Here is a list of players who are being either overrated or underrated in current fantasy drafts.
Most fantasy managers remember Watson’s incredible end to the 2022 season, and are hoping he builds off of this finish to become an elite fantasy WR 2023. However, I am not as optimistic. A majority of Watson’s rookie fantasy production came from his ability to score touchdowns. Watson scored nine touchdowns on just 48 touches. Over the last ten years, there have only been eight rookie wide receivers who have produced seven or more touchdowns on under 50 touches. Those receivers are Marlon Brown, Martavis Bryant, Anthony Miller, Marquise Brown, Darius Slayton, Gabe Davis, Jahan Dotson, and Watson. In their sophomore seasons, those players averaged only 4.2 touchdowns. If his touchdowns do drop, which I expect them to do, I am not confident Watson will be able to offset it by increasing his usage in the offense. Going into last season, it was fellow rookie Romeo Doubs, not Watson, that was being hyped as the team's breakout target. When Doubs was healthy, he was favored over Watson in terms of targets. In the games where Doubs was healthy, Watson caught only 26 passes for 298 yards and no touchdowns. In the four games when Doubs was injured, Watson caught 15 passes for 315 yards and seven touchdowns. The bad news for Watson is that Doubs is completely healthy heading into the 2023 season, and all reports out of Packers Training Camp indicate that he is quarterback Jordan Love’s favorite target. Oh, that reminds me, the Packers moved on from Hall-of-Fame QB Aaron Rodgers in the offseason, and are now turning to Love to lead the offense. No matter what your opinions are on Love, you have to admit that this is a downgrade for Watson and the Packers’ offense as a whole. The reality is, Watson is a No. 2 receiver on a run-heavy offense that projects to be worse than it was last season. But for some reason, Watson is going as the WR21 in drafts, ahead of established stars like Terry McLaurin.
London is a fantastic receiver, but I don’t see a way for him to take the leap to become a top 15 fantasy option, which is what fantasy managers are drafting him to be right now. Last year, he had the second-highest target rate in the NFL. But that number is bound to go down significantly with Kyle Pitts returning from injury. In addition, the Falcons showed with their offseason moves that they are committed to being a run-first team by drafting Bijan Robinson eighth overall and trading for Jonnu Smith. If the team’s overall passing volume isn’t going to increase, then it seems fair to reason that London’s role in the offense most likely isn’t going to either. Ultimately, even if the Falcons do end up throwing the ball more than anticipated this upcoming season, I don’t see first year quarterback Desmond Ridder being able to create the opportunities necessary for London to finish as a top fantasy wide receiver.
Many people are going to be surprised when Perine leads the Broncos’ backfield in touches week one, but they shouldn’t be. Even though it is expected that Javonte Williams will be able to return from his torn ACL, LCL, and PCL for the start of the regular season, it typical takes running backs an extra year to fully recover and regain their explosiveness following such a traumatic injury. We saw this ring true with Saquon Barkley following his similar injury in 2020. Perine was extremely effective for the Bengals last year, averaging 120 total yards per game when he filled in as the starter. Even if he does split carries in the Denver offense, he projects to be the 3rd down pass-catching back, a role that was extremely valuable in Sean Payton’s offense when he had Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara in New Orleans. At a minimum, Perine should end up being a solid flex player on fantasy teams. Right now, though, he is going as RB37 in fantasy drafts.
It seems like fantasy managers are simply tired of drafting Mixon. Even though he has never been considered an elite back, he consistently finishes seasons as a fringe RB1. Some people have been concerned about some of his recent issues away from the gridiron, but he is currently still the RB1 on the Bengals’ roster, and they have not made any moves to replace him. In fact, they even let backup Samaje Perine walk in free agency. The Bengals have no plan to let him go. He is only 26 years old, and will be an 18-plus touch per game running back for Cincinnati, which should have a top five offense in the league. If he is on the roster starting week one, he will be a top 10 running back once again, despite being drafted in the fourth round of drafts.
In a situation similar to Mixon’s, it feels like people just aren’t excited about Chubb, despite him being the RB1 through the first 10 weeks of the season last year. For the 2023 campaign, I believe he is entering the best situation of his career. With Deshaun Watson under center, the Browns should have their most explosive offense yet under Kevin Stefanski. Additionally, Kareem Hunt is no longer in Cleveland, which opens up another 120 carries and, more importantly, 35 receptions for Chubb. If Chubb gets more involved in the passing game due to Hunt’s departure and ups his reception total to somewhere in the 40-45 range, there is no reason he can’t finish as a top three running back in fantasy.