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Fantasy Football: How 2023 NFL Draft's wide receiver class stacks up using key stable metrics

Sat., Jan. 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) races to the end zone for a touchdown during the second quarter of the 108th Rose Bowl Game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl. Rose Bowl Game Ohio State Buckeyes Against Utah Utes

• An elite 2021 season boosts Ohio State’s star to the top: Jaxon Smith-Njigba puts up dominant numbers across the board despite missing most of 2022 with injuries.

• Former Biletnikoff winner shows well: Jordan Addison played in two different systems and at two different positions and consistently posted top marks in key metrics.

• Oklahoma’s big-play sleeper: Marvin Mims posted strong metrics all around but none better than as a big-play threat, making him a potential deep fantasy option.

Estimated Reading Time: 13 mins

NFL draft season is well underway, and there are plenty of fantasy football general managers who are building their rookie draft boards for dynasty purposes. Utilizing all information available is going to be key in building those draft boards, and looking at how each position stacks up against one another from an analytics standpoint is just one of the many tools to consider during the evaluation process. This series focuses purely on the key stable metrics that translate more often than not from college to the NFL.

A few notes about how this series will work:

  • Rankings are based entirely on how these players performed in PFF’s stable metrics over the past two seasons.
  • Athletic ability and size are not taken into account for this process. Again, this is just one of many evaluation tools to consider.
  • This list includes the top 25 players at their respective position based on Mike Renner’s PFF big board but does not give any weight to projected draft capital or the ranking in order to stack the class up in a nonpartisan manner.

Top 10 2023 WR prospects in PFF receiving grade since 2021

Player Receiving Grade Receiving Snaps
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State 91.0 454
Xavier Hutchinson, Iowa State 90.7 861
Nathaniel Dell, Houston 90.5 1,063
Jordan Addison, USC 90.3 901
Josh Downs, North Carolina 90.0 994
A.T. Perry, Wake Forest 89.0 967
Rashee Rice, SMU 88.8 809
Andrei Iosivas, Princeton 87.2 658
Parker Washington, Penn State 84.5 727
Charlie Jones, Purdue 81.5 816

Jaxon Smith-Njigba played just three games in 2022 due to injuries, which makes his huge 2021 season the greatest contributing factor to his rankings in these stable metrics. Fortunately for him, that 2021 season was so dominant that he still figures to be one of the top receiving options off the board come April’s draft. He posted nearly 1,600 receiving yards and nine touchdowns while earning a 91.9 receiving grade on 112 targets in 2021

Xavier Hutchinson doesn’t have the best measurables or testing results among this year’s wide receiver class but was among the most productive players at his position over the past two seasons, which helps land him a top receiving grade. He consistently improved his receiving grade and production over three years at Iowa State, culminating in a 1,171-receiving-yard season, which ranked inside the top 10 in the country in 2022.

Houston’s Nathaniel Dell led the FBS in receiving yards (1,399) and receiving touchdowns (17) in 2022, making him one of the most productive receivers in this class. His 1,328 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 2021 help reassure potential fantasy managers that his production is no fluke, as he consistently dominated the Group of Five, despite his small size.

Top 10 2023 WR prospects in PFF receiving grade vs. single coverage since 2021


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