Best Landing Rookie Spots
Situation is everything. You can draft an extremely talented prospect, but they can only go so far with mediocre talent surrounding them. It’s like goldfish. A goldfish can only grow as big as its bowl will let them. This is especially important in fantasy football. A potential fantasy star could be drafted by a bad team with no future, or a franchise that completely misuses them, leading them to never become the league winner that they could have become. I mean, can you imagine how different Patrick Mahomes would be viewed if he was taken by the Bears instead of the Chiefs? Well, he’d probably still be pretty good but you get my point. While I enjoy analyzing draft prospects, I almost enjoy scouting their potential suitors even more. Let’s dive into my favorite fantasy football landing spots for some of the top prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Philadelphia Eagles Pick: 10
As much as Cowboys fans would hate to see it, this makes the most sense. Philadelphia ranked first in the NFL in rushing touchdowns last season, third in rushing attempts, and fifth in rushing yards. After losing Miles Sanders in free agency, one of the best-rushing teams in the league has a big hole to fill. While they did sign Rashaad Penny this offseason, I don’t think that would stop them from drafting one of the most talented running back prospects in recent memory. Robinson can catch the ball, make defenders miss in the open field, and has the vision to find holes he can run through. The Eagles already have so many weapons, so adding the Texas running back would give Philadelphia a surplus of talent. While he might not match the 20 touchdowns he scored for the Longhorns last season, I do think he could provide similar production for the Eagles right out of the gate and make a name for himself in the NFL and in fantasy football.
Bijan Robinson is Different.
Isn’t likely to be #DaBears Pick at 9. But man it would be fun to pair Fields with him.
— The Irish Bears Show (@IrishBearsShow) March 11, 2023
Los Angeles Chargers Pick: 21
Keenan Allen has had his fair share of injury problems over the last couple of years and he’s not getting any younger. When he was out last season, Justin Herbert and the Chargers were left with very few options on offense. Adding a talent like Jordan Addison would not only soften the blow of an injury at receiver this season, but it would also give the Chargers a future star at the position. Addison has similar traits to Allen and could seamlessly fit alongside Mike Williams. With Herbert throwing him the ball, the USC receiver could be a very productive player in fantasy football for a long time as a part of an elite offense.
Jordan Addison is good pic.twitter.com/vOP5hKLopu
— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) March 16, 2023
Houston Texans Pick: 2
The Texans have had a sneaky good offseason so far. They signed a few playmakers in Dalton Schultz, Robert Woods, and Devin Singletary while bolstering their offensive line by trading for Shaq Mason. This is not the Texans of old. Bryce Young would be surrounded by a solid array of weapons, especially if Houston takes a receiver with the 12th pick. Everything is coming together for the Texans, and Young would be put in a position to succeed fairly early into his career. They just signed Laremy Tunsil to a three-year extension and drafted Kenyon Green in the first round last year. With Shaq Mason added to the fold, this could be a quality offensive line for Young to immediately feel comfortable behind. With the way things are shaping up, Houston could be the perfect landing spot for Bryce Young to succeed now and in the future.
Dallas Cowboys Pick: 26
Trading for Brandin Cooks was a big move for the Cowboys, but he won’t be able to bring what Quentin Johnston would bring to the offense. Johnston is a big pass-catcher. He stands at 6’3”, weighs 210 pounds, and plays like it. He breaks tackles and has a knack for hauling in jump balls; Everything a team would want in a big receiver. What’s even more impressive is his ability to run sharp routes at his size while making defenders miss with his agility in the open field. While CeeDee lamb is the clear WR1 in Dallas, there are still some holes to fill after trading away Amari Cooper in the 2022 offseason. Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup will serve as deep threats for the Cowboys but don’t offer much more than that. Johnston could step in and be an immediate red zone threat while showcasing the ability to make plays after the catch, especially considering the amount of attention Lamb gets from the opponent’s secondary. Quentin Johnston would be dynamic in Dallas.
Quentin Johnston should be drafted by the Falcons. It's time for Atlanta to get a legitimate No. 2 wide receiver.
Agree or disagree?pic.twitter.com/Ly84ZuPeeO
— Moody (@EricNMoody) April 3, 2023
Buffalo Bills Picks: 27
This seems obvious to me. The Bills appear to love running backs that essentially serve as receivers out of the backfield. If this is still the case, then look no further than Jahmyr Gibbs. The skilled pass-catcher totaled 44 receptions last season for 444 yards and three touchdowns for Alabama last season. Gibbs also rushed for 926 yards while scoring seven times on the ground. He is simply dynamic and has all the tools to be successful in the NFL. If he’s inserted into an already potent Bills offense, the potential for Gibbs would be through the roof. Buffalo has had committees at running back as of late but none of them have featured a talent like Gibbs. If given the opportunity, Jahmyr Gibbs could burst onto the fantasy football scene as a rookie and give the Bills a spark at running back that they haven’t had in a while.
Las Vegas Raiders Pick: 7
This is a pick for the long game. Jimmy Garoppolo is certainly a name, but I don’t think anyone expects him to be the long-term answer in Las Vegas. Will Levis, on the other hand, could seriously be that guy for the Raiders. He has a strong arm and looks to have all of the traits necessary to be a franchise quarterback in the future, he just needs time to develop. This is why Las Vegas is the perfect landing spot for him. He wouldn’t have to be thrown into the fire right away. Instead, he could learn under the wings of Garoppolo for a year or two and get taught valuable lessons from a QB who started in a Super Bowl just four seasons ago. Once Levis is ready to step onto the field as a full-time starter, not only would he have the physical traits to flourish, but the mental traits as well. Will Levis needs time and Las Vegas can give it to him.
Will Levis is Matthew Stafford sans freshman AJ Green…no?
— Matty Kiwoom (@MattyKiwoom) April 4, 2023
Baltimore Ravens Pick: 22
Assuming Baltimore retains Lamar Jackson, they need to start surrounding him with weapons as soon as possible. If they don’t do that in this draft, it’s going to feel eerily similar to the Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay over the last few years. No matter how obvious it was, they almost never filled the need for offensive weapons in the first round of drafts. Throwing to Marquise “Hollywood” Brown for a couple of years was about the closest thing Jackson has had to a WR1 since being drafted by the Ravens in 2018. If Zay Flowers were to land in Baltimore, it could be life-changing for that offense. Despite how some feel about Rashod Bateman, Flowers would immediately be the go-to pass-catching option for Jackson and the Ravens. While small, he has the speed and agility to make up for it. He is elite after the catch and has a bigger route tree than most smaller receivers. He provides versatility at the wide receiver position which is desperately needed in Baltimore. This could mean targets galore for Zay Flowers.
Houston Texans Pick: 12
Jaxon Smith-Njigba is an interesting case. He’s not an elite athlete, but he doesn’t need to be. I think it’s safe to say that he’s the most skilled receiver in the draft. He’s an incredible route runner, he always seems to be in control, and he rarely ever drops passes. He’s a pass-catching savant. Talent like this doesn’t come around very often and if he was the kind of athlete that some of the other receivers are in this class, it wouldn’t even be a question as to which WR would come off the board first. Smith-Njigba is an outstanding talent and Houston is a talent-starved franchise. This is a match made in heaven. Assuming they land Bryce Young or CJ Stroud at #2 overall, a receiver should be their next priority at #12. With Robert Woods, John Metchie, and Nico Collins currently listed as the top-three pass-catchers on the roster, they are going to need an upgrade sooner rather than later for their new franchise QB. Jaxon Smith-Njigba can be that upgrade while also being one of the most productive rookies in fantasy football this season as the WR1 in Houston.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba: 15 receptions, 346 yards, 3 TDs
The 346 receiving yards is the most for any bowl game in history. Wow.
pic.twitter.com/Euf1bThfWw— Footballism (@FootbaIIism) January 2, 2022
Carolina Panther Pick 1
Not often is the team with the #1 overall pick ready to give a rookie QB everything they need to succeed from day 1, but I think that’s what we have with the Carolina Panthers. After trading for the coveted pick in early March, they got busy in free agency. The Panthers signed Miles Sanders, Adam Thielen, DJ Chark, and Hayden Hurst to bolster their offense. This could be the perfect recipe to start winning now if they select the right quarterback and in my opinion, that’s CJ Stroud. Most consider him to be a dice roll compared to Bryce Young, but I don’t mind that if I’m the Panthers. You don’t trade for the first pick to play it safe with an undersized QB with a lower ceiling. Stroud has more tools and could be a home run of a pick given the right situation. I think Carolina is the right situation and I think he could thrive from Week 1 with the talent he could be surrounded by. CJ Stroud can be the best rookie quarterback in fantasy football this season and the Panthers would be the best spot for him to tap into that potential.
Hang this beauty in the Louvre – CJ Stroud, take a bow! pic.twitter.com/03WLQmNYEn
— Jack Brentnall (@Jack_Brentnall) April 4, 2023
Indianapolis Colts Pick: 4
Speaking of rolling the dice, Anthony Richardson is the epitome of the phrase. Entering the draft as one of the most gifted athletes at the quarterback position in NFL history, scouts are understandably intrigued by the Florida field general. Richardson stands at 6’4” and weighs 244 pounds, yet clocked a 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine. This was the fourth fastest time by a quarterback at the combine since 2000, despite being notably bigger than all that are ahead of him. However, his throwing accuracy is a real cause for concern. In my opinion, this is the only thing holding him back from being the unanimous favorite to be the first-overall pick. I think Indianapolis can afford to take the chance on the prospect and give him the best opportunity to grow as a franchise QB. Richardson could benefit from being the day 1 starter simply by learning from experience and working through some growing pains in live-action situations. With talent like Jonathan Taylor to hand the ball off to and Michael Pittman to target as his go-to receiver, Richardson could be set up for early success in the NFL despite some doubts. If everything goes to plan, Anthony Richardson could become an elite fantasy option for years to come with the Indianapolis Colts.
People point to Anthony Richardson's Florida State game as one of his worst. He completed only 33% of his passes (I get it). I actually think it was one of his best games. There's more examples we can look to but here's just a handful. pic.twitter.com/DlAr5tOdvG
— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) April 2, 2023
Will Holtz is a fantasy football analyst and contributes to GridironExperts.com. His goal: Help you win your fantasy football championship.