Editor’s Note: These 2023 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings are a starting point for your dynasty rookie draft. Make sure you’re ready for your draft by checking out our 2023 Rookie Draft Guide, which is now fully updated with post-draft profiles for all your favorite prospects, our current Dynasty Rookie Rankings and our convenient Rookie Draft Cheat Sheets. Looking to move or acquire some of those picks? Make sure you take a look at our Dynasty Trade Analyzer and import your leagues to get maximum value. There are simply no better resources out there for dynasty fantasy football draft preparation.
Every draft has its own uniqueness. This year’s version promised one generational running back, some wide receivers with really big upside, a deeper-than-normal tight end class and some very unique quarterback talent. As always, there are going to be some tough choices in dynasty drafts and we’ll be here all off-season to help you make the best moves possible. We brought you our consensus first round and consensus second round already so let’s get to round three, remembering the following players are all off the board:
Tier One: Bijan Robinson
Tier Two: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jahmyr Gibbs, Jordan Addison, Quentin Johnston, Zay Flowers
Tier Three: Devon Achane, Zach Charbonnet, Dalton Kincaid, Josh Downs, Anthony Richardson
Tier Four: Kendre Miller, Marvin Mims, Michael Mayer, Rashee Rice, Bryce Young, Jonathan Mingo, Jalin Hyatt, CJ Stroud
Tier Five: Tyjae Spears, Roschon Johnson, Sam LaPorta, Cedric Tillman, Tank Bigsby…
TIER FIVE (CONT.)
The tiers and commentary I’ll make on this post are my own, comprised of my own opinions. The rankings are based on our consensus rookie rankings. Tier five is a big one, featuring a whole host of players that give dynasty managers a wide array of options. There is going to be a high bust rate with this group as the difference between the second and third rounds this season isn’t very large.
3.01 = Luke Musgrave, TE GB
While Musgrave doesn’t have the numbers to match the other elite-level tight ends in this class (he only caught 11 passes last season), he does have a solid size and speed combination and the pedigree of being the son of long-time coach Bill Musgrave. In fact, he excelled in not just one, but three sports in High School. While he might take a lot of time to develop, there’s upside here and he looks like a third round selection as a player who could develop eventually, despite the Packers also taking Tucker Kraft at the same position. The challenge with Musgrave is clearly the lack of experience as he comes into the NFL with a total of just 47 catches and two total touchdowns during his career at Oregon State. He needs some time and Green Bay may bring him along a little slower than other tight ends taken in round two. Still, he has elite athletic qualities and despite being a project, he has third round dynasty rookie draft upside. In short, patience could be rewarded here.
3.02 = Chase Brown, RB CIN
Brown was a big-time workhorse at Illinois last season, recording a massive 328 carries en route to over 1,600 rushing yards and ten scores for the Illini. He looks a bit like a one speed runner and has some trouble eluding defenders at times. However, we’ve seen he can handle a massive workload and he could thrive in the right kind of system. With Joe Mixon‘s future up in the air, the Bengals were a popular mock destination for a running back on the draft’s first two days. Instead, they waited and ended up getting some value with Brown in the fifth. At this point, Brown looks like a third round rookie pick. However, that would change dramatically should Mixon move on at some point. Stay tuned.
3.03 = Jayden Reed, WR GB
Unlike a lot of later round prospects, Reed played against top competition while at Michigan State and his numbers didn’t suffer much in the process. However, the knock on him is pretty simple – many feel he’s “just a guy.” While obviously not just anyone can make it in the NFL, that just means Reed doesn’t seem to do anything out of the expected and combines it with some relatively ordinary athletic traits. With that in mind, it was shocking when he was scooped up by the Green Bay Packers with the 50th overall pick in the NFL Draft. With that kind of draft capital used, he should immediately compete with Samori Toure for a spot behind Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. This pick was a surprise as other receivers like Josh Downs, Jalin Hyatt and Marvin Mims were all on the board and dynasty owners should respond accordingly.
Tier six is where you really start throwing some serious darts.
3.04 = Tank Dell, WR HOU
While you look at many of this year’s NFL Draft prospects and wonder if their talent will translate, it’s hard to see that with Dell as it looks like it clearly will. A big-play weapon at Houston, he put up 109 catches, 1,398 yards and scored 17 touchdowns last season. The challenge with Dell is the fact he’s only 5’8″ and 165 pounds, making durability a big concern. In addition, he’s had a habit of dropping too many passes. The Texans liked Dell well enough to take him in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, instantly making him a solid sleeper in the late rounds of dynasty league rookie drafts. Again, Dell was an uber-productive receiver in college but is criminally undersized and looks like the definition of a “boom or bust” pick.
3.05 = Israel Abanikanda, RB NYJ
Abanikanda wasn’t really on many radars going into last season, but his final year with Pitt was incredible. After posting 1,431 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, he declared for this year’s draft and has dynasty managers doing some serious homework on him. On the plus side, Abanikanda is obviously productive, has one-cut and go ability, is a former sprinter, and does a great job with his vision. On the downside, he isn’t the most patient runner and needs serious help with his pass blocking. Still, “Izzy” is a very intriguing player in this draft. The Jets drafted him in the fifth round and he projects as the replacement for the departed James Robinson and could help Michael Carter out should Breece Hall not be ready for the start of the season. Dynasty managers were hoping for a different situation here for sure as there doesn’t seem like an easy path for sustained touches with the Jets. Still, he should be a late round pick this Spring.
3.06 = Luke Schoonmaker, TE DAL
The Dallas Cowboys missed out on the supposed premier tight ends like Michael Mayer, Dalton Kincaid and Luke Musgrave early in the draft, so they settled on Schoonmaker late in round two. This is a dream landing spot for the former Michigan Wolverine as he will enter training camp expected to compete with Jake Ferguson for snaps at a very fantasy-friendly position. Schoonmaker has moved from late round dart throw to a pcik here in round three. This is a classic case of talent vs. situation. Taking Schoonmaker is you banking not on his ability but more on the team he was drafted by.
3.07 = Will Levis, QB TEN
If you like having the possibility of taking Peyton Manning or Jeff George, here’s your guy. Levis has amazing arm talent and may be the most physically gifted quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, he’s also a player who turned that talent into a season with just 2,406 passing yards, with 19 touchdowns and ten interceptions and tumbled down in the NFL Draft. A big percentage of his passes were thrown behind the line of scrimmage last season and it seemed Kentucky was frequently looking to protect themselves from mistakes he tends to make. Still, the Titans ended his freefall in the second round as they probably fell in love with his arm and genetic makeup. Levis is truly a wild card as a “tough guy” quarterback who has some questionable decision making attributes but also a physical profile coaches drool over. He’ll likely learn behind Ryan Tannehill as long as the Titans stay in contention, though Levis is reportedly going to get a chance to compete in training camp.
3.08 = Tucker Kraft, TE GB
The casual fan likely doesn’t know much about Kraft, seeing that he played at South Dakota State. With fewer than 100 career catches, that makes him even more obscure. However, at 6’5″ and 254 pounds, he certainly looks the part. He’s going to require a little bit of work to make him a true threat as a pass catcher, but he has enough talent to be taken as early as day two and could be a solid third round pick in rookie drafts. The Packers are likely banking on either Kraft or Musgrave emerging as their tight end of the future as they went for a 2-for-1 in the NFL Draft. Much like Musgrave, Kraft is going to require some solid seasoning and coaching to be successful but this depth chart is going to be tough to decipher and it honestly reminds you of when the Patriots doubled up on the position with Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi, hoping one would emerge. Let’s hope it works out better for Green Bay than it did with the Pats and for you in round three.
3.09 = Darnell Washington, TE PIT
Many dynasty managers are going to look at the college stats of Washington and dismiss him as an overhyped prospect – that could be a huge mistake. Yes, the 28/454/2 line at Georgia wasn’t great. However, Washington tore up the NFL Draft Combine and doing it despite his enormous 6’7″, 264-pound frame. A creative NFL coaching staff will find ways to use him and while making him simply a red zone threat would likely yield TE2 results, if he develops, he could be a true difference maker in fantasy and reality. These are the players you love to take chances on in the later rounds and there’s some real buzz generating about Washington after he was taken by Pittsburgh.
3.10 = Zach Evans, RB LAR
Evans left the door open for Kendre Miller at TCU when he bolted to Ole Miss last off-season. The move seemed to work out for him as he posted a solid season featuring nearly 1,000 yards and nine scores in the always tough SEC. The challenge for Evans is very similar to that of Miller (taken by the Saints) as they both seemingly have limited third down value. In addition, Evans has dealt with a number of injuries. He was supposed to be a fourth round pick at worst but slid all the way down to the sixth round before the Los Angeles Rams traded up to get him. The draft capital used is a disappointment but Evans should be able to find a spot on the depth chart behind Cam Akers. There is some boom-or-bust potential here but he was productive in the SEC and if he proves to be healthy, this could be a steal. Evans will be a third or fourth round pick in dynasty rookie drafts.
3.11 = Tyler Scott, WR CHI
If you’re looking for a raw prospect with upside, look no further than Scott. A Junior Olympian sprinter, he has only been playing the position for two years. He’s a massive big play threat, but is clearly raw and needs a ton of seasoning in terms of his hands, feet, and route running. As a former running back, he knows how to be elusive in the open field, however. The Bears took a shot on Scott in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. With a revamped receiver room, they won’t need to push him to play right away and that’s really what he needs since he hasn’t played the position for long. Speed kills, though, and Scott is a serious big-play threat. A dynasty manager who takes Scott late will need to be convinced he can develop into something more than a one-trick pony – that’s what picks this late are all about, though.
3.12 = Michael Wilson, WR ARI
It’s rare when a five-year player is still considered a relative unknown. However, that’s exactly the case with Wilson, who has been limited to just 14 games the past three seasons due to injury. He has the looks of a total wild card in the draft, but not one without some real intrigue. His college career was utterly destroyed by injuries but his athleticism is impressive. The Cardinals saw enough of him to take him in the third round and that represents a pretty solid landing spot for him. He has just 14 games under his belt and few people have seen much of him, but his talent is in the upper crust and that makes him worth a look in the third or fourth round of rookie drafts.
Just missed: Kayshon Boutte, Hendon Hooker, Brenton Strange, Eric Gray, Charlie Jones, Deuce Vaughn, Evan Hull, DeWayne McBride, Sean Tucker
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