2023 NFL Draft | Fantasy Football Reactions: Day 1

by Theo Gremminger · Draft Strategy

The 2023 NFL Draft is now in the books. What picks were made on Day 1 that were the most impactful for fantasy football and specifically, Dynasty?

Three QBs in The Top Four Overall Picks 

Bryce Young was selected No. 1 overall to Carolina, followed by C.J. Stroud at two to Houston. After The Texans traded back into the top three to pick Will Anderson, Indianapolis followed with Anthony Richardson

Young had been projected for the top spot and now joins Trevor Lawrence, Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, and Jared Goff as the most recent signal callers to hear their names called at the top spot. He is now the face of the franchise in Carolina. 

After weeks of the fantasy community worrying about Stroud as a potential faller and false fears about S2 scores, he lands as the face of the franchise for a moribund Houston franchise that is suddenly energized. Stroud has a chance to become the best Texans QB ever. 

Both Young and Stroud have tremendous opportunities ahead of them. However, the fantasy winner of the night at the QB position is Anthony Richardson. He not only secured top-five overall draft capital but landed in Indianapolis with head coach Shane Steichen. Steichen helped speed up the development of Justin Herbert in Los Angeles. He also saw the fantasy explosion of Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia. 

Richardson is young and inexperienced but is also the most athletic QB we have ever seen in terms of speed and size. When Richardson breaks through and takes over as the starter, he will immediately become fantasy relevant due to his outstanding ability as a rusher. He is now the 1.02 in Superflex, with Young and Stroud comfortably in the top four. 

Bijan Robinson Lands in the Top 10 

The chosen one is finally here. It is officially time to freak out. At PlayerProfiler, we had Atlanta circled at eight as the logical landing spot for a player of Robinson’s magnitude and pedigree. Make no mistake, Atlanta is the nuts landing spot. Atlanta was one of the most run-heavy teams in the entire NFL this past season. 

We have seen how Arthur Smith utilizes his backs, and the results are very promising. Cordarrelle Patterson finished as an out-of-nowhere RB1 in 2021, and Tyler Allgeier rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2022. Those running backs certainly beat their ADPs and outproduced them. Smith was also the OC in Tennessee when Derrick Henry had 378 rushing attempts in 2020. 

Robinson is the Dynasty RB1 Overall. He is also a top 10 pick in Redraft and has a chance to lead the entire league in touches. A no-brainer 1.01 in all rookie draft formats. 

Robinson was Not the Only Running Back Selected in the Top 15

Jahmyr Gibbs set fantasy Twitter ablaze when he was selected at No. 12 Overall. Gibbs being drafted in Round 1 became increasingly apparent in the week leading up to the Draft, and sportsbooks started to reflect it. But to have this sort of Draft Capital puts Gibbs in rarified air. 

He is not only the second-highest non-QB skill position player in this NFL Draft, but he is only the eighth RB to be selected in the top 15 overall picks since 2015. Gibbs and Robinson join elite company: Saquon Barkley, Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Zeke Elliott, Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon. Each player hit at least one top 6 fantasy season at the RB position. 

Let your league-mates worry about the crowded backfield in Detroit. Gibbs may be an outlier in weight, but he is also now a Draft capital outlier. 

 Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the First WR off the Board

We have been high on JSN at PlayerProfiler throughout the draft process and expected him to be the first WR off the board. We were correct, but the landing spot was not ideal. Seattle presents a potential logjam for targets in year one with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett firmly entrenched. 

Even still, doubting JSN and moving him down in your rookie rankings would be the incorrect process. Lockett will turn 31 years old, and as dominant a player as Metcalf if, he has never finished higher than WR10 in PPG. We need to temper our expectations slightly for year one, although Smith-Njigba finishing as a WR3 would not surprise me at all. 

I believe he is an elite talent and the sort of player that will command targets throughout his career. He should take off in 2024. 

Quentin Johnston is Now Attached to Justin Herbert

Johnston was a player that I thought could slide into the first round’s tail end or the second’s very beginning, and I was wrong. The Los Angeles Chargers selected Johnston at No. 21 overall, and he is now attached to one of the better pocket passers in the league in Justin Herbert

Johnston, much like JSN, finds himself in a logjam at WR with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, but this is a great landing spot. Allen is 31 and Williams is 28, and both players missed time in 2022. Target hog RB Austin Ekeler is going to turn 28 in May. This roster was starving for an infusion of youth, and the 21-year-old Johnston fits the bill. 

Profiles like Johnston can often disappoint but when they hit, they can really hit. Johnston was a YAC monster at TCU, and that ability can lead to manufactured year-one touches. Johnston has a wide range of outcomes, but the positive outcomes are smash seasons. 

Zay Flowers is Now a Raven | Steve Smith Part Two?

A few hours before the NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens made Lamar Jackson the highest-paid player in the entire NFL. A few hours later, they drafted one of the most dynamic WRs Jackson has ever played with. 

Flowers joins free agent signee Odell Beckham Jr., and oft-injured third year player Rashod Bateman in an exciting and dynamic WR corp. Add in Mark Andrews, and Baltimore now has the pass-catching weapons to keep up with offenses like Cincinnati and Cleveland in what looks like an AFC North shootout division.

In terms of fantasy, this is a tough spot for Flowers at least in 2023, but Beckham is on a one-year deal and has missed significant time over the past few seasons, and Bateman has only played in 19 games in two seasons as a pro. Flowers is a stud with sub 4.4 speed and playmaking ability. 

Year 1 could be a problematic fantasy season – if everyone stays healthy, but that is a big if. Flowers will slide down in Rookie Drafts, and a few seasons from now, we could look back and view him as one of the best dynasty values from this draft class. He compares favorably to former Raven Steve Smith.

Jordan Addison Continues the WR Run

Addison lands perfectly and is now my 1.04 in non-Superflex Rookie Drafts. If I had to bet on one of these WRs providing immediate WR2 numbers in 2022 it would be Addison. He is skinny at 173 pounds but is an absolute killer as a route runner and technician.

Addison lands in a pass-happy offense and should immediately fill in for the departed Adam Thielen. With Justin Jefferson and TJ Hockenson firmly entrenched at the WR1 and TE positions, Addison now has the luxury of winnable weekly matchups every week. 

Minnesota selected Addison right around the same range as Jefferson- the best WR in the league. They seem to know what they are doing as an organization in evaluating pass catchers. Addison could lead all Rookie WRs in fantasy points in 2023 and provide immediate returns to Dynasty managers. 

The Buffalo Bills Take a Shot at Their own Travis Kelce.

The 2023 crop of TEs is one of the best positional groups in this draft, and we expected them to fly off the board. Buffalo traded up to 25, leapfrogging the Dallas Cowboys, to select Dalton Kincaid. After two straight NFL playoffs of getting burned by Travis Kelce and The Kansas City Chiefs, The Bills added one of the draft’s most natural pass catchers. Kincaid is now attached to Josh Allen in one of the league’s best offenses and has a shot at becoming their number-two target as a rookie. 

Kincaid is a move TE in the truest sense of the word. He can line up all over the field and present mismatches to the opposition. Kincaid provides another red zone weapon and can line up at WR, the slot, or in two TE sets with Dawson Knox. He was a mega producer this past season at Utah and caught 16 TDs over his past two. Kincaid now lands perfectly and will be a first-round selection in rookie drafts.