Fantasy Football: How 2024 NFL Draft's wide receiver class stacks up using key stable metrics | NFL Draft | PFF

NFL Draft News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: How 2024 NFL Draft's wide receiver class stacks up using key stable metrics

2T46H0C October 28, 2023: Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) during the NCAA Football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI. Darren Lee/CSM (Credit Image: © Darren Lee/Cal Sport Media) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

• Marvin Harrison Jr. and other top prospects earn high marks: Harrison tops multiple stable metrics, as does LSU’s Malik Nabers.

• Some high-end YAC receivers score well: Adding context to the likes of Western Kentucky’s Malachi Corley and others who earn strong marks in these metrics.

Dig into the numbers for yourself: PFF's Premium Stats is the most in-depth collection of NFL and NCAA player performance data. Subscribe today to get full access!

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes


With the NFL offseason officially underway, so is NFL draft season, and there are plenty of fantasy football general managers who are building their rookie draft boards for dynasty purposes. 

Utilizing all information available is going to be key in building those draft boards, and looking at how each position stacks up against one another from an analytics standpoint is just one of the many tools to consider during the evaluation process. This series focuses purely on the key stable metrics that translate more often than not from college to the NFL and is a way for dynasty managers, and fantasy managers in general, to get familiar with this year’s rookie class.

A few notes about how this series will work:

  • Rankings are based entirely on how these players performed in PFF’s stable metrics over the past two seasons.
  • Athletic ability and size are not taken into account for this process. Again, this is just one of many evaluation tools to consider.
  • This list includes all 41 wide receivers from the PFF big board but does not provide any weight to projected draft capital, competition level or their overall ranking, though that context will often be provided.


TOP-10 2024 WR PROSPECTS IN RECEIVING GRADE SINCE 2022

Wide receiver Receiving grade Routes run
Hayden Hatten, Idaho 93.9 862
Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State 92.3 788
Malik Nabers, LSU 91.8 892
Malik Washington, Virginia 90.6 864
Rome Odunze, Washington 89.9 1,083
Joshua Cephus, UTSA 88.6 1,018
Troy Franklin, Oregon 87.1 841
Tahj Washington, USC 86.5 739
Luke McCaffrey, Rice 85.3 840
Jamari Thrash, Lousiville 85.0 793

An interesting first name to appear atop the overall receiving grade category, Idaho’s Hayden Hatten posted back-to-back seasons with receiving grades in the 90s to go along with almost 2,500 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns. Hatten also has just one drop since 2022 on 240 targets. 

All three top-ranked wide receivers on the PFF big board finish among the top five in combined receiving grade over the past two seasons. Marvin Harrison Jr. leads the way as PFF’s top-ranked wide receiver, followed by Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze. 

Oregon’s Troy Franklin is the fifth-ranked receiver on the PFF big board and also comes in with a top-10 two-year receiving grade. Franklin improved his receiving grade in each year with Oregon, as he continued to get more work, emerging as the team’s most-targeted player in 2023 while bringing in 81 receptions, 1,383 yards and 14 touchdowns.


TOP-10 2024 WR PROSPECTS IN RECEIVING GRADE VERSUS SINGLE COVERAGE SINCE 2022

Wide receiver Receiving grade vs single Routes run vs single
Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State 95.0 316
Malik Nabers, LSU 94.7 264
Rome Odunze, Washington 93.8 356
Javon Baker, UCF 93.3 231
Troy Franklin, Oregon 92.1 211
De’Corian Clark, UTSA 91.9 91
Jamari Thrash, Lousiville 91.5 254
Xavier Legette, South Carolina 90.1 131
Johnny Wilson, Florida State 89.9 190
Ricky Pearsall, Florida 89.6 157

Marvin Harrison Jr. has faced a ton of single coverage over the past two seasons and has dominated his way to a class-leading receiving grade under those circumstances — 58% of Harrison’s receiving yardage over the past two seasons has come against single coverage, along with 23 of his 28 receiving touchdowns.

Washington’s Rome Odunze ran the most routes against single coverage over the past two seasons, and as a result, led the class in receiving yards (1,529) and had the second-most receiving touchdowns (18) against single coverage since 2022.


TOP-10 2024 WR PROSPECTS IN RECEIVING GRADE VERSUS ZONE COVERAGE SINCE 2022

Wide receiver Receiving grade vs zone Routes run vs zone
Malik Nabers, LSU 89.6 392
Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky 88.9 520
Malik Washington, Virginia 88.8 451
Ainias Smith, Texas A&M 87.0 211
Isaiah Williams, Illinois 86.7 418
Joshua Cephus, UTSA 86.5 515
Luke McCaffrey, Rice 85.8 428
Jacob Cowing, Arizona 83.4 498
Ladd McConkey, Georgia 81.7 275
Jermaine Burton, Alabama 81.5 284

LSU’s Malik Nabers earned the second-best receiving grade against single coverage and the best overall receiving grade versus zone coverage among this wide receiver class since 2022. Nabers posted the second most receiving yards (1,393) and the highest yards per route run (3.64) against zone coverage in this year’s class. 

WKU’s Malachi Corley makes a number of appearances across these top-10s in stable metrics for this class but isn’t a highly-ranked receiver on the PFF big board. Corley currently comes in as the 20th-ranked receiver for PFF but performed well against Conference-USA opponents over the past two seasons, which included over 2,000 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns since 2022.


TOP 10 2024 WR PROSPECTS IN PERCENTAGE OF OPEN TARGETS SINCE 2022

Wide receiver Open target rate Total targets
Dominic Lovett, Georgia 69.2% 146
Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky 65.5% 252
Isaiah Williams, Illinois 65.4% 231
Joshua Cephus, UTSA 65.2% 233
Tahj Washington, USC 63.9% 144
Jordan Whittington, Texas 62.2% 127
Lideatrick Griffin, Mississippi State 62.2% 127
Ladd McConkey, Georgia 62.2% 119
Jalen McMillan, Washington 61.3% 181
Xavier Worthy, Texas 60.1% 232

Georgia’s Dominic Lovett owns the highest separation percentage among this year’s class since 2022 while ranking as WR36 on the PFF big board. Lovett did this with one of the lowest average depth of targets over the past two seasons (9.1 yards), which included the second-lowest ADoT (average depth of target) in this year’s class in 2023 alone (6.2), just ahead of Malachi Corley (5.5) who owns the second-highest separation rate here. 

Lower average depth of target is a common theme among almost all of the top-10 wide receivers listed here until we get to Texas’ Xavier Worthy, who is the only top-10 player in separation rate that owns an average depth of target that ranks among the top-12 in this class. To contextualize these ranks a bit more, there is a higher correlation between low ADoT and high open target rate in this year’s class.


TOP 10 2024 WR PROSPECTS IN PERCENTAGE OF OPEN TARGETS VERSUS SINGLE COVERAGE SINCE 2022

Wide receiver Open target rate vs single Total targets vs single
Bru McCoy, Tennessee 50.0% 44
Tahj Washington, USC 45.2% 42
Roman Wilson, Michigan 40.5% 42
Joshua Cephus, UTSA 39.7% 73
Jordan Whittington, Texas 39.5% 38
Jalen McMillan, Washington 37.7% 61
Anthony Gould, Oregon State 37.0% 46
Ricky Pearsall, Florida 36.0% 50
Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky 35.0% 60
Troy Franklin, Oregon 34.9% 86

Open target rates versus single coverage allow more players with higher average depth of targets to get into the top 10 in rankings here. Michigan’s Roman Wilson, Oregon State’s Anthony Gould and Florida’s Ricky Pearsall all ranked among the top 10 in this year’s class in ADoT versus single coverage, as well as open target rate, highlighting their ability to get open downfield in one-on-one situations.


TOP 10 2024 WR PROSPECTS IN YARDS PER ROUTE RUN SINCE 2022

Wide receiver YPRR Routes run
Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State 3.30 788
Malik Nabers, LSU 3.06 892
Hayden Hatten, Idaho 2.98 862
Johnny Wilson, Florida State 2.90 566
Troy Franklin, Oregon 2.85 841
Rome Odunze, Washington 2.74 1,083
Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky 2.72 880
Tahj Washington, USC 2.71 739
Jamari Thrash, Lousiville 2.65 793
Xavier Legette, South Carolina 2.60 570

Marvin Harrison returns to a top-10 category here, leading all 2024 wide receiver prospects in yards per route run over the past two seasons. Harrison’s 3.30 YPRR comes off the back of 2,474 receiving yards (third in this class) and 17.2 yards per reception (fourth in the class). A promising sign that the top-ranked wide receiver on the PFF big board is also one of the most productive wide receivers over the past two years.

LSU’s Malik Nabers isn’t far behind in yards per route run, putting up the second-most receiving yards over the past two seasons (2,585) with over 1,000 yards after the catch which is the most among those inside the top five in total yards per route run since 2022.


TOP 10 2024 WR PROSPECTS IN AVERAGE DEPTH OF TARGET SINCE 2022

Wide receiver ADoT Total targets
Jermaine Burton, Alabama 18.3 115
Devontez Walker, North Carolina 16.8 161
David White Jr., Western Carolina 16.1 90
Adonai Mitchell, Texas 15.9 103
Javon Baker, UCF 15.1 185
Johnny Wilson, Florida State 14.8 146
Rome Odunze, Washington 14.7 250
Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington 14.5 176
Anthony Gould, Oregon State 14.5 113
Brenden Rice, USC 14.3 132

Alabama’s Jermaine Burton ranks as PFF’s 10th wide receiver on the big board, owning the highest average depth of target, by far, over the past two seasons. Burton saw 115 targets total thrown his way since 2022, coming up with 79 receptions (30th in this class) and 1,475 receiving yards (22nd in this class).

Washington’s Rome Odunze is the only player in the top 10 with over 200 targets since 2022 and top-10 in average depth of target (14.7). This combination contributed to him leading this year’s wide receiver class in receiving yards (2,784) over the past two seasons.


TOP 10 2024 WR PROSPECTS IN YARDS AFTER THE CATCH PER RECEPTION SINCE 2022

Wide receiver YAC/reception Total receptions
Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky 9.2 180
Lideatrick Griffin, Mississippi State 8.3 90
Tahj Washington, USC 8.2 109
Isaiah Williams, Illinois 7.5 164
Ainias Smith, Texas A&M 7.4 68
Dominic Lovett, Georgia 7.0 109
Jamari Thrash, Lousiville 6.8 124
Xavier Worthy, Texas 6.7 134
Jacob Cowing, Arizona 6.6 174
Joshua Cephus, UTSA 6.5 175

Western Kentucky’s Malachi Corley pops up at the top of another top-10 stable metric, this time in yards after the catch per reception. As the lowest ADoT player in the class over the past two years (5.8) while also posting the sixth-most total receiving yards (2,267), this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Corley led this year’s class by a large margin with 1,658 receiving yards after the catch, accounting for 73% of his total receiving yardage since 2022.

Much like with overall separation rate, a lot of these names boast a below-average depth of targets. The exceptions are Xavier Worthy (13.9) and Jamari Thrash (13.0), who rank among the top 15 in this class in ADoT. Worthy was also highlighted in the open target rate top-10 with a similar context.


COMBINED CONSENSUS RANKING OF ALL STABLE METRICS SINCE 2022

Rank Wide receiver PFF Big Board Rank
1 Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky 20
2 Tahj Washington, USC 24
3 Troy Franklin, Oregon 5
4 Malik Nabers, LSU 2
5 Jamari Thrash, Lousiville 18
6 Rome Odunze, Washington 3
7 Roman Wilson, Michigan 15
8 Joshua Cephus, UTSA 29
9 Malik Washington, Virginia 25
10 Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State 1
11 Dominic Lovett, Georgia 36
12 Ricky Pearsall, Florida 13
13 Xavier Legette, South Carolina 11
14 Jermaine Burton, Alabama 10
15 Jacob Cowing, Arizona 21
16 Ladd McConkey, Georgia 6
17 Isaiah Williams, Illinois 28
18 Johnny Wilson, Florida State 19
19 Jalen McMillan, Washington 17
20 Anthony Gould, Oregon State 32
21 Javon Baker, UCF 23
22 Xavier Worthy, Texas 14
23 Brenden Rice, USC 16
24 Ainias Smith, Texas A&M 22
25 De’Corian Clark, UTSA 31
26 Devontez Walker, North Carolina 9
27 Jordan Whittington, Texas 38
28 Brian Thomas Jr., LSU 4
29 Bryson Nesbit, North Carolina 40
30 Luke McCaffrey, Rice 30
31 Lideatrick Griffin, Mississippi State 39
32 Zakhari Franklin, OIe Miss 37
33 Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington 12
34 Adonai Mitchell, Texas 8
35 Hayden Hatten, Idaho 41
36 Moose Muhammad III, Texas A&M 33
37 Bru McCoy, Tennessee 34
38 Keon Coleman, Florida State 7
39 Cornelius Johnson, Michigan 27
40 Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, Georgia 26
41 David White Jr., Western Carolina 35
Context

Western Kentucky’s Malachi Corley was incredibly productive over the past two seasons. A lot of his key stable metrics come as a result of a low average depth of target and high yards after the catch ability. Corley is ranked lower on the PFF big board (20th) with a large majority of his route tree made up of wide receiver screens and throws behind the line of scrimmage.

USC’s Tahj Washington wasn’t highlighted much throughout the top-10 portion of the article but similarly to Corley, his work after the catch helped him earn some impressive marks across the board. Washington was also a relatively low ADoT player these past two seasons (10.8) but found ways to be productive with the ball in his hands, earning the third-best yards after catch per reception (8.2) which led to 1,847 receiving yards (13th in this class) since 2022.

Oregon’s Troy Franklin and LSU’s Malik Nabers both rank as top-five wide receivers on the PFF big board and repeat in that range through the consensus stable metric ranking. Franklin finished outside of the top 20 in just one stable metric (open target rate) while Nabers finished among the top five in four of eight stable metric categories since 2022.

Washington’s Rome Odunze finished just outside the top five via the consensus stable metric rankings, while coming in as PFF’s third-ranked wide receiver on the big board. Odunze had his lowest showing in yards after the catch per receptions (31st) but posted top-10 marks in half of all stable metric categories.

Marvin Harrison Jr. didn’t place as highly as expected across all stable metric categories combined, but his dominance still shined through in key areas to finish within the top 10. Harrison posted three top-three finishes across the eight stable metric categories. Again, this is just one of many evaluation tools for NFL prospects and context is going to be important. In Harrison’s case specifically, there are a number of things like his technique, size, speed, hands, and athletic ability which aren’t fully accounted for in these metrics.

Brian Thomas Jr. is a top-five ranked wide receiver on the PFF big board, but didn’t show up at all in the top-10 stable metric categories and as a result fell quite a bit in these consensus ranks. Thomas hadn’t cracked 50 targets in a season until 2023 where he finished with 87 targets, 68 receptions, 1,177 yards and 17 touchdowns. Thomas only posted a 75.1 receiving grade, which was a big reason for his lower showing in these stable metric ranks, but this is very much a young developing player who has one of the better size and speed combos in this class, which speaks to his high ranking on the PFF big board.

Safety worth way more than 2 points. Help protect your family with fast, free will.
Sponsor

NFL Draft Featured Tools

Subscriptions

Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
OR
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit