We're still weeks away from the Combine, but with best ball season already underway, it's essential that we get up to speed on the incoming rookie class.
As Sackreligious covered when debuting Sortino Ratio, rookies remain undervalued in best ball tournaments. But generally, we want to spread out our bets among a variety of late round targets. There's still a lot we don't know.
However, there are a few spots where I think the market is multiple rounds off on 2024 rookies. These players will pop as targets in the LegUp Big Board rankings... even if they rise significantly in value.
Unsurprisingly, I'm also above market on these rookies in the newly refreshed dynasty rankings.
Since you'll be seeing their names a lot when using the rankings, I thought I should give you a better sense of exactly why I'm targeting these players since my deep dive rookie profiles won't be published until after the Combine.
Brock Bowers ADP: 77
Brock Bowers is the most hyped rookie tight end since Kyle Pitts. But honestly, we should be making an even bigger deal about him.
With a strong Combine, Bowers will easily be the best TE prospect in recent memory, including Pitts. And even with an underwhelming Michael Mayer-esque Combine, Bowers would still profile as a very strong T.J. Hockenson-level prospect. So even with the draft still months away, we can feel extremely confident that Bowers is a high-end prospect. Odds are he'll be the easiest fantasy bet we've ever had at the position.
If you're having Kyle Pitts anxiety, I get it. Pitts serves as a reminder that the TE position is difficult for both NFL teams and fantasy players to get right. However, it's worth remembering the Pitts posted 1,026 receiving yards as a rookie. He hasn't lived up to the hype, but for the most part, he hit the ground running.
Except... he only scored one TD in 2021. And Pitts has just five TDs over his entire three-year career.
Pitts' lack of TD scoring probably has something to do with his run blocking ability.
As I covered last summer, run blocking is a quietly important part of fantasy value at the tight end position. This is because good run blockers tend to be on the field during runs... and fake runs. And play action generates a lot of TD upside for TEs.
I'll put pen to PAPR on this concept later in the offseason as we look to uncover the next Jake Ferguson—the standout from last year's analysis.
For now, I'll note that Bowers' career PFF run blocking grade is 75th percentile.
Pitts was 1st percentile.
Like Pitts, Bowers is a three-year college star who will go early in the first round. But he's not just a highly drafted blocker. His receiving ability is also impressive. Bowers' career yardage share (22%) is higher than Pitts' (19%), as is his dominator rating (26% to 22%). And because that receiving ability is paired with a T.J. Hockensen-esque blocking profile, his eventual NFL role is likely to include all situations. By the end of this season, Bowers should be a key part of his new offense, especially around the goal line.
I view Bowers as an early 6th-round value. He's available in the mid-7th.