When the NFL Draft winds down, every Dynasty manager’s focus moves to their 2023 Rookie Draft. In the high stakes and high-level FFPC leagues, the rookie drafts are some of the year’s most pressure-packed and enjoyable few days. In this article, I am looking into my crystal ball and trying to project who will be selected in the first two rounds of FFPC rookie drafts. It is a 2023 Rookie Mock Draft with a twist. These are not my rankings by any means. It is a list that can most likely be ripped up when the NFL Draft is over. However, it is still a great mental exercise to game theory it and try and picture where players are valued.
1- Bijan Robinson RB Texas
He is still one of the most valuable 1.01s we have seen in a long time.
2- Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR Ohio State
Smith-Njigba edges out Jahmyr Gibbs, but this could flip-flop after the NFL Draft, as early as Thursday. Smith-Njigba is a top-notch prospect and a potential target magnet. He is a safe 1.02 with upside. His floor is Diontae Johnson, and his ceiling is Cooper Kupp.
3- Jahmyr Gibbs RB Alabama
Gibbs is more likely to be selected in the NFL First Round. He took some knocks in the fantasy community by weighing in at 199 pounds at the combine. However, he possesses the dynamic pass-catching ability to be a mega fantasy producer. 80 + catch seasons are in the range of outcomes. Even if he lands poorly, FFPC drafters will still select him in the top four.
4- Zach Charbonnet RB UCLA
Charbonnet leaps the WRs due to the perception of positional scarcity. He is a somewhat boring prospect and compares more to a David Montgomery-like fantasy production profile than the exciting Robinson/Gibbs. Charbonnet possesses just enough pass-catching ability to provide some upside. If he lands nicely (Second Round), he should be in rookie top fives. He has enough pre-NFL Draft juice among fantasy drafters to stay in the top 8-10 no matter what.
5- Jordan Addison WR USC
Addison should hear his name called in the First Round, and if he lands nicely (Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs) he should garner some steam in the post-NFL Draft/Pre Rookie Draft window. He is not Devonta Smith, but he is one of the surest bets in this class of WRs to provide Fantasy Production.
6- Zay Flowers WR Boston College
Flowers has steamed up in mock Rookie Drafts and has a shot at being the WR2 right behind JSN (many already have him here). He is a dynamic playmaker with sub-4.4 speed. Flowers has a shot at going as high as 14 to New England and should not slip past Dallas.
7- Roschon Johnson RB Texas
Every year we see a RB land well and gain considerable Rookie Draft capital right after the NFL Draft. Two seasons ago, Trey Sermon landed in San Francisco, and FFPC drafters did not let him slip past the mid-first round; last season James Cook landed in Buffalo and was drafted somewhere between the 1.08 and 1.10.
Johnson fits the bill- he has the size and enough athleticism to help many NFL backfields right away. If he hears his name called in the Second or early Third Round, expect him to cement his place in Rookie First Rounds.
8- Quentin Johnston WR TCU
Johnston is no lock for the NFL First Round. When TCU beat Michigan, and Johnston torched the Wolverines for 163 Receiving Yards, he looked like a top 4 pick in Rookie Drafts. He still could gain some value with the right landing spot, but if he slips outside the top 40, he could go even lower than this. At the end of the First Round, the Kansas City and Buffalo landing spots could be a life preserver for Johnston.
9- Michael Mayer TE Notre Dame
Mayer could go as high as 6 overall if he lands on Green Bay or Washington in the top half of the NFL Draft. FFPC managers will take him as a First Round pick, and he could be a long-time TE1.
Multiple landing spots could elevate him. Even if he slides to the early second round, Mayer is very safe.
10- Dalton Kincaid TE Utah
Like Johnson, I predict Kincaid will rise into the First Round of the NFL Draft and follow suit in FFPC Rookie Drafts. He could be drafted as high as 13th to Green Bay. If he and Mayer are separated in the NFL Draft, he could leapfrog Mayer as the TE1. Mayer is younger and more pedigreed, but Kincaid projects as a move TE with big-time fantasy potential. Think Zach Ertz.
11- Devon Achane RB Texas A+M
Achane projects for higher Draft Capital than backs like Israel Abanikanda, Kendre Miller or Tyjae Spears. While there are some concerns about his sub-190-pound size, Achane is a burner. He is an exciting runner and should be a player who earns targets due to his dynamic speed and explosiveness.
12- Kendre Miller RB TCU
There are a lot of unknowns with Miller due to a lack of testing, but he pops on film. He is also one of the younger prospects in this RB class and possesses size and two-way ability. If Miller can land in the Third or early Fourth Round, FFPC managers will get excited enough to select him here at the end of the First Round. If he can sneak into the Second Round, then pop a cold one, it is Miller Time.
13- Israel Abanikanda RB Pitt
Abanikanda has a wide range of outcomes. He has the potential to rise up to where I have Roschon Johnson listed and could slide down a few spots. He is a mega athlete and not even 21 years old. If he lands well, he will be a “must-draft” player for many fantasy managers.
14- Josh Downs WR UNC
Downs projects a high-level slot receiver at the next level. While Marvin Mims has become this year’s “everyone loves him WR” among fantasy analysts, Downs should be drafted ahead of Mims in the early to mid-second round.
The landing spot will matter, and Downs would be much better served by landing on the spot with a clear path to targets and an unsettled situation in the slot. Picks 35-45 have several WR-needy teams (Indianapolis, LA Rams, Carolina, Green Bay) that could use a player like Downs and solidify his Rookie Draft capital.
15- Tyjae Spears RB Tulane
Spears was a mega-producer at Tulane and exactly the sort of player FFPC managers aggressively drafted in the Second Round of Rookie Drafts. He has a wide range of outcomes based on Draft Capital and landing spot, but if he secures Third or Fourth round draft capital, it will be enough to secure his spot somewhere in the early to mid-second round of Rookie Drafts.
16- Jalin Hyatt WR Tennessee
We are low on Hyatt at PlayerProfiler, but FFPC drafters will put considerable weight into NFL Draft Capital. Hyatt should be an NFL Second Round pick (or higher). That will be just enough to see him settle in right around here.
17- Anthony Richardson QB Florida
Richardson has a wide range of NFL landing spots, but I still believe he will be selected in the Top Ten of the NFL Draft. With his rushing upside, he has the sort of upside that even non-Superflex Dynasty Managers will value.
18- Marvin Mims WR Oklahoma
This is probably too low for Mims, but I can see a perfect storm scenario where RBs get steamed up, and Mims gets drafted in the Third Round and not the Second, as many analysts are hoping for. We like him a lot at Player Profiler, and if he falls to the mid-second round in Rookie Drafts, he becomes a major value.
19- Tank Bigsby RB Auburn
Bigsby should follow a similar path to Zamir White in last year’s FFPC Rookie Drafts, settling in as a second-rounder. Bigsby checks off enough boxes (size, SEC, 40 Time) and seems like the sort of profile destined for the Fourth Round of the NFL Draft.
20- Sam LaPorta TE Iowa
Laporta should be drafted somewhere in the second or third round, and he has a path to immediate fantasy viability. FFPC drafters will value him more than in non-TE Premium formats. He is a move TE with juice. The school pedigree also puts drafters at ease. This could be his floor if LaPorta is selected in the second round of the actual NFL Draft.
21- Luke Musgrave TE Oregon State
Another TE. Expect the mid-second and third rounds of FFPC Rookie Drafts to be full of TEs, as many of them will be selected on Day Two of the NFL Draft. Musgrave is a player we are high on at PlayerProfiler, and despite his limited college production, with his size and athleticism profile, he has a chance to be a highly effective Fantasy TE.
22- Bryce Young QB Alabama
Young is a considerable favorite to be selected with the 1.01 in the NFL Draft.
That sort of NFL Draft capital makes him a lock to be selected in the second round of rookie drafts.
23- Jonathan Mingo WR Ole Miss
Mingo may be too low on this list. He may leapfrog Mims and even Downs, especially if he is selected in the Second Round of the NFL Draft.
24- Zach Evans RB Ole Miss
Evans looks like an early Day Three selection. This is the portion of rookie drafts where RBs will be cleaned up. Expect Evans to fall somewhere in this range unless he plummets in the NFL Draft.