2024 Dynasty Rookie Draft Pick 1 Strategy: How to Draft and Who to Target at the 1.01

How to draft from the 1.01 in dynasty fantasy rookie drafts.
Caleb Williams or Marvin Harrison Jr at the 1.01?

Picking from the 1.01, just like the last few years, doesn’t drum up much debate. But this off-season, having the 2.01 seems to give you a better shot at landing a quality asset than the last couple of years.

And as shown in RSJ Rookie Mock Draft Roundtable, who you take at the 2.01 (and 3.01, really) can create some various takes and interesting debate as plenty of rookies have a shot at fantasy production right out of the gate and/or in the near future. Rebuilding squads have a chance to progress a few steps this year.

Read more: “How to draft” from the… 1 | 2 | 3 | 45 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 910 | 11 | 12 spot

PICK 1.01: CALEB WILLIAMS, QB, CHICAGO BEARS

It’s tempting to take Marvin Harrison Jr. here for me, not just because of his elite talent, but because we know how much Kyler Murray loves to pepper his WR1 and now has likely the best receiver he’s played with at his side. If Chicago’s wide receiver room looked like it did two years ago, maybe I would take MHJ.

But, the WR room went from 0 to 100 in a hurry with the additions of Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze to go along with DJ Moore. Father Time catches up with everybody, but I’ll believe it when I see it with Keenan Allen. When your other two options are Moore and Odunze, Keenan as the third receiver on the depth chart just feels criminal. Caleb couldn’t be set up for success much better and it makes him too hard to pass up.

PICK 2.01: RICKY PEARSALL, WR, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch might get criticized for taking Pearsall too high, but Kyle Shanahan’s relationship with draft capital is non-existent. At this point, there’s a treasure trove of evidence that Shanahan doesn’t care what round you were drafted or even if he drafted you (see Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman).

Talent will win out. 

With Pearsall’s unique game, the 49ers picking him immediately made me think, “This is a Brock Purdy pick.” Purdy has been able to man the QB controls for a Shanahan offense that, maybe more than any other team, is based on timing, and it makes sense to me that Shanahan would want to get a player of Pearsall’s mold who could fit that scheme.

It was already front-page NFL news that Brandon Aiyuk might get shipped to another team this off-season, and now it is even more so, with Deebo Samuel’s name more involved, too. 

The upside with Pearsall doesn’t just come with the idea of him becoming one of the 49ers’ top-2 receivers if Aiyuk or Deebo get traded. As The Ringer’s Ben Solak points out, Kyle Shanahan isn’t even running the Kyle Shanahan offense that many analysts and commentators referenced the past several years. Pearsall also has the advantage of playing for a coach who’s keen on adjusting his scheme when need be, and therefore, he is in a great position to maximize his talent on the field.

Of course, as much as the fantasy community has always drooled over the talent of a guy like Brandon Aiyuk, it’s been tough for Aiyuk to break into fantasy WR1 territory due to the tendency of Kyle Shanahan to play conservatively. However, a shot at several years of WR2 production isn’t always as realistic at the rookie 2.01 as in 2024, so I’ll gladly take it.

CJ Stroud was really disappointed that the Texans couldn’t get Pearsall. So does it help Pearsall’s stock, considering Stroud personally advocated for Tank Dell, considering Dell’s (pre-injury) success? Meh. Certainly doesn’t hurt, though.

PICK 3.01: JA’LYNN POLK, WR, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Polk understandably played second fiddle to Rome Odunze in the Washington Huskies’ receiver room last season, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a fine fantasy asset, possibly long-term. Sometimes a team’s alpha-WR can make it easy to miss how talented the other guy in the room is.

As Reception Perception’s Matt Harmon points out, for example, Rome Odunze had the highest success rate versus zone coverage of all the 2024 rookie receivers he charted. Who had the second-highest? Ja’Lynn Polk.

As the first receiver drafted by the Patriots in the post-Belichick era, he will get his shot to make a name for himself. And while he might not be elite, he projects to be good enough at all three levels of the field to provide utility to his team, the kind of utility that will earn him snaps. The kind of versatility that can help weather the presence of other receivers the Patriots could bring in down the road.

PICK 4.01: CADE STOVER, TE, HOUSTON TEXANS

If it were not for Dalton Schultz, who is already in Houston, I could see Stover ahead of Ben Sinnott and Ja’Tavion Sanders in rookie drafts.

Being teammates with CJ Stroud at Ohio State doesn’t necessarily mean anything once you get to the pros. Still, it’s a nice feather in the cap for a player whose talent is there to be able to stick, leap over Brevin Jordan on the depth chart, and have a shot to take a few years to develop into a fantasy asset, which not that long ago was more common for the tight end position.

Having not played the position full-time until 2022, he will need time to adjust. And once he does, he may not be a world-beater, more of a security blanket, drawing comparisons to Jake Ferguson by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein and Dawson Knox by Bleacher Report’s Derrik Klassen. But at the 4.01, I don’t mind if that’s the fantasy production I ultimately have to live with.

SUMMARY: POST-DRAFT THOUGHTS AND RECAP OF PICK 1.01 STRATEGY

No Bears quarterback has passed for over 4,000 yards in a season, which is absurd. They’re the only team who hasn’t had one, but that has to change, right? Right?

If Caleb Williams can’t do it, I’m worried it’ll never happen. Chicago’s front office is clearly prioritizing enabling him to do it with this receiver room he’ll start his career with, but I select Caleb fully aware of how I could regret such a slam dunk pick like MHJ.

Otherwise, the only pick I’m fully aware of that I could absolutely regret is going Polk over Jermaine Burton at the 3.01. If Burton’s off-field issues, which undoubtedly cause all 32 NFL franchises to pass over him for a round-plus, don’t hinder his game in the pros, then he has a shot not only to become Tyler Boyd-plus, but a fantasy game-changer if Tee Higgins plays elsewhere at some point.

Of course, these picks were made without personal dynasty roster considerations. There’s plenty worse you could do than going MHJ at 1.01 if the last thing you need is a quarterback, or say Trey Benson at 2.01 (who went two picks later) if you’re looking for running back help and already solid at receiver, or Burton over Polk at 3.01 if you can purely ceiling-chase at that pick. Just don’t forget that chasing team needs can make you miss overpaying for talent very quickly.

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