The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books and now it is time to obsess over what it all means for fantasy football over the course of the next few months. Every year, our favorite rookies get drafted into some head-scratching, awful landing spots for fantasy football purposes, but there are plenty of players who find themselves in dream scenarios. 

But let’s stay positive and focus on the latter, shall we?

 

Bijan Robinson to the Atlanta Falcons

All week long, it was expected that the Atlanta Falcons would select Texas running back Bijan Robinson. And sure enough, Robinson was off the board at eighth overall. We know Robinson is going to be ranked highly in dynasty but I believe he should be a top-five running back for redraft leagues, too. This Falcons running scheme is elite, as their carries were stuffed at or behind the line of scrimmage just 15% of the time last year, the fourth-lowest rate in the league. Tyler Allgeier had a fantastic rookie campaign, rushing for over 1,000 yards, while ranking ninth in yards before contact per rush attempt (2.9). And from Week 10 on, Allgeier ranked 10th in rushing yards (612), seventh in 100-yard games (2) and third in yards per attempt (5.3). The entire offensive line is underrated, but especially the right side led by right guard Chris LindstromPer FTN’s Rushing Direction stats, Allgeier averaged 6.2 yards per carry on runs to the right in 2022. Atlanta ran 230 plays with multiple running backs on the field last season, the most in the league, while operating out of the pistol formation at the highest rate in football. Robinson, who played in a similar style of offense at Texas, will be a perfect fit and on a team that sported the league’s second-highest neutral script run rate in 2022 (55.6%), Robinson should be seeing as many touches as anyone in football. 

Jordan Addison to the Minnesota Vikings

Throughout the entire draft process my favorite landing spot for an incoming wide receiver was Minnesota. Adam Thielen is gone, and new head coach Kevin O’Connell opened up this offense and turned it into a more pass-heavy one. And while everyone realizes that Justin Jefferson is the focal point of this passing game, opposing defenses realize it, too, which should open up constant one-on-one opportunities for Addison. According to FTN Data, Jefferson saw the fifth-most targets against double coverage in 2022 (22) and as the season progressed, would see a ton of bracket coverage from opposing defenses. Thielen saw 107 targets last season (28th among wideouts) but was incredibly inefficient, sporting the 16th-lowest yards per route run among qualified wide receivers (1.06), while also ranking outside the top-50 in both fantasy points per route and target. Addison could post top-30 stats if he sees similar volume during his first season.

Most of the Rookie Tight Ends

Seriously.

I was pretty pleased with most of the landing spots from this tight end class. It started towards the end of the first round with Buffalo selecting Dalton Kincaid, who is essentially going to play a ton of slot wide receiver for the Bills. Kincaid played over 220 snaps from the slot at Utah last season and is a fluid, natural mover for the tight end position. He was in-line on jus 35% of Utah’s pass plays, while sporting a career yards per route run of 2.3. Kincaid has strong route-running skills with a terrific feel for zone coverage, which is something the Bills will likely face a lot of this season. 

The second round featured a run on tight ends, starting with Sam LaPorta to the Detroit Lions. Going into the draft, the Lions had Brock Wright, James Mitchell and Shane Zylstra on their tight end depth chart. So Detroit traded up towards the top of the second round to select LaPorta, an athletic, versatile tight end. LaPorta ran a 4.59 40-yard dash and used that speed to force 20 missed tackles, the most among all tight ends in college football last year. He was the focal point of Iowa’s offense, lining up out wide over 20% of the time and leading the draft class in targets against man coverage. LaPorta has to show more consistency with his route running but with Jameson Williams suspended six games and on a roster where he’s clearly the top tight end, he has fantastic potential right out of the gate.

It was a bit surprising to see Michael Mayer as the third tight end selected but his landing spot is solid. Like LaPorta, Mayer was also the focal point of his team’s passing game, sporting an absurd 31% target share at Notre Dame. That obviously isn’t happening in Las Vegas, especially with Davante Adams in town, however, Mayer is arguably the best tight end in this talented class and should start right away over O.J. Howard and Austin Hooper. Mayer has strong, reliable hands, while also possessing the ability to go up and get the football in traffic, as his 17 contested catches led the tight end position in 2022. He certainly has more competition for targets than LaPorta and is in a worse offense than Kincaid but Mayer should be on the field a ton during his rookie season.

As expected, the Packers addressed the tight end position, not once, but twice. Not only did they draft Luke Musgrave with the 11th selection of Round 2, Green Bay also drafted Tucker Kraft in Round 3. Musgrave has crazy athleticism but doesn’t work the middle of the field as well as LaPorta, Mayer or Kincaid, which is something this Green Bay offense desperately needs. He did a lot of his damage on vertical routes down the seam, but Musgrave and Kraft have a tremendous opportunity to finish second on the Packers in targets in year one.

Devon Achane to the Miami Dolphins

Do you think the Dolphins value speed on offense? Achane and his 4.32 speed joins Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in Miami and this was honestly one of the best landing spots imaginable for the rookie. Sure, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson were brought back this offseason but both running backs have had issues staying on the field over the course of their careers. Achane is an ideal fit for this zone scheme in Miami, as nearly 60% of his carries last year came out of zone concepts. Achane should also see very few stacked boxes in this explosive Miami offense, as Mostert saw stacked boxes on just 12.1% of his carries in 2022, the fifth-lowest rate in football. And while he is unlikely to see 20 touches per game, Achane can handle more work than his size might suggest and with his speed and talent, he could emerge as the top running back on this depth chart in no time. He should be viewed as the rookie RB2 right now.

Jonathan Mingo to the Carolina Panthers

After the wide receiver run during the first round on Thursday, Mingo became the first wideout selected on Day 2 and the fifth wideout overall. It was pretty surprising but you simply cannot deny Mingo’s athleticism. At 6’1”, 226 pounds, Mingo ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and has the opportunity to emerge as Carolina’s top wide receiver, catching passes from Bryce Young for years to come. Head coach Frank Reich talked about all of the different ways Mingo will be used in Carolina’s offense and with DJ Chark on a one-year deal and Thielen at age 33, the rookie could lead the Panthers in targets right away.

Jalin Hyatt to the New York Giants

I wasn’t as high on Jalin Hyatt during the draft process but I will say, this landing spot has me more excited. Yes, Hyatt was schemed up a ton of open looks in Josh Heupel’s spread offense at Tennessee, giving him free releases for days. In fact, he had just 62 total snaps against press coverage. However, Brian Daboll, who apparently helped initiate the trade up to select Hyatt, is terrific at putting his best players in positions to succeed, so I am very confident he’ll do the same with Hyatt. And given the Giants wide receiver room, Hyatt has a very reachable path to leading this team in targets as a rookie.