With the season beginning soon and many fantasy drafts planned for the next few weekends, it’s time to prep for your 2023 Fantasy Football team. Here is my advice/predictions as it relates to running backs and wide receivers:
- #1 – I grabbed Christian McCaffrey in a trade two years ago, hoping he would make it back from his injury, and even though that didn’t work out, I have no hard feelings. He is a spectacular running back, almost as good a wide receiver, and can take your fantasy team to the playoffs almost single-handedly; he worked magic last year. There are few better options this year for the first RB picked, assuming that he can stay healthy. Now, that’s been a problem, that’s a real concern, but it McCaffrey plays well for SF this season he could be fantasy’s #1 back; the ceiling is that high.
- Second Tier – If CMC is on a level all his own because of his potential usage (him & Austin Ekeler, I should add), then the guys right with him aren’t that far behind, and may be better because they might be less likely to get hurt. Grab a guy from the next bunch as soon as you possibly can, probably in Round 1, because they won’t be around long. Ekeler, Henry, Chubb, Taylor if he signs; you’d be lucky to have any from this group on your team, and I think they’re capable of leading your club, assuming you can give them some support. If you miss out, grab Bijan, Saquon, Josh Jacobs, or Tony Pollard, and you’ll still have a solid back to build a team on the back of.
- Middle of the Pack – There is a great group of young RBs right in the middle of the pack that could be incredible assets this year, so grab one or two and thank me later. Especially for the value, because they aren’t super high up the list, these guys will be killer picks if they work out the way they’re capable of. Breece Hall, Travis Etienne, Javonte Williams, Jahmyr Gibbs; this is a value group, because they all have great potential and they won’t cost you an arm & a leg. Last but not least, grab Joe Mixon, he’s still the starter for the Bengals, the Perine leaving might mean everything for Mixon.
- New Roles – Then there’s a group that have new roles, whether by free agency or the draft or injury to another player, so their value is questionable, and I wouldn’t pick them as more than backups. Alexander Mattison, Dalvin Cook, James Cook, Miles Sanders; it’s anyone’s guess how these dudes will do, but they have potential to be impact players on their teams, as well as part of your fantasy squad. If Rhamondre Stevenon ever gets hurt, Zeke Elliott could be a steal, and look out for AJ Dillon slowly taking over the GB job from Aaron Jones.
- Deep Dives – If you want to take a bigger chance, go down the list and nab some backs who won’t be on many radars and just might prove to be diamonds in the rough. Najee plodding away for Pittsburgh, James Conner still in floundering Arizona, Kenneth Walker doing good in Seattle, Cam Akers if he can stay hot in LAR; if you’re willing to roll the dice in a later round one of these guys might just come up a winner, just don’t reach too early because there will be safer bets available.
- MVP – If you’re lucky enough to get Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins on your team, I think you’ve got a winning pair that might take you all the way to the championship. JJ is by far the best fantasy receiver in the league (with only Chase in the conversation), and he could be the top league wideout as well. He is incredible, off the charts, so good, and could catapult you toward a trophy. I also think he works even better as a companion piece to Kirk in Minnesota (Kirk is gonna have a year), so try to get ’em both if you can; you won’t regret it.
- Squad – Last year it was a surprise, but this season we need to expect points scored in Seattle. Geno stepped up and looked like the real deal, and his receivers benefited. Not only does he have Metcalf and Lockett, but the team drafted JSN from OSU, so now there are 3 outstanding receivers catching TDs in SEA. I would take a chance and grab the one you think is about to break out, because that could be a championship move. You could say the same about the Ravens receiving corps: Odell, Zay, Bateman, Andrews, they’re all gonna score, but place a bet on your favorite.
- Pair Up – I’m a big believer in pairing a QB with the WR; I understand that having too many players from one team on your fantasy squad can lead to let-downs if that one team has a bad day, but I don’t think one QB/WR combo is too much; if your star player has a bad day you’re in for trouble anyway. So pick one of these top duos: Mahomes-Kelce, Herbert-Williams, Hurts-Brown, Allen-Diggs, Dak-Lamb, Cousins-Jefferson, Burrow-Chase, Tua-Hill.
- Unpaired – The good thing about getting a top wideout is that, when you play a team with your WR’s QB, you have them blocked, like playing a team with Allen you know he’s gonna throw to your Diggs, so you don’t have as much to worry about. The opposite is true about the Seahawks, the Ravens, the Chargers, the Jets, the Jaguars, the Lions; they have two or three receivers who all rank the same, and not extremely high, so you have no idea which one will score and block a team who trots out their QB. That’s a good reason to get a passer who you can’t predict, but it’s a bad reason to get one of a group of receivers who might score or get blanked on any given day. With these picks, you should still go for it, but not too high.
- Avoidance – And now for some team’s receivers to avoid, for various reasons. Houston is a mess, so don’t trust anyone there; who’s good anyway? Godwin & Evans will take a major hit with Baker throwing to them, so avoid. Who knows how Derek Carr will do, he’s getting kinda old, so be careful with Saints receivers until one proves himself. Jerry Jeudy is a gamble in Denver, we just don’t know how that will work. I wouldn’t draft any NYJ WRs high, not too early anyway, Rodgers hasn’t shown who is favorite will be yet. And Arizona’s wideouts are completely wasted on what Murray has been doing.
Hope this helped! Good luck!