Fantasy analysts have spent all offseason long debating the talent profiles of the 2023 NFL rookie class. Another important aspect in determining their fantasy value is their landing spot in the NFL Draft. While a player’s skill set is the most important factor in determining their success, surrounding circumstances can have a large effect too.
A poor offense, a struggling quarterback, or an incumbent running back can be detrimental to a rookie’s production. Below, I break down some of the best and worst landing spots for some of the 2023 NFL Draft classes top players. Some of these rookie’s fantasy value is more dependent on the team that drafts them than others.
Bijan Robinson – Running Back – Texas
Expected Draft Range: 15-25
Best Landing Spots: Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals
All of these landing spots have strong incumbent starters, however, they would likely move on from each in 2024. Bijan Robinson would then be operating in run heavy schemes, behind strong offensive lines in Dallas or New Orleans. As for the Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Mixon appears to be on the way out the door sooner rather than later, too. I can’t imagine how defenses would handle Robinson with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins on the outside.
Worst Landing Spots: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Commanders
Tampa Bay and Washington are facing uncertain futures at head coach and were a mess on offense last season. Defenses would be able to focus on Robinson without the presence of a quarterback that would make them respect the pass game. Baltimore could also look much different without Lamar Jackson, who still is a free agent. An offense with no plan at quarterback with JK Dobbins has little interest to me for fantasy purposes.
Anthony Richardson – Quarterback – Florida
Expected Draft Range: 5-15
Best Landing Spots: Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons
Seattle and Detroit are both coming off successful seasons and are happy at quarterback at the moment. However, Geno Smith and Jared Goff have limited upside, and these teams might not have picks this early again for a long time. Anthony Richardson would likely sit in 2023 and come into a perfect situation next season.
Worst Landing Spots: Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, Washington Commanders
Places where Anthony Richardson will be asked to play immediately are actually less attractive to me for his future fantasy value. He needs the time to develop, and none of these offenses have the talent around him to assist him through a long learning curve. Any of these landing spots would also mean he was drafted outside the top 10 picks of the NFL Draft as well.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba – Wide Receiver – Ohio State
Expected Draft Range: 10-20
Best Landing Spots: Houston Texans, New England Patriots
Jaxon Smith-Njigba isn’t likely to make it to a better offense in the back end of the second round. Although these teams have plenty of uncertainty, he would slot in as their WR1 right away. There would be growing pains being the top target as a rookie, but he has the skill set required to develop into that role.
Worst Landing Spots: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans
Talent will ultimately win out in the end; however, it would be best if Smith-Njigba ends up with a dependable quarterback under center. Justin Fields and Jordan Love are talented passers, but haven’t put together consistent passing numbers in the NFL yet. As for the Tennessee offense, they have ranked in the bottom 10 in pass attempts for seven straight seasons.
Jahmyr Gibbs – Running Back – Alabama
Expected Draft Range: 25-45
Best Landing Spots: Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals
Miami and Cincinnati would be dream landing spots for a pass catcher like Gibbs. Given his likely 15-20 touch per game role, he could maximize his PPR upside in pass-heavy offenses. Atlanta would be very intriguing as well, despite the presence of Tyler Allgeier. Arthur Smith will want to run the ball, and checking down to a running back is a great security blanket for a young passer like Desmond Ridder.
Worst Landing Spots: Los Angeles Rams, Washington Commanders, Houston Texans
Given Gibbs’ size, he isn’t likely to take on a larger workload in the NFL. With this knowledge, fantasy managers should want him to land with a team where he can maximize his opportunities. The Rams’ offensive line was a mess last season, and Gibbs would cede most of the early down work to Cam Akers. While in Washington and Houston the offenses could struggle, which means less plays and touchdown opportunities at first.
Will Levis – Quarterback – Kentucky
Expected Draft Range: 5-15
Best Landing Spots: Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts
Atlanta and Detroit have some very attractive pieces on offense and would be great landing spots for any of these rookie quarterbacks. They have plenty of talent at the skill positions that would hide some of the holes in Will Levis’ game. Indianapolis with the hire of Shane Steichen is also a very intriguing option. He was the offensive coordinator for Jalen Hurts last season and could have some fun with Will Levis’ dual-threat skill set.
Worst Landing Spots: Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders
Tennessee continues to be one of the least attractive spots for these quarterbacks. With so little outside of Treylon Burks at wide receiver, the Titans likely continue their run first philosophy. Using an early selection on a rookie quarterback likely would mean the Raiders will be picking here once again next season. It is unclear at that point if head coach Josh McDaniels would be retained.
Jordan Addison – Wide Receiver – USC
Expected Draft Range: 15-30
Best Landing Spots: Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants
Jordan Addison has been slipping down NFL Mock Draft boards after a relatively poor combine performance. While each of these teams’ picks toward the back end of the first round, this would be a benefit to his fantasy value. He wouldn’t be asked to be the top target right away. Addison then could use his short area quickness and footwork against single coverage as he continues to refine his game.
Worst Landing Spots: Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens
While these landing spots are slightly earlier in the draft, being the second target in a lackluster passing offense wouldn’t be ideal. The previously listed offenses have the ability to maintain more than one consistent fantasy relevant receiver. Green Bay and Baltimore don’t have that security, particularly if the latter loses Lamar Jackson this offseason.