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Fantasy Football: One player to avoid in each round of drafts in 2023

2K9YTDT Houston, Texas, USA. Houston, Texas, USA. 30th Oct, 2022. Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) carries the ball upfield during the first quarter the game between the Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX on October 30, 2022. (Credit Image: © Erik Williams/ZUMA Press Wire) Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Live News

Austin Ekeler is due for regression: The Chargers running back is being drafted as a top-five pick in 2023, but changes to the offense could set fantasy managers up for disappointment.

• Fantasy managers will need to pass up on talent at other positions to draft Joe Burrow: With Burrow currently being selected in the third round, fantasy managers are forced to pass up talent that can give them a more significant edge at other positions when drafting him.

Dominate your fantasy league in 2023: For up-to-date fantasy draft rankings and projections, check out PFF’s fantasy rankings tool!

Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes

Less than two weeks out from the NFL’s 2023 regular season kickoff, fantasy football drafts are officially in full swing. Average draft position (ADP) can be a helpful guide to assessing player value, but it can also be a bit of a trap if relied upon too heavily during drafts.

Here’s one pick to avoid in every round of your fantasy football drafts in 2023. Consensus ADP comes courtesy of FantasyPros, with draft data averaged from ESPN, Sleeper and RealTime Fantasy.

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Round 1: RB Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers | ADP 1.04 (RB2)

As much as Ekeler has done for the fantasy community, it’s time to acknowledge the elephant in the room. That would be his ADP as the fourth overall player off the board in PPR leagues. Though he’s finished as a top-two running back in each of the past two seasons, he’s a screaming regression candidate in terms of his touchdown production and target share ahead of the 2023 season.

Since 2021, Ekeler’s 221 targets rank 23rd among all NFL players, regardless of position, leading all running backs by a whopping 54-target margin. That hasn’t been a good thing for the Chargers' offense, however, with Herbert 7.7-yard aDOT standing as the fifth lowest among quarterbacks with at least 500 dropbacks over the past two seasons. For what Herbert’s gained from the dink-and-dunk game with just a 1.6% turnover-worthy play rate, it’s also limited the offense, having ranked fourth among quarterbacks in that span with the most throws behind the line of scrimmage.

This offseason, the team hired former Cowboys coordinator Kellen Moore, who is likely set to revamp this offense to further emphasize Herbert’s skills down the field, rather than the safety of passing around the line of scrimmage. Using their 2023 first-round pick on wide receiver Quentin Johnston only emphasizes that further.


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