questionable play-calling. It would be hard-pressed for any receiver to produce when their play-caller is scheming up plays for a backup tight end and their fifth wide receiver over the player chosen eighth overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.

While it’s been a tough start to his career, we have to remember that London is a good player.

He now gets a massive quarterback upgrade with Kirk Cousins signing a four-year, $180 million contract with the Falcons. There is also a new offensive coordinator, Zac Robinson, in town. Robinson is a Sean McVay disciple and comes from a system where they traditionally hyper-target their top options in the receiving game. These all bode very well for London’s outlook. With a complete offensive overhaul, we can expect London to put up career highs across the board in 2024. He is an easy breakout call.

Jaylen Warren, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Warren is coming off a strong season that saw him finish as the PPR RB22 despite splitting touches with fellow rusher Najee Harris. Last year, among running backs with at least 100 carries, Warren ranked first in Fantasy Points Data Suite’s Missed Tackles Forced Per Attempt (MTF/ATT). He also finished fourth in Next Gen Stats Rush Yards Over Expectation (RYOE).

The Steelers have declined Harris’s fifth-year option. This might indicate that he has fallen out of favor with the team. Warren outperformed Harris in a variety of metrics. He also has a career 5.1 yards per carry (YPC) compared to Harris’s 3.9. At this point, it seems clear that Warren is the better back. It's only a matter of time before he completely takes over this backfield and emerges as the preferred fantasy play.

Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets

A popular breakout pick last year, Wilson’s 2023 was derailed four snaps into the season when quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles tendon. As a result, Wilson went from a PPR WR21 finish in 2022 to a WR26 finish last year. He was a disappointment relative to expectations and where he was taken in drafts.

Despite all that, Wilson’s advanced metrics were still strong. Per Fantasy Points Data Suite, Wilson had a .25 targets per route run (TPRR) and a 27% target share in 2023. Both these marks were actually better than what he posted as a rookie in 2022.

The breakout case for Wilson remains simple. He has managed to eclipse 80 receptions and 1,000 yards receiving with horrific quarterback play each of the past two seasons. He remains a very talented player.

Reinsert a future Hall of Fame quarterback into the mix, and Wilson is once again set to explode. This time, we just need all parties involved to stay healthy.

Bijan Robinson, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Robinson wasn’t exactly a bust last year, but he didn’t deliver the kind of results fantasy managers wanted. With a 2023 FantasyPros average draft position (ADP) of 10.12, Robinson was taken as the RB4 in drafts. He ultimately ended the season as the PPR RB9. It was not a bad rookie season by any means. He accumulated over 1,400 scrimmage yards and eight total touchdowns on 272 touches. However, the fact is Robinson was a disappointment relative to ADP and the expectations that were placed on him.

Don’t be misled, though, as Robinson showcased exactly why the Falcons took him eighth overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

He ranked 13th out of 49 eligible backs in RYOE. Among running backs with 100 carries, Robinson also finished eighth in Pro Football Focus’s (PFF) signature Elusive Rating. His work in the receiving game is also appealing to fantasy gamers. Per FantasyPros, he finished with the second-most targets and seventh-most receptions among all running backs in 2023. Robinson himself also reported the new staff plans to use him in a Christian McCaffrey type of role this season.

After the Arthur Smith debacle, this is music to fantasy football players' ears.

The new staff in Atlanta has also made it clear it expects Robinson to have a more prominent role in the offense. Fantasy players can expect him to surpass 300+ touches this upcoming season. He is a safe bet to improve upon his rookie numbers and should return a top-five finish at the position. Gamers can safely draft him as their RB1 and reap the rewards.

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