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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Draft Day Winners and Losers

Mon Apr 29 11:53am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Related photo caption below

White should be lead back


The draft is always so exciting, seeing where all the players get picked. But after the draft, the big issue is figuring out what it all means for their fantasy value. We thought it would be a good idea to look at some of the biggest fantasy winners and losers from draft day. These are some of the players that were picked but also some of the guys that were already on rosters, seeing their fantasy value get impacted from the draft. Adjust your rankings accordingly!

WINNERS

Bryce Young, QB, Panthers. The Panthers did a great job of getting Young some much needed offensive help. The team took a receiver, running back and tight end in three of the first four rounds of the draft. Carolina already added Diontae Johnson this offseason, so the receiver corps should be much better after getting Xavier Legette in the first round. The receivers got very little separation last year, so it was hard to gauge Young. He needed help and got some this offseason. Carolina also took a possible franchise running back in Jonathon Brooks and hopefully a solid starting tight end in Ja’Tavion Sanders. Things are looking up for Young and this offense.

Xavier Worthy, WR, Chiefs. Worthy could not have landed in a much better spot. He heads to one of the best offenses in football that has some openings at receiver, especially with the status of Rashee Rice a bit up in the air. Worthy has electric speed and the Chiefs should find plenty of ways to utilize that. He could be the new Tyreek Hill for this offense. Look for Worthy to make an impact right away.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys. Maybe one of the biggest surprises of the draft was the Cowboys not addressing their running back spot. Instead, the team signed Elliott after the draft. He is likely to be the starter in this top offense. He might not rack up the yards of past seasons, but has big touchdown potential in this offense. Elliott seems a pretty sure bet to get double-digit touchdowns. He could be a solid No. 2 for fantasy teams.

Jonathon Brooks, RB, Panthers. Brooks is returning from a major knee injury and could be slowed a little early in the season, but once he is back healthy look for him to the three-down back for the Panthers. He lands in a great spot for playing time, having little top talent to compete with for playing time. Brooks could really get the volume in this offense. He is our top rookie fantasy back.

Zamir White, RB, Raiders. Many thought the Raiders were another team that could address their running back spot during the draft, but that didn’t happen. They used a sixth-round pick on Dylan Laube, but he is not expected to challenge White for that starter’s job. It sure seems the Raiders are comfortable with White as their lead back. He has a chance to get a lot of touches in year two. His stock is going up.

Ladd McConkey, WR, Chargers. The Chargers need help at receiver and McConkey helps fill that need. It would not surprise if he quickly became Justin Herbert’s favorite target in the passing game. We really like his chances to rack up the weekly looks in this offense. Someone has to fill the Keenan Allen void and McConkey seems the best bet out of the options at receiver for the Chargers.

Keon Coleman, WR, Bills. Coleman is another rookie receiver that lands in a great spot for playing time. The departure of Stefon Diggs leaves a big opening for the Bills. Coleman could help fill that void. He has great size for the position and could be a top red-zone threat from day one for Buffalo. Coleman should get his chances from the get go, giving him a high ceiling for the coming year.

LOSERS

Raheem Mostert, RB, Dolphins. Mostert had a monster season last year and helped many fantasy teams to championships. He is going to have a very hard time repeating, especially after the Dolphins picked Jaylen Wright in the fourth round. Wright is a speed back similar to Mostert but a lot younger with less wear on his tires. Remember, Mostert is 32 years old. He might end up falling to third on the depth chart after the addition of Wright.

Rome Odunze, WR, Bears. Odunze is a super talented player that could be a star in the NFL. But for his year, you have to worry about him being up and down. He has two really good receivers ahead of him on the depth chart in DJ Moore and Keenan Allen. This is going to limit the ceiling of Odunze. He will be a much better fantasy player in a few more seasons. For now, expect erratic production from the talented rookie.

Kyren Williams, RB, Rams. Williams remains the lead back for the Rams and is coming off a breakout season. But the Rams picked Blake Corum in the third round. He is going to be a factor in the offense. He might get put a huge dent in Williams’ workload but the big concern is the goal-line work. Corum is more of a between the tackles runner that does well on short-yardage work. He could end up stealing some touchdowns from Williams, hurting his fantasy value.

Michael Mayer, TE, Raiders. Mayer was a second-round pick for the Raiders last year and showed well at times his rookie season. The Raiders couldn’t pass on the talented Brock Browers in this year’s draft, though. This move absolutely kills the fantasy value of Mayer. He is going to play second fiddle to Browers, getting few weekly looks. Browers is the clear tight end to own in this offense.

Ricky Pearsall, WR, 49ers. Pearsall is a talented pass catcher that can get in and out of his breaks in a hurry. He is a really good fit for the slot and could fill that role for the 49ers his rookie season. The problem is he has some of the top talent in all of football to compete with for targets. He could really be up and down his rookie season. He will look better in a year or two when he has a more defined role and less to compete with at receiver. His rookie season could be a tough one to gauge for fantasy owners.

Malik Nabers, WR, Giants. Many considered Nabers the top receiver in this year’s draft. He is super talented with a high fantasy ceiling. The problem for Nabers is he got drafted by the Giants, a team that really struggled offensively last year. Plus, he has Daniel Jones throwing him passes. This is not a great landing spot for the talented Nabers. Jones needs to make some big strides this season if Nabers hopes to reach his potential. We aren’t sure that happens.

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

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Player Notes
Roderic Teamer Jun 20 3:00pm ET
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The New Orleans Saints signed free-agent safety Roderic Teamer to an undisclosed one-year deal on Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The 27-year-old Tulane product previously tried out with the Saints at rookie minicamp and again at mandatory minicamp and will join his hometown team. Teamer began his NFL career in 2019 with the Los Angeles Chargers after going undrafted. He then spent the next three years playing for the Las Vegas Raiders. In his 40 NFL games (11 starts) over four years, Teamer has 103 tackles (72 solo), an interception, one sack and three pass breakups. He will now look to impress the coaching staff enough in training camp and the preseason to earn a 53-man roster spot as secondary depth going into Week 1 this fall.

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Jerry Jeudy Jun 20 2:50pm ET
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The Athletic's Zac Jackson believes that the Cleveland Browns plan to open the year with new wide receiver Jerry Jeudy in the slot and Amari Cooper and Cedric Tillman out wide. Jeudy also has the ability to play outside, and Elijah Moore will also see snaps both inside and outside. David Bell is likely the No. 5 receiver, and any other player wanting to get into the immediate mix at the position would need a big summer performance and come with special teams ability. Jeudy was held out of spring practices with a minor injury, so he should be ready to go for training camp this summer. The former first-rounder from Alabama has lined up slightly more than half the time so far in his NFL career, but he's been a disappointment to this point and won't have a ton of fantasy upside as long as Cooper stays healthy in 2024. Jeudy should be considered more of a WR4/5 heading into his first year in Cleveland.

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Denzel Mims Jun 20 2:50pm ET
Denzel Mims

Former New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims, who was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers this week, quickly found a home and signed an undisclosed deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, according to sources. Mims spent time on the Steelers' practice squad last year but never played in a regular-season game. The 26-year-old former second-round selection (59th overall) by the Jets in 2020 out of Baylor was a bust in his three years in New York, catching 42 of 92 targets for 676 yards and no touchdowns in 30 games (15 starts). He was traded to the Detroit Lions at the start of the 2023 campaign but also didn't get into any regular-season games with the team. Even with Calvin Ridley gone in Jacksonville, Mims is going to be fighting an uphill battle to make the Jags' 53-man roster out of training camp this summer.

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Pierre Strong Jr. Jun 20 2:40pm ET
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The Athletic's Zac Jackson projects Cleveland Browns running back Pierre Strong Jr. to make the team with both Nick Chubb and Nyheim Hines coming off knee injuries. Strong might be the fifth running back on the team, though, and he might not play RB at all. He showcased his impressive straight-line speed in May and June during offseason workouts and most of his work will likely come on special teams as a punt gunner and kickoff returner. For that, he'll likely be on the game-day roster, despite a RB room that includes Chubb, Hines, Jerome Ford and D'Onta Foreman. Strong and backup cornerback Justin Hardee Sr. are near the top of the list of players in line to make the roster for special teams purposes. Just don't count on Strong being anywhere near the fantasy radar in 2024.

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George Kittle Jun 20 2:10pm ET
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San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle was rehabbing a fractured rib, issues with his shoulder and toe, and a core-muscle injury that required surgery this offseason. As a result, Kittle revealed that he lost almost 30 pounds after the Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, a significant blow to his typical 250-pound frame. "I couldn't lift," Kittle explained. "I couldn't do any upper body because of my shoulder and my rib, and I couldn't do lower [body] because of my core surgery. I didn't lift from the Super Bowl until like almost mid-March." However, Kittle remains confident going into the 2024 season and is recovered from surgery on his core. The 30-year-old led the NFL with 1,020 receiving yards in 16 regular-season games in 2023 and is still one of the high-end targets at the position in fantasy. However, with only 65 catches in an offense with many mouths to feed, his 2023 production may be his ceiling at this point in his career.

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Chigoziem Okonkwo Jun 20 12:10pm ET
Chigoziem Okonkwo

Tennessee Titans tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo is excited about the way his body is feeling and the direction of the team heading into the 2024 regular season this fall. "I feel like I maximized the potential I had in my body, and if I wanted to get better, I had to change the structure of how I move and stuff," Okonkwo said. "(I feel) a big difference, even the way I feel, my body. I feel a lot better when I move. After a long day of moving, I don't feel as sore." The fourth-rounder in 2022 caught 54 passes for 528 yards and a touchdown in 17 games (11 starts) in his second year in 2023. He had three TDs and more average yards per catch in his rookie campaign. The 24-year-old's stock is trending up, but in an offense that now includes receivers Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd, in addition to DeAndre Hopkins, it's hard to envision Okonkwo ascending to the ranks of surefire TE1 in fantasy.

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Anders Carlson Jun 20 12:10pm ET
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Green Bay Packers kicker Anders Carlson missed a field goal and/or an extra point in nine of the final 12 games in 2023 in his rookie season, including a 41-yarder in the fourth quarter of a three-point Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Carlson didn't have any competition from late May through the end of the season, but Green Bay now has Jack Podlesny and veteran Greg Joseph to compete with Carlson in training camp and the preseason. The Packers have given each of the three kickers equal run this offseason, with each of them having their impressive moments. As or right now, it remains to be seen if either Podlesny or Joseph can knock Carlson out of the starting kicking duties. Fantasy managers in standard 12-team leagues should be looking to avoid the kicking situation in Green Bay this fall.

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Adonai Mitchell Jun 20 12:10pm ET
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Indianapolis Colts rookie wide receiver Adonai Mitchell was the team's standout player during the spring and made at least one noteworthy catch during every practice that was open to the media. The 21-year-old refuses to believe that 10 fellow wideouts -- the number drafted ahead of him -- were better than him in this year's NFL draft. "He gets open a lot," second-year quarterback Anthony Richardson said. If Mitchell can get on the same page with Richardson early this year, it could easily help the Colts end their three-year playoff drought. Mitchell's physical skills are off the charts, but he was never even the most productive receiver in college at both Georgia and Texas. There's a lot to like about him in the long-term, but Mitchell will mostly be a dynasty/keeper league asset as he competes for targets in his first year with Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs.

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Brian Thomas Jr. Jun 20 12:10pm ET
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The Athletic's Jeff Howe writes that Jacksonville Jaguars rookie first-round wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. seemed to make a positive impression during offseason workouts. Thomas is in a good spot heading into his first year in the NFL because the Jaguars already have a cache of proven skill players, so he can come into his own at his own pace. The Jaguars will be thrilled if he can solidify an early role as a speed-driven deep threat for quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Fantasy managers considering drafting him in single-year leagues in 2024 will want to keep a close eye on how the 21-year-old's skills will translate in a more physical environment in training camp this summer. The LSU product was in the shadow of Malik Nabers in college and is probably going to struggle for consistent targets in 2024 as long as Christian Kirk, Gabe Davis and Evan Engram all stay healthy.

From RotoBaller

Isaiah Likely Jun 20 12:10pm ET
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Baltimore Ravens tight end Isaiah Likely has been behind All-Pro veteran Mark Andrews to begin his NFL career, but his flashes of upside could lead the team to implement even more 12 personnel in 2024. According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, Likely has continued to impress this offseason. "Likely's work in OTAs and minicamp gave Monken even more reason to polish those multiple tight end sets," Zrebiec wrote. "From making highlight-reel one-handed catches in the middle of the field, to finding openings underneath, to pulling away from defenders after receptions, Likely looked like a player who will be hard to keep off the field." The Coastal Carolina product averaged 13.9 PPR fantasy points per game in six contests with Andrews sidelined last season. He has top-five upside if Andrews has to miss any time this year, and he might even have rare value from a backup tight end in fantasy football.

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Tylan Wallace Jun 20 12:10pm ET
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Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Tylan Wallace is battling for a roster spot this offseason, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Athletic. The 25-year-old faced a similar set of circumstances last year, but he turned in a quality training camp and ultimately remained on the 53-man roster. Wallace will need to impress on special teams to earn the last chair on the wide receiver depth chart, and the absence of standout returner Deonte Harty from OTAs has allowed him to show what he can do. The 2021 fourth-round pick has just seven receptions for 67 yards to his name in 37 career games, but a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown last year showed he can make an impact in other aspects of the game.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Jun 20 12:10pm ET
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Carolina Panthers wide receiver Adam Thielen quietly had a productive season in 2023, especially considering he was catching passes from a rookie quarterback in one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Thielen, who turns 34 before Week 1, racked up 103 receptions for 1,014 yards and four touchdowns in his first season with the organization. He accounted for 31% of the team's overall receiving yards. Although the team invested in wideout Diontae Johnson and Xavier Legette, Joe Person of the Athletic believes the veteran will remain a key contributor. "Thielen might not be counted on as much during his age-34 season, but he'll be a big part of the offense," Person wrote. Thielen is a three-time 1,000-yard receiver and has the most chemistry with Young, so he might be underrated based on his current price in drafts. On most platforms, he's being selected outside the top 70 wideouts.

From RotoBaller

Drew Lock Jun 20 12:10pm ET
Drew Lock

New York Giants quarterback Drew Lock signed with the organization as a free agent this offseason, and given the struggles of Daniel Jones, many have speculated he could push for the starting job. However, Giants reporter Connor Hughes believes he is not a legitimate threat to take the QB1 job. "[Lock] isn't that good. Very obvious of that during offseason program. He's a serviceable starter, but I don't think he's a threat to be the starter unless it really hits the fan," Hughes wrote on X. The former second-round pick by the Denver Broncos out of Missouri has thrown for 5,283 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions in his first 28 game appearances. He has a 9-14 record as a starter. While Jones has had plenty of downs, he's had more flashes of upside than Lock, so he's likely simply the better player. Given New York's lack of weapons, Lock would have limited fantasy upside if he's called into action this year.

From RotoBaller

Jonathan Garvin Jun 20 12:10pm ET
Jonathan Garvin

The Dallas Cowboys are working out free-agent defensive lineman Jonathan Garvin, according to NFL.com. The former seventh-round pick by the Green Bay Packers played in 38 games from 2020 to 2022 and compiled 32 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two pass deflections before being released last offseason. He spent the spring with the Birmingham Stallions this year and tallied 20 tackles and 3.5 sacks en route to a UFL Championship. The Cowboys signed fellow UFL defender Gareon Conley on Tuesday, so he has a legitimate chance to earn an offseason roster spot if he impresses in his workout.

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James Washington Jun 20 12:10pm ET
James Washington

Veteran wide receiver James Washington, who is currently a free agent, will attempt to make a comeback, according to a post on his personal Instagram account. Washington is best known for his time in Pittsburgh, but he also worked around injuries to play in two games with the Dallas Cowboys in 2022. The former second-round pick's list of injuries included a Jones fracture, which required surgery. Washington looked to play in the NFL in 2023 but was cut by both the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts last August. Ultimately, while Washington has received steady NFL interest, his last meaningful contributions at the pro level came in 2021 when he caught 24passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Fast forward three years and Washington is looking to rejuvenate his career. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler notes that multiple teams have inquired about Washington. However, he remains off the fantasy radar for the time being.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Conklin Jun 20 12:10pm ET
Tyler Conklin

New York Jets tight end Tyler Conklin "made multiple acrobatic catches" and was "one of the stars of OTAs," according to Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic. Rosenblatt notes that Conklin stands to gain a lot from Aaron Rodgers being healthy and available during the 2024 season. The tight end did catch 61 passes for 621 yards last year, but he failed to find the end zone and ultimately finished the campaign with the second-lowest catch rate of his career. Between making his own impact on the practice field this summer and getting Rodgers healthy to lead the offense, Conklin has a real chance to thrive in 2024. As long as he remains atop New York's depth chart through camp, he could sneak into the top-24 range for fantasy football tight ends.

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Khalil Herbert Jun 20 12:10pm ET
Khalil Herbert

Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert could find himself on the roster bubble as the summer continues, according to Adam Jahns of The Athletic. During a new 53-man roster projection, Jahns and Kevin Fishbain tabbed Herbert to make the team out of training camp, but Jahns also wrote that "it wouldn't be surprising if Herbert is considered on the bubble at Halas Hall." The 26-year-old appeared in one dozen games last year, rushing for 611 yards and two touchdowns on 132 carries. He also added 20 catches, 134 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown. While he certainly showed flashes of meaningful production in 2023, he lost opportunities to Justin Fields at times. Fields is now gone, but he's been replaced by Caleb Williams, who is still mobile enough to make plays happen with his legs. Most importantly, though, the Bears signed D'Andre Swift, who will enter Week 1 as the starting running back, barring an unforeseen development. Therefore, Herbert, who is entering a contract year, could become expendable as the Bears opt to give more reps to Swift and second-year back Roschon Johnson.

From RotoBaller

Kirk Cousins Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Kirk Cousins

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins (Achilles) is returning from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in Week 8 of the 2023 season with the Minnesota Vikings, but he has expressed confidence he'll be full-go by training camp at the end of July since his arrival in Atlanta in March. That sentiment didn't change throughout the offseason program, and Cousins' participation in all aspects of the team's offseason program is promising. Cousins said he did everything at organized team activities, but it will be worth watching if he continues to do everything in training camp. The 35-year-old signal-caller will be in a non-contact jersey, but everything else should be business as usual. Cousins will still have plenty of weapons around him in Atlanta, but it's a downgrade in receivers and he's coming off a significant injury towards the end of his career. At best, fantasy managers should consider him a midrange QB2.

From RotoBaller

Bijan Robinson Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Bijan Robinson

The Atlanta Falcons' new offense under head coach Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Zac Robinson will clearly run through second-year running back Bijan Robinson. "In as simple of a form as you can possibly make it," Morris said, "it's 'get the ball to Bijan as much as you can in as many ideal situations that you possibly can.'" Robinson's 214 carries for 976 yards and four touchdowns made him the top-rushing rookie in 2023, and he also caught 58 passes for an extra 487 yards -- the fourth-most among RBs -- and also had four receiving TDs. His 272 touches ranked 12th among NFL players last year, and Robinson finished 10th with 1,463 total yards from scrimmage. The 22-year-old expects to be more of a runner than pass-catcher in 2024, and with more total touches likely coming his way, he should easily be considered a top-three fantasy RB.

From RotoBaller

Kyler Murray Jun 19 1:00pm ET
Kyler Murray

The Athletic's Doug Haller writes that there is a lot of optimism from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, with the biggest reason being that quarterback Kyler Murray is on the field. Murray was off to the side working with the team's conditioning staff at this time last year while trying to recover from ACL surgery. Murray's recovery affected Arizona's entire season in 2023 after he missed the first nine games. He spent the rest of the year learning a new offense and trying to find his way back, and it showed. An offseason built around Murray should make a difference in 2024. The 26-year-old put in extra work with his receivers on weekends, trying to perfect rhythm and timing. Murray probably isn't going to be an elite passer, especially given the lack of standout options at receiver in Arizona besides rookie first-rounder Marvin Harrison Jr., but his elite rushing ability should give him a solid fantasy floor as a low-end QB2.

From RotoBaller