While finding the right players to catapult you to a championship is essential, avoiding those who can tank your season is just as paramount. Here are two WRs more likely to clog up your roster than provide league-winning upside in the 2023 season.
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Wide Receivers to Avoid
Here are wide receivers to avoid in your fantasy football drafts.
Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN)
We’re heading into year four of waiting for Broncos WR Courtland Sutton to replicate the flashes of elite production from his sophomore NFL campaign. That season, Sutton caught 72 of his 115 targets for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns and finished as the point per reception (PPR) WR19. Since Sutton had three different starting QBs (Joe Flacco, Drew Lock and Brandon Allen) in that 2019 season, hopes were high that he could build on what we saw with more stability behind center. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
In 2020, Sutton went down in Week 1 with a torn ACL, effectively ending his season. He came back in 2021 with tempered expectations. He blew up early before fading down the stretch, finishing the season as the PPR WR44. Hope was renewed for 2022 with the blockbuster grade that landed the Broncos QB Russell Wilson.
As it turns out, year one of the Wilson experiment did not go well, with freshman head coach Nathaniel Hackett getting the axe in after Week 16. However, while it was an ugly season, there were a few bright spots. Through the first five weeks of 2022, Sutton was the overall PPR WR12 with five straight double-digit fantasy point outputs. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there, with Sutton finishing the season as the PPR WR43.
Some of that can be attributed to the putrid QB play from Wilson. However, the Broncos’ offense started to gel in Week 13 and was vastly improved down the stretch. Jerry Jeudy rounded out the last six games as the PPR WR6, while Sutton was WR73. While Sutton missed two full games in that span, he averaged eight fantasy points per game to Jeudy’s 18.5.
Along with new head coach Sean Payton, the team added WR Marvin Mims in the draft and will get Tim Patrick back after he missed the 2022 season. Notably, the Broncos traded up for Mims, who primarily plays slot receiver. This signals that Payton will move Jeudy out wide nearly full-time in 2023, leaving Sutton to fight for targets with Patrick. Acquiring Sutton at his current value is a risk with little potential upside. Sutton is currently ranked as the WR46, putting him in a tier with players such as Keenan Allen, Tyler Lockett and Rashod Bateman, among others. If you can move him for any of these veteran pass-catchers, that’s a huge win.
Marquise Brown (WR – ARI)
Every season starts with the hope that Cardinals WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will live up to his nickname. Week 3 of his 2022 NFL campaign made it seem like it was about to happen. After two consecutive double-digit point totals, Brown had a big day in Los Angeles against the divisional rival Rams. He caught 14 of his 17 targets for 140 yards and 28 PPR fantasy points in that contest. Following that breakout performance, Brown continued to dazzle, notching two more games of 20-plus points.
After the phenomenal three-game stretch from Brown, he cooled off in Week 6, netting 11.8 fantasy points before getting hurt and missing his next five games. Upon his return, he managed a double-digit fantasy point game (10.6) against the Chargers before QB Kyler Murray went down for the season with a torn ACL. The carousel of starting QBs that would follow hampered the Arizona offense, and Brown struggled to be a productive receiver for the team. With Murray out, he averaged just 7.2 fantasy points per game.
As the 2023 season approaches, it’s all but settled that Murray will miss at least the first half of the season while he rehabs from the ACL tear. That likely leaves veteran backup Colt McCoy at the helm in Arizona. In the two games they played together in 2022, Brown was targeted 16 times, catching eight passes for 52 yards and averaging 6.7 fantasy points per game.
Should McCoy start the season behind center, expectations for Brown should be highly tempered. The inefficiency of the passing game behind McCoy won’t do the veteran WR any favors. In addition, DeAndre Hopkins is still, as of now, an Arizona Cardinal. Furthermore, he’ll compete for targets with third-year receiver Rondale Moore and TE Zach Ertz. It’s hard to see a path to Brown being anything more than an occasional flex option at best.
Brown is currently sitting as the WR31 in the FantasyPros expert consensus dynasty rankings, putting him in a tier with Amari Cooper, Diontae Johnson and Terry McLaurin. While Johnson does have competition in the form of George Pickens, Cooper and McLaurin are the undisputed alpha WRs on the respective teams. Brown could be the WR2 in Arizona behind Hopkins, but given the situation, that isn’t as attractive of a proposition as it could have been. If/when Murray returns, Hollywood could become a solid fantasy asset down the stretch. However, that’s a bet you shouldn’t be willing to take.
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Nate Polvogt is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Nate, check out his archive and follow him @NatePolvogt.