2023 NFL Rookie Fantasy Rankings
Since the NFL merger in 1970, there have been 133 rookies to score 200+ PPR fantasy points. Within that group of highly productive first-year players, running backs dominated the category until 2010, making up 48 of the 73, or 66%, while receivers made up 22%. Five fullbacks eclipsed 200 PPR points in that same span, while just three quarterbacks accomplished the feat.
In the more modern sample, running backs still lead the way with 25, followed by wide receivers 19 times, and quarterbacks with 16. No one has scored more PPR fantasy points as a rookie than New York Giant Saquon Barkley, who reached 385 points in 2018.
All that to say that rookies have become increasingly more involved in the success of fantasy teams in recent years and that it’s worth knowing the top players making their NFL debuts each season. This group in 2023 features another talented bunch of players, and we preview their projected rankings next.
Bijan Robinson, ATL (ADP 9.3, RB3)
Jahmyrr Gibbs, DET (ADP 37.3, RB14)
Zach Charbonnet, SEA (ADP 106.3, RB36)
Kendre Miller, NO (ADP 139.7, RB45)
Robinson is already being drafted among the top players in the league before ever getting his first touch as a pro. He’ll share a backfield with Cordarrelle Patterson and Tyler Allgeier, both top-30 fantasy running backs in 2022 but projected to take a dip in production with the addition of Robinson.
Jahmyr Gibbs was a surprise first-round pick by the Lions and is being drafted in low-RB1/high-RB2 territory ahead of his rookie year. He will pair with veteran David Montgomery in Detroit’s backfield.
Over the last ten seasons, multiple rookie running backs have scored 200+ PPR points in eight. Robinson and Gibbs are the most likely players to maintain that trend, while Charbonnet and Miller will need to earn snaps behind established starters in Ken Walker and Alvin Kamara, respectively.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, SEA (ADP 83, WR37)
Jordan Addison, MIN (ADP 88, WR40)
Quentin Johnston, LAC (ADP 105.7, WR44)
Zay Flowers, BAL (ADP 119.7, WR51)
Dating back to Keenan Allen’s 2013 rookie campaign, 17 wide receivers have crossed the 200-point threshold during their first year in the league. Seven of those players have done so in just the last three seasons, including three each in 2020 and 2021, with the Jets’ Garrett Wilson keeping the streak alive on his own in 2022.
The four first-round receivers this season could all realistically achieve this distinction, given the offenses they are joining. In terms of the draft board, Smith-Njigba, and Addison are being picked 20-30 places ahead of Johnston and Flowers, and we don’t have room to go into other options like Rashee Rice (ADP 168.7, WR67), Jalin Hyatt (ADP 179.7, WR69), and Marvin Mims Jr. (ADP 210, WR83) who could factor into this discussion.
Anthony Richardson, IND (ADP 108.7, QB16)
Bryce Young, CAR (ADP 157.3, QB24)
CJ Stroud, HOU (ADP 175.3, QB25)
Will Levis, TEN (ADP 240, QB34)
2022 was the first year since 2017 that a rookie quarterback didn’t hit the 200-point mark in PPR scoring. Three were selected in the first round this April, compared to just one a year ago, which opens up the possibility of more young QBs getting significant playing time as rookies.
Richardson, Young, and Stroud each pair with a first-time head coach as they look to make their mark on the league, though any aspirations of what Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury accomplished in 2019 are a bit lofty.
Levis is behind Ryan Tannehill on the depth chart for now, and that QB room still includes 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis who struggled as a rookie. If the Titans don’t get off to the start that Mike Vrabel is looking for, we may see the rocket-armed rookie take snaps in Nashville.
Dalton Kincaid, BUF (ADP 136, TE14)
Sam LaPorta, DET (ADP 171.7, TE21)
Michael Mayer, LV (ADP 186.7, TE23)
Luke Musgrave, GB (ADP 221, TE31)
Kyle Pitts’ 2021 season was the highest-scoring effort by a rookie tight end since 1988, and we’ve seen since that it wasn’t necessarily an indication of success as a second-year player. One of these names above could become the next top tight end in the league, but it’s unlikely to happen during their first year as a pro.
Kincaid will share snaps with Dawson Knox, the seventh-highest-earning TE in the NFL on average value, who’s third at the position in receiving touchdowns since 2021. Bills’ QB Josh Allen tends to target Knox more heavily in the red zone, and Kincaid could carve into that as a rookie.
LaPorta, Mayer, and Musgrave all inherit the lead spot in their TE room as rookies, allowing them to make an immediate impact early in the season. The Lions and Raiders ranked in the top-12 in the NFL in passing offense in 2022, while Musgrave will work with first-year starter Jordan Love to improve Green Bay’s position.