4 Fantasy Football Rookies to Avoid in 2023

by Aaron St. Denis · Analytics & Advanced Metrics

August is almost upon us and with that we see fantasy football draft season officially kick into full gear. After spending months in draft rooms full of sharks and degenerates, it’s time for the casual drafters and home league players to return in mass to wreak havoc on the ADPs we thought we knew. The hardest part for casual drafters and experts alike is deciding where to draft the incoming rookies. These players are harder to evaluate than any others, as we simply do not know how they will adjust to the NFL game. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at 4 fantasy football rookies to avoid for 2023 drafts.

C.J. Stroud, HOU

Here is the outlook you would expect for a rookie quarterback. C.J. Stroud could easily be the most accurate quarterback to come out of the NFL Draft in ten years, but that isn’t going to matter in his rookie season. For all his talent and potential, he lacks the rushing upside of Richardson and will have to do this solely with his arm. On a struggling Texans offense ripe with inexperience, that’s going to be a tall task.

The Texans’ offense went from being a middle-of-the-pack offence to a bottom-of-the-barrel offense after the suspension and departure of Deshaun Watson.

CJ Stroud Advanced Stats & Metrics

Unlike Richardson, Stroud does not come into the NFL lacking a passing resume. The above numbers are impressive. 4,435 passing yards in 2021 is particularly insane and when you combine that with 44 touchdowns it goes to show why his Player Profiler player comparable is Joe Burrow. The 4,435 passing yards is an extremely unlikely number to reach as a rookie as it would be an NFL rookie record.

Even if he were able to come close to that passing yards number, the stat that is wholly unobtainable is 44 passing touchdowns, also an NFL rookie record. If Stroud were to match both the rookie passing yards and touchdowns record, it would work out to be 21.32 points per game if he didn’t include any rushing yards. Simply put, it’s unlikely that Stroud breaks out in Year 1 with the Houston Texans and should be a stay away for fantasy gamers in 2023.

Zach Charbonnet, SEA

The case against Zach Charbonnet is an easy one. He is going off the board as the third rookie running back behind only Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs and at pick 106 is way overpriced.

Zach Charbonnet Advanced Stats & Metrics

One Seattle running back is packed full of speed and explosiveness, and the other one is Zach Charbonnet. The Seahawks used a second-round pick on Charbonnet so most fantasy managers anticipate the relegation of Kenneth Walker, but that’s not going to be the case. Once Charbonnet and Walker are side-by-side on the field at Seahawks training camp it’s going to be painfully obvious that Walker has that extra something that Charbonnet lacks. Charbonnet’s high draft cost combined with his pending role as a backup and injury handcuff has him on my do-not-draft list.

Zay Flowers, BAL

Flowers was drafted one pick ahead of Addison in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, but his landing spot and offensive scheme are far less ideal. Addison went to a pass-happy Vikings offense where he is going to be the clear number two pass catcher. Flowers on the other hand goes to a run-first Ravens offense that not only has a quarterback known for keeping the ball himself but also sports the likes of tight end Mark Andrews who will be the unquestioned leader in targets in 2023.

If that weren’t enough to dampen the party on Flowers, he goes to a wide receiver room that also has Rashod Bateman and Odell Beckham Jr. While none are anywhere near as good as Justin Jefferson, it’s a lot of competition for targets to overcome in a team that is routinely towards the bottom of the league in pass attempts.

Kirk Cousins Advanced Stats & Metrics

The stat lines above and below show the past three seasons’ worth of passing numbers for both Kirk Cousins and Lamar Jackson. They are not the same.

Lamar Jackson Advanced Stats & Metrics

Cousins has never thrown for less than 4,200 yards during that period, while Jackson has never thrown for more than 2,900 yards. Two receivers in Addison and Flowers, with two completely different outlooks for 2023, are all based on the quarterback throwing the ball to them.

Lamar Jackson simply limits the upside for Flowers too much, and at a similar ADP cost, give me Addison all day.

Michael Mayer, LV

Michael Mayer was my TE1 going into the 2023 NFL Draft, and he still possesses the skillset to be a very good tight end in the NFL for a long time.

Unfortunately, he joins a Raiders team that is spiralling out of control and may be among the worst offenses in the league. Mayer was easily the most well-rounded tight end in the rookie class, but that may prove to make him more valuable to his NFL team than to his fantasy managers.

Mayer has good hands, but not great hands. He is a good blocker, but not a great one. He has good speed, but not great speed. The trend here is obvious. Mayer is as solid as they come for all-around rookie tight ends, but as I mentioned before, that may not translate directly into fantasy points. The Raiders offense projects to be a trainwreck in 2023 and that should cap any ceiling that Mayer has. Ultimately, he is going to be a stash and develop an asset for fantasy and is going to take some time to produce anything trustworthy on your squad.