Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: League-winning wide receivers for 2023 drafts

2M1CYYJ Santa Clara, USA. 11th Dec, 2022. Dec 11, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) runs for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-Image of Sport Photo via Credit: Newscom/Alamy Live News

Amon-Ra St. Brown has room to grow as a receiver: St. Brown has made his name catching short passes and defenders players miss, but he’s now looking to become a deep threat, too.

Don’t count Keenan Allen out: Allen is 31 years old, and the Los Angeles Chargers added a first-round wide receiver via the draft, but he was a top-five fantasy wide receiver when healthy last season and could benefit from playing under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Fantasy draft approaching? Use PFF’s AI-powered fantasy mock draft simulator to fine-tune your draft strategy and dominate your 2023 fantasy football league.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

These league-winners are being drafted within the first four rounds of ESPN fantasy drafts, but I have them ranked notably higher than their ADP.

For help with sleepers, draft strategy, rankings or for more details about the players, check out the rest of my summer content below. For better filtering of the rankings along with auction values, check out our draft rankings page.

Player Profiles | Depth Charts | 10 tips to win | Undervalued | Overvalued | 500 Stats
Rankings: PPR | Half-PPR | Standard | Superflex | Best Ball
Dynasty Rankings: PPR | Rookie | Superflex | Superflex Rookie
Position Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE
Sleepers: Top-10 | QB | RB | WR | TE
League Winners: Top-5 | QB | RB | WR | TE
Breakouts: Top-5 | QB | RB | WR | TE
Position Draft Strategy: QB | RB | WR | TE

 16-Team Draft Strategy: Overall strategy

 14-Team Draft Strategy: Overall strategy
12-Team Draft Strategy: Overall strategy | Picks 1-3 | Picks 4-6 | Picks 7-9 | Picks 10-12
10-Team Draft Strategy: Overall strategy | Picks 1-3 | Picks 4-7 | Picks 8-10

Preseason Recaps:  Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Hall of Fame Game

Live Draft Assistant

Subscribe Button

Last updated: 7:15 a.m. Friday, September 1

Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions (ADP: 21.7, ESPN)

St. Brown is an underrated pass-catching machine.

  • St. Brown’s rookie season started slowly but ended in the best way possible. He caught at least eight passes and racked up 70-plus yards in each of the last six games, scoring a touchdown in five of those contests. 
  • He ranked second in fantasy points over that stretch, averaging 25.2 points per game.
  • He followed that up with an even more impressive 2022 campaign, as his 90.4 receiving grade ranked third among wide receivers last season.
  • He was targeted on 28.8% of his routes and caught a pass on 21.9% of his routes, both of which ranked second at the position last season. His 0.53 receiving PPR points per route run ranked fourth.
  • The Lions no longer have T.J. Hockenson, D.J. Chark or D’Andre Swift — three of the Lions' highest-graded receivers last season. So, this passing game will rely even more on St. Brown this season.
  • He received plenty of praise in camp and is looking to expand his route tree by becoming more of a deep threat this season. This development would allow him to have more huge games rather than just consistently good ones.
  • The only problem is St. Brown ran the 43rd-most routes last season, at 483.
  • The Lions invested a lot at running back this offseason, drafting Jahmyr Gibbs and adding David Montgomery in free agency. If anything, Detroit will be getting the ball more to running backs — not less.
  • If the Lions end up increasing how much they pass the ball, St. Brown has a chance at being the overall WR1.

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (ADP: 42.4)

Despite his age, Allen remains one of the most effective receivers in the NFL.

  • Allen hasn't graded as highly as he did during his peak from 2017-2018, but he’s continued to grade very well and posted an 84.4 mark last season.
  • He has run 37.9 routes per game since 2020, third among the 148 wide receivers who have played at least 25 games in that span. 
  • He’s maintained a high reception rate despite the large sample, as he's come down with the ball on 17.9% of his routes to rank sixth at his position.
  • He's generated 9.3 targets and 6.8 receptions per game, fourth and third among wideouts, respectively.
  • His success continued into 2022 despite the Chargers' down season. His 150.3 PPR points from Weeks 11-18 in 2022 ranked third among wide receivers.
  • Kellen Moore now comes in as his offensive coordinator. Moore's offense in Dallas threw to the slot more frequently than the Chargers have in recent seasons, which could lead to more targets for Allen.
  • Allen has been Justin Herbert’s favorite target when there is no pressure, and his target share sees a significant drop when there is pressure. And Los Angeles’ offensive line should be even better this season — Rashawn Slater will return and Jamaree Salyer will be moved to guard.
  • Allen was WR3 over the last eight weeks, and there is reason to believe he can improve on that this season.
  • The main concern for Allen outside his age was the addition of Quentin Johnston, but the rookie appears to be fourth on the depth chart to start the season. Even when Johnston becomes a starter, that shouldn’t stop Allen from seeing a very high percentage of targets.

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers (ADP: 35.8)

Samuel remains an incredibly unique wide receiver with top-five potential.

  • Samuel finished the 2021 season as WR3. He averaged a whopping 21.2 PPR points per game.
  • He was one of the league's most productive pass-catchers over the first half of the season, posting games of 189, 171 and 156 yards over the first eight weeks.
  • The 49ers began using him less in the passing game and more in the run game over the second half of the season, and he averaged 6.2 yards per carry while taking at least five handoffs per game.
  • Samuel was a top-five fantasy option regardless of how the 49ers used him.
  • He was off to a slower start in 2022 and was WR11 over the first seven weeks. He then suffered an injury, played on a limited basis and missed more time with injury.
  • He has the potential to rebound in a big way now that he is fully healthy.
  • The 49ers added Christian McCaffrey, who could cut into Samuel’s targets and carries. However, at times, Samuel still ran the ball four-plus times a game when both he and McCaffrey were playing.
  • Samuel still led all wide receivers in carries, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns last season despite missing time with injury. Curtis Samuel was the only other wide receiver anywhere close.
  • His unique ability to gain production as a rusher gives him the potential no other wide receiver has. If he starts racking up 150-plus-yard games every once in a while to go along with his rushing production, he could reach WR1 status.


Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit