The TRUTH: Top 10 WRs in 2023 (Fantasy Football)

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK

Getting the TRUTH about your fantasy football team can be hard, but it’s necessary for fantasy managers to take an audit at the end of the season to see how players really helped throughout the year. On the February 1st episode of the podcast, Andy, Mike, and Jason take a deeper look at the top-10 WRs from 2023. You can watch the full episode here:

Connect with the show:

Wide Receivers Overview

Taking a broader look at WRs across the league can give fantasy managers a bit of insight as to what’s happening at the position as a whole. Since 2018, the target value for WRs has declined steadily, with 2023 at just 1.43 yards per target. A lot of this decline can be attributed to zone defenses forcing offenses to adjust their game plans and more targets being seen behind the line of scrimmage. In 2023, 11% of WR targets were thrown behind the line of scrimmage, which marks the highest percentage since 2018.

On a positive note, there was huge fantasy production from multiple WRs this season. When you consider the top 12 WRs over the last five years (60 total), four WRs from 2023 would be in the top 12 of that group in fantasy points per game: CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Keenan Allen.

Before we get to the list, here’s a look at how the TRUTH data algorithm considers performances from the season using a half-point PPR scoring format:

  • Great Games are more than 20+ points.
  • Good Games are more than 12.5+ points.
  • Bust Games are fewer than 7.5 points.
  • Missed Games don’t count against consistency score.

1 CeeDee Lamb | Cowboys

Age: 24.8 | ADP: 2.03 / WR6
17 games – 181 targets for 135/1749/12 + 14/113/2 rushing
2023 Consistency Rank: 2
1st Half: 6 / 2nd Half: 1

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK
Great Games Good Games Bust Games
41% 82% 6%

Kicking off the top of the list after one of the best fantasy WR runs we’ve seen in a long time is CeeDee Lamb. Lamb started slow for fantasy managers but was lights out from Week 6 through the fantasy playoffs with nine finishes inside the top 10 WRs, including five as the WR3 or higher. To put Lamb’s season into historical perspective, the only other WR to match his 135 receptions, 1749 receiving yards, and 12 TDs in a season was Cooper Kupp in 2021. Lamb posted the fourth most fantasy points for a WR of all-time, only behind Kupp in 2021, Jerry Rice in 1995, and Randy Moss in 2007.

Top 10 WR fantasy seasons of all time table

The future for Lamb shouldn’t be much of a question since he’ll likely extend his contract in Dallas, but fantasy managers have to decide whether or not he slots into that elite tier consistently from here on out. For dynasty purposes, it’s a worthy conversation to have Lamb in the same space as Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase, especially with his future and QB secure in Dallas going forward.

2 Tyreek Hill | Dolphins

Age: 29.8 | ADP: 1.07 / WR3
16 games – 171 targets for 119/1799/13 + 6/15/0 rushing
2023 Consistency Rank: 1
1st Half: 1 / 2nd Half: 2

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
56% 75% 0%

From one elite fantasy WR season to another, Tyreek Hill was absolutely nuclear for most of 2023. Hill had just five weeks when he played that he wasn’t inside the top 24 of WRs and had a whopping eight weeks as the WR3 or better. Fantasy managers were basically winning weeks with Hill’s gigantic fantasy output consistently as he had nine games where he scored 20+ fantasy points. Hill’s usage in the Dolphins’ offense gave him such a safe floor, putting him second on the list of yards per route run since 2006 with a ridiculous 3.82 average.

Best yards per route run seasons since 2006 table

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK

The only thing that could slow down Hill going forward will be his age since he’ll be playing the 2024 season at 30. For redraft, Hill should be in the conversation as a top-five pick and will probably continue to validate that draft capital for at least a few more seasons. As long as the core pieces in Miami stay put, fantasy managers can set their watches on Hill producing for them again next season.

3 Amon-Ra St. Brown | Lions

Age: 24.2 | ADP: 2.06 / WR9
16 games – 164 targets for 119/1515/10 + 4/24/0 rushing
2023 Consistency Rank: 3
1st Half: 3 / 2nd Half: 3

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
31% 81% 6%

Another picture of consistency, Amon-Ra St. Brown turned in his best season as a pro, setting career highs in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs. The Lions WR only had two weeks on the season when he didn’t finish as a top-24 WR when he played, including top-10 WR finishes in six of his last nine games. St. Brown has been a monster PPR asset through his first three seasons, finishing with the third-most receptions through the first three years of his career at 315. As the main receiving option in the Lions’ sexy offense, St. Brown is a rare blend of being both a PPR machine and an elite red zone WR.

Going forward, St. Brown should be one of the more stable WRs on the list, especially with Ben Johnson officially returning as the offensive coordinator for the Lions next season. St. Brown should get a contract extension this summer which will keep the Lions’ high-powered offense intact going forward. Fantasy managers should expect to have to invest extremely high draft capital for St. Brown next season given his high-end finish in 2023.

4 Puka Nacua | Rams

Age: 22.7 |  ADP: Undrafted
17 games – 160 targets for 105/1486/6 + 12/89/0 rushing
2023 Consistency Rank: 9
1st Half: 11 / 2nd Half: 13

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
24% 53% 24%

The Rams didn’t do much with their draft in 2023 except for drafting the greatest rookie WR of all time in Puka Nacua. Nacua broke the rookie WR record for receptions, receiving yards, and first downs while also breaking fantasy records for more top-12 finishes for a rookie (seven) and 15+ fantasy point games (nine). As just a fifth-round pick, Nacua is sitting among the elite of the elite after his rookie season as one of just five rookies to have a yards per route run of 2.50 yards or more since 2014.

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK

Rookie WRs with 2.5 or more yards per route since since 2014 table

Heading into 2024, Nacua should be considered one of the top WR assets for redraft, and even more so in dynasty. The Rams’ offense should return the major players at skill positions with Nacua seeming to take the WR1 role down the stretch of the 2023 season. In dynasty, fantasy managers will have to decide exactly how high Nacua will rank among the elite young WR assets. The Ballers slot him in a tier below the top, making him one of the most valuable dynasty assets going forward.

5 Mike Evans | Buccaneers

Age: 30.4 |  ADP: 7.02 / WR30
17 games – 136 targets 79/1255/13
2023 Consistency Rank: 7
1st Half: 13 / 2nd Half: 8

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
29% 59% 24%

Death. Taxes. Mike Evans has 1,000 receiving yards and is valuable for fantasy football. For the 10th straight season, Evans posted at least 1,000 receiving yards and became just the fifth WR over age 30 to finish in the top-five WRs since 2008. Evans was as steady as they come this season for fantasy managers, finishing as a top-24 WR in 11 games, though he did fall off for a stretch in the back end of the season. Where Evans made his mark this year again was with the deep ball from Baker Mayfield where he saw the third-most targets of 20+ yards, seven of which he turned into TDs.

The question for Evans heading into 2024 is exactly where he’ll be playing and who will be throwing him the ball. There’s plenty of argument to be made that Mayfield deserves a contract from the Buccaneers, and if Evans is willing to return, despite his age Evans could continue to be a WR2 with WR1 upside in 2024. On the flip side, fantasy managers should be more concerned with Evans leaving than Mayfield being replaced since we’ve seen Evans produce with all sorts of talent variance at QB.

6 DJ Moore | Bears

Age: 26.8 | ADP: 5.03 / WR21
17 games – 136 targets for 96/1364/8 + 4/21/1 rushing
2023 Consistency Rank: 13
1st Half: 19 / 2nd Half: 19

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK
Great Games Good Games Bust Games
24% 41% 24%

The big move for D.J. Moore to Chicago paid off with his first WR1 season finish. Moore’s change of scenery, and more importantly being linked to Justin Fields, allowed fantasy managers to finally see the high-end ability that Moore has displayed in his first five seasons in Carolina. If there’s a knock to Moore’s big year, he did have one HUGE game in Week 5 that accounted for 18.8% of his entire season fantasy production, and he had more finishes outside the top-40 WRs (seven) than he did inside the top-12 (six). Still, Moore saw the second-most 20+ air-yard receptions in the league and set a career-high in receptions, yards, and TDs.

Unfortunately for Moore, there’s a chance more change is coming at QB for him this offseason. On the bright side, it’s likely to be top-QB prospect Caleb Williams taking over in Chicago. Moore has established himself as the clear top-WR option for the Bears going forward, so even though there could be an adjustment period with a rookie QB taking over, fantasy managers should view Moore as a player with top-12 WR potential going into 2024 again.

7 A.J. Brown | Eagles

Age: 26.5 | ADP: 2.01 / WR5
17 games – 158 targets for 106/1456/7
Consistency Rank: 10
1st Half: 4 / 2nd Half: 40

Great Games Good Games Bust Games
19% 50% 19%

It’s easy to feel disappointed about A.J. Brown’s 2023 season, but there are a lot of positives to remember when you look at the season as a whole. Brown was on fire from Weeks 3-9 when he was averaging 128 receiving yards and nearly a receiving TD for 22 fantasy points per game. From Week 11 forward though, Brown wasn’t giving fantasy managers that same high-end finish, only scoring one TD the rest of the season. Over his last eight games, Brown only finished inside the top 24 twice, and only scored double-digit fantasy points three times.

What remains true for Brown is he’s clearly the main receiving option in what’s been one of the best offenses in football over the last two seasons. Brown still maintained a 30% target share for the Eagles, and with plenty of changes being made amongst the coaching staff in Philadelphia, fantasy managers could see a resurgence to the more consistent WR5 from 2022. The biggest question mark in the Eagles’ passing game comes in the splits between Brown and DeVonta Smith. It feels like there are games that one or the other – and rarely both – have productive fantasy days which can limit their overall upside.

8 Keenan Allen | Chargers

Age: 31.8 |  ADP: 4.06 / WR18
13 games – 150 targets for 108/1243/7
2023 Consistency Rank: 5
1st Half: 8 / 2nd Half: 5

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK
Great Games Good Games Bust Games
31% 46% 0%

Bringing joy to Kyle Borgognoni’s heart, Keenan Allen turned in a vintage season at the ripe age of 31. Allen was a machine in the Chargers’ offense, averaging 5.2 receptions per game against zone coverage which led the NFL. As the only consistent receiving option for Justin Herbert, Allen set franchise records for receptions in a season (108) and broke the career receiving yardage record (10,530) while averaging 17 fantasy points per game, good enough for the third-highest for a receiver 31 years old or older since 2011. 

What’s concerning for Allen going forward isn’t just his age eventually catching up with him, but the surrounding pieces in the Chargers’ offense outside of QB Justin Herbert. With Austin Ekeler likely headed to test the free agent market and Mike Williams recovering from a torn ACL, things could look very different in L.A. come the 2024 season. One positive is the hiring of Jim Harbaugh as head coach, which should bring a proven winning coach to the locker room. Whether Allen will be around after 2024 to see the new direction of the Chargers is a big question mark, but fantasy managers can hope for one more great season from him next year before we get the answers to that question.

9 Nico Collins | Texans

Age: 24.8 |  ADP: 14.10 / WR61
15 games – 109 targets for 80/1297/8 + 1/7/0 rushing
2023 Consistency Rank: 16
1st Half: 22 / 2nd Half: 16

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK
Great Games Good Games Bust Games
27% 40% 27%

One of the more pleasant surprises at the WR position for fantasy this season was Nico Collins and his WR9 finish. Collins was one of the many beneficiaries of CJ Stroud’s arrival in Houston which led one of the most exciting offenses in the league this season. Setting career-highs in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs, Collins was the definition of a year-three breakout.  If there’s a complaint about Collins’ production this season, it has to be the boom/bust nature fantasy managers had to deal with. Collins had six top-12 finishes but never finished as a WR13-25, so if he didn’t hit, he killed fantasy rosters.

Looking ahead, Collins should be set up to continue his success in the Texans’ offense in 2024. With Stroud heading into his sophomore season and Offensive Coordinator Bobby Slowik returning to Houston after interviewing for head coaching jobs, Collins alongside rookie Tank Dell should pick up where they left off in 2023. The question for fantasy managers heading into 2024 is how high Collins’ ADP will get and where the cutoff is for investing in him come draft season.

10 Stefon Diggs | Bills

Age: 30.2 |  ADP: 1.11 / WR4
17 games – 160 targets for 107/1183/8 + 1/5/0 rushing
2023 Consistency Rank: 19
1st Half: 2 / 2nd Half: 76

2024 Ultimate Draft Kit
Unlock the 2024 Ultimate Draft Kit!
Get the 2024 UDK
Great Games Good Games Bust Games
18% 47% 35%

It was the tale of two halves for Stefon Diggs in 2023. Through his first nine games, Diggs was averaging 17.8 fantasy points per game and was the WR3 during that span, but from Week 10 on things took a turn for the worse. Down the stretch of the season, Diggs averaged just 7.5 fantasy points per game as the WR53 during that span, with just one top-24 WR finish. The biggest change in Buffalo that can be correlated to Diggs’ decline in production was the change at offensive coordinator with Joe Brady taking over playcalling duties. With Brady at OC, the Bills threw the ball less, sitting in the bottom seven teams of the league in pass rate over expectation from Week 11 to the end of the year.

The path ahead for Diggs is uncertain. While he’s shown he still has the ability to be an elite fantasy option at times, it’s unclear whether he can be that in Buffalo going forward. Diggs was still effective with intermediate passes, finishing tied for the league lead of six receiving TDs in the 10 to 19 yard range. Fantasy managers may need to take the wait-and-see approach to see where Diggs will be playing in 2024 before making a determination about where they stand ahead of next season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *