Unfortunately, injuries kept Cooper Kupp and Ja’Marr Chase from finishing last season as top 10 wide receivers. However, both were top-five wide receivers on a points-per-game basis. Therefore, no one should be surprised they join Justin Jefferson as the top three wide receivers in ADP on Underdog Fantasy.
Meanwhile, Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs and A.J. Brown joined Jefferson as the top five scoring wide receivers in half-point PPR leagues last year. All five had a top-10 wide receiver average draft position (ADP) entering the 2022 season. However, will we see a similar outcome in 2023?
Injuries will play a role. More importantly, Amon-Ra St. Brown and DeVonta Smith were surprise top 10 finishers last year. Both second-year wide receivers averaged 12.2 or more fantasy points per game. However, when a player outperforms his ADP, that means another failed to live up to his. Here are four wide receivers I will not draft this upcoming season.
Also, check out which running backs I’m avoiding in 2023.
- 2023 NFL Free Agency Signings Tracker
- NFL Free Agent & Draft Needs for Every Team
- Dynasty Trade Value Chart
- How to Prepare for Your Dynasty Rookie Draft
Wide Receivers to Avoid (2023 Fantasy Football)
Yes, Wilson won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award last year, and I believe he will have a solid 2023 season. However, his ADP will be higher than I want to invest in him. The former Ohio State star currently has an ADP of WR9 on Underdog Fantasy. Last year Wilson was the WR19, averaging 10.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. He averaged fewer fantasy points per game than his former college teammate Chris Olave. Yet, the New Orleans Saint receiver has an ADP of WR14.
More importantly, Wilson’s ADP will only rise from here. Aaron Rodgers is on his way to town, giving the second-year wide receiver a massive upgrade at quarterback. However, the Jets signed Allen Lazard in free agency at Rodgers’ request. How quickly will Rodgers turn away from Wilson towards Lazard if the former Buckeye struggles to start the year for whatever reason? Meanwhile, he wasn’t the most consistent player last year. Wilson scored 40.2% of his fantasy points last year in his three easiest matchups. By comparison, the former Buckeye averaged only 7.4 fantasy points per game in the other 14 games as a rookie.
I’ve never been a fan of Samuel. The veteran receiver had a massive 2021 season, averaging 18.8 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. However, he averaged 13.5 fantasy points per game if you don’t count his rushing numbers. More importantly, Samuel hasn’t been a fantasy star outside of the 2021 season. Over the other three years of his career, the former South Carolina Gamecock has averaged 10.4 fantasy points per game. That fantasy points per game average would have made Samuel the WR28 in 2021.
Some will argue that the veteran receiver is productive when on the field. However, Samuel has missed only 22.7% of the games in his career because of injury. After averaging 18.2 yards per reception and 1.79 fantasy points per target in 2021, Samuel averaged a career-low 11.3 yards per reception and 1.06 fantasy points per target in 2022. Furthermore, the former second-round pick saw his production decline once Christian McCaffrey joined the team. Samuel was the WR10, averaging 12.9 fantasy points per game before the 49ers acquired McCaffrey. By comparison, he was the WR59, averaging nine fantasy points per game once the team added the superstar running back.
This year’s free agent wide receiver class was an underwhelming unit, with Meyers leading the way. However, he only earned a three-year deal worth $33 million with the Raiders. Meanwhile, Las Vegas is an awful spot for the veteran wide receiver’s fantasy value. Meyers was the No. 1 wide receiver in New England over the past two years. Yet, he averaged only 9.4 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the veteran has only eight career touchdowns on 235 receptions. Unfortunately, his situation in Las Vegas lacks upside.
While the Raiders recently traded Darren Waller to the New York Giants, he isn’t a massive loss for Las Vegas. Waller has struggled to stay healthy the past two years, missing 41.2% of the contests during that span, including eight games last season. Furthermore, the veteran tight end averaged only 4.8 targets per game in 2022. Meanwhile, some believe the Raiders downgraded at quarterback this offseason, going from Derek Carr to Jimmy Garoppolo. More importantly, Meyers had a 22% target share last year with the Patriots. He won’t see that same target share in Las Vegas with Davante Adams and his 2022 32.6% target share on the team.
Injuries are the worst part of fantasy football. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do is prepare for them with quality depth and by avoiding injury-prone players. That’s why I won’t draft Thomas next year. The veteran receiver has played in only 10 game contests over the past three years. That means Thomas has missed 80% of the games since his historic season in 2019.
Meanwhile, the veteran receiver averaged 18.8 half-point PPR fantasy points per game in 2019, a career-high. By comparison, Thomas has averaged only 10.7 fantasy points per game since the career year. However, the one positive thing for the veteran receiver is the upgrade at quarterback.
Since Drew Brees retired, the Saints have started five quarterbacks over the past two years. However, they got their guy this offseason, signing Carr to a four-year contract. If Thomas can stay healthy, he will play with the second-best quarterback of his career. Unfortunately, it’s hard to believe the veteran receiver can stay healthy. Meanwhile, the former superstar won’t see the same target volume he did earlier in his career. Thomas averaged 10 targets per game from 2017-2019. By comparison, he averaged 7.3 targets per game last year. With Olave taking over as the No. 1 wide receiver, Thomas will have a reduced role next season.
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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.