After following the 2023 rookie class through the most recent college season and the NFL Draft process, I’m ready to put together a few names for you to watch as you prepare for your fantasy football leagues. Based on my evaluation, landing spot, opportunity, and more, here are players to know as you get ready for fantasy football drafts. Here are my dynasty rookies to target in fantasy football drafts.
- More Dynasty Articles & Advice
- Dynasty Startup Draft Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Dynasty Rookie Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Dynasty Rookie Draft Simulator
Dynasty Rookie Draft Targets
We’ve never seen anything like Anthony Richardson. That much was confirmed by Richardson’s perfect “10” RAS score – only one of those is awarded per position. Richardson refers to himself as “Cam Jackson” – an homage to Cam Newton and Lamar Jackson. In addition to his ludicrous athletic profile, Richardson has one of the strongest arms to enter the NFL over the past decade. Richardson is as gifted as they come, but he’s also raw and inexperienced, a one-year starter who had accuracy issues in 2022.
The ceiling is stupid – a more-athletic Josh Allen. But there’s a lot of work to do until he can approach that. Allen was a mechanical mess at Wyoming – the second he fixed that, he was a superstar. Richardson’s development plan will focus heavily on the same. Richardson’s rushing ability makes him a fantasy cheat code. I don’t care. I’m all-in.
While it was confusing to see Charbonnet land in Seattle, here is my pre-draft take on his abilities:
Play style that has an answer for most questions. Charbonnet is a muscular north-south thumper with a twist. His movement skills and long speed sneak up on defenders.
Charbonnet’s a handful between-the-tackles. I appreciate his vision and patience, and his ethos of taking at least what the defense gives him – sometimes much more. Charbonnet is so dang clever in cramped quarters. He sets up and then shakes defenders in the hole with a one-cut-then-punch-it ethos.
He’s always attempting to get defenders to over-commit in the beats before contact, and he has a deep bag of tricks to evade them once they do. Charbonnet’s movement in short quarters creates off-angle shots he runs through – his contact balance is outstanding.
Per PFF, Charbonnet ranked No. 3 with 122 forced missed tackles since 2021. He was also top-20 in the nation in elusive rating. Defenders descending upon him in the second and third levels have to be very cognizant of the nasty stiff-arm Charbonnet deploys.
He is a surprisingly reliable receiver for a back of his ilk. His hands are very reliable. Over 90 collegiate targets, Charbonnet had only five drops. He’s a taller back with long arms – the catch radius is atypically large for a running back, and he’s reliable with anything you can drop into that net.
Once he corrals the ball, Charbonnet’s a handful to wrestle down chugging upfield. He averaged over 10 yards after catch (YAC) last year, and posted a career mark of 9.1. Charbonnet ranked No. 13 last season in PFF receiving grade among all qualifying FBS running backs.
RB Tyjae Spears was one of my favorite prospects in the draft. Explosion like that doesn’t grow on trees. Spears is unfair in the open field. His cuts are so sudden, and his decisions are so resolute at high speeds that he discombobulates defenders. So long as his knees hold up, Spears will pose a problem to NFL defenses.
Johnston got nitpicked to death during this process, but I never wavered in him as WR1 on my board. He’s the only receiver in this class who has a clear path to becoming a star boundary receiver in the NFL.
The only pick in the Cardinals’ draft class I really liked was WR Michael Wilson. Wilson may well end up as one of this class’ best receivers. That’ll depend on if he can kick the nagging-injury bug.
But Wilson has an extremely unique ability to slam on the breaks into route breaks and accelerate quickly out of them for a big receiver. That’ll play at the next level – with the standard Wilson caveat “if he can stay on the field.”
I thought it was interesting that the Chiefs popped WR Rashee Rice in Round 2. When Rice is on, he’s very difficult to deal with down the field – and he’s proven he can win at all three sectors of the field. When he’s off, he’s a non-factor. Will the light turn on playing with the best quarterback in football? He’s worth a roll of the dice given the upside.
Mims, Texas’ all-time high school career leader in receiving yards, is a proven downfield assassin with a long catalog of circus catches. He can absolutely be a standout NFL boundary receiver.
If he’d played in a different offensive environment than the rancid situation at Iowa, LaPorta may have been a first-rounder. He caught a ridiculous 30.2% of Iowa’s market share of receptions last season while converting two-thirds of his catches the past two years into first downs or touchdowns despite playing in an offense that last season finished No. 130 out of 131 FBS teams in scoring.