How Many Receiving Yards Will Rome Odunze Put Up in His Rookie Season?

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath

The Chicago Bears had themselves quite a draft this year. Not only did they secure their quarterback of the future in Caleb Williams, they also had a chance to draft one of this year's elite pass-catchers to pair alongside him. With the ninth overall pick, the Bears stood pat, selecting Washington Huskies wide receiver Rome Odunze.

Odunze led the nation in receiving yards last year with 1,640 while catching the 6th-most passes (92) and 13th-most touchdowns (13) during the Huskies' trip to the CFP National Championship Game. While Washington fell short of a title in their loss to the Michigan Wolverines, Odunze proved he could produce against the best defense in the nation as he caught 5 passes for 85 yards in the loss and was the only member of the Huskies to post more than 57 yards from scrimmage.

Odunze is a baller and could become an impact player for the Bears as early as Week 1. However, unlike his top-10 pick contemporaries in Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers, Odunze will be joining a wide receiver room packed with NFL talent. Will he be able to produce high-end numbers in 2024 while playing alongside legit talents like D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen?

Let's take a look at Odunze's receiving yards prop via the NFL prop bets at FanDuel Sportsbook.

All NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, and they may change after this article is published.

Rome Odunze Prop Bets

Rome Odunze 2024 Outlook

Why Rome Odunze Could Exceed 675.5 Receiving Yards (-112)

Odunze's receiving line seems to be an almost direct call out to 2023 first-rounder Jaxon Smith-Njigba's rookie season. While playing between established talents Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, Smith-Njigba struggled to produce on a consistent, week-to-week basis. He finished his rookie season with 628 receiving yards (36.9 per game) as Geno Smith's third option.

If Odunze plays a full 17 games in his rookie season like Smith-Njigba did in his, the former Husky would need to average just 39.8 receiving yards per game to reach the over on his receiving line -- essentially 3 more yards per game than Smith-Njigba mustered in his initial campaign. Eleven different rookies -- many of whom entered the league with notably less hype than Odunze -- averaged that many receiving yards per game a season ago while eight outright surpassed this 675.5-yard line.

Personally, I think it's perfectly fine to enter the 2024 season under the impression that Caleb Williams can be a more productive passer as a rookie than Geno Smith was for the Seattle Seahawks a year ago. That means -- in my eyes -- that despite intense competition for Williams' attention amongst the Bears' receivers, there should be plenty of volume to go around for anyone who gets open consistently.

I also think it's fine to expect Odunze to become a more productive player than Smith-Njigba was in his first campaign. Odunze was highly coveted on draft night while the question marks surrounding Smith-Njigba led to him falling all the way to pick 20 in 2023. An NFL environment with an ever-increasing thirst for wide receivers allowed Smith-Njigba to reach pick 20 while Odunze didn't escape the first 10 selections in a class loaded with talent.

Of course, Odunze might not need to muscle out two other receivers on a weekly basis like Smith-Njigba did last year. While Keenan Allen has been among the most productive players in the league when he's on the field, the veteran -- who will be 32 come Week 1 -- has missed 12 games over the last 2 seasons while dealing with injuries. Even a brief absence from Allen could provide Odunze with the production push he'd need to eclipse the 675.5-yard mark.

Even if his teammates stay healthy all year, Odunze could still make an impact if he earns a spot in two-receiver sets. Allen has historically played from the slot while Odunze profiles as a boundary-type receiver -- just 23 of his 140 targets last year came on snaps where he ran his route from the slot. If he's a full-time receiver this season and plays a full year, Odunze should be able to eclipse the 675.5-yard mark.

Finally, it's worth just pointing out the obvious. We're dealing with the one of the most promising young quarterback prospects in recent memory, and Williams will be throwing to multiple legit NFL talents and a receiving prospect we love. If the Bears' offensive environment is exciting as it looks, Odunze can prosper even as the team's WR3.

Why Rome Odunze Could Finish Under 675.5 Receiving Yards (-112)

Unfortunately, as good as things may look on paper for the Bears right now, it is still only May. A lot could change by the time Week 1 rolls around.

As confident as we may be that Williams will live up to the hype, there's always a possibility it just doesn't work out. Williams looked like a superstar throughout his college experience, but he played all three years under head coach Lincoln Riley, whose offenses have produced multiple first overall draft picks to varying degrees of success in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. We want to assume Williams' talent transcends Mayfield's and Murray's, but we can't be certain until we see it on an NFL field.

And if Williams is capable of underwhelming, so is Odunze.

It's entirely possible that Allen and Moore split the Bears' passing game between themselves this coming season, leaving very little for Odunze as the WR3. Moore finished with the sixth-highest air yards share (41.5%) last year while Allen garnered an impressive 30.1% of the Los Angeles Chargers' air yards (25th-highest) despite missing 4 games. These were two of the best target earners in the league last year, so Odunze will have his work cut out for him if he wants to establish himself in 2024.

Every game Odunze spends as the Bears' WR3 -- and every game he could miss with injury -- weakens his shot at cresting 675.5 receiving yards. While an innocuous 36.9 receiving yards per game would get him over the line in a full 17 games, each game missed would require him to average almost 4 additional yards to beat that mark. For example, if he can play in only 11 games, he'd need more 60 yards per game to hit the over -- a rate only 30 receivers in the NFL topped in 2023.

Going back to our Smith-Njigba example, even the "best" receiver in a class can disappoint relative to expectations while adjusting to the NFL. Odunze can still be a fantastic player and come up short of the 675.5-yard mark for reasons outside of his control.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.