It’s only March, but with these players, I’m ready to go all-in! Whether it’s taking over as the RB1, getting additional weapons, or finding stability at quarterback, these six players have me sold in 2023.
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Tony Pollard (RB – DAL)
While it’s unlikely that the Cowboys don’t add an additional running back via free agency or the draft, I still see Tony Pollard as a must-have in 2023. Pollard had career highs of 193 attempts, 1,007 yards, and nine touchdowns and finished as a top-10 back in all scoring formats. That’s an impressive achievement considering Ezekiel Elliott was still a significant part of the offense with 12 rushing touchdowns — all of which came in the red zone, second to only Jamaal Williams. Mike McCarthy has been adamant the Cowboys will remain a run-heavy offense. Pollard is poised to repeat his 2022 performance and has overall RB1 upside if the Cowboys don’t make a major addition to their running back room.
Justin Fields (QB – CHI)
Justin Fields will likely come with an expensive ADP as the current QB5 in FantasyPros ECR, but he’s well worth the investment. Fields’ passing statistics for 2022 were extremely underwhelming, but rushing for over 1,100 yards provides tremendous upside. The passing statistics should increase with the Bears making big moves in free agency. The Bears traded the first overall pick and acquired D.J. Moore to serve as Fields’ WR1, and they could make an additional investment in receiver via the draft. If Fields can increase his pass attempts per game to the 30-35 range and maintain 1,000 yards on the ground, he has overall QB1 upside.
Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAC)
Trevor Lawrence is my pick for the quarterback most poised to make a leap in 2023. The 2022 season got off to a shaky start as the Jaguars acclimated to Doug Pederson’s system, but the offense began clicking midseason. Lawrence was QB6 from Weeks 10-18, averaging 21 PPG. All of the Jags’ top weapons — Christian Kirk, Travis Etienne, Evan Engram, and Zay Jones — are returning, and Jacksonville will add Calvin Ridley to the mix. Lawrence will thrive in 2023.
Nico Collins (WR – HOU)
I was sold on Nico Collins before Brandin Cooks was traded to the Cowboys. Collins got off to a slow start in 2022 but hit his stride midseason. While the results were underwhelming for actual fantasy points scored, Collins averaged nine targets per game with two touchdowns and operated as the Texans’ WR1 over that time period. Even with the absence of Cooks, Collins’ overall ADP will likely sit above 100. The Texans will have one of the top rookie quarterbacks and Collins could be a steal at his ADP.
Garrett Wilson (WR – NYJ)
While the trade is not 100% guaranteed, there’s a strong possibility Garrett Wilson’s quarterback will be Aaron Rodgers in 2023. Any receiver that finishes as WR21 in PPR with the combination of Zach Wilson, Mike White, and Joe Flacco throwing them the ball deserves to be a must-have in redraft leagues. Wilson comes with a hefty price tag; he’s currently WR10 in FantasyPros ECR and could go even higher as we get closer to the season. Wilson had 83 receptions with 1,103 yards and four touchdowns in 2022. That stat line looks very different with just four more touchdowns. An increase in touchdowns would make Wilson a WR1. The Jets had just 15 total passing touchdowns in 2023. Rodgers had 26 — in a down year.
Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)
Josh Jacobs had a career year in 2022 with 340 attempts for 1,653 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns, plus 53 receptions for 400 yards, finishing as the RB3 in PPR and RB1 in standard. It’s reasonable to assume there could be regression, but I believe Jacobs is primed for a repeat performance. Jacobs’ increase in usage was largely due to coaching changes and the Raiders return the same regime in 2023. The Raiders could also see a decrease in pass volume with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm. For all his faults, Derek Carr was a high-volume passer and the Raiders were 21st in rushing attempts. With Carr’s departure, the Raiders could be a run-heavy offense and Jacobs will lead the way.
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