With just a month to go until the NFL Draft, it is time to sharpen the focus on the most important position in football and work out who are the quarterbacks we should be targeting for fantasy football.
Below I have my updated top 10 quarterbacks in this 2023 rookie class and where I have them for fantasy football purposes right now. So, without further ado, here are my top ten quarterbacks in the 2023 rookie draft class.
2023 Rookie Quarterback Rankings (2023 Fantasy Football)
1. C.J. Stroud (Ohio State) – Tier 1
There is no doubt that C.J. Stroud is the most pro-ready quarterback in this class. He also comes with a decent ceiling. In the last two years, he has thrown 85 touchdown passes to just 12 interceptions. He was also completing almost 70% of his passes (69.3%) and was on target with over 65% of his passes when throwing over 10 yards and outside the numbers. These statistics put him near the top or at the top of the entire draft class.
Some fantasy players will be worried about his lack of rushing. And it is true; Stroud does not scramble all that much. In the past two seasons, he has only attempted 34 scrambles. This is considerably less than Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson. However, what he lacks in rushing upside, he more than makes up for by getting the ball downfield, making plays, being accurate, and not turning the ball over. In these areas, Stroud will rise to the cream of this class and become a reliable and useful fantasy option for years to come.
2. Bryce Young (Alabama) – Tier 1
Bryce Young was the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner, and although he didn’t get shortlisted as a finalist in 2022, he ended up having a highly productive year. His touchdown rate of 14.9% leads the entire rookie class by some distance. Young has also shown that he not only can handle pressure but that he likes to be pressured. His 7.8 yards per attempt under pressure were second in this year’s draft class.
There is also a rushing upside with Young. In the last two years, he has scrambled for almost 600 yards. So while he isn’t in the Anthony Richardson league when it comes to rushing upside, it is still a nice safety net of points that cannot be ignored.
The two concerns with Young are his physical attributes and his passing downfield. Young measured 5-foot-10 at the Combine and a very generous 204 pounds. That puts him at the bottom of the scale when it comes to starting quarterbacks in the league. As for passing downfield, there is some concern that Young will be weak in this area. In 2022 only three quarterbacks in this class had a lower completion rate than Young’s 39.6% when throwing over 10 yards outside the numbers.
Nevertheless, he has demonstrated he is an elite quarterback prospect ready for the NFL. And he will perform for you in fantasy football as well.
3. Anthony Richardson (Florida) – Tier 2
Richardson was the Scouting Combine darling in 2023. He broke a lot of athletic testing metrics and came out looking like a superstar waiting to emerge. There are already comparisons to Cam Newton, who went first overall in 2011 due to his size and Combine performance.
However, we should hold our horses slightly. Richardson started just 15 games in his collegiate career, and his passing stats are below average. His career completion percentage is 54.7%, with just 24 passing touchdowns and 15 interceptions. These numbers get even worse when you focus on him in the red zone. In 2022, Richardson went just 18-40 in the red zone (45%), the lowest of all the 2023 quarterback class.
Richardson’s passing concerns cannot be overlooked here. However, neither can his rushing upside and athletic ability. There is no doubt that Richardson will need a lot of coaching and nurturing. However, if he lands in the right spot, then we could be looking at someone who should have gone first overall in this draft when we look back in five to six years. All in all, he is a project and a gamble. However, he could be one worth taking for both a real NFL team and also for fantasy football managers.
4. Will Levis (Kentucky) – Tier 3
Levis comes into this draft process as a look back to how traditional scouts liked their quarterbacks. Levis comes in at 6-foot-4 and 229 pounds with a cannon for an arm.
The issue with Levis is he has yet to produce anything other than mediocre performances in his collegiate career. These physical gifts are rarely displayed on his tape. He is also approaching his year 24 season, which is old to start learning the pro game. Levis also only threw 19 touchdowns in 11 games in 2022, with 10 interceptions. Also, his performance fell off a cliff when he played Power five schools vs. when he didn’t.
According to Sharp Football Analysis, his completion percentage dropped from 69.4% against non-Power five schools to 64.2% against Power five schools. Also, his touchdown rate almost halved from 10.2% against non-Power five schools to just 5.3% against Power five schools. Levis was also sacked on 30.4% of his pressures, which is over double anyone else mentioned so far. There were far too many negative plays in his game last year and throughout his collegiate career.
Levis has all the traits and attributes to succeed in the NFL. However, he needs to be developed and is considered a greater risk compared to those mentioned so far. Therefore, he should not be in the conversation for a first-round pick in a 1QB rookie draft.
5. Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) – Tier 3
Hooker comes into this draft process as one of the oldest prospects we have seen at the position in the 21st century. Hooker graduated before the 2022 college season began and received a special dispensation to play as a graduate. At 25, Hooker is already older than several starting NFL quarterbacks. This is a significant concern considering how long it takes for a quarterback to get up to speed in the NFL. He is also coming off an ACL injury he sustained in December, which will mean limited practice in rookie camp and probably preseason.
The plus points to Hooker are that he has already worked out who he is and many of his mistakes. Hooker threw just five interceptions in the previous two seasons, with a respectable 58 touchdowns. He also completed 66.9% of his passes. He is an accurate passer who will follow a coach’s script to the best of his ability.
However, Hooker is just a pocket passer system quarterback. And, for fantasy football, these players are rarely successful. With Hooker unlikely to win a starting job in camp due to his injury and recovery, and with his age profile and lack of passing attempts outside of the pocket, with a lack of rushing ability, there is very little to hang your hat on when looking at Hooker as a quarterback to draft in your 1QB rookie drafts this season.
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Adam Murfet is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Murf, check out his archive and follow him @Murf_NFL.