These are 10 Must Draft Players for Fantasy Football in 2023! For more takes from Seth Diewold – Check out the Dynasty Roundtable on YouTube and Podcast!
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Justin Fields has QB 1 overall upside, and he is being drafted a round and a half, sometimes two rounds after the elite quarterbacks. Sure, Fields rushing will likely come down this season, but once the Bears figured out how to unlock his rushing ability last season, in Week 6, Fields finished as a top 8 QB in fantasy points per game eight times from Week 6 through Week 15. This included back-to-back weekly QB 1 finishes in Weeks nine and 10.
Those QB 1 weeks included back-to-back finishes of over 40 points. By all accounts, Fields is having a great camp, and now he has an improved offensive line and a new primary target in D.J. Moore. Also, throw in the fact the NFC North defenses aren’t great, and you have the recipe for some shootouts! That includes the Bears defense, which while improved, won’t be very good in 2023.
Similar to Fields, Purdy is being undervalued for a couple of reasons. Number one, there is uncertainty about his injury. Number two, the sample size for Purdy performing well in Shanahan’s offense isn’t large. But what we saw was unbelievable! Starting in Week 13 through Week 18, he was the QB 9 overall in total fantasy points. He’s looks like he’s on track to start in Week 1, so I’m all in on Brock Purdy especially where he goes in fantasy drafts.
Montgomery has always been a player that has made the most out of what he had. In 2020, Montgomery finished as the RB 6 in fantasy points per game. In 2021, he finished No. 12 in fantasy points per game, and yes, in 2022, he disappointed by finishing as the RB 27 in fantasy points per game but think about this for a second.
Right now, on average, Montgomery is being drafted in the 7th, sometimes the 8th round of fantasy drafts. Thats’s RB 23 according to Underdog Best Ball ADP. Do we think that Montgomery is going to hit his floor outcome on a better offense, with a top 5 offensive line that just led Jamaal Williams to 17 rushing TDs? The truth is Montgomery has never had anywhere close to a top 5 offensive line and has never played in an offense with this much talent that will be able to move the ball up and down the field. Pair that with the fact that Goff is immobile and will throw dump offs to both Montgomery and Gibbs, and there is a recipe for Montgomery to SMASH in 2023.
Antonio Gibson is now the featured pass catching running back in Washington. After back-to-back seasons finishing as an RB 2 in fantasy points per game, 2020 – RB 16, 2021 – RB 17, Gibson entered 2022 with sights set on taking over Washington’s backfield. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen thanks to the coaching staffs love affair with Brian Robinson.
Now, Gibson should have a decent amount of the pass catching opportunity within the offense to himself. It looks like he’s redeemed himself from the fumbling issues he’s had. This is a running back that has elite speed and a great athletic profile in an offense that is likely going to be playing from behind in a tough division. This means dump off after dump off from a quarterback who is going to use him as a security blanket. Draft Antonio Gibson!
It’s hard to imagine a world where the clear lead running back on a team with potentially the best offense in football, the Seahawks are at least in the conversation, is being drafted outside of the first four rounds in fantasy drafts. This downturn in ADP is because the Seahawks drafted a running back named Zach Charbonnet. However, fantasy gamers should scoop up the Kenneth Walker value while they can.
There are a few reasons for this. One, Charbonnet isn’t the athlete Kenneth Walker is and he won’t be completely phased out of the passing game. Walker is going to get touches in this offense, including passing work, which he showed that he was capable of doing last year (35 targets isn’t nothing). What is going to remain true is that Walker will see a majority of the red zone touches – just like he did last year as he ranked No. 3 amongst RBs in red zone touches. Getting the running back on the team that is going to take most of the red zone touches in an offense that is going to be in the red zone a lot sounds like a good bet to me.
Amon Ra St. Brown
Amon Ra St. Brown is that dude, and I’m not sure why other people don’t share my enthusiasm. He should be drafted in the first round, but oftentimes he slips to Round 2. The truth is St. Brown plays in an offense that is going to feature him, and his quarterback was made for him. Goff isn’t going to run, and he’s going to get protection. Not that it would matter because St. Brown gets open at impressive clip. In fact, his Route Win Rate ranked No. 2 amongst qualified wide receivers last season.
There is no question St. Brown is going to lead this team in targets, and there are likely going to be shootouts coming with the Vikings, Bears, and Packers within the division. At the back end of the first round, do yourself a favor and draft the receiver who is going to mentioned in the same breath as Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, and Cooper Kupp next year.
This pick might be boring, but sometimes it’s better to be boring. Meyers finished on the cusp of WR 2 territory last season, as he finished as the WR 29 overall and the WR 29 in fantasy points per game. Now, Meyers is in Las Vegas with Josh McDaniel, a coach who is familiar with him, and Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Raiders defense is not going to be good this year. This means they are going to be playing in a lot of catchup, negative game script situations. We know that Garoppolo doesn’t like to throw the ball deep. In 11 games last year, Garoppolo ranked No. 30 in Air Yards per Attempt. Meyers is going to be running a lot of those underneath routes Garoppolo is likely to target within this offense.
Throw in the fact there is a scenario where the Raiders are not a good football team (it’s very likely). This means Davante Adams may be on the move, and if that happens, all of sudden Meyers is the No. 1 target in the offense. Currently being drafted at WR 58 in Underdog leagues, Meyers needs to be a part of your draft plans in 2023.
Fantasy gamers are going to want pieces of this Seattle offense. Last season, Lockett finished as the WR 13 overall and the WR 16 in fantasy points per game. He didn’t show any signs of slowing down even though he turned 30 years old. Now, entering his age 31 season, Lockett is paired with another wide receiver in Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
I believe there is going to be room for everyone in this offense, and Lockett is going to have plenty of weeks where he is featured prominently in shootout scenarios against the 49ers, Cardinals, and Rams within the division. You can write in at least 100 targets again for Lockett this season, and if he gets that he is going to be well worth the investment at his current ADP which is somewhere in the sixth round. (WR 32 overall in Underdog)
The Bears showed Kmet he was a part of their future plans when they signed him to a 4 year 50-million-dollar extension. The Bears didn’t need to do this before the season, but clearly, they felt that it was in their best interest to lock up their young tight end. Last season, Kmet ranked as the TE 8 overall and the TE 16 in fantasy points per game. Last season, he only saw 69 targets in 17 games, but the Bears offense was a mess for much of the season.
This year, the Bears added D.J. Moore, and they bolstered their offensive line in the NFL Draft and Free Agency. All of this bodes well for Kmet who proved that he could get open last year. Kmet ranked No. 4 amongst tight ends in target separation and No. 13 in Yards per Route Run. That’s not bad given that Kmet is currently being drafted as TE 16 off the board at pick No. 148 in Underdog drafts.
Last but not least, an oldy but a goody, it’s Mike Gesicki. I’ve had an admiration for Gesicki clear back to my first days with PlayerProfiler. It’s true. The first article I ever wrote for PlayerProfiler was about how I believed Mike Gesicki could become the TE 1 in fantasy football – right up there with Kelce!
Now, that obviously didn’t come to fruition, but Gesicki is a low risk, high reward player in 2023. The Patriots also hired Bill O’Brien as their offensive coordinator who has a history with Gesicki at Penn State. O’Brien is also a grown-up NFL coach with years of experience coaching offense. This offense should be a lot better this season, and there is going to be room for targets. Gesicki could very well creep up into the top-12 tight ends once again. Currently, he’s being drafted as the TE 30. At that price, I’m drafting him.