2023 Dynasty Mock Draft: Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, and CeeDee Lamb Lead a WR-Dominated Start to Dynasty Drafts

2023 Dynasty Mock Draft: Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, and CeeDee Lamb Lead a WR-Dominated Start to Dynasty Drafts

While there is no “one size fits all” draft strategy for dynasty fantasy football, having a game plan heading into 2023 dynasty mock drafts is absolutely crucial as we approach an offseason that could completely reshape the value structure for fantasy football. As leagues continue to fill with more and more managers making the leap to dynasty, we go over a potential dynasty fantasy football mock draft before the start of free agency.

2023 Dynasty Mock Draft

For this draft, we will use a 10-team league as an example of strategy on the turn. The format will be PPR (point per reception) scoring, with 1QB, two running backs, two receivers, a tight end, and two flex spots as the starting roster. Also, rookies will not be included in the startup. Depending on your league settings, you might need to tweak your draft strategy to match your scoring format and roster requirements.

1.01) Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

For me, Justin Jefferson is the most valuable player in dynasty and would be my first overall pick. I don’t know what else anyone could need to see. After recording 1,400 yards as a rookie, Jefferson had 1,616 receiving yards in 2021 and topped that with a monstrous 2022 season. Jefferson caught 128 of his league-leading 184 targets for 1,809 yards with nine touchdowns to finish as the WR1 on the season.

For me, it comes down to Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase for the first pick, and while there are questions surrounding how long Kirk Cousins will be around, Jefferson is a transcendent player that will succeed wherever he is and with whoever is throwing him the ball. In this mock draft, Jefferson goes first, but I wouldn’t argue with anyone going for Chase.

1.02) Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Ja’Marr Chase is showing us everything we need to see, and I could’ve said that same thing this time last year. After recording 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns on 128 targets as a rookie, Chase had another great year, albeit one shortened due to injuries.

Despite playing in 12 games, Chase saw six more targets in 2022 (134) than he did last year. He also set a new career best with 87 receptions and cracked the 1,000-yard barrier again with 1,046 yards and nine touchdowns. From a per-game perspective, Chase averaged 7.3 receptions on 11.2 targets for 87.2 yards in 0.8 touchdowns per game as the WR6 in points per game at 18.3 PPR.

There is not much to say about Chase that hasn’t yet been said. He’s the player we all thought he would be during his historic season at LSU, and the chemistry between him and Burrow is unparalleled in this league. While I lean toward Jefferson as my No. 1, the multi-year security of Burrow makes a solid case for Chase as the most valuable player in dynasty.

1.03) CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

For me, dynasty drafts start at the third pick. After the tier 1 receivers are gone, there’s a case to be made for either a running back like Jonathan Taylor or Breece Hall. But for this dynasty mock draft, I’m going with CeeDee Lamb as with my first pick. I want a player who not only has a high upside but will maintain their value the longest.

MORE: 2023 Dynasty Rookie Rankings

Whether you’re competing for a title or rebuilding, Lamb fits any roster construction. He set new career highs in 2022 with 156 targets, 107 receptions, 1,359 yards, and nine touchdowns as the uncontested WR1 for Dallas and finished as the WR7 in points per game (17.7 PPR). With Dak Prescott locked into a multi-year deal, Lamb is as safe of a pick as you could make but carries some of the highest upside you can find in the first round of 2023 dynasty mock drafts.

1.04) Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Who the RB1 is in dynasty is up for debate. If rookies were a part of this dynasty mock draft, it would be Bijan Robinson. I can make a case for Breece Hall as well, if not for his torn ACL. Although he did have a disappointing year due to injury, I’m taking Jonathan Taylor as the first running back off the board in this 2023 dynasty mock draft.

After an RB1 finish with nearly 2,200 total yards and 20 touchdowns last season, Taylor rushed 192 times for 861 yards, caught 23 passes for 143 yards, and finished with four total touchdowns this past season.

He was 18th in points per game, primarily due to injuries either taking him off the field early or the Colts being cautious with his usage. With that said, he’s one of the few three-down workhorses in the NFL and should bounce back in 2023, as there are no questions surrounding his skill set and upside when he’s at full strength.

1.05) Breece Hall, RB, New York Jets

Like many, I wish we could’ve seen a full season from Breece Hall. However, what we did see backed up his RB1 rookie ranking coming into the year. Before his season-ending ACL tear, Hall recorded 463 rushing yards and three touchdowns while adding another 218 yards and a touchdown on 19 of 30 receiving.

His stretch between Weeks 4 through 6 showed his upside, and it really looked as if Hall was going to become a monster for fantasy. Over that stretch, he was the RB5 in total points and seventh in points per game at 21.2 PPR. The hiring of Nathaniel Hackett as the new OC should benefit Hall, but his dynasty value will be based on how quickly he can get back to the running back we saw before his injury.

Given that we have seen running backs sometimes take a year and a half to have complete confidence in their recovery, even if Hall starts off a bit slow in 2023, he should remain an elite asset in dynasty for years to come.

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

Following a shocking draft night trade that sent A.J. Brown to the Eagles, his game went to another level. The WR6 for fantasy, Brown was No. 8 in points per game with 17.6 PPR, accounting for 28.97% of the targets (sixth) and the third-most air yards in the NFL at 40.84%.

After averaging 6.17 receptions on 98.3 targets for 998.3 yards and eight touchdowns in his three years with the Titans, Brown had a career-best season with the Eagles, catching 88 of his 146 targets (eighth) for 1,496 yards (fourth) with 11 touchdowns (second).

Brown is cemented in the top four wide receivers for dynasty and in tier two with Lamb and just behind the tier one group of Jefferson and Chase. Brown is a legitimate No. 1 alpha that is tied to a franchise QB for the next five to six years, with the bulk of that in his prime.

1.07) Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins

The WR8 overall in 2022, Jaylen Waddle avoided the drop in value many feared would happen with Tyreek Hill coming to Miami. The opposite happened, as he went up in value. Waddle fits perfectly in this new offense, capitalizing on space and decimating pursuit angles.

Recording 1,356 yards (seventh), Waddle caught 75 of his 117 targets for a team-high eight touchdowns and finished 13th in points per game at 15.6 PPR. Waddle averaged not only more yards per reception than Hill (18.1 to 14.4), but he also led the team in YAC/rec at 6.9 to Hill’s 4.1 and xYAC/r at 4.4. Additionally, only Hill (3.20) and Jefferson (2.62) finished ahead of Waddle in YPRR in 2022 (2.59).

With three years remaining on his rookie contract, Waddle is a cornerstone player you can build your wide receiver corps around. With that said, he needs Tua Tagoviola to be healthy. Without him (five games), Waddle dropped to just 9.56 PPR on 3.8 of 5.4 receiving for 55.8 yards and 0 TDs. He is unquestionably a WR1 in talent, but to hit his true value, he needs Tua on the field to maximize his upside.

1.08) Christian McCaffrey, RB, San Francisco 49ers

We always wondered what it would look like if Christian McCaffrey went to a better situation. Those questions were answered following the trade that sent him to the San Francisco 49ers. Between Week 7 through 18, McCaffrey averaged 14.5 carries for 67.8 yards with six rushing touchdowns and averaged 4.7 receptions on 5.9 targets for 42.2 yards with four more touchdowns through the air.

He was an RB1 for nine of his 11 games with the 49ers, including five games inside the top four. While we do need to wait and see what the quarterback situation will look like in San Francisco, no running back has a higher ceiling than McCaffrey in dynasty.

1.09) Kenneth Walker III, RB, Seattle Seahawks

RB16 in points per game, Kenneth Walker III took over the Seahawks backfield following the injury to Rashaad Penny and never looked back. Playing in 15 games, the rookie from Michigan State rushed for 1,051 yards on 228 carries and caught 27 passes for 165 yards with nine total touchdowns.

Walker showed both a blend of power and top-end acceleration, as his 22.09 mph 74-yard touchdown in Week 7 was the fastest recorded top speed on a carry last season. With Seattle looking like a team on the rise, Walker is a three-down back that should remain an elite RB1 for at least his rookie contract, possibly longer.

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

Recording the eighth-highest target share at 28.08%, Amon-Ra St. Brown was 11th in points per game at 16.7 PPR and finished as the WR7 overall. He tied A.J. Brown with 146 targets and was one of only seven receivers to record over 100 receptions (106). St. Brown recorded 1,161 yards and six touchdowns and is easily inside the first round of 2023 dynasty mock drafts.

With the Lions projected to upgrade at quarterback in the near future, St. Brown’s upside on a per-target basis should increase even with the improved health of Jameson Williams, who will take the top off of defenses. Given the volume St. Brown has seen in his two short years, he is not only a premier slot receiver but a legitimate No. 1 option.

2023 Dynasty Fantasy Football Mock Draft | Round 2

Which players landed in the second round of our 2023 Dynasty Fantasy Football Mock Draft?

2.01) Garrett Wilson, WR, New York Jets

While it was debated who was the WR1 of the incoming rookie class between Garrett Wilson and Drake London, Wilson had the better season, by far. Accounting for 24.92% of the targets and 31.6% of the air yards in New York, Wilson caught 83 of his 147 targets for 1,096 yards and four touchdowns to finish as the WR21 overall and WR31 in points per game at 12.7 PPR.

The only thing that held back Wilson was the quarterback play, primarily when Zach Wilson was under center. However, even when Joe Flacco or Mike White was in at QB, Wilson was a low-end WR1 for those weeks. If it was up to me, we wouldn’t see Zach Wilson under center again, but I am confident in trusting Garrett Wilson’s development into one of the future alphas in the NFL.

As a first-round pick or an early second-round pick, this will likely be the cheapest Wilson is for quite some time, barring injury.

2.02) Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

The common misconception people want to say is that Tee Higgins is only a WR1 when Chase is not around. That’s ridiculous. Naturally, his stats are better with Chase absent — in the four games they didn’t play together in 2022, Higgins averaged 9.0 targets, 6.5 perceptions, 92.75 yards, 0.5 touchdowns, and 18.77 PPR per game. In the other 26, it’s 7.04 targets, 4.69 receptions, 67.27 yards, 0.42 touchdowns, and 14.1 PPR.

That second set still shows incredible numbers.

MORE: Top Dynasty WR Trade Targets 2023

Just on a per-game basis, Higgins has a near identical per-game split as does CeeDee Lamb, but we value them very differently. Finishing as a top-24 receiver in 56% of his games, Higgins remains a value, as I don’t think his play on the field matches what the cost to acquire him is in dynasty.

2.03) Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints

We’re not giving enough credit to what Chris Olave did in 2022. The 11th overall pick of the draft went to a challenging situation in New Orleans where the quarterback play left a lot to be desired, whether it was Andy Dalton or Jameis Winston under center. But what we saw was fantastic.

Olave caught 72 of his 119 targets for 1,042 yards, and the only thing that held him back was his four touchdowns, as he finished as the WR27 in points per game at 13.2 PPR. However, he was 10th in targets per route run, seventh in open rate, and 10th in yards per route run (YPRR) at 2.42.

Additionally, he had the fifth-highest air yard share at 38.65% and was No. 4 in deep targets with 29. There was even room for improvement as Olave sat fifth in unrealized air yards, but he was one of the most dominant players against man coverage. He had an elite target share even before Mike Thomas’ season ended, and I have no doubt that Olave will be a WR1/high-end WR2 in dynasty for years to come.

2.04) Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

The run on wide receivers in this 2023 dynasty mock draft reflects how I currently view the running back position. Until we get through free agency in the NFL draft, it’s hard for me to have a lot of confidence in the majority of these running backs, including Saquon Barkley, who is a pending free agent.

However, Barkley ran with a chip on his shoulder and looked as close to full strength as we have seen for the last two years. The RB5 in points per game at 17.8 PPR, Barkley rushed 295 times for 1,312 yards with ten touchdowns and caught 57 of his 76 targets for 338 yards.

Given Barkley’s comments that he’s not looking to reset the market, I expect him to be back with the Giants if the sides can work it out. After what we saw from Barkley with an improved Daniel Jones under Brian Daboll at the controls, I have confidence in Barkley being a top-five running back for the next three to four years.

2.05) Travis Etienne Jr., RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

After being injured during the preseason of his rookie year and sitting out the entire first season, Travis Etienne Jr. broke out in Week 5 and seemed to be an explosive threat in every game thereafter. 24th in points per game at 12.1, Etienne rushed for 1,125 yards and five touchdowns on 220 carries, and while he didn’t find the end zone through the air, he caught 35 of his 45 targets for 316 yards in a vastly improved Jacksonville Jaguars offense.

He’s a perfect running back in a Doug Pederson-led offense, and while he’s not the type to get the short area goal-to-go carries, his receiving utilization and age make him one of the highest-valued running backs in dynasty. Throw in the fifth-year option available to the Jaguars and his chemistry with Trevor Lawrence as a receiving option, and Etienne is one of the most valuable players in PPR dynasty formats.

2.06) Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills

As a whole, quarterbacks tend to be devalued a bit too much in 1QB leagues. Especially last season, we saw that not having an elite quarterback is a massive disadvantage. That’s why I don’t have an issue taking Josh Allen in the second round of a dynasty start-up. You’ll have him for as long as you want and won’t have to worry about this position again.

Of course, that’s outside of drafting any high-upside rookie QBs that slip in drafts that you can let develop. That’s what shrewd managers did with Jalen Hurst or will do with someone like Anthony Richardson or Will Levis this season.

Although he didn’t finish as the QB1, Allen backed up his back-to-back 400-point fantasy seasons and scored 389.6 points while averaging 24.4 per game as the QB3.

He threw for 4,062 yards with 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and rushed 117 times for 760 yards and seven touchdowns. There were some moments where the chemistry in Buffalo seemed a bit off, given the change in the coaching staff, but the upside of Allen is exactly what you’re looking for out of a quarterback in dynasty mock drafts.

2.07) Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

When the first quarterback goes, the next one should immediately follow. With Allen off the board, Patrick Mahomes becomes the obvious choice. Mahomes was the QB1 overall and finished third in points per game at 24.6 and led the league with 5,250 yards and 41 touchdowns despite the loss of Tyreek Hill and no receiver outside of Travis Kelce establishing themselves as a go-to target.

Mahomes also added some additional value on the ground, as he finished ninth in rushing yards with 358 with four touchdowns. But his value comes from being a transcendent passer who has the opportunity to go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play. He has yet to finish lower than the QB8 in a season and is arguably the safest player in all dynasty fantasy football leagues.

2.08) Tyreek Hill, WR, Miami Dolphins

This pick in dynasty mock drafts could go so many different ways, as we’re starting to enter a territory for both running backs and wide receivers where there are several questions. However, Tyreek Hill is a unicorn and had an incredible season despite Tua Tagovailoa’s injury-shortened campaign due to concussions and questionable play from Teddy Bridgewater and Skylar Thompson.

Hill was the WR2 overall and WR3 in points per game at 20.4 PPR and caught 119 of his 170 targets for 1,710 yards and seven touchdowns. This was arguably his most impressive season to date, given the circumstances, and while he is 29, he should produce at an elite level for at least the next three seasons.

2.09) Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots

There’s a good chance Rhamondre Stevenson is at the ceiling of his fantasy value. However, it’s hard to ignore what we saw on the field and say it can’t happen again.

Rushing 210 times for 1,040 yards with five touchdowns was not surprising. What was surprising was the fact that Stevenson saw 88 targets, which was the third most among all running backs. He caught 69 of those targets for 421 yards and a touchdown and finished as the RB11 in points per game at 14.7 PPR.

With Damien Harris set to become a free agent and the main competition for touches being Pierre Strong Jr., there’s every chance Stevenson will repeat in 2023, so long as Bill O’Brien doesn’t want to bring in the more traditional passing style back to play as a complement. He showed us he could be a true three-down back, but now we have to hope that the Patriots view him the same way.

2.10) Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons

After one of the best rookie seasons we’ve seen from a tight end, Kyle Pitts was probably the biggest disappointment in fantasy in 2022. Injuries limited him to ten games, but the most significant limiting factor was the Falcons’ offense. Pitts saw just 59 targets last year, catching 28 passes for 356 yards with two touchdowns while averaging 7.6 PPR points per game.

MORE: Top Dynasty QB Trade Targets 2023

There’s nothing positive to take away from his numbers, and there’s a debate to be made that his situation might not change that much unless we see a massive improvement from Desmond Ridder at quarterback. But for me, this is taking the discount on the undeniable ceiling of Pitts, who has slipped from the first round and now falls to the Round 2-Round 3 turn. That type of value is too good for me to pass up in 2023 dynasty mock drafts.

2023 Dynasty Mock Draft | Rounds 3 and 4

3.01) D’Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions
3.02) Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
3.03) Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
3.04) Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
3.05) DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
3.06) Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
3.07) Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills
3.08) D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
3.09) Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos
3.10) Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons

4.01) Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams
4.02) Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
4.03) T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
4.04) Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
4.05) Davante Adams, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
4.06) Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
4.07) Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
4.08) Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
4.09) Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions
4.10) Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals