Tier 1: A Cut Above the Rest
- Patrick Mahomes – Travis Kelce
There is no better stack in fantasy football than Mahomes and Kelce, and I am sure it comes as no surprise to see these two atop the list. Both of these legends are favorites to finish as the top players at their respective positions, and there is simply no better set-it-and-forget-it duo than Mahomes and Kelce. With 152 targets between these two last year, that number is only projected to grow in 2023 with JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman leaving in free agency. It is a shame these two are nearly impossible to pair together in most redraft leagues, as both are typically drafted in the first two rounds of drafts. Nevertheless, quarterbacks can certainly fall to the third round, where a Kelce-Mahomes stack would be a dream pairing with another elite asset in the second round.
Tier 2: Fantasy Gold Mines
- Joe Burrow – Ja’Marr Chase
Burrow and Chase go together like peanut butter and jelly, and they may be the only true threats to dethrone Mahomes and Kelce at the top of this list. These two have simply been electric together in practically every game since the start of Burrow’s 2019 Heisman-winning season at LSU. Chase missed time with an injury last year, yet was still an elite fantasy asset finishing as the WR6 overall in points per game. The scariest thing about this young duo is that they have yet to hit their ceiling together, especially given the slow start Cincinnati got off to last year and the midseason injury that slowed Chase down. Look for these two to put up MVP-level production in a year where the Bengals contend for the top seed in the AFC.
- Jalen Hurts – AJ Brown
These two were league-winning picks last year, with Hurts blossoming into one of the best quarterbacks in the league. This year, their draft price has rightfully skyrocketed, but you would still be wise to try to pair them together. Hurts’ rushing upside combined with Brown’s efficient yet explosive playmaking has the potential to single-handedly carry your team to wins in any given week.
- Josh Allen – Stefon Diggs
Allen and Diggs have been one of the best duos in fantasy since they paired up in 2020, and they are not likely to slow down heading into their fourth season together. Diggs has yet to match the gaudy 127 receptions he recorded in his inaugural season with the Bills, but he has remained a lethal PPR asset, and a near-lock to reach the coveted 100-reception threshold. Allen meanwhile, is a perennial MVP candidate, who can certainly hold his own against the Mahomes and Burrows of the world. These two are a more than formidable stack, and their respective draft rankings reflect that.
Tier 3: Elite When Healthy
- Lamar Jackson – Mark Andrews
Injuries have caused Lamar Jackson’s fantasy stock to plummet in recent years, but the upside when he is healthy is deadly. In his 2019 MVP season, Jackson recorded 28.1 points per game, three points higher than any quarterback averaged in 2022. In 2021, Andrews finished as the TE1 overall, but he struggled to produce consistently last year. Nevertheless, both of these guys could prove to be massive fantasy commodities if they can stay healthy and put it together for the entire 2023 season.
- Justin Herbert – Austin Ekeler
Justin Herbert was perhaps the most disappointing star in fantasy football last year, as he struggled to produce like a legitimate QB1 on a weekly basis, averaging just 17 points per game. Ekeler, however, proved to be the fantasy MVP yet again, and has become a can’t-miss fantasy asset. If Ekeler’s contract dispute works out, and he remains with the Los Angeles Chargers next year, this duo could prove to be a dominant force in fantasy football.
Herbert was a bit of a letdown in 2022, but he still managed 4,739 yards, 25 touchdowns, and just 10 interceptions. He battled through a multitude of injuries, including an ugly shot to the ribs against the Chiefs, and a shoulder injury that required surgery this offseason. Truth be told, Herbert played to his floor last year, and his numbers still looked elite, they just did not translate the way many of us hoped. Herbert has the potential to bang with guys like Mahomes, Burrow, and Allen, he just needs the fantasy gods to grant him a bit more luck. Next season, expect Herbert to flirt with another 5,000-yard season and bump his passing touchdown numbers back up.
Tier 4: Potential to Pop
- Dak Prescott – CeeDee Lamb
Dak Prescott somehow managed to lead the league in interceptions despite missing five games due to injury, but he also averaged 17.8 PPR points per game, which would have made him a QB1 over a full season. He gets a lot of flak on social media, but the truth is Prescott is a reliable QB1 and a solid player. He may not wow you, but with his price tag lower than ever this year, he could prove to be one of the best values in the league. CeeDee Lamb is a superstar whose name speaks for itself, and he only figures to improve heading into his fourth season in the league. If Prescott can stay healthy and revert to his less turnover-prone ways in 2023, this could be a formidable high-value stack.
- Justin Fields – DJ Moore
It seems DJ Moore finds a new way to steal the hearts of fantasy managers in the middle rounds of drafts every year. Moore has been a much better real-life receiver than he has been for fantasy, but in 2022 the Carolina Panthers struggled with the worst quarterback play Moore has seen in his entire career. He was gifted a fresh start when the Panthers traded him to Chicago this offseason, and it is hard not to love his fit next to Justin Fields. Moore managed three straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2019 to 2021, but never recorded more than four touchdowns in a season in that stretch. In those years, he finished as the WR16, WR25, and WR18 respectively. He has shown flashes of true superstar ability though, and his quarterback play has always been questionable at best.
Fields is a supremely athletic mobile quarterback with a rocket arm but has struggled with consistent mechanics and accuracy. Nevertheless, we have seen young quarterbacks like Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts blossom into MVP-caliber players when given an elite weapon. Fields’ mobility alone will be enough to make him an enticing asset in fantasy, but I have more questions about whether DJ Moore can perform consistently enough at the same level as guys like Diggs and AJ Brown. If Moore breaks out and reaches his ceiling, this could be the next elite fantasy duo with serious league-winning upside at their current ADPs.
- Kirk Cousins – Justin Jefferson
Kirk Cousins took a bit of a leap in 2023, finishing as the QB7 overall, albeit in a year where consistent quarterback play was scarce. Still, Cousins managed to hover around 18 points per game, and was a solid starter despite a few duds in the latter half of the season. His value in fantasy is streaky at best thanks to limited mobility, but playing with Justin Jefferson certainly never hurts. Cousins is a solid starter and certainly made more appealing when stacked with the greatness of Justin Jefferson.
Tier 5: Enticing but Risky
- Aaron Rodgers – Garrett Wilson
Aaron Rodgers was a major bust in fantasy last year, averaging just 14.8 points per game, and never scoring more than 19.4 points in a single game. However, Rodgers has been adamant that he is still capable of playing at an MVP level, and he certainly gained plenty of weapons in New York to help him do that. Meanwhile, Garrett Wilson had a stellar rookie year, yet struggled to consistently produce for fantasy managers due to poor quarterback play. Wilson ultimately finished as the WR21, but he will almost certainly improve in 2023 with a competent quarterback.
- Trevor Lawrence – Calvin Ridley
Trevor Lawrence really blossomed throughout the 2022 season, and it was such a relief to watch a generational talent receive the support he needed to grow into a star. Doug Pederson is one of the most underrated offensive minds in the league, and there is no doubt that he has been a phenomenal hire for this young Jaguars’ team. Lawrence just gained a former fantasy superstar in Calvin Ridley, but he may be the most difficult player to rank in all formats. It has been two years since Ridley finished as the WR5 behind only Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, and DeAndre Hopkins but that time off has completely tanked his ADP.
In 2021, Ridley struggled with depression and addiction, which led to a down year, even prior to the NFL slamming him with a suspension that bled into the entire 2022 season. However, Ridley is back and prepared to prove that he is still an elite weapon. A Trevor Lawrence – Christian Kirk stack might be a bit safer, but Ridley and Lawrence boast the collective potential to create absolute gold in fantasy. With both of these talented athletes projected to fall quite a bit in drafts, they could end up being a league-winning duo if the chips fall their way.
- Tua Tagovailoa – Tyreek Hill
The Miami Dolphins took a promising step forward in 2022, but their success was marred by a PR nightmare in the form of a concussion fiasco surrounding franchise quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Nevertheless, when he was healthy, the offense looked electric, and the Dolphins looked poised to contend with the Bills for the AFC East crown. Tagovailoa averaged 18.4 points per game, but his numbers were a bit inflated by his 41-point explosion against the Ravens and a 29-point outing against a struggling Detroit Lions defense. It will be interesting to see what Tagovailoa can do in a fully healthy season after showing flashes of brilliance alongside a fantasy superstar in Tyreek Hill.
Hill, on the other hand, answered any and all questions about his move to Miami last offseason. He looked spectacular with and without Tua, and while Tagovailoa may not have the deep ball that Mahomes does, his accuracy on short and intermediate routes may have made Hill an even more valuable asset in PPR formats. In fact, Hill put up career highs in receptions, targets, receiving yards, and yards per game in 2023. Tagovailoa’s inconsistency, injury history, and general lack of mobility make him a bit risky, but he has the complementary pieces and surefire accuracy to become a QB1 in 2023.
For more fantasy football content, check out the links below!
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