DeVonta Smith Fantasy Outlook: One of the NFL’s Top Young WRs in the Philadelphia Eagles’ Top-Heavy WR Corps

    Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith is part of one of fantasy's top WR duos, and he's still getting better. What is his fantasy outlook in 2023?

    At PFN, we’ve researched more than 350 fantasy football players, trying to identify which ones are overrated, underrated, and priced right. With that in mind, here is Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith’s fantasy outlook for 2023.

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    DeVonta Smith’s 2023 Fantasy Outlook

    Two years ago, Smith was a 23-year-old rookie partnering with 24-year-old Jalen Hurts, who had only four career starts under his belt. Entering 2023, it’s safe to say that few QB-WR tandems are more potent.

    As the No. 10 overall draft pick in 2021, Smith was selected as part of a massive rebuild after a 4-11-1 season. In that previous year, the team’s top three wideouts were Greg Ward, Travis Fulgham, and Jalen Reagor. Needless to say, this franchise was overdue for upgrades.

    So in 2021, Smith and Hurts developed in tandem and quickly built a meaningful rapport. The rookie walked out of that season with a strong 64-916-5 receiving line, while Reagor, Ward, and Quez Watkins operated as distant secondary options.

    And when the Eagles acquired A.J. Brown last offseason, some believed Smith’s ceiling would be capped. No longer the clear alpha in this budding attack, Smith would have to compete for scant targets alongside Brown and the underrated Dallas Goedert.

    But that’s not how it worked out. Brown proved to be a boon to Hurts without negatively impacting Smith, who catapulted into the near-elite conversation with a 95-1,196-7 receiving line, making him fantasy’s overall WR9. That’s quite a leap and all the more remarkable given Brown’s positioning as the overall WR6.

    One might point out that Goedert missed five contests and that his absence must have helped Smith take on more work and net more production. Yet ironically, that’s not really what happened.

    Smith averaged only half of a target more and 1.2 fantasy points more per game with Goedert out. Helpful? Sure. But not a recipe for dominance.

    Smith thrived despite dropping four times more passes in 2022 vs. 2021, in large part because his catch rate jumped more than eight percentage points to a commendable 69.9%, while his yards after the catch ballooned to an elite 490, more than double the previous season.

    Simply put, he looked a lot more comfortable in a much-improved offense that often proved uncoverable for defenses. The “make Watkins/Ward/Reagor beat us” strategy from 2021 no longer applied with Brown on the field. Smith capitalized, becoming one of the league’s top receivers vs. man coverage.

    Betting big on Smith in 2023 means believing he’s still improving. It also means believing Hurts is still improving. Given their steep inclines from 2021 to 2022, another jump for both in 2023 is entirely realistic.

    Since the 2002 season, there’s been a 14% chance that a team will field two top-10 fantasy WRs. As noted above, the Eagles achieved this feat last year, and they can certainly achieve it again.

    This remains an ascending, locked-in, and top-heavy passing attack. Watkins is the distant No. 3 WR. Hurts’ gaze will still be centered on Smith, Brown, and Goedert.

    The only notable risk lies with Smith’s ceiling. He can’t get that much better than he’s already shown. Could he hit 110-1,400-10? Absolutely. That’s around what CeeDee Lamb did last season, and he averaged roughly 2.8 more fantasy points per game than Smith.

    So if you’re drafting Smith, understand that his floor is huge, and his ceiling is huge. If you’re selecting him with 10 other WRs already off the board, then congratulations on snagging him at the perfect time. If you get him with only seven other WRs off the board, then you’re getting him near his ceiling.

    Yes, there’s still room for him to get those 2-3 more points per game. But the key here is that his shot at eliteness is minimal at best.

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