Rookies to Know: Malik Nabers

With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, Adam Nardelli helps fantasy football managers catch up on the rookie class. Kicking off the series is Malik Nabers, the explosive LSU WR.

The 2023 season was a great example of how rookies can have a significant impact in fantasy football.  If you just look at the teams that made it to the conference championships this past season, the likes of Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta, Zay Flowers, and Rashee Rice all played roles in helping their teams make deep playoff runs.  They also could have been key contributors to fantasy football managers who came away with championships of their own.  To prepare you for the 2024 NFL Draft and which players may help you find success in fantasy football, I’m starting a series on which rookies you should know well ahead of your fantasy football drafts.  Maybe you don’t follow college football as closely as you do the NFL, or the draft just isn’t your thing.

Don’t worry.  This series will help you get to know the skill position players that will likely be taken high in the upcoming NFL Draft, and as a result, will have some buzz heading into fantasy draft season.  I’ll also discuss their most likely landing spot in the draft based on betting lines and expert mock drafts, and how that will possibly help or hurt their fantasy prospects.


WR Malik Nabers


LSU WR Malik Nabers kicks our series off. A projected top-ten pick in the 2024 draft, the Youngsville, Louisiana native’s biggest strength is his explosiveness and yards after the catch ability.  A quarterback’s best friend is a receiver who catches a five-yard pass and takes it 60 yards to the house, and that’s exactly what you’re getting with Nabers.

Suddenness is a nice adjective when thinking of Nabers’ top traits.  According to PFF, Nabers ranks in the 99th percentile in missed tackles forced per reception among all WR prospects since 2019.  His ability to adjust his direction while continuing to gain speed helps explain why he’s so proficient at breaking away from tacklers.  More missed tackles mean more yards and more fantasy points for you.

But don’t think he’s just dangerous in the short area of the field.  Nabers’ nine touchdown catches of 20+ yards in 2023 was second in the nation.  He’s a true threat all over the field.

Yes, it’s very early, but according to’s 2024 best ball average draft position (ADP) data, Nabers’ ADP is 50, coming in as WR29.  That puts him as an early fifth-round pick in a 12-team league, meaning the investment in Nabers will likely be rather significant to roster him.  The fantasy football community is clearly recognizing the value that rookies can provide in regular re-draft leagues, which is evident by Nabers’ high ADP.

FanDuel currently has Nabers as the betting favorite to go number five overall to the Chargers at +200 (bet $10 to win $30 total).  This could be a factor in why Nabers’ ADP is already in the top 50 in best ball drafts, considering there’s a decent possibility he’ll be catching passes from Justin Herbert.  While Jim Harbaugh does tend to emphasize the run game, the departures of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams leave a gaping hole at receiver.  The Chargers did select a receiver in last year’s first round in Quentin Johnston, but he had an underwhelming rookie season, meaning Nabers could have the opportunity to be Justin Herbert’s top target from the start.  That alone is a reason to start to get to know Malik Nabers well before your 2024 fantasy drafts.


Check out this short YouTube reel where you can see Nabers’ play-making ability first-hand:



Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photography by John Korduner/ Icon Sportswire

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