2023 Dynasty Mock Draft: Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase Are Sure Things

With free agency winding down and many players on new teams, let's take a look at the first few rounds of a 2023 dynasty mock draft.

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now over. While there are still a handful of fantasy-relevant players out there, most of them have signed. The new fantasy football landscape is settling in. That makes it a very good time to conduct another dynasty mock draft.

This mock will be for a 1QB, non-TE premium PPR dynasty startup. For those interested in Superflex, don’t worry, more mocks are coming. For now, you can head on over to our dynasty Superflex rankings.

2023 Dynasty Mock Draft | Round 1

1.01) Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Redraft and dynasty aren’t always aligned. But in 2023, I feel they might be.

While running backs’ time at the top is often limited, we’ve seen the truly elite receivers maintain top-five status for several years in a row.

Justin Jefferson averaged 22.6 fantasy points per game last season, finishing as the overall WR1. He has both the highest floor and highest ceiling and is my choice for the first overall pick in dynasty startup drafts.

1.02) Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Right up there with Jefferson is Ja’Marr Chase. At 23 years old, Chase hasn’t even reached his final form yet. He just averaged 20 ppg, and he’s tethered to Joe Burrow for almost certainly the duration of his relevant career. If you want to go Chase over Jefferson, I wouldn’t fault you.

1.03) Rookie 1.01

Yeah, I said it. While I firmly believe in building dynasty rosters around wide receivers, after Jefferson and Chase, the rest of the elite wideouts are in their late 20s or early 30s. The rookie 1.01 is never a pick — it’s a player. We know who it is. It’s Bijan Robinson.

MORE: 2023 Dynasty Rookie Rankings 

In a rookie class with literally no sure things, Robinson is a sure thing. He’s the best running back prospect since Saquon Barkley. He’s the only running back in this class destined for a three-down role. At 21 years old, he’s my overall RB1 in dynasty.

1.04) CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Back to building around wide receivers. There are certainly elite running backs worthy of going in this spot. And CeeDee Lamb is not the best wide receiver available. He is the best combination of age and production, though.

At 24 years old, Lamb is going to be a WR1 for the next half-decade. He’s tethered to a top-10 quarterback in Dak Prescott on one of the best offenses in football. He also is the clear target leader, coming off a season where he saw a 28.7% target share.

Lamb may not give you the best production this season, but he gets the edge due to his age.

1.05) Christian McCaffrey, RB, San Francisco 49ers

It’s dangerous taking a 27-year-old running back with a checkered injury history this early in a dynasty draft. But Christian McCaffrey is the surest thing in fantasy at the running back position when healthy.

As we saw last season, we can’t predict injury. Of course, McCaffrey is probably going to miss games. But given his skill set, he can remain an elite running back for 2-3 more years, and then continue to be moderately effective in his age-30/31 seasons.

McCaffrey averaged 22.2 ppg with the San Francisco 49ers against 19.7 with the Carolina Panthers. He was the overall RB2 last year. There’s plenty left in the tank.

1.06) Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Jonathan Taylor averaged 13.3 ppg as one of the biggest first-overall pick busts in fantasy history last season. But he’s too talented, has too good of a role, and is too young to pass up here.

At 24 years old and just a year removed from an overall RB1 season, there’s no reason to think Taylor can’t bounce back. His offensive situation will get better with a rookie quarterback and a new coaching staff.

1.07) Tyreek Hill, WR, Miami Dolphins

Many dynasty managers preach “youth, youth, youth” when it comes to startups. I’m not one of those guys. I want elite production.

At 29 years old, Tyreek Hill has shown no signs of slowing down. The age at which wide receivers typically fall off is 32.

Hill averaged 21.4 ppg last season, just 0.5 ppg short of the best season of his career. He was the overall WR2. I will gladly take three years of that over 5+ years of a younger, less productive player.

1.08) Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

Hill started the run of what will be a series of older but still elite players. Austin Ekeler is going to be 28 years old this season. He also hasn’t shown a single sign of decline.

Similar to McCaffrey, Ekeler’s skill set is one that ages well. He’s tethered to Justin Herbert and just got an offensive coordinator upgrade in Kellen Moore. Give me 2-3 more seasons of elite RB1 production over younger but less talented players.

1.09) Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills

There’s not much of a difference between Hill and Stefon Diggs. The thesis is exactly the same — Hill is just a little bit better of a player.

Diggs is also 29 years old, but he’s shown no signs of decline. He also has a skill set that should enable him to play well into his early 30s.

He averaged 18.6 ppg in 2022 and remains the WR1 for the second-best quarterback in football. No need to overthink it. Diggs is a sure thing.

1.10) Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

We’re going to see the elite quarterbacks come off the board earlier in redraft this season. In dynasty, there’s even more incentive to lock up a guy like Patrick Mahomes.

While the opportunity cost of taking a quarterback is a wide receiver or a running back, once you get someone like Mahomes, you never have to think about it again. That’s over a decade of the quarterback position not being a concern.

What’s more likely? You find WR1s or RB1s over the next 3-5 years, or you find an every-year guaranteed top-five quarterback? Mahomes has never averaged lower than 20.7 ppg and never finished lower than QB6.

1.11) Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen has been the best quarterback in fantasy over the past three seasons. His 24.3 ppg was good for a QB3 finish, but make no mistake about it: Allen’s combination of prolific passing and power running gives him upside like no quarterback we’ve ever seen.

The process behind taking Mahomes applies here. Take whichever guy you prefer. It’s splitting hairs. Either way, your quarterback position is solved for many, many years.

1.12) Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets

I’m not entirely sure Breece Hall wouldn’t be the dynasty RB1 if he stayed healthy. He was going to finish as a top-12 running back on a bad Jets offense en route to winning Offensive Rookie of the Year.

MORE: Dynasty Rankings 2023 — Top Fantasy Options at Running Back

Hall may be a middling RB2 in 2023 as he works his way back from a torn ACL, but at 22 years old, I fully trust in his body’s ability to heal itself back to 100% by 2024. At that point, you’ll have a 23-year-old elite RB1.

2023 Dynasty Mock Draft | Round 2

2.01) Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Cooper Kupp is easily the most challenging player to figure out for dynasty. He’ll be 30 years old this season and coming off a serious ankle injury. I’m also concerned about how reliant he is on quality quarterback play.

The theory behind Kupp is simple. If he’s healthy and Matthew Stafford is healthy (and not retiring), Kupp is the best wide receiver in fantasy. He averaged 22.4 ppg in his nine games last season, which included a game without Stafford, where he scored 2.9 points before getting hurt.

If you could guarantee me three more years of Kupp with Stafford, I’d have Kupp in the middle of the first round.

2.02) Davante Adams, WR, Las Vegas Raiders

After what Davante Adams did against the San Francisco 49ers’ elite defense with Jarrett Stidham, I’m confident in calling him QB-proof.

Going from Derek Carr to Jimmy Garoppolo is a lateral move. Adams will be just fine.

Last year, he finished as the overall WR3, averaging 20.2 ppg. He may be 30 years old but has shown exactly zero signs of decline. I think he’s got at least two more elite seasons in him.

I’m sure some people are wondering where A.J. Brown is. Well, I’d rather have 2-3 years of 20 ppg from Adams over 4-5 years of 16-18 ppg from Brown.

2.03) Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

Last season, Saquon Barkley averaged 17.8 ppg. He finished as the overall RB2. He was the worst-scoring overall RB2 in the history of fantasy football. (Okay, I actually only checked back to 2000, but did anything really exist before 2000?)

Nevertheless, Barkley’s explosiveness returned last season, and the Giants’ offense is improving. At 26 years old, Barkley should remain an RB1 for 3-4 more years. You don’t need to think beyond that anyway.

2.04) Travis Etienne Jr., RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Don’t let the 12.3 ppg fool you, Travis Etienne Jr. was a monster in his first full NFL season. Etienne recorded four weeks with RB1 finishes, and he was used as a three-down back in every game from Week 7 onward.

Trevor Lawrence is on his way to becoming an elite quarterback. The Jaguars’ offense is still improving. At just 24 years old, Etienne should be an RB1 for the next half-decade. Sign me up.

2.05) Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions

Entering the 2022 season, the consensus wasn’t sure whether Amon-Ra St. Brown was for real. Was his scorching close to his rookie season due to his talent? Or was it a product of everyone else falling apart around him?

Being the only game in town helped, but 2022 proved St. Brown is an elite talent. He looks like Cooper Kupp lite. Jared Goff may very well be the Lions’ answer at quarterback. He’s better than he gets credit for and certainly capable of sustaining St. Brown’s production.

I’m not sure why anyone would prefer A.J. Brown or Jaylen Waddle to St. Brown. The Lions receiver is two years younger than Brown with similar production and a year younger than Waddle with better production. If you wanted to prioritize St. Brown’s youth over the older, more productive wide receivers, banking on ARSB ascending to that level this season or next, I wouldn’t blame you in the slightest.

2.06) Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints

I am all in. All in! Chris Olave has become my dude, and I fully believe in him ascending to the ranks of the elite within the next two seasons.

This easily could’ve been Garrett Wilson, but I give the edge to Olave because the Saints have their quarterback situation figured out. Even if the Jets get two years out of Aaron Rodgers, they have no plan beyond that. Plus, I’m not sure Wilson with Rodgers is better than Olave with Carr.

Olave averaged 13.2 ppg and produced a 1,000-yard season with Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston at quarterback. Carr has proven capable of producing an elite WR1. It’s only a matter of time before Olave gets there.

2.07) Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets

Why yes, I will gladly take another 23-year-old wide receiver who has already proven to be an incredible talent.

Garrett Wilson averaged 12.7 ppg last season, but he averaged 17.3 ppg with quarterbacks not named Zach Wilson. Essentially, give Wilson anyone with a different last name than him, and he’ll be a WR1.

2.08) Kenneth Walker III, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Admittedly, this may be a bit low for Kenneth Walker III. He’s 22 years old and appears locked into a starting role for the foreseeable future.

My concern with Walker is I’m just not sure how good he is. Walker averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season but was relatively inefficient. His average was bolstered by a bunch of splash plays. Walker was third in the league with 17 runs of 15+ yards.

His 7.2% target share is not helping raise his floor, either. Basically, he relies on yards and touchdowns.

I’m not saying Walker is bad — far from it — more that his ceiling is lower than I think most are giving him credit for.

2.09) Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

The only reason Jalen Hurts is lagging a bit behind Mahomes and Allen is because they’re more established. That’s it.

It would not surprise me in the least if at this point next year, Hurts is right there with them as the big three of dynasty.

Hurts was the overall QB1 last season, averaging 26.8 ppg. He was always an elite rusher, but his massive leap forward as a passer truly elevated him to new heights. We have every reason to believe this is sustainable. One more year of it, and any concerns about Hurts not being a truly elite quarterback will be firmly put to bed.

2.10) A.J. Brown, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Okay, fine. It’s time to draft A.J. Brown. Can you tell I’m not really enamored with him as a fantasy asset?

I like Brown. Don’t get me wrong. He’s just not as good as the elite guys, and I don’t think he will ever get there. How much better can Brown do than a 29% target share and 11 touchdowns? Yet, he only averaged 17.6 ppg.

I’m not trying got say 17.6 ppg isn’t really good. It is. But I don’t see 20 ppg in Brown’s realistic range of outcomes — at least not consistently. He may get there for a season, maybe two, but he won’t be there every season like Jefferson, Hill, and Adams.

At 26 years old and tethered to Hurts, I’d love to have Brown. The price just has to be right.

2.11) Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

I get the concerns. He’s 34 years old. How much longer can this keep going? But we’ve seen elite tight ends play at a high level into their mid-30s.

Even if Travis Kelce only has two years left, is that not worth a top-24 dynasty pick?

MORE: Dynasty Rankings 2023 — Top Fantasy Options at Tight End

Kelce is a cheat code at the tight end position. Sure, his snap share may be declining, but his production isn’t.

The Chiefs don’t have a wide receiver of consequence on the roster. Kelce is once again going to lead this team in targets. He’s an elite WR1 eligible at tight end and the biggest edge in fantasy football. I will take two more years of that and chase a championship right out of the gate.

2.12) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins

The reason I waited so long to say Jaylen Waddle’s name is the production. I feel like the entirety of his lofty dynasty value stems from his age.

Waddle is just 24 years old. He has a lot of football ahead of him. He’s also the clear WR2 on his team, and that likely won’t change for another 2-3 years.

Waddle averaged 15.4 and 15.2 ppg in his first two seasons. How much better is that going to get while Hill is still around? My answer: not much.

Perhaps Waddle has 18 ppg upside. But I’m not sure he does. And if he does, I don’t think he can reach it absent an outlier touchdown total or Hill falling off. And I don’t think Hill falls off until at least 2026.

This is where Waddle has to go, but I’m not taking him over older, more productive players.

Round 3

3.01) Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
3.02) DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
3.03) Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
3.04) Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
3.05) DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
3.06) Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys
3.07) Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
3.08) Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
3.09) Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots
3.10) Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
3.11) Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
3.12) Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Round 4

4.01) Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos
4.02) Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
4.03) Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons
4.04) Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
4.05) Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
4.06) Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears
4.07) Rookie 1.02
4.08) Rookie 1.03
4.09) Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
4.10) Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4.11) Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
4.12) Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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