Fantasy Football Outlook: AFC South Pre-Draft
It is never too early to start game planning for the next fantasy football season. That being said, the NFL Draft is less than 24 hours away, so now is the perfect time to start analyzing the fantasy-relevant needs of teams across the NFL. We will finish this series with the AFC South.
2023 Draft Picks- 1.2, 1.12, 2.33, 3.65, 3.73, 4.104, 5.161, 6.188, 6.201, 6.203, 7.230, and 7.259
One thing that is becoming clearer and clearer over the last week or so, is that nobody knows what the Texans are going to do with the second overall pick. The Texans have plenty of needs on both sides of the ball, so it is realistic to think that they could go QB or DE/Edge with their first pick this year. The Texans also have a bounty of picks this year, which they could use to give them the solid foundation they will need for the future. The QB position is a glaring need for the Texans, but there is a lot of speculation that if the Texans don’t get who they want at #2 they could forgo the position altogether in the 1st round. The current QBs on the roster are Davis Mills, Case Keenum, and E.J. Perry. Mills would be the obvious starter but we already know the kind of upside he offers in fantasy. If the Texans were to avoid the QB position in the draft, the Texans QB can be left on the waiver wire in fantasy in 2023. The RB position for the Texans, although more equipped, is another conundrum in itself heading into the draft. The current RBs on the market are Dameon Pierce, Devin Singletary, Mike Boone, and Dare Ogunbowale. Out of that group, Pierce and Singletary are the two with fantasy value heading into 2023. That value could very well dwindle if the Texans were to use one of their first 5 picks on a top-tier RB prospect. For now, I will act like the current backfield is the one that will start heading into the 2023 season. Pierce is still the RB1 in the Texans backfield. The only issue is that he actually has a competent and capable running back alongside him this year in Singletary. Singletary was never utilized heavily in Buffalo but should be a nice complement to Pierce’s ability. Pierce is currently my RB21 and Singletary is my RB40. The wide receiver position for the Texans is completely wide-open. The current fantasy-relevant WRs on the team are Robert Woods, Nico Collins, and Noah Brown. I would expect the Texans to draft a top-tier WR rookie with their second 1st round pick this year. If they take JSN at 12 like most are expecting, JSN would be a high-end flex in 2023 with an upside. If they don’t take a top-tier WR, I would expect this WR group to be quite lackluster. I would have all 3 WRs listed to be low-end flex plays at best with potential upside. The TE position for the Texans is one that has been handled in free agency, but I can’t say that I am terribly excited about its fantasy potential. Dalton Schultz is the TE1 for the team and should be a decent security blanket for whichever QB is the QB1 come September. I don’t believe that Schultz will produce as he did in Dallas, but he should receive a strong enough target share to warrant being streamed at the TE position in 2023. Schultz is currently my TE12 heading into the draft.
2023 Draft Picks- 1.04, 2.35, 3.79, 4.106, 5.138, 5.162, 5.169,7.221, and 7.236
It is not hard to see what the Colts really need on the offensive side of the ball, as the QB position has been a glaring need for several seasons. Luckily the Colts have the 4th overall pick in this year’s draft, so a rookie QB is almost certainly in their future. I would assume that the Panthers are going to take Bryce Young. This means the Colts will either take whichever QB falls to them in Stroud, Richardson, or Levis, or they will move up to get the one they truly want at the 1.02. I think the perfect pick for them would be Stroud as he is ready to go and should be able to be a day 1 starter. The offense is all set up to succeed and they are pretty much just a QB away. Stroud would be a mid-tier QB2 with an upside in this offense. The other two QBs listed would be low-end QB2s with upside in their rookie seasons. The RB position for the Colts is nicely secured by Jonathan Taylor. Although last season was extremely disappointing, I expect Taylor to have a bounce-back year in 2023. No matter who the QB is in 2023, Taylor should be utilized heavily because they will be introducing a new QB into the offense. With only Deon Jackson and Zach Moss behind him, there is no true threat to Taylor’s workload in 2023. He is a high-end RB1 and is currently my RB4. The WR position for the Colts is currently filled by Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, and Isaiah McKenzie. The WR position isn’t a glaring need but certainly needs some help going forward. The Colts have plenty of early draft picks to be able to draft someone that would complement Pittman and would be the WR2 for the team. Pittman should be a high-end flex with upside heading into the draft and Pierce/McKenzie should both be low-end flex plays. The TE position for the Colts has upside but it is extremely unknown. The current fantasy-relevant TEs on the roster are Jelani Woods, Mo Alie-Cox, and Kylen Granson. The only reason I put Granson on this list is because he is currently being listed as the TE1 on the team. Granson is a total unknown, so I will wait and see what happens in the draft before discussing him. Woods and Alie-Cox on the other hand are both massive players with minimal production so far in the NFL but huge red zone capability if utilized correctly. If I were to pick one of them, it would be Woods. Woods is exactly the kind of player who could produce at the TE position in fantasy football. If there was a way he could separate himself from the rest of the group, he could be a very sneaky late-round TE for this upcoming draft season. Ultimately, his upside will really depend on what the Colts do in the draft though. The Colts could very well use their 2nd or 3rd round picks on one of the top-tier TE prospects coming out this year. If they were to use one of those picks on a Washington, Kincaid, or LaPorta, all of the TEs listed prior would be nothing more than waiver wire fodder. Woods is currently my TE 24.
2023 Draft Picks- 1.24, 2.56, 3.88, 4.121, 4.127, 5.185,6.202, 6.208, and 7.226
The Jaguars are finally looking up, especially after that train wreck of a season in 2021. Heading into the draft the Jaguars don’t have many needs on the offensive side of the ball. I would expect them to use a majority of their early picks on defensive players. If they did use early picks on their offense, I would expect it to be for their O-line. The Jaguars have their QB of the future in Trevor Lawrence, so there is no need to worry about the QB position. Lawrence showed real growth in his 2nd year in the league and I believe he is set up to succeed even more in his 3rd season. The Jaguars have plenty of offensive weapons surrounding Lawrence to give you confidence in him heading into this year’s drafts. Lawrence is a mid-tier QB1 heading into the season and is currently the QB7 in my rankings. The WR position for the Jags is looking a lot better this year than it was last year. The current group consists of Christian Kirk, Calvin Ridley, and Zay Jones. That group alone could be one of the most underrated heading into 2023. I still currently have Kirk ranked the highest out of the three, as I believe he will offer the most stability and upside on a consistent business. Ridley is right behind Kirk in my rankings. We have seen what he is capable of but it has been a few seasons since we have seen him do it. Ridley could be a great mid-round value at the WR position if everything works out. Kirk is currently my WR 29, Ridley is my WR 32, and Jones is my WR 47 heading into the season. The TE position for the Jags is led by Evan Engram, who showed that he was not just a fluke in his rookie season. Engram should perform at a similar if not better rate in his second season with Trevor Lawrence and the Jags. The Jags have been a team that has been said will draft a rookie TE but I am not currently worried as it is not their biggest need heading into the draft. As long as the Jags don’t add a top 3 rookie prospect, I would be very confident in drafting Engram in 2023. He is currently my TE 8.
2023 Draft Picks- 1.11, 2.41, 3.72, 5.147, 6.186, and 7.228
The Titans have plenty of needs on both sides of the ball that they could use their early rounds picks on. It isn’t certain where they will go with their first-round pick, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they traded up for a QB, drafted a QB at 11, or drafted a WR or an OL there either. There are plenty of what if’s but for the time being I will analyze their current roster. The QB position is definitely a need for the Titans in the long term as neither Ryan Tannehill nor Malik Willis are currently the answer. A new QB is definitely possible, but to get a top-tier QB would mean the Titans would have to move up, so I would expect that they won’t necessarily take one at 11 due to that reason. There is always the chance that one of the top 4 could fall to 11 though. Tannehill is currently my QB26 and will be nothing more than a QB3/bye-week fill-in for 2023. If they don’t draft a QB this year, Willis is worth keeping an eye on as there is a chance that he could take over as the starting QB and could improve in his 2nd season. The RB position for the Titans is led by Derrick Henry for the time being. The reason I say that is because there is speculation that he could be traded this off-season. If Henry is on the team come September, he is once again a low-end RB1. Henry has had injuries but has not shown any signs of fading, So I will continue to treat him like the beast he has been for several seasons now. Henry is my RB10 heading into the season. The WR position for the Titans is definitely a need heading into the draft. The current roster consists of Treylon Burks, Chris Moore, and Nick Westbrook- Ikhine. Burks is the only current WR worth talking about from a fantasy perspective. If he can stay healthy in his 2nd year, he could be a great mid/late-round pick in redraft leagues this year. Burks is currently my WR 37 and therefore a flex play with upside. The TE position is and isn’t a need and I will explain what I mean. They could certainly use a depth at the TE position but they don’t need to use a top pick on one as they have much bigger needs. Chigoziem Okonkwo is currently the starting TE and I actually really like his potential heading into 2023. If the Titans do not take a top TE prospect, Chig will easily be one of my favorite late-round TEs to target in 2023. He was great at the end of last year and has the ability to be great once again in a very shallow receiving group. Chig is currently my TE13.
Enjoy the draft for your respective teams, and make sure to follow me on Twitter @JGalt93 and the podcast @TheHateful8FF!