1) The QB position is no longer something that you can just put off until the later rounds of your draft. I am not saying that there won’t be value picks at the QB position later on in your drafts or off of the waiver wire. What I am saying is that if you don’t have a top 5 option at the QB position in 2023, you will have a major disadvantage compared to those who do. My top 5 QBs heading into 2023 are Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Fields, and Joe Burrow. I would be perfectly comfortable taking whichever one of these QBs falls the latest in next year’s draft.
2) Travis Kelce is definitely worth a 1st round pick heading into next season. Kelce had the 10th most fantasy points in .5PPR scoring, ending the season with 258. He has consistently been a top 3 TE for several years now and until we see him show signs of declining, I am willing to spend that kind of capital on him in redraft leagues in 2023. The TE position has always been extremely unreliable, but we saw that get to an even higher level this year as the next best TE behind Kelce was TJ Hockenson with 168.5 fantasy points. That’s 89.5 points less than Kelce and is a massive drop-off. I personally think it was an off-year for the TE position and 2023 should be a better year all around. That being said I don’t think any TE will outscore Kelce in 2023 unless he suffers a season-ending injury. He is the safest bet at the TE position and is a major advantage for any fantasy manager who has him on their roster.
3) RBs are no longer the automatic top pick in redraft leagues. The times of an elite RB automatically being the 1.01 in redraft leagues have come to an end, at least for 2023. There are at least two wide receivers that I would consider with the 1.01 and 3 additional WRs that I would expect to be in the top 6 picks this year. My top 5 WRs for 2023 are Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp, and Davante Adams. If we are talking about a full PPR league, I would almost certainly be fine with taking Jefferson at the 1.01. Now don’t get me wrong, CMC and Ekeler are still top-tier talents heading into the 2023 season. I would just prefer to take one of the elite WR options I listed above and get my first RB in the 2nd/3rd to pair with them.
4) The RB dead zone is real but there are gems throughout all the turds. This year we saw several running backs falling into the middle rounds that nobody was excited about taking. There are 4 running backs who were drafted in these rounds that far exceeded their expectations. Those 4 RBs are Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Miles Sanders. All 4 of those running backs finished in the top 15 at their position in .5 PPR. So we need to remember to not write off every middle-round RB heading into this upcoming season. We need to look for talent and potential opportunities and that is how you will find value at the RB position in those rounds. 2 of the 4 RBs were going to be free agents the following season, which means that they were going to play well for one of two reasons. The first being that they wanted to earn a big paycheck and the second being that their current team was planning on utilizing them heavily. Both were true for Josh Jacobs and Miles Sanders. The second side of the equation is looking for top-tier backups that may take the next step needed to be RB1s/high-end RB2s. That is exactly the case for Tony Pollard and Rhamondre Stevenson. You were able to get them at a value because they had starting running backs ahead of them, but once they were able to take over the lead role they held onto it. As long as we take calculated risks when drafting, we should be able to figure out what middle-round RBs will produce and which ones offer too much chance versus reward.
5) Lastly, rookie WRs and RBs are continuing to produce in their rookie seasons and should be drafted as values in redraft leagues. The players I am talking about are not the rookies that we are drafting in the top 9 rounds. We have seen in the past few years that rookies are entering the league ready to produce. In 2022 there were 3 rookies taken outside of the top 90 players in redraft leagues that finished within the top 30 at their respective positions. Those 3 players are Kenneth Walker III, Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave, who all greatly outproduced their ADPs in the 2022 drafts. That being said, don’t be afraid of taking rookies in the later rounds of this year’s drafts. There is very little risk to be had at that point and if they do not do well, they can be cut from your roster without doing much damage.