We know where the rookies are playing. Now it's time to figure out where you should draft them.
In yesterday's edition of the FFT Newsletter,, as well as his . I've gone through and added all of the rookies to my projections and rankings, we'll a bunch of newsletters for you over the next few weeks, detailing the full, updated rankings from the entire FFT team now that the rookies are settled in.
Today, we did a three-round rookie-only mock draft, as well as our first post-draft PPR mock, and that's what we're focusing on today. I've got the first prices for every rookie who was selected, in that draft, and you can check out Jamey Eisenberg's full breakdown of
For now, let's get our first look at rookie pricing:
Rookie Mock Draft Results
I took three of the rookies, all late: Seahawks RB Zach Charbonnet in the ninth, Jets RB Israel Abanikanda in the 12th, and Lions TE Sam LaPorta in the 14th. Charbonnet is an upside dice roll on the potential that Kenneth Walker either gets hurt or struggles and Charbonnet ends up the lead back in Seattle.
As I wrote when the pick was made, I don't expect Charbonnet to just be the starter in Seattle this season, but his selection Seahawks value home run hitting over consistency, Walker's role should be safe, but it's not too hard to see a path to Charbonnet becoming a very big part of their offense. He might already have a path to a third down role., coming off a season where he was very hit or miss – he ranked 16th out of 48 qualifiers in yards above expected per carry, but had more yards than expected on just 33.5% of his runs, the second-worst mark out of that same sample of 48. If the
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Abanikanda is another upside dice roll at the RB position. Breece Hall is expected to be ready for Week 1, as ESPN reported last month. I don't doubt that, though we were certainly hearing similar things about J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards at this same point last offseason, so you really never know. Abanikanda brings explosive big-play potential to the table with three-down size, and he won't even be 21 until Week 5 of his rookie season, as Hayden Winks pointed out on the Underdog Football Show recently. He might just be a special teams guy if Hall is healthy for Week 1, but for this price, I don't mind taking a chance on Hall. The good news is, we'll know before the season whether he's going to have a chance to play right away or now.
And then LaPorta is just my favorite rookie tight end from this class, at least for 2023. He was the second one taken, so I'm not exactly going out on a limb here. I love the athletic profile – 4.59 40-yard dash at 245 pounds with a strong showing in the broad jump, vertical leap, and shuttle and three-cone drills – and LaPorta was reasonably productive in college. LaPorta has a path to immediate playing time in an offense that needs pass-catchers beyond Amon-Ra St. Brown, and I could see him stepping into the T.J. Hockenson role – Hockenson averaged six targets per game before being traded. If I'm waiting at tight end, LaPorta will definitely be one of my targets.
Here's where the rest of the rookies went:
- 1.1: Bijan Robinson, RB, ATL
- 4.8: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, DET
- 5.12: Anthony Richardson, QB, IND
- 7.5: Jordan Addison, WR, MIN
- 8.11: Zay Flowers, WR, BAL
- 8.12: Devon Achane, RB, MIA
- 9.5: Quentin Johnston, WR, LAC
- 9.6: Zach Charbonnet, RB, SEA
- 9.8: Tank Bigsby, RB, JAC
- 9.12: Jonathan Mingo, WR, CAR
- 10.2: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, SEA
- 10.5: Roschon Johnson, RB, CHI
- 10.8: Chase Brown, RB, CIN
- 12.1: Josh Downs, WR, IND
- 12.6: Nathaniel Dell, WR, HOU
- 12.7: Israel Abanikanda, RB, NYJ
- 12.1: Kendre Miller, RB, NO
- 13.7: Tyjae Spears, RB, TEN
- 13.8: Dalton Kincaid, TE, BUF
- 13.12: Jayden Reed, WR, GB
- 14.2: Michael Wilson, WR, ARI
- 14.5: Rashee Rice, WR, KC
- 14.7: Sam LaPorta, TE, DET
- 14.9: Eric Gray, RB, NYG
There aren't really any surprises here, except for maybe Richardson going as high as he did. I said in Monday's newsletter that I'd be looking to draft him around 100th overall, but that may not be aggressive enough. Dave Richard said he already has him as a top-10 QB for 2023, and then Jacob Gibbs went ahead and took him as the No. 7 QB off the board. Which is too rich for my blood, though I think Justin Herbert is probably the only QB he went ahead of who I would even fight about. My expectations for Richardson look a lot like what Daniel Jones did last season, only he might be an even more productive runner … yeah, I might be talking myself into moving Richardson up.
Otherwise, Jahmyr Gibbs more or less slots in where D'Andre Swift was going. It's a little higher than I would prefer to take him, but I can't really argue with the pick; I'm projecting him to be the smaller side of the platoon with David Montgomery, albeit with a heavier passing workload. However, it's not at all out of the question that he could emerge as the lead back here, especially given the draft capital invested in him.
The wide receivers didn't start coming off the board until the seventh round when Jordan Addison was taken. He's my favorite of the group, at least for 2023, and the seventh round seems reasonable for him; he's WR33 for me, right at 74th overall. Zay Flowers came off the board a round and a half later, with Quentin Johnston half a round after that. The best value, though, might have been Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The first WR taken in the actual draft was the fifth taken here, going with the second pick of the 10th round.
Seeing as the NFL viewed the top four wide receivers as effectively interchangeable – Smith-Njigba, Johnston, Flowers, and Addison all went on consecutive picks in the first round – the smartest move might be to wait until three of them are taken and then pounce on whichever one is left. I like Addison best for the immediate path to being the Vikings No. 2 WR, but all of them have upside if they get the opportunity, obviously. It just might require some patience for the non-Addison guys in particular.
You might notice that there was another wide receiver in that little run, though: Jonathan Mingo, from Carolina. His is more about landing spot than anything else, and his production profile in college is severely lacking, especially. Mingo landed in a pretty great spot in Carolina, with Adam Thielen and DJ Chark as his primary competition for targets … but he was just out-produced by Malik Heath, who went undrafted, so I'm not sure the runway being relatively clear matters all that much.
All in all, I'm proud that the FFT team are playing it cool with the rookies. There's nothing wrong with chasing upside with rookies, but it's a lot easier to chase that upside when the price is (relatively) low. This rookie class will surely have players who make an impact this season, but more than most seasons, there aren't a ton of obvious, immediate contributors in this class.
This is a rookie class that is going to require some patience. You'll need to know yourself as a Fantasy manager: Are you the kind of player who can keep your eye on the long-term prize, or are you the person who needs to cycle through every bench spot in the early season looking for the next big thing? If you're the latter type, these rookies probably aren't for you. This isn't an instant gratification class.