Top Of The Heap
2023 Fantasy Football Preview: WR/TE Rankings, Risers, Fallers, Sleepers
Ten years ago, you’d never think of drafting a wide receiver No. 1 overall or a tight end in the top 10.
Fast forward to 2023. For many fantasy football owners, the No. 1 overall pick is a choice between several wide receivers and one tight end warrants top-five discussion.
My, how the game has changed.
The third and final segment of the Inside The Birds 2023 Fantasy Football Preview series previews wide receivers and tight ends, with top-five rankings, risers, fallers, and sleepers.
TOP FIVE WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
With his size, length, and route-running precision, Jefferson has all the tools to be the NFL’s most productive receiver for the next decade if he avoids injuries. He’s No. 1 for a good reason.
The league’s most explosive weapon is a target monster, receptions monster, and big-play machine has showed no signs of slowing down in Miami. Would help if he found the end zone a little more, but that can be overlooked for all the other attributes.
His YPC dropped by six yards in Year 2 – something to watch, but probably just an early outlier for the Bengals’ top pass catcher. Chase is a beast and has one of the NFL’s best QBs to keep feeding him. There’s even room to grow.
The All Pro TE ages in fantasy football years like fine wine. He saw his most targets, most touchdowns, and second-most receiving yards last year at 33. A slight drop-off in production would still make him a top-5 fantasy stud as long as he’s still the Chiefs’ top target.
One of the league’s top route-runners, Diggs last year recorded his second-highest yards-per-game average last year (89.3), second-most receptions (103), and most receiving TDs (11) – and all the Bills did was draft a tight end. Get yourself a wide receiver who’s the apple of the eye of an elite QB like Josh Allen. There aren’t that many.
ON THE RISE
The rookie from Ohio State caught 83 balls for 1,102 yards with very little QB talent around him. Imagine what he’ll do with Aaron Rodgers pulling the trigger and an improved offensive line? Could absolutely break into the top 10, maybe even better.
The Steelers improved their offensive line this offseason and saw Kenny Pickett progress this summer. That should spell a breakout season for Pickens, who has ridiculous athletic traits and some of the best hands you’ll see. Can easily go over 1,000 yards and post double-digit touchdowns if he continues to develop his rapport with Pickett.
Rookie QBs like throwing to tight ends, and Schultz should be a preferred target for C.J. Stroud. Schultz was a reliable target for Dak Prescott for years and signed a one-year prove-it deal, so look for him to ball out.
A top-10 wideout entering 2022, Williams – once again – missed time with injuries, watched his average per catch drop by almost a full yard, caught just four touchdowns, and watched his team draft Quentin Johnson in the first round. I’ve got more faith in Josh Palmer emerging and Keenan Allen rebounding than Williams becoming a top-10 wideout again.
The Jags’ addition of Calvin Ridley pushes Engram lower in Jacksonville’s pecking order, behind Ridley and Christian Kirk. The Jags also have some good pass-catching RBs to steal a few receptions.
He’s about to become the Chiefs’ top wide receiver and No. 2 option behind Travis Kelce, yet he’s not being drafted in the top 20 for wide receivers. Watch him make a big jump in 2023.
Moore will finally get an opportunity to play alongside an above-average quarterback, and should be the Browns’ second receiving option behind Amari Cooper, who tends to have feast-or-famine games. Moore can be a consistent volume receiver for the Browns.
The Raiders don’t have too many weapons outside of Davante Adams, so look for Jimmy Garoppolo to get the rookie, second-round tight end involved early as a receiving weapon. Garopollo had no problems getting the ball to George Kittle in San Fran.
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
Watch Part 3 of ITB’s 2023 Fantasy Football Preview Series featuring Adam Caplan, Geoff Mosher and Andrew DiCecco: