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After three long months and plenty of mock drafts and speculation, we finally got to see 259 young men accomplish their dream of getting drafted into the NFL. Of course, for us super-nerds that play dynasty football, the picks that took place over the course of this past weekend change everything. Most notably, we finally know the landing spots of the much-anticipated 2023 rookie class. Myself (@JackJReinhart) and my peer Jack Padron (@jkpadron) are two of these nerds and have created dynasty rankings for the rookies. We will carry out our rankings in five articles: Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and a final dynasty rookie mock draft. This is the first article of the series and will therefore focus on the quarterback position.
- Anthony Richardson (Tier 1)
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Being a mobile quarterback, Anthony Richardson will most likely not have the same longevity relative to his counterparts in the first tier. However, he will instantly be the best quarterback for fantasy. His rushing abilities grant him a very high ceiling that will yield high-point totals. Not to mention, his starting situation is the best of the tier one quarterbacks. Landing in the very favorable Colts offense, he will start out with an established WR 1 in Michael Pittman Jr. as well as a great young running back in Jonathan Taylor. This is great in comparison to Bryce Young and CJ Stroud, whose top skill position players are mostly young, inexperienced, or a combination of the two. While Richardson’s passing isn’t as sharp as some of the other quarterbacks in his class, we’ve seen mobile quarterbacks such as Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, and Josh Allen fix these inconsistencies over the course of their first few years and turn into some of the league’s top players. With the combination of his instant production and incredibly high ceiling, “AR15” is our top quarterback. If you’re more curious about Anthony Richardson and/or want a more analytical perspective, check out Ilan Shelest’s analysis here!
- Bryce Young (Tier 1)
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There’s just something special about Bryce Young. The only concern is his size, measuring in at just over 5’10” and 200 pounds at the NFL Combine. Other than that, he checks all the boxes. In dynasty leagues, Young and his childhood friend, CJ Stroud, are both good choices; in our opinion, Young has a safer floor and a ceiling that is just as high, if not higher, than Stroud’s. Young also scored exceptionally well on the S2 test and seems to always be calm whether in or out of the pocket. If the Panthers didn’t see Young’s size as a big enough issue to warrant not selecting him with the price they paid, neither should you. While the receiver room in Carolina may be a bit thin, the team is working to create a good environment for developing the quarterback. The strong offensive tackle pairing of Taylor Morton and Ikem Ekwonu and the recent addition of weapons such as Miles Sanders and Jonathan Mingo should help foster Young’s growth. Bryce Young has superstar written all over him.
- CJ Stroud (Tier 1)
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Although CJ Stroud is 0-2 against Michigan, there is no denying that he is a great quarterback. From a fantasy standpoint, Stroud’s athleticism and raw talent make him a very appealing investment. He has a good combination of being an accurate passer while also having some rushing upside. One concern is that he has always had some of the best weapons around him in college; in Houston, he won’t have many proven weapons to start which may become an issue for establishing early success. It wouldn’t surprise us if Stroud ends up being the best fantasy QB from this class, but it will definitely take some time for him to adjust. While Stroud may come in as the third quarterback on our list, we still think he should still be a lock for the top-five in superflex rookie drafts, far above any of the remaining quarterbacks.
- Will Levis (Tier 2)
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The mystery of the draft, Will Levis became the biggest non-Detroit Lion shock of the first round, falling far out of his top-five projection and into the second round. Despite drafting him with the 33rd overall pick, Mike Vrabel doesn’t seem to be too committed to the quarterback thus far.
However, if Malik Willis continues to disappoint and the team expectedly chooses not to re-sign Ryan Tannehill, the window for opportunity should open for Levis within the next year. The Titans aren’t the greatest landing spot either; whether we like it or not, Derrick Henry cannot escape his age and the team is very limited in the pass-catching department. Coming in at number four in our rankings, Will Levis is in his own tier below the incredible top-three quarterbacks, while still above the later round dart throws.
- Hendon Hooker (Tier 3)
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Hendon Hooker is an incredible prospect with great rushing ability and an impressive arm. Unfortunately, he has a few problems going against him — most notably, his age.
Hooker is 25 years old and coming off of a torn ACL; had he not suffered this injury and were a year or two younger, he most likely would have been drafted early in the first round. The Detroit Lions are an interesting landing spot with current quarterback, Jared Goff, most likely in his last season under center for the team. Offensive coordinator, Ben Johnson, is known to be one of the most crafty play-callers in the league so it wouldn’t surprise us to see the Lions draw up a package or two for Hendon Hooker to test the waters at the pro level before granting him a shot at the full-fledged QB1. Hooker is the most pro-ready quarterback in the class with a strong and accurate arm. He also has proven himself useful on the ground which will help him establish a higher fantasy floor as a starter. As in real life, his age and injury concerns make him a dart throw in dynasty rookie drafts. However, his upside and proven abilities make him our fifth quarterback.
The remaining quarterbacks of the class are all day three picks with more difficult paths towards dynasty relevance. We’ll break down some of the remaining quarterbacks that may still be worth acquiring.
Chance to Become a Starter in the Near Future
For deep leagues, we think Stetson Bennett and Jaren Hall could be the first of the day three quarterbacks to receive opportunity as a starter due to the uncertainty of the quarterbacks in front of them.
Clayton Tune could also see some action instantly thanks to the ACL injury of Kyler Murray late last year. He’s extremely athletic and could find himself starting on Week 1 if he has a good camp. In deeper leagues and/or superflex leagues, he’s definitely a guy to keep an eye on throughout the remainder of the offseason.
It’s never a bad idea to grab the new backup to one of your quarterbacks late in rookie drafts or even as a free agent. Tanner McKee is among the best of these quarterback handcuffs thanks to Jalen Hurts’ higher injury risk as a rushing quarterback. It also helps that the Eagles have an incredibly strong offense to surround their quarterbacks with plenty of strength in the trenches and great talent in the receiving core.
Promising Players in Poor Situations
Although it may be challenging for Jake Haener and Dorian Thompson-Robinson to secure starting positions in the NFL anytime soon, they still have the potential to become valuable fantasy quarterbacks. The recent addition of Derek Carr via a four-year, $150 million contract in New Orleans may limit Haener’s playing time in the short term and the Cleveland Browns’ extension of Deshaun Watson’s contract makes it improbable that Thompson-Robinson will start anytime soon. Nevertheless, we believe in the talent of these quarterbacks and, given an opportunity, they could shine. Stashing these rookie quarterbacks on your taxi squad could be a wise move, especially in a superflex league.
Check us out on twitter @JackJReinhart and @jkpadron