The 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone, now we have the fund of rookie outlooks- here is the WR 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 wide receivers 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.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba (SEA)
JSN is a consensus top 12 dynasty wide receiver before ever stepping on the field. He may lack size but that didn’t stop him from being electric and producing at an elite level in college. Smith-Njigba is the first receiver off the board in rookie drafts and currently sits as WR12 in dynasty startup drafts.
It may take some time to earn a larger role in this offense with both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf in front of him on the depth chart, but his talent will shine through sooner rather than later.
He checks in as WR17 in my dynasty rankings but that is a very conservative estimate for his rookie season. If you have a pick high enough to draft him, do so with confidence. He will be a star very shortly.
His redraft outlook is a bit tougher to project. The talent here is elite but his target share may not be elite to start his career.
He is being drafted as WR35 in redraft leagues and that could prove a difficult price to improve on with two veteran receivers in front of him.
I fully expect him to have moved up the depth chart before the season concludes but he is unlikely to provide a solid return on his investment in seasonal leagues.
He is currently WR45 in my redraft ranking and I will probably avoid him under his current cost with his current spot on the depth chart.
Quentin Johnston (LAC)
Despite being drafted only one pick after Smith-Njigba, Johnston is going off the board 17 wide receivers later.
Another rookie receiver who is seemingly buried behind two veteran star receivers, he too will take some time to find his footing in the league. Johnston was my favorite of this receiving class as he profiles to be a true prototypical alpha receiver.
While he is my preferred target I have to acknowledge that he is also the one with the widest range of outcomes. He could be a top-five receiver in two years or he could be on the practice squad and everywhere in between.
Johnston is yet another rookie receiver who is a far better target in dynasty than redraft. In 2024 it is possible that both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams will be on new teams which could lead Johnston as the unquestioned number one in Los Angeles, but as far as 2023 goes he is going to have to battle for targets.
I don’t anticipate Allen affecting his targets but Williams and Johnston’s profile to be similar and will likely eat into each other’s fantasy value.
He currently sits as WR61 in my redraft rankings and at WR39 in ADP is likely someone I will avoid in his rookie season.
Zay Flowers (BAL)
This is a rare situation where I like a rookie receiver better in redraft than I do in dynasty. Baltimore is one of the most run-heavy offenses in football and with Lamar Jackson there for the long haul and Mark Andrews serving as the top receiving option. It could be a boom-and-bust career for Flowers.
Flower sits as WR39 in dynasty startup drafts and I think he will be a prime candidate to sell high on should he have the rookie year I anticipate. He ranks as WR31 in my dynasty rankings and is someone I’m looking to get in on early, and out on at some point before 2024.
As I stated above I prefer Flowers in redraft. The opportunity for him to grab the top receiver role on the Ravens is right in front of him.
I could easily see him being the best fantasy producer in this receiver room.
Long-term he may not hold onto the job and that’s why I would like to sell in dynasty, but as far as the 2023 season goes there is little reason to believe he won’t outproduce both Odell Beckham Jr and Rashod Bateman.
He sits as WR53 in seasonal ADP and is a prime target for the late rounds. Zay Flowers is WR37 in my redraft rankings and I will be drafting him often.
Jordan Addison (MIN)
Addison may be my favorite blend of dynasty and redraft potential of all the receivers in this class.
Not only do I expect him to step into a significant role in 2023 but I expect him to be a critical piece of the Vikings offense for years to come. For me, his dynasty value will hinge on who the Vikings start at quarterback once Kirk Cousins moves on.
He currently sits at WR29 in dynasty startups and for a player who could step into immediate fantasy production that is a massive value. Jordan Addison ranks as WR19 in my dynasty rankings as is a perfect short-term and long-term investment.
As stated above, Addison could hit the ground running and be an immediate fantasy star in this pass-heavy offense.
Having Justin Jefferson on the field should leave him plenty of opportunities to get open and he should have little trouble cashing in on those opportunities. Addison is WR37 in Redraft ADP and is a steal in the mid to late rounds of drafts. He is WR38 in my redraft rankings and I will have plenty of shares of him.
Jonathan Mingo (CAR)
Mingo is a receiver of impressive size and speed and is one of the few receivers in this class that can offer that combination. He has shot up rookie draft boards in recent weeks as the hype around the talented rookie has taken firm hold after the NFL Draft.
Mingo is going in the late rounds of dynasty startup drafts and is a worthy dart throw at his current WR67 price tag.
He may not have the high-end profile that the top four receivers in this class have but he was the fifth receiver drafted in the NFL Draft and in a wide receiver room devoid of real talent he has every opportunity to seize the job and become a star.
Jonathan Mingo checks in as WR58 in my dynasty rankings and will be a target in the late rounds of rookie drafts for me this season.
Mingo is similar to Addison and Flowers in the sense that none of them are as talented as Smith-Njigba or Johnston but all three of them have a real chance to produce in their rookie seasons. The only competition he has for targets in the new-look Panthers offense is newly acquired DJ Chark and aging Adam Thielen.
It is entirely within the range of outcomes that Mingo could finish his rookie campaign as the leader in receptions and receiving yards for the Panthers and his ceiling is only a matter of how quickly Bryce Young can adjust to the NFL.
He ranks as WR41 in my redraft rankings and is possibly the best late-round dart throw in this rookie class.
Jayden Reed (GB)
Reed is the bridge receiver serving to get us from the top five potentially elite receivers to the next tier of players we hope get a chance to be relevant at some point. Reed was the sixth receiver selected in the NFL Draft and went to a Green Bay team that is in transition to a newer and younger roster.
He projects to start his career behind both Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs on the depth chart and will have to earn his way to targets. Reed is basically free in startup dynasty drafts, going off the board just before pick 300 in leagues that are deep enough to go that long.
He consistently goes in late round two or early round three of rookie drafts and is a low-cost, high upside option. Jayden Reed ranks as WR78 in my dynasty rankings and is someone to keep an eye on in dynasty leagues as he could eventually pay dividends if he can develop with this young Packers team.
Decent draft capital and solid talent give Reed a chance at success but he will be on an offense that will likely struggle in 2023 and he will have to fight both Watson and Doubs for targets.
While Reed has the potential to breakout I wouldn’t consider him a viable asset in 2023 and consider him a long shot. He shouldn’t be completely disregarded for redraft leagues but he is not on the main radar, at best he should be seen as a watchlist candidate in case things break in his favor.
Jayden Reed checks in as WR93 in my redraft rankings and is not someone I will be drafting unless his situation rapidly accelerates in his favour.
Rashee Rice (KC)
I was never sold on Rice and the fact that he is going off the board as WR56 in dynasty startup drafts despite being selected by the Chiefs should only serve to show that I’m not the only one who isn’t a believer.
The Chiefs’ receiver room is a confusing one as they have several options that are all inconsistent at best. Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney have all shown flashes of talent but neither has been reliable. There is more than enough opportunity for Rice to become a valuable asset with Kansas City.
Realistically this offense is nothing more than Patrick Mahomes throwing to Travis Kelce and occasionally mixing in someone else to change the pace. Rice could have great long-term value and could end up being the Chiefs WR1, but for every Tyreek Hill in this offense, there are six Mecole Hardmans.
Rashee Rice is WR105 in my dynasty rankings and I would prefer to pass on him until the Chiefs show we can rely on any receiver on that team.
He checks in as WR105 in redraft ADP and doesn’t figure to be drafted in leagues outside of the deepest ones. I have little interest in drafting Rice and he will simply be someone to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
If he shows that he is taking over the role of number one receiver on the Chiefs he should be quickly scooped up, until then he can be left on waivers. Rashee Rice checks in as WR152 in my redraft rankings and I’m just keeping an eye on him for now.
Marvin Mims (DEN)
Mims is a polarizing case, the talent and profile are there for him, but there is no clear path to targets in his immediate future. As we sit currently, he projects to be the fourth wide receiving option on the Broncos behind Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick.
He is a player I would like to hold onto where I can spare the taxi squad spot since I believe the Broncos will ultimately move on from one or more of the receivers ahead of him on the depth chart. Mims currently sits as WR58 in dynasty startup drafts and is currently going outside the top 150 picks. This makes him a good stash for teams that don’t need an immediate contributor.
Managers who draft him will need to exercise patience as he may require some time before he produces any significant value. Marvin Mims currently ranks as WR51 in my dynasty rankings and is a solid receiver stash in the middle rounds of rookie drafts.
I will adding Mims to my watchlists as I believe the potential is there for him to carve out a larger role in the Denver passing game, but it’s going to take time. He will go undrafted in most redraft leagues and is nothing more than a stash candidate if you do draft him.
His current ADP is WR75 and 215 overall so he doesn’t project to be a usable fantasy asset in 2023. He currently ranks as WR95 in my redraft rankings and is off my immediate radar until something dramatically changes in his situation.
Tank Dell (HOU)
Tank is a fun and exciting wide receiver to watch but is not a player I’m targeting in any league. In college, he was electric with the ball in his hands but a receiver of his size is such a long-shot to make it in the NFL that I simply do not want to place a bet on him with any draft capital.
Even when he slips to round four or five of rookie drafts which is still well below his rookie ADP of pick 35. I would rather take a shot on a day three running back or tight end than settle for the astronomical odds of him hitting.
Dell currently goes off the board as WR93 in dynasty startup drafts and is outside the top 300 players in my dynasty rankings. I will not have a share of him in any of my dynasty leagues unless he is a throw-in on a trade.
I’m avoiding him in dynasty and that goes double for redraft. As mentioned above, he may have the explosion and talent to be fun and exciting but his size limitations make him such a long-shot to produce that he simply isn’t worth drafting at any cost.
Should he carve out a role in the offence at any point he could be worth a look but at WR178 in my redraft rankings I’m not going to get my hopes up.
Jalin Hyatt (NYG)
Hyatt is the definition of high-risk-high reward. The former Biletnikoff Award winner as the top receiver in college football he has the speed to be a true deep threat in the NFL. He went into the NFL Combine being seen as a one-trick pony and when he turned in a 40-Yard Dash time that was slower than expected, many soured on his ability to even perform that trick.
His draft stock has taken a significant hit as he was once viewed as a first-round rookie pick but can now be had in the third or fourth round. Many fantasy managers are now out on Hyatt and I am no exception. The could one day prove to be a value but he doesn’t project to ever be a reliable week-in and week-out fantasy option. He is WR50 in my dynasty rankings and I prefer many different rookie receivers to him, including Tennessee teammate Cedric Tillman.
I like his outlook in redraft more than I like him in dynasty. He is currently going as WR66 in redraft ADP and at that price is worth a last-round dart throw. Hyatt is likely not going to be a receiver that you will be starting every week but with the nature of his speed and potentially game-breaking deep-threat ability.
He is worth stashing as a high-upside backup to start in the event of an injury or bye. If forced into your lineup he could easily put up a zero, but he will always be just one deep shot away from a Desean Jackson-like boom week.
Hyatt is WR88 in my redraft rankings and is an acceptable dart throw in the later rounds or deeper leagues, just don’t plan to ever start him and expect him to be an “in case of emergency” player.
Cedric Tillman (CLE)
Tillman is nearly free in dynasty startup drafts, coming off the board as WR55. This makes him a prime target for me. He is going behind former college teammate Jalin Hyatt and is a much more well-rounded talent.
The main reason for his low ranking is his landing spot in Cleveland. Cleveland is by no means an exciting destination for a fantasy receiver but with only the Again Amari Cooper to funnel targets to, Deshaun Watson will have to find a second option if he hopes to recapture his pre-suspension form.
Donovan People-Jones and David Bell are nowhere near as talented as Tillman and his size and speed give him the potential to be a potential WR2 for years to come. He currently ranks as WR52 in my dynasty rankings and will be rostered in my dynasty leagues in hopes Cooper’s time in Cleveland is nearing a close and Tillman can take over as the Alpha in the Browns offense.
His outlook in redraft leagues is more of a speculative one, while I do project him to take over as the WR2 in this offense it remains to be seen how much the Browns will throw as they ride Nick Chubb for another season.
His current redraft ADP is that of WR92 and he is well worth a shot in the final rounds as a potentially solid dart throw who could prove to be a solid performer in the Browns offense. He checks in as WR71 in my redraft rankings and will undoubtedly be the target of more than one of my late-round dart throw tosses.
Josh Downs (IND)
I don’t know what to make of Josh Downs. He isn’t a player I’m particularly high on, nor is he someone I am actively targeting in dynasty drafts. He isn’t a player I am intentionally fading but with him going off the board in the early round two of rookie drafts he is never the highest player on my draft board when he is selected.
Downs profiles as a slot receiver due to his size and could be more than effective in the NFL, he just goes too high in rookie drafts for my taste. If he is your cup of tea, by all means, take a shot on him and see if he pans out, but for a player who I believe has a ceiling of a WR3.
I simply would rather take one of the running backs drafted in his range such as Roschon Johnson or Kendre Miller. He currently sits as WR52 in my dynasty rankings, and I will likely be comfortable drafting him well after he has already been selected.
Downs is an acceptable dart throw in redraft simply because his risk-to-reward ratio is so positive. He is currently 199 overall in redraft ADP and is just shy of free to draft.
At his suppressed ADP he is worth a shot late in drafts as he could very easily see himself slot into the WR2 role in Indianapolis. He is not without risk as he has no floor whatsoever and could be droppable by week four, but having said that the risk is negligible for free upside.
Downs checks in as WR91 in my redraft rankings and is more than acceptable in the final rounds of deep leagues. He may require some patience before he gets a real shot to produce, so he is likely a player you want to leave on the waiver wire and scoop up in the event he does make some plays.
There really is no tangible advice to give about the receivers drafted outside the top 12. Inevitably one of them will be a hit and have a productive career, but predicting which one is futile. If I had to give advice on what to do it would be to target a receiver who fell in the draft due to either character concerns or injury risk, similar to that of Antonio Brown or Tyreek Hill.
This is the typical profile of a day three receiver that comes out of nowhere to be productive. As far as redraft goes, it will be tough enough to draft a useful rookie receiver out of the high end guys let alone the day three ones.
Don’t give any of them a second thought until they give you a reason to think they are going to produce. Take a look at the weekly usage reports after each game and see if there are any rookies whose usage has consistently increased. Targeting rookies after their teams can also be a good way to find a diamond in the rough.
Image Credit: Orlando Ramirez – USA TODAY Sports