Why Xavier Worthy Needs to Be On Your Fantasy Football Roster

Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy (1) warms up ahead of the Big 12 Conference Championship game at
Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy (1) warms up ahead of the Big 12 Conference Championship game at / Sara Diggins/American-Statesman / USA

While Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers are duking it out for the honor of being the top rookie wide receiver in fantasy football, they may well both end up being overdrafted and not actually worth having on your roster at all.

After all, drafting your team for the 2024-25 fantasy season means you're focused on who can give you the best production in their first season, not who is going to be the best NFL player overall.

And the Kansas City Chiefs' Xavier Worthy is in a perfect position to put up massive numbers as a rookie—the kind of massive numbers that can carry you to a fantasy football championship.

The Player

I don't blame you if the only thing you associate with Worthy right now is his record-setting 40-yard dash. It's certainly the most jaw-dropping thing he's done on the national stage, and it was many football fans' introduction to him. But he's so much more than a fast 40.

Worthy broke out at an incredibly young age, first arriving on the scene with 981 yards and 12 touchdowns on 62 receptions back in 2021. His breakout game was just his fourth of the season, when he went off for five receptions, 100 yards and three touchdowns. He was only 18 years old and already torching NCAA defenses.

He never really blossomed into a truly elite field-stretcher at Texas, but part of that can be attributed to quarterback play.

Pro Football Focus still graded him out with an 88.7 receiving grade on deep passes even though he only hauled in six of the 23 deep balls thrown his way. He absolutely did his job, but his quarterback just couldn't convert.

Worthy was also electric on screen passes, averaging 9.8 yards after catch per reception when targeted behind the line of scrimmage (per Pro Football Focus).

He's a little under-sized at 172 pounds, but gaining 10 pounds or so through the offseason is not an unrealistic goal, and in a properly schemed offense his slight frame and lack of physical strength can certainly be worked around. He also could not ask for a better offense to play to his strengths.

The Situation

Let's start with the downside of Worthy's situation. The Chiefs, after letting their receiving corps get very thin for the last couple seasons, suddenly have a ton of mouths to feed this year.

Rashee Rice saw 102 targets in his breakout rookie season, and if he's suspended at all it will likely only be for a couple of games. Behind Rice, K.C. also went out and signed Marquise Brown. Travis Kelce will, of course, still command his usual hefty workload.

But outside of Kelce there's still not a true alpha WR1 in this offense. Rice is great, but he's not likely about to explode into being a 160-target type guy. Even Kelce is starting to slow down, and his 121 targets last season were his fewest since back in 2016.

This is looking like it will be an incredibly pass-heavy offense, and Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid are absolutely capable of supporting two fantasy-relevant wide receivers alongside Kelce.

Worthy's versatility in working both deep down the field and off of screen passes (which Andy Reid loves more than maybe any coach) will ensure that he gets his share of work just about every week. No matter which of those defenses try to take away from him, he'll be able to excel in the other area. And with Kelce and Rice commanding plenty of attention, defensive coordinators may well decide that they'll live with paying less attention to Worthy.

The Draft Value

We can expect Worthy to start being drafted much higher now that he's landed in Kansas City, but the Chiefs were already one of the favorites to land him when his average draft position (ADP) settled in at WR55 (per FantasyPros).

Even with a nice jump, I suspect we'll see him settle somewhere in the WR35-WR40 range (where Marquise Brown was going before the draft). This makes him a massive value.

Once you get that late in a draft, the downside of your pick flopping isn't all that harmful. Having your seventh-round pick disappoint is not uncommon, and it's not as if guys like DeAndre Hopkins (WR40) or Hollywood Brown (WR37) are sure-things.

But this is an area of the draft where hitting a home run can be the difference between having an average fantasy squad and being a legitimate contender. If Worthy clicks in the Chiefs' offense quickly, then he's got the upside to be the kind of player who can single handedly win you a week.

That is exactly the kind of gamble that's worth taking, and I'm going to do everything I can to leave all of my fantasy football drafts with Worthy on my roster this year.

Jason Schandl