Fantasy Rookie Rankings | 2023 Rookie Guide Review – Future Stars

by Matt Babich · Best Ball Plays & Strategy

The 2023 PlayerProfiler Rookie Guide is here, and it’s chalk-full of future NFL stars. PlayerProfiler’s own Cody Carpentier evaluated the film and advanced metrics for 120 prospects and, with the help a few of our most esteemed writers, put together the BEST 2023 Rookie Guide in the business. For each player, you’ll find a Draft Grade (out of 10), Fantasy Rookie Rankings, Film Notes, Workout Metrics, and Player Comparable.

Not only is this the most comprehensive rookie guide for fantasy players, but it is also only $10. You truly can’t find this quality/cost combo anywhere else. In this article, I’ll highlight the players with the two highest Draft Grades and NFL outlooks in the 2023 class.

Bijan Robinson

Bio & Film Summary

It’s no surprise to see that Bijan Robinson crushed his evaluation in the rookie guide. A 5-star recruit, he hit the ground running after committing to Texas, breaking out his freshman season with over 700 yards and an Alamo Bowl MVP. Despite sharing a backfield with an ultra-talented Roschon Johnson, Robinson still managed to compile over 2,700 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns while averaging six yards per carry in his next two seasons. In 2022, he set career highs in attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and receiving yards en route to earning the Doak Walker Award (Best Running Back) and a unanimous All-American nomination.

Robinson’s talent shines through on film. You will find few examples of him taking a play for negative yardage. He displays a level of contact balance and body control that Cody Carpentier hasn’t seen since Derrick Henry. This, alongside his elite vision and agility, allow for him to fluidly identify the opening, hit the gap, and burst into the second level carry after carry. His play style matches closely with Cam Akers (except Robinson is far superior, obviously). As prospects, both backs displayed an elite balance and agility with the ability to make a house call on any give touch. Both were true bell-cows in their systems. Each generated over a 35-percent College Dominator Rating. Further, both running backs were proficient receivers who were heavily relied upon by their teams. Considering his college stats and workout metrics, Marshawn Lynch and Derrius Guice are two running backs who are also in Robinson’s comp-tree.

Future Outlook

His 8.72 (No. 1) Draft Grade makes Robinson the most valuable asset in this class of skill-position players. It’s rare that a running back of Robinson’s pedigree comes around. He boasts stellar college performance while playing alongside another highly sought-after running back in Roschon Johnson. He also wields an elite athleticism profile, recording a 108.7 (89th-percentile) Speed Score and 124.9 (82nd-percentile) Burst Score. Robinson is without a doubt the top running back in this class and the 1.01 in all dynasty league rookie drafts this season. Because running backs of this echelon are so valuable, Robinson is immediately in the conversation to be the overall RB1 in dynasty formats. His expectations for 2023 will likely be a top 15-or-better finish from him in fantasy points per game.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Bio & Film Summary

Wide Receiver University (a.k.a Ohio State University) has done it again. One year after blessing us with Chris Olave in the NFL, we get Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Smith-Njigba was a top-50 player in the nation when he committed to Ohio State. He rarely saw the field his freshman season. This was largly due to playing behind three first-round picks in Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Jameson Williams.

Earning a spot after Williams’ departure, Smith-Njigba wasted no time in proving his worth. As a sophomore, he led the team in receiving production with 1,600 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 95 receptions. Seeing the first-year starter earn a 26-percent College Dominator Rating and out-produce both Wilson and Olave shocked the world of football, and the hype began to amass. His senior season was something of a mulligan. Smith-Njigba played in only three games due to injury.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

He doesn’t blow you away with his straight-line speed, but Smith-Njigba is an elite separator. His ability to work the slot and find openings in the defense is second-to-none in this class. His game revolves around his route running technique and agility. These are two traits that can make a slot receiver truly shine at the next level. Considering this, it’s no shock that his play style comparison is Amon-Ra St. Brown. Both receivers utilize their crisp route running to consistently create separation, are fluid at the catch point, and excel at getting up-field and creating yards after the catch.

Future Outlook

Smith-Njigba’s 8.44 (No. 1) Draft Grade makes him far and away the most valuable wide receiver in this class. With his level of talent, there’s a legitimate argument to select him over quarterbacks in Superflex rookie drafts, especially if the Houston Texans double-up on him and C.J. Stroud during the draft. His 98.5 Athleticism Score may not as appetizing as many in his class, but he possesses the tools he needs to be a WR1 at the next level.

With his talent and projected draft capital, we’re already looking at a top-15 dynasty asset at the position. Stake your claim’s on this future superstar now, because his price is only going up.