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6 Players Who Will Be First-Round Draft Picks Next Season (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Tim Brosnan
Aug 16, 2022

Here are six players who could become first round picks in 2023.

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

Fantasy Football Redraft Draft Kit

Javonte Williams (RB – DEN)
Many had Williams ranked as a consensus top-10 pick when it was assumed Melvin Gordon would end up elsewhere in 2022. There was talk out of Broncos camp that Williams could see a 70 percent share of the backfield. Javonte is a rare talent that would run away with an opportunity like that. Williams led the league in forced broken tackles as a rookie. All his metrics jump off the page. If you calculate his per snap efficiency, a 70 percent backfield share would have seen him score 285 PPR points. That would have been good for an RB5 finish in 2021. Not to mention, Russell Wilson will elevate this offense, likely putting them in scoring position more often. In a scenario where Gordon was forced to miss time, Williams would undoubtedly finish as an RB1 and wiggle into the first round of 2023 drafts.

D’Andre Swift (RB – DET)
Swift has been a PPR monster waiting to happen for two seasons now. Injuries and lack of a featured role have held him back from realizing his true potential. We got a small taste of that potential last season when he was the second highest scoring PPR RB in fantasy weeks 1-7, averaging 19.6 points per game. Swift has all the tools, he just needs to stay healthy and carve out consistent volume. He is a borderline first-rounder at the moment. If he finally puts it all together, he will be cemented as such in 2023.

Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)
Let’s not forget, Barkley has finished as RB1 overall before (avg 24.1 PPG in 2018). He is still young, and although he’s had to overcome some recent adversity, I believe he has plenty left in the tank. If he can put the injury bug behind him and regain his confident running style, then the sky is the limit. There is a new coach and a new scheme, and Saquon has been turning heads all offseason as the Giants top playmaker. With a strong 2022 campaign, Barkley could easily smash his current ADP and re-establish himself as a top-five overall pick in 2023.

Michael Thomas (WR – NO)
The former WR1 overall is yet another player who has been on the receiving end of the injury bug the past few seasons. He seems primed to return to form. Thomas is a player that has finished no lower than PPR WR7 in every full season he’s played. He may no longer have Drew Brees, but Jameis Winston is no stranger to producing fantasy WR1s. In fact, he produced two top-five WRs in terms of PPG just two seasons ago. Thomas’s career average of 117-1378-8 (302 PPR points) would’ve been good enough for WR6 in 2021, two points behind Ja’maar Chase, who is widely regarded as a first-round pick this year. If Thomas can return to his former glory, he could realistically be ranked inside the top-10 overall next season.

Stefon Diggs (WR – BUF)
Since getting to Buffalo, Diggs has averaged a stat-line of 115-1,380-9 per season. With a QB like Josh Allen, he has realistic WR1 overall upside. He has finished as a top-10 fantasy WR in three of his last four seasons. He is two for two as a top-seven WR as a Buffalo Bill. With a strong 2022 campaign, his recent track record would become impossible to ignore. Diggs is a borderline first-rounder at the moment, but he could realistically creep into the early first round in 2023.

Michael Pittman (WR – IND)
I’ll admit, he’s the dark horse of the group. However, it’s very much possible he finishes as a top-10 WR this season. Hear me out. He just received a pretty substantial QB upgrade going from Carson Wentz to former MVP Matt Ryan. Ryan has accounted for a 1,000+ yard receiver in 13 of his 14 NFL seasons. From 2015-20, Ryan’s top WR’s average fantasy finish is WR4. Pittman could be on the verge of a massive breakout, and if that proves to be true, he will be nowhere near his current ADP this time next season. Dare I say, he may even squeeze into the first round.

CTAs

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

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