There aren’t many NFL wideouts that have come out of nowhere to take the league by surprise out of the gate quite like Los Angeles Rams’ rookie Puka Nacua did in 2023-24. The BYU alum earned second-team All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl spot in his first season in the league, breaking rookie records along the way; his prop bets would have been tempting for bettors at California sportsbooks had they been operating.
The fifth-round draft pick in 2023 out of Orem, Utah, finished the year with 105 receptions for 1,486 yards and six scores, racking up an approximate value (per ProFootballReference.com) of 14 along the way. Nacua certainly did his part to get Los Angeles into the playoffs. And once he was there, he made more history with nine catches for 181 yards and a touchdown in the Rams’ 24-23 loss to the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card round. That was also a record for most receiving yards in a playoff game by a rookie, capping a historic season for Nacua.
Record-Setting Nacua Great Value For Rams
The 22-year-old finished the year with an NFL record for receptions as a rookie, breaking the previous mark of 104 that Miami Dolphins stud Jaylen Waddle hauled in during the 2021 NFL regular season. Those pining for California sports betting apps will see that Nacua gives Rams fans reason to believe that 2024 could be their year.
Nacua did all this on a $811,244 rookie cap hit, which meant that his 1,575 yards (rushing and receiving combined) evened out to $515 per yard in total. That was by far the most efficient total among wide receivers in the league.
To determine Nacua’s value to the Rams, BetCalifornia.com used ProFootball-Reference.com to find the salary cap hit, then combined receiving and rushing production (no return yards) of every NFL wide receiver this regular season. Then we calculated dollars per yard for each player to determine the 10 most value driven WRs this season. Salary and yards were included for all teams the player was on during the 2023-24 season. The dollar per yard was rounded to the nearest whole number.
Best Value Wide Receivers In 2023-24 Season
Rams’ Nacua A Star In The Making Already
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Of all the wideouts that call the NFL home, none did a better job of racking up yards on a light salary cap hit like Nacua did in 2023. His total of $515 per yard (again, receiving and rushing only) beat out Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Detroit Lions ($738 per yard) for the top spot in the league, according to our research.
Of the 10 wideouts providing best value, none had as many yards as Nacua (1,575), with St. Brown being the next closest, at 1,539. Up next were Nico Collins of the Houston Texans (1,304) and George Pickens of the Pittsburgh Steelers (1,158).
Nacua’s $811,244 salary cap hit was also the second lowest among the group, ahead of only Demario Douglas of the New England Patriots ($783,333), Nacua represented a bit less of a cap hit than Dontayvion Wicks of the Green Bay Packers ($825,637) and Tank Dell of the Houston Texans ($951,049).
On top of all the other records that Nacua shattered this season, perhaps the most impressive was his single-game mark for receiving yards by a rookie in a playoff game against Detroit, knocking off Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf’s previous high of 180 yards in 2019.
Nacua and the Rams are out of the playoffs, but there’s no denying that the rookie out of BYU soared on the field this season, giving L.A. football fans reason for hope in 2024 and beyond. Stay with BetCalifornia.com for coverage of efforts to bring legal regulated statewide sports betting, and the California sportsbook promo codes that would be sure to follow, into reality.