The Fantasy Footballers’ Early Breakout Picks for 2023

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On the most recent Fantasy Footballers podcast, Andy, Mike, and Jason each picked a player for 2023 who they think could “tier up” into a future superstar for 2023!

We define breakouts in the Ultimate Draft Kit as:

  • fantasy player that is primed to become a fantasy darling, superstar, game-changer.
  • These are players who flashed, showed signs of success, and with another year under their belt might just surprise you with incredible seasons.

The full Fantasy Footballers-approved breakout list is included only in the Ultimate Draft Kit.

Early Breakout Picks

Andy – Jahan Dotson, WR, WAS

Player ADP Comparison Underdog Sleeper TFFB Cons. Andy Jason Mike
Jahan Dotson, WR, WAS WR40 WR39, 8.04 26 20 28 33

This is a discount compared to Terry McLaurin (WR21 on Sleeper) so snag someone 3-4 rounds later with a potentially better player entering the special Year 2 season.  Dotson had four TDs in the first four weeks before getting hurt. 

  • Final 5-week pace for Dotson: 119 targets, 71 rec, 1169 yards, 10.2 TD
  • Final 5-week pace for McLaurin: 115 targets, 78 rec, 1193 yards, 10.2 TD

Both are great players and Terry McLaurin is the WR1 for now, but Dotson has true 1B breakout potential. Post-injury, Dotson lead Washington in targets (35/7.0 per game), and targets per route run (29.9%) from Weeks 13-18, so we already saw the potential. Talent naturally means creative utilization if you have a creative offensive mind.  Let’s not underestimate the value of the transition from Scott Turner to Eric Bieniemy.  He will scheme ways to get the ball into Dotson’s vacuum like mitts.

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Jason – Trevor Lawrence, QB, JAC

Player ADP Comparison Underdog Sleeper TFFB Cons. Andy Jason Mike
Trevor Lawrence, QB, JAX QB8 QB8, 6.01 10 10 7 14

After a downright dreadful rookie season in large part to Urban Meyer (“Dumpster Fire”), Lawrence showed why he was the 1.01 and a franchise QB in 2022. How good was his sophomore season? Lawrence became the 2nd sophomore QB ever to put up 4,000 passing yards, 25 passing TDs, & add FIVE rushing scores joining fellow Clemson alum Deshaun Watson He was more than just a compiler with five top-5 finishes– that’s as many as Justin Fields.

His QB8 finish also needs some context. He turned 23 in October so he’s still young; in fact, he’s younger than Will Levis. The offense didn’t fully click until Week 9. From Weeks 9-16, the Jaguars looked like a formidable offense: 5th most passing yards, 3rd in expected points per pass attempt, and top-10 in almost every other notable passing metric. His pass-catchers also had 34 drops, tied with Buffalo for most in the NFL. To compare, Geno Smith had 20 fewer drops on similar pass attempts.

When you add Calvin Ridley to Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Evan Engram, Travis Etienne, and rookie Tank Bigsby, the weapons certainly are more than adequate. Some might even call them elite. Heading into Year 3, his breakout could vault him into the top-5 at the position.

Mike –  Chris Olave, WR, NO

Player ADP Comparison Underdog Sleeper TFFB Cons. Andy Jason Mike
Chris Olave, WR, NO WR12 WR13, 3.06 13 14 19 14

Olave is being drafted as if the breakout is happening and Mike shared that he is totally fine paying that price. He scored only 12 fantasy points fewer than Garrett Wilson and actually averaged more fantasy points per game but he’s not categorized in the same area as Wilson in people’s minds. Historically, he’s right next to Amari Cooper, ARSB, Tyreek Hill, A.J. Brown, Ceedee Lamb in terms of rookie points per game. He became the 16th rookie WR since 2000 to break 1,000 yards and he did it in 15 games. He’s the 8th to break 1,000 with fewer than 75 receptions.

Beyond counting stats, his per-route metrics are off the charts. Looking at all Rookie WRs since 2014, only Tyreek Hill was targeted more per routes run than Olave and he ranks top-5 in yards per route run. 

Derek Carr also has a history of supporting top-end WR options even after the Amari Cooper & Michael Crabtree days:

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