With the 2022 NFL season complete, it is time to look ahead to the 2023 fantasy football season. We'll go through the first four rounds of a 12 team league with 0.5 PPR scoring to get an early look at how your draft may look in the fall.
Team 1: Justin Jefferson, WR – MIN
Team 2: Christian McCaffrey, RB – SF
Team 3: Tyreek Hill, WR – MIA
Team 4: Jonathan Taylor, RB - IND
Team 5: Saquon Barkley, RB – NYG
Team 6: Austin Ekeler, RB – LAC
Team 7: Cooper Kupp, WR – LAR
Team 8: Josh Jacobs, RB – LV
Team 9: Derrick Henry, RB – TEN
Team 10: Stefon Diggs, WR – Buf
Team 11: Ja’Marr Chase, WR – CIN
Team 12: Davante Adams, WR – LV
Justin Jefferson has emerged as such a force at WR, that no current RB displaces him at the top spot. Christian McCaffrey fits naturally in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, taking the top RB spot. Tyreek could go as high as second overall, while a bevy of RBs (Taylor, Barkley and Ekeler) fight to be the second player from the position off the board. Will be interesting to see where Jonathan Taylor ultimately goes…with the same being true for WR Cooper Kupp. Josh Jacobs has likely worked his way back into round 1, provided that the Raiders don’t muck things up and bring in someone to cut into his playing time. Derrick Henry will enter the 2023 season at age 29, which makes him a tad risky, given the position and his playing style. We end the round with three top level WRs in Diggs, Chase and Adams.
Team 12: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR – DET
Team 11: Dalvin Cook, RB – MIN
Team 10: Joe Mixon, RB – CIN
Team 9: Tony Pollard, RB – DAL?
Team 8: Bijan Robinson, RB - ? *rookie
Team 7: Travis Kelce, TE – KC
Team 6: AJ Brown, WR – PHI
Team 5: CeeDee Lamb, WR – DAL
Team 4: Nick Chubb, RB - CLE
Team 3: Breece Hall, RB - NYJ
Team 2: Jaylen Waddle, WR – MIA
Team 1: Kenneth Walker, RB – SEA
Lions’ WR Amon-Ra St. Brown kicks off round 2, having established himself as a weekly high floor performer. Cook and Mixon follow as safe RB plays, with Tony Pollard sitting right behind them. Now if Zeke gets cut, or Pollard escapes to another team as the clear lead back, he could threaten round 1 status. Vaunted rookie Bijan Robinson enters the round 2 discussion prior to having an NFL team – he’s that good. Obviously he’s ripe to move up or down the board, depending on his landing spot. Tight end Travis Kelce will turn 34 years old midway through the 2023 season, so there’s some risk of a dropoff finally occurring next season. High end WRs in Brown and Lamb go next, with RBs Chubb and Breece Hall (health permitting) immediately behind them. We wrap up round 2 with the speedy Jaylen Waddle at WR, followed by the Seahawks’ Kenneth Walker, who we expect to be the unquestioned starter for the team in 2023.
Team 1: Tee Higgins, WR – CIN
Team 2: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB – NE
Team 3: Dameon Pierce, RB – HOU
Team 4: Najee Harris, RB – PIT
Team 5: Aaron Jones, RB - GB
Team 6: Terry McLaurin, WR – WAS
Team 7: Mark Andrews, TE – BAL
Team 8: Travis Etienne, RB – JAC
Team 9: DK Metcalf, WR - SEA
Team 10: Deebo Samuel, WR – SF
Team 11: Garrett Wilson, WR – NYJ
Team 12: Chris Olave, WR – NO
The Bengals have put together a high octane offense, with Higgins becoming the team’s third skill player in the first 25 overall picks. RB Rhamondre Stevenson follows, with a higher ceiling available in the event that the Patriots move on from Damien Harris. Three more RBs follow, with the Texans’ Dameon Pierce leading the way, and Najee Harris and Aaron Jones next. WR Terry McLaurin’s value could move up if the Commanders finally improve at QB next season. TE Mark Andrews has had a down 2022 season, but he should still hover in round 3 of drafts as Lamar Jackson’s lead target. Now if the Ravens’ trade Jackson, we’ve got a different story. The Jaguars’ Travis Etienne became the guy this year, and his arrow points up as the team continues to ascend. We end round 3 with four WRs, with veterans DK Metcalf and Deebo Samuel followed by burgeoning up-and-comers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. The soon to be second year QBs could each push up a bit further if their respective teams have meaningful improvement at the QB position this offseason.
Team 12: Amari Cooper, WR – CLE
Team 11: Javonte Williams, RB – DEN
Team 10: Miles Sanders, RB – PHI
Team 9: Alvin Kamara, RB – NO
Team 8: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB - ? * rookie
Team 7: Josh Allen, QB – BUF
Team 6: Keenan Allen, WR – LAC
Team 5: Christian Kirk, WR – JAC
Team 4: Mike Evans, WR - TB
Team 3: Jalen Hurts, QB – PHI
Team 2: DJ Moore, WR – CAR
Team 1: TJ Hockenson, TE – MIN
You start to notice a lower ceiling for players in round 4. Amari Cooper leads off the round, with the expectation that he’ll build good chemistry with QB Deshaun Watson over the offseason. RB Javonte Williams had a high ceiling entering 2022, but his return from injury, coupled with all the problems in Broncos Country, makes his ultimate 2023 draft position a fascinating question. Fellow RBs Miles Sanders and Alvin Kamara provide high floor, lower ceiling options. Could we have a second rookie RB within the top 4 rounds? Alabama product Jahmyr Gibbs will likely be the second rusher to be selected in the NFL draft, and he’ll factor into the fantasy picture if he goes into the right situation. We move from Gibbs to the first QB to go in fantasy drafts, the Bills’ superstar Josh Allen. We see a run of solid WRs next with Allen, Kirk and Evans, with the latter’s value subject to who plays QB for the Bucs next season. Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts becomes the second QB off the board, having established himself as a fantasy force in 2022. Don’t write off the Panthers’ DJ Moore, who despite a down 2022, has long produced strong numbers with weak QB options. We end the round with TE TJ Hockenson, who will continue to feast while opponents try to slow down Justin Jefferson.
So there you have it, a very early 2023 fantasy football mock draft. Would love to hear your thoughts!