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NFL 2023 Draft: Instant Impact Quarterback Risers and Fallers

The top five quarterbacks went off the board in the first two days of the 2023 NFL Draft. Nine quarterbacks were drafted on the final day of the draft. The impact isn't initially seismic, but it could be.

The fantasy football outlook for quarterbacks is dependent on the totality of the draft. And it is good to remember that Russell Wilson was drafted in round three and Tom Brady was drafted in round six. Brock Purdy was the last man drafted last year. There are fantasy-relevant players to be found in the later rounds.

This is an instant reaction to the draft. What quarterbacks are rising in fantasy expectations, and what quarterbacks fantasy value has taken a hit?

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 2023 Quarterback Risers

CJ Stroud, Houston Texans

Houston Texans 2023 Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 2, CJ Stroud, Quarterback
  • Round 1, Pick 3, Will Anderson, Edge
  • Round 2, Pick 62, Juice Scruggs, Offensive Line
  • Round 3, Pick 69, Tank Dell, Wide Receiver
  • Round 4, Pick 109, Dylan Horton, Offensive Line
  • Round 5, Pick 167, Henry To’oTo’o, Linebacker
  • Round 6, Pick 201, Jarrett Patterson, Offensive Line
  • Round 6, Pick 205, Xavier Hutchinson, Wide Receiver

After all the smoke cleared, the Texans did the right thing. They acquired their franchise quarterback. Stroud comes in as the most accurate of the top five quarterbacks. He also has the highest floor of all the quarterbacks in the draft.

In his two seasons at Ohio State University, Stroud finished with 8,123 passing yards, 85 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and a 69.3% completion percentage. It is also noteworthy that his wide receivers in college included Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Marvin Harrison Jr.

In addition to drafting Dell, the Texans' wide receiving room sits with Robert Woods, Noah Brown, John Metchie, and Nico Collins. And then there are the differences in the offensive lines. At Ohio State, Stroud played behind one of the best offensive lines. Last season Texans' offensive line gave up 117 quarterback pressures and 16 sacks.

The cause for redraft concerns besides his rookie status is that Stroud struggles under pressure. Under pressure his completion percentage drops to 41.3% and Pro Football Focus grades him out at 42.0. Compared to his clean pocket 71.7% completion percentage and a 93.4 PFF grade.

The Texans’ offensive line and wide receiving corps are not great, but Stroud has a strong arm, quick release, and can make throws to all levels of the field. The Texans did add Shaq Mason in free agency and picked up multiple offensive linemen in the 2023 NFL Draft.

But Stroud’s fantasy value has a ceiling because of his rookie status, his surrounding cast, and his reluctance to run the ball. His passing ability is the reason to elevate his fantasy stock. It caps his ceiling until his offensive line and wide receivers are vetted.

Luckily, Stroud has a high floor. With the right matchup, he will give you a decent fantasy output in your redraft fantasy leagues. And he is a lock in your dynasty leagues.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens 2023 Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 22, Zay Flowers, Wide Receiver
  • Round 3, Pick 86, Trenton Simpson, Linebacker
  • Round 4, Pick 124, Tavius Robinson, Linebacker
  • Round 5, Pick 157, Kyu Blu Kelly, Cornerback
  • Round 6, Pick 199, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Offensive Tackle
  • Round 7, Pick 229, Andrew Vorhees, Guard

The wait is over. Jackson signed a five-year deal with the Ravens.

The Ravens are ALL IN on Lamar Jackson and ALL IN on surrounding him with weapons. Zay Flowers joins a skill group that includes OBJ, Mark Andrews, Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Nelson Agholor, and Isaiah Likely.

Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) < "href= "https://twitter.com/RGIII/status/1651781461077262336?ref_src=tws "c%5Etfw">April 28, 2023

The Ravens also have a new offensive coordinator, Todd Monken who was recently the offensive coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs. Monken's offensive philosophy has relied on creating space for his offenses to make explosive plays. Last season Georgia converted explosive plays on play-action calls 33% of the time. (The Ravens were 30th in the league with 25 explosive plays).

Look for tight end Mark Andrews to continue making an impact and Isaiah Likely to bring some value. Last season at Georgia, Monken's leading receiver was tight end, Brock Bowers. Bowers finished the season with seven touchdowns on 63 receptions and 942 receiving yards. The number two tight end, Darnell Washington, finished the season with 454 yards, 28 receptions, and two touchdowns.

As for Jackson, Monken has utilized quarterbacks who were far less mobile than Jackson consistently on third downs and in the red zone. Last season quarterback Stetson Bennett had 10 rushing touchdowns which was tied for the team lead.

When Monken was the offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay for the 2018 season the Buccaneers led the league in passing yards and finished third overall in total offense.  In 2019, Monken was in Cleveland. In that season, running back Nick Chubb had 1,494 rushing yards the second-most in the league, and eight touchdowns. Quarterback Baker Mayfield had his career-high 3,827 passing yards and 22 touchdowns.

With Monken’s play calling and an upgraded receiving corps, Jackson's fantasy value rises. Jackson's rushing red zone scoring opportunities should increase, too. Last season he had 18 red zone carries an average of 1.5 per game. And his 27.9% deep ball completion percentage from last year will increase with two more reliable deep ball receivers.

The fact is that Jackson is a top-five redraft quarterback this season. He finished as QB14 last season.

Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts 2023 Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 4, Anthony Richardson, Quarterback
  • Round 2, Pick 44, Julius Brents, Defensive Back
  • Round 3, Pick 79, Josh Downs, Wide Receiver
  • Round 4, Pick 106, Blake Freeland, Offensive Tackle
  • Round 4, Pick 110, Adetomiwa Adebawore, Defensive Line
  • Round 5, Pick 138, Darius Rush, Cornerback
  • Round 5, Pick 158, Daniel Scott, Safety
  • Round 5, Pick 162, Will Mallory, Tight End
  • Round 5, Pick 176, Evan Hull, Running Back
  • Round 6, Pick 211, Titus Leo, Linebacker
  • Round 7, Pick 221, Jaylon Jones, Cornerback
  • Round 7, Pick 236, Jake Witt, Offensive Line

Richardson landed in the best spot for himself, the Colts, and fantasy football leagues. Head coach Shane Steichen is the ultimate "quarterback whisperer." Steichen has coached Philip Rivers, Justin Herbert, and Jalen Hurts to successful seasons.

Richardson is a one-year starter at quarterback, but at his size (6'6", 244 pounds) and his speed, he ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at the combine legitimizing his potential to be the dual-threat quarterback. If Stroud has the highest floor, Richardson has the highest ceiling of the top-five quarterbacks drafted this season.

In addition to Downs, Richardson has Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce in the wide receiver room. Isaiah McKenzie was acquired during free agency. Make no mistake. It is his rushing upside that raises his ceiling.

Richardson showed improvement in his passing game last year. For his collegiate career, he has had only 393 passing attempts. But in his 12 starts last season, he showed improvement. With his first six starts, he tossed five touchdowns and seven interceptions. In his final six games, he had 12 touchdowns and two interceptions. He finished the season with a 53.8% completion percentage.

He is wildly inaccurate in the passing game, but his 656 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns last season are the reason for optimism. Richardson is a legitimate rushing threat under center.


 2023 Quarterback Fallers

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans 2023 Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 11, Peter Skoronski, Guard
  • Round 2, Pick 33, Will Levis, Quarterback
  • Round 3, Pick 81, Tyjae Spears, Running Back
  • Round 5, Pick 147, Josh Whyle, Tight End
  • Round 6, Pick 186, Jaelyn Duncan, Offensive Line
  • Round 7, Pick 228, Colton Dowell, Wide Receiver

Tannehill is in the final year of his contract with the Titans. Last season wasn't a good year for him, even before his season-ending ankle injury. Tannehill averaged 211.3 passing yards and 13.9 points per game. His completion percentage dropped to 65.2% after averaging 67.2% the year before. His touchdown rate dropped from his career high 7.7% in 2019 to 4.0% last season while throwing 13 touchdowns and six interceptions last season.

The Titans are a run-first offense. Last season they averaged 28.6 rushing attempts per game, the 11th most in the league, and only 26.8 passing attempts per game, good for the third-fewest in the league. In 2021 the Titans averaged 32.1 rushing attempts per game, the most in the league. Their passing attempts per game that season were 31.1 ranking them 26th in the league.

The presumed backup last season was Malik Willis. Willis played in eight games. He finished the season with a 50.8% completion percentage and averaged 4.5 yards per passing attempt. So, the Titans moved up in the second round in the 2023 NFL Draft to select quarterback Levis.

The Titans are a franchise that wants to run the ball. They are trying to replace Tannehill without spending excessive draft capital. Willis was acquired in round three last year. The Titans traded picks 90 and 169 to get Willis.

This year they traded their 41st pick, 72nd pick, and a 2024-third round selection to acquire Levis. It all makes sense when you realize we are dealing with a franchise that values the running back more than the quarterback.

Mac Jones, New England Patriots

New England Patriots 2023 Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 17, Christian Gonzalez, Cornerback
  • Round 2, Pick 46, Keion White, Defensive End
  • Round 3, Pick 76, Marte Mapu, Safety
  • Round 4, Pick 107, Jake Andrews, Center
  • Round 4, Pick 112, Chad Ryland, Kicker
  • Round 4, Pick 120, Sidy Sow, Offensive Line
  • Round 5, Pick 144, Atonio Mafi, Guard
  • Round 6, Pick 187, Kayshan Boutte, Wide Receiver

WR room Kayshon Boutte was once considered to be a 1st-round draft pick.

After a brutal injury history and character issues off the field, he fell to New England in the 6th-round.

  • Round 6, Pick 192, Bryce Baringer, Punter
  • Round 6, Pick 210, Demario Douglas, Wide Receiver
  • Round 7, Pick 214, Ameer Speed, Cornerback
  • Round 7, Pick 245, Isaiah Bolden, Cornerback

On the one hand, the talk of the Patriots getting a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft did not materialize. So, is Jones safe in New England? The Patriots did dispense of the Matt Patricia offensive coordinator nonsense. They have hired Bill O'Brien as their offensive coordinator. Maybe there is reason for some optimism for Jones, whose stats took a tumble last season.

Jones's yards per passing attempt went from 7.3 in 2021 to 6.8 last season. He had a 65.2% completion percentage last season compared to 67.6% in his rookie year. His red zone attempts dropped from 74 to 42. Was it the offensive system or Jones?

The 2023 Draft additions did nothing to boost confidence in Jones' supporting casts. In 2023 free agency, the Patriots made lateral moves. They let Jakobi Meyers go but acquired JuJu Smith Schuster. Jonnu Smith is gone, and Mike Gesicki is signed. And they signed running back James Robinson but lost Damien Harris.

Then there are the rumors that head coach Bill Belichick is unhappy with Jones’ production and outbursts. Then there is the possibility that Bailey Zappe beats out Jones in the preseason. In his four games last season, Zappe tossed in five touchdowns, a 70.7% completion percentage, and averaged 8.5 yards per attempt.

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2023 Draft

  • Round 1, Pick 26, Mazi Smith, Defensive Tackle
  • Round 2, Pick 58, Luke Schoonmaker, Tight End
  • Round 3, Pick 90, DeMarvion Overshown, Linebacker
  • Round 4, Pick 129, Villiami Fehoko, Defensive End
  • Round 5, Pick 169, Asim Richards, Offensive Tackle
  • Round 6, Pick 178, Eric Scott, Cornerback
  • Round 6, Pick 212, Deuce Vaughn, Running Back

Prescott will be without his offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. He will be without his "best friend," running back Ezekiel Elliot and he is missing his security blanket in tight end Dalton Schultz.

Head coach Mike McCarthy has publicly stated his desire to run the ball more, which ties in with the Cowboys drafting tight-end Schoonmaker who is known for his run-blocking. And in addition to drafting running back Vaughn, the Cowboys acquired running back Ronald Jones in free agency.

Prescott is falling for a couple of reasons: the change in offensive philosophy is certainly one, but the change in Prescott's play is another. In his first three seasons, Prescott had six rushing touchdowns each season and averaged 300 rushing yards. In his last two seasons, he has had two total rushing touchdowns and has averaged 164 rushing yards.

While his floor remains steady, Prescott's ceiling is lowered. Now that McCarthy will be calling plays and the only legitimate addition to the passing offense has been Brandin Cooks, look for Prescott to average closer to his 16.6 fantasy points per game. Prescott isn't in the elite tier, but he isn't a dumpster fire.

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