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Winners and Losers Following the 2023 NFL Draft

Now that the 2023 NFL Draft dust has settled, it’s that much clearer which players are entering the 2023 season unscathed by another exciting off-season. There is still months-worth of workouts, training camp, pre-season games, and even a few more key signings and trades to be made. For the most part, we have a rough idea of what each team’s roster will look like, especially for pre-season positional competitions. The decision to draft certain offensive players, and where those players were picked, is the latest bit of information to breakdown. I’ll be declaring some of the more significant veteran fantasy football players “winners” or “losers” depending on how they were affected by the 2023 NFL Draft. For my thoughts on some of the rookies, check out the superlative awards I handed out to players drafted in the first round.

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Post-NFL Draft Winners and Losers for Fantasy Football


Tony Pollard, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys

Discussing Tony Pollard’s fantasy football value continues to be a roller coaster ride this off-season. Following a broken leg injury in a playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys continue to instill confidence in us that Pollard is their starting running back for the 2023 season. Not only will he play under the [one-year] franchise tag, but Ezekiel Elliott is no longer with the team. He leaves behind 43% (231) of Dallas’ rush attempts and 50% (12) of their rushing touchdowns from last season. As far as adding to the backfield, Dallas drafted 5’5″, 176-pound Deuce Vaughn in the the sixth round. There’s still a chance Zeke returns on a cheaper deal, but Pollard remains a winner for fantasy football. He’s explosive, can catch passes, and should see a major increase in snaps and touches, especially in yet another contract year.

Rhamondre Stevenson, Running Back, New England Patriots

The New England Patriots did not use any of their 12 picks in this year’s draft on a running back. That’s after letting Damien Harris walk in free agency and, more importantly, Rhamondre Stevenson’s 2022 breakout season. Stevenson is responsible for nearly half of the Patriots’ rushing attempts from last season. Damien Harris is responsible for 25%, but he’s now on the Buffalo Bills. With only James Robinson brought in during free agency for backfield depth, we have every reason to believe Rhamondre Stevenson will see similar, if not more, of a workload in 2023. He is the RB13 on a points per game basis from last year, but the RB8 from Week 3 onward. He is a clear winner following the NFL Draft and a clear-cut, top-10 running back for fantasy football.

Rachaad White, Running Back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After releasing Leonard Fournette at the start of free agency, there are now 55.5% of last year’s running back opportunities (carries + targets) up for grabs. Former third-round pick and second-year player, Rachaad White, is going to command most of them, making him an obvious winner for fantasy football. He is one of just 11 running backs since 2010, drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, to catch 50+ passes as a rookie. It’s worth noting that going from Tom Brady, who led the league in pass attempts, to Baker Mayfield is an obvious downgrade at quarterback, but I still think that’s good news for White. He can play on all three downs and feast in the short-yardage passing game. As of now, he is competing with Chase Edmonds, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and undrafted rookie Sean Tucker for opportunities.

D’Andre Swift, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles

Swift is on the move after the Detroit Lions traded him the Eagles following their decision to draft running back, Jahmyr Gibbs (also a winner), with the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The knock on Swift is his availability having played just 39 of a possible 50 games over the last three seasons. However, in 2022, he still averaged 13.7 fantasy points per game as the RB16 with 147 touches in 14 games. That’s even more impressive considering his eight touchdowns account for just 25% of his total fantasy points. He’s now the lead back on an Eagles team that scored the second-most points per game and ran the fifth-most plays per game in 2022. Behind an elite offensive line, Swift should yield RB2 production with RB1 weeks here and there.

Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Baltimore Ravens

Anyone who signs a $260 million contract with $185 million guaranteed is a winner in life. That’s exactly what Lamar Jackson did the morning of the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Then, the Baltimore Ravens used the 22nd overall pick on wide receiver, Zay Flowers, to add to Lamar’s arsenal. With the best group of pass catchers yet in his career, Lamar Jackson is in line for possibly his best fantasy football season yet. As one of the most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the league, Lamar now has Mark Andrews, Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, and Flowers to throw to. Lamar Jackson’s floor is already so high with his ability to run the football, but his ceiling is that much higher with the chance to rack up points by getting the ball into the hands of these playmakers.

Michael Pittman Jr., Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts

It’s a contract year for Michael Pittman Jr. and he has every reason to be a winner for fantasy football following the 2023 NFL Draft. Obviously drafting quarterback Anthony Richardson fourth-overall is a big reason why. Since Pittman’s rookie season in 2020, he’s played with five different starting quarterbacks under two different head coaches. It’s tough to string together consistent, quality fantasy production catching passes from Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and Matt Ryan without any continuity season-to-season. Pittman’s role has increased each year, but the production, with poor quarterback play, has been less than ideal. Hopefully Richardson plays sooner than later. He has arguably the strongest arm of this class and should be targeting Pittman as the clear top option in the passing game. If Pittman can remain in the top-12 in targets, as he did last season, he could finally produce WR1 numbers in fantasy football.

One-Liners For Other Winners:

Cooper Kupp (LAR WR) is firmly in the overall WR1 conversation for fantasy football as the only real option for Matthew Stafford to throw to and trust in Los Angeles’ 2023 offense.

Geno Smith (SEA QB) is the QB8 from the 2022 fantasy football season and now has Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the first receiver off of the board in the 2023 NFL Draft, to throw to.

Treylon Burks (TEN WR) remains the Tennessee Titans’ top wide receiver, though I expect all things to run through Derrick Henry, per usual, especially in the final year of his contract.

Chigoziem Okonkwo (TEN TE) should benefit from the Titans’ lack of pass catchers, especially with the departure of Austin Hooper and his 49% target share amongst 2022 Tennessee tight ends.

Jordan Love (GB QB) has a plethora of young pass catchers to throw to in his first year as a starter in addition to one of the best receiving running backs in the league, Aaron Jones.


Kenneth Walker, Running Back, Seattle Seahawks

Not only are the Seattle Seahawks adding Zach Charbonnet to their backfield, but also picked Kenny McIntosh in the 2023 NFL Draft, as well. McIntosh figures to be more of a passing-down option, but Charbonnet is one of the more talented backs in this rookie class. Additionally, Seattle used one of their two first-round picks on wide receiver, Jaxon Smith  Njigba, improving their group of pass catchers. Kenneth Walker’s 255 touches as a rookie feel like his ceiling in 2023 with the amount of talent spread across this offense. He is the biggest loser from a fantasy football perspective as he falls out of the top-10 at his position to barely making it inside the top-20, if at all.

Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr., Running Backs, Miami Dolphins

The 2022 Miami Dolphins offense ranked 27th in rushing yards per game, 27th in rushing touchdowns (nine from running backs), and 31st in rush attempts per game. They’re also bringing back the majority of the running backs from the 2022 roster in 2023, including 31-year-old Mostert and 27-year-old Wilson. However, with a third-round pick, and as the sixth running back off of the board, they are adding Devon Achane. Though just 5’8″ and 188 pounds, Achane has 4.3 [40-yard dash] speed and should mix in for a moderate number of touches as a rookie. If Mostert and Wilson didn’t cancel each other out before in fantasy football, adding Achane to this backfield makes them even more of fantasy losers.

D’Onta Foreman, Running Back, Chicago Bears

Foreman is probably now fourth in line for carries, if any at all, on the 2023 Chicago Bears offense. After drafting Roschon Johnson in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, it’s possible 27-year-old Foreman, who’s guaranteed just $1 million for the 2023 season, is on a different team come September. Roschon Johnson is one of the more pro-ready running backs of this rookie class. Not only is he a powerful, downhill runner, but he can catch passes and is excellent in pass protection. That should earn him more significant playing time than some may realize. Quarterback Justin Fields rushed for over 1,100 yards on 160 carries last season, so all of these backs are competing for smaller slices of the pie anyway. Of them all, I think Foreman is most likely the biggest loser here in regard to the possibility of losing his job.

Tyler Boyd, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals

Tyler Boyd is still a great bench player for 2023 fantasy football rosters. If Ja’Marr Chase or Tee Higgins were to miss time, Boyd has shown he can command significant targets and make them count, even with Chase and Higgins on the field. In the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bengals drafted wide receiver, Charlie Jones, presumably Boyd’s replacement for when he hits the free agency market in 2024. Considering they need to pay Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and maybe even Tee Higgins, this will likely be Boyd’s last season with the Bengals. While I do think Boyd is extremely talented and could see an increase in targets elsewhere next season, he’s a fantasy loser knowing how hard it will be to go from playing with Joe Burrow to just about any other quarterback.

Romeo Doubs, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers

After rising in rankings as a rookie from preseason hype last season, Romeo Doubs is just as quickly a fantasy football loser following the 2023 NFL Draft. Going from Aaron Rodgers to a generally unknown Jordan Love generates skepticism investing in this offense. Additionally, five of the Packers’ 13 picks from the 2023 NFL Draft are either a wide receiver or tight end. That includes three of their picks in the top-80. After playing the second-most snaps amongst 2022 Packers wide receivers, Doubs’ chances do doing so again are seriously in doubt. He likely tumbles down in the pecking order in the middle of, or behind all of, Christian Watson, Aaron Jones, and rookies Jayden Reed, Luke Musgrave, and Tucker Kraft. He’s still worth holding in dynasty leagues, but his stock is way down from where it once was.

One-Liners for Other Losers:

Tyler Allgeier (ATL RB) gets replaced by Bijan Robinson as the Falcons’ lead back after rushing for 1,035 yards as a rookie.

Greg Dulcich (DEN TE) is now one of four prominent tight ends on Denver’s roster and hard to trust as the go-to guy on top of playing on an offense with a strong group of wide receivers.

Rashaad Penny (PHI RB) is only guaranteed $600k and is no longer a lock to make the Eagles roster after trading for D’Andre Swift on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Ryan Tannehill (TEN QB) is in the final year of his contract with no significant upgrades to his receiving corps, but now has rookie quarterback, Will Levis, waiting in the wing to take over the Titans.

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