2023 Fantasy Football WR Do Not Draft List

by Mike Bonni
2023 Fantasy Football WR Do Not Draft List

Welcome to the 2023 Fantasy Football WR Do Not Draft List.

We are back for another edition of the 'Do Not Draft List' series of articles. Today, the wide receivers are taking front and center. Make sure you check out my quarterback and running back lists too!

In the past few years, wide receivers have taken over the crown as the most important Fantasy Football position. This makes sense when you realize how much talent is out there at the WR position. We are looking at, quite possibly, the greatest influx of talent at a position we have ever seen - Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, A.J. Brown, Devonta Smith, D.K. Metcalf, CeeDee Lamb, Garrett Wilson and others have come into the league (recently) and dominated.

With even more talent on the way (Marvin Harrison Jr, Emika Egbuka, and Xavier Worthy), the wide receiver position won't be dying down anytime soon.

It's the position everyone has been waiting for, the cream of the crop of the Fantasy Football world, and the position that can win you your league!

But, like every position in Fantasy Football, there have to be players that you shouldn't be drafting. This is where I step in. Let's jump right into the 2023 Fantasy Football WR Do Not Draft List, shall we?

2023 Fantasy Football WR Do Not Draft List

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Both of these wide receivers, although talented, have a lot of question marks surrounding them.

Are they even the number one option on their team (Deebo)?

Will Anthony Richardson help, or hinder his Fantasy production (Pittman)?

Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers (WR16)

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Why is Deebo Samuel going as WR16? And why is he going 12 spots before Brandon Aiyuk (WR28)?

With Brock Purdy starting, Deebo Samuel was no longer the top option. During those six games, Samuel averaged six targerts per game while Brandon Aiyuk averaged 6.7 targets. Obviously, that is not a huge difference, the difference lies in how they are used in the red zone. Deebo Samuel is not a touchdown threat (in the air) as he only averages three receiving touchdowns per year (0.24 TD%). Meanwhile, Aiyuk (0.39 TD%) averages six a year (including 8 in 2022).

Other glaring red flags include finishing as a WR1 just once in 2022, three games as WR2 or better (23%), and eight games outside of the top-24 WRs (62%).

Deebo Samuel (2022 season) experienced career lows in yards per game (48.6), yards per reception (11.3), catch% (59.6%), aDOT (6.7), and was used less in the run-game (22.8 to 17.8 yards/game). I think it's time to realize that the 2021 season, where he finished as WR3, was an outlier for Deebo Samuel (77-1405-6, 18.2 YPR, 59-365-8).

Long story short, Deebo Samuel shouldn't be going as WR16. The fact he is being selected over the likes of Keenan Allen, Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, and countless others is bugging me. He should be getting drafted near Brandon Aiyuk (WR28).

Michael Pittman, WR, Indianapolis Colts (WR27)

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If you have read the previous articles, you may be thinking that I'm picking on the Colts. Well, you're right.

They're being valued too high for me to draft. This includes "star WR" Michael Pittman.

Talk about a disappointing 2022 for people who drafted Michael Pittman. I'm guessing you drafted him around the WR10-15 range, right? Well, to those that drafted him (me), we got hosed.

Michael Pittman finished as the WR20, but boy did it feel worse than that. That's because it was. There were six games where Pittman finished outside of the top 40 WRs. Chances are you started him during those weeks too.

Although he garnered an excellent amount of targets (141, 11th in NFL) and catches (99, 8th in NFL), he failed to find the end zone often (four touchdowns). Don't expect this TD total to go much higher (0.24 TD% in his career), if at all with Richardson at the helm.

With Richardson's accuracy issues in the short/intermediate range, which is where Pittman excels (6.56 aDOT, 9.34 YPC according to Player Profiler), expect the targets and catches to come down as well.

Please, for your sake, draft any of these players I'm about to name instead - Tyler Lockett, Christian Kirk, Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and even Jahan Dotson (spoiler alert for must-draft WR).

*By the way, to answer the question from the start: Yes, A-Rich will hinder Pittman's Fantasy production .*

It's Called Cheating

You saw that right, there are only two players in the "2023 Fantasy Football WR Do Not Draft List" portion. This is because the third player I'm going to go over is a personal favorite of mine, but there are huge red flags surrounding him. With that being said, I will be cheating on this portion of the article.

I'm not saying do not draft this player, not even a little bit. What I am going to do is say that he is one of the riskiest picks you can make in the first few rounds. Tread carefully.

This player's name is...

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (WR13)

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I (absolutely) love the player, the situation he is in, and pretty much everything about him. Unfortunately, all that love isn't translating into Fantasy Football success for Tee Higgins (like we want it to for him).

Tee Higgins' highest fantasy finish is WR18 (2022), which is five spots lower than where he is currently being drafted (WR13). You are drafting him at his highest ceiling possible, which is something to avoid.

There is no reason he should be going ahead of Keenan Allen (8.9 targets per game) and Devonta Smith (8). Dare I say Amari Cooper (7.7), as well? All three will out-target Higgins (7.3), which they have/will continue to do.

It's also worth mentioning that Tee Higgins sported a sub-20% target share in 2022, clocking in at 18.6%. 41st in the NFL, according to Player Profiler. All three mentioned above, clocking in at a 22% or greater target share.

He was also lower than all three in Fantasy Points per game. Tee Higgins averaged 13.1, which was good enough for 26th.

Now what about the other three?

  • Keenan Allen - 16.4
  • Devonta Smith - 15.0
  • Amari Cooper 14.5

Tee Higgins is a mid-WR2 that needs touchdowns to boost his Fantasy output. As TLC said, don't go (Ja'Marr) chasing touchdowns.

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