We need to look at the wide receiver landscape for the 2023 season. Some players are changing to better and worse situations, others are primed for a breakout year, and as you move along in the draft, you want to find the right guys to help you to a championship.
We know Jefferson, Chase, Brown, and Diggs are no-brainers, but let’s look at other must-need wide receivers for the 2023 season.
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Must-Have Wide Receivers
Here are wide receivers I’m targeting wherever possible.
St. Brown had the breakout year some of us predicted, and he was a great value at his mid-round ADP. This year it’s likely you won’t see him after the third round, so is that juice worth the squeeze? Absolutely!
The Lions were 12th in passing plays per game last season (34.6), and although this backfield is entirely new, don’t expect much of a change. St. Brown was a heavy favorite for Goff, and his 26% target was double the next closest player.
Last season, he finished third in the league catches, the seventh-highest yards after the catch per game, and seventh in red zone targets.
Also, they won’t have Jameson Williams to begin the season due to a suspension, and this means a great start for St. Brown.
This year he gets the slinger in Derek Carr, who finished fourth in air yards per completion. Olave proved he’s a great route runner finishing top 12 in route win rate, and can go vertical with a top 15 finish in air yards and yards per pass.
Olave is top poised for a top-ten finish.
Trevor Lawrence had his breakout sophomore year, and he’s establishing himself as a top pick, and now he will have a true WR1.
Ridley missed all of 2022 due to a year-long suspension and stepped away from the Falcons in November of 2021 due to personal issues, so it’s been a long time since he’s stepped onto the field, but he will come back strong.
In his last full season in 2020, he finished as the WR4, had the most air yards, and his 15.3 yards per catch were the third-most amongst wide receivers with 80+ catches.
Christian Kirk was fantastic for Lawrence last year, and that could pull pressure from Ridley and give him an optimal chance to get back into the top-ten territory.
I wanted to pick someone from this rookie class, and while there is some incredible talent, Addison has the best chance of having a great season.
You might be worried that he’s on the other side of the best receiver in the league, but that helps. Jefferson pulling double coverage should give Addison some favorable matchups where his talent can come through. With the Vikings having the third-highest passing play percentage in 2022, there will be plenty of opportunities.
Over the last two years, you’ve seen Addison elevate a quarterback to a first-round pick and another to a Heisman Trophy, so this one has something special.
Cooks feels like one of the most under-appreciated receivers in the league. He’s made several stops in his career, but wherever he goes, he balls.
In six of nine seasons, he’s had over 1,000 receiving yards and just one season below 13 yards per reception. Now he goes over to the Cowboys, who need more receivers in an offense that was an average passing attack in 2022.
I think Mike McCarthy calling the plays will make this a heavy passing team and Cooks gives Dak the deep threat he’s been missing since Cooper left.
Drake London’s rookie season was certainly not memorable, but with a whole camp to work with Desmond Ridder taking first-team reps, they can build a better connection.
London was much better with Ridder as his quarterback, as he finished with his two-best receiving yard performances, had no less than eight targets, and his second-best weekly fantasy finished. They want him to be the guy with the third-highest team target share in the league, and that volume will get him to finish with a great season.