Drake London Fantasy Profile for 2023
In most cases, a second-year wide receiver who was a top-ten draft pick is a really exciting breakout candidate in fantasy football leagues, but it doesn’t really seem to be that way for Drake London. He had a pretty solid rookie campaign in 2022, going for 866 yards and 4 touchdowns while usually drawing coverage from the opposing team’s best cornerback. On top of that, he showcased his insane physical tools that made him such a highly-touted prospect coming out of college. He stands at 6′4″/214 lbs and makes athletic plays that you probably didn’t know were possible for a guy of his size. So why isn’t there much excitement within the fantasy football community for his potential in 2023?
DRAKE LONDON SZN 🚀 pic.twitter.com/UInrE7Cqy1
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) July 27, 2023
He’s in a unique situation that makes him tough to gauge from a fantasy football perspective. He’s pretty clearly the top target on his offense, but when that offense is Atlanta’s, does that even mean much? They already ran the ball more than any other team in the league last year, and now they invested a top-ten draft pick in Bijan Robinson, who many consider to be a generational prospect at the position. So it’s safe to say that there will be a low overall target volume on this team, and when the few passes being thrown are coming from either Desmond Ridder or Taylor Heinicke, that makes it hard to get excited for any pass catchers on this offense.
- Over/Under: 850.5 Receiving yards
- Over/Under: 4.5 Receiving TDs
Both of these lines are pretty attainable for the second-year wideout, but I’m not really looking to put a bet down on either one of these. He can easily take a second-year leap and beat these props, but I don’t like betting the over on someone who’s playing on possibly the most run-heavy team in the NFL.
In addition to that, Kyle Pitts will presumably be healthy for the start of the season. He’s not going to command a ton of work necessarily, but if he plays the entire year, there won’t be enough to go around for London to hit the over on yards. If I was to take the over on one of them, it would be on the touchdowns, just because London is 6′4″ and profiled as a good red-zone threat as a prospect.
Highest TPRR in the red zone, min 40 routes:
DK Metcalf (35.9%)
Drake London (33.3%)
Keenan Allen (32.5%)
Ja'Marr Chase (32.3%)
Garrett Wilson (31.4%)
— Football Insights 📊 (@fball_insights) January 5, 2023
- ADP: 60
- Position: WR23
London’s ADP this year is nothing to sneeze at. He’s currently going in the fifth or sixth round in most typical 12-person leagues, and that price seems a little steep to me. Yes, he’s the WR1 and top overall target on his team, but I don’t think that carries much weight in his current situation. Atlanta is going to be a bottom-five passing offense this year, and he’s going to have to be hyper efficient with his targets if he wants to return value on his ADP.
He’s capable of doing that, but that isn’t a bet I want to make. The second-year receiver would have to take a massive step up in terms of talent to do enough with his limited value to satisfy people who drafted him in the fifth round. From Week 3 to the end of the season last year, he only had two finishes as a top-24 receiver. Now, he’s going as the WR20 ahead of guys like Jerry Jeudy, Chris Godwin, and Tyler Lockett, all of whom finished significantly better than London on a PPG basis in 2022.
It’s easy to project what type of offense HC Arthur Smith is going to run in Atlanta this year. He’s always been known to be a run-first coach, and that was true last year when the Falcons ended the season with the most rushing attempts in the NFL and the second-most rushing yards. They also drafted RB Bijan Robinson with the eighth-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and their offensive line continues to be graded as one of, if not the, best run blocking units in football. It seems pretty clear that they’ll be near the top of the league in rushing again this year.
Arthur Smith's Team Pass Attempts rankings:
Only TWO Top 12 WRs came from a team that was bottom 5 in Pass Attempts in the last 10 years
Drake London has a limited ceiling at WR22
— Alex Caruso (@AlexCaruso) July 15, 2023
This is a well known fact, so why are people still buying in on Drake London? Well, he has some promising advanced stats that lead people to believe he’ll be able to overcome these obstacles this season. For example, he had the fifth-highest target share in football last year at 29.4%. This means that when the offense did pass, it usually went London’s way. He also had the second-highest target rate per route run last year at 32.4%.
Drake London finished 7th among WR’s in target share as a rookie (29.0%).
He had the same target-share as Ja’Marr Chase (29.0%).
& a higher target-share than AJB (28.5%), ARSB (27.7%), & Stefon Diggs (27.6%).
— David J. Gautieri (@GuruFantasyWrld) January 9, 2023
This is all fine and good, but it doesn’t make me buy in. I still think there are facts that people are overlooking. For starters, Kyle Pitts will likely be back and healthy this season. Say what you will about him as a player, but he certainly had an effect on London last year. In games without Pitts last year, London averaged 8.4 targets per game. When Pitts was on the field, that number dropped to just 5.8 targets per game. If that’s close to the number of targets he’s commanding per game, he won’t even sniff his ADP.
If you didn’t quite catch on yet, I’m OUT on Drake London at his current ADP, and it kind of shocks me to see how many people are buying in this season. Like I mentioned above, his target rate and target share are both really impressive, but I don’t think that’s going to correlate to much fantasy success on an offense that runs the ball more than any other team in the league. Pair that with the facts that he wasn’t great fantasy option last year and a former top-five pick in Kyle Pitts is coming back to steal some targets, and you have plenty of reasons to avoid the second-year receiver at his current ADP.
I didn’t even mention it before, but it’s worth bringing up that London also has one of the worst quarterback situations in the league. He’ll be catching passes from either Desmond Ridder or Taylor Heinicke, which is just one more obstacle that he’ll have to overcome. I don’t hate him as a player, but I think he’s being drafted close to his ceiling, and I struggle to find much reason to take him at his fairly-high price in the fourth or fifth round.
Reminder: Desmond Ridder had the highest off-target throw percentage in the NFL
Drake London and Kyle Pitts are dangerous picks if he plays just as bad this year
— Alex Caruso (@AlexCaruso) July 21, 2023
I have strong feelings against London in redraft formats, but I don’t hate his outlook as much in a dynasty league. That being said, I still don’t like it a whole lot. Arthur Smith isn’t on the hot seat as a head coach, and Bijan Robinson isn’t going anywhere for at least the next four years, which means that London is going to be trapped on a run-heavy offense for the next few years at the very least. Along with that, they don’t have any good long-term solutions to their quarterback problem, and they’ll probably be good enough in the next few years to avoid getting a top draft pick to take an elite QB prospect, which means that the wideout will likely be stuck with a below-average passer for the foreseeable future.
He does have potential, given that he has talent and was a former top-ten pick in the NFL Draft, but I would say there’s no better time to sell him than right now. I know that feels early, given that he just got done with his rookie season, but you can still get some great value for him. He’s ranked above players like Jerry Jeudy, DK Metcalf, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba through much of the dynasty community, and I like the outlook of all of these guys better for the next three or four years at least. If you aren’t contending, it makes sense to keep London and hope that he’s talented enough to overcome his bad situation. But if you are in contention, I see no reason why you shouldn’t trade him for a proven asset who can help you go and win a championship this season.
Leo Sells is a passionate fan for the Patriots and 76ers, and he has been playing fantasy sports for over five years. In addition to writing articles about sports and winning his fantasy football leagues, Leo likes to play sports and spend time with his family and friends doing outdoor activities, such as hiking or fishing.