After every NFL Draft, there comes a time to analyze the moves and see who is affected by the three-day flurry of transactions. Regardless, every position is impacted by the draft. The guys most at risk of being hurt by a new draft pick are the veterans. They’re older, more run-down, and vastly more expensive. Teams can choose to go with a young, cheap, faster rookie and cut or decrease the usage of the veteran wide receiver. This happens constantly; look at the Steelers, who trade/cut wide receivers every year after drafting a new rookie. However, sometimes veteran wide receivers survive the draft or find themselves in an even better position because of the picks that were made. Let’s look at the winners and losers of the veteran wide receivers following the exciting 2023 NFL Draft.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET
St. Brown is a winner because the Lions didn’t add a big-name receiver, and Jameson Williams is suspended for six games. St.Brown does amazing when he sees a ton of targets. He’s a classic target hog that will put up 120+ yards consistently. With him being now the only clear-cut NFL wide receiver on the Lions roster, he will soak up a lot of Jared Goff’s passes. Even once Williams returns, St. Brown should still see plenty of targets. His dynasty stock just got higher with the lack of competition and the apparent belief that the Lions are devoting a ton of targets to him.
Stefon Diggs, BUF
Diggs is a winner because he now has help in the receiving game. He isn’t going to be forced to do everything or constantly see double coverage. Dalton Kincaid may be a tight end, but he’s more of the Travis Kelce type. A big-slot wide receiver that is a mismatch. This will lead to plenty of teams adjusting their defense to cover him. That will help Diggs see higher-quality targets from Josh Allen. It will help the coverages he faces too. Diggs is still an elite wide receiver, but the quality of targets he sees will be much better now than last year.
Michael Gallup, DAL
Gallup is a winner because he’s another year removed from his ACL tear, and the Cowboys didn’t add a wideout through the draft. He’s set up as the WR3 in the Cowboys’ pass-heavy attack. Brandin Cooks and CeeDee Lamb will take plenty of coverages off of Gallup. He’ll see free releases and plenty off soft coverages to rip apart. While his dynasty ceiling and upside are still limited, there’s at least a decent chance he can put up WR3 numbers this year. That’s way better than if the Cowboys had added a pass-catching skill player.
Treylon Burks, TEN
Burks is a winner at the wide receiver position because the Titans didn’t draft a wide receiver. They got a big-arm quarterback with plenty of touch for those deep balls. Plus, Burks is the established WR1 now. The Titans may not throw a ton this year, but when they do throw, they’ll be targeting Burks quite a bit. That’s good news for his fantasy owners, as his stock should rebound quite well from the severe beating it took last year. Burks owners have to be happy that Tennessee didn’t draft a receiver. There were hardly any veteran wide receivers that are true winners. However, Burks classifies enough as one if you ignore he’s only played one year in the league.
Honorable Mentions: Gabriel Davis, DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Pittman
Rashod Bateman, BAL
Bateman is the biggest veteran loser in fantasy football at the wide receiver position. Not only did Baltimore add Odell Beckham Jr. recently, but they drafted Zay Flowers in the first round. Combine that with the prior wide receiver talent, Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely, and Lamar Jackson at quarterback, and Bateman lost a ton of stock. He is no longer the WR1. He isn’t even the WR2. He’s now, at best, a fourth option on a rushing-oriented team. That’s not ideal for a guy who was a first-round pick just a couple of years ago. You’re stuck with him if you still have him on your roster. Once he has a great game, sell him for all you can. Baltimore has made it clear that Bateman is not in their future plans.
Josh Palmer, LAC
The Chargers still have Mike Williams and Keenan Allen for at least one more year. Due to cap numbers, those two will likely be gone in a year. Josh Palmer was all set up to be one of the next good long-term Chargers wideouts. Then, the team drafted Quentin Johnston in the first round. Palmer is the WR4 who will be entering his third season on the team without a true role.
Los Angeles has their wideouts for this year. Palmer will see playing time, but he isn’t going to be close to the WR3 he was last year. Palmer now has to fight Johnston, Derius Davis, Jalin Guyton, and others for targets. He’s a talented wide receiver. He just no longer has that nice floor or ceiling with the Chargers. The best hope is to hold him for injury insurance, and in the unlikelihood he gets bumped up to WR2 in 2024. Palmer still has a dash of a dynasty future, but it’s closing.
Darnell Mooney, CHI
Mooney is an excellent wide receiver in a bad spot. The current regime didn’t bring him in. They’ve decided they want different wide receivers for Justin Fields. They traded for DJ Moore, signed multiple backup-caliber receivers, and drafted Tyler Scott. Scott plays the receiver position, eerily similar to Mooney. Plus, the Bears are not a pass-first team. With all those receivers and two strong tight ends to feed, Mooney’s once large target share is dwindling fast. The writing is on the wall in Chicago. Mooney isn’t long for the Bears. Try not to sell him until he has a couple of big games or hold in hopes he’s traded or reaches free agency soon. Still, Mooney is not a viable WR2/3 in Chicago anymore.
Courtland Sutton, DEN
Sutton signed that big-money deal, so it was assumed his future was safe. Then Russell Wilson had a horrible season, a new coaching staff came in, and they drafted Marvin Mims with their first selection in the draft. Sutton is not long for Denver. That might be a good thing long-term, but it’s completely tanked his value for now. He’s stuck in Denver for at most a year with no certainty of playing time or targets. The Broncos have a ton of weapons, like Jerry Jeudy, Mims, Greg Dulcich, Tim Patrick, and more. Denver can easily bench Sutton or ignore him until they can release/trade him. The added competition also drops Sutton’s upside for any amount of targets he could get due to another mouth to feed. It was a bad weekend for Courtland Sutton dynasty owners.
Honorable Mentions: Donovan Peoples-Jones, KJ Osborn, Tyler Lockett, Elijah Moore
That’s it for the veteran wide receivers. Be sure to check the winners and losers of the other positions on the Dynasty Nerds website for both the veterans and rookies!
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