Dynasty

Rashee Rice Fantasy Forecast 2023

Rashee Rice

Rashee Rice Fantasy Forecast 2023

Rashee Rice was selected in the 2nd round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. Since it’s the Chiefs who selected him, Rice is naturally attracting some attention.

Recruiting and Collegiate Background

Rashee Rice was a 3 star recruit (out of a possible 5) out of North Richland Hills, TX. He was a bit of a late bloomer in terms of the recruiting process and did not receive much attention, compared to his peers, until he was a senior in high school. After multiple offers, he elected to stay close to his hometown and enroll at Southern Methodist University, which is roughly 40 minutes down the road from North Richland Hills. 

While SMU is not really noted for producing significant NFL talent, in recent years players like Courtland Sutton, Kylen Granson, James Proche, and Emmanuel Sanders have been drafted out of their program. Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson came out of SMU, but that was decades ago. 

Rashee Rice spent four years at SMU. In terms of stats, he wasn’t mind-blowing during his freshman year, but he became a solid contributor during his sophomore and junior years, and in his senior year he blew the doors off the frame with his statistics of 96 grabs, 1355 yards, and 10 TDs.

Rookie Odds

Rashee Rice landing on the Chiefs and playing with the league’s best young quarterback has a lot of fantasy owners excited about the 2023 season, but the sports betting community also has piqued interest. Rice is +4000 to win offensive Rookie of the Year. Those odds clearly don’t reflect a ton of confidence in him achieving that goal. Rice is tied with a handful of other wide receivers that rank 16th in the best odds to win the award. What separates him from the rest is Rice is playing with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs who are always a top team every Sunday when looking at NFL Scores. Despite the other talent on the roster, Rice is a nice long-shot sleeper to surprise this year. He might be worth the bet at those odds.

 

Statistical and Athletic Notes

Below are the notes I made for Rashee Rice prior to this year’s draft:

  • Versatile. Can play slot and perimeter.
  • Quick. Very athletic.
  • Doesn’t shy away from contact and can outmuscle defensive backs.
  • Great at hauling in contested catches and 50/50 balls. Tremendous vertical.
  • Polished route runner. Especially good for a rookie.
  • Quite good against Zone coverage. 
  • Great hands, doesn’t seem to have problems with drops.
  • Being a true WR1 may not be in the cards considering physical stature (6-1, 200 lbs) and lack of explosiveness after the catch.
  • Close to 2 years older than peers and didn’t play against same level of competition
  • Likely late 2nd round: Bears, Chargers, Lions, Gmen in the 53 – 57 range.

Combine

  • 40-yard Dash: 4.51s
  • 10-second Split: 1.49s
  • Speed Score: 98.62
  • Vertical Jump: 41.0”
  • Broad Jump: 10’-8”

Landing Spot

Man, I love it when I am right. Rashee Rice did indeed go in the 53 – 57 range, but not to a team that I thought. The Chiefs traded with the Lions to move up 8 spots and draft Rice, which is another reason he is creating some buzz this offseason.

It’s funny. If it was any team other than the Chiefs, so many would be questioning this returning group of WRs. JuJu Smith-Schuster is gone, which leaves MVS, Kadarius Toney, Justin Watson, and Skyy Moore for Rashee Rice to compete with. Considering what we saw from the WRs from this group last year, I’d say the door is wide open for Rashee Rice as soon as year one.

The Good

It’s the Chiefs. They are arguably the best passing offense in the league. The Chiefs are always leaders in NFL Scores and stats, putting Rice in the perfect spot. Rashee Rice looks year one ready in terms of his talents, route running, and physicality. Kadarius Toney is probably going to be injured before September is over, so there should be some opportunity for Rice to prove himself in his rookie season.

The Bad

“The Chiefs are arguably the best passing offense in the league” is what we said in defense of Skyy Moore last year. At least it’s what I said.  Moore was picked with the 54th overall selection in 2022, so this looks like a repeat of strategy. 

While Rice does appear to be year one ready, his ability to pick up a new playbook and do the things Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes want him to do remains to be seen. Also, the Chiefs offense was diverse last year, with only Travis Kelce seemingly being what we could count on from week to week. On top of that, Rashee Rice didn’t play against the same type of collegiate competition that some of the other WRs in this draft class have played against.

2023 Redraft Fantasy Outlook

Here’s what the public thinks about the Chiefs’ WR situation: Toney is being drafted as WR1 at 41.5, Moore is the perceived WR2 at 57, and Rice is #3 at 64.5. This is likely to fluctuate throughout the summer, so this situation warrants monitoring as the summer goes on.

People love things that are shiny and new. To that end, I’m not reaching for what is ultimately an unproven rookie in drafts. If my league mates want to take on that risk too early in drafts, I’ll let them. I am also not looking for him to be a starting wideout in week 1 on my fantasy team. If I can get him as a WR4 though, I am interested. I’d argue that the Chiefs are concerned about talent and potential attrition on their current WR depth chart. Either could lead to production from Rice in the 2023 season. That being said, Skyy Moore has a year in this offense that Rice does not have, and Moore was more highly touted than Rice.

Dynasty Outlook

If Rice can’t find a way to produce in year one, then I’d be concerned, just like I am about Skyy Moore. However, this is the second year in a row that the Chiefs took a WR in the 2nd round. One does not draft someone that high without at least the hopes of that player fulfilling a team need (in a competent organization like Kansas City anyway). If you’re drafting right now, you need to decide whether or not you want to hang your hat on Rice. You either believe in his talent and the Chiefs need for a consistently dependable WR, or you believe this is the latest experiment with a rookie WR. If choosing the latter, then you likely believe Skyy Moore will ascend the depth chart to become the consistent WR that the Chiefs haven’t had since Tyreek Hill left. Either way, one of Moore’s or Rice’s ADP is likely to increase the closer we get to the start of the season.

Rice is also 23 years old already. I know that sounds young, but other rookie WRs are only 21.

Fun Fact

Rashee Rice’s senior year performance set an MSU record, besting previous record holder Emmanuel Sanders. 

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