The 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone, now we have the fund of rookie outlooks- here is the RB edition. By now most of us are familiar with a good percentage of the rookie class and now we must do our best to combat rookie fever in an attempt to determine where, if at all the 2023 rookies should be drafted in redraft leagues. This article aims to assess both dynasty and redraft outlooks for the 2023 crop of rookies.
For this article, we will be looking at the top 12 running backs as they were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. For each position, I will provide a custom graphic to illustrate each player’s landing spot and draft capital, but the complete list of players drafted can be found here. You can find individual rookie profiles here written by the KFS team. Without further delay, let’s take a look at the top rookies of this class.
Bijan Robinson (ATL)
Nothing surprising here. Bijan is the consensus RB1 in dynasty rankings and is a generational talent. Bijan is the most valuable 1QB asset in fantasy football and should be a high-end fantasy asset for a minimum of five years.
He ranks as RB1 my dynasty rankings as well as I’m taking him in 1QB startup drafts behind only Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase.
If you have the 1.01 in superflex leagues and are rebuilding or need a quarterback, you should consider trading away the pick for the top rookie quarterback and a huge haul of assets.
The love for Bijan has gotten way out of control in seasonal leagues. He may be the consensus RB1 in dynasty but that should not be the case in redraft.
There are simply too many proven running backs on much better offences to be able to pay that price. Bijan checks in as RB5 in redraft ADP and currently sits as RB7 in my redraft rankings.
I have plenty of high hopes for him and acknowledge that he will have a long and productive career, but he simply cannot be selected over McCaffrey, Ekeler and the other proven running backs.
The talent is undeniable, but he is being drafted at his redraft ceiling and for that reason I will likely have very few shares of him in redraft this season.
Jahmyr Gibbs (DET)
Gibbs lands in an interesting situation. He is likely to share the Lions backfield with David Montgomery for much of him rookie year and for that reason may be unreliable as a rookie.
He currently ranks as RB3 in dynasty startup ADP and is a solid investment at that price, he may not be as good as Bijan, but he has more than enough talent to be a reliable RB1 for many years to come.
The 2023 season is an interesting one for Gibbs, he could start slow and share the backfield, or he could immediately take advantage of Jameson Williams’ absence and hit the ground running.
I wouldn’t plan to rely on him as your primary starter in his rookie season, but the potential is there for him to be a bell-cow. He currently checks in as RB6 in my dynasty rankings.
Gibbs enters his rookie season as RB20 in redraft ADP. At that price, I would far prefer to draft Gibbs over Robinson. RB20 overall leaves fantasy managers room to turn a profit unlike with Bijan.
As I stated above, his rookie season is full of uncertainty. The Lions have indicated that they believe in him fully and he could explode onto the scene picking up extra targets while Jameson Williams is suspended.
If he doesn’t get those extra targets and he splits rushing work with Montgomery it could make for a slow start to his career and a disappointing rookie season.
He currently sits as RB in my redraft rankings and is a high-risk, high-reward option for 2023 seasonal leagues.
Zach Charbonnet (SEA)
Few rookies fell more after the NFL Draft than Charbonnet. He is now all the way down to RB26 after landing in a less than ideal situation.
He finds himself stuck behind talented second year running back Kenneth Walker and I anticipate the more talented Walker being the primary back.
Many fantasy managers anticipate this being a 50/50 split but I believe Charbonnet is more than likely going to be the backup in Seattle and will be far less valuable than anticipated.
Charbonnet is a player I’m currently selling to any manager who believes he will get 50% of the workload.
He currently ranks as RB37 in my dynasty rankings, which is the worst-case scenario for his dynasty value.
I will be avoiding Charbonnet in 2023 seasonal leagues. He currently goes off the board as RB46 and that shows exactly how bad his post draft situation is.
While he could form a nice complimentary duo with Walker, it is very unlikely that he is able to take over this backfield. I would be buying low on Walker as opposed to buying in on Charbonnet.
He ranks as RB56 in my redraft rankings and is off my board until he indicates that he is taking over the main share of the Seattle backfield.
Kendre Miller (NO)
Now for a player I will be targeting everywhere. Kendre Miller landed in a situation that is just murky enough to suppress his value while being just juicy enough that he is still enticing.
His currently dynasty ADP is that of RB30, which is a steal. There is no reason he should be going after Zach Charbonnet. He is every bit as talented and landed in a far better situation.
The reason for his low ADP messy backfield he landed in with New Orleans, but this is more of an opportunity than a hindrance.
Jamaal Williams is nothing more than a journeyman plodder who survives by vulturing touchdowns, while Alvin Kamara is no longer the star he used to be a faces a lengthy suspension.
Miller ranks as RB37 in my dynasty rankings and screams buy. This will be his backfield sooner rather than later and he will prove to be an absolute steal of a deal.
As far as his redraft value goes, I am looking to take a chance on him everywhere that the price suits me. He is currently RB59 in seasonal ADP and I’m going to have many shares of him when it gets to the point in the draft where I’m throwing darts.
There is no guarantee that a dart throw on Miller will pay off, but at his current cost I would be willing to role the dice that he is able to win the job away from Alvin Kamara.
If Kamara serves a lengthy suspension it is entirely possible that Miller never gives the job back to the aging veteran and is a steal.
Kendre Miller checks in as RB41 in my redraft rankings and I love him in the late rounds and deeper formats. He is a worthy late-round flier.
Tyjae Spears (TEN)
No thank you! It’s as simple as that. I will not invest a top 15 rookie pick on a running back with no ACL and debilitating arthritis in his knee.
Running backs are hard enough to keep healthy as it is, I’m not going to invest in one that’s already closer to the end of his career than any of the other rookies.
Spears currently ranks as RB36 in dynasty ADP and that is far too high for a player with his injury risk. The fact that he is going before Kendre Miller is criminal.
He currently sits as RB57 in my dynasty rankings and I will be owning zero shares of him.
Many fantasy managers will tell you that his injury doesn’t matter in the short-term and he will still be productive in 2023.
To that I say, have you met Derrick Henry? His long-term value is nerfed by injury risk and his short-term value is that of Derrick Henry’s backup. This is not a situation I want any part of.
Spears currently ranks as RB82 in my dynasty rankings and is not worth selecting. I’m not taking a chance on an injured and unproven rookie who has Henry blocking his path.
Devon Achane (MIA)
A few weeks before the draft, Achane was readily available in the late second round, then he was selected by the Miami Dolphins and the fantasy community lost their minds.
Achane sits as RB28 in dynasty startup ADP and is being drafted before proven players like Miles Sanders, David Montgomery and Alvin Kamara.
I will be passing on Achane as he is now going in the late first round of rookie drafts. Fantasy managers are overvaluing his current situation and are assuming that he will just take over as the starting running back in year one and I do not believe this to be the likely outcome.
While both Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert have a lengthy injury history, neither missed significant time in 2022 and may not just hand this backfield over to the rookie.
His path to touches is far more convoluted that many fantasy managers are acknowledging and I prefer to let someone else draft him and trade for him later when he disappoints as a rookie in a three way committee.
He currently ranks as RB36 in my dynasty rankings and is going before I am comfortable drafting him. Give me an upside quarterback like Will Levis in a superflex league instead of a backup running back.
Achane is further down the board in seasonal ADP, checking in at RB55 and perhaps indicates that many sharp managers understand he is unlikely to be the lone running back used in this offence.
At RB55 price, I don’t mind taking a shot on him late in case an injury does happen to Wilson or Mostert, but he will be more of a bench stash in the later rounds than an actual fantasy asset.
He currently ranks as RB58 in my redraft rankings and should be viewed as an upside handcuff in seasonal leagues.
Tank Bigsby (JAX)
Bigsby is an interesting case. He doesn’t have the draft capital and many fantasy experts are expecting him to be nothing more than a backup to Travis Etienne, but I think the talent and potential is there for him to earn a larger role.
Tank Bigsby was an impressive back in college and excels in some of the areas that Etienne lacks in. Should he see the field on a consistent basis it is entirely possible that he may slowly take over the backfield until this becomes a full blown split.
He currently ranks as RB41 in dynasty startup ADP and is a solid, high upside pick in the middle of round two in rookie drafts.
I currently have him as RB37 in my dynasty rankings and believe he should be a 1B in this backfield at worst. I expect him to carve out a useful role for fantasy purposes and provide a solid return on investment.
Once again we see another rookie running back who is ranked relatively low in redraft due to uncertainty and pessimism in what his role will be.
He currently goes off the board as RB65 in redraft leagues and is worth a late-round flier in case he carves out a significant role in this offence.
At RB65 price, there is little risk in drafting him. He can be selected with the last pick in your seasonal draft and if he doesn’t show any signs of life can be dropped with the first few weeks of the season.
Bigsby is a great running back to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
Roschon Johnson (CHI)
Roschon is another rookie running back whose valued dipped due to a perceived poor landing spot, but I disagree and have plenty of optimism with a Bears landing spot.
Johnson is going as RB37 in dynasty startup drafts and is being viewed as a backup and long term project. I could not disagree more!
Roschon Johnson spent three productive years behind Bijan Robinson on the depth chart at Texas, and had he transferred to another school it is entirely possible he would be the RB2 in this class.
Despite having the most hyped fantasy player in years ahead of him on the depth chart, Johnson still demanded a solid share of the workload.
If he can push a generational talent like Bijan for touches, why can’t he steal the job away from the likes of Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman.
I firmly believe that once Johnson finds his way onto the field it will be obvious that he is the most talented back in the Bears backfield and he will win the job outright within weeks.
He currently ranks as RB28 in my dynasty rankings, making me probably the highest on Roschon Johnson in the fantasy industry. Thank me later.
Give me all the shares of Roschon Johnson. I will take them all. He is going off the board as RB71 in redraft, that’s behind Pierre Strong and Isaiah Spiller and that is utter insanity.
I will be drafting him with every last-round pick I have in every league. If my predictions for him do come true, he will be the best value in fantasy.
Even if he only gets a portion of the work at RB71 value he is such a low risk there is no downside. He ranks as RB29 in my redraft rankings and I’m going to have tons of shares of him in all formats.
At the time of writing this, I have yet to complete a draft in any league where I did not leave with him. That’s a total of 11 drafts so far and 11 shares of Roschon Johnson.
Israel Abanikanda (NYJ)
Abanikanda was a post draft faller and now sits as RB45 in dynasty startup ADP. He lands in a crowded Jets backfield that seems to be neutralizing his talent. This situation is a confusing one. Breece Hall is the undoubted lead back in this backfield and as long as he is healthy that doesn’t figure to change.
What the selection of Abanikanda by the Jets means is uncertain. It is entirely possible that the Jets are concerned about Halls’s injury and could not pass on the talent of Abanikanda and decided to draft him as an insurance policy in case Hall never fully recovers.
On the other hand, if Hall is healthy Abanikanda will be useless for fantasy football. In addition to Hall, he will also be forced to split backup touches with Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight who both proved to be useful.
I have him ranked as RB55 in my dynasty rankings and unless I get word that Hall is struggling with his injury recovery I would prefer to avoid him despite how much I liked his talent going into the draft.
As stated above, his value is completely dependent on Breece Hall’s recovery. If the season approaches and we still don’t have a definitive timetable for Hall, I will be taking a few late round fliers on Abanikanda in the event that he has a large role to start the season.
Even in the event that Hall starts the season on the injured reserve, there is still plenty of competition for touches and it’s unlikely he provides any significant return on investment in seasonal leagues.
He currently sits as RB87 in my redraft rankings and is nothing more than a committee handcuff to Breece hall.
Chase Brown (CIN)
Chase Brown was profiled to be one of the better pass-catching running backs in this year’s rookie class. All that changed with an epically bad week at the Senior Bowl, and I mean EPIC!
Brown fumbled often and dropped passes on multiple occasions and proved to be a total blocking liability. I’m not sure any player saw his stock drop more at the Senior Bowl than Chase Brown.
Subsequently, Browns checks in as RB46 in dynasty startup ADP. The only reason he is not significantly lower is because he landed in Cincinnati behind Joe Mixon and the uncertainty surrounding Mixon is driving up Brown’s price slightly.
Should you find a sell-high opportunity for a manager that believes he will be the starter if Joe Mixon is released or suspended then I suggest you take the deal immediately.
I have him ranked as my RB47 and I’d rather take a shot on more upside options.
Browns ranks as RB89 in redraft ADP and is being drafted as nothing more than an insurance policy behind Joe Mixon.
If something does change with Mixon’s situation, Brown could provide some value, but with his limited skillset and experience it is highly unlikely that the Bengals wouldn’t bring in a veteran running back.
Brown is RB81 in my redraft rankings and is not someone I’m targeting in seasonal leagues in 2023.
Eric Gray (NYG)
Take everything I said about Chase Brown and put a New York Giants spin on it for Eric Gray. He sits as RB62 in redraft ADP and is just a stash to handcuff yourself against Saquon Barkley-related issues.
Gray is less of an all around back than Brown and has less passing upside but is a better pure rusher. The only reason he is on the fantasy radar is that there is simply no one else in the Giants backfield to back up Barkley.
He checks in at RB68 in my dynasty rankings and is a decent enough late-round rookie pick. Gray will not pay any dividends unless Barkley goes down to injury or moves on in the offseason.
Much like with Brown the Giants would likely bring in a veteran in that scenario.
Gray sits as RB104 in redraft ADP and is nothing more than a Hail Mary in the event of a Saquon Barkley issue.
In redraft he can be safely left on the waiver wire and only added in the event that his number is called in an injury situation.
He sits as RB98 in my redraft rankings and is someone that I will be keeping an eye on as a potential injury handcuff, but aside from that, I have little to no interest in him for the 2023 seasonal leagues.
Evan Hull (IND)
Stop me if you’ve heard this before but you can simply cut and paste my thoughts on Eric Gray and Chase Brown and apply them to Evan Hull.
Gray sits as RB70 in dynasty startup ADP and is going in the late rounds of rookie drafts. There are worse options at running back but with Jonathan Taylor in front of him on the depth chart he offers little value outside of a handcuff.
I have him ranked as RB70 in my dynasty rankings and unless I roster Taylor and wish to protect myself against injury I will not be drafting him at all.
Little long term value and even less redraft value. He currently ranks as RB99 in redraft ADP and is the definition of a handcuff.
For me, he sits as RB70 in my redraft rankings and will be best left on waivers. Should Taylor go down to injury then worry about him, until that point, he is off the fantasy radar.
Image Credit: Jay Biggerstaff – USA TODAY Sports