Dynasty fantasy football season is upon us and rookie drafts are in full swing. TWSN has been covering the 2023 NFL Draft Class for months now, with plenty of analysis on their long-term outlooks. With that in mind, I want to look at the rookies who are in a position to perform right out of the gate. These are my top five favorite rookie targets for the 2023 fantasy football season. Thanks for reading, and check out TWSN daily for more fantasy content.
Anthony Richardson – Quarterback – Indianapolis Colts
Underdog Fantasy Football Ranking: QB10
Unlike the signal callers taken ahead of him in the NFL Draft, Anthony Richardson has elite dual-threat ability. This will not only give him a high ceiling, but an equally strong floor as well. Fantasy managers saw how this worked with Justin Fields last season and will want an opportunity to buy low. Despite the Chicago Bears finishing last in pass plays per game in 2022, Fields still managed to finish as the QB6.
Richardson has a long way to go as a passer; however, he was literally the most athletic quarterback to ever be tested at the NFL Combine. With that combination of size and speed, he’s already my rookie QB1 for dynasty purposes. Considering Jim Irsay also already stated his desire to see Richardson on the field early, he could have a lot of value this season as well.
Shane Steichen is the new head coach for the Colts and was very creative in how he used Jalen Hurts. Bringing that philosophy down to Indianapolis should be very attractive to fantasy managers. Richardson could have low end QB1 production due to rushing upside alone anytime he is on the field. His ranking of QB10 on Underdog is steep, but I don’t believe he will be drafted this highly in standard redraft leagues.
Jordan Addison – Wide Receiver – Minnesota Vikings
Underdog Fantasy Football Ranking: WR34
Jordan Addison was drafted into the best landing spot of any first round wide receiver. A route-running technician, he was the primary receiving option for Kenny Pickett at Pittsburgh in 2020 and 2021. Addison had over a 20% target share each of those seasons, turning this into nearly 1,600 receiving yards as a sophomore. Injuries and scheme fit ultimately prevented him from making the same impact at USC last year.
There isn’t anyone doubting his skill; however, he had a poor NFL Combine which drove down his fantasy value. Factoring in his smaller frame, Addison had a first-percentile size-adjusted athletic score. While this is concerning, that didn’t stop him from gaining separation from defenders in college.
Overall, Addison comes into the NFL as one of the most pro ready wide receiver prospects in this draft class. Although I prefer the long-term outlook of Jaxon Smith-Njibga, the opportunity in this Minnesota offense is perfect. He should be a WR3 for fantasy purposes right away, but the overall upside may be slightly limited with Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson.
Devon Achane – Running Back – Miami Dolphins
Underdog Fantasy Football Ranking: RB35
If fantasy managers were hand-picking a team for Devon Achane, it would have been the Miami Dolphins. The major concern for him is obviously his size at 5’9, 188 pounds, though. This is a former track star who ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Achane is a home run threat in open space, and played bigger than his size in between the tackles at Texas A&M.
Nonetheless, he won’t be asked to take on a workhorse role at the NFL level. Opportunity is the most important driver for a running back’s fantasy production, and Achane isn’t likely to receive more than 10 to 15 touches regularly. The Miami offense is perfect because of this with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle on the outside.
They will command a lot of defensive attention and give Achane the opportunity to operate in open space. With Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson as his biggest competition as well, early playing time shouldn’t be an issue. Mike McDaniel has also already expressed his excitement about him, and he will have flex upside right away in a powerful offense.
Jonathan Mingo – Wide Receiver – Carolina Panthers
Underdog Fantasy Football Ranking: WR58
One of the biggest post NFL Draft rookie risers, Jonathan Mingo was surprisingly selected with the 39th pick in the draft. He will pair with Bryce Young in Carolina, who has one of the thinnest receiver depth charts in the NFL. Mingo is a big bodied player whose draft profile is reminiscent of George Pickens. He’s a great deep ball tracker and a strong contested catcher.
However, considering his lack of college production, he isn’t nearly the same caliber prospect as Pickens. Mingo never had over 380 yards until his senior season, where he finished with 51 receptions for 861 yards. His 23.8% target share was impressive, but his overall body of work suggests he should have been a day three pick.
Regardless, Carolina was impressed by the athletic profile and the landing spot gives him one of the highest ceilings in 2023 for a rookie wide receiver. Terrace Marshall, Adam Thielen, and DJ Chark will represent his biggest competition for targets. Mingo should have an opportunity to play right away in an offense that should be playing from behind quite a bit. He’s a bargain at the back end of fantasy drafts in 2023.
Roschon Johnson – Running Back – Chicago Bears
Underdog Fantasy Football Ranking: RB45
Roschon Johnson was one of my favorite running backs in the pre-draft process. I thought he had a chance at day two draft capital, so I was disappointed to see him fall to the fourth round. Nonetheless, the Chicago Bears are a great landing spot for one of the most complete running backs in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Johnson didn’t get to showcase that skill set in college, playing behind star running back Bijan Robinson. Nonetheless, he has a strong frame and is tough to bring down in open space. His strong pass blocking ability will get him on the field in third down situations as well.
Although there will be competition for touches from Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman, they aren’t substantial threats. Herbert has never handled a heavy workload, and D’Onta Foreman isn’t overly efficient. Every backfield in the NFL has talented players, and Chicago provides as much of an opportunity at early playing time as anywhere else. I expect Herbert to get the first crack at leading this backfield, however, if he is injured or fails to perform, Johnson will be the next man up.
For more Fantasy Football content, check out the links below!
–Fantasy Football Receiver Risers and Fallers (Post NFL Draft)
–The Top 10 Sleepers in 2023 Fantasy Football