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Fantasy Football Keepers, Sleepers, And Trade Targets: Wide Receivers

Donovan Peoples-Jones - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

As we are already peering ahead to next season, this fantasy football feature takes a look at the top positional players to hold onto in your keeper and dynasty leagues, while also recommending some trade targets in those types of formats. I also include tips from 2023 yearly league perspectives where applicable.

Yes, it is early in the 2023 fantasy football offseason, but dedicated fantasy players are always staying busy with player plans for the next season. This is especially true in dynasty formats such as the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC), where you may have a dynasty team or can purchase an existing team and rework or rebuild it as a fun challenge.

In the keepers section, I highlight guys you may want to hold onto in keeper and dynasty leagues, as they could be headed for breakout or better campaigns in 2023, and can also exceed ADP expectations in yearly leagues. Sleepers are potential players to perform above expectations in all formats, and trade targets are good dynasty types to acquire. Free agency and player movement considerations are heavily taken into account where applicable.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Keepers

Jerry Jeudy: It is quite possible that we have not seen the best of Jeudy just yet. Despite the struggles of Russell Wilson, Jeudy nearly had 1,000 receiving yards and six TD receptions while averaging 14.5 yards per catch. Sean Payton can revitalize the Denver passing game at least to the point of respectability, and if he does, Jeudy could come through with a true breakout season in 2023.

Treylon Burks: Injuries limited Burks to 11 games last season, yet we did see flashes of why the Titans drafted him in the first round in 2022, too. He had a seven-reception, 111-yard outing in Week 11, and four catches for 70 yards the following week. Year two should be more prolific for Burks, who was drafted to replace A.J. Brown. He should play a large role in the Tennessee offense in 2023.

Rashod Bateman: We all know that the Ravens remain desperate for quality WR play, which is what Bateman provided in the first three weeks of the 2022 season before injuries derailed the rest of his campaign. He had two TDs and a 108-yard game in the first three weeks of last season.

Even if the Ravens acquire or draft another notable WR, Bateman could still be a premier offensive piece for Baltimore in 2023.

Tyler Lockett: He will turn 31 in late September, so some fantasy players may start expecting a bit of a downturn in production from Lockett. But as the late, great Mike Tagliere of FantasyPros used to point out in his annual studies, most WRs do not significantly decline until age 33 or 34.

Lockett is the only WR in the NFL to catch eight-plus TDs in each of the last five seasons and he should continue to be a very good fantasy WR2 in 2023. In dynasty leagues, you still want to win now, and can likely get two more satisfying seasons from Lockett.

 

Sleepers

Donovan Peoples-Jones: We should see more of the “real” Deshaun Watson in 2023 with a full preseason with the Browns. Peoples-Jones may become a favorite target on downfield throws. The fourth-year WR is a sizable playmaker who has averaged 16 yards per reception in his career. Peoples-Jones is a potential upside wideout heading into the 2023 campaign.

Rondale Moore: Moore played respectably enough from Weeks 4 through 11 last season before a groin injury shelved him for good. DeAndre Hopkins is expected to be traded, so Moore might be ticketed for a primary role in the Arizona passing game.

Moore averaged almost seven yards after the catch per reception last season. He can be a good chain-mover in the Cardinals' passing game even if Kyler Murray misses any time.

Alec Pierce: We only saw occasional glimpses of Pierce’s promise in 2022. He did average 14.5 yards per reception. If the Colts do draft a top rookie QB in the first round as many expect, Pierce may become a top target for the team’s new passer. Some continuity at QB for Indianapolis can unlock Pierce as a big guy who has the ability to deliver both timely catches and splash plays.

Tyquan Thornton: He is a risk, but with some promise as the Patriots try to get the offense functioning properly in 2023. Thornton is a durability concern, but he was also the fastest man at last year’s Scouting Combine.

A collarbone issue stunted his development as a rookie, but Thornton is a dynamic speed merchant who could become more of a frequent playmaker for the WR-needy Patriots this season.

 

Trade Targets

Christian Kirk: Calvin Ridley is expected to return to action with the Jaguars this season, and some fantasy players who roster Kirk may fear that his production will take a notable hit. But the presence of Ridley could actually help Kirk to keep producing well, as he will no longer be regarded as the No. 1 WR to contain defensively.

In 2022, Kirk finished as WR12 overall and he averaged 14.2 PPR points per game. I would only expect a minor fall-off, which would still position him as a good fantasy WR2

Elijah Moore: All the hype at WR surrounds Garrett Wilson in New York, yet Moore might make a lot of noise himself in 2023. The Jets will move to upgrade the QB position, and when they do, we might frequently see the version of Moore that showed a lot of potential as a rookie in 2021. Moore had five TD receptions in his final five games played in 2021.

Darnell Mooney: Entering the 2022 season, Mooney was a fantasy favorite to take his production to higher levels, but he turned out to be a big disappointment before his season ended due to an ankle injury. Chicago may bring in another significant WR to operate as a true No. 1 wideout, and Mooney can potentially rebound as a more comfortable No. 2 guy. It won’t take much to acquire him.

Skyy Moore: The Chiefs may lose JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman to free agency, and they cannot rely on Kadarius Toney to stay healthy or Marquez Valdes-Scantling to produce consistently. We did not see much production from Moore in his rookie year, but Patrick Mahomes can elevate his outlook in the second season.

Moore was drafted in the second round in 2022, so he may get a real opportunity to vault upward on the Kansas City depth chart in 2023.

Scott Engel's fantasy and betting analysis is also featured at The Game Day.



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