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Dynasty Draft & Trade Advice: Reviewing 2023 NFL Draft Class

Dynasty Draft & Trade Advice: Reviewing 2023 NFL Draft Class

Now that the dust has settled on the 2023 NFL season, it’s time to look back at what this surprising rookie class accomplished and what it could mean for their future in the NFL and your dynasty fantasy football teams.

The future is bright for this class at every major position in fantasy football. It isn’t just the most elite producers of this class that you will be rostering for a long time, but even the mid and late-round values were there in 2023 and can help you win in 2024.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

2023 Rookies Year-Two Preview (Dynasty Fantasy Football)

Quarterback

When it comes to this class’s signal callers, there were two extremes. The elite – top 10 assets in fantasy football – and then there were the players who shouldn’t be on rosters going forward in one QB leagues.

Anthony Richardson (QB – Indianapolis Colts)

Anthony Richardson showed us that the draft capital the Colts and dynasty managers spent on him was not a mistake. Richardson posted an impressive 18.2 PPG (Points per Game) in his shortened rookie season, showing truly elite production on the ground, putting up nearly 150 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns in only four games (he played less than 50% of snaps in two of these games).

While he will need to learn to avoid contact in year two, he has shown enough to be a potential franchise quarterback for the Colts and a top-five dynasty QB going forward. Assuming he remains on track in his recovery (shoulder), he is my dark horse candidate to finish the 2024 season as the QB1 overall.

C.J. Stroud (QB – Houston Texans)

C.J. Stroud showed us he is an elite passer and the long-term answer for the Houston Texans, putting up one of the most impressive seasons by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. While Richardson’s prowess as a runner keeps him ahead of Stroud for fantasy purposes, Stroud has significantly fewer question marks when it comes to being an NFL quarterback. He threw for over 4,000 yards while also leading the NFL in touchdown to interception ratio.

The only downside to CJ Stroud is that he isn’t likely to be a value in 2024 redraft or in dynasty startups. He will struggle to exceed his current QB5 dynasty ranking, but you will not likely be disappointed in what he brings to your team. He lands firmly in the top 10 (QB7) for dynasty, and if you already roster him in superflex leagues, you will be thrilled with the rookie-to-year two jump.

Bryce Young (QB – Carolina Panthers)Will Levis (QB – Tennessee Titans)

We can call this group quarterback redraft Non-Grata. These two are largely avoidable in redraft and one QB leagues.

You can’t afford to move on from Bryce Young in dynasty leagues. The loss in value is too steep, and there is still a sliver of hope that a new coach and scheme will save him. Young lands as a low-end QB2 right now, and he is one season away from being completely irrelevant in all formats.

On the other hand, Will Levis showed a little spark during his rookie campaign. If you have a manager in your league who is buying, you should be selling. Outside of his breakout debut performance, Levis failed to break into the top-15 QBs in any week. He falls outside my top-25 dynasty QBs and should remain on your waivers in redraft leagues for 2024.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

Running Back

The running backs of the 2023 class gifted us with one of the best classes we have seen in a long time. We can now say we have three players firmly in the top 10 at the position: Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs and De’Von Achane.

Lost in Arthur Smith not giving Robinson the work he deserves, the Texas product still compiled just shy of 1,500 total yards and eight touchdowns while falling just shy of 60 receptions. Now he gets a refresh at head coach and offensive coordinator, the latter coming directly from the Sean McVay coaching tree. Robinson is firmly planted as the dynasty RB1 overall.

When it comes to Gibbs, I don’t see a point in arguing if he is the RB2 or RB3 in dynasty formats, but he is in that tier. David Montgomery won’t disappear completely, and that is the only reason he isn’t in the conversation to be at the top of the running back position. Gibbs put up over 16 PPG and was the RB10 on the season in 2023 while playing under 50% of snaps in five of his 15 games. He totaled over 1,200 total yards, adding 11 touchdowns and 52 receptions in his rookie year with the Lions. Gibbs was the spark to this already impressive offense, and in 2024, I would not be surprised if he took on more rushing work. He is a different player than Bijan Robinson and Breece Hall. Still, he is the only current running back that can join those two as an elite dynasty option at running back, regardless of whether you are a contender or rebuilding in 2024.

Achane proved a lot of doubters wrong in 2023. He landed in the perfect system for his skill set and capitalized on it in a big way. He nearly eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark and racked up 11 touchdowns for the Dolphins, all while seeing over 50% of snaps only four times all season. The big question mark for Achane will be health, as he had a brief IR stint and durability concerns all season. In 2024, I expect him to be a top-15 RB. With health, he could find his way into the top-five conversation. He currently sits as my dynasty RB8.

We won’t spend too much time on the next group of running backs. These players are either stuck behind the true starter or on the smaller portion of a committee. Zach Charbonnet, Tyjae Spears, Roschon Johnson and Kendre Miller are firmly stalled as dynasty RB3s with the potential to be elite assets if they were to inherit larger workloads. I am happy to invest in each of these players at their current dynasty ADP.

Time To Move On From These RBs:

Wide Receiver

The wide receiver position becomes more exciting every year, and the 2023 class was a happy surprise in its contribution to NFL teams in year No. 1. There were multiple additions to the position’s top tiers, and these young wide receivers are here to stay.

Top-Eight Dynasty Wide Receivers (Top-Five Upside)

Puka Nacua (WR – Los Angeles Rams)

What Puka Nacua did in his rookie season will be written into the NFL record books for a long time. He now holds the record for most receptions and yardage as a rookie. As far as rookie wide receivers go, there have only been two to surpass Nacua’s 17.8 fantasy PPG: Ja’Marr Chase and Odell Beckham Jr.

He is on an elite trajectory and looks to be rolling into 2024 with Matthew Stafford, the wide receiver kingmaker, as his quarterback. He is a top-eight dynasty wide receiver, and you can easily make the case that he belongs in the top five.

Top-25 Dynasty Wide Receivers (Top-12 Upside)

Jaxon Smith-Njigba (WR – Seattle Seahawks)Tank Dell (WR – Houston Texans)Rashee Rice (WR – Kansas City Chiefs)Zay Flowers (WR – Baltimore Ravens)

When it comes to explosive upside, this group is full of it. Jaxon Smith-Njigba had a trio of events that hindered his rookie season. He broke his wrist before Week 1, Geno Smith regressed and he battled two elite wide receivers in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Unfortunately, the latter two circumstances aren’t likely to change, even though fantasy managers everywhere are convinced Lockett won’t be a Seahawk in 2024 (I’m not buying it). But winning in fantasy football means buying into talent, not circumstance, and that is what managers should be doing with “JSN.” He was able to eclipse 600 yards as a rookie and could break the 1,000-yard threshold in year No. 2.

Rashee Rice and Tank Dell were the overperformers of the tier, but they look to be the real deal.

Rice had an impressive 2.39 YPRR (Yards per Route Run) in his rookie campaign and displayed incredible YAC (Yards After Catch) ability. Being tied to Patrick Mahomes doesn’t hurt either. The one thing holding him back from being truly elite is his Average Depth of Target (aDOT), which came in at a paltry 5.2, which tells us he was schemed into some of his production more than we like to see in the premier players at the position.

On the other hand, Dell sported a 14.4 aDOT, and while his slighter frame would imply he was meant to be a slot wide receiver, he only lined up there around 29% of his snaps, according to PFF. Anyone who paid attention to his college profile knew he had that kind of usage potential, but seeing it come to fruition in the NFL in year No. 1 was unexpected. Like Rice, Dell is tied to an elite young passer in Stroud and looks to be on the fast track to NFL and fantasy football stardom. The only thing slowing him down is his equally impressive teammate Nico Collins.

Top-35 Dynasty Wide Receivers

Jayden Reed (WR – Green Bay Packers)Jordan Addison (WR – Minnesota Vikings)Josh Downs (WR – Indianapolis Colts)Dontayvion Wicks (WR – Green Bay Packers)

The next tier we need to discuss is the wide receivers in the 2023 class who showed elite wide receiver traits but aren’t likely to see the reliable usage that we like to see from our top 25 pass catchers. I refer to this group as the “Route Runners.” Each player in this tier showed incredible prowess as a route technician, which means they will be earning playing time more often than not. While they may not be game-breaking talents like Nacua, these are the values at wide receiver that fantasy managers should be buying to help them with the long grind of a fantasy season.

Both Packers WRs hold tremendous upside, with questions about what Christian Watson can do in the long term. If I were trying to acquire one player at their current acquisition cost for the most significant value increase, it would be Dontayvion Wicks. He could emerge as the true Alpha for Green Bay in year No. 2.

Top-50 Dynasty Wide Receivers

Demario Douglas (WR – New England Patriots)Michael Wilson (WR – Arizona Cardinals)Jalin Hyatt (WR – New York Giants)

Time To Move On From These WRs:

Taxi Squad for Now:

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Tight End

Sam LaPorta (TE – Detroit Lions)

Sam LaPorta is the new TE1 in fantasy football. Whether it be redraft or dynasty, he is squarely in the conversation. He set the record for most receptions by a rookie tight end, finished as the overall TE1 in 2023, and finished third in fantasy PPG (14.1). LaPorta is locked into a premier role and is a go-to target for Jared Goff in the red zone.

Dalton Kincaid (TE – Buffalo Bills) | Michael Mayer (TE – Las Vegas Raiders)

Some may be surprised to see Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer grouped after their rookie seasons, but they both land as top-12 tight ends in dynasty leagues.

Kincaid has proven that he has the higher ceiling of the two, but LaPorta’s success in his rookie season may have spoiled what fantasy managers should expect from tight ends in year No. 1. Michael Mayer was still a strong prospect and has sleeper value heading into years two and three in many leagues.

The encouraging sign for Kincaid is that he started to dominate the fantasy-relevant playing time, even with Dawson Knox healthy near the end of the season. If he can continue to do this in 2024, he could jump into an elite tier at the position for the foreseeable future.

TEs To Stash in Dynasty:

Dynasty Rookie Draft Advice

2024 NFL Draft Coverage

Dynasty Mock Drafts

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