The 2023 NFL Draft has wrapped up. We now know where this year’s draft class will be beginning their NFL careers. The dust has settled, and we can analyze landing spots as we take a look at the upcoming fantasy football season. There is still ample time for things to change, but for now, there are some clear fantasy football winners and losers coming out of the draft.
2023 NFL Draft fantasy winners
Juwan Johnson, TE, New Orleans Saints
This one comes down to how much of a threat you thought Adam Trautman was going to be to Johnson’s upside. Johnson should be the starting tight end for new quarterback Derek Carr, especially with Trautman getting traded to the Denver Broncos. If Johnson can get the same looks from Carr that former tight end Darren Waller got, he’s absolutely a fantasy winner.
James Conner, RB, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals' offense is going to struggle as long as starting quarterback Kyler Murray is out recovering from his ACL injury. The only beneficiary could make Conner, who should see a ton of work. Arizona had plenty of draft capital in this one and didn’t even use a late-round flier on a running back. Sure, he could see more stacked boxes with a backup quarterback under center, but I just don’t see Corey Clement, Keaontay Ingram or Ty’Son Williams posing any threat to Conner’s workload.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Jackson got his extension worked out ahead of the draft and will remain the starting quarterback of the Ravens. Baltimore finally invested in getting him more weapons by bringing in Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor in free agency. The gifts kept coming with the Ravens’ selecting Zay Flowers 22nd overall in the draft. Jackson should be able to boost his fantasy football outlook with these new weapons.
Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
Similar to Arizona, Cleveland didn’t elect to use any draft capital on a running back. Kareem Hunt could re-sign with the team in free agency, but for now, Chubb’s only competition for carries is Jerome Ford, Demetric Felton Jr. or John Kelly Jr., a.k.a. no real competition. He should, yet again, be considered a top running back in fantasy.
Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Pollard is going to get his crack at being a starting running back in the NFL. Ezekiel Elliott remains a free agent, and Dallas only used a sixth-round pick on a running back. Deuce Vaughn adds some solid depth, but there isn’t anyone on the roster that should challenge Pollard’s workload.
Geno Smith, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Well, Smith isn’t going to have any excuses if he doesn’t get it done this year. Seattle looked at the already dynamic duo of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and added to it by selecting the top wide receiver in the class, Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Despite already having Kenneth Walker, they added Zach Charbonnet to be the backup, and it just makes the offense more well-rounded.
Rachaad White, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers drafted a TE and a WR after the fourth round, and they were the only offensive skill positions added. Leonard Fournette remains a free agent leaving White to lead the backfield. Chase Edmonds could get some work in relief, but without any draft capital spent, it should be White’s job to lose.
2023 NFL Draft fantasy losers
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals
There was a rumor ahead of the draft that Arizona would be looking to move Hopkins for draft capital. The best guesses were that he could have ended up on Buffalo, Baltimore or on the New York Giants. I’d prefer him to be on any of those teams more than where he will be in Arizona alongside Marquise Brown and whatever backup quarterback takes over the offense while Murray is rehabbing his injury.
Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills
Despite having Josh Allen, the Bills' offense needs an overhaul. They have Damien Harris and James Cook competing at RB and drafted a shiny new tight end to help out. Dalton Kincaid was considered the top tight end in the draft, and trading up to get him certainly makes it seem like Buffalo really wanted him. He is going to be a rookie tight end, but his presence likely puts a cap on Knox’s upside.
Tyler Allgeier, RB, Atlanta Falcons
If you ran for 1,000 yards as a rookie you’d think that you’d earn a starting gig with your team in your second season. Ha, how foolish. The Falcons saw Allgeier’s production, thanked him for his time and then used the eighth overall pick to bring in Bijan Robinson. Barring an injury, Allgeier’s fantasy value is gone.
Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Bateman complained to the front office that they didn’t have quality wide receivers, and boy did they respond. Bringing in Agholor, Beckham Jr. and Flowers through free agency and with the first pick in the draft. Even if Bateman is healthy for this season, the wide receiver room is now super convoluted with bodies, and it could be tough for Bateman to become the clear target.
Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler, WRs, Denver Broncos
Patrick and Hamler can’t get out of their own ways with injuries but feel like they have a ton of upside. They have been able to turn heads despite being behind both Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. There were reports that either Jeudy or Sutton could have been moved ahead of the draft, but both remain. Then, Denver brought in Marvin Mims Jr. with a second round pick, suggesting that he should have a role in the passing game this season.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams
It feels like the days of Stafford putting up tons of fantasy points with all of his yardage and touchdowns are gone. A healthy Stafford should still be able to lean on Cooper Kupp, but the Rams didn’t make any moves to bring in an all-star running back or wide receiver to pair with him. Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell and rookie Puka Nacua just don’t have the fantasy-relevant quarterback vibe to them as a receiving corps.