After months and months of buildup, the NFL Draft has come and gone. Dynasty Managers had a complete information overload as they learned about countless prospects and read about rumored situations. Then after three action-packed days, it was all over. Names like Smith-Njigba, Kincaid, Gibbs, Addison, and Robinson finally found a home. Dynasty managers finally had clarity. But what about the veterans? Which Dynasty Football Veterans were winners post 2023 NFL Draft?
Fantasy writers and podcasters immediately switched from predicting the draft to reacting to it. You can read my fantasy reactions to the Round 1 and Rounds 2 and 3 if you click on those links!
But this article is not about Rookies. This article is about veterans. In life and the NFL, when one door opens, another closes. NFL roster sizes are finite. When one player is drafted, a veteran loses value. A veteran can gain value when a team chooses to go in another direction with a pick. How do Tony Pollard‘s managers feel right now? Certainly better than Ken Walker managers.
Players can lose and gain value in dynasty throughout the year, but some of the most significant changes have already occurred in the NFL Draft fallout. Here are some of the biggest winners and losers.
QB Lamar Jackson | Baltimore
What a 24 hours for Jackson. A few hours before the NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens made Jackson the league’s highest-paid player. If that was not enough good news for Ravens fans, Baltimore turned around and drafted dynamic WR Zay Flowers with the No. 22 overall pick. Jackson now has the best weapons of his entire career with a WR corps of Flowers, free agent signee Odell Beckham Jr. and oft-injured third-year player Rashod Bateman. Add in top-notch TE Mark Andrews, and there is A LOT to get excited about in Todd Monken’s first year in Baltimore. The Lamar Jackson discount window is firmly closed. He is a top-five QB in the dynasty.
QB Geno Smith | Seattle
Smith pulled off a blackjack split. Despite Seattle having two first-round picks, he avoided a rookie QB who could have challenged him at the position this season. Seattle then drafted Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the No. 20 overall pick, giving Smith the best WR trio in the entire league. In just a few hours, Smith had his 2023 fantasy outlook increase, and his window as the starting QB extended. The QB8 overall in 2022, Smith has a chance at increasing his fantasy numbers in 2023.
QB Justin Fields | Chicago
The offseason continues to be win after win for Fields. The laughable suggestion that Chicago would consider another QB with the 1.01 was quickly laid to rest as Carolina stepped in with the Godfather offer of picks, which also included D.J. Moore. With Moore in tow, Fields will play with the most talented WR of his short NFL career. With the No. 10 overall pick, Chicago selected massive Tackler Darnell Wright. Fields now has better weapons and improved OL play—wheels up for a smash season in 2023.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo | Las Vegas
Garoppolo is a classic bridge QB, but right now, the bridge leads to nowhere. Fourth-rounder Aidan O’Connell was the only QB that Vegas drafted, leaving Garoppolo locked and loaded for 2023. Vegas has enough veteran talent that a total collapse resulting in a Caleb Williams or Drake Maye in 2024 may be out of the cards. QB-needy Superflex managers should consider a lowball offer for Garoppolo. He will be inexpensive.
RB Tony Pollard | Dallas
With only journeyman Ronald Jones signing with Dallas, Pollard had already escaped Ezekiel Elliott and avoided several potential free agent threats. There were rumors of Dallas selecting Bijan Robinson or Jahmyr Gibbs on Day 1. Pollard avoided both, and Dallas did not select a running back on Day 2. Pollard can reach RB1 status again in 2023—wheels up.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson | New England
It is still StevenSZN in New England. Damien Harris left Buffalo, and free agent signing James Robinson is on his third team as a pro. The NFL Draft presented other challenges, and Stevenson managers held their breath in Round 1, with New England among the betting favorites for the big two RBs. The Patriots did not draft any RBs. Stevenson is in a great spot right now as the focal point of the New England offense.
RB J.K. Dobbins | Baltimore
This article seems to have a recurring theme, so add Dobbins’s name to the “I avoided the Bijan Robinson” list. Much like Jackson, Dobbins should benefit from an improved Ravens offense. Dynasty managers have waited a long time, but in year four, Dobbins could finally return and hit RB1 status. This is what many had him pegged for when he was drafted. Dobbins should see most of the high-value RB touches in Baltimore for as long as he stays healthy.
RB James Cook | Buffalo
Cook does not have a lot of buzz, but he could return a lot of value for dynasty managers in 2023. Devin Singletary (145 receptions as a Bill) signed with Houston as a free agent. Harris and newly signed Latavius Murray should battle it out for some carries, but Cook should inherit most RB targets. He has a path to low-end RB2 numbers this season.
RB Cam Akers | Los Angeles
Akers’ current RB touch competition in LA is a sixth-round pick (Kyren Williams), a seventh-round pick (Zach Evans), and a UDFA (Tiyon Evans). Last year, Akers was slow out of the gate and outproduced by Darrell Henderson. He avoided being traded and finished the season strongly. Akers is healthy and has the least pedigreed competition in his entire career.
RB Rachaad White | Tampa Bay
Player Profiler 1, The rest of Fantasy is a big fat zero. The Podfather, Billy Muzio, Cody Carpentier, and I were unwavering in supporting Rachaad White and his 2023 outlook. The Buccaneers also displayed considerable confidence in White with their inaction on draft day.
Tampa Bay should take a step back as an offense with the QB change from Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield, but Rachaad White should see a lot of work. He is an outstanding pass catcher and should catch 60 or more passes this season.
RB Dameon Pierce | Houston
When Houston selected QB C.J. Stroud, then traded up with a King’s ransom for DE Will Anderson, they ended up with such a sizeable gap between their second and third selections that they priced themselves out of any of the top RBs. The big winner? Pierce. Free agent signing Devin Singletary will be annoying, but the bulk of the work should go to Pierce. The second-year back has a chance to build on his impressive rookie season.
TE Chig Okonkwo | Tennessee
Okonkwo and Treylon Burks (spoiler alert, he may be a player I discuss under the WRs) look like solid bets to make Year 2 leaps in production. The athletic Okonkwo has a shot at being the second most targeted Titan, one of the best indicators of a TE smash season. Tennessee did not add any of the Day 1 or Day 2 TEs, settling on fifth-round selection Josh Whyle. It has already been a meteoric rise for Okonkwo in the dynasty rankings, but a big Year 2 is looking more and more likely.
WR Treylon Burks | Tennessee
Unlike Okonkwo (a Day 3 pick), Burks was a first rounder, and a player Tennessee has already significantly invested in. There were rumors the Titans could be involved with drafting a player like Smith-Njigba, but Tennessee only addressed the WR position in the seventh round. Robert Woods and Austin Hooper have left, taking a 35-percent target share with them. Burks has to take a massive jump in volume in 2023, and a potential 140 target season is on the horizon. He can gain a significant amount of Dynasty value this season.
WR DJ Moore | Chicago
Moore is the unquestioned WR1 in Chicago, but his biggest fantasy hurdle in 2023 is target volume. Much like Burks, there were some rumors linking Smith-Njigba to Chicago, but they proved false. Chicago did not add an offensive skill position player until Day 3, choosing to address their offensive line in Round 1. The Bears look like an offense on the rise, and if they take a big step forward, the Fields-Moore connection will be a considerable part of it.
WR Brandin Cooks | Dallas
Cook was a player I had some concerns about having if faced with more target competition after the NFL Draft. Dallas had top 30 visits and interest in players like Zay Flowers and some top TEs like Dalton Kincaid. But when the dust settled, Cooks avoided any real threats. Dallas also has inexperienced players at the TE position, providing a clear path for Cooks to be the No. 2 Cowboys target right behind CeeDee Lamb. He is 29 but is in a rejuvenated situation.
I hope some of your players are listed here as the winners. Stay tuned for Part 2! There, I will take a look at some of the Dynasty Veteran Losers.