2024 Rookie QB Best Ball Ranks Pre-Draft

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Though the NFL Draft is still two months away, luckily we already can start doing best ball drafts. The popular contest is Underdog’s The Big Board, which has a top prize of $200K. While ideally, we want as much information as possible when we make our picks in Best Ball, drafting now can potentially lead us to some players who are being undervalued.

More risk is involved, but if we are right with our projections, we can grab players who might see their ADP rise by 3-5 rounds this summer. Rookies are even more of a wild card, as some of the bigger names could carry the opposite issue as they might be overvalued at this point in the process.

This series will try to look at all the draftable rookies, and give a snapshot of where they are going, what type of player they could be, and if they are over or undervalued.  First up are the Quarterbacks:

Caleb Williams- Current ranking QB 16, ADP 112.2

Williams is the presumptive number-one selection in the NFL Draft, and barring something extraordinary he should be a Chicago Bear (with Justin Fields getting traded). This gives us a pretty safe idea of what situation Williams is walking into. With the Bears, we know he will have D.J. Moore and Cole Kmet, giving him at least two very good weapons to start. Chicago figures to also add other pieces around Williams as they ease him into the NFL.

Williams has playmaking ability in spades and can quickly become a top-tier QB in this league. His arm talent is fantastic, and accuracy, ball placement, and decision-making are all great. His athleticism is good, and going to be functional around the goal line.

The only real knock on him is he’s 6’1″ and not 6’4″ or 6’5″. He will be a clear day-one starter and should be a pretty decent fantasy producer. Going as QB 16 I like this value spot for him. Last year we saw Anthony Richardson go in the QB 10-12 range, so already you are seeing a discount from that, and Williams is far more advanced as a passer. Yes, he doesn’t match Richardson’s rushing upside, but he can rack up points just the same. There is a much higher confidence factor here as well, so that makes it feel even better to get this kind of discount right now.


Jaylen Daniels- Current ranking QB 18, ADP 119.5

Daniels didn’t come into this season high on many draft boards, but after an electric year at LSU where he won the Heisman, he really broke out and showed that he can be both a top-notch rusher and passer. He’s the dual-threat QB everyone is looking for where he can run and throw like Lamar Jackson. He’s likely to be the third QB off the board, though some are suggesting that he could go 2nd overall. More likely he’s the 3rd QB taken, and that could be as high as the 3rd pick. The question is whether the Patriots would make that selection, or someone would trade up for it.

Daniels is a talented player, and given his college experience he’s mature and ready to make the leap, but it is worth wondering if he’s more of a one-year wonder. In his four previous seasons, Daniels had just 49 TD passes in 1,111 passing attempts. This year he had 40 passing TDs in 323. That is just a massive jump in production. Sometimes we’ve seen that to be sticky heading into the next level (Joe Burrow) other times not so much (Zach Wilson, Kenny Pickett, etc.).

The other thing that is a concern with Daniels is he was able to make so many of his passing plays by scrambling around buying time and then throwing to the best pair of WRs in college football. You give talents like Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr. extra time and they will get open. Daniels won’t always have that luxury in the NFL of being able to buy time like that. Also, depending on his landing spot he might not have anything close to a number one weapon, much less two (i.e. Patriots).

While there is no doubt that Daniels will contribute significantly with his legs from a fantasy perspective, that doesn’t always make a QB fantasy-relevant. I’m worried that he might just be a spike-week guy as a rookie. So him going as QB 18 is tough with so many far better-established QBs going around him, many with probably just as many spike weeks in them, or at the very least consistently hitting 20 fantasy points. Without knowing the landing spot, this is a bit high for me, and I see him as an overvalue.


Drake Maye- Current ranking QB 22, ADP 144.7

Maye is very likely to be the 2nd QB selected in the draft, and we have a pretty good understanding that will make him a Washington Commander. So similar to Williams, we have a decent feel for what he’s going into next season. Maye is a big physical QB, with a strong arm and plenty of athletic ability. The natural comparisons will be there to Josh Allen, and they are fair. Justin Herbert also is similar in size and arm strength, though he doesn’t use his legs as much. So the talent is there. So if Maye can reach his upside and potential, we are talking about a top-tier QB in both real life and fantasy.

The downside of Maye is he only has 2 years as a starter, and he did see his production drop a bit this year. Some of that is understandable given his lack of weapons, and the strength of the UNC running game that kept his TDs lower. It’s just never good to see a slight dip in production. He’s only really been in this Air Raid attack at UNC, but that might not be a bad thing considering in Washington Kliff Kingsbury is the new OC.

What’s nice about being about to project him to Washington is we know for sure he will have one stud receiver in Terry McLaurin, and another quality one in Jahan Dotson. Washington also has multiple 2nd and 3rd round picks and a fair bit of cap room, so I’d expect them to add to their WR or TE room this offseason.

There will likely be some regular growing pains with a more raw QB like Maye, but his arm talent and rushing ability could still lead to enough good fantasy weeks, including some big 25+ point spike weeks. As a low-end QB 2 or a high-end QB3 he’s a strong option and value. I love that you can get him essentially 2 rounds after Daniels, and he probably has the same rough projection.


J.J. McCarthy- Current ranking QB 31, ADP 211.9

McCarthy comes in from a more pro-style system at Michigan, and has the tools and projection to get excited long term. If this was Dynasty fantasy or just looking at it from the regular NFL draft, it is easy to see the upside that McCarthy brings to the table. He has a good natural arm talent, that can make throws look easy. He’s improved his accuracy and decision-making from his first year as a starter to last year. He also has good athletic ability and will add some value as a runner.

On the downside though, McCarthy, unlike the other QBs on this list, rarely was asked to win games for Michigan. In many of the Wolverines’ biggest games, he was more of a game manager. He’d maybe need to make a couple of big conversions to help secure the win, but it wasn’t falling on his shoulders.

While he is tall, McCarthy is pretty slender and will probably need to add some weight/muscle to endure the NFL hits he will be taking. He has just 654 passing attempts in 29 games over the past two seasons and just three 300+ yard games in his career. The idea that he’s going to come in, and not only play right away but at a high level seems pretty suspect.

I will not be surprised if he ends up the 4th QB selected in the draft given his upside, but whoever takes him has to know that there will be some real growing pains there. He might not start right away, and when he does play I’d expect him to not be asked to do too much. I’d be shocked if he’s throwing the ball 35-40 times a game.

I think it’s tough to get excited about this pick right now, and feel he’s a bit overvalued. I don’t see many 20+ point fantasy games in his future for next season unless he gets an incredible landing spot and has a fantastic camp/preseason.


Michael Penix Jr.- Current ranking QB 32, ADP 230.2

Penix unfortunately has a long injury history which makes his draft projection murkier than we’d like. His injury history has also really limited him as a runner the past few years, he still probably has some rushing ability, but it’s unclear how much we can count on that in fantasy.

What Penix does bring to the table is a very strong and talented arm, with very good field awareness and leadership qualities. It’s easy to see him as a long-term starter in the NFL. If he’s in a high-volume passing offense, with some good weapons he can be a big fantasy asset.

Generally, that is the tougher path for rookie QBs to produce fantasy-wise, but we just saw C.J. Stroud have a big season this past year mainly through the air. Stroud didn’t even go into a situation that was considered good or great in terms of the surrounding weapons and talent. The biggest question is where does Penix land, if his medical’s clear enough teams I’d expect him to go in the top 20.

If Penix finds a landing spot where he’s the starting QB, I absolutely will want some shares of him in fantasy. So taking a few shots here when I can grab him as QB 32, is a value to me.


Bo Nix- Current ranking QB 33, ADP 234.2

Nix is far from guaranteed a starting role and could end up a 2nd round selection depending on how free agency and trades shake out. Despite some uncertainty in his draft stock, if he does get an opportunity he could be a solid fantasy asset.

Yes, his arm strength is just average, but it’s functional. Nix also offers good mobility and size and could pick up a lot of fantasy points for a team on the ground, especially in the Red Zone. He’s a mature QB, who shows pretty good decision-making, and sack avoidance, which could help keep him on the field if he goes to a team where he is given a chance to compete.

Given the general uncertainty of so many late QBs, taking a shot at Nix here in the final rounds isn’t that bad of an option. If he does play, he can easily outperform his ADP with his rushing upside. For me, he can be a slight undervalue option, when I’m looking for a 3rd QB late, after selecting two secure options.


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