Rookies to Know: Rome Odunze

With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, Adam Nardelli helps fantasy football managers catch up on the rookie class. Next in the series is Rome Odunze, the well-rounded Washington 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.


Rome Odunze


Wide Receiver Rome Odunze, out of the University of Washington, highlights part two of our series.  Similar to Malik Nabers, Odunze is a projected top-ten pick in almost any mock draft you’ll read.  The Las Vegas native played all four of his college seasons with Washington, something you rarely see these days with the proliferation of the transfer portal and NIL.  Odunze couldn’t have had a better senior year after he led the country with 1,640 receiving yards and was a first-team AP All-American.

The 21-year-old is an Odell Beckham Jr. one-handed-type catch waiting to happen.  Odunze’s 21 contested receptions in 2023 were first in the nation (four more than anyone else), while his contested catch rate of 75% came in third.  His superior body control and top-notch ball skills allow him to be at his best when fighting for a catch in mid-air.   After running a 4.45-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, it’s clear that at 6’3 and 212 pounds, Odunze is the ideal blend of size and speed to be an elite outside #1 receiver at the next level.

NFL Media Draft analyst Lance Zierlein noted that “elite ball skills are often the secret sauce for top NFL receivers,” which is exactly what makes Odunze such an intriguing prospect.  Sure he may not have world-class speed, but with Odunze’s ball skills and incredible ability to come down with difficult catches, he won’t need much separation from defensive backs to put up big numbers.

A knock on him, if you want to call it that, is him settling too often for challenging catches instead of trying to break away with his 4.45 speed.   That may help explain why his explosiveness after the catch is an area where he could improve.

If you like to dabble in legal sports betting and get some extra Starbucks money (let’s be honest, that’s mostly what sports betting will get you), FanDuel Sportsbook has the Giants with the sixth overall pick as the shortest odds for where Odunze will land.  At +450 odds (bet $10 to win $55 total), he’s currently tied with Quarterback JJ McCarthy and Offensive Tackle Joe Alt as the second-most likely pick at number 6.  Odunze ending up with the Giants is not quite as attractive as some other options, such as if the Chargers with the 5th pick selected him or if he fell to 8th to catch passes from Kirk Cousins in Atlanta, but the one positive is Odunze would likely come into New York and be Daniel Jones‘ top target.  Darren Waller is still thinking about retirement, and Wan’Dale Robinson and Darius Slayton aren’t true #1 receivers.  If Odunze ends up in East Rutherford, New Jersey, finding targets should be no issue.  I also imagine he’ll benefit from a major pizza upgrade transitioning from the state of Washington to the tri-state area.

Similar to Malik Nabers, the fantasy football community is giving no discounts on this top-tier prospect.  According to’s 2024 best ball average draft position (ADP) data, Odunze is on average the 35th wide receiver off the board with the 64th overall selection, a sixth-round pick in a 12-team league.   Of course, this will vary over the next few months heading into July and August when most of us are doing our drafts, but with the trend of rookies making an immediate impact in fantasy football, Odunze may very well be a trendy pick come the summer.

Here’s a link to a Rome Odunze scouting breakdown.  It’s a little long but highlights his ability to make tough contested catches.



Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photography by Jordon Kelly/ Icon Sportswire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.