The Bills selected Utah TE Dalton Kincaid with the 25th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Kincaid is an older prospect at 23 but broke out early at San Diego. Across his first two seasons, he recorded 68 catches, 1,209 yards, and 19 TDs. He transferred to Utah ahead of year three and saved his best work for last fall (70-890-8). Most impressively, he caught all 16 of his targets for 234 yards and one score in a mid-season win over USC. There’s no real flaw in his on-field game. Kincaid wins with advanced route running, reliable hands, and strong YAC ability. He didn’t test in the pre-draft process due to a “tiny” back fracture, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. But he was given a clean bill of health by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier in April. You have to love the fit with Josh Allen, and it’s easy to see Kincaid overtaking Dawson Knox as soon as this season. Just note: Knox’s contract makes it hard for the Bills to move on from him until 2025. The rookie projects as a top-20 fantasy TE.
The Vikings selected USC WR Jordan Addison with the 23rd pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. broke out as an 18-year-old true freshman at Pittsburgh and then exploded for 1,593 yards and 17 TDs on 100 catches as a sophomore, winning the 2021 Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in college football. Addison transferred to USC last offseason to play with HC Lincoln Riley and QB Caleb Williams. His stat line wasn’t as spectacular as the previous year, but he still averaged a strong 5.4 catches, 79.5 yards, and 0.73 TDs per game, leading the Trojans in all three categories. Addison’s tape shows a refined route runner and explosive mover who can win at all levels of the field. The concern? He’s just 5’11 and 173 pounds. That weight lands him in the third percentile among WRs invited to the Combine since 1999 and would make him a bit of an outlier if he develops into a high-end fantasy producer. Over the past ten seasons, there have only been four WRs under 180 pounds to top 1,000 receiving yards (DeSean Jackson, John Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Darnell Mooney). Addison projects as an instant starter alongside Justin Jefferson. The rookie should absorb the 107 targets left behind by Adam Thielen.
The Ravens selected Boston College WR Zay Flowers with the 21st pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Flowers dealt with some bad QB play in college. His raw numbers were solid: 2,715 yards and 26 TDs over the past three seasons. But Flowers looks much more impressive from a market-share perspective. He accounted for 32.7% of his team’s receiving yards over the last three years and a whopping 45.6% of the receiving scores. He’s a fun watch on tape: an explosive route runner and dynamic after the catch. The knocks against Flowers? He’s undersized at 5’9, 182 pounds with second percentile arm length. And he’s a four-year college player who will turn 23 in September. The ceiling feels a bit capped here – at least for 2023. Baltimore’s no longer hurting for pass catchers with Mark Andrews, Rashod Bateman, and Odell Beckham. Flowers projects outside the top-50 in year one.
The Chargers selected TCU WR Quentin Johnston with the 21st pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Johnston goes 6’3, 208 pounds but plays smaller. That’s not necessarily a knock. He’s one of the most impressive after-catch receivers we’ve seen come into the league in recent memory. He combines good agility and burst with plenty of physicality with the ball in his hands. Johnston averaged a huge 8.9 yards after the catch at TCU last year. He’s also a weapon on deep balls, leaving school with a career 19.0 yards-per-catch average. But Johnston struggles more than you’d expect in tight coverage. He converted just 42.7% of his contested opportunities over three college seasons, according to PFF, including just eight of 23 (34.8%) last year. His hands are inconsistent (10.7% drop rate last year). And his route running needs work. Johnston certainly isn’t the safest WR prospect – but he might have the highest fantasy ceiling in this year’s class. Landing in a Justin Herbert-led offense only helps. Just keep 2023 expectations in check, as long as Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are healthy. Current projections land Johnston in WR4/5 range.
The Seahawks selected Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the 20th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. JSN turned in one of the most impressive sophomore seasons we’ve ever seen back in 2021. He racked up 95 catches for 1,606 yards and nine TDs, out-producing both Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave while also beating those eventual first-round picks in yards per route run and Pro Football Focus receiving grade. A lingering hamstring injury limited Smith-Njigba to 60 total snaps this past year. But he was healthy enough to work out in the pre-draft process, where he posted elite marks in the 3-cone and short shuttle. That agility shows up on tape: JSN is impossible to stick with one-on-one and regularly adds yardage after the catch. Smith-Njibga has just-ok size (6’1, 196 lbs.) and speed (4.52-second 40 time), which puts a cap on his big-play upside. But he looks capable of quickly emerging as a high-volume target. Think Amon-Ra St. Brown. With the Seahawks, JSN will fit in as a day-one slot. Note that D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are signed through the 2025 season.
The Lions spent the 18th overall pick of the NFL Draft on LB Jack Campbell. The former Iowa LB delivered strong tackle numbers across four seasons, including leading FBS in that category in 2021. He also defensed 15 passes over the past three years. Campbell closed his Hawkeyes career by earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and the Butkus Award (nation's top LB) in 2022. He followed that with an 80th-percentile speed score and 9.98 relative athletic score (out of 10). That's the sixth best among 2,600 LB prospects since 1987. We'll see about Campbell's immediate fit in Detroit, which re-signed LB Alex Anzalone in free agency. But Campbell clearly fits squarely into the Lions' defensive plans going forward. He sat No. 2 in our IDP rookie rankings heading into the draft.
The Lions selected Alabama RB Jahmyr Gibbs with the 14th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The former Georgia Tech speedster took a chance on himself in 2022 by transferring to SEC powerhouse Alabama. The gamble paid off as Gibbs led the Crimson Tide with 44 receptions and ranked 4th on the team in receiving yards (444). Oh, and he’s an excellent runner as well. Some will question how much of a rushing workload he’ll be able to manage at the NFL level given his 5’9, 199-pound frame, but don’t count Gibbs out because of his size. He shows excellent vision at the 2nd and 3rd levels of the field, possesses plenty of speed (4.36-second 40-yard dash time), and has a keen sense of timing cuts against potential tacklers. This move makes it likely that the Lions will move on from D’Andre Swift. Gibbs would then enter a clear change-of-pace role behind David Montgomery while handling a healthy receiving role. Current projections have him for 56 receptions.
The Eagles traded up one spot to select DT Jalen Carter ninth overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Carter has been widely viewed as one of the top talents in the class but carried some off-field questions. Philadelphia clearly isn't worried on that front. Already having former teammate DT Jordan Davis on the roster can't hurt. Carter didn't put up big numbers for the Bulldogs. But Pro Football Focus graded him elite as a pass rusher each of the past two years. Don't be surprised if he turns into a solid-to-good fantasy producer for DT-required IDP leagues.
The Falcons selected Texas RB Bijan Robinson with the eighth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Once heralded as the top RB in the 2020 high school recruiting class, Robinson made an immediate impact as a freshman. By the end of 2020, Robinson had seized the starting job and won the Alamo Bowl MVP with a 10-182-0 rushing performance against Colorado. From then on, he never let go of the job and consistently wowed the nation with his incredible combination of size, speed, quickness, and pass-catching abilities. Robinson logged nearly 2,000 scrimmage yards as a junior this past season with 20 total TDs. Still just over 21 years old, the 5’11, 215-pound back is an immediate candidate to lead the league in carries. (Atlanta led the NFL with 559 team carries in 2022.) Robinson projects as a top-5 fantasy RB.
The Colts selected Florida QB Anthony Richardson with the fourth pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Richardson tested as the most athletic QB in NFL Combine history. A 4.43 forty-time, a 40.5-inch vertical, and a 129-inch broad jump are simply incredible. At 6’4, and 244 pounds, Richardson’s dynamic speed/power combo showed up at Florida. The 21-year-old tallied 654 rushing yards and 9 TDs in his one season as a starter. Inexperience is part of the problem here. But Richardson needs to kick durability concerns after suffering knee, ankle, and hamstring injuries in college. He also needs to show more down-to-down consistency — especially in the short to intermediate ranges. Ultimately, we see the 21-year-old improving over time. With elite rushing ability and plenty of arm talent, Richardson has the high-upside profile you should chase in rookie drafts. Landing on the Colts also turns up a nice schematic fit with HC Shane Steichen, who helped develop Jalen Hurts. Indy added Gardner Minshew this offseason, so the Colts don’t have to rush Richardson on the field. Current projections have the rookie for 11 games.
The Texans selected Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud with the second pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Stroud racked up huge numbers as a two-year starter at Ohio State: 8,123 yards (9.8 YPA), 85 TDs, and only 12 INTs. Playing alongside elite talents like Garret Wilson, Chris Olave, Marvin Harrison Jr., and Jaxon-Smith-Njigba certainly helped. Stroud still showed NFL ability, proving accurate in all areas of the field. But can he adjust to muddier pockets in the pros? And can he use his legs more often? Those answers will be vital in determining his dynasty fantasy value. For year one, though, Stroud’s unlikely to be more than a deep league spot starter. Houston’s currently rolling out Nico Collins, Robert Woods, and John Metchie at WR.
Carolina selected Alabama QB Bryce Young with the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Young’s size (5’10, 204 pounds) garnered most of the attention pre-draft. Just note that he missed only one game in two starting seasons. (Young suffered an A/C joint sprain in his right shoulder last October.) The former five-star recruit wins both inside the pocket and out with an uncanny ability to feel pressure and deliver an accurate ball. Across two starting seasons, Young racked up 8,200 yards, 79 TDs, and only 12 INTs. In Carolina, he’s the heavy favorite to start Week 1 over Andy Dalton. A WR corps of Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark, and Terrace Marshall Jr. isn’t ideal for year one. But we’re optimistic about the QB’s long-term prospects.
The Ravens and QB Lamar Jackson have agreed to a five-year deal that will make him the league's highest-paid player. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that it's a $260 million pact with $185 million guaranteed. The deal comes in a little higher than QB Jalen Hurts' recent extension with the Eagles and locks Jackson in as the Baltimore starter for the foreseeable future. The OC switch and investment in WR Odell Beckham Jr. suggest the Ravens would like to throw the ball significantly more than last year. Baltimore ranked just 28th in pass attempts. Jackson sits seventh in our 2023 fantasy football rankings but continues to sport upside to the top of the position.
Panthers edge Brian Burns had surgery last Wednesday on his right ankle, the team announced Monday. Burns missed Week 18 with what was deemed an ankle sprain, but he returned to participate in the Pro Bowl games. Panthers.com's Darin Gantt reports that Burns continued to feel soreness as he began the offseason program, however. Tests revealed a "small fracture," which Dr. Robert Anderson repaired. Carolina expects Burns to be ready for training camp and play the season with "no limitations." This obviously adds a challenge for a rising, young pass rusher, though. We'll be watching Burns' progress this summer. Don't be surprised if we're a little cautious with his initial projections, coming in mid-May.
The long-awaited trade is finally across the finish line. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Jets acquired QB Aaron Rodgers, the 13th overall pick, and a fifth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft from the Packers in exchange for the 15th overall pick, the 42nd overall pick, a sixth-round pick, and a conditional second-round pick in 2024. To simplify the terms, the Jets brought in Rodgers by swapping first-round picks with the Packers, giving up a second-rounder in this year's draft and a second-rounder next year that could become a first if Rodgers plays more than 65% of the Jets' offensive snaps this coming season. This is a fairly big haul for the Packers as they look to move forward with QB Jordan Love at the helm. As for the Jets, Rodgers brings the franchise up immediately into contender status in the AFC with such talented weapons as WR Garrett Wilson and RB Breece Hall. We've recently released our complete 2023 fantasy point projections with Rodgers fixed as the Jets' starting QB. Check out how we see him performing this coming season in this revamped offense.
Per Bob McGinn, formerly of The Athletic, Syracuse RB Sean Tucker was found to have "an ongoing heart issue" when he was evaluated in Indianapolis ahead of the NFL Combine in February. An anonymous executive said, "This sounds like it's not going away ... essentially, he could be done." Tucker didn't participate in drills at the Combine due to an undisclosed medical issue and notably recorded and released his independent pro day video via social media last month. There hasn't been much clarity surrounding the nature of this ailment until recently. We'll see how much validity this report has as time evolves. Tucker is set to hold an official pro day for NFL teams at Syracuse on Monday. Be sure to check back for updates tomorrow, but in the meantime, take a look at our evaluation of the 21-year-old's profile.
Lions WR Jameson Williams is one of five players to be suspended for violating the NFL's gambling policy. Williams, along with Lions WR Stanley Berryhill, have been suspended six games. Lions WR Quintez Cephus, Lions S C.J. Moore, and Commanders DE Shaka Toney are suspended indefinitely. We'll see if Williams appeals this ruling, but fantasy drafters should work under the assumption that he'll miss the first six games of the 2023 season. Williams, of course, appeared in just six games as a rookie last year after tearing an ACL in January of 2022. This suspension will make him tough to roster in standard redraft fantasy leagues and just a late-round option in best ball. Williams' absence leaves Amon-Ra St. Brown, Marvin Jones, Josh Reynolds, and Kalif Raymond as Detroit's top 4 WRs. Jones and Reynolds pick up a bit more fantasy appeal with this news.
Update: The Lions released WR Quintez Cephus and S C.J. Moore.
Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa admitted that he considered retiring after sustaining multiple concussions last season. “Yeah, I think I considered it, you know, for a time, having sat down with my family, having sat down with my wife and having those kind of conversations,” he said. Tua ultimately opted to keep playing, citing his love for the game and his desire for his son to grow up watching his dad play. He's spent part of this offseason doing jiu-jitsu to "learn how to fall." Tagovailoa explained, "Learned some grappling techniques. Learned some other things too that I don’t think I should disclose. But for the most part, learned how to fall. You think it’s easy. Just don’t fall and hit your head. But a lot more to it.” The head injuries add risk to Tua' short- and long-term fantasy outlooks. But he was excellent last year in his first season under HC Mike McDaniel, ranking 8th among QBs in fantasy points per game.
Broncos GM George Paton said Thursday that RB Javonte Williams (knee) will be back at some point during the 2023 season but doesn't know exactly when. That's a much different tune than Paton was singing back in February, when he said Williams was “on track” to be ready for Week 1. Williams tore his right ACL, LCL, and posterolateral corner in October -- a much more complicated injury than a standard ACL. We'll continue to track his rehab. But, at this point, fantasy drafters should not be expecting Williams to be ready for the start of the season. We currently project him to play 14 games.
"Several teams" have called the 49ers to check on the availability of QB Trey Lance, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Rapoport adds that San Francisco is not actively shopping Lance and that "no trade is imminent." But it certainly makes sense that there's interest from other teams after the 49ers publicly called QB Brock Purdy the favorite to start in 2023. We continue to believe that there's a good chance that Lance is a Week 1 starter this season -- whether it's for the 49ers or another team.
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