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NFL Draft Fantasy Recap: Day 3

By Doug Orth | 5/2/23 |

For the last day of the draft, the focus will be on the players that appear to have a faint or better fantasy value in 2023 or 2024.

4.13 - RB Roschon Johnson, Bears

Team Fit: There is a good chance Johnson was drafted to be the successor to D'Onta Foreman, who signed a one-year contract in free agency, in 2024. Johnson offers considerably more as a receiver than Foreman and could theoretically challenge Khalil Herbert for work on passing downs - specifically as a blocker. In my tape review of him, I saw a player in the Samaje Perine/Jamaal Williams mold who breaks tackles and can set a physical tone for an offense that wants to pound the ball. As a former highly accomplished high school quarterback, Johnson also could offer Chicago some trick-play value as well

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Considering how dynamic Herbert is and given the fact Foreman is coming off a productive season in which he proved he could handle a heavy rushing load, the odds are slim that Johnson will be relevant in 2023. As noted earlier, he may end up replacing Foreman and filling that pounder/goal-line role in 2024.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

4.29 - WR Charlie Jones, Bengals

Team Fit: No receiver from this draft class is going to replace Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins or Tyler Boyd. With that said, Cincinnati has some potentially tough decisions ahead with Higgins and Boyd in the final year of their contracts. Jones should offer some value as a punt returner this season and is likely being earmarked to replace Boyd as the primary slot receiver in 2024, although Trenton Irwin did impress with his limited snaps last year.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Chase missed four games due to injury last season and Higgins left a couple early, so it is not out of the realm of possibility that Cincy's fourth receiver could be a viable option at some point. Jones obviously does not need to be on a fantasy roster to begin the season, but any decent receiver that has Joe Burrow throwing him the ball is worth monitoring.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

4.31 - WR Tyler Scott, Bears

Team Fit: Chicago acquired DJ Moore from Carolina to give its receiving corps an alpha receiver, leaving the holdovers (Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool) in their proper spots as complementary wideouts. The depth is still lacking, and that is where Scott comes in. At worst, Scott likely enters the season as a situational deep threat. If Claypool struggles to play up to his talent level again in 2023, then Scott could overtake him in three-wide sets (or replace Mooney if he gets hurt). Even if Mooney and Claypool stay on the field all year, both players are due to hit free agency at the end of the season.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Equanimeous St. Brown and Dante Pettis should not offer a great deal of resistance to Scott's ability to be the top backup in Chicago. However, it may be a tall order for Justin Fields to make anyone outside of Moore, Cole Kmet and maybe Mooney consistently usable in fantasy for at least one more year.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

5.08 - RB Israel Abanikanda, Jets

Team Fit: Abanikanda was one of the youngest prospects in the draft (won't turn 21 until October) and is an amazing athlete, so there is certainly a chance he ends up taking over as the long-term backup for Breece Hall. Abanikanda ran a 4.41 and recorded jumps of 41 inches (vertical) and 10' 8" (broad) at 216 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, so he brings feature-back size and high-end athleticism to the table. His immediate goal will be to bump Zonovan Knight and/or Ty Johnson off the roster since it seems unlikely Michael Carter will lose his spot.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Abanikanda seems likely to take over as the primary handcuff for Hall sooner than later. The Pitt product should also be drafted in fantasy now considering Hall is still recovering from his knee injury. Given how good the Jets should be this season, Abanikanda should be on the overwhelming majority of rosters even after Hall returns - assuming he ends up being the clear backup.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

Chase Brown

5.28 - RB Chase Brown, Bengals

Team Fit: Brown walks into a running back room that lost dependable veteran Samaje Perine in free agency. Cincinnati is also dealing with Joe Mixon's questionable legal status - not to mention his declining efficiency in recent years. The Bengals talked up Trayveon Williams' improvement before the draft, but he is a four-year veteran with 55 total touches over 34 career games. Chris Evans has been even less involved during his time in the Queen City, earning a meager 38 touches in two seasons. Brown was insanely productive in his lone season as the featured back at Illinois and tested extremely well at the Combine (4.43, 40-inch vertical, 10' 7" broad), so he should have a relatively easy path to winning the backup job. Of course, that assumes Mixon is still with the team - the combination of his legal status and 2023 cap hit ($12.8 million) may be too much for the Bengals to swallow.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Brown should be considered the heavy favorite to handle the same role Perine did in recent years despite the fact they are very different players. The difference with Brown is that he joins the team at a time when Mixon is in decline. Brown is a more capable receiver now than when Perine signed with the Bengals and much more explosive. Brown is worth investing in even if Mixon avoids legal trouble because he should see 5-8 touches/week. Cincinnati has long preferred relying on one back and Brown will almost certainly be that person in a great offense if/when Mixon misses time. In short, Brown should be considered a solid RB5 and needs to be drafted in most leagues.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

5.37 - RB Eric Gray, Giants

Team Fit: Daniel Jones was easily the team's second-leading rusher in 2022. While running Jones more often than previous regimes did was a smart move, the Giants probably do not want him to handle 120 carries again. Matt Brieda remains the primary backup running back behind Saquon Barkley but should probably be the team's third back. At the very least, Gray adds a bit of a pass-catching element to the backfield - something neither Brieda nor Gary Brightwell do as well.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Gray's immediate value would be little more than the likely lead back in a committee with Brieda and/or Brightwell if Barkley misses time. With that said, the 2022 season was the first time in four years that Barkley played more than 13 games. Gray does not need to be selected in redraft, however.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

5.41 - RB Evan Hull, Colts

Team Fit: There is no question Jonathan Taylor will carry the load for the foreseeable future on all downs, but new HC Shane Steichen has typically kept a second back reasonably - if not highly - involved in the passing game throughout his years as an offensive coordinator (Austin Ekeler and Kenneth Gainwell). Hull gets a mention here because he was handpicked by the new regime. Deon Jackson and Zack Moss were not. Expect Jackson and Hull to battle for the aforementioned passing-down role in camp this summer.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Likely not much, as Taylor has a firm grasp of his job and Hull will need to fight just to beat out Jackson. However, Indy will likely throw the ball a fair amount in a rebuilding year. It should not come as a surprise if Hull (or Jackson) handles a fair amount of those opportunities to keep Taylor fresh and his touches within reason for when the team is ready to compete again. Hull will likely only be relevant in 2023 if Taylor struggles with injuries as he did last year.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

5.42 - WR Puka Nacua, Rams

Team Fit: The Rams have Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson and a whole lot of unproven players after that, so the depth chart is wide open for someone like Nacua to steal some snaps. Ben Skowronek was forced into more action than he should have seen last season, yet he is a projected starter right now. Nacua should not have too much of a problem moving ahead of him at some point early in the season, which would keep Tutu Atwell in the field-stretching role for which he is most suited.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? The only reason Nacua gets a mention here is that he stands a great chance to become a starter on a team that will likely throw the ball a lot this season. Nacua is like just about every other player in this article in that he will not need to be drafted in most redraft leagues.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

6.10 - WR Kayshon Boutte, Patriots

Team Fit: Boutte had the look of a future first-round pick before the start of the 2022 season, but the new Brian Kelly-led coaching staff and QB Jayden Daniels seemed to prefer Malik Nabers much more. Working in Boutte's favor with this landing spot is that Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker are set to become free agents at the end of the season. Working against him is the fact that Boutte's best position is the one that the Patriots just paid JuJu Smith-Schuster $25.5 million over three years to fill - the slot. Tyquan Thornton also flashed a bit last year and will probably start the season ahead of Boutte.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Boutte receives a mention only because he was considered such a top prospect less than a year ago. If he can find that form again (two ankle surgeries could have slowed him and his on-again, off-again beef with Kelly may have contributed to him not being a happy camper in 2022), he could force his way onto the field. It is a long shot, however. He does not need to be drafted.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

6.16 - RB Chris Rodriguez Jr., Commanders

Team Fit: Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson are locked in as the top two backs on the depth chart, so the only way Rodriguez is going to see the field for more than a handful of snaps is if Robinson goes down. Given Robinson's physical running style, it is not out of the question that this happens, but Rodriguez is not the kind of prospect that should be considered a threat to overtake Robinson or Gibson.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Rodriguez should be considered as nothing more than Robinson's potential handcuff. Even if Robinson gets hurt, Rodriguez may not see a sizable increase in touches as Washington could opt to increase Gibson's workload if Robinson is only expected to miss a game or two. Ignore Rodriguez in redraft.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

6.20 - WR Elijah Higgins, Dolphins

Team Fit: Higgins was announced as a wide receiver during the draft, but HC Mike McDaniel suggested afterward that he will be moved to tight end. Assuming that is the case, the 6-3 and 235-pounder with 4.54 speed only needs to prove he can offer the team more in the passing game than Durham Smythe or Eric Saubert. That is a low bar to cross considering Smythe has 88 career catches in five seasons and Saubert has 33 over six. The Dolphins likely hope Higgins can replace the production Mike Gesicki leaves behind (32 catches for 362 yards and five TDs in 2022), but that likely represents his ceiling since Miami will continue to run its passing game through Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle for the foreseeable future.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? For fantasy purposes, managers need to pay attention whenever a receiver moves to tight end. With that said, Higgins faces the steep learning curve that comes along with a position switch in an offense that already has two certified studs catching the ball. While there is a small chance Higgins is worth rostering late this season, he should be of much more interest to managers in dynasty leagues.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

6.28 - WR Xavier Hutchinson, Texans

Team Fit: Houston is expected to roll out Nico Collins, Robert Woods and John Metchie as its top three receivers in 2023. While none of those players figures to be alphas anytime soon, they present enough of an obstacle to keep Hutchinson on the sidelines to begin the season. Hutchinson's most likely role in the NFL is as a slot, but Metchie and Tank Dell figure to have that spot secure for now. If the Texans choose to keep Hutchinson outside, his main competition for a backup spot will be Noah Brown.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Hutchinson tallied 107 catches for Iowa State last year, so it would be wrong to assume he will not eventually force his way into the lineup in Houston despite a relatively modest athletic profile. With that said, there is not enough upside to chase here - especially with a rookie quarterback like C.J. Stroud getting the nod - and too much competition to overcome this season.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

6.35 - RB Deuce Vaughn, Cowboys

Team Fit: Much of Vaughn's 2023 role figures to rely on the Cowboys' decision to bring back Ezekiel Elliott or not. That is not to say Elliott and Vaughn are similar players - they are not - but a Zeke-less offense would likely open up at least 10 touches per game for either Vaughn or Malik Davis. Tony Pollard may be in line for the heaviest workload of his career in 2023, but Dallas probably will not feature him. Davis will be the favorite to handle the Elliott role early this season if Zeke doesn't return, but that does not mean the 5-5, 179-pound Vaughn will not be involved. Vaughn could overtake Davis even though the former's game is much more like Pollard's. Looking more long-term, Vaughn's selection may also be insurance for the Cowboys if Pollard does not sign a long-term extension this summer.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Vaughn's size (179 pounds) almost guarantees he will not see more than 10 touches in a game, but it would be a mistake to bet against him given how much of a workload he handled across three years at Kansas State (651 carries and 116 receptions). Vaughn is a good enough player that Dallas could be convinced to roll with Pollard as the starter and run similar plays for Vaughn when Pollard needs a break - as opposed to using Davis as a 207-pound hammer. Vaughn is worth adding to watch lists in redraft leagues, but he should go undrafted in most of them unless he blows up in training camp.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

6.38 - RB Zach Evans, Rams

Team Fit: Los Angeles has Cam Akers, Kyren Williams and little else at running back, meaning a former five-star recruit like Evans has a great shot to make a mark as a rookie despite being a late sixth-round pick. Although Akers finished 2022 on a high note and the Rams improved their line with the selection of OG Steve Avilla in the draft, the jury remains out on whether Akers is going to be the rare Achilles success story. Williams is a quality receiver that Los Angeles likes on passing downs, but it would be a stretch to say he is a quality second-string NFL running back. Evans offers more burst and acceleration than his new teammates and profiles as a much more likely candidate to be a primary back than Williams should Akers get hurt.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? HC Sean McVay seemed open to the idea of featuring Akers in 2023 at the end of last year. While that is still likely the case now, Evans runs with enough physicality and explosiveness that he could force his way onto the field. He should be considered the overwhelming favorite to serve as Akers' handcuff.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

7.03 - TE Zack Kuntz, Jets

Team Fit: Kuntz will be given a chance in New York, if only because there are just not many people that have ever walked this Earth who are 6-7 and 255 pounds and also possess 34-inch arms, run a 4.55 in the 40, jump 40 inches vertically and post a 10' 8" broad jump. Perhaps the Jets try to develop him on the practice squad for this year, but there is a reasonable chance he replaces C.J. Uzomah, who is set to count $11.2 million against the cap in 2024.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Tyler Conklin seemed to solidify himself as the top tight end in New York last year. The arrival of Aaron Rodgers would seem to lock Conklin into a similar snap share this year. With that said, Rodgers could easily push for a freakish athlete like Kuntz at some point. Again, like most of the players in this article, his chances of contributing much in 2023 are slim.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

7.05 - RB DeWayne McBride, Vikings (Draft Profile)

Team Fit: The Vikings' running back room appears to be crowded now, but the Dalvin Cook trade/cut rumors have been circulating for a while. If Cook is not on the roster at the start of the season, Alexander Mattison would seem to be in line for a sizable workload, but that should not be considered a given. The fact that McBride was drafted in the seventh round would suggest his odds of beating out Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler are long, but McBride is a natural zone runner and possesses some of the best contact balance of any back in this draft. Where McBride falls short is ball security and in the passing game, the latter of which is a big deal on a team that is throwing the ball more now under HC Kevin O'Connell than it ever did under former HC Mike Zimmer.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Excluding Cook, McBride is the best pure runner on the Vikings' roster. He is probably also the most powerful, which opens the door for him to be a goal-line option on a high-scoring offense. McBride's shortcomings in the passing game will force him to show out in a big way during the preseason if he wants to make the roster - and that assumes Cook is gone. If that happens, McBride could be worth adding as a lottery ticket early in the season.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

7.11 - WR Colton Dowell, Titans

Team Fit: The only reason Dowell gets a mention here is that the Titans are expected to rely heavily on Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Kyle Philips when they use three-wide packages. Philips impressed last summer and again in Week 1 before he was lost for the season due to injury in Week 5. He flashed enough to be considered a decent slot option. Westbrook-Ikhine has performed well on occasion but is more of a depth piece than a regular starter. Dowell is intriguing from the standpoint that he is 6-3 and 212-pound player and tested incredibly well at the Combine (4.42 speed, 41 1/2" vertical and 11' 1" broad). Unsurprisingly, Dowell proved to be a good contested-catch receiver at UT Martin.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? Considering how free-agent addition Chris Moore played with the Texans at the end of last season, he could be the favorite to log snaps on the outside opposite Treylon Burks. However, do not discount Dowell's odds of making some noise early in the season.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

7.24 - RB Kenny McIntosh, Seahawks

Team Fit: McIntosh's production at Georgia is part of what makes him noteworthy here, as he and Evan Hull were the only two players in the country to amass 500 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in 2022. According to Pro Football Focus, he is also the only running back since PFF started charting such things in 2014 to attract at least 75 targets and not record a drop. That last nugget alone makes him a threat to DeeJay Dallas' roster spot, which could give him an avenue to earn passing-down reps over Kenneth Walker and Zach Charbonnet.

What does it mean in redraft (12 teams)? It has been a while since Seattle had a third-down back type that was worth rostering in fantasy. That seems unlikely to change now, especially since the Seahawks have two quality backs, including one in Charbonnet who is a capable receiver. With that said, the selection of Jaxon Smith-Njigba hints at a team that might be opening its mind to using more three-wide sets and passing more often. If that ends up being the case, McIntosh could see enough third-down work to be on the fringe of fantasy relevancy in very deep leagues.

Where should I expect him to go in my rookie drafts? Check back on the website next week.

Undrafted free agents of note (signings current as of May 1):

Malik Cunningham, Patriots

Running Backs
Mohamed Ibrahim, Lions
Sean Tucker, Bucs
Hassan Hall, Browns
Keaton Mitchell, Ravens

Wide Receivers
Malik Heath, Packers
Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Giants
Matt Landers, Seahawks
Kearis Jackson, Titans

Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today's Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today's hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, including Sirius XM's "Fantasy Drive". Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.