2024 Fantasy Football Mock Draft, 1.0

Every fantasy draft is terrible and ridiculous in its own unique way. If you were to assemble the same group of drafters twice, picking in the same order on the same day, you’d get radically different results each time.

Mock drafts of course have an even greater level of ridiculousness, because no one involved actually has to live with the results. At best, the selection of a player is a non-binding endorsement.

Over the weekend, 10 Yahoo-affiliated fantasy managers conducted our first mock exercise of the season.

I am urging you not to take these results too seriously, however, because:

A) we only went eight rounds,

B) the NFL regular season opener is still four months away, and

C) Dalton Del Don once again tried to make the whole thing about himself, per usual. Of course he did.

Our group’s first attempt to value the 2024 player pool began the way you’d expect it to, but quickly veered in a few unexpected directions. Let’s go round-by-round, discussing notable picks along the way. Please note that Yahoo’s default settings are in play here (half-PPR, one QB, flex).

  1. Christian McCaffrey (Aaron Tan)

  2. Breece Hall (Dalton Del Don)

  3. Tyreek Hill (Dan Harris)

  4. Bijan Robinson (Kate Magdziuk)

  5. CeeDee Lamb (Mauricio Castillo)

  6. Justin Jefferson (Andy Behrens)

  7. Puka Nacua (Collin Brennan)

  8. Ja’Marr Chase (Matt Harmon)

  9. Amon-Ra St. Brown (Jorge Martin)

  10. Jonathan Taylor (Scott Pianowski)

Just a classic showboating look-at-me pick by Del Don right at the top. The selection of Hall broke Dalton’s streak of over 100 consecutive fantasy drafts in which he’d spent his first-round pick on a starting pitcher (all of whom are now on the IL).

Hall is obviously a great back coming off an excellent season, leading all players at his position in targets (95), receptions (76) and receiving yards (591). He did, however, deliver 43 of those catches and 283 of the yards in a six-game stretch with Tim Boyle and Trevor Siemian at quarterback, so maybe we shouldn’t assume he’ll be the centerpiece of an Aaron Rodgers-led passing game. The issue is unsettled. New York won’t be forced to rely on so many discarded Packers in key receiving roles this season; Rodgers now has credible downfield options at his disposal. We're probably not going to see Hall targeted 25 times in a two-game stretch, as happened via Siemian in Weeks 16-17 last year.

That's not to say Hall can't or won't finish as the RB2 (or better). He definitely belongs in the first round. But he's going to have to accrue his fantasy points in a more traditional manner. Without question, a season with 10-12 touchdowns is a clear possibility.

Nacua won't go quite this early in most drafts, but Collin simply panicked. Don’t judge him too harshly. He was overmatched and reeked of fear throughout this mock.

  1. Garrett Wilson (Pianow)

  2. Jahmyr Gibbs (Jorge)

  3. Saquon Barkley (Harmon)

  4. Marvin Harrison Jr. (Collin)

  5. A.J. Brown (Behrens)

  6. Kyren Williams (Mo)

  7. Chris Olave (Kate)

  8. Nico Collins (Dan)

  9. Drake London (Dalton)

  10. Derrick Henry (Aaron)

Henry might very well score 20 or more touchdowns this year as the unchallenged lead back in Baltimore’s offense. He felt like a steal with the last pick of the second round. Dalton obviously should have taken Henry over London, but the man's ego won’t allow him to take a proven player so early in a draft. As ever, Del Don’s vanity is his greatest weakness.

If you think the Harrison pick seems crazy-early … well, honestly, it was probably the sanest and chalkiest thing Collin did in this mock. MHJ has no discernible flaws as a receiving prospect and he’s stepping into a situation in Arizona in which he can easily see 150 targets as a rookie. I'd still take Brown over Harrison 1,000 times out of 1000, but I do understand the enthusiasm.

  1. Travis Etienne Jr. (Aaron)

  2. Josh Jacobs (Dalton)

  3. Rachaad White (Dan)

  4. Malik Nabers (Kate)

  5. Sam LaPorta (Mo)

  6. Isiah Pacheco (Behrens)

  7. Josh Allen (Collin)

  8. James Cook (Harmon)

  9. DK Metcalf (Jorge)

  10. DJ Moore (Pianow)

It’s no great surprise to see LaPorta, last year’s TE1, selected as the first tight end off the board in 2024. The more important detail is that we’re now waiting until the third round to draft the position, because the top tier is no longer just one guy. Travis Kelce has finished as the overall TE1 in six of the past eight seasons and hasn’t ranked outside the top three at this spot since 2015, an outrageously long period of positional dominance. If you prefer the future inner-circle Hall of Famer to LaPorta, it's clearly defensible.

We can make the same projected volume argument for Nabers that exists for Harrison, so it’s not a complete shock to see him land in this draft neighborhood. Yahoo’s current WR ranks offer no clarity on the Nabers issue; he’s in the teens for one of us, in the 40s for another. Your willingness to take him this early comes down to your comfort level with the Giants’ seemingly dreadful QB situation. If there's always gonna be someone in a draft who views Nabers as a third-rounder, I'll never land him.

  1. Davante Adams (Pianow)

  2. Travis Kelce (Jorge)

  3. Brandon Aiyuk (Harmon)

  4. Amari Cooper (Collin)

  5. De’Von Achane (Behrens)

  6. Stefon Diggs (Mo)

  7. Najee Harris (Kate)

  8. Deebo Samuel (Dan)

  9. Cooper Kupp (Dalton)

  10. Mike Evans (Aaron)

Remember when Achane erupted onto the scene last fall like a glitch in the game, delivering 518 scrimmage yards and making seven house calls in a three-week stretch? And remember how pretty much everyone was comparing him favorably to either Jamaal Charles or Chris Johnson or both?

Today, we’re apparently fading Achane because Miami drafted a Day 3 running back and extended 32-year-old Raheem Mostert through 2025. Cool, OK.

Just please take a moment to recall the Achane experience:

He's pretty great, you guys. Personally, I remain a big believer in Achane — particularly this season’s beefier version. He’s definitely headed for double-digit weekly touches in an offense that maximizes speed and big-play ability.

Before we transition to the next round, I must once again remind you to disregard Collin’s picks. Again, he simply radiated fear. I’m quite certain he was just blurting out the first name he recognized. He tried to draft DeMarco Murray in the third, but we wouldn't allow it. Alas, Collin wasn't ready for the big stage.

  1. DeVonta Smith (Aaron)

  2. Jalen Hurts (Dalton)

  3. C.J. Stroud (Dan)

  4. Patrick Mahomes (Kate)

  5. Lamar Jackson (Mo)

  6. Michael Pittman Jr. (Behrens)

  7. Joe Mixon (Collin)

  8. Jaylen Waddle (Harmon)

  9. Terry McLaurin (Jorge)

  10. Kenneth Walker (Pianow)

In a draft with non-industry normals, the quarterback run will probably hit a round or two earlier, but these are definitely the right names. Any of these four QBs could dislodge Josh Allen from the top of the leaderboard. Each of them is surrounded by multiple good-to-great receivers, while Allen will be working with the least interesting receiving room he’s had in Buffalo since 2019.

  1. Trey McBride (Pianow)

  2. George Pickens (Jorge)

  3. Anthony Richardson (Harmon)

  4. Dalton Kincaid (Collin)

  5. Alvin Kamara (Behrens)

  6. Aaron Jones (Mo)

  7. Tony Pollard (Kate)

  8. Mark Andrews (Dan)

  9. Tank Dell (Dalton)

  10. Keenan Allen (Aaron)

In fantasy, across all sports, value can commonly be found with the old guys. Aaron constructed a roster that likely has the league’s highest average age, but he also selected a group of dudes who remain extraordinarily productive into their dotage: Henry, Evans and Allen. I don’t hate the cost on any of his 30-somethings. It’s often good business to let other managers pay the tax on ascending players while you snatch up well-established stars with minimal buzz.

On a related note: despite the fact that Aaron himself is the youngest manager in this mock, he opened his draft the same way our grandparents used to do it, with three consecutive running backs (McCaffrey, Henry, Etienne). Such a beautiful old soul.

  1. George Kittle (Aaron)

  2. Rashee Rice (Dalton)

  3. Jayden Reed (Dan)

  4. Zay Flowers (Kate)

  5. D’Andre Swift (Mo)

  6. Kyle Pitts (Andy)

  7. Zamir White (Collin)

  8. David Montgomery (Harmon)

  9. Joe Burrow (Jorge)

  10. James Conner (Pianow)

I might have taken Rice in this round had he fallen further, but only for integrity-of-the-mock reasons. None of us can speak with any authority about the legal and/or league discipline that Rice may face over his alleged role in the multi-vehicle high-speed accident that occurred in late March (or the more recent alleged assault). We’d only be guessing based on insufficient information.

If you think fantasy experts sound hopelessly out of their depth when we try to discuss complicated medical situations … well, you’re correct. But we’re probably at our most dangerous and nonsensical when the non-attorneys among us start speculating about legal matters. I will not do it.

However, I can confidently tell you that if Rice was having the productive and uneventful offseason the Chiefs were hoping for, then we’d all consider him a solid third- or fourth-round pick. He averaged 8.9 targets and 78.0 receiving yards per week over his last 10 games, playoffs included.

Still, if you want to simply send Rice’s name to the do-not-draft list, I get it. Completely understandable.

When Rice, Reed and Flowers all went off the board ahead of my pick, I chose to do something that is, for me, highly unusual. I selected a tight end who is not an Iowa product and also not Travis Kelce. We’ll see how it goes; I’m not promising that I’ll ever do it outside a mock environment. I’m not one of the hardcore Pitts zealots, but I do recognize that in the one season in which he had a semi-competent quarterback (late-career Matt Ryan), he topped 1,000 receiving yards. We should all take an interest in this year’s Kirk Cousins-Pitts-London-Robinson collaboration.

One final thought on the seventh round: If Montgomery is really gonna drop this far when we're drafting for keeps, he's a filthy steal. He led all backs in carries inside the 10-yard line (41) and inside the 5 (27) last year, and we shouldn't need to tell you that he converted those opportunities at a high rate. Six rounds of separation between Gibbs and Montgomery feels like too much.

  1. Austin Ekeler (Pianow)

  2. Rhamondre Stevenson (Jorge)

  3. Tee Higgins (Harmon)

  4. Nick Chubb (Collin)

  5. Marquise Brown (Behrens)

  6. Calvin Ridley (Mo)

  7. Diontae Johnson (Kate)

  8. Raheem Mostert (Dan)

  9. Rome Odunze (Dalton)

  10. Brock Purdy (Aaron)

Let the record show that Del Don was the only drafter who selected a receiver who actually figures to open the season as his real-life team’s presumptive WR3 — and Dalton did it twice. He took Tank Dell in the sixth round, then Rome Odunze in the eighth. Christian Kirk, Jordan Addison and various others are still sitting in the green room, unwanted.

(As a Bears fan, it is my fondest wish that Odunze turns out to be a fantasy steal. He's another near-perfect prospect with a pristine route profile. If Dalton got anything right in this mock, let's hope it's Rome.)

In case you'd been wondering if waiting at quarterback was still a viable approach, consider the options remaining for the two managers who did it in this mock, Pianowski and myself. The names remaining on the board for us include two of last year’s overall top-five QBs (Dak Prescott and Jordan Love), the guy who led the league in passing yardage (Tua Tagovailoa) and one of the game's best dual-threat players (Kyler Murray). I can definitely understand the appeal of the upper-tier quarterbacks, but no one should ever panic in a 10-team league if they whiff on the elite guys.

And certainly nobody should panic in a mock under any circumstances — *ahem* Collin *ahem* — because we are making no lasting commitments in these things.