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AFC South Preview for 2024 Fantasy Football

The AFC South is a fantasy football volcano waiting to erupt during the 2024 NFL season. When you look at each of the four AFC South rosters, there is a blend of proven talent and potential on each team. For example, the quarterbacks are all currently younger than 25 years old. Three are former top-four picks while the other is last year’s 33rd overall selection. The AFC South is going to be one of the most competitive divisions in football this season with a ridiculous amount of fantasy points scored along the way.

What!? Your fantasy football league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax last season!? Once you see how Fantrax stacks up to the competition, we think you’ll be singing a different tune in the 2024 season.

Previewing the AFC South for 2024 Fantasy Football

Houston Texans


C.J. Stroud is last season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. He is the youngest quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game. Stroud also holds records for the most passing yards in a single game by a rookie (470) and is tied for most games (3) as a rookie with at least 350 passing yards. He didn’t throw his first interception until his sixth start and threw just five total through the regular season.

It’s easy to buy into C.J. Stroud for fantasy football entering his second season. Not only based on his talent, with the above taken into consideration, but the Houston Texans are adding wide receiver Stefon Diggs and running back Joe Mixon to their 2024 offense. Building so efficiently and quickly around Stroud arguably makes the Texans the best offense in the AFC South. The cherry on top is the fact that offensive coordinator, Bobby Slowik, is also returning to the team after interviewing for multiple head coaching positions in a cycle with nine vacancies.

If I were to make a case against drafting C.J. Stroud for fantasy football, it’s to use caution in drafting him too high. In a Superflex league, he’s a first-round pick no matter what given supply and demand at the position. However, in 1QB leagues, I have a handful of quarterbacks I’m taking over Stroud. Most of them get the nod due to their rushing upside. Unfortunately, Stroud doesn’t add enough as a runner. He had just 167 rushing yards as a rookie and 136 total rushing yards throughout his entire collegiate career.

If Stroud is to finish as a top-five quarterback for fantasy football, he probably needs to push for 4,500 passing yards and upwards of 40 passing touchdowns. Those are Patrick Mahomes-like numbers. Stroud is capable of doing so with his talent, coaching, and weapons, but I’m not reaching to add him with one of my first four or five picks with a few others I like more still on the board.

Running Back

Not only did the Texans acquire Joe Mixon in a trade with the Bengals, prior to his imminent release, but Houston tore up his contract and are giving him a three-year, $25.5 million deal with $16 million guaranteed. All signs point to Joe Mixon owning a workhorse role in Houston as he did in Cincinnati. Mixon’s only other legitimate competition for touches is Dameon Pierce. I do think Pierce could see upwards of 150 total touches, mostly in the form of carries, even if Mixon is healthy all season, but that still likely means Mixon pushes for 300 or more.

Last season, Pierce averaged just 2.9 yards per carry on 145 rush attempts. As the season progressed, Devin Singletary earned an expanded role averaging 14.66 carries per game from Week 10 onward after averaging exactly half of that in their first eight games. Mixon has an extensive history of handling a workhorse role. More specifically, Mixon has an average of 19.35 touches per game over 54 games in his last three seasons with the Bengals including the playoffs.

The Texans’ offensive line should be better in 2024. After cycling multiple starters throughout last season due to injuries, a healthier, consistent group up front this season can only improve the efficiency of the entire offense. Houston has all the makings of a top-scoring offense this season and should make plenty of trips to the red zone. That should benefit Mixon a ton as a trustworthy ball carrier who ranked third in red zone rush attempts last season including first in attempts inside the 10-yard line. It’s nothing new for Mixon as he ranks inside the top-five in rush attempts inside the 10-yard line over the last three seasons. As of now, Mixon is my favorite running back who likely be drafted outside the top 10 to finish inside of it for the 2024 fantasy football season.

Wide Receiver

Ranking the Houston Texans wide receivers is one of the more difficult tasks during the 2024 fantasy football preseason. I’m of the mindset that Stefon Diggs belongs ahead of them all, but Nico Collins is close behind. More importantly, it’s very unlikely that these two and Tank Dell all finish as top-25 or even top-30 wide receivers on a fantasy points-per-game basis. If they do, then C.J. Stroud is looking at an overall QB1 finish.

I’m not ready to say that Stefon Diggs is washed up even after a disappointing end to his 2023 season. Despite lackluster performances, Diggs played in all 17 regular season games as well as both playoff games commanding a 29.4% target share on the season. Mind you, the Bills made an offensive coordinator change halfway through the season that negatively impacted Diggs. He played 80% of the offensive snaps in just three of seven games following their Week 13 bye after playing 80% or more in all but one prior. Bobby Slowik is a major upgrade of an offensive coordinator for Diggs. He and Nico Collins should be on the field for a heavy majority of the Texans’ 2024 snaps. The bottom line is trading a 2025 second-round pick for Diggs means he’s going to have a significant role for this season especially.

Nico Collins’ value takes a hit, however slight, following the Diggs trade. Prior to Diggs’ arrival, the Stroud/Collins stack looked like one of the more enticing for the 2024 fantasy football season. Collins and Stroud have a very strong rapport as evidenced by Collins’ 2023 breakout with an 80/1,297/8 receiving line. Stroud is even on record lately comparing Collins to former Texans Hall of Fame wide receiver Andre Johnson. Collins even earned a three-year, $72.7 million extension this off-season. It’s plausible to expect both Diggs and Collins, who should see the most playing time at the position, to each log 120 targets. More likely than not, one of them will draw 130 or more while the other still surpasses 100.

Tank Dell is one of the most explosive players to draft in fantasy football. In just 10 games last season, Dell logged 100+ yards and/or scored a touchdown in six of them. Even more impressive, he did so playing 80% or more of the offensive snaps in just three of those 10 games. Albeit a fun sample size of Dell’s upside, it’s hard to imagine him taking significant time and targets from players like Diggs or Collins. He should remain third in snaps but still has the obvious upside to make them count. I think Dell is closer to a flex play than he is to a top-24 receiver for the 2024 fantasy football season.

Tight End

Dalton Schultz is the tight end you draft for the 2024 fantasy football season when just about every other manager in your league has their starting tight end already. During C.J. Stroud’s rookie season, Schultz emerged as a top target as the season went on. As a result, from Week 4 onward, Schultz logged seven top-eight fantasy weekly finishes in 11 possible games. Unfortunately, the Texans’ offense is a bit more crowded this season. Adding Diggs and even Joe Mixon as very capable targets could be a ding to Schultz’ five targets per game from last season. Still, if you wait to draft a tight end, you could do worse than a player on a projected top-10, or higher, offense.

Indianapolis Colts


If I’m drafting an AFC South quarterback for fantasy football, it’s Anthony Richardson. Yes, that means I’m taking him ahead of C.J. Stroud, as I alluded to earlier in this piece. Though a small sample size, what we saw from Richardson as a rookie is worth investing in as a potential league-winning pick for 2024 fantasy football.

Richardson has just four starts to his name, two of which he left earlier due to injury, one of which (Week 4, shoulder) that would ultimately end his season. In four starts, again with two that he left early, Richardson scored seven total touchdowns. That’s three through the air and four on the ground. In two complete games, Richardson logged exactly 10 rush attempts in each with at least 40 rushing yards and a rushing score in each, as well. Specifically looking at his two complete games, Anthony Richardson’s 25.75 fantasy points per game would rank first among all quarterbacks. With his size, stature, rushing ability, and strong arm, he has the upside to produce a season similar to Cam Newton in 2015, but perhaps better.

The quarterback position for 2024 fantasy football is seemingly deep. You can afford to spend your fourth or fifth-round pick in a 1QB league on Richardson, and hope he stays healthy while pairing him with a start-worthy, safer player later in your drafts depending on league size. You may have the ability to draft Richardson high and pick someone up off the waiver wire if need be, too. The Colts don’t have their bye week until Week 14 meaning you have Richardson available to you for the first 13 weeks of the season. That puts you in an excellent position to rack up wins early and often.

Running Back

It feels like Jonathan Taylor has been around for a while, but he’s only 25 years old. As a 22-year-old entering just his second season, Taylor ripped off 332 carries for 1,811 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns while adding an additional 40 receptions for 360 yards and two scores. Unfortunately, given Anthony Richardson’s own propensity to run, we’re simply not going to see Taylor push for 372 touches again. However, the stigma that rushing quarterbacks tank their running backs’ value is overblown. Taylor should still be a focal point of the 2024 Colts offense given his talent, contract, and likely interest in keeping Richardson healthy.

Entering his fifth NFL season, Taylor has just 1,071 total career touches since 2019. For comparison’s sake, Christian McCaffrey has 798 total touches since Week 1 of the 2022 season. Taylor has played in just 21 games over the last two seasons due to injuries and a contract holdout, however, the injuries are somewhat expected in 2022 after such a massive workload the season prior. After two games of acclimation last season, Taylor’s final eight games yielded an average of 19.3 carries and 88 rushing yards per game. He even scored at least one touchdown in all but one of his final eight games of the season. If you, like most people, expect this Colts offense to take a massive step forward with a healthy Anthony Richardson, then Taylor should confidently be a top-10 running back in pre-draft rankings.

Wide Receiver

Michael Pittman’s 2023 breakout is mostly thanks to Gardner Minshew. He proved to be an extremely trustworthy option for Minshew who stepped up following Anthony Richardson’s season-ending shoulder injury. In fact, Pittman’s 156 targets and 9.8 targets per game both rank inside the top 10 at the wide receiver position. Now, the question is whether or not Pittman will receive the same WR1 treatment from Richardson over the course of a season. Well, in two full starts from Richardson, Pittman drew 11 targets in each averaging 20.2 fantasy points per game. Even if Richardson misses time, Joe Flacco stepping in as the backup is extremely assuring based on his performances filling in for the Cleveland Browns last year.

Josh Downs, Alec Pierce, and rookie Adonai Mitchell are all fine receivers, but I don’t think any of them will put a big enough dent into Pittman’s 28.5% target share. If I had to guess, most fantasy managers will take a swing on Mitchell with one of their later picks in 2024 drafts. Pierce nor Downs have shown enough, even in just a few collective seasons, to encourage drafting them to make a significant impact on fantasy rosters. Believe it or not, Downs logged 98 targets as a rookie last season. More likely than not, Mitchell eats into that or surpasses that himself. We’ll need to keep an eye on this group in training camp and preseason to determine who the second-leading target-getter could be.

Tight End

There is already some hype building for Jelani Woods following the Colts’ OTA practices. Head coach Shane Steichen is touting Woods’ playmaking ability speaking to his 6’7″ and 255-pound frame running vertical, shallow, and crossing routes. After drafting Woods in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, he has played in just 15 games missing the 2023 season entirely due to hamstring injuries in both legs. Drafting Woods for the 2024 fantasy football season is a complete dart throw. There’s plenty of potential here, especially as a red zone target, but we haven’t seen enough to confidently draft him as a weekly starter. He’s a good best ball pick and a name to remember on the waiver wire potentially early on.

Tennessee Titans


Will Levis is probably most people’s fourth choice amongst the four AFC South quarterbacks for the 2024 fantasy football season. That’s not an insult, but somebody has to be. As a result, Will Levis could be an extremely good value entering his first full season as the starter.

The biggest off-season improvement for Levis is coaching. Not only are the Titans moving on from future Hall of Fame running back Derrick Henry, but head coach Mike Vrabel and his run-heavy approach are gone, as well. Replacing Vrabel is former Bengals offensive coordinator, Brian Callahan. Not only does Callahan have five years of experience running the Bengals’ talented offense, one that went to the Super Bowl three seasons ago, but he is more likely to lean on the passing game.

During Callahan’s tenure in Cincinnati, the Bengals finished inside the top seven in total pass attempts in three of his five seasons including the last two. While Joe Burrow did not finish the 2023 season, he averaged 37.3 pass attempts per game in his last 26 starts over the last two seasons. Nick Holz will be the offensive coordinator under Callahan joining him after spending the 2023 season as the passing game coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars. They had more total pass attempts than the Bengals last season.

Levis isn’t as obviously talented as his AFC South peers, but he is very athletic, has a strong arm, and the coaching, with plenty of weapons around him, to make a big jump this season. It’s going to be hard to crack a very competitive top-12 fantasy football quarterbacks this season, but I think Will Levis could get closer than people think. At the very least, he should have a few games worth streaming him during the season.

Running Back

All hopes of Tyjae Spears having a potential RB1 fantasy season are gone with the addition of Tony Pollard in free agency. Now we have fantasy managers arguing that Tony Pollard isn’t good enough to keep Spears on the sideline while others believe Pollard is coming to Tennessee to be a workhorse back. I tend to favor Pollard after receiving a three-year, $21 million contract just months into hiring an entirely new coaching regime.

That’s not to say Spears won’t have a role, though. Both he and Pollard are capable pass-catching backs. I do think Pollard gets a significant bulk of the carries, especially on early downs. I know 1,005 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns isn’t much to gush over from last season, but Pollard played in every game after breaking his leg just nine months prior to the start of last season. Now over 18 months removed from said injury, I think Pollard has the experience and ability to handle another 250 carries with plenty of targets for the Titans.

Wide Receiver

The two wide receivers you want to target from the Tennessee Titans for the 2024 fantasy football season are Calvin Ridley and DeAndre Hopkins. I am of the opinion that both of these players are currently undervalued. It’s likely due to the questions around Will Levis’ ability, their age, and how deep the wide receiver position seems. As stated above when discussing Levis, I expect the Titans’ offense to be one of the more pass-heavy teams in the league. Not only do they need to know if Will Levis is their guy sooner than later, but they have the weapons and system to lean on the pass.

Though neither will be playing for the same coach as they did in 2023, both Hopkins (14th) and Ridley (16th) ranked inside the top 16 in total targets amongst wide receivers last season. If nothing else, they, like most of the players from Tennessee in 2024, have a volume-based floor you should feel comfortable starting week-to-week during the 2024 fantasy football season. Both Ridley (WR29) and Hopkins (WR32) finished the season as a WR3 for fantasy football last season. They’re likely priced the same, if not cheaper, in drafts and that’s probably their floor for 2024.

Who else is Will Levis throwing to? Outside of Hopkins, Ridley, and the running backs, there aren’t any other receivers worth drafting, at least. Treylon Burks is looking like a bust and I’m not spending even a late-round fantasy pick on him hoping he’s not. Tyler Boyd is reuniting with head coach Brian Callahan after spending multiple seasons together with the Bengals, but he likely has the same role for fantasy as he did there: plug-and-play option if one of two better players ahead of him misses time.

Tight End

Everyone’s favorite sleeper tight end for the 2023 season, Chigoziem Okonkwo, is no longer on the radar for the 2024 fantasy football season. His 54/528/1 receiving line last season is uninspiring. Additionally, in eight full games with Will Levis, he logged just 4.62 targets per game. If there was more of a connection there, I could try to make the case for this season, but now consider Calvin Ridley and Tony Pollard are in the mix. If anyone is going to suffer earning targets in the passing game, it’s likely Okonkwo. He is only a realistic consideration for best ball formats entering the season.

Jacksonville Jaguars


For the last three years, drafting Trevor Lawrence in fantasy football was with the expectation of him breaking out and emerging as a set-and-forget every-week starter. However, he is without a season of any more than 18.3 fantasy points per game with a career-best QB12 finish in 2022. After three underwhelming seasons with 58 passing touchdowns, but 39 interceptions, in 50 starts, it’s fair to question if Trevor Lawrence is worth drafting for the 2024 fantasy football season.

It’s difficult to imagine what more Lawrence could need to yield trustworthy fantasy football production. Last season specifically, Lawrence logged the eighth-most pass attempts to a receiving corps led by Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram. Both Ridley and Jones are now gone and replaced by Gabe Davis and first round rookie selection Brian Thomas Jr.

In two seasons with Doug Pederson as head coach and Press Taylor as offensive coordinator, Trevor has over 4,000 passing yards in an offense with at least one 1,000+ yard receiver and one 1,000+ yard rusher. Unfortunately, the Jaguars’ offense appears to struggle in the red zone specifically. Their red zone scoring percentage was down from 55% in 2022 to 50% in 2023. Additionally, the Jaguars’ offensive line has been one of the worst-performing lines in the league over the last two seasons, but especially in 2023. Bringing in center Mitch Morse should right the ship.

Trevor Lawrence should have more upside in 2024 with hopefully more downfield looks to Brian Thomas Jr. and Gabe Davis. More explosive plays equals more explosive fantasy performances. I’m not ranking Lawrence as a QB1 ahead of the season, though, until he proves he can be one consistently.

Running Back

Somewhat quietly, Travis Etienne’s 325 touches ranked third amongst all running backs during the 2023 regular season. His command of high-volume in the Jaguars offense yielded an RB6 finish on a fantasy points-per-game basis. He and Christian McCaffrey are the only two running backs inside the top six to play in every game. Now, consider the difference of teams and, more specifically, the offensive lines each is running behind.

Etienne’s only legitimate competition for touches in 2024 is Tank Bigsby. It looked like Bigsby was going to have an impact as a rookie, especially around the goal line, but he logged just 50 total carries in 17 games. That includes just nine in the red zone and two from five yards outside the end zone. So, even if the Jaguars want to give Bigsby more run in 2024, I can’t imagine him getting such a larger workload that it significantly impacts Etienne’s value.

If anything, the Jaguars’ slightly above-average 57.8-42.2 pass-run split is what affects Etienne’s opportunity for touches. Even then, he drew 73 targets last season. That’s the fourth-most on the team and third-most amongst Jaguars that played in every game. Don’t hesitate to lock in Etienne as a top-10 running back in your pre-draft rankings for the 2024 fantasy football season. Tank Bigsby is an intriguing handcuff to watch during the preseason.

Wide Receiver

Jacksonville’s wide receivers will look a lot different yet again this upcoming season. After one season with Calvin Ridley, he and his 136 targets are suiting up for division rivals, the Tennessee Titans. Additionally, Zay Jones, who logged 121 targets in 16 games during a healthy 2022 season, is no longer with the team, as well. The significant names replacing them are first-round rookie pick Brian Thomas Jr. and former Buffalo Bill, Gabe Davis.

The wide receiver you most want from this offense, though, is Christian Kirk. He is clearly Trevor Lawrence’s favorite target averaging 7.93 per game in 31 total since joining the Jaguars. Kirk’s 22 red zone targets two seasons ago is tied for seventh amongst all players. Although he drew just five such targets last season, Calvin Ridley, whose 26 red zone targets ranked third from last season, is, again, no longer on the roster. Kirk doesn’t command the attention he should from fantasy football managers. He remains a WR3 in most pre-draft rankings with the ability and history to finish as a top-24 player with weekly WR1 upside.

Brian Thomas Jr. may take some time to acclimate, but I prefer him to that of Gabe Davis if you’re going to draft any other Jaguars wide receiver. Thomas has the ability to take over the role left behind by Calvin Ridley. He provides a deep threat for Trevor Lawrence in the passing game averaging a strong 17.3 yards per reception in his final season at LSU catching passes from Jayden Daniels. To note, Calvin Ridley’s 1,726 air yards ranked eighth amongst all players last season. Thomas is worth a late-round dart throw as a potential big-play WR3 with upside in his first fantasy football season.

Tight End

The days of stealing Evan Engram toward the back half of your fantasy football drafts may be over. After logging a career-high receptions (114) and yards (963) last season, he should be on everyone’s radar that plays in a points-per-reception league. This is after logging 73 receptions and 766 yards the season prior. Luckily for those hoping to get value on Engram this season, the tight end position has plenty of enticing, high-upside names that could come off of the board before him.

Furthermore, scoring just four touchdowns in each of the last two seasons doesn’t necessarily jump off the page for most managers. Even without frequent trips to the end zone, Engram is the TE7 and TE5 in the last two seasons respectively. Rather than pay a premium for players like Sam LaPorta, Travis Kelce, or Mark Andrews, you may still be able to get Engram at a much better cost with a steady floor and just as much weekly upside.

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