Welcome to Breakouts 1.0. C.J. Stroud was already expected to be on this list prior to Wednesday, but things improved for him in a big way when the Texans traded for Stefon Diggs from the Bills.

Now, Stroud has top five upside. This is going to be fun.

Stroud already proved himself as a rookie in 2023 when he averaged 21.5 Fantasy points per game. But he had some inconsistent moments -- as most rookies do -- with eight games with 19.3 Fantasy points or less.

Houston decided to give Stroud two significant upgrades in Diggs and Joe Mixon, and the Texans re-signed Dalton Schultz. Tank Dell (leg) is expected to be healthy by training camp, and Nico Collins has emerged as an alpha receiver.

Stroud has weapons everywhere, and it will be a nightmare to defend Houston's offense (it helps that offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik returned as well). I plan to draft Stroud as early as Round 5 in one-quarterback leagues, and the only quarterbacks I would draft ahead of him as of now are Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.

Stroud should be viewed as a league-winning Fantasy option in 2024. Now, let's see what other breakout candidates you should be targeting this season.


Anthony Richardson

I had Richardson as a breakout candidate as a rookie in 2023, and you saw flashes of brilliance before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 5 against Tennessee. He scored 22.9 Fantasy points in Week 1 against Jacksonville and 33.6 Fantasy points in Week 4 against the Rams. Unfortunately, those were his only two healthy games since he left Week 2 at Houston with a concussion and missed Week 3 at Baltimore, and then he was knocked out against the Titans. The hope is Richardson can stay healthy all season, and if you project his two full games over a 17-game schedule, he was on pace for 3,596 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions, along with 816 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. That's clearly hard to expect, and it's a small sample size. But he has that type of upside, especially as a rusher. I love that the Colts kept Michael Pittman Jr., and Richardson was a pleasant surprise as a passer. He should be drafted as a top-10 Fantasy quarterback in all leagues, but don't be surprised if he finishes in the top five at his position.

Running backs

Bijan Robinson

You'll notice a theme with this breakouts list that I love the Falcons this year with the addition of quarterback Kirk Cousins and head coach Raheem Morris. Both should be great for all the skill players in Atlanta, especially Robinson. He struggled as a rookie in 2023, mostly due to enormous expectations, and he averaged just 14.5 PPR points per game. But he showed plenty of times that he's capable of more with eight games with at least 17.6 PPR points, including four outings of at least 20.3 PPR points. I'm hopeful that Morris will feature Robinson and not rely as much on Tyler Allgeier as former coach Arthur Smith did, and Morris has already hyped up Robinson this offseason. "Bijan is one of those special talents, who can be a special player for a long time in this league," Morris said at the NFL Scouting Combine. I like Robinson as the No. 3 running back coming into the season behind only Christian McCaffrey and Breece Hall, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Robinson is the No. 1 player at his position by the end of the year.

De'Von Achane

Achane's breakout game as a rookie in 2023 will always be memorable when he had 18 carries for 203 yards and two touchdowns and four catches for 30 yards and two touchdowns on four targets in Week 3 against Denver. He scored 51.3 PPR points that week, which kicked off a three-game stretch of him scoring at least 21.5 PPR points. He also had two other games with at least 23.7 PPR points last season, and he was dominant when healthy. Unfortunately, he missed six games in 2023, and there are some durability concerns for Achane, as well as the presence of Raheem Mostert. Let's not forget that Mostert led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns and tied Christian McCaffrey with 21 total scores. Mostert is back with the Dolphins this season, but he's 32 and will hopefully fade into a lesser role behind Achane. It's risky to go all in on Achane given Mostert's presence, but I'm a believer in Achane's talent (he averaged a whopping 7.8 yards per carry). I plan to draft Achane as early as Round 2 in all leagues.

Zamir White

White hopefully made the most of his audition last season to remain the lead running back for the Raiders this year. We'll see if Las Vegas selects a running back in the NFL Draft, but so far, White's only competition for playing time is free agent addition Alexander Mattison. And I'm OK with that for White's outlook. In the final four games last year, with Josh Jacobs sidelined, White averaged 21 carries and 24.3 total touches. That included 20-plus carries in each of the final three games, and he had two outings with at least three catches over that span. White averaged 15.2 PPR points in those final four games, and hopefully that carries over to this season, especially since coach Antonio Pierce wants to have a run-heavy offense. My colleague, Heath Cummings, said on a recent Fantasy Football Today podcast that White could finish top five in carries this season if he stays healthy, and if that happens, he would be a quality Fantasy option in all leagues. I'm looking to draft White as early as Round 6, and I like him as a No. 2 running back this season.

Wide receivers

Garrett Wilson

Let's hope that Aaron Rodgers (Achilles) is healthy for Week 1 and stays upright all season so we can finally see Wilson with competent quarterback play. He's dealt with a lot of bad quarterbacks through the first two seasons of his career -- mostly Zach Wilson -- but we got a glimpse of Garrett Wilson's upside as a rookie in 2022 when he averaged 17.6 PPR points per game in seven outings with Joe Flacco or Mike White, including three games with at least 24 PPR points over that span. Last season, Wilson scored at least 15 PPR points just eight times and scored only three touchdowns, but he averaged 9.9 targets per game, which was good for seventh in the NFL. We'll see if the Jets add another receiver in the NFL Draft, but Wilson should once again soak up targets, especially with Mike Williams (ACL) potentially limited in his recovery. I have Wilson ranked as the No. 7 receiver this season behind CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill, Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Amon-Ra St. Brown and A.J. Brown, and I would draft Wilson in the first 15 overall picks in all leagues.

Chris Olave

Olave was a breakout candidate in 2023, but he failed to deliver on the hype when he averaged just 14.5 PPR points per game. It was a solid campaign, but more was expected, which will hopefully happen in 2024. Entering his third season in the NFL, Olave is the clear-cut leader of the Saints receiving corps with Michael Thomas gone, and his main competition for targets at his position are Rashid Shaheed, A.T. Perry and Cedrick Wilson Jr. New Orleans can obviously add a receiver in the NFL Draft, but Olave should still average around the 8.6 targets per game he had in 2023. I'm also excited to see what Olave can do in new coordinator Klint Kubiak's system, and he joins the Saints after spending the past season as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach in San Francisco. That should lead to more pre-snap motion and creative route concepts, and Olave should benefit by making more plays after the catch. Kubiak also was the offensive coordinator in Minnesota in 2021 when Justin Jefferson had 108 catches for 1,616 yards and 10 touchdowns on 167 targets. I'm once again drafting Olave in the middle of Round 2 in all leagues, and this should be his breakout campaign.

Drake London

London has the potential to be a No. 1 Fantasy receiver in all leagues in Year 3 of his career thanks to the addition of Kirk Cousins at quarterback and Raheem Morris at coach. I'm being aggressive with London on Draft Day and plan to target him toward the back end of Round 2 in all leagues. We've seen flashes of his upside in the first two years of his career, but he only has 11 outings with at least 13 PPR points in 33 games. Part of that was playing in a run-based system under former head coach Arthur Smith. But London also suffered with poor quarterback play from Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke. That changes now with Cousins. During his time in Minnesota, Cousins helped Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs thrive. Jefferson had four seasons in a row with at least 16.9 PPR points per game, Diggs had two seasons with at least 14.5 PPR points per game and Thielen had one season at 19.2 PPR points per game with Cousins. I'm hopeful London will end up in the 16.9 range or better, and I also like that Zac Robinson is the new Falcons offensive coordinator. Robinson was just the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Rams the past two seasons, and he helped develop Puka Nacua in 2023, as well as working with Cooper Kupp. Everything is pointing up for London, and this should easily be his best season in the NFL.

George Pickens

The runway is clear for Pickens to be the No. 1 receiver for the Steelers after Pittsburgh traded Diontae Johnson to Carolina, and now Pickens gets a quarterback upgrade in Russell Wilson. In four games last year when Johnson was hurt, Pickens had two outings with at least 22.7 PPR points. He also scored at least 20.1 PPR points in two of three games with Mason Rudolph under center. Say what you want about Wilson, but he threw 10 touchdowns to Courtland Sutton in 2023. And Wilson was good for DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett toward the end of his tenure in Seattle. Wilson should help make Pickens a solid No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues with the chance to be a top-10 option. Now, you may be concerned that Arthur Smith is the new offensive coordinator for the Steelers, and Smith wasn't good for Drake London the past two seasons in Atlanta. But as the offensive coordinator in Tennessee in 2019-20, Smith helped A.J. Brown catch 122 passes for 2,126 yards and 19 touchdowns on 190 targets in 30 games. Pickens should be the focal point of the passing game in Pittsburgh, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 4 in all leagues.

Tight ends

Dalton Kincaid

I had Kincaid as a breakout candidate before Stefon Diggs was traded from Buffalo to Houston, but now Kincaid is getting rocket ship emojis. The Bills receiving corps will look entirely different with Diggs and Gabe Davis (Jacksonville) both gone, and we'll see how Buffalo replaces them in the NFL Draft. Following the Diggs trade, the receiving corps is led by Khalil Shakir, Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins, and that bodes well for Kincaid's outlook. He did well as a rookie in 2023 when he was featured by Josh Allen, which happened mostly when Dawson Knox was out with an injury. Kincaid had 10 games with at least six targets, and he scored at least 12.7 PPR points in six of them. He should continue to be featured by Allen in 2024, and Kincaid should be drafted as a top-five tight end in all leagues. I plan to draft Kincaid as early as Round 5 right after Sam LaPorta, Travis Kelce, Trey McBride and Mark Andrews come off the board.

Kyle Pitts

Here we are again with Pitts as a breakout candidate, and we've been burned by him each of the past two seasons. But this time, it should be different, right? Once again, I'm hopeful Kirk Cousins and Raheem Morris should bring out the best in Pitts this year. As a rookie in 2021, Pitts looked the part of a standout tight end with 68 catches for 1,026 yards and one touchdown on 110 targets, and he was a go-to guy for Matt Ryan while averaging 10.4 PPR points per game. But he struggled in 2022 before dealing with a knee injury, and he averaged just 7.6 PPR points per game. He bounced back slightly in 2023 at 8.1 PPR points per game, but more has been expected from him over the past two years. Now comes Morris and Cousins, and the latter should be a huge upgrade for Pitts from Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke. Cousins just helped T.J. Hockenson average 14.1 PPR points per game in 2023 in Minnesota. Hopefully, Cousins can do something similar for Pitts, and he still has top five upside in all Fantasy leagues. I'll be looking to draft Pitts as early as Round 7.