🤯 3 BOLD Fantasy Predictions

A WR, RB, and QB...

Pres by FL Shop

In today's Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by the Fantasy Life Shop:

  • 3 players about to explode in 2023

  • Tight Ends with Massive Target Upside: A couple of AFC North guys

  • A couple of deep RB sleepers

  • Jonathan Drafts from the 1.10

  • It’s 9/3. Take it away, Peter Overzet…

Sure, I could write about the play-by-play developments with Cooper Kupp’s hamstring injury and why he’s an incredible value anytime he slips into Round 2, but I think it would be a lot more fun to share three bold predictions for the 2023 fantasy season.

As Ciara’s husband once said, let’s ride…

🤯 Garrett Wilson finishes as THE WR1

That’s right. I didn’t say *a* WR1, I said the WR1. These are bold takes, after all.

The spicy part of this prediction is the part where he finishes ahead of Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase—the locked and loaded No. 1 and No. 2 picks in any draft with competitive managers.

The more realistic part of this prediction is how low-key easy it is to poke holes in the other WRs going ahead of him.

We already mentioned Kupp’s injury woes, Tyreek Hill has to compete with a bonafide star for targets, and WRs like A.J. Brown and Stefon Diggs face a myriad of risk vectors on offenses with the luxury of attacking you any way they please.


It’s why I had no problem selecting Wilson at the 1.03 slot in my 149th BBM4 draft with Cooterdoodle when she floated the idea.

The path to an elite season for Wilson is actually fairly obvious on the surface:

The stars are aligning for a massive Wilson year…and it’s like no one cares (except for the sharps gobbling him up in the second round of every draft).

🤯 D’Andre Swift finishes as a Top 10 RB

Here’s a fun thought experiment for you:

If Miles Sanders were still in Philadelphia, where would he be going in drafts?

Third round? Fourth round at the latest. Surely ahead of Najee Harris, right?

Well, let’s head back to reality. Sanders is in Carolina and the team back-filled him with a more explosive, dynamic back who is currently (checks notes) going as the RB29 in the (checks notes again) 8th and 9th round of drafts.

ADP Grid

That’s wild.

People will point to Swift’s injury history or the Lions casting him off because of durability concerns as reasons to dismiss him in 2023.

But let’s be objective here. The Eagles are an incredibly sharp franchise that knew exactly what they were getting when they traded for Swift this offseason.

And they are not going to pigeonhole him into touches that don’t play to his strengths. They know he is a playmaker and they appear to have big plans to use him in the passing game.

Swift’s incredible 2023 is going to look so obvious in hindsight.

🤯 Sam Howell revives late-round QB

One of the most dominant 2023 drafting metas is the rise of the Elite QB. After Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields scorched the earth in 2023, fantasy drafters have been scooping up signal callers earlier than ever.

Even clutch-your-rosary-beads-and-pray upside options like Anthony Richardson are going in the first ten rounds.

But for whatever reason, drafters don’t want to acknowledge that second-year Commanders QB Sam Howell (don’t call him a Dwain doppelgänger either; Dwain has much better hair) has all of the necessary ingredients for a breakout year:

  • Sneaky good weaponry in Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel

  • A new offensive coordinator in Eric Bienemy who will bring creativity to the play-calling

  • And perhaps the most important ingredient of all, the ability to run

It’s legitimately hard to find late-round QB options with upside, but if you do hit on one in 2023 the rewards will be massive.

The opportunity cost that comes with taking a QB in Rounds 2 and 3 cannot be overstated. Grab RBs and WRs in the first few rounds instead and let Howell take you to the promised land.


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TE Target Upside

Every year the fantasy community collectively convinces itself that THIS is the season that our favorite late-round TE options will finally hit. Is this year any different?! Who knows, but Ian has a handful of TEs in mind with massive target upside…

Maybe this really is the year!

There are talented rookies set to receive day-one starting jobs across the league, and plenty of productive veterans are also meandering around the mid-tier TE2 ranks.

That said: My favorite late-round TE strategy continues to be … getting one of Fantasy’s consensus top-10 ranked options at the position and avoiding the cheaper options altogether.

While the gap between a mid-tier TE1 and TE2 might have been rather slim last season, 2023 is a new year, and it’s tough to find many (any?) later-round picks with the same combination of talent and fantasy-friendly opportunity that the position’s top-10 players appear to possess.

Of course, there is at least some level of history regarding cheap fantasy TEs emerging as top-six options by the time the season is all said and done. The lowest preseason ADP from an eventual top-six finisher in PPR points per game over the last 10 years:

  • 2018 Jared Cook: TE18

  • 2018 Evan Engram: TE18

  • 2015 Jordan Reed: TE19

  • 2013 Julius Thomas: TE22

  • 2019 Darren Waller: TE25

  • 2016 Kyle Rudolph: TE27

  • 2021 Dalton Schultz: TE33

  • 2015 Gary Barnidge: TE40

  • 2020 Logan Thomas: TE49

  • 2020 Robert Tonyan: TE69

These players all certainly proved to be more talented than the public was giving them credit for, but they also managed to surprise regarding just how featured of a role they possessed from day one.

What follows is a look at which TEs realistically have a chance to rack up bunches of targets at a reasonable ADP.

There is no possible way to score fantasy points in the year 2023 without getting the football first, so if we’re going to dive into the deep end of the position, might as well try to target someone who will have bunches of chances to ball the hell out.

TE Target Upside

The following four TEs possess a target projection north of 75 according to Fantasy Life Projections and are priced outside of the top-100 options in NFFC ADP. They aren’t all guaranteed to hit, but you could imagine what it’d be like if they did.

As always: It’s a great day to be great.

💪 Pat Freiermuth - Steelers

The 24-year-old TE only found the end zone twice in 2022 and neither was thrown by Kenny Pickett; just realize the target distribution in Pickett’s ~11 games under center was certainly in his favor:

  • Diontae Johnson: 92 targets

  • Pat Freiermuth: 67

  • George Pickens: 58

  • Najee Harris: 38

  • Chase Claypool: 27

Hell, Freiermuth had more targets than Pickens in 11 of 15 games together last season. Madness.

With top-seven marks in PFF receiving grade (78.3) and yards per route run (1.68), Freiermuth fits the mold of an ascending young talent inside of a passing offense without too much room to go but up.

I regularly find myself going after Freiermuth or our next TE due to the reality that the tier dropoff afterward is incredibly steep.

💪 David Njoku - Browns

Njoku is in a similar boat as Amari Cooper: Their great 2022 campaigns ended on a bit of a sour note with Deshaun Watson under center.

Overall, Njoku put up the following numbers in five games with Watson under center:

  • Week 14: 7 receptions-59 yards-1 TD (9 targets)

  • Week 15: 3-28-0 (6)

  • Week 16: 2-14-0 (5)

  • Week 17: 1-21-0 (3)

  • Week 18: 4-42-1 (5)

The former and latter performances produced top-six finishes, while Njoku couldn’t crack the position’s top-24 fantasy scorers during the middle three contests. That said, at least Njoku played over 90% of the offense’s snaps in all five games, so there’s no doubting who the Browns’ featured No. 1 TE is these days.

The soon-to-be 27-year-old looked the part of a truly great talent in 2022.

  • PFF receiving grade: 78.7 (No. 6 among 47 qualified TE)

  • Yards per route run: 1.55 (No. 12)

  • Yards per reception: 10.8 (No. 19)

  • Yards after the catch per reception: 5.9 (No. 12)

  • Targets per route run: 0.2 (No. 11)

I mean, look at this catch!

Njoku is an athletically gifted plus-receiving TE with a full-time role: He’s fully deserving of his top-10 treatment at the position.


😅 A unique draft strategy at the RB position. Be bold. Be different.

🚀 Matthew is all in on this intriguing RB. Pay attention.

🔮 Your future Superflex 1.01? Wowzers.

👀 The Lions have big plans for their rookie RB. Can you decipher this?

📈 A deep sleeper RB in Denver. There is legit opportunity here.

🌶️ And another interesting RB name in Washington. Keep tabs on him.

🚑️ When will Jerry Jeudy return? An update here.

Drafting from 1.10

We don’t always get to decide the order of everything in our lives — especially fantasy football draft order. But fear not, the Fantasy Life staff has you covered with an ongoing series covering strategy from every spot in the first round. Today’s draft position: The 1.10 with Jonathan...

Drafting from the 1.10 isn’t an ideal spot, but with a bit of planning, we can take advantage of the current draft landscape to build a strong contender.

As I have written about in other editions of this draft strategy series, it’s important to always be looking ahead a few rounds to understand what positional values you like later in the draft that can help to inform your earlier picks.

Drafting from 1.10

This comes into play primarily in the middle rounds as we aim to fill out our roster around the core of guys we took in the early rounds.

With a long wait and then back-to-back picks in quick succession, understanding the draft board and staying ahead of positional runs is critical.

Be sure to leverage all the ADP tools available on Fantasy Life to familiarize yourself with how drafts are playing out in 2023.

📊 The Early Rounds

Starting from a late draft slot offers an opportunity to take advantage of the fact that wide receivers are being drafted higher than ever.

The other side of that coin is that RBs, who used to go early in the first round, now regularly go in the late first or second round.

Two prime examples of this are Saquon Barkley and Tony Pollard. Both players are locked into workhorse roles on offenses that should at least be above average, if not better.

This dynamic in drafts makes an anchor RB approach a great strategy in my opinion.

ADP Grid

Based on the players usually available in the late-first and early-second round, I like to target a stud WR in round 1 and then grab Pollard on the way back in the second round.

My personal rankings of the WRs I’m targeting at the end of the first round are:

  1. A.J. Brown

  2. Amon-Ra St. Brown

  3. Davante Adams

A.J. Brown is one of the premier receiving talents in the NFL, in the prime of his career, and playing on one of the league's best offenses.

Brown set or tied career highs in most receiving categories last season and has a real chance to top those numbers in 2023.

The Eagles blew out their opponents so frequently last year that they essentially played just three quarters in many contests.

With a more difficult schedule and the potential for a less stingy defense in 2023, Jalen Hurts & Co. may be asked to do a lot more in the fourth quarter which bodes well for his top pass-catcher.

With AJB locked into the WR1 slot for my team, my attention turns to the aforementioned RBs, Barkley and Pollard.

Saquon falls to the early second in plenty of drafts but I view Pollard as in the same tier and he is available at the 2.03 in almost every draft.

Coming back in the late third round, I would love for Calvin Ridley to make it to my pick, but with the preseason buzz he has been getting that seems unlikely.

From looking ahead to the next few rounds I know there are RBs and WRs I like a lot coming up, so I am willing to grab one of the truly elite dual-threat QBs in Lamar Jackson to give myself a legitimate shot at the QB1 at a bit of a discounted price to the Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, and Josh Allen drafters.

Cooterdoodle's Favorite Tweets (Aug 2022)
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