As the NFL season approaches, fantasy football is upon us. We at PFN have been researching more than 350 players, trying to identify which ones are overrated, underrated, and priced right. With that in mind, here are Atlanta Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson’s fantasy projections for 2023, as well as insights into whether he should be drafted at or before his ADP.
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Cordarrelle Patterson’s 2023 Fantasy Projection
Each NFL career is unique. Patterson’s is perhaps more unique than most.
After operating primarily as a successful kick returner for four teams in his first eight seasons, the 30-year-old former first-round draft pick led his new team — the Falcons — in carries, rushing yards, and rushing scores. He was also No. 2 in the league among RBs with 548 receiving yards and was one of only seven backs to eclipse 10 total touchdowns.
How does an RB who’s perennially buried on offensive depth charts become the overall RB9 in fantasy in his ninth professional campaign?
Well, it was a perfect storm of production, spurred by the failed Todd Gurley experiment from the year before and reflecting the circumstances of a 4-12 team that understood its impending dramatic rebuild would require more than an RB upgrade.
Patterson would help hold the line while the rest of the team beefed up. And when the time came — when this franchise once again was prepared to compete for a spot in the postseason — then they would select their RB of the future.
Fast-forward two years, and it’s hard to recognize the team that Patterson joined at the start of 2021. And the interesting thing is, the veteran is still cooking. He averaged an impressive 4.8 yards per carry last season on a career-high 11.1 attempts per game, despite facing healthy competition from fifth-round rookie Tyler Allgeier and the quite capable Caleb Huntley.
Patterson had to step up his game, and he did. Inexplicably, he was more of an afterthought in the passing game, which undercut his fantasy production. Still, he didn’t look 31 years old.
Now, the time has come. The Falcons are firmly in divisional title contention in the relatively weak NFC South. They’ve endured five consecutive losing seasons. Yet they won seven games in four of those campaigns. They’re so close to forcing the league to take notice.
And their biggest addition this offseason — and the one with the biggest impact on Patterson’s precarious fantasy value — is presumptive No. 1 rookie RB Bijan Robinson. He’s the one Atlanta has been waiting for all these years since Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman anchored a championship-caliber backfield.
Robinson will get all he can handle this season. Allgeier should remain at least moderately involved as the No. 2 RB. Huntley looms as a fallback option.
Where does this leave Patterson? Assuredly, nearing the end of one of the most fascinating RB careers in recent memory. No doubt, he can still get it done. But the Falcons no longer need him. This isn’t a backfield-by-committee. It’s Robinson’s, and Allgeier proves he belongs in the handcuff role.
At best, Patterson might revert to a gadget role where he catches one or two passes per week and possibly assists with one or two carries. He’s a versatile body to throw at defenses.
This all adds up to about 100-150 rushing yards and, at best, 200-250 receiving yards. Both yardage totals could decline significantly, especially if the team recommits to Patterson on kick returns, where he played more sparingly last season behind Avery Williams. It should be noted that Patterson comfortably outperformed Williams on kickoff returns in 2022.
But that won’t help fantasy managers who, after essentially ignoring Patterson for eight years, were forced to jump on the bandwagon while he led this backfield. Heading into 2023, it’s time to jump off completely.
Should You Draft Cordarrelle Patterson This Year?
Underdog Fantasy currently lists Patterson with an ADP of RB63, which is a reasonable spot for a guy who probably won’t be higher than No. 3 on the depth chart. Historically, this is where many deep-league fliers reside. Last year, Jeff Wilson Jr. was the preseason RB67, while Samaje Perine was the RB90. There’s value to be had if you land a potential handcuff.
Still, that’s not likely the case with Patterson, whose ceiling tops out around the top 55-60. There’s almost no pop to his game in a backfield that includes Robinson and Allgeier.
There’s very little enticing about Patterson’s 2023 fantasy projections because his path to relevance is as clogged as ever. He’s not an advisable investment at his current price.
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