2023 Fantasy Football RB Must Draft List

by Mike Bonni
2023 Fantasy Football RB Must Draft List

Welcome to the 2023 Fantasy Football RB Must Draft List.

And we're back with another installment of the "Must Draft List" series. Today, we are talking about the RBs.

Once again, Christian McCaffrey is back on top. C-Mac is followed by Austin Ekeler, rookie Bijan Robinson, and Saquon Barkley. Everyone mentioned there has a shot at being the No. 1 overall RB, but there is one RB that is going to do it in 2023. The RB I will be mentioning is currently being drafted after these four.

As for the other two RBs, the disrespect is real and I'm here to set the record straight. One has been an RB1 for the past two years, even with a dwindling workload. The other, when healthy, was (easily) out-performing his ADP in 2023.

Keep reading the 2023 Fantasy Football QB Must Draft List to see who I'm talking about.

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2023 Fantasy Football RB Must Draft List

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Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns (RB5)

Sporting an insane 5.2 YPC in his career, first, among active RBs, Nick Chubb is the best pure-runner in the NFL. You can even argue that, in terms of YPC, Chubb is an all-time great RB. Sitting at 5.2 YPC, Chubb is tied for second (w/Jim Brown) all-time.

He set career-highs in carries (302, 3rd), yards (1525, 3rd), total TDs (13, 3rd), and fantasy finish (6th). This was done with very little receiving work (32nd in targets).

If the rumors are true, Nick Chubb could be seeing even more work in the passing game (2.2/game in 2022). Let's just say he gets half of what Kareem Hunt received (in the passing game), you are looking at an extra two + targets. I'm expecting around 4-5 targets/game (68 + targets) and around 50 catches. That's an extra 80+ points (including yards) toward his total finish. Put that into the 2022 season and you are looking at the RB2 (360 Fantasy Points).

If Chubb can put up similar rushing numbers, add on the newfound catching role, and you are looking at a potential RB1 overall. He is the perfect RB1 to take if you went WR in the first round.

Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (RB16)

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Why on earth is Joe Mixon going as RB16? Currently, Joe Mixon is being drafted after Kenneth Walker (uhh what), Jahmyr Gibbs (rookie & in a shared backfield), Travis Etienne (could see fewer touches), and Najee Harris (inefficient & could see fewer touches).

This bugs me, clearly.

I get it, Mixon is inefficient (3.9 YPC in 2022), but he has finished as an RB1 in the past two years. Now, in 2023, Mixon has little to no competition in the backfield, but the ADP is reflecting that. It's very possible (likely actually) that Joe Mixon will shatter his RB16 ADP.

In fact, Mixon finished better than an RB16 in more than half of his games in 2022. He also finished as the RB10 on the year while getting his workload significantly reduced (carries and yards). Expect more carries (slightly) and similar production in the passing game. He was 7th in targets/game (5), fifth in catches (60), and 6th in yards (441).

Joe Mixon will shatter this ADP, make sure you are the one that benefits from this.

Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears (RB39)

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Sitting at RB39, the Khalil Herbert disrespect is real.

In 2022, while healthy (Weeks 1-10), Herbert was the RB23 (averaged 10.7 FPPG, RB32 in FPPG). It's also worth mentioning that he did finish higher than RB39 in 70% of the games in that span.

When given his expected workload for 2023 (10+ carries, 40% + snap share, five games), Herbert averaged 15.9 FPPG. This would rank him as the RB9 (FPPG) in 2022. Clearly, I don't expect those types of numbers but he should be smashing that RB39 ADP.

It's a little concerning that Khalil Herbert is useless in the passing game (sub-1 target/game). Although, he did house a 62-yard TD in preseason (from Justin Fields), so maybe he sees more targets in 2023. This will only help him smash that RB39 ADP.

That should do it for the 2023 Fantasy Football RB Must Draft List. Be sure to check out the WR Must Draft List edition in the coming days.

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