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2024 Pre-Draft Rookie Rankings for (Dynasty) Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks


Here are the top 5 rookie QBs to target in (dynasty) fantasy football!

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2024 PRE-DRAFT ROOKIE RANKINGS FOR (DYNASTY) FANTASY FOOTBALL: QUARTERBACKS


Here are the top 5 rookie QBs to target in (dynasty) fantasy football!


But first, here are those just outside the Top Five:



10. Jordan Travis, Florida State

9. Joe Milton, Tennessee

8. Michael Pratt, Tulane

7. Spencer Rattler, South Carolina

6. Bo Nix, Oregon


 

5. Michael Penix, Washington



Bio: Is it lame to say Penix reminds me a lot of Tua Tagovailoa? They’re both accurate, left-handed pocket passers who attended collegiate powerhouses. Penix has had a bumpy six-year college career. He spent four seasons at the University of Indiana until he transferred to the University of Washington where he spent the last two seasons. In those six years, Penix has torn his ACL twice and dislocated his shoulder twice. After transferring to Washington, Penix ended up playing two full seasons as the starter, was in the running to win the Heisman award, and even led the Washington Huskies to the championship game against Michigan. Penix played well in college, but it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the NFL. He has good arm strength and deep ball accuracy but unfortunately lacks mobility. He only has 265 rushing yards throughout his career. Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels both have only one season where they rushed less than 265 yards. Penix’s rushing ability will cap his ceiling from a fantasy standpoint. His biggest concerns, age, and injury history will keep him from being drafted as high as some of the other prospects. All things considered, I believe Penix can be a good starting quarterback in the right system. His ceiling will likely be that of a Jared Goff or Tua-type of quarterback; a quarterback who heavily relies on elite receiver play for fantasy value. Since his skill set is pretty limited, his fantasy production will be as well. But, if you put him in an offense that has good-skill position players, like Atlanta or Minnesota, he could surprise some people.


Height: 6’3”


Weight: 218 lbs


Strengths:

-Good arm strength

-High football IQ

-Navigates the pocket well

-Takes care of the football


Weaknesses:

-Will be a 24-year-old rookie

-Extensive injury history

-Forces throws at times due to confidence in arm strength

-Poor rushing profile


NFL Draft Projection: Round two


Fantasy:

-Should be drafted in the last few rounds or found on waivers in redraft leagues and found on waivers in dynasty rookie drafts

-He could be a very interesting dynasty pick in rounds 3-4 if drafted to a team with a good supporting cast.


 

4. J.J. McCarthy, Michigan



Bio: J.J. McCarthy is one of the more intriguing quarterback options this season. People are either crazy high on him or they’re out on him as a prospect. I’ve honestly been back and forth in him until finally deciding to put him as QB 4. Perhaps the biggest knock on McCarthy was that he was not part of a high-passing volume offense in college. He completed 240 of his 332 attempts throughout 15 games, which comes out to about 22 attempts a game. Michael Penix, who played the same number of games, completed 363 of his 555 attempts, for an average of 37 passes per game (insane). Out of the top quarterback prospects this year, Jayden Daniels attempted the least amount other than McCarthy. He attempted 327 passes but in only 12 games for an average of 27 attempts per game. McCarthy has the ball in his hands a lot less than the other top quarterbacks do. The reasoning? Coach Jim Harbaugh is generally a run-first coach and Michigan was usually up big by the second or third quarter and didn't need to pass the ball. If we go back to the days when coach Harbaugh was at Stanford, we see that Andrew Luck’s volume was fairly limited as well (24 attempts per game in 2009, 29 attempts per game in 2010). McCarthy is an accurate quarterback with enough arm strength, athleticism, and leadership to be a good NFL quarterback. His production at Michigan was a reflection of Harbaugh’s coaching style rather than McCarthy’s capabilities as a passer. He’s shown that he can win big games and that matters to NFL teams. McCarthy will be a risk due to his limited college production, but if his soon-to-be coach can capitalize on his qualities and get him acclimated to the NFL, he can for sure compete at the next level. Fantasy-wise, it would be smart to steer clear in redraft, but he’s a stash in dynasty leagues.


Height: 6’3”


Weight: 197 lbs


Strengths:

-Efficient 

-Accurate

-Excellent leader 

-Mobile

-Young (21 years old)


Weaknesses:

-Limited college production

-Thin frame

-Can tend to force throws instead of throwing the ball away

-Was more of a game manager in college 


NFL Draft Projection: Middle of round one


Fantasy:

-McCarthy will need time to adjust to the NFL and shouldn’t be on draft boards for re-draft leagues

-In dynasty leagues, he’s an excellent player to stash especially if you have a taxi slot. He’ll likely be a round 3-4 pick in redraft


 

3. Drake Maye, North Carolina



Bio: Drake Maye is your prototypical big-bodied, strong-armed, pocket passer. He is also fairly mobile which is valuable to the fantasy community. In 2023, he rushed for 449 yards and 9 touchdowns. That’s an extra 8.2 fantasy points per game just by rushing. Maye was essentially the whole offense at North Carolina, so he likely won’t be rushing for nine touchdowns in the NFL, but we now know what he is capable of. Even if he rushes for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns, that’s a win. Maye was the “heir” to Sam Howell at North Carolina, and he made it an easy transition for the UNC football team. In his first season as a starter, Maye threw for 4,321 yards, 38 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. His second season wasn’t as good, but still solid: 3,608 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Maye might have the strongest arm in this draft class and can make virtually any throw in the book. He has unreal velocity on his passes and can fit the ball into tight windows. His playstyle (not his floor/ceiling) reminds me a lot of Brett Favre: a chaotic gunslinger. Maye tends to channel his inner Brett Favre when the play breaks down. That type of chaos has led to both incredible plays and head-scratching turnovers. Maye knows what he’s capable of and will almost always try to make a game-changing play instead of taking a sack or throwing the ball away. His windup when he throws is also a little longer than you’d like, which can give edge rushers a little extra time to make a play. Taking all these things into consideration, I believe Maye will be a solid franchise quarterback and fantasy asset in the future. He has as much talent as the other top prospects in this class, he just needs the reigns tightened a bit on his erratic play style. He could be a poor man’s Josh Allen in his rookie season for fantasy purposes; moments of big plays/touchdowns mixed in with plenty of turnovers.


Height: 6’5”


Weight: 220 lbs 


Strengths:

-Great arm strength

-Can make every throw 

-Good athleticism 

-Prototypical size


Weaknesses:

-Elongated release 

-Tends to force throws due to confidence in arm strength

-Inconsistent footwork which can lead to inaccurate passes


NFL Draft Projection: Top three pick


Fantasy:

-Maye should only be considered in the late rounds of redraft leagues if you need a quarterback.

-I love Maye in dynasty formats; should be the second or third quarterback taken and can be found in round two of rookie drafts


 

2. Jayden Daniels, LSU



Bio: Jayden Daniels has been rising up draft boards like Anthony Richardson did just this previous season. Dual-threat quarterbacks are becoming more of the norm in the NFL, which is why his stock has grown so much. He’s dangerous when he runs (1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2023) and he is an accomplished passer as well: 3,812 yards, 40 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and a 72.2% completion percentage in 2023. Jayden Daniels has the potential to become the next fantasy football “cheat code.” His rushing upside gives him a ceiling that most of the other players in this draft class don’t have. Look at the 2022 season for example: Justin Fields finished as the QB 7, despite throwing for only 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. What made Fields so valuable was the 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns on the year. I’m not saying that Daniels will finish as QB 7, but he’s fully capable of doing that since he is just as talented as Justin Fields. Daniels’ ability to throw the football cannot be overlooked though. He has been fairly accurate throughout college and has a tight throwing motion. If Daniels isn’t as polished of a passer as the NFL thinks he is, his rushing ability will serve as a buffer. His rushing ability alone can ensure him value as a fantasy football player, even if he flops as a real-life quarterback. He should be seen as the top rookie quarterback to own in redraft leagues because of his rushing upside. Unfortunately, his dynasty value isn’t quite as high as Caleb Williams due to his lean frame and shorter shelf-life for rushing quarterbacks. 


Height: 6’4”


Weight: 210 lbs


Strengths:

-Elite rushing ability 

-Good arm strength 

-Quick throwing motion 


Weaknesses:

-Long, thin frame; listed only at 210 lbs

-Can try and do too much as a rusher/scrambler 

-Only 1 year of elite production (2023)


NFL Draft Projection: Top three pick


Fantasy: 

-My late-round redraft quarterback “gem”; this is the lowest his redraft value will be for quite some time. Find him in rounds 10-12

-QB2 in dynasty formats due to concern about size and rushing quarterback longevity; should be selected either at the end of round one or towards the beginning of round two.


 

1. Caleb Williams



Bio: Williams is arguably the top quarterback this year and is almost guaranteed to go #1 overall, yet I believe he is the second-best quarterback for fantasy purposes. He has rushing upside, but I wouldn’t consider him a rushing quarterback like Jayden Daniels is. The most rushing yards he’s had in a given season was in 2021, with 442 yards. What makes Williams so special isn’t his pure rushing ability, but rather his ability to improvise. Williams is excellent at prolonging passing plays with his legs when feeling pressure. He has the athleticism and awareness to maneuver the pocket and extend plays that should’ve been blown dead by the officials. Most mobile quarterbacks take off with the ball when under pressure, but Williams holds on to the ball as long as he can to throw to his intended receiver. Unfortunately, that type of improv has also been his downfall. He can try and play hero ball a little too much and either take a big sack or turn the ball over instead of throwing it away. In his three-year collegiate career, Williams has only thrown 14 interceptions. But in that same amount of time, he has 33 fumbles. 33! That is a mixture of both poor offensive line play at USC and Williams’ natural tendency to run backward when he feels pressure. With that being said, Williams has shown enough in his collegiate career to solidify himself as a top quarterback option in this year’s draft. In his two years as a starter, he has had no less than 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns. His potential to be a top quarterback in the pros far outweighs the risk he brings. As he transitions to the next level, Williams needs to understand that every play doesn’t have to be a big play. If he can tighten up that kind of decision-making, he will be a franchise quarterback for whatever team he plays for and a solid fantasy contributor for the next decade.  


Height: 6’1”


Weight: 218 lbs


Strengths:

-Good arm strength 

-Ability to throw off-platform

-Pocket presence 

-Improvisation skills

-Enough athleticism to run RPOs and read options 


Weaknesses:

-A little smaller than you’d like in a franchise quarterback

-Forces throws at times due to confidence in arm strength 

-Ball security when rushing and scrambling around the pocket


NFL Draft Projection: Top three pick


Fantasy:

-Should be drafted in between rounds 11-14 in redraft leagues

-QB1 in dynasty rookie drafts and could go anywhere in round one depending on need and scoring format


Thank you for taking the time to check out my content! Follow me on Twitter @aidenhauser for all things fantasy football!


 

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