We’re in the thick of the pre-season, which means rankings are very fluid. And if you’re like most, your draft is right around the corner, which means the cheat sheet you printed yesterday is already stale.
Below are a few players who have moved up or down those lists, along with what to watch for.
- Snake Draft Pick Strategy: Early | Middle | Late
- Draft Targets for Every Round: Early | Middle | Late
- Fitz’s Draft Primers: QB | RB | WR | TE
- 2023 Fantasy Football Draft Kit
Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers — Late August (2023)
Current ECR: RB13
Rhamondre Stevenson truthers had their bubbles burst thanks to the signing of former Cowboys All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott. Stevenson was widely viewed as one of the few bell cow backs available in re-drafts this year after totaling 69 receptions to go along with his 210 carries in 2022. And with no major signings (up to now) or draft picks by New England on the position, it looked like Stevenson would repeat his workload, if not exceed it.
But if you look at the Patriots situation closer, you’ll see it makes a ton of sense. The only backups to Stevenson were Ty Montgomery — who suffered a leg injury a few weeks ago — and Pierre Strong — who has all of 17 professional touches to his name. The Patriots backfield needed bodies.
And adding Elliott certainly shouldn’t be viewed as a threat to Stevenson’s workload, even though the latter’s ranking suffered because of it. Stevenson finished as a borderline RB1 in fantasy scoring last year, even though his main backup, Damien Harris, totaled 106 carries. The signing of Elliott is more about depth than anything, with 100 carries easily within reach.
And it’s not as if this is Zeke Elliott in his prime. He’s averaged a mediocre 4.0 yards-per-carry the last three campaigns and is now entering his age-28 season. Draft Stevenson in the same spot as you would have before the Zeke signing.
Current ECR: RB18
It was just over a week ago that the New York Jets signed free agent Dalvin Cook. And in that time, you can see a noticeable decline in Breece Hall’s ranking. And with good reason. Hall was near the top of redraft rankings at the beginning of the off-season based on the few games he managed to play in as a rookie. And to be fair, it was electrifying stuff. He broke out with a nearly 200 total-yard performance in Week 5, then a 100-yard rushing game in Week 6 before suffering a torn ACL in Week 7.
But all indications were he would be ready to go when the 2023 season started. Add in Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and expectations were sky-high.
Not anymore, as the signing of Cook has put Hall’s ranking in a free fall. Whether it was for depth or the Jets are getting anxious about Hall’s recovery, the news isn’t good for those who were hoping Breece Hall would be a bell cow back. His current ranking as the 18th-ranked running back would have been unheard of just a few months ago. But now it seems right, if not a little generous.
Current ECR: WR59
For the second straight off-season, Packers receiver Romeo Doubs is climbing up draft boards. Last year he was climbing up rookie draft boards after impressing in training camp and the preseason. That translated to a solid start to his rookie season before missing a month with an injury. By that time, the Packers’ other rookie receiver — Christian Watson — was making waves, and there was only one ball to go around.
By the end, Doubs finished the season with 42 receptions, 425 yards and three touchdowns. For fantasy purposes, he finished as a top-80 receiver.
Fast forward to this season, and Doubs is climbing up draft boards again, this time in redraft leagues. It started when there were reports that newly minted starting quarterback Jordan Love was working with Doubs in the off-season. They developed a rapport as Doubs has been flashing in pre-season games as well, with some impressive catches on his limited snap count.
There are also 100 targets to be claimed after last year’s leading Packers receiver — Allen Lazard — followed Aaron Rodgers to New York. If Doubs claims even a third of those, he’ll top 100 targets and enter the WR2/WR3 tier when it comes to fantasy leagues. There’s no reason that Doubs shouldn’t be climbing even higher in the rankings by the season opener.
Current ECR: TE20
Between the relatively high draft capital (34th pick) and the absolute dearth of talent in the Lions’ tight end room, it’s a little surprising that rookie Sam LaPorta started ranked as low as he did. But between a stand-out training camp and his apparent pecking order in the Lions’ offense, his place among fantasy tight ends will start rising to the top.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise, though. LaPorta went to “Tight End U” in Iowa, where the likes of former All-Pro George Kittle and former first round picks TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant were. Amongst players like that, LaPorta totaled the most career receptions by a tight end and the second most yards by a tight end in school history.
LaPorta now enters one of the best situations for a rookie tight end. No competition behind him (unless you’re a Brock Wright truther) and an offense that’s been ticketed to break out this season. Surrounded by playmakers in Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jahmyr Gibbs, LaPorta won’t necessarily be asked to do a lot early, which should help ease him into the offense.
There’s TE1 upside for him by the end of the season.
Michael Moore is a featured writer at FantasyPros, providing unique insights and in-depth analysis.