Dwain McFarland's Top 150 Fantasy Football Rankings for 2023
- Dwain McFarland's Top 150 Fantasy Football Rankings
- Austin Ekeler | RB | Chargers
- Tony Pollard | RB | Cowboys
- Jahmyr Gibbs | RB | Lions
- Christian Watson | WR | Packers
- Travis Etienne | RB | Jaguars
- Kyle Pitts | TE | Falcons
- Treylon Burks | WR | Titans
- Diontae Johnson | WR | Steelers
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba | WR | Seahawks
- Anthony Richardson | QB | Colts
- James Cook | RB | Bills
- Devon Achane | RB | Dolphins
- George Pickens | WR | Steelers
- Rashod Bateman | WR | Ravens
- Isiah Pacheco | RB | Chiefs
- David Montgomery | RB | Lions
- Aaron Rodgers | QB | Jets
- Geno Smith | QB | Seahawks
- Tua Tagovailoa | QB | Dolphins
- Dalton Kincaid | TE | Bills
- Trey Lance | QB | 49ers
- Jonathan Mingo | WR | Panthers
- Rashee Rice | WR | Chiefs
- Jayden Reed | WR | Packers
- Tyjae Spears | RB | Titans
- Marvin Mims | WR | Broncos
With the NFL Draft behind us and best ball season ramping up, it's time to dive into my initial top 150 fantasy football rankings for 0.5 PPR formats like Underdog Fantasy. These top 150 rankings for the 2023 season will help plot a course for the first 12 rounds of drafts.
Additionally, I've highlighted a few players who I have ranked significantly higher or lower than consensus ADP. These are players who are values or fades based on the gap between their respective ranking and Underdog ADP as of this writing.
Dwain McFarland's Top 150 Fantasy Football Rankings
|Overall Rank||Name||Team||Position Rank||UD ADP|
|16||Amon-Ra St. Brown||Lions||WR9||16.6|
|46||Kenneth Walker III||Seahawks||RB16||37.0|
|59||Michael Pittman Jr.||Colts||WR30||57.3|
|110||Brian Robinson Jr.||Commanders||RB35||111.7|
|113||Odell Beckham Jr.||Ravens||WR50||101.0|
Austin Ekeler | RB | Chargers
Yeah, Austin Ekeler will be 28 years old this season, but pick No. 12 feels disrespectful for a RB who's just had back-to-back top-two RB finishes. The Chargers' depth chart behind Ekeler is in a sad state, and Ekeler has the pass-catching chops in a pass-first attack to hold Father Time at bay for another season.
Other than the one-year difference in their age, Christian McCaffrey and Ekeler are almost identical talent profiles.
McCaffrey has 200 more career carries than Ekeler, and his splits with Elijah Mitchell were concerning in 2022. There's no reason Ekeler should be drafted this much later than McCaffrey, who's currently going third overall on Underdog.
Tony Pollard | RB | Cowboys
Tony Pollard offers explosive playmaking ability with a plus profile in the receiving game. Last season, he ripped off a run of 10 or more yards on 16% of his attempts (NFL average is 10.5%), and Pollard's 1.51 yards per route run (YPPR) and 75.7 Pro Football Focus (PFF) receiving grade rivaled those of McCaffrey and Ekeler.
Of course, Jerry Jones might like to bring back Ezekiel Elliott on a team-friendly deal so he can dust off all of that unsold merch and feed it to the Cowboys’ faithful for a pretty penny. But don’t let that discourage you from drafting Pollard. The market has spoken on Zeke, and Jerry doesn’t have to save face anymore.
This is Pollard’s time to shine, and his underlying profile screams No. 1 overall RB upside.
You can take advantage of the discrepancy between Dwain's ranking and Pollard's ADP on Underdog Fantasy and get a 100% deposit match of up to $100 when you sign up for a new account below!
Jahmyr Gibbs | RB | Lions
Okay, so we have a trend developing here. The market is too low on several dual-threat RBs in the first several rounds. The former Alabama RB had NFL teams frothing at the mouth during the draft, which led to the Lions pulling the trigger on Jahmyr Gibbs at the 12th overall pick.
Gibbs’s closest comps in the Fantasy Life Super Model are none other than McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. Even if Gibbs is limited to a part-time role alongside David Montgomery in Year 1, the explosive rookie pass-catcher has a lot of outs.
Christian Watson | WR | Packers
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Christian Watson isn’t likely to score a TD on 2.6% of his routes again. However, we shouldn’t get things twisted. Watson is going way too far behind Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave right now.
Watson’s college profile wasn’t as strong, so he falls a little behind in our Year 2 projection, but he still has great comps after a strong rookie campaign. We've seen 57% of similar rookie WRs produce at least one WR1 or WR2 finish over their following two seasons, and 70% reached one of those career thresholds.
Travis Etienne | RB | Jaguars
Travis Etienne’s role in the passing game never developed as we hoped in 2022. He was given enough opportunity with a 52% route participation, but he never capitalized on it with a sub-RB3 worthy 14% targets per route run (TPRR).
As the lead back on a quality offense, Etienne still has value, but he looks more like an early-down back and shouldn’t be drafted in the same range as some of the dual-threat RB options near his ADP. We could also see rookie Tank Bigsby steal some goal-line carries, as Etienne struggled on those attempts last season.
Kyle Pitts | TE | Falcons
I feel your pain. Kyle Pitts was an absolute bust last season, and many fantasy GMs who drafted Pitts were unable to overcome that wasted early-round selection. However, time heals all wounds, and after reflecting on Pitts’s underlying data profile, he should be on our draft radar again in 2023.
Arthur Smith is a scary risk factor, but Pitts had the No. 1 TPRR (27%) and explosive target rate (45%) out of all TEs with at least 200 routes last year. He's a high-end target earner who can add value in the vertical game and after the catch. It feels like Pitts has just been unlucky to this point, and eventually, things have to turn in his favor. Right? Right?! Right?!?!
Treylon Burks | WR | Titans
Treylon Burks appeared to be on the verge of a breakout towards the end of the 2022 season before a concussion in Week 13 cost him almost three games. Still, his underlying data from last year paints a positive picture for the former first-round WR heading into Year 2.
Despite the team's QB woes, Burks delivered a 21% TPRR and a 1.75 YPRR as a rookie, both of which were WR3-worthy marks. The Titans' QB room is still questionable heading into 2023, but they added Will Levis in the second round to compete with Ryan Tannehill, who was enough to support A.J. Brown in the play-action heavy offense that also fits Burks well.
Diontae Johnson | WR | Steelers
Diontae Johnson led the Steelers with a 25% target share last season, matching his previous career-high target share from 2021, when he was the fantasy WR8. Unfortunately, Johnson scored zero TDs last year, which contributed to his fall to WR32.
The fifth-year WR is a target-earning machine, and we shouldn’t expect that to change overnight, as Johnson is still in the prime of his career. Johnson carries WR2 upside at the price of a WR4, which makes him a bargain.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba | WR | Seahawks
Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the No. 1 rookie WR, but his price tag needs to come down in season-long formats. He'll need to battle proven target-earners in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and since 2011, that has proven to be a tricky situation for rookie WRs to overcome.
We still want exposure to JSN, but he's a better target in Round 7 or 8 rather than his current ADP toward the end of Round 5.
Anthony Richardson | QB | Colts
QBs are going earlier than ever in BBMIV, as the top guys have separated themselves from the pack, and deservedly so. But if you want Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, or Jalen Hurts, you'll need to spend a Round 2 pick, which means that you'll miss out on some of the elite RBs and WRs going in that range.
Justin Fields and Lamar Jackson are a bit more palatable in Rounds 3 and 4, but figuring out how to attack QB without spending premium capital could be a huge advantage in 2023. That's where Anthony Richardson comes in.
Richardson offers the type of rushing potential that gives him top-12 fantasy QB upside, even if he struggles as a passer in Year 1. However, if Richardson were to make strides in the accuracy department, he could have top-six fantasy QB upside even as a rookie.
Draft Richardson now in BBMIV, as his ADP is likely to rise in the coming months.
James Cook | RB | Bills
James Cook struggled to carve out a significant role as a rookie. His 26% share of the rushing attempts and 21% route participation were uninspiring, but at least Cook made it count when he did see the field.
SDD Rush Share
PFF Rush Grade
PFF Rec Grade
The second-year back was known for his receiving prowess in college, making his 26% TPRR and 1.43 YPRR numbers encouraging, as both are elite for a RB. And Cook isn’t just a swing-pass option; his 2.3 average depth of target (aDOT) shows that he can operate as a mismatch against linebackers and safeties beyond the line of scrimmage.
The Bills added Damien Harris, who will compete for early-down snaps, but Cook should have the inside track for passing downs.
Devon Achane | RB | Dolphins
Some fantasy drafters will shy away from Devon Achane due to his lack of size, as he weighed in at just 188 lbs. Given the lack of sub-190 lb. RBs who've put up big fantasy seasons, it's a valid concern.
However, the Texas A&M product is a big play waiting to happen, as Achane's 20% explosive rush rate in college ranked in the 75th percentile and was second-best among the 2023 rookie RB class. Don’t let his size fool you: Achane is not a satellite back. Achane is a tough runner who can attack inside and outside, and he's a perfect fit with Mike McDaniel in Miami, whose RB depth chart lacks top-notch talent.
RBs who scored similarly to Achane in the Rookie Super Model have produced a top-six fantasy finish 32% of the time, and 63% have registered a top-24 fantasy campaign. Achane is another rookie we want to draft now before his ADP creeps upward over the summer.
George Pickens | WR | Steelers
George Pickens is a fun player to watch when he goes into highlight-reel mode, but he struggled to earn targets as a rookie with just a 14% TPRR and registered a sub-WR6 level YPRR at 1.38. That makes Pickens slightly overpriced right now as the 71st player off the board on Underdog.
Overall, Pickens's comps aren't great, as only 14% of rookie WRs like him have gone on to deliver fantasy-relevant production. On the bright side though, one of those guys was DeAndre Hopkins. As of now, I prefer Treylon Burks, Diontae Johnson, and Jordan Addison, over Pickens, and all of them currently have later ADPs.
Rashod Bateman | WR | Ravens
The Ravens' WR room suddenly looks crowded after the additions of Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham. However, Rashod Bateman has flashed glimpses of the high-end talent profile we fell in love with in college. His 23% TPRR and 2.38 YPRR from last year were WR2-worthy, albeit on a small sample.
If you believe in Bateman's ceiling, you can start drafting him TODAY on Underdog Fantasy. Get a 100% deposit match of up to $100 by signing up below!
Isiah Pacheco | RB | Chiefs
Isiah Pacheco had a great rookie season considering that he was a seventh-round selection in the NFL Draft. However, he was limited to early-down work and couldn't garner targets when given the chance. Pacheco's 9% TPRR was lackluster compared to Jerick McKinnon (20%) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (18%).
The Chiefs' second-year back is another player I have ranked lower than ADP. While I'd still like some exposure to Pacheco on a top-flight Kansas City offense, it's hard to pull the trigger on him at his current ADP in Round 6.
David Montgomery | RB | Lions
David Montgomery is an elusive back (23% missed tackles forced in 2022) but struggles to create big plays, and he's only average after contact. Montgomery should carve out early-down work, but Gibbs is likely to get most of the passing-down opportunities. Lack of a receiving role doesn't make Montgomery all that enticing for fantasy purposes, and there's still a chance that he could even be relegated to a pure backup role if Gibbs plays well immediately as a rookie.
Aaron Rodgers | QB | Jets
The supporting cast with the Jets might not be a significant upgrade over what Aaron Rodgers had in Green Bay, but Garrett Wilson has alpha WR1 traits, and we've seen Rodgers make fantasy music in a condensed attack.
The 18-year veteran will be 39 years old at the beginning of the 2023 season, but he can still make all the throws and has an uncanny ability to create big plays off-script. Over the last three seasons, Rodgers has the third-most TDs (14) on scramble drill plays per PFF, which puts him in elite company behind only Mahomes (18) and Allen (18).
Rodgers isn't that far removed from finishing as the fantasy QB6 and QB3 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. That's the kind of elite fantasy upside we want from later-round QBs, especially with all of the early-round QB love in 2023.
Geno Smith | QB | Seahawks
Geno Smith has the weapons to make significant fantasy noise in 2023 with the addition JSN on top of an already-talented duo of Metcalf and Lockett. Smith was the QB7 in fantasy points per game (PPG) last season, yet he's currently being drafted as the QB16 after getting another receiving weapon? That doesn’t make any sense.
Tua Tagovailoa | QB | Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa carries plenty of upside in an explosive offense with big-time playmakers, but there is some risk given his concussion history. Tua is another player I do want some exposure to, but only when he falls past his usual ADP.
Dalton Kincaid | TE | Bills
We don’t often see big seasons from rookie TEs, but Dalton Kincaid scored in the 90th percentile in the Rookie Super Model and landed in a great spot. The Bills don’t have a proven target-earner on the roster behind Stefon Diggs, which leaves the door open for Kincaid to carve out significant snaps as Buffalo's leading receiver from the slot, even as a rookie.
Trey Lance | QB | 49ers
I'm torn on Trey Lance because he might not beat out a healthy Brock Purdy for the starting job. There's a chance that Lance could have a great camp while Purdy isn’t 100% and earn the lead role, but even in that scenario, could Lance hold onto the starting role all season?
The third-year QB is the dual-threat archetype we want to target, but if Lance loses the starting job, and you drafted three QBs on your Lance builds, that's a double whammy. Depending on draft flow and roster construction, Lance is a guy to be selectively aggressive with, your roster portfolio shouldn't be overexposed to him.
Jonathan Mingo | WR | Panthers
Jonathan Mingo’s profile in the Rookie Super Model wasn’t great, but now is the time to draft him if you want exposure. First, Mingo's ADP is likely to continue rising, and we don’t want to miss a good exposure window. Second, the other options at WR in this range of the draft aren’t inspiring. For now, opportunity costs are low, so swing away on Mingo and his second-round NFL Draft capital.
Rashee Rice | WR | Chiefs
Rashee Rice is similar to Mingo in that his overall college profile wasn’t great, but Rice also got second-round NFL Draft capital and landed in a good situation. The Chiefs have a roster full of question marks after Travis Kelce, so while Kadarius Toney is the favorite to be the No. 2 pass-catcher if healthy, there's opportunity for Rice to earn a big role even as a rookie.
Jayden Reed | WR | Packers
Jayden Reed is an afterthought in drafts, but the second-round pick was a target hog at Michigan State. He registered 23%, 24%, and 27% target shares over his final three years there.
The 5’11 WR also proved to be more than a slot option, as Reed operated outside and earned 29% of his targets on 20-plus yard throws in his final two collegiate seasons. Look for Reed to challenge Romeo Doubs for the No. 2 WR role even as a rookie.
Tyjae Spears | RB | Titans
The third-round pick averaged 105 yards per game in his 33 games at Tulane and was efficient against non-Power Five competition. Tyjae Spears's forced missed tackles (0.24) and average yards after contact (4.54) rank above the 80th percentile.
Derrick Henry will be 29 years old this season, and Spears could be the next man up in a run-heavy offense if Henry were to miss time or get traded away.
Marvin Mims | WR | Broncos
Marvin Mims offers the second-best explosive target rate (32%) and aDOT (16.7) in the class. His 4.07 YPRR is the best mark we have seen as a freshman, and he is the only rookie WR in the top-five of the Super Model without first-round draft capital.
Although Mims will need to earn playing time on a depth chart with Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick currently slotted as starters, Sean Payton will attempt to get Russell Wilson back on track by tailoring the offense to unlock the big plays we once saw him make in Seattle.
Mims was a deadly weapon on deep crossers at Oklahoma, which is a route on which Tyler Lockett thrived with Wilson during his time with the Seahawks. It's not unfathomable that Mims could find similar success with Wilson in Denver, even in Year 1.
He makes for an intriguing late-round flier on Underdog Fantasy, where you can double your first deposit of up to $100 when you create a new account. Sign up below and start drafting Mims today!