The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books and we had no shortage of storylines and tweets to follow. Below are a few of the biggest tweets from the weekend and how they will affect your dynasty leagues.
JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA pic.twitter.com/filvvBdo9N
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) April 28, 2023
While it wasn’t a surprise that Jaxon Smith-Njigba was the first receiver taken or even that he lasted until the 20th pick, it was his landing spot that was unexpected. The Seattle Seahawks, flush with two first-round picks, were linked before the draft to quarterbacks and top defensive players but not receivers since they already had two very good ones in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Yet they took a chance on talent over need and got the consensus best receiver in the draft.
The story of Smith-Njigba is well known by now. On a team that featured 2022 first-rounders Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, JSN outshone them both during the 2021 season when all of them were on the field. He barely played in 2022 thanks to an injury and not wanting to hurt himself before his pro career started. Fast forward to the 2023 NFL Draft and he’s a first-round pick on his way to Seattle.
Dynasty Impact: The trio of receivers in Seattle might already be the league’s best. In terms of dynasty value, they can now claim two of the top 20 receivers in football in JSN and DK Metcalf. Then you add Tyler Lockett who’s been a top-15 fantasy receiver in the last five years.
Inevitably, the question will be how this affects the Seattle passing game and which receiver will draw the short straw. The obvious answer would appear to be Lockett. He’s 31 and surely his productivity will start to wane. But could he be a cheaper option to acquire, or the lesser option to cash in on, than Metcalf? Metcalf is coming off a statistically worse season than we’re used to – his six touchdowns were a career low as was his 11.6 yards per catch. If you were to use the DLF Trade Analyzer, the following players would be considered equal value or close to it.
If you’re on the Metcalf side of a deal, I might make it now before JSN surpasses him on the Seattle pecking order.
"Ryan (Tannehill) will be the starting QB on Monday. Malik (Willis) will be the backup. Will (Levis) will be the third quarterback. And what I've told them is whatever happens after that will be up to the players."#Titans coach Mike Vrabel on his QBs: https://t.co/cZHLSQnSwv
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 29, 2023
One of the bigger stories of the 2023 NFL Draft was the rise and eventual fall of Will Levis‘ draft stock. From being talked about as the first overall pick (thanks, Reddit), Levis fell out of the first round before Tennessee traded up in the second round to snag him. He now joins a quarterback room that includes the veteran Ryan Tannehill and last year’s third-round pick Malik Willis. None of them has a bigger obligation or draft capital than the other – Tannehill’s contract is essentially up after this year and neither Levis nor Willis has the first-round clout to earn a longer leash than the other. This will truly be a competition to not only starts in 2023 but beyond.
Dynasty Impact: When it comes to which quarterback would be best for the Titans’ skill position players, we can’t say for sure. There’s the more certain but limited production of Tannehill who only averaged 211 passing yards last year but a 7.8 YPA while throwing 13 touchdowns in just 12 games. There’s Willis who didn’t play much but, when he did, looked awful. For example, in the last game of the season, he went 14 of 23 for just 99 passing yards and two interceptions. He did add 43 yards and a score on the ground but if the passing numbers don’t improve going forward, he might not see the field again.
Which leaves us with Levis. He’s big and can be accurate but not as much as a future star quarterback should be. He’s also older for a rookie but that’s not as big of an issue as quarterbacks tend to stick around longer. His whole career is a big TBD right now until he hits the field.
For the other Titans, it’ll be a wait-and-see to see who ends up under center. Some of their stocks – Derrick Henry and Treylon Burks – were already down since the beginning of the season. The uncertainty at quarterback won’t help.
There’s usually uncertainty for a lot of teams after the draft but rarely at the quarterback position. The Titans are officially in that boat.
Trade: After using their top pick on RB Jahmyr Gibbs, the Lions are trading D’Andre Swift to the Philadelphia Eagles, per sources. The trade is a homecoming; Swift is from Philadelphia and went to high school there at St. Joseph’s Prep before attending, of course, Georgia. pic.twitter.com/AUUpLSw1Kr
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 29, 2023
It’s rare to see a top-20 dynasty player at their position, who’s still just 24, be traded for a day-three pick but that’s exactly what happened with D’Andre Swift during the 2023 NFL Draft. After the Lions surprised everyone by taking Jahmyr Gibbs 12th overall on day one, the clock was ticking on the rest of Swift’s tenure in Detroit. He was moved to Philadelphia where he’ll join a new look committee that includes holdovers Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott along with free agent acquisition Rashaad Penny.
For Swift, it’s the culmination of a sharp decline in his fantasy value that started at the beginning of the season.
Swift saw double-digit carries just three times last season as he ceded work to Jamaal Williams. He was an asset in the passing game where he averaged five targets a game but not to the point where he could offset his low carry totals.
Dynasty Impact: Swift is expected to have a similar role in Philadelphia as a passing down specialist in a crowded running back room. However, the Eagles didn’t throw to their running backs nearly as much. Last year, Eagles running backs saw just 51 targets combined with Gainwell leading the way with 29.
For Swift dynasty managers, the idea that he could be your RB1 appears to be over. Expect his ranking to take a serious hit after this weekend and for him to hit your trade baits soon after. He will have some value being on such a high-powered offense but he has probably peaked when it comes to dynasty value.