Texas running back Bijan Robinson is the best player fantasy managers want in the 2023 NFL Draft. After that, Sportsnaut’s 2023 fantasy football rookie rankings will take you through all the players you’ll want to target in dynasty, first-year player drafts and standards drafts.
Robinson is a generational talent. The projected best rookie running back in fantasy football next year, he is the top prospect at his position since Saquon Barkley. As a result, he will likely be a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and in standard fantasy drafts this year.
Beyond Robinson, the class becomes more uncertain. C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson headline the 2023 QB rankings, but quarterbacks are rarely worth first-round picks in rookie drafts. Meanwhile, this year’s receiver prospects are divisive and there isn’t a Ja’Marr Chase in the group. One bright side of the 2023 rookie dynasty rankings, though, is it’s unusually deep at tight end.
Related: 2023 NFL Draft prospect rankings
Let’s dive into our 2023 fantasy football rookie rankings.
Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings 2023: Dynasty draft board
Before diving into our rookie rankings by position, we’ll note that the top-50 rankings and dynasty rookie positional draft board will be updated after Rounds 1, 3 and 7. Statistics used are via Pro Football Focus, ESPN and RAS.football.
2023 fantasy football rookie rankings – Quarterbacks
1. Anthony Richardson
Anthony Richardson is easily the No. 1 quarterback in fantasy football rookie rankings from our perspective. In terms of pure tools, he matches Josh Allen and brings superior athleticism to the table. While Richardson might not be on the same athletic tier as Lamar Jackson, the former NFL MVP is 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds compared to Richardson’s 6-foot-4 and 244 pounds.
Related: Anthony Richardson scouting report
If you’re taking Jackson in yor 2023 rookie fantasy draft, it’s important to understand he might not start more than a few games this fall. The lower-body mechanics need work and Richardson’s penchant for inaccuracy needs correcting. With that said, no quarterback in this class touches his fantasy upside. Look at what the likes of Jackson, Allen, Jalen Hurts, Daniel Jones and Justin Fields did for fantasy managers with their dual-threat ability. That’s why Richardson is in his own tier as a quarterback in our 2023 fantasy rookie rankings.
2. Bryce Young
If fantasy managers want immediate production from their rookie quarterback, put Bryce Young atop your rookie dynasty rankings at the position. He is the most polished passer in the 2023 NFL Draft, instantly ready to start in Week 1 and play at an above-average level.
Related: Bryce Young scouting report
Young isn’t an elite athlete nor will he have one of the strongest arms in the NFL. However, he could rush for 200-plus yards in a season, complete a high percentage of his passes and post a solid TD-INT ratio. Landing spot absolutely matters and you must factor in the long-term durability risk with a 200-pound quarterback, but Young can be a great quarterback.
3. C.J. Stroud
There’s a lingering question with former Ohio State star C.J. Stroud that puts him as the fourth-best quarterback in our fantasy football rookie rankings. He showed very little on the ground in the Buckeyes’ offense, finishing with 136 net rushing yards in 26 games. If Stroud isn’t going to clear 100-plus rushing yards, it drastically lowers his fantasy ceiling.
Related: C.J. Stroud scouting report
However, there are two reasons to be optimistic. Stroud ran for a 48-yard touchdown in his first game at Ohio State and he put his athleticism – 34 net rushing yards – on full display vs Georgia. Second, the lack of rushing production might be an impact of Ohio State’s system, as demonstrated by Justin Fields never posting a 500-yard season in college then delivering 1,143 rushing yards in 15 NFL games last year. If Stroud turns out to be a better athlete than expected, he is just as appealiong as Young in rookie dynasty rankings.
4. Will Levis
Will Levis played through injuries in 2022 and was surrounded by one of the worst supporting casts in the SEC. It clouds his evaluation and production, but there’s no denying he has the strongest arm in the draft class. He offers enough athleticism that when paired with his size – 6-foot-4 and 229 pounds – makes him a decent threat to run for first downs. However, poor decision-making, some volatile inaccuracy and a poor track record versus NFL-caliber talent raise signififant questions. Ultimately, Levis is a wild card with less upside than Richardson but a higher floor than Hooker.
Related: Will Levis scouting report
5. Hendon Hooker
If Hendon Hooker didn’t suffer an ACL tear in November, he lands above Levis in our rookie dynasty rankings. The knee surgery and Hooker’s age (26 years old in 2024) knock him down the board, but his fantasy upside is appealing. If Hooker becomes a starting quarterback in 2024, he can rush for 400-plus yards a season with a handful of rushing touchdowns. Factor that in with his quality passing skills and you’ve got a potential top-12 fantasy quarterback at his peak.
Related: Hendon Hooker scouting report
6. Stetson Bennett
As you’ll notice in our 2023 fantasy rookie rankings, there is a steep drop-off once the five quarterbacks are gone. If it’s late in the draft and you want to take a flier on someone, there’s at least some appeal with Stetson Bennett. he rushed for 10 touchdowns last season and earned an 8.22 Relative Athletic Score at the NFL Combine, comparable to Russell Wilson strictly in terms of athletic testing. If he lands in a great offense, Bennett could be fantasy relevant if injury strikes and he becomes the starting quarteack. Just remember, he’s 26 in October and has a limited arm.
Fantasy football RB rankings 2023 – Best running backs for 2023, dynasty
1. Bijan Robinson
Amid the yearly debate surrounding the value of running backs in the NFL, Bijan Robinston stands out as the exception to the increasingly-popular rule. The talk about Robinson being the best running back prospect since Saquon Barkley is legitimate. What separates the two is that Barkley is much more of a home-run hitter, offering extreme highs but with more valleys of non-explosive runs. That’s simply not the case with Barkley.
Related: Bijan Robinson scouting report
Robinson is an outstanding three-down back, meaning he’ll deliver high-end value through both his volume of touches and efficiency. In terms of the workload he already received in college, Robinson handled 599 touches in college with 557 touches in high school. Putting that into perspective, Derrick Henry had 2,024 touches (619 in college, 1,397 in high school) before entering the NFL. Fantasy managers might not get as many explosive runs from Robinson as Barkley provides, but he should be far more consistent and can eventually become RB1 in fantasy.
2. Jahmyr Gibbs
Jahmyr Gibbs isn’t Alvin Kamara. There are undeniable similarities between their games and Kamara’s skills as an offensive weapon offer a glimpse into what Gibbs can do for the NFL team that drafts him. The 5-foot-9 running back is a dynamic pass-catcher out of the backfield, just get the football in his hands and you’ll see the explosiveness and elusiveness.
Related: Jahmyr Gibbs scouting report
Considering Gibbs’ Relative Athletic Score (8.06), better comparisons might be Jahvid Best (8.06 RAS), who had 1,719 scrimmage yards in 22 games before his career was ended early by concussions. An even more apt comparison is CJ Spiller (2 seasons with 1,100-plus scrimmage yards) in a more modern offense.
3. Tank Bigsby
The quickest past to relevance in fantasy football for a running back is through touchdowns. Auburn Tigers star Tank Bigsby – 4.56-second 40-yard dash – offers the combination of size, power and athleticism to be extremely effective inside the 20-yard line. He had one of the highest yards after contact per attempt (4.16) in the 2023 NFL Draft class.
There should be a clear path to an important role in an NFL backfield next season for Bigsby, especially if he lands in the right spot. He can be a short-yardage and goal-line back who offers more juice and elusiveness than you’d come to expect from someone receiving that usage. If Bigsby can improve as a pass-catcher, he becomes a three-down player. Even without that, the appeal is clear and that pushes him above Zach Charbonnet in our rookie dynasty rankings.
4. Zach Charbonnet
It’s understandable why many are so high on former UCLA and Michigan running back Zach Charbonnet. He was extremely productive at two marquee programs, shows excellent patience in the backfield, offers excellent size (6-foot, 214 lbs) and runs with purpose. Considering how much UCLA trusted him as a receiver last year, it’s reasonable to project a three-down role for Charbonnet.
Related: Zach Charbonnet scouting report
What lands him fourth in our fantasy football rookie RB rankings is the combination of limited breakaway speed, a concerning 3-cone time (7.16 seconds) – suggests he lacks great change-of-direction and cutting – and a heavy workload in high school and college (1,268 touches).
5. Tyjae Spears
Tulane running back Tyjae Spears might not be the biggest name in the 2023 NFL Draft, but he could be viewed as one of the best picks from fantasy football rookie drats a few years from now. The dream is that a team uses him like Austin Ekeler, taking advantage of his explosiveness as both a rusher and receiving back. Spears delivers excellent vision and offers impressive contact balance for a 5-foot-10 back with a thinner frame, too. Even if he becomes a 1B in a committee, losing short-yardage work, Spears’ upside is as a highly-productive RB2 in fantasy football.
Related: NFL stadium rankings
6. Devon Achane
Devon Achane is one of the fastest players in the 2023 NFL Draft. Coming with a background in track, Achane (5-foot-8) is surprisingly adept at fighting through contact and staying upright after hits for someone who weighs under 190 pounds. The size will likely prevent him from becoming a featured back in the NFL, but his limited workload in college (434 touches) and home-run ability suggest he can have a long, successful career.
Related: Devon Achane scouting report
7. Kendre Miller
Former TCU running back Kendre Miller doesn’t bring any skills that jump off the table, he is simply a well-rounded runner. Standing at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, Miller offers NFL-caliber vision and takes advantage of it quickly with his early burst. The ceiling will be limited because he can’t really be trusted on passing downs and he also won’t rip off a lot of 20-plus yard runs. However, a running back who is effective with his touches can be a 1B in the NFL, carving out low-end RB2 value in his best seasons.
Related: Fastest players in 2023 NFL Draft
8. Zach Evans
Zach Evans, the former 5-star recruit, offers some intriguing upside. He averaged 6.9 yards per carry in college, provides the sustained speed to deliver 40-plus yard runs and he shows an impressive ability to fight his way through first contact. There is a higher ceiling for him than we saw in college, but Evans will need to improve his pass protection, vision and receiving skills to reach his ultimate potential. If everything goes right, he’s a high-end RB2 in fantasy football but the downside is a borderline FLEX play.
Related: 2023 NFL offense rankings
9. Roschon Johnson
Roschon Johnson is one of our favorites in the rookie dynasty rankings. Playing behind Bijan Robinson at Texas, he only received 448 touches in college but he turned those into 2,610 yards and 26 touchdowns. Furthermore, he forced 42 missed tackles (PFF) last season and averaged a higher yards after contact average (4.28) than Robinson (4.17). Put all of that in a 219-pound frame and you’ve got a running back who could become a bell cow player in the NFL.
10. DeWayne McBride
While UAB players don’t typically attract a ton of attention, running back DeWayne McBride put himself on the national radar (3,113 scrimmage yards, 32 touchdowns over the last two years). He won’t be a pass-catching threat in the NFL, but he offers pop, balance and vision as a runner. Ticketed for a two-down role, McBride will be a high-end FLEX play if he hits his ceiling.
2023 fantasy football rookie rankings – Wide Receivers
1. Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Jaxon Smith-Njigba might only be a slot receiver, but he is the best pass-catcher in the 2023 NFL Draft. He missed a majority of the 2022 season with injuries, but played like a No 1 receiver as a sophomore in 2021. He is a crispy route runner and a savvy player, knowing how to manipulate defensive backs in space to create separation. Think of Amon-Ra St. Brown and Chris Godwin as examples of how a slot receiver can still dominate on a yearly basis and quickly ascend up dynasty rankings.
Related: Jaxon Smith-Njigba scouting report
2. Jordan Addison
While Jordan Addison ranks below Quentin Johnston on our draft board, fantasy football rookie rankings are completely different. Addison is the best route-runner in the 2023 NFL Draft, projecting as a go-to slot option like Smith-Njigba. The knocks on Addison are his limited athleticism and some issues with drops, but he’s an outstanding bet to rack up 80-plus receptions and 1,000 receiving yards each season during a lengthy career.
Related: Jordan Addison scouting report
3. Quentin Johnston
Quentin Johnston is a better pick for those who want to take a risk. Measuring at 6-foot-3, there aren’t many players of any size who can match Johnston’s explosiveness in the open field. At times, it feels slightly reminiscent of Julio Jones in space. With the positives acknowledged, it’s also crucial to note that Johnston really struggles with drops in college (11.8 percent) and his production was wildly inconsistent at TCU. Playing with a legitimate quarterback will certainly help matters, but Johnston does carry some risk for fantasy managers.
4. Zay Flowers
Zay Flowers – 5-foot-9 – doesn’t check off the boxes for prototypical size at wide receiver. However, he’s a first-round talent because teams recognize electricity when they see it. There is no perfect NFL comparison for Flowers, but his outstanding speed and rare separation ability will help him become a dynamic weapon immediately at the next level. Operating from the slot, there should be a nice volume of targets for Flowers and the juice he brings on the field means plenty of high-end WR2 seasons to come for fantasy managers.
Related: Zay Flowers scouting report
5. Josh Downs
Josh Downs, like so many of his peers in our 2023 fantasy football rookie rankings, is pegged as a slot receiver. The 5-foot-9 wideout is so effective because he uses his feet like a 10-year veteran when it comes to creating distance from a defensive back. In terms of his role in an offense, think of an effectively-used Curist Samuel with a good quarterback. Ultimately, that likely makes Downs a FLEX/WR3 with the possibility of a season or two delivering low-end WR2 production.
Related: Josh Downs scouting report
6. Cedric Tillman
Jalin Hyatt was the most productive pass-catcher in the Tennessee Volunteers’ offense, but Cedric Tillman might have a brighter future in the NFL. He offers excellent size (6-foot-3, 213 pounds) and tested very well athletically at the NFL Combine (8.66 RAS). He won’t create nearly as many highlights as Hyatt, but Tillman is far more well-rounded as a wide receiver. We’ll take the player who can be a red-zone weapon and move the chains over the risk-reward play.
Related: NFL power rankings 2023
7. Jalin Hyatt
Jalin Hyatt, the reigning Fred Biletnikoff Award winner, certainly offers upside. Measuring in at 6 feet, he ran one of the fastest 40 times at the NFL Combine and his elite composite speed grade captures what he does well. Our biggest reason for knocking Hyatt down the dynasty rookie rankings is that he struggles with more physical cornerbacks and so many of his explosive plays came because Tennessee’s scheme provided him with a free release. He’s an outstanding vertical threat with some similarities to DeSean Jackson, but a lot of his game needs work and there are safer options to bet on.
Related: Jalin Hyatt scouting report
8. Kayshon Boutte
Once a five-star recruit and the second-ranked receiver in 2020, Kayshon Boutte looked like an emerging star in 2021. After posting 509 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in six games, though, everything fell apart last fall. Drops, below-average athleticism and inconsistency are all significant red flags but the size-speed combo and pedigree are intriguing. Ultimately, Boutte’s upside is a high-end WR2, but it’s far more likely that he is never fantasy relevant.
9. Rashee Rice
As we dive further into the bottom half of our 2023 fantasy rookie rankings, it all becomes about traits. Rashee Rice – 6-foot-1 – recorded an outstanding 9.53 RAS, earning elite marks in explosiveness and nearly reaching that threshold for his speed. Rice can attack defenses in a variety of ways (18 deep catches and 33 screen catches last season) and his athleticism becomes even more enticing because of his huge wingspan. Those are the reasons to believe in his upside, but Rice must also improve a lot as a route-runner.
Related: 2023 NFL defense rankings
10. Nathaniel Dell
Rounding out the top 10 in our fantasy rookie WR rankings is one of the smallest players in the 2023 NFL Draft. Nathaniel “Tank” Dell measured at 50foot-8 and 165 pounds at the NFL Combine. The slight frame and below-average size immediately restrict his role at the next level. However, he’s quick and elusive with the football in his hands. Fantasy managers are likely looking at a WR3 in Dell’s best years.
Sleepers: Andrei Iosivas (Princeton), A.T. Perry (Wake Forest)
Dynasty rookie rankings -Tight Ends
Fantasy profiles on tight ends coming on April 16
1. Dalton Kincaid
Related: Dalton Kincaid scouting report
2. Michael Mayer
Related: Michael Mayer scouting report
3. Sam LaPorta
Related: Sam LaPorta scouting report
4. Luke Musgrave
5. Darnell Washington
Related: Dynasty NFL rankings
6. Tucker Kraft
Related: 2023 NFL QB rankings
7. Zack Kuntz
Related: NFL games today – 2023 NFL schedule
8. Luke Schoonmaker
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.