The Ultimate Fantasy Football Breakouts Lineup for 2024

Oct 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London (5) runs after a catch against the Houston Texans in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London (5) runs after a catch against the Houston Texans in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Stroud. Breece Hall. Puka Nacua.

“Who are three fantasy players who broke out last season, Alex?” Correct!

Finding a player (or players) who breaks out and produces elite-level numbers is obviously huge in a manager’s quest to win a fantasy football championship. There is no shortage of players who are in the position and have the talent to become the next fantasy stars.

To help you in your quest to find the best draft bargains for this season, here’s a fantasy starting lineup that’s composed only of my favorite breakout candidates (no rookies).  

Who knows, this squad alone could be a major contender in your upcoming leagues!

Quarterback: Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

Richardson is going to be on every fantasy analyst’s breakout list among field generals. He was well on his way to busting out last season, averaging more than 22 points in his first three games as a rookie. Unfortunately, he missed the remainder of the season with an injured shoulder. The dual-threat Richardson is set to be fine for training camp, at least that’s what’s been reported, so his breakout season should be on the horizon.

Running Back: De'Vone Achane, Miami Dolphins

Some would argue that Achane broke out last season, but I don’t think he hit his full-season fantasy ceiling. After all, he finished just 24th in points among running backs. His points-per-game average was 17.3 in his 11 games, so the talented Achane seems destined to make a much bigger impact in Year 2. He’ll be picked in one of the first three rounds of most fantasy re-drafts.

Running Back: James Cook, Buffalo Bills

Cook was pretty good last season, finishing as the RB12 in PPR leagues. However, his 13.7 fantasy point-per-game average was barely in the top 20 among running backs. I think he can do better in 2024. Why? Well, when OC Joe Brady took over the Bills offense last season, Cook averaged 19.6 touches and 16.4 PPR points. Those totals, over a full year, would be a real breakout.

Wide Receiver: Garrett Wilson, New York Jets

Wilson was listed among my breakout candidates last season, but the injury that cost Aaron Rodgers most of the year sunk that idea like the Titanic. On a positive note, Wilson still averaged around 13 points per game with some less-than-stellar quarterbacks under center. With Rodgers back this season, however, Wilson will once again be in position to finally meet his statistical expectations. He’ll be a first-round pick in many leagues.

Chris Olave
Dec 3, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph (31) tackles New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave (12) during the first half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receiver: Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints

Olave is coming off his second 1,000-yard season, but I still don’t think he’s hit his true statistical ceiling. That could happen in Year 3, however, as he’ll no longer have to contend with Michael Thomas (when healthy) for targets in the passing game. Olave also has the advantage of playing against a pretty advantageous slate of defenses, which could further vault him to increased fantasy stardom in 2024. I like him as a third-round pick.

Flex: Drake London, Atlanta Falcons

Excuse my non-stop Seinfeld references when it comes to London, but we “love the Drake” in fantasy this season. Bad quarterbacks and a lack of elite target totals have limited London in his first two seasons, but that won’t be the case in 2024. The Falcons signed veteran gunslinger Kirk Cousins, who elevates the value of all of Atlanta’s pass catchers. London could be a top-12 wideout, and he’ll be a top-40 overall pick in most drafts.

Tight End: Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills

Kincaid showed flashes of potential as a rookie, but he was inconsistent and hard to trust when Dawson Knox was active. This season, however, Kincaid is a lock to see consistent targets with both Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis no longer on the roster. In fact, I can easily see him push for top-five value among tight ends as one of the top options in the Buffalo offense. It doesn’t hurt that he’ll be catching passes from Josh Allen, either.

Kicker: Jake Moody, San Francisco 49ers

Moody wasn’t great as a rookie, finishing as the K18 in standard scoring leagues. That was due to the fact the Niners scored a ton of touchdowns, leaving him with just 25 field-goal tries. If we believe in regression to the mean, I see Moody getting more field goal attempts and in turn, scoring more points in Year 2. He could be a top-10 fantasy kicker.


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Michael Fabiano

MICHAEL FABIANO

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Formerly of CBS Sports, NFL Network and SirusXM, Michael was the first fantasy analyst to appear on one of the four major TV networks. His work can now be found on SI, Westwood One Radio and the Bleav Podcast Network.