Rome Odunze Fantasy Forecast 2024

Rome Odunze

Rome Odunze Fantasy Forecast 2024

Taken by the Chicago Bears with the 9th overall pick in this year’s draft, Rome Odunze has demonstrated some talents and traits that many a football team would covet. Hailing from Las Vegas, Odunze made varsity as a freshman for Bishop Gorman High School. Due to injury, he didn’t become a starter until he was a junior, but the wait was worth it. He had 60 grabs for over 1300 yards and 15 TDs while helping the team to a state title. He also followed that up by winning a state title in the 200 meters for track. Speed, talent, accomplishments, and resilience are things Odunze already had before entering college.

Recruiting and Collegiate Background

Rome Odunze had over 30 offers from big time collegiate programs. He ultimately selected Washington. Despite things like being redshirted his freshman year, having the coach he committed to step down, and having a new head coach for his senior year, Odunze stayed with Washington and never entered the transfer portal. I’d argue this demonstrates another quality of Odunze that you just don’t see as much in sports anymore: loyalty.

Odunze had fantastic junior and senior seasons, punctuated by his 92 catch, 1640 yard, 13 TD campaign last year that also including a rushing TD and an 83 yard punt return TD. There were not many collegiate WRs who were as consistent as Odunze. He routinely beat every back matched up against him in 1 on 1 situations and was rated as the best WR in the nation in single coverage. Had Odunze been drafted in any other year, he would likely be the top WR chosen.

Statistical and Athletic Notes

Below are the notes I made about Rome Odunze prior to this year’s draft.

  • 2019 200 meter Nevada state champion 
  • 4 star recruit
  • NFL size, huge and strong, can out-muscle CBs for catches, very few drops
  • Real quick and shifty off line of scrimmage
  • Varied skill set should enable him to be a weapon in any situation
  • Plays well through contact and through pain (played with broken rib and punctured lung)
  • Looked up Washington receiving records after committing and made it his goal to break them…many of which he did
  • Arguably carried QB Michael Penix
  • Not very elusive, hence he has to use physicality to fight, will be harder in NFL
  • Blocking needs work
  • Should be a true X WR

Rookie Odds

Odunze is currently +1800 to win offensive rookie of the year. Can’t do it. As both a high schooler and college player, Odunze had slow starts to his new programs. Considering that trend and the youth of this new Shane Waldron led Bears offense overall, I’d be surprised if Odunze has the best year of all the rookies. Add in DJ Moore and Keenan Allen’s presence as well, and you have less than an ideal situation at this price.

The Good

The Bears are rebuilding their offense around Caleb Williams with new OC Shane Waldron, and Rome Odunze is hopefully a long term member of it. In the last two years with the Seahawks, Waldron produced over 4,000 passing yards per season. DK Metcalf had back-to-back 1,000 reception yard seasons, Tyler Lockett had just under 2,000 yards, and new arrival Jaxon Smith-Njigba totaled over 600 yards in his rookie season. So, some production should be there for Odunze. The majority of his routes in college came on the perimeter, so I can see a scenario where Waldron elects to keep Odunze there similar to how he utilized DK Metcalf and then get more creative with Allen and Moore. In a scenario like that, it could be a very good year for Rome Odunze.

The Bears have also shown commitment toward improving their offensive line over the last few seasons. Pro Football Focus grades them at 11th after their significant improvement in the 2nd half of the 2023 season. By all accounts Caleb Williams should be the real deal, and there’s two very good veteran WRs here to help Odunze transition into the NFL. The Bears quite possibly could have one of the better offenses in football in the next few years.

The Bad

Can we really count on Odunze bursting onto the scene with a rookie QB and new OC in a Ja’Marr Chase-like fashion? The Bears have $40 million invested in DJ Moore and Keenan Allen. Cole Kmet is here along with a trio of backs who have all shown that they can add to an NFL offense. It’s completely appropriate to question both how much production Odunze can have and how effective this offense will be in the first place. I do believe that this will eventually be a very good offense and that Odunze will have some serious fantasy value, but can that happen this year?

2023 Redraft Fantasy Outlook

Rome Odunze is currently going around #104 in drafts, the 45th WR off the board. This is in round 9 of 12 team leagues. I’m fine going with Odunze here as long as he isn’t one of your starting WR. Ideally you should already have at least two solid players at the position by this point. Odunze will eventually become a fantasy asset and it’s possible that that’s as early as this year. He could eventually work out as a FLEX or a bye week fill in. If one of your top WRs is DJ Moore or Keenan Allen, then Odunze would be a wonderful handcuff to have.

Dynasty Outlook

I’m in on Rome Odunze for dynasty leagues. As Moore and Allen age or find themselves moving on from the Bears, Odunze should be there to take over a major role in this offense. If Williams ends up only being an average QB, that will still be good enough for Odunze to produce for fantasy purposes. If Williams end up being elite, then the sky is the limit for Odunze.

Bold Prediction

Odunze ends up being utilized in 3 WR sets as the perimeter X receiver, allowing Moore and Allen to move in and out of the slot. 700 plus yards and a handful of TDs are in store for the rookie.

Fun Fact(s)

Rome’s mother is a former Utah high school state champ in basketball, and Rome got his name from his father’s penchant for the history of the Roman Empire.

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