Fantasy Football Off-Season Movement: 2024 Wide Receiver Landscape, Part One

Ryan McDowell

Each off-season, I track team needs and the players most likely to fill those needs in a chart like this. In the coming weeks and months, NFL teams will have multiple opportunities to fill those holes, namely the March free agency period and April’s NFL Draft.

In this series, I’ll go position-by-position looking at teams in need, along with the veterans and rookies who could eventually fill the blanks on the chart below.

Every year, the wide receiver position seems to be more and more important as teams build deeper position groups than ever. That movement should be fun this offseason as both the free agent class and rookie receivers are considered strong and deep. Let’s take a look at what might happen this off-season at the wide receiver position.

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Team Needs

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals were already thin at the receiver position and could be facing the loss of de facto WR1 Marquise Brown, who is set to enter free agency. That leaves a depth chart including Michael Wilson, Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch. Arizona has been routinely projected to use their fourth overall pick on a receiver, potentially Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr.

New England Patriots

With Bill Belichick gone, the Patriots are in for major changes, which is greatly needed at the wide receiver position. Most key pieces of the New England depth chart is due back next year, including Demario Douglas, DeVante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Tyquan Thornton. Outside of Douglas, who had a surprising rookie season, each of those players disappointed in 2023 and could be replaced.

New York Giants

Like the Patriots, the Giants will get most of their key receivers back next season. That includes WanDale Robinson, Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins and Jalin Hyatt. The issue is none of those players were consistent performers, though all have had solid spurts of production over the past two seasons. The Giants need a true WR1 and have been regularly linked with rookies Rome Odunze or Malik Nabers in early mock drafts.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers were busy last off-season, adding multiple receivers through free agency and the NFL Draft. Veteran Adam Thielen was a major surprise but also showed his age late in the season. Many suggested rookie Jonathan Mingo was over-drafted by the Panthers and that appeared to be the case in his first year. Following their trade up for quarterback Bryce Young last year, the Panthers don’t own their original first-rounder, but do have the first pick in the second and third rounds, which could be an ideal spot for a wideout.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens got a huge season from last year’s first-rounder Zay Flowers, who is now in some off-field trouble, but they are very thin beyond that. Rashod Bateman is still around but has never lived up to the hype, while Odell Beckham once again enters free agency.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans are another team in a transition period as new head coach Brian Callahan comes over from the Bengals. Tennessee is expected to have veteran DeAndre Hopkins and have to be holding out hope Treylon Burks can live up to his lofty draft capital in his third season. Perhaps Callahan will target Bengals free agent receivers Tee Higgins or Tyler Boyd.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills will have veteran star Stefon Diggs back in 2024, at least that is the current expectation. Diggs has voiced his frustration with his situation in Buffalo multiple times, so it shouldn’t come as a major surprise if he somehow moves on this offseason. The Bills are also likely to be without Gabriel Davis, who is a free agent. The team got excellent production from Khalil Shakir late in the season, and he should have the opportunity for an even larger role next season.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts’ need at receiver all comes down to free agent Michael Pittman. In the final year of his rookie deal, Pittman enjoyed a true breakout season. If the team is able to retain their top target, they are in good shape with Josh Downs and Alec Pierce also back in the fold. If Pittman leaves, the team suddenly has a massive hole to fill on their depth chart.

Atlanta Falcons

The good news is Atlanta has their WR1 in young star Drake London. Unfortunately, they have nothing else at the receiver position. Even veteran role players Mack Hollins and Van Jefferson are free agents. The Falcons own the eighth overall pick in the first round and would strongly consider Nabers or Odunze if either fell.

Chicago Bears

The Bears got a major upgrade to their receiver depth chart by acquiring DJ Moore from Carolina but there is little behind the former Panther in Chicago. Veteran Darnell Mooney, who took a serious step back in 2023, will now enter free agency. In addition to the first overall pick, the Bears also possess the ninth pick, which could be used on a receiver.

Cincinnati Bengals

Like some of the other teams mentioned here, the Bengals’ level of need at the receiver position depends on what happens with their own free agents. Both Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd could be on the move. There are some early reports suggesting the team will use the Franchise Tag on Higgins if the two sides can’t come to a contract agreement. Of course, the Bengals’ WR1 is locked in with Ja’Marr Chase.

Kansas City Chiefs

Every year, the wide receiver position is a need for the Chiefs and every year, they continue to have success without major production from the position. The Chiefs still haven’t even come close to replacing what superstar Tyreek Hill gave them but Rashee Rice certainly offers hope. Outside of Rice, all other shots fired have missed, including Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The Chiefs own the final pick in Round One, and have often been mocked to take a wideout.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers’ offense was a nice surprise in 2023, as running back Rachaad White enjoyed a breakout season, while quarterback Baker Mayfield played the best ball of his career and Mike Evans notched another 1,000-yard season. Unfortunately, both Mayfield and Evans enter free agency and the team lost offensive coordinator Dave Canales to Carolina. Veteran Chris Godwin remains and would be an adequate top target should Evans leave. The team also got solid play from young depth Trey Palmer and Deven Thompkins.

With so much to cover at the wide receiver position, this will be a two-parter. In the next article, we’ll look at the wide receivers that make up the free agent and rookie classes of 2024, along with some possible cap casualties.

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