2023 NFL Draft: NFC Winners & Losers (Fantasy Football)

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With the dust settling from the 2023 NFL Draft, it’s time for fantasy managers to take a look over their roster and decide if their players’ situations got better or worse.

On Tuesday’s podcast, the Footballers discussed the NFC Winners & Losers. Let’s take a look through all 16 NFC teams to see which players changed in fantasy value due to additions – or lack thereof – to their roster.

NFC South

Carolina Panthers

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Bryce Young QB
2 Jonathan Mingo WR
3 DJ Johnson EDGE
4 Chandler Zavala G
5 Jammie Robinson S

The Panthers used early picks to start their rebuild by addressing QB and WR with their first two selections. Getting Bryce Young a big, young WR to grow into their new-look offense will be worth watching down the road. For fantasy purposes, trusting a rookie QB is tough since over the last decade, none of the eight different rookie QBs drafted in the top-10 who started Week 1 surpassed their projected win total.

Fantasy Loser: Terrace Marshall Jr. – WR

As the Hitman always says, we’re following the money here. Since the new regime has been hired in Carolina, they’ve shipped out 28% of the team’s targets from 2022 in DJ Moore, added Adam Thielen and DJ Chark, and now drafted Jonathan Mingo with a high second-round pick. Any sentiment that this was the time for Lockjaw to emerge as a real fantasy option has quickly faded. Mingo may not be the lead guy to start the season, but he’s a big-bodied WR that flashed big play ability in college and could emerge as Bryce Young’s closest option to a real WR1.

Atlanta Falcons

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2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Bijan Robinson RB
2 Matthew Bergeron OT
3 Zach Harrison EDGE
4 Clark Phillips III CB
7 DeMarcco Hellams S
7 Jovaughn Gwyn IOL

It’s not the typical team-building process in the NFL, but the Falcons have spent consecutive top-10 picks on TE, WR, and now RB. While it’s not the traditional way that dynasties are born, it is at least fun to watch from a distance. 

Fantasy Loser: Tyler Allgeier – RB

Cue the Bijan jingle and then pour one out for Tyler Allgeier’s fantasy relevance. After finishing the season as the rookie with the second-most rushing yards and finishing as a top-13 RB each week for the last month of the season, Allgeier is rewarded with getting the boot from the Falcons. Bijan will likely step right into 200+ touches as a rookie, demoting Allgeier to backup duties. Tough break, but those are the odds fantasy managers play with RBs drafted outside the top-three rounds.

New Orleans Saints

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Bryan Bresee DL
2 Isaiah Foskey DE
3 Kendre Miller RB
4 Nick Saldiveri G
4 Jake Haener QB
5 Jordan Howden S
6 A.T. Perry WR

The Saints may have a different look at offense with the newly acquired QB Derek Carr running the show. Possibly the biggest question for New Orleans could be the possible suspension for Alvin Kamara which may or may not affect how much rookie Kendre Miller is needed at some point in the season.

Fantasy Winner: Juwan Johnson – TE

A draft day trade that sent Adam Trautman to the Denver Broncos clears the way for Juwan Johnson to be the clear starting TE in New Orleans for 2023. Johnson finished as the TE11 last season behind five top-eight TE weekly finishes. Taysom Hill will still get snaps in the Saints’ offense, but Johnson remains the only true TE with any established NFL reps. New starting QB Derek Carr looked to his TE often while playing for the Raiders, so the solo role for Johnson may raise his ceiling in 2023.

Fantasy Loser: Jamaal Williams – RB

The Saints spent decent draft capital on TCU RB Kendre Miller on Day 2 of the draft after signing Jamaal Williams in free agency. Miller’s addition to the New Orleans backfield muddies the water for fantasy managers with Williams on their roster. The assumption of Kamara missing time would have given Williams the lead role for some significant stretch of the season for the Saints, but Miller’s presence may make the backfield too difficult to get solid value out of for this season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Calijah Kancey DL
2 Cody Mauch OT
3 YaYa Diaby EDGE
5 SirVocea Dennis LB
5 Payne Durham TE
6 Josh Hayes S
6 Trey Palmer WR
6 Jose Ramirez EDGE

Moving on from Tom Brady can be hard to do for a franchise, even if he only spent three seasons playing in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers didn’t make a big splash in the draft at QB which doesn’t help grow the optimism about the fantasy pieces going forward.

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Fantasy Winner: Rachaad White – RB

One investment that fantasy managers can feel good about is the lack of an RB drafted for the Bucs. Rachaad White took over the lead-back role midway through the 2022 season and finished the fantasy year posting top-20 RB performances in four of his last seven games. Undrafted free agent Sean Tucker did sign with Tampa Bay post-draft, but his presence shouldn’t make fantasy managers too nervous about White being the main option going into the season.

NFC North

Chicago Bears

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Darnell Wright OT
2 Gervon Dexter Sr. DL
2 Tyrique Stevenson CB
3 Zacch Pickens DT
4 Roschon Johnson RB
4 Tyler Scott WR
5 Noal Sewell LB
5 Terell Smith CB
7 Travis Bell DL
7 Kendall Williamson S

After trading the top pick in the draft, the Bears did a lot to address their needs heading into 2023. Chicago spread their six picks in the first four rounds evenly between their offense and defense and added depth to the RB room with Roschon Johnson. That said, for fantasy relevance, there’s one clear winner.

Fantasy Winners: Justin Fields – QB

Getting help along the offensive line to keep Fields safer in the pocket was clearly a priority for the Bears, taking an offensive lineman at ninth overall. Darnell Wright should be an instant starter for Chicago along the line and should be a big addition with his ability in pass protection. Fields ran the ball 160 times last year, and while some of those rushing attempts may have been by design, helping eliminate Fields’ need to scramble more than necessary can only be an aid in keeping this offense taking steps forward.

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Green Bay Packers

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Lukas Van Ness EDGE
2 Luke Musgrave TE
2 Jayden Reed WR
3 Tucker Kraft TE
4 Colby Wooden DL
5 Sean Clifford QB
5 Dontayvion Wicks WR
6 Karl Brooks DL
6 Anders Carlson K
7 Carrington Valentine CB
7 Lew Nichols III RB
7 Anthony Johnson Jr. S
7 Grant DuBose WR

Thirteen rookie picks are headed to Green Bay after this weekend, echoing the idea that change is fully coming to the Packers for the 2023 season. Even with no Aaron Rodgers, a Round 1 WR wasn’t in the cards for the Cheeseheads, but there are still plenty of ripple effects for players on their roster.

Fantasy Winner: Jordan Love – QB

Nobody really knows what the Packers have in Jordan Love currently, since he’s only started one game since being drafted in 2020. What fantasy managers can take as a positive is the multiple picks that Green Bay spent on offensive-skill players in the 2023 Draft. The double-dip at TE isn’t something we usually see, but Luke Musgrave profiles as one of the better pass-catching TEs in this draft. Tucker Kraft, their second TE selection, comes from the FCS level and could be a raw route runner, so he could take a little longer to become a viable receiving option. Meanwhile, second-round WR Jayden Reed could step right into the slot for the Packers and be another safety net for Love as he finds his footing as a starting QB.

Fantasy Loser: Romeo Doubs – WR

Romeo Doubs was a late-round darling last summer and had some real flashes of fantasy production in 2022. However, the departure of Rodgers – who seemed to like Doubs – and the addition of the numerous aforementioned receiving options in the draft could leave the former sixth-round pick out in the Wisconsin cold.

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Detroit Lions

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Jahmyr Gibbs RB
1 Jack Campbell LB
2 Sam LaPorta TE
2 Brian Branch S
3 Hendon Hooker QB
3 Brodric Martin DT
5 Colby Sorsdal OL
7 Antonie Green WR

Another NFC team taking a bit of an unconventional route to team building is in Detroit, but it should at least be fun for fantasy purposes. The Lions took one of the more polarizing players in this year’s draft with Jahmyr Gibbs but could have a large fantasy effect throughout their roster.

Fantasy Winner: Sam LaPorta – TE

With no other notable TEs on the Lions, taking Iowa’s Sam LaPorta in the second round may create a tempting rookie TE for fantasy. LaPorta should be the starting TE from the jump in Detroit with a passing attack that hasn’t added any significant free agents and will be missing Jameson Williams to start the season. Even knowing how long rookie TEs take to produce for fantasy, LaPorta may need to be a mid-second-round option during rookie drafts due to his opportunity to play right away.

Fantasy Loser: David Montgomery – RB

Poor David Montgomery finally thought he’d found a home to succeed in with Detroit and they repaid his contentment by spending the 12th overall pick on another RB. There should still be some value for Montgomery with goalline carries, but his upside will be capped due to the expected receiving work Gibbs should demand.

Minnesota Vikings

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Jordan Addison WR
3 Mekhi Blackmon CB
4 Jay Ward CB
5 Jaquelin Roy DL
5 Jaren Hall QB
7 DeWayne McBride RB

Minnesota was linked to all kinds of fantasy-relevant players in the lead-up to the NFL draft, but only one really came to fruition. Kirk Cousins won’t be looking over his shoulder at least for this season despite speculation that the Vikings would invest in a QB to develop for the future. Elsewhere on the offense, a fantasy staple may have some renewed life.

Fantasy Winner: Dalvin Cook – RB

All the rumors around Dalvin Cook’s presumed exit from Minnesota may have halted for the time being, especially since the Vikings chose not to invest significant draft capital in a rookie RB. The next hurdle fantasy managers will have to clear before really knowing what Cook’s value should be going into 2023 could come with the post-June 1 cut mark, where his dead money is nearly cut in half.

Fantasy Loser: KJ Osborn – WR

The Vikings took my favorite WR in this class with Jordan Addison. Despite being the fourth WR off the board, Addison steps into a great situation where there seems to be plenty of opportunity for the rookie to contribute across from superstar, Justin Jefferson. Unfortunately for KJ Osborn, Addison’s addition may be signaling the end of his time as a real part of this offense before it ever gets going. Osborn is in the final year of his contract with Minnesota, and Addison’s presence should make him expendable at the season’s end.

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NFC East

Washington Commanders

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Emmanuel Forbes CB
2 Jartavius Martin S
3 Ricky Stromberg IOL
4 Braeden Daniels OT
5 K.J. Henry EDGE
6 Chris Rodriguez Jr. RB
7 Andre Jones EDGE

The draft was a commanding win for several pieces of the Washington offense, with all of the Commanders’ significant draft capital spent focused on the defensive side of the ball and offensive line. There wasn’t a fantasy-relevant loser on this team, but instead a pair of winners.

Fantasy Winners: Brian Robinson Jr. – RB; Sam Howell – QB

Let’s start with second-year RB Brian Robinson. Robinson battled back from being shot last off-season to take over the Commanders lead role in the backfield. Despite scoring just two TDs on the season, Robinson was clearly the favored option in the running game for Washington while fellow RB Antonio Gibson’s production came more in the passing game. With only sixth-round pick Chris Rodriguez Jr. added as additional competition, Robinson should be viewed as the unquestioned starter heading into the summer.

Another sneaky winner for the Commanders is QB Sam Howell. The 2022 fifth-round pick only started one game last season but finished as the QB7 in Washington’s Week 18 victory. New Offensive Coordinator, Eric Bieniemy, seems to have bought in with Ron Rivera going forward that Howell should be their starter, so unless there’s another veteran added there could be fantasy value for Howell in 2023.

New York Giants

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Deonte Banks CB
2 John Michael Schmitz IOL
3 Jalin Hyatt WR
5 Eric Gray RB
6 Trey Hawkins III CB
7 Jordan Riley DL
7 Gervarrius Owens S

It’s been quite the off-season for the major fantasy pieces on the Giants. Daniel Jones got the bag. Saquon Barkley got the tag. However, the biggest question for New York is whether or not the offense will be able to improve enough to get back to the playoffs.

Fantasy Winner: Daniel Jones – QB

Mr. Jones is the winner in the Giants’ draft plans, not only because he got paid this off-season, but because they spent their draft capital backing up the financial commitment to him long-term, and added play-making pieces and offensive line help with three of their first four picks. Jalin Hyatt gives Jones a real deep threat in the offense that has been lacking since Odell Beckham Jr. left town, and RB Eric Gray gives the Giants depth behind Saquon going forward. Not to mention the Giants added one of the sexiest UDFA pickups in the uber-athletic WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton, whom this writer is a big fan of taking the risk on come rookie drafts.

Fantasy Losers: Giants Slot WRs

Any hope that there would be some clarity for receiving options in New York faded when Hyatt was taken in the third round. Personally, I think the third round was late for Hyatt and he could have an instant impact for the Giants, but figuring out which receiver will be the one to take in New York will be a question that could be difficult to answer until we see them on the field.

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Dallas Cowboys

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Mazi Smith DL
2 Luke Schoonmaker TE
3 DeMarvion Overshown LB
4 Viliami Fehoko EDGE
5 Asim Richards OT
6 Eric Scott Jr. DB
6 Deuce Vaughn RB
7 Jalen Brooks WR

The Cowboys opted to spend their first-round pick adding to their stout defense instead of where many speculated they could go for another premier offensive weapon for Dak Prescott. An under-the-radar winner may be CeeDee Lamb since no high-end receiving threat on the outside was added, so Dak’s hyper-focused targets to Lamb could continue to head in his direction.

Fantasy Winner: Tony Pollard – RB

Any hopes of Jerry making Jerry moves during the draft were quickly squashed with both the premier RBs taken off the board early. When you consider the only RB added was a sixth-round pass-catching specialist, Tony Pollard becomes a gigantic winner post-draft. The path seems clear for Pollard to have the lead role in the Cowboys backfield, a situation that we only saw briefly in 2022 but produced elite results – RB4 and RB7 finishes – whenever Pollard was without Ezekiel Elliott.

George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Fantasy Losers: Jake Ferguson & Peyton Hendershot – TE

What could have been a premier opportunity for both Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot went up in flames when the Cowboys took Luke Schoonmaker in the second round. Schoonmaker is a versatile TE who can work the middle of the field and should be able to step right into the starting role vacated by Dalton Schultz who left in free agency.

Philadelphia Eagles

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Jalen Carter DL
1 Nolan Smith LB
3 Tyler Steen OG
3 Sydney Brown S
4 Kelee Ringo CB
6 Tanner McKee QB
7 Moro Ojomo DL

When they teach classes on how to build an NFL roster, the Philadelphia Eagles 2023 draft will be part of the template. Not only did the Eagles address their needs to fuel their attempt at returning to the Super Bowl, but they did it with elite talent and without having to sell the farm to do so. Perfection.

Fantasy Winners: Georgia Collegiate Standouts

The Eagles drafted three Georgia standouts from their National Championship defense and possibly got the highest-rated defensive prospect in the class in Jalen Carter. Philadelphia also added one of the combine’s biggest winners with LB Nolan Smith and depth to their secondary with Kelee Ringo.

Fantasy Losers: The Other 31 NFL Teams

Honestly, the Eagles continuing to do things the right way will make it difficult for teams to catch up. Their biggest opponent in the near future could be the salary cap now that they’ve extended QB Jalen Hurts with a mega deal.

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NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Paris Johnson Jr OT
2 BJ Ojulari EDGE
3 Garrett Williams CB
3 Michael Wilson WR
4 Jon Gaines II IOL
5 Clayton Tune QB
5 Owen Pappoe LB
6 Kei’Trel Clark CB
6 Dante Stills DL

Arizona started the draft in an odd way having to swap third-round picks with Philadelphia for impermissible contact with their future Head Coach – then Eagles Defensive Coordinator – Jonathan Gannon. Still, the Cardinals seemed to have a successful draft getting an extra 2024 first-round pick from the Texans for moving back and addressing some of their many areas of need.

Fantasy Winner: Kyler Murray – QB

Reportedly Kyler Murray’s main priority for Arizona’s draft plans came true when the Cardinals took the top OT in the draft, Paris Johnson Jr. The only thing that may make this selection less than ideal is if Johnson ends up playing guard, but if he’s penciled in as an opening-week starter, it can only mean positive things for the Cardinals and Kyler as they build for 2024.

Los Angeles Rams

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2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
2 Steve Avila IOL
3 Byron Young LB
3 Kobie Turner DL
4 Stetson Bennett QB
5 Nick Hampton EDGE
5 Warren McClendon OT
5 Davis Allen TE
5 Puka Nacua WR
6 Tre-Vius Hodges-Tomlinson CB
6 Ochaun Mathis EDGE
6 Zach Evans RB
7 Ethan Evans P
7 Jason Taylor II S
7 Desjuan Johnson DL

The “F Them Picks” attitude is finally having its effect on the Rams’ future plans as they haven’t been able to reload with top talent despite only winning five games in 2022. LA will have to wait until 2024 to be able to make their first first-round pick since 2016.

Fantasy Winners: Cam Akers & Kyren Williams – RB

Even after all the fuss made about Cam Akers during the 2022 season, somehow he comes out a winner post-draft for the Rams. Akers finished last season strong, with top-24 RB performances every week after Week 13 and averaging 16.8 fantasy points during that stretch. We’ll couple Kyren Williams into the “Winners” group as well, as he’ll only have to compete with sixth-round pick Zach Evans for the backup duties, and Evans doesn’t profile as the pass-catching option that Williams was drafted to be.

Fantasy Loser: Matthew Stafford – QB

There were plenty of rumors that Matthew Stafford wouldn’t even be playing football next season, so labeling him as a “Loser” has a lot of levels to it. For starters, the Rams invested a fourth-round pick on Georgia’s Stetson Bennett. There was a pretty wide range of outcomes for Bennett according to the betting market prior to the draft, but I wouldn’t expect him to be any threat to Stafford’s job in 2023. The biggest disappointment for Stafford has to be the lack of investment from the Rams in new receiving options. Outside of Cooper Kupp, all of the Rams’ receivers are unproven and/or insignificant assets. If LA can’t find themselves a true second option in the passing game, it may be another long season for the 2021 Super Bowl Champions.

Seattle Seahawks

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2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
1 Devon Witherspoon CB
1 Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR
2 Derick Hall EDGE
2 Zach Charbonnet RB
4 Anthony Bradford IOL
4 Cameron Young DL
5 Mike Morris EDGE
5 Olusegun Oluwatimi IOL
6 Jerrick Reed II S
7 Kenny McIntosh RB

Good ole Peach Cobbler went cooking up some fantasy mystery food again for fantasy managers during the 2023 draft. Seattle’s bonus pick they received from trading Russell Wilson landed them the top CB in the draft, allowing them to continue adding to a young defense that helped propel them to the playoffs in 2022. The Seahawks finished with a total of 10 picks and were able to address spots all over the field to try and build on their surprising season.

Fantasy Winner: Geno Smith

After making a commitment to Geno Smith in terms of a contract, the Seahawks backed up that statement by not only not drafting a QB but giving Geno the top-rated WR in the class. Jaxon Smith-Njigba should be able to step in right away and play in the slot and complement DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. All of a sudden, Geno repeating his QB5 year from 2022 doesn’t seem like such a long shot after all.

Fantasy Losers: Kenneth Walker III & Zach Charbonnet

Just when we thought we had nice things, Seattle went and ruined a perfectly good pair of fantasy RBs by taking an RB in the second round in consecutive seasons. Can both Kenneth Walker III & Zach Charbonnet still be productive RBs on the same team? Sure they can, but the point is they could each be premier fantasy assets if they were alone on teams that wanted to use them as a primary back. Fantasy managers should still buy into both backs on the chance that if one goes down, the other will become a top-tier RB.

San Francisco 49ers

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2023 Draft Picks
Round Player Position
3 Ji’Ayir Brown CB
3 Jake Moody K
3 Cameron Latu TE
5 Darrell Luter Jr CB
5 Robert Beal Jr EDGE
6 Dee Winters LB
7 Brayden Willis TE
7 Ronnie Bell WR
7 Jalen Graham LB

San Francisco had quite the wait to be able to get involved in the 2023 draft after sending their first and second-round picks away in trades. While you could argue the 49ers don’t have many holes, they did work to add depth to their TE position, where they’ve wanted to try and lighten the load for George Kittle. A third-round pick isn’t light draft capital for a TE, so Cameron Latu may be a player for fantasy managers to keep their eyes on in the later rounds of rookie drafts.

Fantasy Loser: Robbie Gould – K

While I’m not one to talk about kickers – seriously who still has a kicker position in their fantasy leagues? – whenever you see one taken in the third round it’s worth mentioning. Robbie Gould is currently a free agent and San Francisco taking Jake Moody this high should cement any thoughts of Gould returning as a long shot. Being in an offense that scored the sixth-most points last season isn’t a bad team to have a kicker for fantasy.

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