2023 Top-10 fantasy football rookies

2023 Top-10 fantasy football rookies

Fantasy football player analysis tips and advice

2023 Top-10 fantasy football rookies


Seven rounds later in Kansas City and we know where all those promising rookies start their careers and each NFL roster just became more defined. Needs were filled (or not), and now we get to mix new coaches and schemes, new players, and returning veterans for the next four months to prepare for the 2023 NFL season.

How did this draft compare to previous seasons?


Three quarterbacks were selected over the first ten picks, just like two of the previous three years. But it went cold after them, with only one more taken in each of the second and third rounds – again, about normal. Will Levis tumbled down to the 2.02 despite speculation he was a Top-10 pick, but he’ll compete to start in Tennessee. Hendon Hooker was the only third-rounder and likely won’t play until 2024 until he recovers from his torn ACL. Those first three selections – Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson – should all be Week 1 starters.

Running Backs

Fantasy football loves rookie running backs. No other position produces as many instantly relevant players, even if they don’t last as long. But the position has been devalued in the NFL and almost all backfields are shared between two and even three backs. That won’t stop the rampant optimism associated with rookie rushers – and it is often justified.

Despite two selected over the first twelve picks, the only other rusher drafted for almost two full rounds was Zach Charbonnet, who creates a committee in Seattle with Kenneth Walker. While only those first two backs are locks for high-volume workloads, there are always a few more that emerge during the season as fantasy starters.

Tight Ends

This was considered a strong draft for the position. Dalton Kincaid was the first, but a total of six went in the first two rounds – normally just one or two are gone. The position does require time to develop fantasy-relevant production and even Kincaid ends up in Buffalo where they don’t throw often to their tight ends and already have Dawson Knox.

Wide Receivers

This year’s rookie crop isn’t quite as strong as recent years and while there were four first-rounders, the first one wasn’t chosen until the 1.20 pick. There wasn’t any “hot” wideout with expectations of becoming an immediate No. 1 wideout for their team. Each of those initial four picks went to teams that already have a star wideout, if not two. This group will produce fantasy-relevant receivers if only eventually, but this is one of the weakest looking classes in many years.

Overall, the draft looked weak for fantasy purposes. Two sure-hits on running backs and maybe none for the wide receivers with the high-talent players all landing in less advantageous situations. But – every year serves up a surprise or two.

Top 10 fantasy rookies

  1. RB Bijan Robinson, Texas
    Atlanta 1.08, 5-11, 215 pounds, 4.46 40-time

    There is no argument as to which rookie commands the most fantasy attention this season. Robinson constantly trended on Twitter as the most discussed and coveted fantasy rookie after gaining 1,894 total yards and 20 touchdowns for the Longhorns last year. And Robinson doesn’t just slide into a committee looking to spread around the carries. The Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was the Titans’ offensive coordinator during Derrick Henry‘s two best seasons including the 2,027 rushing yards in 2020.  Optimism will make Robinson a fantasy first-round consideration, and he’ll be one of the most exciting players to follow this year. Tyler Allgeier? It was fun while he lasted.
  2. RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
    Detroit 1.12, 5-9, 199 pounds, 4.36 40-time
    Not sure anyone outside of the Detroit war room saw this one coming. Especially since even the most optimistic projections had Jahmyr Gibbs going around the end of the first round. The Lions had already added David Montgomery to replace Jamaal Williams, and D’Andre Swift already offered much the same skill set at Gibbs, if only occasionally when healthy.  But Swift was quickly dealt to the Eagles to eliminate any question about Gibbs role. He’ll pair with Montgomery as the speedy, pass-catching half of the backfield in a quickly improving offense and behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. Gibbs won’t be a workhorse, but he’ll offer enough to merit a weekly fantasy start, at least in reception point leagues.
  3. WR Jordan Addison, USC
    Minnesota 1.23, 5-11, 173 pounds, 4.49 40-time

    The Vikings drafted the 2021 Biletnikoff winner when Addison logged 100 catches for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns for Pitt playing with Kenny Pickett (now the Steelers quarterback). He transferred to USC last year with lesser results but enters the NFL as one of the most dangerous, capable rookie slot receivers and lands on a Vikings’ team looking to replace Adam Thielen. Addison won’t ever be the No. 1 with Justin Jefferson there, but can carve out a significant role even as a rookie. He’s the first wideout taken by the new coaching regime in Minnesota.
  4. RB Zach Charbonnet, UCLA
    Seattle 2.21, 6-0, 214 pounds, 4.53 40-time
    The third running back chosen in the draft heads to Seattle, where Kenneth Walker is already the primary back, but with no one else in the backfield besides DeeJay Dallas. Charbonnet spent the last two years as the power back for the Bruins. He’s a north-south runner that runs downhill and has excellent ball protection skills along with being a capable blocker. He’ll pair with Walker and that lowers the potential output for either back, but Seattle wants to run more often this year and Walker was dinged up last year. Charbonnet was the only running back selected between the 1.12 and 3.08 picks.
  5. WR Quentin Johnson, TCU
    Los Angeles Chargers 1.21, 6-3, 208 pounds, 4.49 40 time)

    Johnston slides into the No. 3 role for the Chargers, but 31-year-old Keenan Allen is breaking down while missing six games last year. Mike Williams is only 28 but missed three games in 2022. Johnson is the future for the Chargers who regularly feature a Top-5 set of wideouts each year with Justin Herbert there. Johnson is a complete wideout that can play any position and catch the ball anywhere on the field. He’ll mostly learn this year behind Allen but the Chargers have often needed their No. 3 wideout to step up and cover for an injured starter.
  6. QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
    Indianapolis 1.04, 6-4, 244 pounds, 4.43 40-time

    The Florida star was the third quarterback drafted this year, but is the best bet for fantasy points as a rookie. Neither Bryce Young nor C.J. Stroud does much as a rusher and Richardson gained 654 yards and nine scores while running the ball for the Gators. He is a supreme athlete with a cannon arm and an elite combination of size and speed. He’ll start his career passing against the forgiving AFC South and tacking on those rush yards and scores. He may not be the passer that Young and Stroud are, but he could end up as a better fantasy prospect.
  7. WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
    Seattle 1.20, 6-1, 196 pounds, 4.48 40-time

    The consensus best wideout in the draft and first selected, Smith-Njigba lands in Seattle where DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett already man the starting spots. No doubt that Smith-Njigba slides into the No. 3 role and will contribute as a rookie, but Metcalf and Lockett have been durable so far. Lockett turns 31 in August but is currently coming off his fourth-straight 1,000-yard season.  There’s no denying the rookie’s talent and long-term outlook, but 2022 will need an injury to the two starters to net significant opportunity.
  8. RB Devon Achane, Texas A&M
    Miami 3.24, 5-9, 188 pounds, 4.32 40-time

    At first glance, Achane is a bit smaller than prototypical, and the Dolphins already start Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr.. But Mostert’s injury history is extensive and playing 16 games last year was an aberration. Wilson also missed just one week but rarely played more than a healthy ten games per year for the 49ers. Achane will figure into the committee regardless, but injury to either (or both) will boost Achane who ran for 1,102 yards for the Aggies last year and is an equally dangerous receiver. Oh yes, and he ran a 4.32 40-time at the NFL Combine. He offers high upside to an offense that is already fast and capable.
  9. WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
    Baltimore 1.22, 5-9, 182 pounds, 4.42 40-time
    At first glance, this landing spot seems far from ideal. The Ravens wideouts have never been more than average, Mark Andrews is the pass-siphon, and they added Odell Beckham who starts across from Rashod Bateman. But both Beckham and Bateman were nonfactors last year due to injury, and if both were hurt again, Flowers could become the No. 1 wideout this year. He’s a bit smaller than ideal but was an absolute playmaker and should end up in the slot where he won’t bother with jams at the line. Flowers is effective all over the field and is very versatile. He’ll factor in this year and if either Bateman or Beckham miss time, Flowers could surprise even as a rookie.
  10. RB Roschon Johnson, Texas
    Chicago 4.13, 6-0, 219 pounds, 4.58 40-time
    In this weaker class of rookies, it likely requires a changing situation to prompt a surprising first year. Johnson has the upside to get a better opportunity than may seem most likely. The Bears allowed David Montgomery to join the rival Lions and their only addition was D’Onta Foreman who joined Khalil Herbert as the expected starters. Foreman parlayed one good season in Carolina into a one-year, $3 million contract in Chicago but this is his fourth NFL team in six years. Herbert is a former sixth-round pick who went on IR last year with a hip injury. Johnson is just a part of the committee, but his talent was obscured by Bijan Robinson and he’ll get a chance to prove himself away from a “generational” teammate.


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