😵 Round 1 Whiplash

Well, that escalated quickly...

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Roger Goodell (hugs) is a draft-time decision…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by BetMGM:

  • Holy Sh*t, the 1.08 is in…

  • A historic draft: QB heavy

  • Round 1 takeaways: Winners and Losers (from the same team??)

  • Trade Alert: Wait, WHO?

  • It's 4/26. Take it away, Cooterdoodle…

Some might say that the 2024 NFL Draft began as soon as Roger Goodell yelled, “Welcome to the D!” Not me, but some might say that. 

And after an entire offseason of being taunted and teased with juicy rumors of pandemonium, Day 1 started out unexpectedly… just as expected. Where were the trades? Where were the defensive players?

“Boring!” “Snoozefest!” “Chalkiest draft ever!” They yelled from their couches. But then, an unsung hero took the stage. Atlanta knew exactly what we craved: CHAOS.

The 1.08? Oh, I remember it well. That, ladies and gentlemen…THAT is when the true 2024 NFL Draft began. Now let’s get into some Round 1 takeaways, shall we?

🐻 New Offense, Who Dis?

There’s something eerily similar about Chicago’s Day 1 draft picks that I just can't quite put my finger on. Let’s see… A highly sought-after rookie QB gets drafted by a team that just finished at the bottom of their division. Followed up by a shiny, new rookie WR that the QB admires.

Houston, I think we have a copycat.

While everyone expected Caleb Williams would leave Detroit in a Bears jersey, I’m not sure any fan base (besides MIN, perhaps) came away from Day 1 with more dopamine flowing through their veins than CHI. Huge win. Congrats! (I’m not jealous. I just want to know when it will be my team’s turn.)

With this new offensive weaponry, the Bears now have one of the most well-rounded WR trios in the league. 

Let’s just hope we can all leave our fantasy drafts looking this good.

🚨 Accident in ATL?

So, um. Yea. Here’s the rundown.

2021:

  • Hire Arthur Smith

  • Draft Kyle Pitts (1.04)

2022:

  • Draft Drake London (1.08)

2023:

  • Draft Bijan Robinson (1.08)

  • Didn’t fire Arthur Smith

2024:

  • Didn’t hire Bill Belichick

  • Sign QB Kirk Cousins ($100 mil guaranteed)

  • ??? Draft QB Michael Penix Jr. (1.08)

No, you’re not seeing double. I hope you’re ready for the flurry of reactions and memes coming, because everyone will be taking swings at the Falcons this week. I guess we’ll have to wait to see what ATL was thinking when they doubled down on QB after already paying Kohl’s Cash Kirk. But for now, we react.

I may not know why ATL took Penix, but I do know this: Falcons fans have not known peace since Super Bowl 51.

🤝 “A trade has been completed”

The Vikings officially ripped off the band-aid, marking the first trade of the evening – Well, twice.

While many think MIN nailed their negotiations to secure J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner, these were arguably NOT the biggest trade bombshells of the evening.

That award goes to BUF and KC.

I mean yeah, despite all the rings, Kansas City was in need of a WR given their wideout woes. I just don’t think any of us saw it coming at the hands of their AFC rival… Huh. There’s always tonight, Buffalo.

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📜 12 picks and 6 QBs. Here’s to something historic.

👔 If it walks like Bill Belichick and talks like Bill Belichick, but it has sleeves, is it still Bill Belichick?

🤑 Pre-draft contract negotiations are in. A.J. Brown gets PAID.

😬 ICYMI: Roger Goodell was a Draft-time decision. Close call.

👻 We all have ghosts from past drafts. But Sean Payton’s may take the cake.

😃 How does the boss man feel about WAS’s pick? Tell ‘em, MB.

🙈 Biggest bet of the night? What’s “risk vs. reward” anyway? PHEW!

☎️ Kirk Cousins’ agent didn’t get a call? How about a ‘heads up’ next time?

Draft Winners and Losers

Round 1 of the NFL Draft was…something. Here to break down the biggest winners and losers from a fantasy football standpoint is Fantasy Life’s Content Manager Joe Metz, with some assists from an array of our draft-day content…

🏆 Winners

🐻 Caleb Williams

You had to see this coming, right? While it may be boring, I almost feel obligated to include Williams (and most of the Bears offense) among the winners, if not as the biggest winner.

After the offseason acquisitions of Keenan Allen, Gerald Everett and D'Andre Swift, the Bears have quickly turned their offensive unit into one that will demand defensive respect.

Per Chris Allen, "Williams’ 76.0% career-adjusted completion percentage (the highest of the top-3 prospects) will keep Allen as a high-end WR. But the former Trojan’s penchant for extending plays also plays into what DJ Moore does best, as Chicago’s new WR1 had the fourth-highest explosive play rate in 2023.

Williams has the skills as a passer and a runner, plus the infrastructure, to meet his QB12 ADP. Now, let’s wait to see how high the hype train takes him in fantasy drafts."

Now…what you may not have seen coming? The Bears added another weapon for Williams less than 90 minutes after drafting him, taking Rome Odunze with the ninth overall pick.

While this only adds to Williams' upside in fantasy land, things may not be as rosy for Odunze from a fantasy football standpoint (more on that soon…).

🚀 Xavier Worthy

Shocker, being drafted to catch passes from Patrick Mahomes dubs you a winner.

As Ian Hartitz noted on Fantasy Life's latest podcast recapping the first round, “The way this offense is designed is perfect for a wide receiver that could struggle with the physicality of corners, because he's not the biggest guy, but they know how to use his speed better than just about any other team with pre-snap motion to put him in a position to succeed.”

Going from a 17-yard aDOT in 2022 to a 10-yard aDOT in 2023, Worthy is a receiver who can operate in both the underneath areas of the field but also as a field-stretcher who ran a 4.21 40-yard-dash at the combine.

With the possibility that Rashee Rice misses upwards of a month-plus to start the season due to a looming suspension, the Bills seemed to hand the Chiefs (and fantasy managers) a massive draft-day W on a silver platter on Thursday night.

😭 Losers

🐻 Rome Odunze

From a real football standpoint, this would be dubbed a winner, as Chicago gets a player in Odunze as their WR3 when there’s been the argument that he'd be the runaway WR1 in any other rookie class.

From a fantasy football standpoint, this is challenging.

As Chris Allen noted in Fantasy Life's 2024 NFL Draft Tracker, "Odunze joins a squad already fitted with high-end target earners. DJ Moore (28.5%) and Keenan Allen (24.4%) both ranked in the Top 20 amongst all WRs in total target share. Both receivers play in areas of the field where Odunze excelled. There's no direct area of the field where Odunze could easily carve out a role.

We just saw a high-end prospect in Jaxon Smith-Njigba join a crowded offense with disappointing results. The Bears' offense may be better than the Seahawks in '23. But Odunze has a tough road to break out as a rookie".

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