2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Drafts: A View from the 1.01

Matt Price

For many dynasty players, the highlight of the off-season is the annual rookie draft, and we are now mere days away from many of those drafts kicking off. Once our respective dynasty teams are eliminated from contention (and sometimes even before), we tend to turn our attention to the incoming rookie class, and delusions of grandeur take over. In fact, dynasty players spend nearly the entire off-season preparing for how they will use their draft picks or if they will use them at all.

In this twelve-part series, members of DLF use the latest data available here at Dynasty League Football, namely our April Rookie ADP and the Dynasty Trade Finder, to ensure you are as prepared as possible when your draft begins. Based on our most recent ADP data, we’ll suggest the player you could be soon adding to your team, and if you don’t like that, we’ll also include a potential pivot option. In addition, we’ll include options based on the updated 1QB rookie ADP for those who play in that format. Finally, using the Dynasty Trade Finder, we will examine some recent trades that have taken place with each specific draft pick.

We all know the first round of rookie drafts includes the players we’ve been hearing about for months if not years, but difference-makers can be found in the second round and beyond, as well. Because of that, we’ll also address the other picks that accompany each respective first-round draft slot.

Rookie Selection 1.01

The Pick: Caleb Williams, QB

There’s not a ton of nuance to this pick unless you, like me, prefer Jayden Daniels‘s elite rushing profile. Williams has been the consensus pick at this spot for two-plus years, and since then, his situation has only improved. With their myriad of passing-game weapons like DJ Moore and the newly signed Keenan Allen, the Chicago Bears offer perhaps the situation any top quarterback prospect has ever seen in NFL history. It will be a massive upgrade to what he worked with in his final year at the University of Southern California.

As a freshman at Oklahoma, Williams essentially took the starting job from Spencer Rattler and forced his transfer to South Carolina. From his first start, it was clear that Williams was a prospect to take seriously. He transferred to USC in 2022 and put up a season that was one for the ages, with 4537 passing yards and a 42 to five touchdown to interception ratio. Additionally, he rushed for 382 yards and ten touchdowns as a sophomore.

The numbers regressed in 2023 as he was forced to play more “hero ball” due to the dearth of receiving weapons at his disposal. In two fewer games, he managed 3,633 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, five interceptions, 142 rushing yards, and 11 rushing touchdowns.

Williams is the absolute safest pick at the 1.01, and he should be taken there in 99% of superflex rookie drafts. With his most likely landing spot being Chicago, the floor is incredibly high, and there is a path to reaching his ceiling. Chicago didn’t do Justin Fields any favors in the development part of the equation, but Williams is much more polished and has infinitely better weapons to work with. Even if the coaching staff fails him and is replaced in year two, Williams will likely succeed in the NFL.

Trade Value:

Possible Pivots:

1QB League Options:

  • Marvin Harrison Jr
  • Malik Nabers

Rookie Selection 2.01

The Pick: Ladd McConkey, WR

McConkey feels locked in as my current WR6 in the class which makes him a slight value based on the ADP for this exercise. Things can certainly change based on his draft capital and landing spot, but the Georgia prospect is in play after the top three to five receivers are off the board.

McConkey wins with smooth routes, quick feet, reliable hands (76% catch rate), and blazing 4.39 speed. Contested catch opportunities will be a problem for him at the next level, but that’s not how he earns targets. He does show the ability to haul in passes in traffic, but play strength is a concern. In an NFL era where defenses play zone coverage on most snaps, McConkey will feast. He knows how to get open and exploit the soft spots in the zone. His ability to explode off the line and create instant separation could make him the perfect hot read for quarterbacks under pressure. That could make him a PPR cheat code.

When looking strictly at his production profile, there are certainly some warts. His best statistical season was in 2022, when he caught 58 passes for 762 yards and seven touchdowns in 15 games. In 2023, he struggled with back and ankle injuries, limiting McConkey to 30 receptions, 478 yards, and two touchdowns in nine games.

According to Mock Draft Database, McConkey is a fringe first-round pick in the NFL draft. Their data currently gives him a 25.9% chance to make it into the first round, with a consensus opinion that he will end up in Carolina with the 33rd overall selection. I actually like this landing spot. He should immediately slot across from Diontae Johnson, with Adam Thielen and Jonathan Mingo rotating in and out of the slot role. If this scenario were to play out, most dynasty managers would hate it, potentially dropping McConkey behind some other players and into the middle of the second round of rookie drafts. Position yourself to capitalize on this outcome should it play out.

Trade Value:

Possible Pivots:

1QB League Options:

Rookie Selection 3.01

The Pick: Ricky Pearsall, WR

Pearsall was one of the first 2024 rookies I evaluated and remains one of my favorites. Some think there isn’t much there after you get through his highlight reel catches, of which there are many. I see him as much more. This player can get open at will from all over the formation.

He gets off the line well with multiple release techniques, transitions into his route quickly, and keeps the defender guessing by mixing up his route speed to keep his man off balance. Pearsall disguises his breaks well, making every route look the same until the breakpoint. After identifying the soft spot in the zone, he attacks aggressively. While not the biggest receiver, he shows toughness at the catch point, often dominating the middle of the field.

Pearsall tracks the ball well on vertical routes and adjusts to poorly thrown passes, showing the ability to come back to the football to give his quarterback an easier throw on scramble drills. After the catch, he is elusive. His 6.64 in the three-cone at the NFL combine led all wide receivers, showcasing his lateral quickness and ability to make defenders miss in the open field.

On the ugly side, Pearsall is a fifth-year senior breakout and will be 24 when the NFL season begins. In his final season, he caught 65 balls for 965 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games. Given his size, he’ll likely start as a slot-only option, potentially limiting his ceiling. Depending on his landing spot, he could get pigeonholed in that role, but I do think he can earn work outside. Additionally, Pearsall has experience as a rusher and special teams player, which will further endear him to his future coaching staff.

Mock Draft Database currently has him projected to be a solid second-round pick with a 5.7% chance to go in the first. There is no consensus landing spot, but he has recently been mocked to the Chiefs, the Bills, the Giants, the Saints, and the Falcons. The first two of those options are the obvious preference for fantasy managers. He could get lost in the shuffle with all the other slot options in New York, but there would be real opportunity with New Orleans. He could secure the slot role in Atlanta relatively easily, but he would be a distant third or fourth at best in the pecking order of Falcons catchers. Regardless of where he lands, I think Pearsall is the best pick in this range of rookie drafts.

Trade Value:

Possible Pivots:

1QB League Options:

matt price