July 6, 2023, 5:16 pm
The NFL draft has become one of the premier events of the season. This influx of talent not only reshapes the landscape of the league, but also fantasy football. Here are five fantasy football winners and losers from the 2023 NFL draft.
Geno Smith (SEA, QB)
Geno Smith had one of the most unexpectedly great seasons in recent memory, earning a Pro Bowl selection and being named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. It was fair to wonder if the Seahawks would commit to building around Smith or view 2022 as an outlier season for the 32-year-old. After the draft it’s clear, they are fully in on building around him. Seattle drafted the top receiver in the draft in Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round, running back Zach Charbonnet in the second round and two offensive linemen in the mid-rounds. The Seahawks may have added the most offensive talent in this year’s draft and have put Geno Smith in a great position to show that last year was not a fluke.
Kirk Cousins (MIN, QB)
Cousins finished as the seventh-ranked fantasy quarterback in 2022 while being selected to his fourth Pro Bowl. Despite his production, the Vikings were rumored to be interested in several of the top quarterbacks in the draft. Fortunately for Cousins Minnesota chose not to take a QB until the fifth round, effectively committing to Cousins for at least the 2023 season. Additionally, they added an incredibly talented first-round wide receiver in Jordan Addison. Cousins will enter next season with one of the best receiving corps in the league and should be able to duplicate another top-10 fantasy season.
Rachaad White (TB, RB)
As a third-round rookie, White had a very productive season while splitting touches with Leonard Fournette. The Bucs cut Fournette in the off-season and did not select a running back in the draft, clearing the way for White to be the primary back in Tampa next season. Additionally, they bolstered their hobbled offensive line by adding tackle Cody Mauch in the second round. White is poised to be a true three-down back for Tampa Bay this year.
Tony Pollard (DAL, RB)
Like Rachaad White, Tony Pollard had a breakout season while splitting time with a veteran running back last year. The Cowboys released their veteran back, Ezekiel Elliot, and didn’t draft a running back until the sixth round. Pollard is primed to have a huge fantasy season as Dallas’ top back.
Carolina Panthers Receivers
The Panthers had one of the worst passing offenses in the league last year. They were 31st in completion percentage, 27th in passing yards and 29th in touchdowns. Drafting Bryce Young with the first overall pick should change that. Young’s addition should immediately inject life into the Panthers’ anemic offense and provide a boost to all their receivers.
Tyler Allgeier (ATL, RB)
Allgeier’s rookie season was a tremendous success by any measure. The fifth-round rookie set the Falcons’ rookie rushing record with 1,035 yards on 4.9 yards per carry. It looked as if the Falcons had found a diamond in the rough and that Allgeier would be their lead back for years to come. Then Atlanta drafted Bijan Robinson with the eighth pick in the draft. Robinson is a generational running back and will immediately take over the Falcons’ backfield. If Robinson is healthy Allgeier will not get enough touches to be fantasy relevant.
Dawson Knox (BUF, TE)
Last year Dawson Knox earned his first Pro Bowl bid and was the ninth-ranked fantasy tight end. Despite that the Bills drafted Dalton Kincaid with their first-round pick. Kincaid was the top tight end in the draft and will surely take targets away from Knox. It has yet to be seen how Buffalo will use Knox and Kincaid together, but it’s unlikely we see another top-10 fantasy season from Knox this year.
Kenneth Walker (SEA, RB)
The Seahawks drafted Kenneth Walker in the second round of the 2022 draft and he immediately took the top spot in their backfield. Walker rushed for 1,050 yards on 4.6 yards per carry in his rookie season. In a surprising move, the Seahawks took another running back, Zach Charbonnet, in the second round of this year’s draft. Walker will not be gifted the starting running back spot this season and will have to earn his touches going forward.
Rashod Bateman (BAL, WR)
The Ravens have lacked receiving talent outside of Bateman in recent years. That changed this off-season as they drafted Zay Flowers with their first-round pick, in addition to signing Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor in the weeks leading up to the draft. Bateman suddenly has a lot of competition for targets in Baltimore.
Tennessee Titans Quarterbacks
After being projected by some to go as high as the first overall pick in the draft, Will Levis fell to Tennessee at the top of the second round. The Titans have clearly soured on incumbent Ryan Tannehill as their long-term starter. However, Tannehill is going to be with the team for the 2023 season. We don’t know who will start or finish the season at quarterback for the Titans, and it effectively kills the chance of anyone being fantasy relevant this year. It also kills the dynasty hopes of Malik Willis, who the Titans drafted just last year.