Dynasty managers are looking forward to the NFL Draft with great anticipation. We are just a few weeks away from learning the landing spots of the coveted rookies of the 2023 class. I decided to take a look at some landing spot impacts. For this exercise, I am using the 7-round mock draft by Ian Cummings at Pro Football Network.
#1 – CJ Stroud – Carolina Panthers
Stroud steps right into the starting job with a quarterback-friendly coach. The Panthers have a solid offensive line, and free agent running back Miles Sanders adds balance to the offense. Veteran tight end Hayden Hurst will provide a reliable short-area receiver. The weakness is the wide receiver crew. Adam Thielen joins holdovers Terrace Marshall Jr., Laviska Shenault, and Shi Smith. Stroud will likely be a top-three pick in dynasty drafts and a starter in Superflex leagues from Day 1.
#141 – Hendon Hooker – Las Vegas Raiders
The Tennessee quarterback is coming off a torn ACL after being in contention for the Heisman Trophy for most of the 2022 season. Hooker lands behind free agent signee Jimmy Garoppolo, who signed a three-year contract. There will be no rush for Hooker to see the field. This will allow him to learn the NFL offense after spending most of his college career in a spread offense. Hooker possesses great arm and plus mobility. Garoppolo will have just a $3.75 million dead cap hit after 2024. For fantasy managers, it will require patience, but the reward could be huge.
RUNNING BACK WINNERS
#52 – Zach Charbonnet – Tennessee Titans
Zach Charbonnet has all the tools to be a three-down back in the NFL. They still have those, right? Charbonnet is a better all-around back 2022 fourth-round pick Hassan Haskins. After 2024, Derrick Henry has two void years left on his contract and will be 30 years old. Look for Charbonnet to come off the board as the RB3-5 in dynasty drafts. He may not pay off big in 2023, but the path to touches opens up in 2024.
#60 – Israel Abanikanda – Cincinnati Bengals
In fantasy football, it is all about the path to touches. The Cincinnati Bengals are a team undergoing a transition at the running back position. The Bengals jettisoned backup Samaje Perine, and long-time starter Joe Mixon has a $12.7 million cap hit and a $5.5 million dead cap if he is cut. Grabbing Abanikanda in the second round sets him up to take over for Perine immediately and compete for the starting job if the Bengals cut Mixon. Izzy is currently ranked in the RB11-13 range. Second-round draft capital would see him climb the ranks.
#182 – Evan Hull – Los Angeles Rams
Each season we see a late-round draft pick get an opportunity and help some fantasy manager to a title. I think Evan Hull could be that guy this year. Hull has good size and straight-line speed. He excels in the passing game but is no slouch running the ball. The Rams are looking for a cheap option to pair with Cam Akers, and I love Evan Hull as that guy. I have seen Hull rise from the fourth round in rookie mocks to the third round. This landing spot could cause him to rise even more.
WIDE RECEIVER WINNERS
#26 – Josh Downs – Dallas Cowboys
This draft was done before the Brandin Cooks trade. Still, I think Downs landing here is a win. Michael Gallup has a big cap hit and will be around for at least one more season. Cooks, on the other hand, has just a $6 million cap hit after 2023. Downs will push his way onto the field and is a natural complement to Ceedee Lamb. In 2023 the wide receiver room will thin out, and I expect Downs to rise to the WR2 spot going into 2024.
#63 – A.T. Perry – Kansas City Chiefs
Perry is the 11th wide receiver off the board in this draft. The Chiefs need a big, young wide receiver to step up to the fore. Perry checks that box at 6’3″ 200 pounds and a 4.47 40-yard dash. The opportunity is there for Perry, who is playing with the best quarterback in the NFL. When Perry earns the trust of Mahomes, I would expect him to rise into a top 24 fantasy asset. Currently, Perry is being drafted in the fourth round.
#96 – Rashee Rice – Arizona Cardinals
The writing seems to be on the wall in Arizona – DeAndre Hopkins is on the way out. The current group of wide receivers is small, with Hollywood Brown being the biggest at 5’9″. Rice has good size, good speed, and good ball skills. Is he Hopkins? No. But he doesn’t have to be. Rice has consistently been a second-round pick in rookie drafts.
#209 – Andrei Iosivas – New York Giants
The Giants are gathering a lot of assets at the wide receiver position and looking to let it shake out in training camp. With no clear alpha at the position, Iosivas has an opportunity to push for playing time early. In this scenario, he is likely battling with Isaiah Hodgkins for an outside receiver spot. He will need to put his skills on display and develop rapport with Daniel Jones, but it is possible in this wide receiver room. Iosivas is a late-round rookie pick you are drafting based on a weak depth chart in front of him.
TIGHT END WINNERS
#33 – Dalton Kincaid – Texans
The Texans have been mired in a rebuild for a few seasons. Will 2023 see the beginning of the turnaround? The tight end room on Houston is pretty thin. Kincaid has settled in as the TE1/2, depending on how you feel about Michael Mayer. My current approach to the tight end position is to let someone else draft them and trade for one that is already good. I expect Kincaid to be drafted in the early second round of rookie drafts.
What do you think of those landing spots? Landing spots do matter, but let Clyde Edwards-Helaire be a cautionary tale. Talent is still important and will usually find its way onto the field.
The NFL Draft is April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri. Tune into the Dynasty Nerds YouTube channel in for live draft commentary Thursday and Friday hosted by Dan Toomey and Tim Martens.