Fantasy Football Jump Up Candidates for 2023 (2023)

  • Fantasy Football Jump Up Candidates for 2023 (1)

    Eric Karabell, Senior Writer for ESPNMay 23, 2023, 6:54 AM ET


    • ESPN contributor on TV, radio, podcasts, blogs, magazines
    • A founding member of the FSWA Hall of Fame
    • Author of the book "The best sports arguments from Philadelphia"
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • facebook messenger
  • Pinterest
  • E-mail
  • to print

Maybe you were the No. 1 pick in the fantasy football draft last season and couldn't make up your mindIndianapolis ColtsRBJonathan TaylorandBarany from Los AngelesaWRCooper's murder. The puzzle made sense. Those were by far the best fantasy options at their positions in the 2021 NFL season, with Taylor posting 2,171 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns, while Kupp caught 145 passes for 1,947 yards and 16 TD catches. Each character for each player set the pace in the league.

Then came the 2022 season. Injury, as it often does, got in the way, and with it ruined NFL and fantasy campaigns. The Colts and Rams won 21 games, and Los Angeles won the Super Bowl! -- in the 2021 season. They won just nine games last season. Taylor averaged just 13.3 fantasy points per game as a high ankle sprain sidelined him for 11 games. Kupp dominated the first eight games of the season, averaging nearly 25 PPR points per game, then suffered an ankle sprain of his own in Week 10. That ended his season.

Each season we feature countless players trying to return to their former statistical significance, and sometimes we can group those players into similar situations. We can do that with Taylor and Kupp because they are two of the best players in the sport when healthy, even though they are at different positions. It certainly seems likely that Taylor and Kupp will return to fantasy glory, and fantasy managers will need to invest early, though perhaps not as early as last summer.

The 24-year-old Taylor remained a productive and busy player last season, and even despite physical limitations, wasted plays and his team's offensive line, he averaged more than 18 PPR points per game over the last four full games, ending the first week of the season in December. The Colts will look different on offense this season — and that's a good thing — but Taylor will still be a key player.

Kupp, 30, like Taylor, probably didn't live up to his incredible statistical season in 2021, but he was on track to get close. If we extrapolate his numbers from the full eight games, they were outstanding. Kupp thrived despite uneven play at guard. We acceptMatthew Staffordit is also reflected in 2023. Kupp will again be his main wide receiver.

Taylor and Kupp lead our annual list of returning candidates for the 2023 season. Reasonable minds can debate what "returning" players mean, but simply put, those players didn't (or didn't) play as expected last season. they don't do well at all!), something prevented them from doing so. Let's separate them by position.


Lamar JacksonGavrani:He made this list a year ago, and for good reason. Jackson held the MVP record for the 2019 season and since then has ranked 10th, 16th and 14th among guards in fantasy points. He was great last September. Then he didn't and let's say he had an interesting postseason. We nurture the fantasy because we know this fleeting/fleeing threat can be terrifying.

Aaron Rodgers, Nozzles:The future Hall of Famer is coming off the worst full season of his storied career with plans to turn things around for his new team. We believe Rodgers is neither too old nor has he lost too many skills — he was a top-five fantasy QB in 2021 and 2022 — that fantasy managers can once again rely on.

Russell Wilson, Bronchi:Everyone thought it couldn't get any worse than Wilson's last performance with the Seahawks, and he would be a perfect fit for the Broncos. NOT. It didn't really work out. Wilson reached 300 passing yards in Week 1 and never did it again. New head coach Sean Payton has a tough job ahead of him.

Deshauna Watsona, Brown:Watson sat out the 2021 season and signed a lucrative deal with Cleveland, but when he finally made his debut after serving an 11-game suspension, he wasn't the fantasy star of the Texas era. Watson averaged 14.3 fantasy points in his six starts. More is expected and likely to come.

Matthew Stafford, Barany:Stafford's first season with the Rams was his best yet as he threw 41 touchdown passes and won the championship. His sophomore season was his worst as it ended prematurely with a neck injury. Stafford doesn't have the same fantasy top-five presence as Jackson and Rodgers, for example, but he should be helpful.

Chain tray, 49ers:We take editorial license here on the term "rejection". After all, Lance has yet to be a reliable fantasy option in his two NFL seasons. The No. 3 pick in the 2021 draft could be an electric pass rusher with health and ability. Check out his progress this summer.

Running back

The best Harris, steel workers:A top-five fantasy RB as a rookie, Harris dealt with a Lisfranc injury early in the season and had less work to do. While he again played in all 17 games and surpassed 1,000 rushing yards, his valuable role in the passing game diminished. We'll see if the Steelers get back to their 2021 level.

Alvina Kamary, Shines:As with Harris, Kamara delivered a solid RB2 campaign, but once again fell short of RB1 expectations on draft day. Kamara has scored just four touchdowns, the fewest of his six-year career, and unlike Harris, his durability is questionable. It is also possible that he will be suspended for at least part of the 2023 season.

D'Andre Swifta, Eagles:Various injuries again cost Swift a few games, but this time they made him more of a third-ranked specialist, which is a rather disappointing statistical trend. In an effort to keep Swift healthy, the Lions limited him to just seven rushing attempts per game. The Eagles are well aware of that, and while Swift might be better behind a stellar offensive line, expect a shared workload again.

James Conner, cardinal:Few expected Conner to score 18 more touchdowns as he did in the 2021 season, but he didn't even make it halfway. Conner was a top-10 PPR RB twice in six seasons, but never ran for 1,000 yards because he's a bit of a touchdown addict.

Breece Hall, Nozzles:The freshman from Iowa emerged as a breakout star in October, then ended up tearing his ACL. The Jets believe Hall will be back on the field for training camp, and fantasy managers should respond accordingly.

Javonte Williams, Bronchi:Williams starred in a timeshare in 2021 that led to high expectations, then tore his cruciate ligament in week four. Although Williams injured his knee a few weeks before Hall injured him, the severity of his injury was worse and he may not be ready for September.

JK DobbinsaGavrani:As with Williams, Dobbins looked great as a rookie, but tore his ACL while preparing for the 2021 season. He needed another knee surgery in October and didn't start helping fantasy managers until Week 14. Dobbins is an outstanding runner, but has little impact in the passing game.

Cordarelle Patterson, falcons:Patterson's role adjusted after his unlikely departure in 2021, and while he was a more efficient and successful runner last season, averaging 4.8 yards per rush and scoring eight touchdowns, his passing work has disappeared. At 32 years old, it seems unlikely that the role will return, even more so with a first-round pickSesame Robinson.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, bosses:The surprise first-round pick in 2020 ran for 803 yards and caught 36 passes as a rookie. Since then, he has rushed for 819 yards and caught 36 passes in two seasons. The Chiefs have found options to replace Edwards-Helaire, and he may have struggled to climb the depth chart.

Elijah Mitchell, 49ers:The towering Mitchell approached 1,000 rushing yards in his 11 games as a rookie in 2021, but missed all but five games last season and the organization grewChristiana McCaffreya. Still, Mitchell was a factor in his early decline when healthy, even with McCaffrey around.

Wide receiver

Deebo Samuel, 49ers:The No. 2 WR Fantasy scorer in 2021 behind Kupp, he battled multiple leg injuries last season that limited his availability and success on run attempts, and he was much less effective passing downfield, averaging 11.3 yards per carry catching, against 18.2. The talent is there, but it has to stay on the field.

Markiza Braun, cardinal:Brown's first season in Arizona was somewhat disappointing as he missed five games with a foot injury and then struggled with ineffectiveness playing alongside himDeAndre Hopkinsawho returned from suspension. Brown is a dangerous outside threat, but needs better guard play.

Brandi's walleye, Kowboje:The 29-year-old Cooks has already reached 1,000 yards six times in four franchises and is looking to do it again in Dallas. Cooks struggled with injuries and quarterback play last season, but he's already proven he's capable of producing in a new lineup.

Huntera Renfrowa, Searchers:Injuries and the addition of the RaidersDavante Adamshelped Renfrow end his 2022 campaign on a losing streak as he went from 103 catches, 1,038 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 2021 to a 7.9 PPR average in his 10 games last season. It's a shame, but the talented automaton should get a chance this season.

Michael Thomas, Shines:Wow, his 2019 MVP season seems so long ago. Thomas caught 149 passes for 1,725 ​​yards and nine touchdowns that season. Since then, due to injuries, he has played 10 games in three years and an overall ineffective game. Fantasy managers would revert to the usual meaning.

Odell Beckham JrGavrani:Like Thomas, Beckham didn't have much luck the last three seasons, struggling on the field and then tearing his ACL while the Rams were winning the Super Bowl. Expecting double-digit TDs, like in his Giants days, is too much, but again, some statistical significance would be nice.

Calvina Ridleya, Jaguar:Ridley, the Falcons' 2020 Rookie of the Year, has not played in an NFL game since October 2021 thanks to a betting suspension. The league brought it back, and the Jaguars — and fantasy managers — are hoping the 2020 version returns.

Like a country

Darrena Wallera, to the Giants:A fantasy superstar with the Raiders in 2020, Waller has played in just 20 games over the past two seasons and is now starting over with the Giants. A healthy Waller can dominate the defense and is his new team's biggest threat in the red zone.

Kyle Pitts, falcons:With 1,000 yards and just one touchdown as a rookie, fantasy managers expected Pitts to score many more touchdowns in his second season. He scored twice but barely played a role in the offense until a knee injury ended his season early. He's talented, but he's a big statistical question mark.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Last Updated: 05/22/2023

Views: 6132

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Birthday: 1995-01-14

Address: 55021 Usha Garden, North Larisa, DE 19209

Phone: +6812240846623

Job: Corporate Healthcare Strategist

Hobby: Singing, Listening to music, Rafting, LARPing, Gardening, Quilting, Rappelling

Introduction: My name is Foster Heidenreich CPA, I am a delightful, quaint, glorious, quaint, faithful, enchanting, fine person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.