2023 Fantasy Football Rookie Quarterback Reviews

by Emerson Beery · Fantasy Football
NFL Rookies 2023

The performance of the 2023 fantasy football rookie QB class has been a rollercoaster for NFL teams and fantasy managers alike. We witnessed the emergence of promising talents, but also saw some unexpected disappointments. A first overall pick struggled to find his footing, and another surprise sensation was rewriting expectations for future rookie QBs. In this comprehensive analysis, we delve into the highs and lows of the most prominent rookie quarterbacks, evaluating their inaugural seasons and predicting which are poised to break out beyond this season.

2023 Fantasy Football Rookie QB Reviews – Biggest Disappointment

Bryce Young – Carolina Panthers

Bryce Young had a disastrous rookie season after being selected first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Despite being deemed the most pro-ready passer, Young finished No. 29 in the NFL in QBR and No. 37 in Yards Per Attempt. The Carolina offense was rarely able to sustain drives, and there were few bright spots to build on going into 2024. However, Young isn’t solely to blame. The offense wasn’t constructed to be successful.

The receiver and offensive line combination ultimately was a disaster for a quarterback with Young’s skill set. He ranked No.25 among qualified passers in Protection Rate and No.67 in Receiver Target Separation. Fantasy managers were worried about the Carolina skill position group before the season, and rightfully so. Young was never going to succeed in this offense, and it will be on the Panthers to add playmakers this offseason.

Pocket passers rely heavily on their receivers and the offensive line. In the short term, Young is unlikely to have fantasy relevance in 1QB formats. Looking ahead to 2024 superflex leagues, he will have mid-tier QB2 upside if the Panthers add talent around him. He’ll be in a similar range in dynasty fantasy football leagues as well, right behind more established passers such as Deshaun Watson and Jared Goff. Consider offering a late-first-round pick in dynasty superflex leagues to a wary manager.

2023 Fantasy Football Rookie QB Reviews – Biggest Surprise

C.J. Stroud – Houston Texans

Many questioned C.J. Stroud‘s fantasy upside coming into 2023. All he did was put together arguably the most impressive rookie season of all time for a quarterback. The moment rarely seemed too big for Stroud as he finished No. 9 in fantasy points per game and No. 4 in Yards Per Attempt. The decision-making was consistently impressive, and he elevated an offense that worried many before the season.

Stroud is set up for long-term success in Houston and has a safe fantasy football floor. However, considering he is entering dynasty QB1 territory according to many analysts, it is fair to question his upside. Stroud was No. 28 in rushing yards per game among quarterbacks in 2023 and No. 14 in Expected Fantasy Points per game. This was surprising considering his athletic ability and the playmaking potential he demonstrated with his legs last year in the College Football Playoffs.

Is Stroud Too High in Dynasty?

Stroud has the athleticism to offer similar rushing upside as Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. For him to finish as a top-5 fantasy quarterback every year, he will need to add more with his legs. As mentioned in the Bryce Young section, pocket-passing quarterbacks are much more dependent on the offensive situation. Nico Collins, Tank Dell, and Dalton Schultz were all surprisingly productive in 2023, something that can’t be counted on every year due to injuries and other circumstances

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Will Levis Advanced Stats & Metrics

For dynasty purposes, Stroud has one of the safest floors for the next decade. Considering he’s already a top-5 quarterback in dynasty according to most analysts, though, he could be priced near his ceiling. Stroud is certainly not a player I’m selling, but also a player I’m not looking to acquire based on his cost. Nonetheless, for a dynasty team in need of a quarterback, I would be willing to offer a package of three first-round picks.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

2023 Fantasy Football Rookie QB Reviews – Best Performance

Will Levis – Tennessee Titans

The best single performance for a rookie quarterback was likely┬áStroud’s five-touchdown performance in Week 9. Regardless, Will Levis came in a close second, throwing for 238 yards and four touchdowns in his rookie debut versus the Falcons. Levis’ impressive arm strength and athleticism showcased why many viewed him as a top-5 pick last season.

While Levis started strong, but that isn’t how he finished, only recording one top-15 fantasy performance after that. Levis has an NFL arm, ranking No. 1 in Air Yards Per Attempt. He struggles with decision-making, however, and is slow working through progressions. That proved disastrous behind a poor Tennessee offensive line, and he was consistently under pressure.

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Looking toward 2024, Ryan Tannehill will be a free agent and won’t be returning to the Titans. Levis is in line to be the starter, but he will have to overcome a lot of obstacles this offseason. Veterans such as Kirk Cousins and Justin Fields will be on the market, and the Titans have a top-10 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Levis should be considered the favorite to be the starter, but he didn’t show enough to guarantee himself that job in 2024.

Levis is another volatile dynasty asset. The athleticism and arm talent are certainly strong qualities, but the mental aspects of the game still elude him. Turning 25 years old this summer, Levis could be closer to a finished product, too. Overall, I don’t think he is a long-term answer at the position and is more of a stop-gap starter in the mold of Sam Howell.

2023 Fantasy Football Rookie QB Reviews – 2024 Breakout

Anthony Richardson – Indianapolis Colts

Anthony Richardson was an easy choice as the rookie quarterback set to explode in 2024. Despite playing only four games this past season, Richardson was No. 1 in Fantasy Points Per Dropback and No. 5 in rushing yards per game. Despite his limitations as a passer, he found instant success in fantasy football leagues.

As the most athletic quarterback to ever grace the NFL Combine, fantasy managers knew Richardson had a high ceiling. What will be key now is Richardson’s development as a passer. He had only an 83.1 True Passer Rating and struggled with consistency.

Due to his rushing upside, though, anytime Richardson is on the field, he will be a productive fantasy player. If he is to have long-term success, however, he will need to improve on his fundamentals.

Ultimately, Richardson will be a highly volatile dynasty asset this offseason. He’s seen minimal game action in the last four years and has suffered several significant injuries in that limited playing time. Nonetheless, he has QB1 overall upside and showed a powerful arm and an ability to limit his mistakes. He’ll be a top-5 fantasy quarterback in 2023 if healthy and is firmly in my top-10 dynasty signal callers as well.