Dynasty Fantasy Football: 2023 Rookie WR Class Review

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On the most recent Fantasy Footballers Dynasty Podcast, Betz, Jason, and I reviewed the 2023 Rookie WR class.

I approached this review exercise like an annual dynasty-focused checkup with these questions in mind:

  • What did this player accomplish as a rookie?
  • What is the historical context of this player’s performance factoring in NFL Draft Capital?
  • What questions emerge about their dynasty value moving forward? 

These are essentially the “show notes” from our discussion from the podcast if you want to reference them later and bookmark this rookie review.

2023 Rookie WR Class Review

Round Pick Team Player Age College
1 20 SEA Jaxon Smith-Njigba 21 Ohio St.
1 21 LAC Quentin Johnston 22 TCU
1 22 BAL Zay Flowers 22 Boston Col.
1 23 MIN Jordan Addison 21 USC
2 39 CAR Jonathan Mingo 22 Mississippi
2 50 GB Jayden Reed 23 Michigan St.
2 55 KC Rashee Rice 23 SMU
2 63 DEN Marvin Mims 21 Oklahoma
3 69 HOU Tank Dell 23 Houston
3 73 NYG Jalin Hyatt 21 Tennessee
3 74 CLE Cedric Tillman 23 Tennessee
3 79 IND Josh Downs 22 North Carolina
3 94 ARI Michael Wilson 23 Stanford
3 100 LV Tre Tucker 22 Cincinnati
4 125 LAC Derius Davis 22 TCU
4 131 CIN Charlie Jones 24 Purdue
4 133 CHI Tyler Scott 21 Cincinnati
5 150 BUF Justin Shorter 23 Florida
5 159 GB Dontayvion Wicks 22 Virginia
5 177 LAR Puka Nacua 22 BYU
6 185 JAX Parker Washington 21 Penn St.
6 187 NE Kayshon Boutte 21 LSU
6 191 TB Trey Palmer 22 Nebraska
6 195 NO A.T. Perry 23 Wake Forest
6 197 MIA Elijah Higgins 22 Stanford
6 205 HOU Xavier Hutchinson 23 Iowa St.
6 206 CIN Andrei Iosivas 23 Princeton
6 210 NE Demario Douglas 22 Liberty
7 219 DET Antoine Green 23 North Carolina
7 228 TEN Colton Dowell 24 UT Martin
7 244 DAL Jalen Brooks 23 South Carolina
7 253 SF Ronnie Bell 23 Michigan
7 256 GB Grant Dubose 22 Charlotte

The ADPs listed below reflect the average draft position before the season per RotoViz’s Dynasty ADP tool.

Puka Nacua | Round 5 Overall 177 | Los Angeles Rams

ADP: Rookie Drafts: WR16/4.10    ||    Dynasty Startups: WR75/204th   ||    Redraft: undrafted

Stats That Matter

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  • 17 games- 159 targets for 105/1486/6 + 12/89/0 rushing- Finished as the WR4
  • Rewrote the Rookie WR Record book: MOST Receptions, Receiving Yards,  and receiving 1st downs in NFL history
  • Broke Randy Moss & Ja’Marr Chase rookie fantasy records with seven  top-12 finishes (most ever for a rookie) and nine games of 15+ fantasy points (also the most ever)
  • 2023 Ranks among ALL WRs: 5th most YAC, 6th in Yards per Route Run, and most drops among all WRs (10)

Historical Context

He’s with the ELITE of the ELITE among rookies

Future Dynasty Questions

  • How high should he go in dynasty WR ranks?

Jordan Addison | Round 1 Overall 23 | Minnesota Vikings

ADP: Rookie Drafts: WR2/1.06    ||    Dynasty Startups: WR19/55th   ||    Redraft: WR36/7.12

Stats That Matter

  • 17 games- 108 targets for 70/911/10 + 1/2/0 rushing- Finished as the WR21
  • Rookies with TWO Weeks as the WR1 Overall since 2014: Odell Beckham Jr…. Jordan Addison… End of List.
  • Excelled down the field and intermediate area with 37% of his targets in the 10-19 yard mark. This was despite four different Minnesota QBs throwing him the ball.
  • Targeted on only 17.7% of routes versus zone coverage. Is this an area of improvement moving forward?

Historical Context

1 of FIVE rookie WRs with 10+ Rec TDs

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Future Dynasty Questions

  • How much does Jefferson cap his ceiling?

Jayden Reed | Round 2 Overall 50 | Green Bay Packers

ADP: Rookie Drafts: WR9/2.12    ||    Dynasty Startups: WR54/146th   ||    Redraft: undrafted

Stats That Matter

  • 16 games- 94 targets for 64/793/8 + 11/119/2 rushing- Finished as the WR23
  • From Week 10 on, he was the WR9 averaging 14.8 fantasy points per game, 5+ receptions and 70 total yards in that span
  • He was used as a “Deebo-lite”/efficiency-monster ranking 6th among ALL WRs in PPR points per touch (2.90)
  • A TD on 13% of his touches/every 7.5 touches  is a bit of a red flag.
  • From Week 12 on, target share was more spread out in GB than you realize.

Historical Context

  • 4th Highest Fantasy Pts per Touch among Rookie WRs

Future Dynasty Questions

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  • Will some of his efficiency numbers come down?

Rashee Rice | Round 2 Overall 55 | Kansas City Chiefs

ADP: Rookie Drafts: WR6/2.06    ||    Dynasty Startups: WR52/140th   ||    Redraft: WR56/13.05

Stats That Matter

  • 16 games- 102 targets for 79/938/7 + 1/-3/0 rushing- Finished as the WR22 (Wks 1-17)
  • From Week 12 on, he was the WR9 averaging 14.9 fantasy points per game, 9.3 targets, 7.2 receptions, and 86 receiving yards per game.
  • He slowly became the Chiefs primary receiving option.

  • 2.91 YPRR vs ZONE Coverage  tied for the 4th highest in the NFL

Historical Context

  • He is one of 7 Rookie WRs with 70+/700+/7+

Future Dynasty Questions

  • Is he a top-15 dynasty WR? Top-20?
Rashee Rice #4 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs with the ball during an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs at Empower Field At Mile High on October 29, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.

Michael Owens/Getty Images

Zay Flowers | Round 1 Overall 22 | Baltimore Ravens

ADP: Rookie Drafts: WR4/1.07-1.10    ||    Dynasty Startups: WR31/80th   ||    Redraft: WR41/9.01

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Stats That Matter

  • 16 games- 108 targets for 77/858/5 + 8/56/1 rushing- Finished as the WR27 (Wks 1-17)
    • Splits with/without Andrews
      • Andrews went out during Week 11 game

  • 21 Targets of 20+ Air Yards- MOST among rookies

 

Historical Context

24% Target Share– Ranks 9th Highest Among Rookie WRs since 2014

Future Dynasty Questions

  • What is his ceiling with Andrews here? Can he be a top-15 WR?

Tank Dell | Round 3 Overall 69 | Houston Texans

ADP: Rookie Drafts: WR12/3.10    ||    Dynasty Startups: WR69/180th   ||    Redraft: undrafted

Stats That Matter

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  • 11 games- 75 targets for 47/709/7 + 11/51/0 rushing- Finished as the WR15 in fppg
  • From Weeks 9-12, he was the WR3 averaging 20.5 fantasy points per game, 10.8 targets, 92.3 receiving yards per game, and 1.3 TDs
  • 72% of his receptions went for a 1st down or TD- 7th best among ALL WRs with 75+ targets
  • For such a small WR, he was not utilized that way. 60+ % of his targets were 10+ yards downfield (only Michael Wilson higher %), only 1 target behind line of scrimmage, and 70% out wide

Historical Context

1 of 14 rookie WRs over the last decade with 15+ Yards per Reception

Future Dynasty Questions

  • Who would you rather have in dynasty: Tank or Nico Collins?

Jaxon Smith-Njigba | Round 1 Overall 20 | Seattle Seahawks

ADP: Rookie Drafts: WR1/1.02-1.04    ||    Dynasty Startups: WR14/40th   ||    Redraft: WR37/7.12

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Stats That Matter

  • 17 games- 93 targets for 63/629/4 – Finished as the WR48
  • .Slow start to the year averaging just 52% snaps for 1st month of the season until Week 5 bye
  • His usage was low aDOT stuff for a lot of the first 2 months. His 29 receptions behind the line of scrimmage was the most among rookies. Only Rondale Moore (36 in 2021) has more in the PFF era

Historical Context

  • Looked back over the last decade, I looked at 31 Rookie WRs with 90+ TargetsWhat did they do their sophomore year? 68% increased their target share, the average was 116 targets, and the average YPRR in sophomore year was 2.01.

Future Dynasty Questions

    • Is he still a top-20 dynasty WR? JSN (21.9 years old) or DK Metcalf (26.1)?  Deebo (28)?

Quentin Johnston | Round 1 Overall 21 | Los Angeles Chargers

ADP: Rookie Drafts: WR3/1.07-1.09    ||    Dynasty Startups: WR21/58th   ||    Redraft: WR44/9.07

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Stats That Matter

  • 17 games- 67 targets for 38/431/2 – Finished as the WR75
  • 88th among all WRs in fantasy pts per route run
  • 15 targets of 20+ yards, only 2 receptions
  • Predominantly an outside WR- 89% wide
  • YAC plays didn’t happen like college (4.0 YAC/rec vs. 8.9 at TCU)

Historical Context

  • Among 42 1st Round Rookie WRs since 2014:
    • 39th in TPRR (13.7%)
    • 38th in YPRR (0.88)
    • 33rd in Tgt % (10.9%)

Future Dynasty Questions

    • Is there still upside?

    Mike Williams as a rookie was arguably worse (back & knee injuries); next year, 10 TDs

Josh Downs | Round 3 Overall 79 | Indianapolis Colts

ADP: Rookie Drafts: WR8/2.10    ||    Dynasty Startups: WR56/149th   ||    Redraft: undrafted

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Stats That Matter

  • 17 games- 98 targets for 68/771/2 – Finished as the WR46
  • He is basically Jamison Crowder.

Historical Context

  • 1 of 32 rookie WRs with 50+ % of targets in the slot over the last decade

Future Dynasty Questions

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  • Is he anything more than a PPR double FLEX?

Other Rookie WRs of Note

Comments

Jesse says:

Rice was literally a top 5 WR from week 12 on once he was given consistently around 70-90% snaps…… he deserves the cover photo more than anyone outside of Puka.

– 3rd in avg seperation
– Top 12 rated WR
– 3rd in YAC overall h 7th in redzone targets despite playing just 55% snaps for the season
– Legit broke the record for rookie WR catch % (min 70 targets)

When he gets 80%+ snaps for a season he’s gonna explode…..

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