Fantasy Football Recap: AFC South Post Draft

With the preseason here, now is the perfect time to take a look at the post-draft values of each NFL division. We will take a look at each new fantasy-relevant addition and I will also give my current rankings for all of the startable fantasy options on each team. This week we will take a look at the AFC South! Make sure you are following me on Twitter at @JGalt93 as well as the podcast @TheHateful8FF!!!

Houston Texans

    The Houston Texans have acquired their QB of the future in this year’s draft and their future is finally looking bright. The Texans made 3 fantasy-relevant picks in 2023, those players are C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (1st round), Nathaniel Dell, WR, Houston (3rd round), and Xavier Hutchinson, WR, Iowa State( 6th round). I am not entirely sure how good Stroud is going to be in his rookie season. His WR group is a lot better than it has been in recent years but there are no clear elite weapons that would help Stroud immediately this year. That doesn’t mean that I am writing Stroud off completely, but I am tempering any expectations until we see how this Houston offense looks through the early season. Stroud is currently a low-end QB2 with upside if things were to work out for him in 2023. The one player that I am reasonably high on for the Texans is Dameon Pierce. Some feel that the addition of Devin Singletary is enough to keep Pierce from producing like he did last year but I disagree. Pierce showed that he is more than capable of being a workhorse back and there are no reasons as to why the Texans wouldn’t utilize him heavily once again in 2023. The overall offense for the Texans is also better, so I would expect Pierce to have more red-zone opportunities than he did last year. Pierce is a low-end RB2 with an upside in 2023. The wide receiver position for the Texans is a little less easy to analyze. There is no clear-cut WR1 and therefore it is hard to tell who will be the most consistent option. Currently, Nico Collins looks like the most skilled option. He has the size and ability that we would want in a fantasy wide receiver but we have yet to see him offer any type of consistency so far in his career. Metchie on the other hand was a solid prospect heading into last year’s draft, but an unfortunate cancer diagnosis caused him to miss his rookie season. Now that Metchie is healthy, I would like to think that he will get to be a solid slot receiver for the Texans in 2023. I could talk about Robert Woods, but I don’t feel that it is necessary. At this point in his, career Woods is nothing more than an extremely low-end flex and can just be left on your waiver wire. I would recommend keeping an eye on the whole situation until we see one if any of these wide receivers start producing at a reasonable rate. The tight end position for the Texans has always had bursts of value over the years but hasn’t been consistent whatsoever. That should all change with the addition of Dalton Schultz this offseason. Most think of Schultz as just a guy, but I think he has the ability to continue his solid production in Houston. We all know that the tight end position is a rookie QB’s best friend, so Schultz should receive a solid target share from Stroud from the get-go. Schultz does not have the upside that he did in Dallas but should offer a safe floor with a reasonable ceiling in 2023. He is a low-end TE1 this upcoming season. The Houston Texans still have a way to go before they’re winning their division but it is easy to say that their future is bright. 

Current redraft rankings:

C.J. Stroud- QB31

Dameon Pierce-RB22

Devin Singletary-RB43

Nico Collins-WR49

John Metchie III-WR79

Robert Woods-WR86

Dalton Schultz- TE11

Honorable Mention* – Tank Dell, WR

Indianapolis Colts

    The Colts have definitely had some rough seasons since Andrew Luck unexpectedly retired, but things are looking better for the Colts at least at the QB position. The Colts made 4 fantasy-relevant picks in this past year’s draft. Those players include Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida(1st round), Josh Downs, WR, UNC(3rd round), Will Mallory, TE, Miami( 5th round), and Evan Hull, RB, Northwestern( 5th round). Out of those picks, Richardson is the one player who should have immediate fantasy value. Richardson is such a unique specimen of a player due to his physical traits alone. He is coming into the season at 6 ‘4”, 255 lbs, which is massive compared to many of the QBs in the NFL. If he is able to develop as a passer in his rookie season, the sky’s the limit for Richardson this year. Richardson is currently ranked as a mid-tier QB2 for me but I sincerely think that he could outperform that ranking highly if everything goes right for him this year. As you may have heard, there is some drama within the organization currently with the Colts star running back. Jonathan Taylor is entering a contract year and wants to be paid as a top-tier running back. Unfortunately, we have seen how many teams including the Colt’s feel about paying their running backs. Nobody knows what is going to happen, which is why I currently have Taylor ranked lower than I usually would. If he is traded or ends up playing for the Colts, he will immediately move up into the top 10 in my rankings. The receiver group for the Colts is probably the strongest they have had over the last few seasons. Pittman Jr, Pierce, and Downs make up a solid group for Anthony Richardson this season. My hesitancy with drafting anyone in this group terribly high is the fear of a rookie QB and his potential inconsistency in the passing game. If Pittman were to continue to fall in drafts, he could become a value as a solid flex play this upcoming season. Currently, his WR33 price is too rich for my taste and I would prefer many of the other players currently surrounding him in drafts. Pittman is currently a high-end flex/ WR3 in my rankings. Pierce and Downs are most likely going to be drafted in the last rounds of your drafts or not at all. That doesn’t mean that they can’t have value throughout the season, it just means that it is unclear how much immediate value they will have. It all depends on how heavily they will be utilized and targeted by Richardson. Keep an eye on Pierce and Downs in training camp and the preseason, just in case one were to stand out ahead of your drafts. Jelani Woods headlines the tight end position for the Colts this upcoming season. Woods is a massive athletic player who stands at 6’7” and weighs 253 lbs. He might not be a consistent option at the tight end position but is still worth monitoring heading into the season. His size alone should allow him to be a redzone target for Richardson and we all know how rookie QBs love their tight ends. Woods is currently a low-end TE2 but has the potential to outproduce his current ADP if he were to receive a heavy dose of targets in the red zone this season. The Colts certainly have the pieces in place to succeed but are not in the conversation for winning the Superbowl anytime soon. 

Current redraft rankings:

Anthony Richardson- QB16

Jonathan Taylor- RB12

Michael Pittman-WR34

Alec Pierce-WR61

Josh Downs-WR87

Jelani Woods-TE31

Jacksonville Jaguars

    The Jaguars have definitely come a long since the Urban Meyer fiasco. They have their QB of the future, a great group of running backs, wide receivers, and a top-10 tight end. I think everyone can agree that the future is bright for the Jags and we could possibly see them taking a step forward in 2023. The Jags made 3 fantasy-relevant picks in this year’s draft. Those players include Brenton Strange, TE, Penn State( 2nd round), Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn( 3rd round), and Parker Washington, WR, Penn State (6th round). None of the offensive players listed are going to have major roles at the beginning of the season. All of them would most likely need an injury to the starters at their relative positions to have startable fantasy value. Bigsy has the highest chance of having the most immediate value as it sounds like the Jags do not want to over-abuse Etienne this year. Bigsby is a solid late-round target in redraft, especially if you draft Etienne earlier in the draft. Trevor Lawrence showed what he was capable of last year and I expect he will produce even better stats in 2023. He has great talent surrounding him at every offensive position and it should lead to him being a viable QB1 this upcoming season. Lawrence is currently the last top-tier QB available as he is falling around the end of the 6th/ early 7th rounds. He should be seen as a solid value at the QB position and I like his current value/risk. Lawrence is a low-end QB1 with an upside in 2023. As I said before, Travis Etienne is not expected to have a massive workload this season but that does not mean that he can’t be a RB2 or better. The Jags would be smart to utilize Etienne more safely going forward so that he is able to last the whole season/postseason. Etienne will still receive the bulk of the carries and a fair amount of targets. He is one of my favorite running backs to target in the third round this year, especially in PPR leagues. Etienne is a high-end RB2 with an upside this season. The wide receiver position for the Jags is easily their strongest. The combination of Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, and Zay Jones is as good as solid as it comes. Ridley is returning from a short hiatus and has been looking impressive in training camp. If he produces anywhere close to where he was prior, he will be a massive value in fantasy this year. Ridley is currently my WR15, I would not be surprised if he became a low-end WR1 by the end of the season if everything works out with him and the Jags. Kirk is criminally underrated after finishing as a top-20 WR last season. He is currently being valued as a WR3/ Flex (ADP 64) and I think he can definitely outproduce that ADP. There are enough targets to go around for Trevor Lawrence to support two top-25 WRs in 2023. I would take the value of Kirk in redraft leagues this year. Kirk should be a high-end flex with WR2 upside in 2023. Jones did nicely as the WR2 for the Jags in 2023. He will have more competition for targets this year though, which could cap his ceiling. I like Jones more for best ball versus redraft but that doesn’t mean I would avoid him in redraft leagues. If there were an injury to Ridley, Kirk, or Engram, Jones’ upside would increase dramatically. He is worth a late-round add and could most likely be picked up off of your waiver wires during the season if he were to produce. Jones is a low-end flex with a boom/bust upside heading into the season. Finally, we get to talk about the tight end position for the Jags. I was almost positive that Engram wasn’t going to be on the team much longer, especially after the Jags drafted a 2nd round tight end in this year’s draft. But boy was I wrong! Engram secured his bag and will be with the Jags for the next 3 seasons. Engram was great last year and he should continue to have success with Lawrence behind center. Now Engram’s target share could be impacted due to Ridley being on the team but he should still be able to have enough success to warrant being drafted at his current ADP. As we all know, the TE position is such an unreliable position. All we can ask for is a solid target share and the possibility of scoring touchdowns on a regular basis. Engram should be able to offer his fantasy managers both of those characteristics as the Jags should be scoring often in 2023. Engram is a low-end TE1 with the potential to be closer to the top-tier TE1s in points versus being a TE2. The Jaguars have come a long way and I would have to say that 2023 will be one of their best seasons yet. 

Current redraft rankings:

Trevor Lawrence-QB8

Travis Etienne-RB13

Calvin Ridley-WR15

Christian Kirk-WR25

Zay Jones-WR56

Evan Engram-TE10

Tennessee Titans

    At the beginning of this offseason, I had a feeling that the Titans hopes and dreams of winning their division were long gone. That doesn’t seem like the case as of now. The Titans addition of DeAndre Hopkins made a huge difference for Tannehill and the team overall. They now have enough weapons on their offense to succeed in a weak division. The Titans made 4 fantasy-relevant picks in this year’s draft. Those players include Will Levis, QB, Kentucky( 2nd round), Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane( 3rd round), Josh Whyle, Washington, TE, Cincinnati (6th round), and Colton Dowell, WR, Tennessee-Martin (7th round). None of the players drafted are going to have an immediate impact in 2023. Will Levis is hopefully the QB of the future for the Titans but we most likely won’t see much of him this year unless there’s an injury or Tannehill shows that he can no longer be a starter in the league. Spears is in line to be the backup to Derrick Henry. He shouldn’t have immediate value but is valuable because of his position behind Derrick Henry. If Henry were to get injured Spears would be in the high-end RB2 conversation. He is worth a 3rd round pick in rookie drafts and a late-round dart through in redraft. The other two are players who can be monitored but will most likely never be worth rostering. The lead QB role is Tannehill’s to lose. He is no longer that solid waiver wire addition that we had known and loved such as he was in his first few seasons with the Titans. That being said, Tannehill can be a viable bye-week fill-in if the matchup is good. Tannehill is a low-end QB2 in 2023 with a boom/bust upside. Henry should once again be a top-tier RB1 in fantasy this year. Everyone has said that we should be concerned about a falloff from Henry, but we have not seen signs of it happening as of yet. Drafting Henry is risky due to the potential of falling off, but his reward is definitely worth it. Henry is a high-end RB1 with a top 3 upside if the team plays to the best of its ability. The wide receiver position certainly got better for the Titans once they signed DeAndre Hopkins this offseason. Hopkins will be the clear-cut WR1 for the Titans and therefore should easily lead the team in targets. He has not shown any signs of slowing down and should be able to be a reliable fantasy option even though the Titans are a run-first team. Hopkins is a low-end WR2 with an upside in 2023. From what we saw last year, we know that Burks is not capable of being a WR1. But I do believe that he can be a valuable WR2 for the team, especially with Hopkins taking coverage away from him. Hopefully, Burks stays healthy and we get to see him consistently this season. He is currently a value pick as he is the WR40 (ADP 87). I wouldn’t mind having Burks at that price, especially as a flex/ WR depth on my bench. Burks is currently one of my favorite mid-late round 2nd year wide receivers. He has the tools needed to succeed, we just need him to stay healthy. The tight end position for the Titans is solidly filled by Chioziem Okonkwo. I was very high on Chig heading into the offseason and then the Titans signed Nuk. I am still decently high on him as I have him as my TE13, but I am hesitant due to the fact that I am not sure there will be consistent targets for him on a weekly basis. Chig is still worth an add in the later rounds of redraft leagues for his athleticism alone. He will at the very least be the #3 target on the team and should have decent redzone prowess. Chig is a high-end TE2 with TE1 upside. 

Current redraft rankings:

Ryan Tannehill-QB23

Derrick Henry-RB6

DeAndre Hopkins-WR24

Treylon Burks-WR40

Chigoziem Okonkwo-TE13