The excitement of the NFL offseason has tapered down somewhat with the conclusion of the NFL Draft and with most free agents having signed with their teams. The summer months give fans a chance to reassess how rosters look heading into the next campaign, and also give folks a chance to gauge the value of NFL players from a different lens.
Fantasy football drafts take centerstage throughout August, and the NFL will be welcoming a new crop of talented players from college. We’ll take a closer look at three first-year NFL players who could make a big difference on the field and on your fantasy football roster.
It’s clear that sports betting enthusiasts are already having a field day trying to determine which rookie is going to be the most impactful in the 2023 NFL season. There was a lot of talent taken at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft, but it seems like one player has a unique chance to light up the scoreboard this season.
The Atlanta Falcons selected University of Texas running back Bijan Robinson with the eighth overall pick, which is a clear sign of the confidence they have in his ability. Robinson has been touted as one of the best backfield prospects in several years. The Falcons have already said that they plan to use Robinson all over the formation, which bodes well for his opportunity to catch passes and add fantasy value that way.
Additionally, the Falcons’ depth chart at running back was amongst the most meager in the league, so Robinson shouldn’t face any significant competition for touches.
Even though the NFL has largely moved away from investing significant capital at running back, the Detroit Lions scooped up a backfield player of their own at 12, drafting Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs. This was an interesting selection from Detroit, considering that incumbent D’Andre Swift was still on the team.
However, the team would move Swift to the Philadelphia Eagles later during the draft. Having already lost Jamaal Williams to the New Orleans Saints in free agency, the Lions completely remade their backfield in the offseason. Detroit also brought in David Montgomery, formerly of the Bears.
Even though many didn’t peg the Lions as a run heavy team heading into the 2022 season, they fed their backs the ball, especially when they got into the red zone. It’s going to be interesting to see if Gibbs will get goal line work as a rookie, or whether those chances will be ceded to Montgomery.
The first overall pick in the draft was made by the Carolina Panthers, and they used it on quarterback Bryce Young. Questions surrounding his size swirled before the draft, but there’s no questioning his ability. Young will look to make a name for himself right away, even though the team signed veteran quarterback Andy Dalton this offseason.
Carolina is looking to build its receiving corps back up after recent trades of D.J. Moore and pass catcher extraordinaire Christian McCaffery. This means that Young may need to advance the sticks with his legs as a rookie, which is something that translates into strong fantasy production.