Here are players our experts are targeting in early fantasy football drafts. You can find our full fantasy football rankings below, along with those that the analysts are higher and lower on compared to the FantasyPros Expert Consensus and Best Ball ADP.
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Fantasy Football Draft Targets
After a lost 2021 season under former Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, the talented Trevor Lawrence began to blossom in 2022 under the tutelage of first-year Jags HC Doug Pederson. From 2021 to 2022, Lawrence improved his completion percentage from 59.6% to 66.3%, boosted his YPA from 5.2 to 7.3, and upped his TD rate from 2.0% to 4.3%. Also a willing and able runner, Lawrence had five TD runs last season. Lawrence finished QB8 in fantasy scoring in 2022, and the former No. 1 draft pick is still ascending. Invest with confidence.
- Pat Fitzmaurice
Miles Sanders signed with the Carolina Panthers reuniting him with many familiar faces from his days with the Philadelphia Eagles. Duce Staley (former Eagles RB coach), Frank Reich (former Eagles coach) and Josh McCown (former Eagles QB) have all seen what Sanders can do, and that surely played a part in bringing him on as the team’s 1-for-1 replacement for new Chicago Bears running back D’Onta Foreman. At a minimum, Sanders will operate as the main back on early downs, while Chuba Hubbard (RB62) and Raheem Blackshear split work on third downs. But I say at a minimum because those guys still have to prove themselves to the new coaching staff to earn substantial roles. Sanders has already proven his worth with these coaches before. And last year he showed everyone what he was capable of when he finished as the RB10 in half-point scoring overall/RB13 in points per game from Weeks 1-17. He ended the year averaging just south of five yards per carry and scored 13 rushing TDs after scoring zero in 2021. His carries inside the 10-yard line ranked inside the top five among all RBs.
And when Sanders saw his best-receiving usage to date – 50 receptions for 509 yards as a rookie in 2019 – it was under Staley’s tenure.
With Sanders’ uber-efficient rushing running behind an offensive line that finished 9th in adjusted line yards in 2022, Carolina is a great landing spot for him. His rushing alone should earn him production similar to what we saw from Foreman after the team traded away Christian McCaffrey. From Week 7 onward, Foreman sat as the RB21 in total points and RB22 in points per game. He ranked fourth in the NFL in total rushing yards (852). But his path to back-end RB2 status was not consistent whatsoever. Foreman rushed for over 110 yards in half of the last ten games, while finishing with fewer than 40 rushing yards in four of his others. His inconsistency was due to a lack of pass-game work causing him to be completely phased out of games that Carolina was out-matched in. But, I don’t think that will necessarily be the case for Sanders. The former Eagle has the chance to be a full-blown workhorse with an expanded receiving role based on the four-year, $25 million ($13 million guaranteed) commitment from his new team.
- Andrew Erickson
Garrett Wilson had a fantastic rookie season, underscored by his WR30 finish in fantasy points per game. Wilson was ninth in PFF receiving grade, 23rd in YAC per reception, and 25th in yards per route run (per PFF minimum 50 targets). Wilson was also 14th in receiving yards (1,103), 16th in receptions (83), and ninth in red zone targets. If his quarterback play improves in 2023, the sky is the limit. Wilson had to suffer through the sixth-most unrealized air yards, 93rd-ranked target quality, and 92nd-ranked catchable target rate. Wilson should be viewed as a WR2 with WR1 upside in 2023.
- Derek Brown
Juwan Johnson finished TE11 in half-point PPR fantasy scoring last season after catching 42 passes for 508 yards and seven touchdowns. It was an impressive performance considering that the Saints slogged through 2022 with Andy Dalton as their quarterback for most of the year. The Saints didn’t select any of the top tight ends from a loaded TE draft class, and they traded TE Adam Trautman to the Broncos, although they did sign TE Foster Moreau, who is recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and reportedly plans to play in 2023. A former undrafted free agent, Johnson has been a diamond in the rough for the Saints and could provide more sneaky fantasy value in 2023.
- Pat Fitzmaurice
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