Fantasy Football Winners & Losers Following Free Agency, NFL Draft Include Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Terry McLaurin

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Don’t let people tell you otherwise: it’s never too early to talk about fantasy football! Now that free agency and the NFL Draft are done, it’s time to look ahead to the season.

Fantasy Football Winners

Lamar Jackson, Ravens

It’s hard to view Jackson’s offseason as anything but a smashing success. First, and most importantly for him, he got paid. But this is about on-field impact. And Lamar Jackson is better-suited to put up numbers next season.

The Ravens added Odell Beckham in free agency and Zay Flowers in the NFL Draft. That gives Jackson two weapons in the passing game that he didn’t have last season. Now, one could argue that Ravens receivers struggle because of Lamar Jackson. That’s partially true. But when it comes to sheer numbers, having more talent around Jackson makes him more dangerous for fantasy football purposes.

With new weapons in place from free agency and the NFL Draft, Lamar Jackson can push for the #1 spot among quarterbacks for fantasy football in 2023.
With new weapons in place from free agency and the NFL Draft, Lamar Jackson can push for the #1 spot among quarterbacks for fantasy football in 2023. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Josh Allen, Bills

Despite needing help on defense after getting manhandled by the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs, the Bills went out and spent their first two picks on offense. They got arguably the best tight end in the class — Dalton Kincaid — and then used their second-round pick on offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence. Then, they used a fifth-round pick on another wide receiver, Justin Shorter. The team is committed to building around Allen and that’s good news for his fantasy stock.

Geno Smith, Seahawks

Smith isn’t going to be a fantasy football superstar, but he can certainly help a team next year. Not only did Seattle forgo drafting a quarterback, but they used one of their first-round picks on — in my opinion — the best wide receiver in the NFL Draft, Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Now, Smith has DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Smith-Njigba as options in the passing game. They revamped their defense a bit, but they still figure to play in a lot of shootouts.

Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions

Though you can question the Lions selection of Gibbs at #12 overall — I do — you can’t really argue that it’s a great spot for the rookie. Detroit boasted on of the league’s better offenses last year and they cleared the way for Gibbs to have a monster role.

Yes, they signed David Montgomery in free agency. But honestly, how many teams have just one running back these days, anyway? Montgomery’s receiving role diminished over the years in Chicago and expect that to continue. Gibbs is going to be the main pass catcher in the backfield for a high-powered offense. There’s a ton of value in that role for fantasy football.

Quentin Johnston, Chargers

It’s hard to argue any rookie wide receiver benefitted more from his draft position than Johnston. He goes to a team with an elite quarterback and two veteran wide receivers who can’t stay healthy. The path to immediate targets isn’t exactly carved out yet, but trust that Johnston will make an early impact for Los Angeles.

Going to the Los Angeles Chargers in the NFL Draft greatly boosts Quentin Johnston's fantasy football stock.
Going to the Los Angeles Chargers in the NFL Draft greatly boosts Quentin Johnston’s fantasy football stock. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Dave & Buster’s)

Darren Waller, Giants

Waller benefitted greatly from being the Raiders best option in the passing game for a couple years. But, once Davante Adams came to town, it cut into Waller’s work massively. However, he now lands with the Giants who did almost nothing to upgrade their mediocre receiving corps. They did draft Tennessee’ Jalin Hyatt, a speedster on the outside, but he’s not going to be a #1. Waller is option #2 after Saquon Barkley and likely option #1 in the passing game for a quarterback who figures to look for his new tight end a lot.

Fantasy Football Losers

Jordan Love, Packers

It’s hard to see how the Green Bay Packers expect Jordan Love to succeed in his first year as the starter. I, personally, don’t see it with Love anyway, but now he’s got to try and make his way with Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed as his wide receivers. Some nice options, but no guy who makes defensive coordinators sweat.

They continued their trend of not picking offensive players in the first round of the NFL Draft, instead opting for edge rusher Lukas Van Ness. They added Reed in the second round along with tight end Luke Musgrave. But they lost Allen Lazard in free agency and are going to struggle offensively next season.

Derek Carr, Saints

Carr had two legitimate options in the passing game with the Raiders, Davante Adams and Darren Waller. Both are among the best at his position. The Saints have Chris Olave, who is very good but not quite elite, and … well, that’s really it. Who knows what’s going to happen with Michael Thomas, plus Alvin Kamara could be looking at a lengthy suspension from the league. Good luck, Derek.

Matthew Stafford, Rams

Stafford chose to return next season rather than retire. But after looking at the Rams offseason moves, he might want to reconsider. He gets Cooper Kupp back, but the receiver is coming off a major injury. They used three of their first five picks in the NFL Draft on defense and one on quarterback Stetson Bennett. Their offense is an abject disaster bereft of much talent and an aging Stafford doesn’t make it any better. He’s a clear avoid in fantasy football in 2023.

I'm avoiding Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford in fantasy football next season.
I’m avoiding Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford in fantasy football next season. (Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Bijan Robinson, Falcons

I love Bijan Robinson and he’s going to be a productive player. However, I think people will overdraft him in 2023. I can’t see many worse landing spots for the rookie. The Falcons offense stinks because they don’t have a quarterback who scares defenses. And, they have a lot of mouths to feed. They still have Tyler Allgeier, who rushed for 1,000+ yards last season, and Cordarrelle Patterson in the backfield to garner touches. Plus, Drake London and Kyle Pitts need the ball, too. I think Gibbs found himself a much better home than Robinson, and I like Gibbs more in 2023.

Terry McLaurin, Commanders

“Scary Terry” might turn into “Scared Terry.” The Commanders have arguably the league’s worst offense entering next season and are counting on 2022 third-round pick Sam Howell to lead it. Plus, defenses really only have to account for McLaurin. Jahan Dotson is a nice complement, but with a terrible quarterback situation and no major threats to take away attention, McLaurin is going to find tough sledding in 2023.

Mark Andrews, Ravens

This isn’t really a knock on Andrews, who should continue to be productive. But, he’s benefitted a lot from being the only real option in the passing game. Much like Darren Waller saw his production dip when the Raiders brought in more weapons, Andrews likely faces the same fate. The team signed Odell Beckham in free agency and drafted Zay Flowers in the first round. Plus, Rashod Bateman should finally be healthy. Perhaps Andrews benefits from the attention going elsewhere, but I tend to think that it’s going to lead to more limited targets next season.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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