The fantasy football season is wrapping up and for dynasty leagues, you are more or less locked in to where you’ll be drafting next year. Now’s a good time to see who you should keep an eye on. It’s also a good time to gauge whether you’re looking to move up or down after the conclusion of the playoffs.
Since we first issued rankings earlier this season, plenty has changed. Some players really showed the gaps in their game, looking less and less like viable fantasy options. While others have seized on their opportunities to show they can make a difference at the next level.
Why should the playoff runners have all the fun this time of year? Fire up those bowl games and have this list handy. We’re looking at the future here and moving onto 2023.
1. Bryce Young, Alabama
2. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
3. Will Levis, Kentucky
4. Anthony Richardson, Florida
5. Bo Nix, Oregon
This QB class reminds me a little bit of 2018 when there were five quarterbacks taken in the first round and four of them in the first 10 picks. We just have to hope that hit rate is a little bit higher this time around.
Young and Stroud will remain at the top of the list and will be relatively interchangeable, depending on what you value. Both should go in the top four picks of the draft since the Texans, Seahawks, and, thanks to the Rams, the Lions should all settle in this range and could be thinking QB. Young is a creator and can really make some amazing plays outside of the pocket. On the other hand, Stroud is more of the QB to play in structure, go through his progressions, and use his big arm to put the ball into tight spots.
Should Detroit end up moving on from Jared Goff, either would be a top-tier rookie prospect given the infrastructure compared to, say, Houston.
Meanwhile, the three projected first rounders behind the top two will be seen in every different order you can imagine.
Levis and Richardson show flashes of good QB play, but will need to really refine their skills at the next level. Levis has crazy arm talent, but is also an effective runner on designed plays. It helps that he also plays in a pro-style offense– playing under center and running play action. However, Levis sometimes gets a little choppy in the pocket leaving his offensive line in a pretty compromising position. He needs to have patience to read the field and not panic.
Richardson, on the other hand, is a big-bodied QB with a powerful arm. He’ll put a bruising on would-be tacklers, but can also run away from them at the same time. When I say he’s raw, though, I mean that he’ll really have to go to a team that can get the best out of him and help him grow. If we’re relating this class to 2018, Richardson is the Josh Allen. Big, powerful arm, but it’s not all there yet. Allen put it together, will Richardson?
Going deep into Anthony Richardson as a prospect today, but I wanted to show this example of his "Get out of jail free" arm.
Just a "Vick-flick" of 50+ air yards. No big deal. pic.twitter.com/pxGM9FPcgO
— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) December 15, 2022
Nix is a late addition to this list, but it happens every year. A new QB pops up on the radar and begins their ascent up the boards. Nix isn’t a nobody, though. He’s a former five-star recruit who’s collegiate career started at Auburn, but ended up transferring to Oregon. Turns out the move was a great one as Nix changed the trajectory of his career and draft stock with a 72.4 percent completion percentage, 25 touchdowns through the air, just six picks, and an incredible 513 yards and 14 TDs on the ground.
He has decent size at six-foot-two and throws the ball with crazy velocity despite not having a powerful arm. He can also throw the ball well off platform, which is all the rage in the NFL today. Despite great accuracy at all levels of the field, Nix will need to continue making strides in his processing and vision.
1. Bijan Robinson, Texas
2. Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama
3. Tank Bigsby, Auburn
4. Zach Evans, Ole Miss
5. Sean Tucker, Syracuse
6. Blake Corum, Michigan
7. Rocket Sanders, Arkansas
Bijan Robinson may not go 1.01 in the NFL draft, but he likely will in plenty of rookie drafts next year. He’s an all-around back with insane vision and a unique ability to make defenders miss at the line of scrimmage and in the second level.
The biggest question mark on the list so far has to be Blake Corum for me. He’s a shorter back, but he’s stout and a huge threat in the passing game. He injured his knee a few weeks ago and was easily on the Heisman shortlist. Despite his injury, Corum was an unanimous First-Team All-American, finished the season 8th nationally in rushing yards, 10th in yards per carry, 3rd in rushing TDs, 2nd in rushing first downs, and 5th in carries of 20 yards or more.
— Jack Willia〽️s: B1G Sad (@jackwilly83) December 8, 2022
His size is a little bit of a question mark standing at only five-foot-eight and not really running through defenders. It remains to be seen if he will be an RB1 in an NFL offense and may end up in a timeshare. Hopefully, he can prove doubters wrong.
1. Quentin Johnston, TCU
2. Jordan Addison, USC
3. Jaxon Smith-Njiba, Ohio State
4. Rashee Rice, SMU
5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
6. Josh Downs, UNC
7. Zay Flowers, Boston College
8. Cedric Tillman, Tennessee
Biggest changes on the list: Johnston leapfrogs Addison for pole position and Kayshon Boutte leaves the list. Quite a surprise to many, but I can see why Boutte elected to remain at LSU. He did not have the season you want coming into the draft and it hurt his value tremendously. He struggled with drops and to develop a rapport with his QB. He has now reversed course AGAIN and will declare for the draft. The red flags are big and bright.
Johnston passing Addison is more of a practical choice than anything. Johnston has the skill, prototypical size, and shocking burst in short areas and escaping defenders. Addison, meanwhile, is more slight and doesn’t profile as a dominant outside receiver. Addison is a gamer, though, and doesn’t need to be relegated to the slot. He’s a dynamic route runner and can attack all levels of the defense.
Rashee Rice recently declared for the draft and is still somewhat of a favorite of mine. Despite being fourth on this list, Rice could end up being drafted in the 20s to a receiver-needy team like Tennessee, New England, or the New York Giants. Rice is prone to making plays down the field and his hands and body control are essential to his game. Despite a broken toe from September, Rice finished with 96 catches for 1,355 yards and 10 TDs over 12 games.
⭐ WR Rashee Rice could be a star in NFL !
He is a wonderful athlete and has a good package of release.
Nice ball-tracking ability, great catch radius and is a big problem with the ball in his hands !
I have two big 🚩 about him :
He is a Round 2 talent ! pic.twitter.com/yZL6GmbxCY
— Valentin (@ScoutValentin) December 10, 2022
Biletnikoff Award winner, Jalin Hyatt, will also be another prospect rising up boards this off-season, landing ahead of teammate Cedric Tillman here. Hyatt projects as a Day 2 player, but there are plenty of gems to be found on this day, including Christian Watson, George Pickens, and Alex Pierce last year and Elijah Moore (I still believe in you!) and Rondale Moore in 2021.
Hyatt is fast and twitchy, can play outside and in the slot, and does the majority of his damage sprinting past unassuming defensive backs. He’s also adept at taking the ball across the middle of the field and making a play out of a bubble screen. When watching Tennessee play, he looks like the best player on the field. He’s constantly wide open and looks like a player who just needs the ball and he’ll do something freaky for you.
But the reason he’s always so wide open is that he benefitted from a well-designed spread offense and is schemed open easily, leaving little challenge to his releases. In the right situation, he will be an explosive weapon that teams will have to keep an eye on.