Fantasy Football Hot Takes for 2023

by Casey Gruarin · Best Ball Plays & Strategy

Going against the popular player/team takes that everyone agrees on is one way to gain an edge in fantasy football. It’s easy to agree with what every other fantasy account is saying on Twitter about Player X. Football is not 100-percent predictable however so going against the grain can lead fantasy gamers to a massive edge. Especially if the opposite takes of the public hits. Examples of this are the 2022 Seattle Seahawks.

The public agreed they were going to have almost no fantasy value and Geno Smith, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Kenneth Walker all ended up being valuable assets. Josh Jacobs was a league-winning running back even though he was being drafted in the middle rounds of drafts. Going against the field could be the edge needed to win tournaments, redraft leagues, best ball, or turn the tide in dynasty.

Kyle Trask Can Become a Superflex Starter and Help the Buccaneers Weapons Surpass Their Average Draft Position

Kyle Trask has gotten quite familiar with the bench in his career. Only amassing nine pass attempts since being draft in 2021, his highlights are holding the water bottle for Tom Brady. If there were ever a pass, sitting behind the GOAT might be it. But with Brady retired, Trask suddenly only has to compete with Baker Mayfield on a one-year contract. Mayfield could fail, the team could decide to tank and hand Trask the reigns, or they could go to Trask as a potential spark in a weak division. Mayfield’s one year contract suggests he might not start every game this season. Trask will get a chance at some point. The fantasy community is gaining buzz on Jordan Love who has barely played, so why not Kyle Trask who’s free in every league?

Kyle Trask Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

There have been flashes of Kyle Trask playing good football in college. He has an 88.5 (95th-percentile) College QBR and a 9.8 (93rd percentile) yards per attempt in college as well. This means he was efficient as a passer while throwing the ball downfield. He showcased this in his last season where he threw for 4283 passing yards, 9.8 yards per attempt, 68 percent completion percentage, 43 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions. This is impressive considering he played in the SEC.

This talent was enough to get him drafted in the second round in 2021. Trask has incredible size at 6-5 236-pounds with over 10-inch hands. There isn’t much athleticism, but this could be helpful for Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Rachaad White, and even potentially Trey Palmer because he will be standing in the pocket throwing instead of rushing. He has the arm talent and the weapons to be a potential threat at QB. Keep an eye on his name as training camp approaches. He will push Mayfield for the starting job and eventually win it.

Get Ready to Sell Javonte Williams in Dynasty and Stay Away in Season-Long Formats

When the Javonte Williams buzz goes berserk during camp because the news is reporting he’s making a miraculous recovery, then it’s time to sell. Williams already came into the NFL running an unimpressive 4.62 40-yard dash. Now he’ll be playing off of major knee surgery. He tore three different ligaments in his knee as opposed to Breece Hall who just tore his ACL. With slower straight-line speed, Williams relied heavily on his 11.02 90th-percentile Agility Score where he dominated the short areas as rookie.

With major knee surgery, Williams might never be able to reclaim his burst or his short area quickness. If he already is slow in a straight line, and he loses any of his ability to cut, juke, or evade tackles, then his value will take a massive blow. Being able to reclaim his former glory in evading tackles will be a tall hill to climb in his career. Betting against a player losing his biggest strength could be an edge in fantasy football, especially in dynasty.

Sean Payton is notorious in his offenses for splitting up running back work to keep his backs healthy. Javonte Williams only had one game in 2021 with over 20 touches. He hasn’t fully established himself as a true bell cow yet. Payton handing him the full reins at any point is highly unlikely unless other running backs in the offense get injured. This makes Samaje Perine a value in redraft because he will see plenty of touches early in the season. Additionally, there’s no reason he won’t be splitting touches with Williams even late season.

Perine hasn’t missed a game in the last three seasons, so he isn’t going anywhere. This could also make Tyler Badie a sneaky stash in dynasty who runs a 4.45 40 time, has a 94th-percentile College Dominator, and a 97th-percentile College Target Share. Lastly, Payton has already brought in Perine, Tony Jones, Marquez Callaway, Adam Trautman, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and Marvin Mims which signal he’s going to transform this offense into his own molding.

Travis Etienne Can Finish as the RB1 Overall

There are several ways Travis Etienne can lead the league in running back fantasy points this season. Etienne is currently being undervalued because of Tank Bigsby and his lack of involvement in the passing game. The Jaguars offense has the potential to be prolific this season. They added Anton Harrison in Round 1 of the NFL Draft this year which should create holes for Etienne on the offensive line. Remember, Etienne finished No. 8 in rushing yards last season with 1,125.

That number could skyrocket in 2023 with an improved OL and an elite offense. He only had five touchdowns as well which should go up under an improved offense. Etienne’s explosive profile (No. 12 in Breakaway Run Rate and No. 5 in Breakaway Runs) could see him soar to a 1300+ rushing yards and 8+ touchdown season. If the Jaguars are the favorite in the AFC South and a playoff team, he will also see favorable game scripts.

The fantasy community doesn’t believe Travis Etienne can get there in the passing department. However, Etienne was only a rookie last season technically. He’ll be another year removed from his foot injury. He has 37 and 48 reception seasons on his college resume with Trevor Lawrence. He finished No. 15 in the NFL in routes run and No. 5 in yards per reception last season. He’s out there running the routes and being explosive when he catches the ball. The young running back just needs to see a slight uptick in targets.

If he could reach somewhere close to Miles Sanders rookie year with Doug Pederson (63 targets, 50 receptions, 500 yards, 3 tds) he could easily push for RB1 overall along with his rushing.

Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall Will Fail to Live up to Their Average Draft Positions

Aaron Rodgers hasn’t finished in the top half of the league in plays per game since 2018 according to The Green Bay Packers have only finished in the top three in plays run per game three times since Rodgers became the starter in 2008. In 2021 and 2020, the Packers finished dead last in pace of play per Sharp Football. His offenses are slow paced which will make it difficult for both Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson to be the fantasy superstars the public hopes they will be.

In addition, Rodgers is somebody who is notorious for taking years to trust his wide receivers. It took Davante Adams five seasons to hit 1,000 yards. Jordy Nelson didn’t hit 1,000 until year four. The former Packer pounded the table to bring in Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb. While the target competition isn’t special, these former Packer receivers along with Mecole Hardman, Corey Davis, and Tyler Conklin will all eat into the target share and the red zone targets. Wilson’s price is much too high in the early second round as a top 10 receiver. That’s WR1 price for a WR who hasn’t yet finished as a WR1.

PUP List

Breece Hall according to reports is already heading to the PUP list to start camp. Again the slow paced offense will limit opportunities for everyone in the New York Jets offense. Garrett Wilson and Hall in a slow offense would have to dominate touches and be masters of efficiency on limited plays to hit as WR 1’s and RB 1’s. The Jets suddenly have a crowded running back room. Michael Carter has a 10.81 97th-percentile Agility Score and was top 15 in the NFL last season in receptions for running backs. Zonovan Knight proved to be a usable asset as well with three games over ten fantasy points as the starter.

The biggest red flag was the Israel Abanikanda (97th-percentile College Dominator, 97th-percentile Burst Score) draft pick which signaled that the Jets weren’t satisfied with their RB room. They have also been tied to Dalvin Cook. The Jets wouldn’t be keeping all these guys around if Hall was 100 percent. In the third round, Hall is too dangerous. He might not be ready for training camp and has increased touch competition. Fantasy leagues can’t be won late in the year if you don’t have players that help you make the playoffs early in the season. Hall will have a large hill to climb in 2023 to pay off third round capital.