Fantasy Football Values that Could Drop in the 2023 NFL Draft
The NFL Draft is a time that brings excitement and optimism to football fans and fantasy managers alike. Dreaming about what a rookie selection could do for your favorite NFL franchise or fantasy roster is a fun exercise, but this doesn’t mean we can simply ignore the fact that the draft isn’t always good for everyone. For every rookie that steps onto the field that makes an impact, there’s a veteran who’s losing touches, operating on a short leash, or losing their starting job altogether.
If you’re a savvy dynasty manager, now may be the perfect time to sell a few players who could be on the wrong end of the shake ups that the draft provides. In this article, I’ve outlined three players at each of the key fantasy positions, and described why they may see their fantasy value take a nosedive following the draft.
Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
The football fan in me really wants the Detroit Lions to draft a quarterback this year. Their rebuild throughout the Dan Campbell era has been phenomenal. But that doesn’t mean we can overlook the limitations that Jared Goff has as a passer. We saw the Rams decision to upgrade from Goff lead to a Super Bowl victory in Los Angeles, and Detroit will seriously have to consider if this is the year they want to do the same.
Picking sixth in the draft puts the Lions in a prime position to draft, and potentially trade up for, one of the top quarterbacks. The way their team is trending, they may not be picking this high again any time soon, thus making this the perfect opportunity to raise their ceiling by upgrading at QB. It’s possible that whoever they select backs up Goff during their rookie season, but there’s no denying that picking a QB that high would be a death sentence for Goff’s fantasy value.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Las Vegas Raiders
There’s not a ton of fantasy value still tied to Jimmy Garoppolo’s name right now, but if the Raiders do wind up drafting a first-round quarterback this year, Garoppolo’s value could quickly plummet to zero. Even as a starter in the Kyle Shanahan offense, Garoppolo’s fantasy output never reached the levels we as fantasy managers would have hoped for. While he’s got a decent crop of weapons surrounding him in Vegas now, it’s hard to argue the new landing spot is an upgrade for the 31-year-old compared to what he had in San Francisco.
If you’ve got Garoppolo on your roster, your expectations are likely low – both for this season and for the long haul. If there’s a QB needy team in your league who’s simply looking for depth at the position, I’d sell now if you can get an offer that’s even remotely acceptable (unless of course you’re that QB needy team).
Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
Hold up… didn’t Geno Smith just sign a contract extension? Yes, but while the deal looks like a three-year commitment at face value, Seattle can easily get out after just one year if they prefer to look elsewhere for their franchise quarterback. Sitting at No. 5, the Seahawks are in a prime position to draft – or move up for – a franchise quarterback who could be the missing piece that helps them evolve into a true contender.
Regardless of whether they ultimately draft a QB, it’s hard not to believe Smith’s fantasy value is currently at its peak. The odds of Smith being a long-term starter in Seattle are slim, and this is a situation where I’d much rather mitigate my risk by selling a year too early than waiting and winding up a year too late.
Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons
There’s no more perfect candidate than Tyler Allgeier to show just how ruthless the NFL is with the running back position. Despite posting solid numbers in an underwhelming offense during his rookie season, Allgeier was just a fifth-round pick that the Falcons likely feel is replaceable.
Given the offense they want to run in Atlanta, I wouldn’t be surprised if the team brings in another running back in the draft. Picking at No. 8, the Falcons are a sneaky landing spot for Bijan Robinson. His presence would allow Arthur Smith to run the ground-centric offense he seems to prefer that he found success with in Tennessee. Even if it’s not a Robinson-level talent the Falcons bring in, even a Day 2 or Day 3 selection could tank Allgeier’s value as that would likely eat away at the market share he earned during the latter portion of the 2022 season.
Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There may not be an archetype with more irrational value in fantasy football than the second year running back with a path to more touches. As it currently stands, Rachaad White looks like he’s comfortably sitting atop Tampa Bay’s running back depth chart, but that position could change quickly in the coming weeks.
The post-Tom Brady era could get ugly in Tampa Bay, and there the front office could take this team in any direction as they prepare for the future. While White posted some respectable fantasy numbers during the second half of last season, he didn’t really wow anyone on the field. Given his age and the current hype around him, I’d imagine you could sell White for a mid/low-end RB2 price tag, and I’d gladly take that value now rather than gamble that he exceeds that position in year two.
Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
Remember the buzz around the trade deadline that indicated the Rams were looking to move off Cam Akers? While that trade never came to fruition, there’s a good chance a distaste between player and organization still lingers. The Rams are in a tricky spot this offseason, and Akers is heading into the final year of his rookie contract. Maybe the team keeps him around for the last year of his deal and runs him into the ground, but all signs indicate the team is ready to move on.
Akers' impressive performance down the stretch last season may have swayed the Rams’ front office and coaching staff, but those late season performances likely had a higher impact on his fantasy value than his value in the NFL. The late season surge makes Akers the perfect candidate to sell before his potential heir apparent comes via the draft.
Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens
The signing of Odell Beckham indicates the Ravens are making attempts to please Lamar Jackson. The Baltimore offense was desperately in need of some WR help and signing Beckham (who will be 31 this season) doesn’t exactly provide a long-term solution. Drafting another receiver highly this year would surely help keep Jackson smiling and also set the team up for longer-term success.
The Ravens drafted Rashod Bateman in the first round in 2021, but injuries have prevented him from experiencing the level of success many would have hoped for. I don’t think this front office looks at their receiver room and thinks they’re well positioned for long term success, and I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to see them invest highly in the position once again. If this happens, a world where Bateman’s competing with Beckham, Mark Andrews, and a highly drafted rookie for targets doesn’t bode well for his fantasy outlook.
Gabe Davis, Buffalo Bills
There may not have been a player with more breakout hype last offseason than Gabe Davis. Following his 4-touchdown game against the Chiefs in the 2021 playoffs, Davis flew up draft boards as the thought of him serving as Josh Allen’s No. 2 enamored fantasy players everywhere. The problem was, it was situation rather than talent that drove the hype, and now Davis finds himself in a position where he could easily be replaced.
There may not be an elite quarterback in the league more in need of a second weapon than Josh Allen. While the Bills signed Trent Sherfield and Deonte Hardy in free agency, neither of those two are true needle movers. Don’t be surprised if Buffalo aggressively tries to upgrade their group of pass catchers via the draft, thus bringing the fantasy value associated with Davis back down to earth.
Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers
Packers then-rookie receiver Romeo Doubs was the darling of last preseason. With fellow rookie Christian Watson sidelined, Doubs had an opportunity to step up and did exactly that. Once the actual season rolled around, Doubs didn’t produce much for fantasy, but many are hoping that’ll change in his second year.
Unfortunately, Doubs’ hype may disappear as quickly as it came. I doubt the Packers look at their receiver room and think it’s a group that’s not in need of an upgrade. While they haven’t invested heavily in the position during Aaron Rodgers time there, I think that changes as they enter into the Jordan Love era. The young quarterback will need a little more help than Rodgers did, and I’d be surprised if they don’t spend a Day 1 or 2 pick on a pass catcher this year, thus eating away at many of Doubs’ target opportunities.
T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings
After trading for T.J. Hockenson in the middle of the 2022 season, it’s unlikely the Vikings select another tight end high in the draft. However, much of Hockenson’s value comes from his role as No. 2 option in Minnesota’s passing attack – a role that could change quickly on draft day.
In his 10 games as a Viking last year, Hockenson averaged a whopping 8.6 targets per game – only Travis Kelce (8.9) averaged more among tight ends. To get their offense to the next level, the Vikings desperately need another WR to produce alongside Justin Jefferson. If they find that guy in the draft, it’s more likely he eats into Hockenson’s target share than he does Jefferson’s. This wouldn’t cause Hockenson’s value to fall off a cliff, but it’d make it substantially harder for him to post the elite numbers he did during the second half of last season.
Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars
At the tail end of 2022, Evan Engram burst onto the scene and started putting up fantasy points like his life depended on it. He became a key cog in the surging Jaguars’ passing attack en route to a TE5 finish on the season.
The problem with Engram is that it’s more likely he’s the player he’s always been than the flash in the pan we saw late last season. The Jags brought Engram back on the franchise tag this year, so they’re not committed to him long term. Then you pair the addition of Calvin Ridley with a strong tight end draft class, and suddenly it starts to become obvious that Engram’s fantasy peak is likely behind him. While it may be tempting to buy in on the ascension of Trevor Lawrence, Engram’s not the player I’d place that bet on.
Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers
Much like with Engram, Gerald Everett went on a stretch run last year that many attributed primarily to excellent quarterback play. While Everett remains the Chargers’ No. 1 tight end, it’s very possible he drops down the pecking order when it comes to target share next year.
At best Everett is the No. 4 option in the passing game behind Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler. By all indications, the Chargers are looking to upgrade the weapons around Justin Herbert in this year’s draft. Another player – regardless of position – coming in to eat away at some of Everett’s target share would lead to a massive decline in his fantasy value. You likely can’t get much for Everett this time of year, but you can probably get more for him now than you’ll be able to fetch when May rolls around.