2023 Fantasy Football Players to Fade

A Round-By-Round Breakdown

by Joe Bond
2023 Fantasy Football Players to Fade

It is that time. Time for those last Fantasy Football drafts before the season begins. We've got your rankings, cheat sheet and much more ready for you to use. But I'm about to dive players to fade this 2023 fantasy football season.

I'm going to go round-by-round, for the first 10 rounds and let you know the player that I would fade at their current ADP. I'm using half-PPR consensus ADP that you can find over at FantasyPros as a reference for this.

Now let me explain what I mean by players to fade. This does not mean, do not draft them at any cost. What I mean is I'm not drafting them at their current cost. Sure if somebody drops a full round or two the risk of taking them has all but vanished. However, it is super unlikely that happens, so it is very likely that I have zero shares of these players after my drafts are over.

2023 Fantasy Football Players to Fade

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Round 1: Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

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Don't get me wrong, I really like Travis Kelce as a player and think he will be the TE1 again. This is more of a roster construction decision than anything.

For me passing on an elite running back or wide receiver when I need to start two or three of each is hard to do.

I get the argument and have made it myself a few times. The positional advantage you get by drafting Kelce is huge. Let's look into that just a bit more though. We know that in 2022 he scored about 100 more points than the next tight end. By drafting him in the first round you are banking on him doing something close to this again. I highly doubt it happens.

In his run of being TE1 four of the last five years, exception last year of course, he has never outscored the next best TE by more than 35 points (half-PPR scoring). I'm not going to knock you for drafting Kelce in the first round, but its not for me and how I like to build my teams.

Round 2: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

I was shocked to see an ADP of the beginning of Round 2 for Mahomes. We all know Mahomes is special, but I'm not taking a quarterback this early.

On the F6P Hour Podcast, we have had this argument about the top quarterbacks distancing themselves from the pack a bit, but this is too early.

It is the same argument as for Kelce. You really put yourself behind the eight-ball with the positions you need to start multiple of. There is also going to be a couple of quarterbacks that will rise to the top this season and help close that gap. Trevor Lawrence is one that comes to mind immediately.

One other argument for not drafting Mahomes as the QB1 and especially this early. Do you know the last time a quarterback finished QB1 two seasons in a row? Daunte Culpepper in 2003 and 2004.

Round 3: Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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I'll be honest I had a tough time finding a Round 3 player I really wanted to fade. In all honesty its any quarterback, but I didn't want to be boring and talk about just QB and TE the rest of the way.

I choose Harris because he is currently going at the very beginning of Round 3. This is ahead of other backs I would prefer to have, including Joe Mixon and Rhamondre Stevenson.

Harris should get a healthy workload this year, but I do think we see a bit more Jaylen Warren this season too, which limits his upside a bit. It is no secret that Harris is not the most efficient runner, averaging 3.8 yards per carry over his career. So if he loses even just 15% of his workload to Warren that concerns me at this cost.

Round 4: Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers

I honestly want nothing to do with Deebo this season and so far have zero shares of him on my teams. One of the reasons we liked Deebo last year is because he was being used heavily in both the passing and running game. But that changed last season for a couple of reasons.

First, Brandon Aiyuk stepped up and became a real threat for this team taking away some targets for Deebo. Second, the 49ers traded for Christian McCaffrey. Once that happened Deebo did not see the work in the running game that propelled him to a WR2 finish in 2021.

Round 5: Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Commanders

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One of my rules in fantasy drafts is do not draft already injured players, especially early in drafts. Round 5 is still early enough that I want nothing to do with Terry McLaurin, who is currently dealing with turf toe.

Now some of the Fantasy Drs. on Twitter are saying its only a 3-4 week injury and there is even a small chance he plays Week 1. However, some of those same people are saying this injury can linger and we have seen that in the past for many players that get turf toe. He might be a trade target for me after the first few weeks of the season, but he could hinder your early season success if you draft him here as your likely WR2.

Round 5: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos

I'm giving you a bonus on here, because its another injury concern and just something I'm not feeling taking the risk on. Jeudy injured his hamstring in practice and was not able to walk on it at all. This is a big red flag for me in drafts. There is a chance we don't see Jeudy until Week 4.

Even then you don't typically see players return from hamstring injuries play at 100% of their ability right away. So even if he does return in Week 4, we might not get 100% Jeudy until Week 5 or even Week 6. I'm more out on Jeudy than I am McLaurin for what its worth.

Round 6: Dalvin Cook, RB, New York Jets

Cook is getting a lot of helium after signing with the Jets. I think early on the pick will pay off early in the season as there is a lot of speculation that Breece Hall will take a bit of a backseat to Cook. This is in part because he is returning from an ACL injury suffered last season.

I think at some point though we see Hall take this backfield over or at the very least make it way more of a 50-50 split, maybe even 60-40 in favor of Hall. If they preserve Hall early on his legs will be much fresher down the stretch. On the flip side Cook, already getting up there in age for running back and has a lot of mileage will start to wear down. We already started seeing signs of this last year in Minnesota where his efficiency started to drop off in the later part of the season.

Round 7: Michael Pittman, WR, Indianapolis Colts

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This one is easy. I want absolutely nothing to do with the Colts this year. Not Pittman, not Anthony Richardson not anyone. There was some intrigue before when they would have their full compliment of players, but with Jonathan Taylor starting the season on the PUP and your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not he returns at all for this team, I'm just out.

You're going to tell me a rookie quarterback, who had question marks coming into the NFL Draft about his accuracy and decision-making, is going to be able to get the ball consistently enough to Pittman. All without their best player, Taylor, and a lack of other weapons on the team. Hard pass for me.

Round 8: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Seattle Seahawks

JSN is interesting. I love the talent, but hate the landing spot. It is going to be hard for him get enough of a target share to be fantasy relevant most weeks sitting behind D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

Add in the fact that broke his wrist a short time ago and the reward is not worth the price you are paying for him at this point. I know, he is already back at practice catching passes, but it seems very unlikely they will risk the future health of their rookie receiver by putting him on the field in Week 1, taking hits on that wrist.

Round 9: Rashaad Penny, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

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Penny has the opportunity to be the true lead back on the Eagles offense. We know he can be a great runner... when healthy. And there is problem No. 1 for him, health.

Problem No. 2 is there is going to be a lot of competition in this backfield with D'Andre Swift and Kenneth Gainwell. Both of those guys hurt his upside because I think they will be the primary pass-catchers. So in any PPR format he loses a bit of value in drafts.

I have drafted Penny, but it was over a full round past his ADP. I was light on running backs and thought at that point I would take the chance that he gets the majority of the backfield carries.

Round 10: Damien Harris, RB, Buffalo Bills

I have no interest in Damien Harris this season. Its simple, the Bills do not utilize their running backs enough for me. Especially the backup running back.

You might look at the number of rushing attempts and think that they run the ball quite a bit. Remember that Josh Allen accounts for over 120 of those the last two seasons. He also will run the ball quite a bit in the redzone, especially at the goalline. Just last year he had 26 attempts in the redzone. No other running back other than Devin Singletary had more than Allen. What is even a more eye-popping stat is Allen had more rushes from inside the 5, than any other running back on the Bills. I really don't see this changing.

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