The 2023 NFL season is approaching, and that means it’s time to prepare for your fantasy football draft. What better way to do that than to practice drafting with our free mock draft simulator! Beyond our tools, we’re also going to have you covered throughout the draft prep season with our content.
Knowing who to target is one of the most important aspects of completing a successful fantasy football draft. Sure, there could be ‘value’ that presents itself through the draft, but sometimes there’s a reason a player is ‘falling’ down draft boards. You need to know when to scoop up value and when to move on. Here are a few of my top players to avoid based on price in 2023 fantasy football drafts. And here is the full list of players he’s avoiding entering 2023 fantasy football drafts.
Andrew Erickson’s Players to Avoid (2023 Fantasy Football)
Here are players I’m avoiding in fantasy football drafts.
Michael Pittman (IND) | ECR: WR28, 67th overall
Despite his potential as the projected No. 1 wide receiver for the Colts and his current ECR as the WR28, there are reasons to consider Michael Pittman overrated for the upcoming 2023 fantasy season.
Limited Passing Volume: The Colts’ offense is expected to be run-heavy, which poses a challenge for Pittman’s fantasy production. With a low volume of passing attempts, there may be fewer opportunities for Pittman to accumulate targets and make a significant impact in fantasy. This limitation in passing volume is a considerable concern for his fantasy value.
Uncertainty at Quarterback: The Colts’ quarterback situation is another red flag for Pittman’s fantasy outlook. The likely starter, Anthony Richardson, is a rookie and may not provide the level of accuracy and consistency necessary to fuel Pittman’s success. While spike weeks are possible with Richardson’s big arm and Pittman’s talent — 93% route participation and 27% target share last season — the overall consistency may be lacking, leading to an unpredictable fantasy performance.
Potential Competition: The emergence of second-year wide receiver Alec Pierce adds another layer of uncertainty to Pittman’s role. Pierce, known for his deep-threat abilities, could potentially put up similar production or even share spike weeks with Pittman as a better “fit” with his rookie QB. With a lower ADP than Pittman, Pierce represents a value option for fantasy managers and raises questions about Pittman’s ability to be the sole standout in the Colts’ receiving corps.
Considering these factors, it is reasonable to be skeptical of Michael Pittman’s fantasy outlook for the 2023 season. While he holds the potential to deliver spike weeks if used more downfield — recall that Pittman posted a 10.3 average depth of target (aDOT) as a sophomore when he finished top-20 in yards per route run, PFF receiving grade and total fantasy points scored (half-PPR) — the limitations in sheer passing volume, uncertainty at quarterback, and potential competition from Alec Pierce and/or Josh Downs make it difficult to envision Pittman returning anything more than WR3 fantasy value. He finished as a WR2 or higher in just 33% of his games last season, which was third-worst among top-24 overall scorers.
In Pittman’s draft range, I prefer Mike Williams, Christian Kirk, Brandon Aiyuk, Justin Herbert and Darren Waller.
George Kittle (SF) | ECR: TE4, 50th overall
George Kittle has been a highly regarded tight end in fantasy football, but there are reasons to believe that he may be overrated heading into the 2023 season.
Decreased Yards per Route Run: Kittle had his lowest yards per route run since his rookie season in 2022. This indicates a potential decline in his effectiveness as a receiver and raises concerns about his ability to consistently produce at a high level.
Target Share and Production: Even with Brock Purdy as his quarterback, Kittle still trailed Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk in target share, ranking third in the pecking order (tied with Christian McCaffrey). Without Samuel healthy for four games, Kittle’s fantasy production nearly doubled, with 1.5 receiving TDs per game.
Boom-or-Bust Nature: Kittle’s performance in 2022 was marked by inconsistency. He had six games with fewer than 40 receiving yards, with three of them occurring when Samuel was on the field. However, Kittle did have three games with over 90 receiving yards, mainly when Purdy was at quarterback, and Samuel was absent. His 50% bust rate last season led all tight end scorers inside the top-7 at the position. This volatility makes him a riskier option for fantasy managers.
Target Share and Efficiency: Kittle owned an 8th-ranked 19% target share among all tight ends in 2022 and ranked 13th in target rate per route run at 22%. While these numbers are solid, they don’t necessarily place him in the upper echelon of fantasy tight ends.
Touchdown Regression: Kittle significantly outperformed his expected touchdown total, finishing with 11 touchdowns compared to an expected total of 6.2. This suggests that he may experience a regression in touchdown production in 2023, which could have a negative impact on his fantasy output.
Considering these factors, it’s reasonable to argue that George Kittle is overvalued as the TE4 being drafted around the 50th overall pick. His declining yards per route run, inconsistent performances, and the likelihood of touchdown regression make him a riskier option compared to other tight ends available later in the draft.
In Kittle’s draft range, I prefer Kyle Pitts, Akers, Conner, Godwin, Jeudy, Watson or Ridley.
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