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Fantasy Football: 5 players poised to break out in 2023

2GMKR58 Jacksonville, FL, USA. 19th Sep, 2021. Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (33) runs with the ball during 2nd half NFL football game between the DenverBroncos and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Denver defeated Jacksonville 23-13 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. Romeo T Guzman/CSM/Alamy Live News

  • Javonte Williams should be excellent if healthy: His new head coach Sean Payton has a history of top-five fantasy running backs. Williams should get there eventually, but his health is the big question.
  • Drake London started breaking out with Desmond Ridder: London was among the best fantasy wide receivers at the end of last season and now, he gets a full year with the former Cincinnati quarterback.
  • Dominate your fantasy league in 2023: For up-to-date fantasy draft rankings and projections, check out PFF’s fantasy rankings tool!
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These breakout players are those who have an ADP between 48 and 120  on ESPN who I have ranked notably higher than their ADP, and they have a good chance of producing the best season of their career. For help on draft strategy, rankings or for more details about other players, check out the rest of my summer content below. For rankings with better filtering along with auction values, check out our draft rankings page.

Check out PFF's 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit for even more content to help you dominate your league.

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Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos (ADP: 81.0, From ESPN)

Williams was one of the most electric running backs in the NFL before his ACL and LCL tear.

  • Williams has been excellent in his two seasons at making defenders miss. His 3.8 avoided tackles per game while running over the last two seasons ranks fifth among running backs despite being in a committee nearly every game.
  • Similarly, his 1.25 avoided tacklers on receptions per game ranked sixth last season.
  • In Week 4, Williams played 23 of a possible 25 snaps in the first half, so it seemed like he finally was going to see the playing time fantasy managers were hoping for. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL and LCL on the first offensive play of the second half and missed the rest of the season.
  • He avoided the PUP list to start training camp and was able to play in a preseason game, which is a good sign he will play significantly in Week 1.
  • Some running backs were able to be the same player they once were a year after an ACL tear, but some players needed an extra season of sub-optimal play before rebounding.
  • The Broncos didn’t invest much at running back despite Williams’ injury.
  • Their main free-agent addition at the position was Samaje Perine from the Cincinnati Bengals.
  • His 3.3 rushing yards after contact per attempt over the last two seasons rank 11th-best among running backs with at least 145 carries. Williams is at 3.4, which ranks 10th.
  • Perine is the kind of running back that if Williams is 100% healthy, then Williams can play as many snaps as the Broncos will give him. If Williams is struggling, then Perine can be the starter.
  • Williams could benefit significantly from a new coaching staff and an emphasis on the offensive line.
  • Broncos new head coach Sean Payton was with the New Orleans Saints. The Saints running backs were targeted 2276 times from 2006-2021, which was over 300 times more than any other team.
  • Williams could follow in the footsteps of several past Saints running backs, and finish among the top-five running backs if he is 100% after his injury.

Drake London, Atlanta Falcons (ADP: 87.1)


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