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2023 NFL Free Agency Dynasty League Winners (Fantasy Football)

2023 NFL Free Agency Dynasty League Winners (Fantasy Football)

With the NFL news tornado slowly simmering down after free agency, it’s time to survey the dynasty landscape. Every year after NFL free agency, a plethora of players see their dynasty “stock” rise or fall based on their situation or the circumstances changing around them. This year is no different, with a list of dynasty fantasy football names that have seen their 2023 outlook improve for the better. Let’s discuss the who and the why for these free agency winners.

Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit

2023 NFL Free Agency Winners in Dynasty Leagues

Russell Wilson (QB – DEN)

While Russell Wilson could eventually land in the loser column for free agency if the trade rumors of Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy come to fruition, right now he looks like a winner with the additions Denver has made to their offensive line. Last year Wilson was pressured at the fourth-highest rate in the NFL and he crumbled under the weight of oncoming rushers.

Wilson was 18th in pressured PFF passing grade and 31st in pressured adjusted completion rate (minimum 100 pressured dropbacks per PFF). Ben Powers was signed to start at guard after ranking 35th in PFF passing blocking grade and 25th in QB hits last year (minimum 200 passing blocking snaps per PFF). Mike McGlinchey was signed to shore up their other tackle spot opposite Garett Bolles after ranking 41st in PFF pass blocking grade and 19th in QB hits among tackles last year (minimum 200 pass blocking snaps per PFF).

Wilson should be enjoying more clean pockets in 2023. Wilson from a clean pocket last year was still impressive, ranking 14th in adjusted completion rate and third in clean pocket passer rating (minimum 100 pressured dropbacks per PFF). Wilson could enjoy a fine bounceback season in 2023 if the offensive line holds up and he isn’t stripped of his receiving weapons this offseason.

David Montgomery (RB – DET)

 

David Montgomery should be immediately viewed as Jamaal Williams-plus in this Lions’ offense. Williams was the RB18 in fantasy points per game last year. Montgomery could eclipse that mark in 2023. Despite a depressed fantasy showing last year (RB27), Montgomery was tip-top in terms of efficiency, ranking 26th in yards after contact per attempt and 12th in PFF’s elusive rating (minimum 100 carries per PFF). This was the second-highest yards-after-contact per attempt mark of his career. Montgomery will never be a breakaway runner, though, as he ranked 53rd in breakaway run rate last season. That’s not why Detroit signed him. He’s being brought in as the early down grinder that can be the short porch touchdown specialist while also contributing something in the passing game.

That’s the biggest difference between Williams and Montgomery. Yes, Montgomery is a better rusher than Williams, but his pass-game utility is where he really puts some distance between him and Williams. Last year Montgomery was 22nd in yards per route run among running backs while drawing an 11.8% target share (11th-best) in Chicago. D’Andre Swift‘s role for 2023 is up in the air, but we have a pretty good idea of what Montgomery will be asked to bring to the table after watching Williams in 2022. Montgomery’s new contract cements him in Detroit’s plans as a solid RB2 with RB1 upside for the next two seasons.

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB – NE)

 

James Robinson, aka “the Mondre meat shield,” arrives in New England via free agency. This should be glorious news to Stevenson stans. This should ensure that the Patriots don’t spend high draft capital if they add further players to this backfield depth chart. Robinson should pose little threat to Stevenson’s workload outside of spelling him occasionally for a breather.

James Robinson struggled last year in his first season post-Achilles tendon repair. Robinson started out the gate from Weeks 1-3 with solid yards after contact per attempt marks of 4.18, 2.96, and 2.71 (eight missed tackles forced per PFF, 51 carries). After that, things began to unravel. Robinson didn’t eclipse 2.25 yards after contact per attempt in any game for the rest of the season, as he managed only four missed tackles forced over his final 59 carries (per PFF). Stack this up against Stevenson, who is arguably one of the most efficient running backs in the NFL, and any worries about a drop in his workload should be put to rest. Last season Stevenson was 13th in breakaway run rate, sixth in yards created per touch, and 14th in yards per route run. Stevenson has proven himself as an every-down workhorse. He remains a locked-in RB1 in 2023.

Tony Pollard (RB – DAL)

 

Ezekiel Elliott is gone. Ronald Jones is JAG. Tony Pollard monster season is incoming. Last year despite a 48.1% opportunity share (34th), Pollard parlayed his massive talent into an RB8 finish in fantasy points per game. He was tenth in fantasy points per opportunity, fourth in breakaway run rate, fourth in yards per route run, and fifth in yards per touch. Pollard is an efficiency monster in every way possible. Pollard has RB1 overall upside this season if he can carve out 60-65% of the work in this backfield, let alone if he gets even more.

Miles Sanders (RB – CAR)

The ink is still drying on Miles Sanders‘ four-year deal to become the lead back for Carolina. Looking at the contract language, this is better viewed as a two-year deal as the guaranteed money, and dead cap flips after the second season, so Sanders has situational safety for the next two seasons.

With only Chuba Hubbard, Raheem Blackshear, and Spencer Brown on the depth chart behind him, his snap share could eclipse the 57.9% (20th) he saw last year. Sanders proved last season that he could carry the load, ranking eighth in carries (259) and 12th in opportunity share (66.4%). He responded, ranking 13th in evaded tackles, 15th in breakaway runs, and 28th in yards per touch.

Per Football Outsiders, Carolina was ninth in adjusted line yards and 12th in open field yards in 2022, so Sanders should find ample running lanes in 2023. He should continue as a volume-based RB2 for the next two seasons.

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

Kadarius Toney / Skyy Moore (WR – KC)

 

With JuJu Smith-Schuster moving on to New England, Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore appear locked into starting roles for Kansas City. The role as the number two pass catcher in this offense behind Travis Kelce is up for grabs.

Toney continually teased fantasy gamers last year with his upside when healthy, with 2.76 yards per route run and a 27% target per route run rate. We’ve seen what he could do in his rookie season with an expanded role when he ranked 13th in yards per route run and 11th in YAC per reception (minimum 30 targets per PFF). While many fantasy GMs could be frustrated by Toney’s roller-coaster production and role thus far in his career, this isn’t the time to cash out. The upside remains for Toney to break out in a big way in 2023.

Did Skyy Moore disappoint in his rookie season? Yep. Did he play terribly and snuff out any hope of a sophomore breakout? Nope. Not at all. Last season during the regular season, he ranked 50th (immediately ahead of Diontae Johnson) in PFF receiving grade and 49th in yards per route run (minimum 30 targets per PFF). Moore flashed electric after the catch ability, ranking sixth in YAC per reception (minimum 30 targets per PFF) and 27th in missed tackles forced (with only 22 receptions). The faith candle remains lit for 2023 for Moore.

Darren Waller (TE – NYG)

 

Despite finishing 12th in PFF receiving grade and yards per route run among tight ends last year, Darren Waller only saw a 14.4% target share (17th) and an 18.8% target per route run rate (28th) in Josh McDaniels’ offense. Well, those days of underutilization under a fake sharp head coach are over, with Waller moving on to New York this offseason.

From 2019-2021, Waller never ranked lower than fourth among tight ends in target share, drawing 23.8-28.7% of the Raiders’ pass game looks. His ability to earn targets at a ridiculous rate has not diminished. His efficiency numbers last season emphatically state that he can do so again in 2023. While the Giants can still add more receiving help in the draft, Waller should still contend to lead the team in targets with the remaining depth chart currently consisting of Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell, Darius Slayton, Wan’Dale Robinson, and Sterling Shepard.

At age 30, if Waller can stay healthy, he’s set up to smash in 2023. If he does return to his rightful place among the top 3-5 fantasy tight ends this year, any contract or situational worries about his status for the next 2-3 seasons should take care of themselves.

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