June 21, 2024

2024 Rookie Dynasty Impact: Ladd McConkey

6 min read

Entering the offseason in one of the league’s worst cap situations, head coach Jim Harbaugh decided to tear this team down to the studs, put up some new drywall, and begin their rebuild. The offensive overhaul began on draft night, using the fifth overall pick on LT Joe Alt, presumably moving former first-round pick Rashawn Slater to RT.

While Chargers fans were left in dismay at the team’s missed opportunity to draft WR Malik Nabers, Harbaugh, and OC Greg Roman found their guy early in the second round, trading up to secure Justin Herbert‘s newest weapon: Ladd McConkey.

 

2024 Rookie Dynasty Impact: Ladd McConkey

How Does McConkey Affect the Los Angeles Chargers?

The Chargers’ dramatic offseason began with the addition of HC Jim Harbaugh, followed by the departures of almost all of their offensive staples. Keenan Allen, Mike WilliamsGerald Everett, and Austin Ekeler left town hand-in-hand, leaving 320 (70%) of Herbert’s targets from 2023, a number that likely would have been even higher had Mike Williams not torn his ACL in Week 3.

This left cause for concern in both LA and the dynasty landscape, stranding Herbert with top receiving options Quentin Johnston and Josh Palmer while finding replacements in underwhelming (or “injury-prone”) talent such as TEs Hayden Hurst of Carolina, Will Dissly of Seattle, and RBs Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins from Baltimore.

Quick Side Tangent: It’s worth noting that although Will Dissly may never become a fantasy star, he was PFF’s third-ranked pass blocker and second-ranked run blocker at the TE position last year. Real football supersedes fantasy in the minds of actual NFL talent evaluators, and this (along with the Joe Alt decision) is a prime example of that.

While Dissly has never seen more than 349 receiving yards in a single season, he does have 13 career touchdowns, and his blocking prowess means he will likely be on the field all the time this season. While Hurst is on a one-year deal, Dissly signed a three-year, $24m contract. If he’s still on waivers, he is worth a deeper bench stash as a potential bye-week fill-in.

I digress. While Ladd McConkey didn’t get the day one draft capital (34th overall) of Brian Thomas Jr.Xavier Worthy, Ricky Pearsall, or Xavier Legette, he faces the least competition for snaps/targets of any of these players and arguably brings the most immediate upside of them all, especially in PPR leagues. The Chargers traded up to make this pick, showing their confidence in his scheme fit, and being tied to an elite QB like Justin Herbert never hurts your fantasy value.

People will be quick to provide player comps like Julian Edelman. However, McConkey is far more versatile than folks give him credit. PlayerProfiler comps him to Percy Harvin, shedding light on all the ways he could be used within an offense and special teams. In Ladd McConkey’s three-year stint at Georgia, he only lined up from the slot for 30% of snaps, which were used out wide more often than not, and he also saw work as a punt returner.

With that said, there is a positional need within the Chargers. Keenan Allen took 58% of his snaps from the slot last season, while Quentin Johnston (6’3″, 215 pounds) lined up in the slot just 11% of the time, and Josh Palmer (6’2″, 210 pounds) took 38% of his snaps from the slot (although that number dropped to 27% when Keenan Allen was on the field).

Given McConkey’s smaller frame (6’0″, 186 pounds) and precision as a route runner, there is reason to believe the Chargers will deploy him more in the slot, but that will not be exclusive, and OC Greg Roman is already scheming up ways to get him the ball in space. McConkey does not have the profile to be considered an elite prospect, but he has all of the tools to be a successful WR2/WR3 in fantasy for years to come.

Although he struggles in contested catch situations, McConkey is a route-running technician who can be lined up all over the field, creates separation at an elite level, and is great with the ball in his hands. He should slot in as Justin Herbert’s safety valve from day one. Ladd McConkey faces little competition for playing time, and given the number of vacated targets in LA, he has the potential of seeing upwards of 120+ targets as a rookie.

While Ladd McConkey’s ceiling may not be as high as the players drafted ahead of him, his weekly floor remains one of the highest of any WR drafted outside of the top three, and he already feels like 2024’s Jordan Addison.

 

How High is Ladd McConkey’s Dynasty Stock?

In our DynastyPros rankings, we’ve got Ladd McConkey 12th in rookie picks and WR32 overall. This is the same tier as Davante Adams, Deebo Samuel, and Jayden Reed.

 

What is McConkey’s Rookie Draft Status?

In a 1QB league, McConkey could be taken as early as 1.06 or 1.07 behind Malik Nabers, Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze, Brock Bowers, Xavier Worthy, and arguably, Caleb Williams. Depending on your positional need at QB, Williams could be worth any of these picks. However, the QB position is not as important in 1QB leagues. If you have other WRs in that tier that you prefer, then take your guy, but I would be happy with Ladd McConkey anywhere in the second half of a 1QB draft.

I have already taken part in three (superflex/2QB) drafts, and although the second tier of players has proven extremely polarizing, Ladd McConkey has stayed steady, being drafted at a low of 1.10 and a high of 1.11. He is almost unanimously being taken as the fifth WR off the board, behind Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze, and Xavier Worthy. I personally took him at 1.10 over Brian Thomas Jr., specifically due to the PPR format of that league and the immediate path to production.

 

Trade Ideas

It will likely be difficult to trade for Ladd anytime after your draft. Given his unique situation to immediately help both contenders and rebuilders, it would take a solid offer to convince me to move him. However, nothing is impossible, and it’s all based on the state of your team.

If you are rebuilding and can find a way to offload any aging asset in the same tier straight up to a contender (Stefon Diggs, Diontae Johnson, Davante Adams, or Deebo Samuel), I’d be fine pulling the trigger and would likely start my conversations there. If you need to throw in a future fourth-round pick to get the deal done, don’t be scared.

Otherwise, here is another idea using our DynastyPros Trade Calculator:

Ladd McConkey

 

Given the longevity of the WRs vs RBs, if I can afford to lose Rachaad White, I’d be ecstatic to gain a potential WR2 and a future second on top. Replacing RBs is always difficult, and the Buccaneers did not make any threatening moves to White’s playing time this year, but Ladd McConkey’s draft capital and landing spot keep him insulated as a high-volume target for years to come.

Again, everything in dynasty is situational, but I would be thrilled to walk away on the Ladd McConkey side of this offer.


Thank you for reading my Ladd McConkey 2024 Rookie Dynasty Impact article, and best of luck in your upcoming drafts!


Check out the rest of our 2024 Rookie Dynasty Impact articles:

[one-third-first]Jayden Daniels
Xavier Worthy[/one-third-first]
[one-third]Drake Maye
Brock Bowers[/one-third]
[one-third]Xavier Legette
Jonathon Brooks[/one-third]