The NFL season is nearly upon us, and that means fantasy football is here as well. The preseason is in full gear, but make no mistake about it, mock drafts have been occurring for months.
As preseason ends and regular season begins, this is the prime time to look at the role players will play for their team. Although preseason might not matter as much when it comes to the league, it has a huge impact on your fantasy drafts.
Here are my fantasy draft targets, must-draft players, and a couple of guys you should be cautious of heading into your league.
TO DRAFT — Fantasy Draft Targets
The Indianapolis Colts are primed to be a below average football team. This alone could limit the production of the receivers, but there is some hope.
The Colts have arguably the most exciting quarterback of the rookie class in Anthony Richardson. Richardson is an explosive athlete standing at 6’4” and around 250Ibs. This opens up a whole new offense in Indiana, much different than we have seen in the past few years. Along with that, new head coach Shane Steichen brings a completely different style of offense as well.
If you look at the Colts offense last year, there was no real red zone threat. Pittman Jr. led the team in targets, but he only came away with four touchdowns. Pierce offers a 6’3” frame with a 40-inch vertical, he can consistently get above defenders and make difficult catches. His NFL comparison is a lesser Mike Evans, meaning he could easily lead the team in red zone targets. His current ADP is 163.3 and is listed as the WR66 (via Underdog Fantasy). All reports from training camp show that Anthony Richardson is starting to build a great rapport with him, and the chemistry is only growing stronger. Draft Alec Pierce in your fantasy drafts!
This seems like an easy assumption, but it needs to be said anyway. Calvin Ridley is currently listed as WR16, and his ADP is 34 (via Underdog Fantasy). He is stepping into the WR1 role on a guaranteed top 10 offense next year. Trevor Lawrence in the span of the last half of the season was arguably the best quarterback in the league besides Patrick Mahomes.
The Jaguars added Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram. All of them experienced their best years yet and that was with the offense only picking up the second half of the season. Trevor Lawrence is coming into his third year and is primed for stardom under head coach Doug Pederson and his offensive scheme.
Ridley could easily be the WR1 in fantasy but is being drafted as a WR-2. He is a top WR on my fantasy draft targets this season.
TO FADE — NOT Fantasy Draft Targets
Deebo Samuel is just not a true WR1, and he hasn’t been since he stepped foot into the league. Deebo Samuel is listed as the WR17, even though he finished last year as the WR 34. He finished behind guys like Amari Cooper, Terry Mclaurin, Jerry Jeudy, DJ Moore, and Christian Watson. Every single receiver listed there is being taken after Deebo, even though they have all shown they can be true WR1’s in their respective offenses.
His most fantasy relevant year was 2021, and that was largely due to his eight rushing touchdowns. The 49ers have since added Christian McCaffrey who takes away a lot of rushing and receiving opportunities that Deebo had before. On top of that, all reports say that Aiyuk is the number one guy in that receiving room. Deebo is not going to be able to sustain a top 15 WR finish in the absolutely loaded 49ers offense.
Gibson is not the number one guy in Washington, he is the RB2 to Brian Robinson Jr.
Brian Robinson Jr. Was the lead back for majority of the year last year, and that is not subject to change. Before his injury, he was slated as the RB1 before the season started. Washington wasted no time getting Robinson back into the lead role once he came back from injury. In less games, Robinson was able to produce more than Gibson in terms of carries and rushing yards.
Gibson recently said that he wanted to fulfill the “McKissic role”, which is not something that should excite fantasy managers. That would give him a limited spot as a pass catcher, and that is IF he can prove he is a better pass catcher than Robinson.
Right now, they are around the same ADP with Gibson being 94 and Robinson at 99. If you are at pick 94, you might as well reach the five picks and take the lead back with higher upside. Washington could have a more explosive offense this year, which could lead to a lot more redzone carries for Robinson.
Nevertheless, Robinson is primed to be a three down back and should get most, if not all, of the goal line work. Gibson should only be picked up if you are planning on keeping them both on your roster and you can get them both at the turn. Even then, you can get someone like AJ Dillon who has a good chance of getting a lot of goal line touches.
So there you have it, a look at a few of my fantasy draft targets for this coming 2023 fantasy football season.