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If the consensus big boards prove reliable, the 2024 NFL Draft will be a historic one for the wide receiver position. Currently, 19 wide receivers are projected to go in the first three rounds, from Marvin Harrison Jr. (No. 3 overall on NFL Mock Draft Database) to Malik Washington (No. 97). Since 2000, the most WRs to go in the first three rounds is 17, which has happened three times: 2022, 2020, and 2007. If this prediction of 19 WRs in Rounds 1-3 comes to fruition, more than half of the NFL could have a Day 1 or Day 2 rookie WR on their roster.

With just weeks before the NFL Draft, there is unlikely to be any more major shake-ups to teams’ current WR rooms until rookies enter the fold. Yes, there are some veteran role players that will eventually sign (Odell Beckham Jr., Michael Gallup, Hunter Renfrow, etc.) and surprise trades of stars on expiring contracts are still theoretically possible (e.g., Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins). Regardless, we are at a point where we can evaluate the best landing spots for rookie WRs based on the current rosters.

I went through all 32 NFL teams to identify the best landing spots for rookie WRs, factoring in existing target competition and overall offensive environment. For best ball and redraft leagues, having a stance on which landing spots are best for rookie WRs will provide a sizable edge over your opponents. Identifying the strength of landing spots proactively rather than retroactively will help fantasy managers sift through the bias, hype, and groupthink that will emerge in the days and weeks following the NFL Draft.


Tier 1: Alpha WR Potential on Potent Offenses


1. Los Angeles Chargers

Round 1-3 Picks: 5, 37, 69

Make no mistake: The fears of Jim Harbaugh and OC Greg Roman installing a run-based offense in Los Angeles are real. By prioritizing re-signing their high-priced defensive veterans (Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa) while letting key members of their passing attack (Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, and Gerald Everett) walk away, the Chargers appear to be signaling an intent to win by running the ball and playing defense, instead of unleashing a high-volume aerial attack led by Justin Herbert.

As a landing spot for a rookie WR, however, I’m willing to overlook some of the coaching-based concerns in favor of the bigger picture. First, there is essentially zero target competition on the Chargers. Veteran downfield clasher Joshua Palmer and disappointing sophomore Quentin Johnston headline a bleak WR corps, and there is no talent at either TE or RB that figures to feature significantly in the passing game. Second, Justin Herbert is simply one of the best arm talents in the NFL, ranking top 10 in PFF passing grade each of the past three seasons. While Harbaugh may have opted for run-heavy approaches when he had Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, he has a far more talented passer to work with in Los Angeles.

In conclusion, the Chargers offer a potent combination of traits to a rookie WR. It’s a roster with an elite QB that has no obstacles for a rookie WR to climb the pecking order. I’m comfortable providing a sizable boost to any WR who lands in L.A., particularly a rookie in the first three rounds.


2. Buffalo Bills

Round 1-3 Picks: 28, 60

After exchanging Stefon Diggs for a 2025 second-round pick, the Bills are clearly in need of WR talent. As compared to the Chargers, their current pass-catching talent is not quite as weak. Dalton Kincaid, Curtis Samuel, and Khalil Shakir are capable role players despite their individual limitations. None of them are likely to be alpha target earners, however, a role vacated by Stefon Diggs (29% target share in 2023) leaves plenty of volume behind.

As a result of the Bills’ current roster, a rookie that lands in Buffalo will immediately have an opportunity to earn a high target share. Since Kincaid, Samuel, and Shakir all thrive in the slot, a WR that has the ability to win on the outside and downfield will have a heightened chance of success in 2023. The relatively weak WR group, combined with the proposition of playing with Josh Allen, makes the Bills a very attractive landing spot for a rookie WR.


3. Arizona Cardinals

Round 1-3 Picks: 4, 27, 35, 66, 71, 90

After trading Rondale Moore and letting Marquise Brown walk in free agency, the only “notable” WRs left on the Cardinals’ roster are Michael Wilson and Greg Dortch. Yikes. While Trey McBride, who was first amongst all TEs with 26% targets per route run in 2023, will certainly have a major role, there is plenty of room for a rookie (or two) to step into a major role in 2024.

There are some concerns for a rookie WR in Arizona. First, Kyler Murray’s tendency to scramble will limit pass attempts and potentially vulture red-zone TDs. Second, Murray has been relatively inefficient as a passer in back-to-back seasons, finishing 24th and 28th in PFF passing grade in 2022 and 2023, respectively. However, the flashes that Murray showed early in his career, combined with the complete lack of WR talent in Arizona, makes them a top-tier landing spot for a rookie in this April’s draft.


Tier 2: WR2 Potential on High-Volume Passing Attacks


4. Dallas Cowboys

Round 1-3 Picks: 24, 56, 87

The difference between the Tier 1 (Chargers, Cardinals, and Bills) and Tier 2 (Cowboys, Chiefs, Falcons, Lions, and Jaguars) landing spots is the presence of an alpha target share earner on the current roster. CeeDee Lamb, whose 30% target share was second in the NFL to only Davante Adams, is extremely unlikely to relinquish the top spot in Dak Prescott’s target pecking order.

Once you get past Lamb, however, the Cowboys’ depth chart is very thin. Brandin Cooks, who turns 31 in September, has had back-to-back disappointing campaigns in Houston and Dallas. Michael Gallup was released. Jalen Tolbert has been a sparingly-used deep threat over the first two years of his NFL career.

For a team that led the NFL in pass attempts per game last year, there is a surprising lack of depth in their pass-catching corps. While a rookie will not challenge CeeDee Lamb for WR1 status, they will have an immediate opportunity to be the team’s second-leading target earner. It is a strikingly similar setup to what Jordan Addison faced last year in Minnesota, who delivered several spike weeks as a later-round WR selection in redraft fantasy.


5. Kansas City Chiefs

Round 1-3 Picks: 32, 64, 95

Skyy Moore, Mecole Hardman, and Kadarius Toney proved that the combination of draft pedigree and playing with Patrick Mahomes doesn’t guarantee greatness. Rashee Rice, however, proved that even a flawed prospect can have tremendous fantasy upside by virtue of the Mahomes boost. Rice had the fifth-highest yards per route run of any rookie WR over the last decade, behind only Odell Beckham Jr., Puka Nacua, Justin Jefferson, and Martavis Bryant.

Rice himself, in addition to Travis Kelce, put a slight cap on the ceiling of a rookie WR that lands in Kansas City. Both are likely to command high target shares in the short and intermediate portions of the field. Behind those two, the WR room is relatively thin. Marquise Brown, who has been hobbled by foot and heel injuries the last few years, signed a 1-year prove-it deal. Veteran role players like Justin Watson and Moore round out the rest of the group. As a result, there is a massive opportunity for a rookie WR that can win on the outside to put up huge fantasy numbers on a Chiefs team that should compete for the league lead in pass attempts.


6. Jacksonville Jaguars

Round 1-3 Picks: 17, 48, 96

A common criticism of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ passing weapons is that they have a bunch of guys that are best served as No. 2 or No. 3 options, but no true alpha WR1s. While that might be slightly disrespectful to Christian Kirk, who I think can be an okay WR1 in a pinch, I think that criticism is largely warranted. Kirk, Gabe Davis, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram all are solid but unexceptional.

As a result, for a Jaguars offense that has been top nine in the NFL in pass attempts per game in back-to-back seasons, there is upside for a rookie WR that lands here to emerge as one of the top two weapons for Trevor Lawrence. While the depth chart is crowded, there are no massive target competition obstacles for a rookie WR to hurdle if they are good enough. Furthermore, selecting a rookie WR with a high draft pick may result in the release of Zay Jones, which would make the rookie’s path to seeing the field even easier.


7. Atlanta Falcons

Round 1-3 Picks: 8, 43, 74, 79

From Weeks 1-8 last year, before Kirk Cousins went down with a torn Achilles, the Vikings passed the ball 39.4 times per game. If that rate had continued over the full season, they would have led the NFL in pass attempts per game. Cousins’ combination of passing accuracy, knack for avoiding sacks, and unwillingness to scramble has led to high-volume passing environments throughout his NFL career.

As a result, most savvy NFL projections (including our own at ETR) forecast the Falcons to be one of the league leaders in pass attempts per game in 2024. But outside of Drake London, who has amassed 22% and 29% target shares in back-to-back seasons, there is a dearth of high-volume receiving weapons on Atlanta’s roster. While you can make a case for big leaps from Kyle Pitts or Darnell Mooney, neither has done much of note over their past two seasons. As a result, there is still room for a high-volume flanker/slot wide receiver to step in and put up big numbers as a rookie in Atlanta.


8. Detroit Lions

Round 1-3 Picks: 29, 61, 73

Under OC Ben Johnson and QB Jared Goff, the Lions have embraced a relatively pass-heavy offensive attack over the past two years, finishing ninth (2023) and 12th (2022) in the NFL in pass attempts per game. Similar to Cousins, Goff is adept at avoiding sacks while rarely scrambling, leading to a fantasy-friendly environment for his pass catchers.

The Lions do have fairly stiff target competition: Amon-Ra St. Brown was top five in the NFL in target share (29%), while Sam LaPorta finished as the TE1 overall as a rookie. In addition, former first-round WR Jameson Williams should remain involved in his deep-threat role, while both Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery are capable pass catchers out of the backfield. Still, the departure of Josh Reynolds (76% route rate, 11% target share) opens up a starting spot in 2-WR sets. I view the Lions landing spot as a high-ceiling but low-floor opportunity for a potential rookie WR. A talented rookie could emerge as the WR2 to Amon-Ra St. Brown as a full-time player on a high-scoring Lions attack, offering high fantasy viability to drafters. A less-talented rookie, however, could get bogged down in a messy rotation with the likes of Williams and Kalif Raymond, failing to make a significant impact.


Tier 3: Alpha WR Potential on Rebuilding Offenses


9. New England Patriots

Round 1-3 Picks: 3, 34, 68

The Patriots’ current WR room makes almost no sense. Between Kendrick Bourne, Pop Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and K.J. Osborn, they appear to be building the ship almost entirely out of limited slot WRs that can’t win on the outside. Not good!

As a result, any rookie with a semblance of X-WR skills has an immediate opportunity to earn a full-time starting role and, potentially, a massive target share in New England’s offense. That’s the good news. The bad news is that earning a “massive share” of the Patriots’ offense in either of the last two years hasn’t been worth much at all. However, I’m slightly more optimistic that the Patriots’ QB play will be better in 2023: Veteran Jacoby Brissett offers a decent floor, while a rookie like Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels offers a high ceiling. Although I understand the gut reaction to be repulsed if your favorite rookie WR lands with the Patriots, I don’t think it’s as bad as it looks. In some ways, it’s similar to the Texans landing spot in the 2023 NFL Draft, when a seemingly directionless franchise suddenly took on C.J. Stroud and Tank Dell and ascended to fantasy glory. That is the ceiling case you can imagine for a Patriots rookie WR in 2024, while the volume-based floor is fairly solid.


10. New York Giants

Round 1-3 Picks: 6, 47, 70

The Giants’ WR room is an island of misfit toys, headlined by Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt, and Wan’Dale Robinson. Each WR has a certifiable NFL skill — deep speed for Slayton/Hyatt and short-area target earning for Robinson — but comes with severe limitations that will prevent them from ever being a true alpha WR1. Only the Patriots, Chargers, and Cardinals are comparably barren of pass-catching talent at the WR position.

So why aren’t the Giants higher on this list? As compared with these other teams, even the Patriots, it’s more difficult to talk yourself into high-end QB play from the Giants. Now entering his sixth year in the NFL, Daniel Jones has yet to eclipse more than 3,205 yards or 24 TDs in a single season. While you can point to a variety of excuses — injuries, coaching changes, lack of weapons — it’s probably just time to accept that Jones does not have a high ceiling as an NFL passer. As a result, I have mixed feelings about the Giants as a landing spot for a rookie WR. A sufficiently talented rookie could certainly amass a huge share of the Giants’ receptions and yardage, but what is that really worth? Ultimately, I think the Giants present a high-floor, low-ceiling landing spot for a rookie WR.


Tier 4: WR3 Potential on High-Volume Passing Attacks


This tier is defined by high-volume passing teams with clear No. 1 and No. 2 options at the WR position, but fairly wide-open depth charts behind that. The Bengals (Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins), Rams (Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp), and Dolphins (Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle) each project to be top-12 teams in terms of pass attempts and scoring, but already have a huge share of target volume accounted for by the top two receiving weapons.

The fantasy upside for a rookie WR landing in these offenses is twofold. First, they have a great chance to immediately emerge as the WR3 on teams that do not have TEs very involved in the passing game. WR3s in concentrated offenses can still make significant fantasy impacts, particularly in best ball formats where you don’t have to predict which week they will go off. Furthermore, there is huge contingent upside on each of these teams. If one of the top two WRs were to go down, there would be a huge vacuum for a talented rookie to emerge.

As I’ve already explained the rationale for this tier, I will give some “quick hit” notes on the target competition on each team:


11. Cincinnati Bengals

Round 1-3 Picks: 18, 49, 80, 97

A Tee Higgins trade could vault Cincinnati into Tier 1 landing-spot status, though that seems unlikely now. Cincinnati’s TE room, led by Tanner Hudson and Mike Gesicki, doesn’t project to siphon off a lot of targets. Veteran journeyman Trent Irwin and second-year WRs Andrei Iosivas and Charlie Jones are the current competition for WR3 snaps in Cincinnati.


12. Los Angeles Rams

Round 1-3 Picks: 19, 52, 83, 99

Cooper Kupp, now entering his age-32 season, is firmly in “age cliff” territory, which could open up additional upside for a talented rookie WR. Demarcus Robinson and Tutu Atwell could be stubborn obstacles for a rookie, as each of them had their moments last year for the Rams. Davis Allen, Colby Parkinson, and post-ACL tear Tyler Higbee round out an uninspiring TE room in Los Angeles.


13. Miami Dolphins

Round 1-3 Picks: 21, 55

Compared to Chase/Higgins and Nacua/Kupp, Hill/Waddle should soak up an even higher percentage of their team’s targets. Tyreek Hill (30) is approaching the age where we usually get worried about a decline, but he’s shown no signs of slowing down. The only depth WR on the Dolphins’ roster that has gotten any serious NFL playing time is Braxton Berrios, meaning a talented rookie should immediately emerge as the WR3 in Miami.


Tier 5: Some Opportunity in Passing Attacks with Questions


14. New Orleans Saints

Round 1-3 Picks: 14, 45

There is certainly opportunity in the Saints’ WR corps. Outside of Chris Olave, none of the Saints’ WRs have proven to be high target earners. Rashid Shaheed is a fun, efficient deep threat, but he only amassed a 13% target share in 2023, even in a season where Michael Thomas was mostly out due to injury. A.T. Perry was fairly inefficient as a high-aDOT player as a rookie. Cedrick Wilson is a veteran journeyman.

Even though there is opportunity, it’s hard to get overly excited about the Saints. Carr is still a league-average QB, but appears to be on the back side of his NFL career. Furthermore, RB Alvin Kamara and offensive weapon Taysom Hill will likely siphon off a large share of receptions and high-value touches at the expense of New Orleans’ WRs.

There are definitely paths for a talented rookie WR to pay off in New Orleans, driven by the Saints’ relatively high pass volume and lack of WR talent. However, other external factors — the decline in Carr’s play, New Orleans’ questionable coaching, the involvement of Taysom and Kamara — make it far from the cleanest landing spot for a rookie WR.


15. New York Jets

Round 1-3 Picks: 10, 72

The Jets landing spot hinges on several challenging-to-predict factors. First, how will 40-year-old Aaron Rodgers, who showed signs of decline in his last year in Green Bay, return off a torn Achilles? In terms of target competition, how will Mike Williams rebound coming off an early-season ACL tear in 2023? Will Rodgers, who often dictates personnel groupings, let a rookie WR see significant playing time over ‘his guys’ like Allen Lazard?

Ultimately, there’s still an intriguing combination of weak WR depth and offensive upside to make the 2024 New York Jets an interesting landing spot for a rookie WR. Besides Garrett Wilson and Williams, there are no NFL talents in the Jets’ WR corps (sorry to Allen Lazard, Malik Taylor, and Xavier Gipson). It feels like a bit of a parlay, but there are paths to a rookie WR having significant fantasy relevance for the Jets.


16. Baltimore Ravens

Round 1-3 Picks: 30, 62, 93

Nobody questions the Ravens’ path to being a powerhouse offense. We’ve seen it most clearly in 2019 and 2023 — Lamar Jackson’s MVP seasons. In both years, Jackson’s offenses ranked top five in NFL scoring, including a ridiculous 32 points per game in 2019, the highest scoring offense of the last five years.

So why are the high-powered Ravens ranked as just a middle-of-the-pack landing spot for a rookie WR? Two reasons. First, Baltimore’s top two target earners are fairly locked in, with movable chess piece Mark Andrews (23% target share in healthy games) and sophomore separation specialist Zay Flowers (24% target share) unlikely to be supplanted by a rookie WR. After factoring in solid role players like Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor, and Isaiah Likely, a rookie WR in Baltimore will face stiff, but not insurmountable, target competition. Second, despite the Ravens’ high-scoring offense, they are limited in passing volume by their run-heavy approach, including Lamar Jackson’s penchant for scrambling. Only 81% of their team’s dropbacks led to pass attempts last year, the second-lowest rate in the NFL behind the sack-happy Giants (Rest-In-Parmigiana, Tommy DeVito).

Ultimately, I’ll still be fairly intrigued if a talented rookie WR lands in Baltimore. Bateman and Agholor are not significant obstacles for playing time if the rookie is good, and the Ravens’ pass volume could increase by virtue of their elite defense regressing toward league average. Similar to the 2022 Eagles, they were able to blow teams out of the water by halftime, which limited Jackson’s dropbacks. There is some hidden pass-volume ceiling here in Year 2 with Todd Monken at OC if the defense takes a turn for the worse.


Tier 6: Competitive WR Rooms and/or Lower-Tier Passing Offenses


17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Round 1-3 Picks: 26, 57, 89, 92

Mike Evans (25% target share) and Chris Godwin (23% target share) should continue to soak up a huge percentage of Baker Mayfield’s targets. Additionally, there are concerns about the overall offensive scheme after QB whisperer and former offensive coordinator Dave Canales was plucked away by the Carolina Panthers to be their head coach.

In some ways, the Buccaneers landing spot profiles as a discount version of the Dolphins/Bengals/Rams spots in Tier 4: relatively high-volume, highly concentrated offensive attacks where a talented rookie WR could immediately step in as the WR3. I’m less confident, however, in the QB play and coaching in Tampa Bay compared to those other spots.


18. Washington Commanders

Round 1-3 Picks: 2, 36, 40, 67, 78, 100

A rookie WR landing on the Commanders faces three major concerns. First, Kliff Kingsbury’s passing attacks were closer to the middle of the pack in terms of volume through most of his tenure in Arizona, aside from an outlier 2022 season where they finished fourth in pass attempts per game. Second, research has shown that rookie QBs, which Washington will almost certainly have in the form of Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye, have a negative impact on their pass catchers. Daniels himself would be especially challenging due to his propensity to scramble when faced with pressure. Finally, Terry McLaurin (~23-25% target share player over the last three seasons) is unlikely to give up his top spot on the WR pecking order.

Despite these concerns, there are some reasons for optimism with the Commanders landing spot. Outside of McLaurin, the Commanders lack true difference-making WRs. Particularly, incumbent WR2 Jahan Dotson struggled as a sophomore after flashing as a rookie, while Curtis Samuel departed for the Bills in free agency. As a result, the depth chart is open enough for a rookie to emerge as the WR2 fairly quickly. Furthermore, while rookie QBs are on average bad for their pass catchers, there is always the upside that you can hit on the next Joe Burrow or C.J. Stroud, players who immediately elevated their WRs as rookies. Therefore, while I’m not necessarily excited about the Commanders landing spot, I’m not fretting about it either.


19. Pittsburgh Steelers

Round 1-3 Picks: 20, 51, 84, 98

Whether it is Russell Wilson or Justin Fields dropping back for the Steelers in 2024, you have to squint to get excited about the overall offensive environment. Due to their high sack rates, both players led offenses near the bottom of the league in pass attempts per game. Furthermore, you can’t get excited about the coaching either; Arthur Smith’s Falcons were routinely near the bottom of the NFL in passing volume.

Despite the extremely high likelihood of a run-based offense in Pittsburgh, the WR room is relatively wide open for a rookie WR to immediately see snaps. George Pickens is locked in as the outside X, but the rest of the WRs — Van Jefferson, Calvin Austin, Quez Watkins, and Denzel Mims — are hardly more than practice-squad talents.

It’s easy to project a Round 1-3 rookie to immediately be the WR2 in Pittsburgh. The question is, with an Arthur Smith-coached, Justin Fields– & Russell Wilson-quarterbacked offense, is the juice worth the squeeze? My gut says likely no, but I won’t completely bury a rookie WR drafted here due to the wide-open WR depth chart.


20. Indianapolis Colts

Round 1-3 Picks: 15, 46, 82

In an ideal world, the Indianapolis Colts likely want to run their offense through Jonathan Taylor and Anthony Richardson. Although HC Shane Steichen has a tendency to play at a fast pace, the Colts’ run-based attack with a scrambling QB is likely to limit their overall passing volume. Our projections at ETR have them closer to the bottom 10 than the top 10 in projected pass attempts per game.

Compounding the mediocre volume is the Colts’ relatively-crowded WR room. Michael Pittman finished eighth in the NFL in target share with 29% and is fairly locked in as the alpha WR1. Josh Downs had a 20+% target share prior to his Week 9 injury, and Alec Pierce is useful as a deep-threat role player. That said, neither Downs nor Pierce pose major threats for playing time if the Colts find an upgrade in the draft.

All in all, the Colts’ passing offense should be fairly low-volume and relatively crowded, making them a less-than-desirable, but not disastrous, landing spot for a rookie WR.


21. Denver Broncos

Round 1-3 Picks: 12, 76

The Denver Broncos’ QB plan is perhaps the most uncertain in the NFL, with veteran journeyman Jarrett Stidham likely competing with a rookie (Bo Nix?) for starting snaps in 2024. A team without a clear identity, it’s challenging to predict what the Broncos will do in 2024. If 2023 is any indication, however, they are likely to be a low-scoring, low passing-volume attack.

While the WR room has no clear stars, there are a handful of guys that have shown some ability at the NFL level. Courtland Sutton (21%) projects as a poor man’s WR1, while Josh Reynolds, Marvin Mims, and Tim Patrick are role players that will compete for routes. A stud rookie could immediately emerge as an alpha WR1 here, but a “solid” or “mediocre” rookie may struggle to see the field. Mims himself saw this painfully play out last year as he struggled to earn consistent playing time over the likes of Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Brandon Johnson.

Ultimately, the Broncos’ weak WR room opens up some ceiling outcomes for a rookie WR, but the QB situation should cap the ceiling somewhat, while opening up a rock-bottom floor. As a result, I’m likely providing a slight downgrade in projection to a Round 1-3 rookie that lands on the Broncos.


Tier 7: I’m Squinting to see the Upside


22. Carolina Panthers

Round 1-3 Picks: 33, 39, 65

Make any excuse you want: Bryce Young was one of the worst rookie QBs we’ve seen over the past several years, leading the Panthers to a league-worst 13.9 points per game last season. While QBs can make big jumps after poor rookie seasons (see: Trevor Lawrence), it’s hard not to be discouraged from what we saw from Young last year.

Complicating matters, the Panthers’ WR room is somewhat crowded. Both Diontae Johnson (24% target share) and Adam Thielen (26% target share) showed an ability to draw lots of targets in the short and intermediate areas of the field in 2023.

For a rookie WR landing with the Panthers, I suppose you can tell yourself a story where Young takes a huge leap and Thielen falls off the age cliff, opening up a high fantasy ceiling for a talented rookie. But let’s be honest — this story you’re telling is far more likely to be fiction than nonfiction.


23. Philadelphia Eagles

Round 1-3 Picks: 22, 50, 53

A.J. Brown (30% target share), DeVonta Smith (24% target share), and Dallas Goedert (20% target share) project to make up nearly ~75% of the passing attack in Philadelphia. Furthermore, the Eagles’ balanced approach, led by dual threat Jalen Hurts, is likely to limit overall passing volume.

The only “good news” for a rookie WR landing in Philadelphia is that the WR3 spot is wide open. Perhaps that role could lead to a few spike weeks, with contingent upside if one of Brown/Smith/Goedert were to miss time due to injury. That is a very thin path to fantasy relevance, making the Eagles a bottom-10 landing spot for rookie WRs.


24. Cleveland Browns

Round 1-3 Picks: 54, 85

Unironically, I would feel better about the Browns as a landing spot if Joe Flacco was the Week 1 starting QB. Instead, we’ll get Deshaun Watson, who has been dreadful as a passer by almost any metric since returning from his self-induced absence in late 2022. Watson has not only been inefficient, but the Browns have been a low-volume passing offense in Watson’s healthy games. In 11 games in 2022 and 2023, Watson has averaged just 30.6 pass attempts per game, which would have been 25th in the NFL in 2023.

Compounding Watson-caused issues is the Browns’ relatively-crowded pass-catching corps. Amari Cooper (23% target share) remains an effective route technician and deep threat, David Njoku (22% target share) is one of the best playmaking TEs in the league, and the Browns committed significant money and draft capital to reclamation projects in Jerry Jeudy and Elijah Moore.

For a rookie WR to hit in Cleveland, they need Watson to bounce back and beat out several capable WR/TEs for targets. I’m very skeptical, but betting on a former superstar QB, and against Jeudy and Moore, isn’t an impossible path to upside.


Tier 8: I’m Squinting…and I can’t see the Upside


25. Chicago Bears

Round 1-3 Picks: 1, 9, 75

Caleb Williams, the heavy favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Bears, is one of the best QB prospects of the past decade. So why are the Bears a bottom-tier landing spot? Target competition. D.J. Moore (30% target share), Keenan Allen (32% target share), and Cole Kmet (19% target share) are unlikely to yield much opportunity to a rookie.

I’ll make an exception if a rookie as talented as Rome Odunze or Malik Nabers slips to the Bears at 9. Otherwise, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find me drafting a rookie WR in Chicago outside of the very last rounds of fantasy drafts.


26. Minnesota Vikings 

Round 1-3 Picks: 11, 23

The Vikings enter the 2024 NFL season in QB purgatory, with former first-round flameout Sam Darnold likely competing with a rookie QB (J.J. McCarthy?) for starting duties. While the QB play is likely to be inefficient, the Vikings’ offensive infrastructure and coaching should still support a relatively high-volume attack. After all, we saw the Josh Dobbs/Jaren Hall/Nick Mullens triumvirate still attempt 35.1 passes per game, which would’ve put the Vikings 12th in 2023.

Even if the volume remains ok, Minnesota’s target competition of Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson will limit any rookie WR’s production, particularly in the fantasy playoffs when Hockenson approaches full strength post-ACL tear. It’s unlikely the Vikings take a WR early in the draft, but if they do, they should receive a serious downgrade in their 2024 projection.


27. Tennessee Titans 

Round 1-3 Picks: 7, 38

Quarterbacked by the mistake-prone Will Levis, the Titans are strong at outside WR, with both Deandre Hopkins (28% target share) and Calvin Ridley (23% target share) locked into starting roles. Furthermore, the Titans have two RBs (Tyjae Spears and Tony Pollard), a TE (Chig Okonkwo), and a WR3 (Treylon Burks) who all figure to be involved as role players. And while HC Brian Callahan may prefer a pass-first offensive attack, it’s unclear if he will be able to execute that with Levis under center.

The Titans are likely the nightmare scenario for early best ball drafters taking Malik Nabers in the third round. It’s not impossible that the Titans select Nabers (or Odunze) with an offensive-minded HC and Hopkins on an expiring contract. High target competition and poor QB play should send the stock of any rookie WR taken by the Titans plummeting in 2024 redraft leagues.


28. Las Vegas Raiders

Round 1-3 Picks: 13, 44, 77

The Raiders’ present two major problems for a rookie WR: poor QB play and significant target competition at WR. Despite his swagger, Gardner Minshew is a backup-caliber NFL talent. In the draft, the Raiders’ options are likely to be limited to “reaches” on Michael Penix or Bo Nix, barring an unexpected trade up. At WR, Davante Adams (32% target share) remains a clear alpha from a target-earning perspective, while Jakobi Meyers (21%) is an underrated WR2 who will draw a lot of looks underneath.

A rookie WR landing with the Raiders needs both 1) unexpectedly good QB play from Minshew or a rookie QB and 2) Adams and/or Meyers to regress significantly from their 2023 play. That is a parlay that I’m not going to bet on aside from the last rounds of fantasy drafts.


Tier 9: High Risk of a Redshirt Rookie Season


29. Green Bay Packers

Round 1-3 Picks: 25, 41, 58, 88, 91

Jayden Reed. Christian Watson. Romeo Doubs. Dontayvion Wicks. Want me to keep going? Ok, fine. Bo Melton

The Packers have four, arguably five, talented WRs entering Year 2 or Year 3 of their rookie deals. Even without an outside addition from the draft, there is likely to be fierce competition for routes on the 2024 Packers. Due to the abundance of talent, a rookie WR landing on the Packers is extremely likely to land in a frustrating rotation without significant playing time. While playing with Jordan Love inherently unlocks some ceiling for a rookie WR, the odds of them realizing that ceiling are extremely low.


30. San Francisco 49ers

Round 1-3 Picks: 31, 63, 94

Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Jauan Jennings are relatively locked into 3-WR sets. Both George Kittle (19%) and Christian McCaffrey (19%) demand high target shares from the TE and RB positions, respectively.

Barring a draft-day trade of Aiyuk, there are limited paths to playing time for a rookie WR landing in San Francisco. Beating out Jennings for WR3 duties is possible, but surpassing any of the other 49ers weapons on the target pecking order is likely a pipe dream.


31. Houston Texans

Round 1-3 Picks: 42, 59, 86

The Texans boast the best 3-WR set in the NFL with Nico Collins, Stefon Diggs, and Tank Dell. There is hardly even room for a rotational WR4 in Houston, as both Noah Brown and John Metchie remain on the roster.

A rookie WR drafted by the Texans will likely be redshirted in 2024. They will likely need several injuries to pay off as fantasy assets this upcoming season.


32. Seattle Seahawks

Round 1-3 Picks: 16, 81

DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba are locked into 3-WR sets in Seattle, while second-year clasher Jake Bobo has likely earned himself a rotational WR4 role. Unless Seattle is already ready to give up on JSN after a disappointing rookie year, there is no room for a rookie WR here.


Tiers Summary