2024 Second-Year Scouting Report: C.J. Stroud


The new rookie class around the NFL gets all the attention over the summer. They’re the flashy new pieces for fantasy football, and of course, they can be anything.

But last year’s rookies aren’t fully formed yet. The players entering their second season aren’t the fancy new thing anymore. That can open up some value in fantasy drafts for players still due to breaking out, and it can lead to fantasy mistakes for players who had a good first season that turned out to be a mirage. Everyone knows Year 1 to Year 2 is one of the biggest jumps an NFL player can make, but this still happens.

To try to head this off, over the course of the summer, we’re going to revisit last year’s rookie class in our Second-Year Scouting Report series, looking at the incoming sophomore NFL players to see what went right in their rookie season, what went wrong, and what we can expect from them going forward.

C.J. Stroud, QB, Houston Texans

C.J. Stroud was one of the candidates to go first overall in the draft a year ago before ultimately falling to second. And maybe that was the fuel he needed, because he played with a chip on his shoulder, becoming only the fifth rookie ever to top 4,000 passing yards (4,108) and winning Offensive Rookie of the Year.

His statistical prowess translated directly to success on the field, reflected in his partnership with rookie coach DeMeco Ryans, as they became the first rookie duo since the merger to win their division since the merger. Stroud also became the only quarterback selected in the top two picks to win a playoff game since 1967. He put up a 157.2 passer rating in the Texans’ Wild Card win, the third highest of all time (at any age), and his 3 touchdown passes in that game were a rookie record.

HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 19: Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) prepares to call for the snap of the ball in the first quarter during the preseason NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans on August 19, 2023 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

These achievements rightfully earned Stroud a slew of honors, including Offensive Rookie of the Year, Rookie of the Year, NFL All-Rookie Team, and a Pro Bowl selection.

What Went Wrong

It might sound cliché to claim nothing went wrong for a rookie quarterback, but Stroud’s debut season was remarkably smooth. He found so much success as an individual and at a team level that we can’t pinpoint much of anything that was his fault. If we had to pinpoint an area for improvement, it would be his inability to avoid sacks. Being sacked 38 times was eight most in the NFL, leading to the fourth-most yards lost (331 yards).

What Went Right


We mentioned it earlier, but Stroud passed for 4,108 yards, leading the league with 273.9 passing yards per game. Notably, he delivered a stellar performance in Week 9 against the Buccaneers with a rookie-best 470-yard passing game, during which he threw five touchdown passes without any interceptions, only the sixth game in NFL history where a quarterback passed for at least 450 yards and 5 touchdowns with no interceptions. His 23 passing touchdowns established a new Houston rookie record.

Unsurprisingly, his ball placement and accuracy carried over into the NFL, with Stroud completing 63.9% of his passes. Moreover, he threw 186 passes before being intercepted, setting an NFL record to start a career. His error-free play continued throughout the season, with Stroud becoming the only rookie to lead the league in touchdown-to-interception ratio at 4.6.

Prognosis Entering 2024

Heading into the 2024 season, Stroud’s expectations remain high, with the Texans making significant moves to bolster the talent around him. The addition of Stefon Diggs adds another dynamic weapon to his already formidable receiving corps, while Joe Mixon’s presence in the backfield provides a reliable workhorse running back. As a second-year starter, these additions will only accelerate the already ahead-of-schedule development of Stroud.

With a lack of rushing upside, Stroud sits firmly in the second tier of fantasy quarterbacks. However, to ascend to the next tier, he would need to generate impressive touchdown numbers in the upcoming season, which might be a tall order given the expectation of a more balanced offensive approach with Mixon’s addition.

Dynasty Outlook

Some have hailed C.J. Stroud as the new dynasty QB1, but we may be acting a bit too quickly. At 22 years old, he is younger than many in his tier, but there is a key factor that Stroud’s game doesn’t possess — rushing. When we are talking about top-flight fantasy quarterbacks, most these days offer a dual-threat ability, like Josh Allen or Jalen Hurts. This doesn’t rule Stroud out of reaching these heights, but it significantly hinders his bid to finish in the top three fantasy quarterbacks. He may belong in the second tier with players like Joe Burrow, Jordan Love and Justin Herbert — far from a slight to him.

Previous NFL Schedule 2024: Fantasy Winners and Losers at Running Back Next 2024 Second-Year Scouting Reports: Last Year’s Rookie Class, Revisited