2024 NFL Draft: The best fantasy football landing spots for Brock Bowers

Brock Bowers #19

Will Brock Bowers deliver shades of Sam LaPorta for fantasy in Year 1? (Photo by Perry McIntyre/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

If you remember even one thing about Sam LaPorta’s 2023 season, please let it be the fact that I totally called it.

If you remember anything else, let’s hope it’s the historic rarity of his first-year performance.

Last season, LaPorta became just the second rookie tight end all-time to finish with at least 80 receptions and 800 yards, joining only Keith Jackson (1988). He ranked top-five at his position in catches (86), targets (120) and receiving yards (889) while leading all tight ends in touchdowns (10). That sort of thing simply doesn’t happen at this spot.

Here’s a look at every first-year tight end in NFL history who’s topped 175 fantasy points in full-PPR scoring:

  • Sam LaPorta, 2023 – 239.3 points

  • Mike Ditka, 1961 – 233.6

  • Keith Jackson, 1988 – 200.9

  • Charlie Young, 1973 – 184.8

  • Kyle Pitts, 2021 – 176.6

That’s it, the full list. Just five guys.

As a general rule, we do not expect notable full-season performances from rookie tight ends. Historically, it’s been a slow-developing position with responsibilities that go well beyond the few things that directly impact fantasy outcomes.

On the other hand, you may have also noticed that in two of the past three years we have been treated to outlier seasons from rookies, which might suggest a change is underway. Pitts actually managed to disappoint fantasy managers while delivering the fifth-most productive season ever by a first-year tight end.

In light of this fact, you might reasonably wonder if another monster rookie campaign is incoming, given that the 2024 draft class includes a guy who’s been the subject of some pretty extreme hype.

Brock Bowers is widely regarded as this draft’s top tight end and one of the better prospects we’ve seen at the position in recent years. He has three seasons of elite production to his credit against the toughest collegiate competition and his tape is full of outrageous plays. He’s exceptional before the catch, during the catch and certainly after the catch:

Bowers also has blazing speed by the standards of his position and he was used as a multi-tool at Georgia, lining up all over the field.

The worst thing we can say about Bowers at this stage is that he exercised poor judgment that one time he dressed like a camp counselor and stood next to Gronk, a much larger human. Hopefully, he’s learned from that miscalculation. Still, we’re talking about an upper-tier prospect with a clear opportunity ahead to achieve first-year fantasy relevance.

It’s probably not fair to compare him to LaPorta — or any Iowa tight end, honestly — but we can definitely hope for a landing spot that offers significant target volume. Bowers has been mocked to pretty much every team picking between 5 and 25, so there’s a degree of uncertainty with regard to his future NFL home. If we’re thinking strictly about his potential to deliver an all-time rookie season, these are the optimal destinations …

Joining Justin Herbert and the Chargers

After the trade of Keenan Allen and the release of Mike Williams, the receiving corps remaining in L.A. is, um … not good. Quentin Johnston and Joshua Palmer are currently at the top of the team’s receiving hierarchy, which is obviously terrible. If you’re a dynasty manager with Herbert on the roster, the offseason thus far has been a nightmare scenario.

The Chargers presumably wouldn’t select Bowers with the draft’s fifth overall pick, but a trade-down could be in play. It’s not difficult to imagine Bowers emerging almost immediately as this team’s top receiving option, given the dearth of playmaking talent. If we’re looking for a spot in which a rookie pass-catcher could command 120-plus targets from a competent QB, this is the best bet.

Or the Jets and Aaron Rodgers

This is probably the chalkiest spot, the expected destination. Bowers visited the Jets on Monday and the team no doubt has an interest in surrounding Rodgers with difference-making skill players. Garrett Wilson will be the unrivaled top option in New York, but things aren’t completely settled behind him. You might recall that Rodgers once turned Robert Tonyan into a top-five fantasy tight end, so we’d have no reason to believe he couldn’t do the same for Bowers.

Joe Burrow’s Bengals, perhaps

OK, so there’s zero chance Bowers would be the centerpiece of a passing offense that also involves Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. But it shouldn’t be difficult to see the benefits of attachment to an elite quarterback entering his prime years, already with a pair of 30-TD seasons on his resume. Cincinnati actually targeted the tight end position 115 times last year, so there are opportunities available. It’s tough to see Bowers falling all the way to the Bengals at pick 18, however, because this next franchise has a rumored interest …

Possibly to Indy with Anthony Richardson

Between the pre-injury glimpses we had of Richardson last year and the many positive reports about his offseason, we’re gonna be plenty excited about the Colts QB in Year 2, no matter who this team adds in the draft. But if they give Richardson yet another weapon to slot into an offense that was tailored perfectly to his game … well, wow. It’s not the perfect spot for Bowers himself in terms of immediate production, but it would clinch a top-eight pre-draft positional rank for Indy’s quarterback. Also, we’d have to give Bowers at least a shot at an Ebronish reception-to-TD ratio.

The dynasty dream: Kansas City, as heir apparent to Travis Kelce

This is clearly another situation requiring a trade-up, because Bowers isn’t falling to pick 32. But no other landing spot could set our social feeds ablaze quite like KC. It’s certainly not crazy to think that a team would regard Bowers as the best pass-catcher available in the draft outside the top-three wideouts (or perhaps including them).

Kelce had the look of a creaky, high-mileage 34-year-old tight end for extended stretches last season prior to the playoffs, so finding an apprentice wouldn’t be the worst idea. Marquise Brown was a terrific offseason addition, but the Chiefs don’t exactly have an embarrassment of receiving riches. If Bowers somehow landed here — which, again, would require another team’s cooperation — we could make a strong argument for him as the dynasty TE1.

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