The NFL Draft wrapped up on Saturday. Day 3 success stories are few and far between — especially when we’re just looking at QB/RB/WR/TE — so the overwhelming majority of fantasy contributors get selected on either Thursday or Friday. We already detailed our expectations for the rookies selected in Round 1, so let’s now take a look at what we’re projecting (and our rationale) for the most fantasy-relevant players picked in Rounds 2 and 3.
WILL LEVIS, TITANS
Projection: 119.7 completions on 280.6 attempts for 2,034.3 yards, 11.5 TDs, and 7.9 interceptions. 32.0 carries for 143.8 yards and 1.4 TDs.
- A polarizing prospect with prototypical NFL size — he’s nearly 6-foot-4 and weighs 229 pounds — and arm strength, Levis threw 24 touchdowns (and ran for more than 400 yards) and led Kentucky to a 10-3 campaign in 2021. The Rams then hired his offensive coordinator Liam Coen to be their offensive coordinator and the Wildcats took a major step back, knocking Levis’ stock from potential No. 1 pick to falling out of Round 1. He’s 23 years old and lacks the statistical profile of Young and Stroud in this class, but he was also on a worse team and we’ve seen NFL teams maximize more traits-based guys before (with Josh Allen as the classic example). Levis boasts a solid ceiling but may take some time to put it together as an NFL quarterback.
- The Malik Willis experiment was a failure for the Titans in 2022, and Tennessee immediately reinvested in the position by trading up for Levis in Round 2. If Ryan Tannehill remains on the team, he may open the season as the starter, but the Titans don’t have championship aspirations this year and will likely see what they have in their rookie gunslinger at some point in 2023. He’s no more than a best ball QB3 because of playing-time concerns and the fact that he’s a second-round rookie, but we expect to see Levis sometime during the season.
ZACH CHARBONNET, SEAHAWKS
Projection: 114.2 carries for 465.2 yards and 3.2 TDs. 27.0 catches on 35.6 targets for 215.2 yards and 0.9 TDs.
- The consensus RB3 in the 2023 class with two years of dual-threat production at UCLA, Charbonnet is an NFL-ready prospect with impressive ability at 6-foot, 214 pounds. He averaged 7.0 yards per carry in his final season with the Bruins and nabbed an impressive 37 balls. His athleticism is in the average to slightly above-average range, but that’s good enough considering how much he produced over his final two collegiate seasons. He’s capable as both a pass catcher and blocker and boasts three-down upside at the next level.
- Kenneth Walker was an Offensive Rookie of the Year runner-up last year and should have an iron clasp on the RB1 job. That leaves Charbonnet in a change-of-pace role in Year 1, so it’s an interesting decision by the Seahawks to spend a second-round pick on the UCLA product. Charbonnet does have elite contingency upside if something happens to Walker, and he could fill the third-down role since he has more of a pass-catching pedigree than Walker. Round 2 draft capital is a high price to pay for an RB if they’re simply in a breather-back role, so maybe Charbonnet has a real impact on Walker’s workload. But for now, we are assuming he’s simply a complementary back with elite upside if Walker gets hurt.
KENDRE MILLER, SAINTS
Projection: 72.2 carries for 293.1 yards and 2.0 TDs. 19.6 catches on 26.2 targets for 156.9 yards and 0.7 TDs.
- Miller has long-term upside if Alvin Kamara is gone from New Orleans after the season, but he could also hold some fantasy appeal in 2023 if Kamara gets suspended. Jamaal Williams will be the RB1 for the Saints if Kamara isn’t allowed to play, especially considering Kamara’s suspension would likely be at the start of the season when rookies typically get a smaller workload. With that being said, the Saints prefer using two backs and Williams is average at best as a pass catcher, so Miller could factor in as a nice complementary piece during Kamara’s hypothetical suspension. The Saints have a crowded backfield when Kamara is available, but Miller could be a fun piece if either Kamara or Williams misses time and/or Miller earns a role with good play during a potential Kamara suspension.
TYJAE SPEARS, TITANS
Projection: 61.5 carries for 258.1 yards and 1.7 TDs. 21.5 catches on 29.2 targets for 171.9 yards and 0.7 TDs.
- There have been trade rumors surrounding Derrick Henry, and a Henry trade would shoot Spears’ ADP immediately into the single-digit rounds. For now, we are assuming Spears — who caught 41 passes over his final two years at Tulane — will fulfill the Dontrell Hilliard role for Tennessee. That means Spears has some pass-catching intrigue in PPR formats, but he’s unlikely to be usable on a weekly basis unless something happens to Henry. It’s worth tracking beat writer reports over the summer to gauge whether the Titans will lean on Spears heavily if Henry goes down or if 2022 fourth-round pick Hassan Haskins would also be a major factor.
DEVON ACHANE, DOLPHINS
Projection: 109.2 carries for 502.4 yards and 3.4 TDs. 32.4 catches on 43.3 targets for 260.5 yards and 1.2 TDs.
- At just 5-foot-9, 188 pounds with 4.32 speed, Achane doesn’t project as a workhorse at the next level, but he doesn’t need to fill that role to be fantasy-relevant. The Texas A&M product caught 60 passes over his final two years in college and possesses the skill set necessary to fill a complementary pass-catching role at the next level. He’ll be more relevant in PPR formats since he will likely never possess an elite rushing volume ceiling.
- Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson may get more carries, but neither player excels as a receiver. That’s an area where Achane could come in and have a role immediately. Again, he likely lacks three-down upside even if Mostert and/or Wilson get hurt because of his size, but Achane could be fun as a rookie on a high-octane Miami offense.
TANK BIGSBY, JAGUARS
Projection: 85.5 carries for 348.3 yards and 2.4 TDs. 19.5 catches on 26.1 targets for 155.9 yards and 0.7 TDs.
- Bigsby is a strong receiver who caught 51 passes over his final two years at Auburn, displaying impressive pass-catching competency for a 210-pound running back. He can immediately complement Travis Etienne for the Jaguars after Etienne caught just 35 balls in his first professional season despite being touted as a hybrid option entering the 2022 campaign. With that being said, Jacksonville threw to their running backs just 14.4% of the time last season, the fifth-lowest mark in the league.
- This likely signals the end of any Snoop Conner optimism, as the Jaguars signed D’Ernest Johnson early in the offseason and now spent a Day 2 pick on Bigsby. Bigsby should be considered the favorite over JaMycal Hasty for the ETN handcuff role and boasts legitimate contingent upside as a result. Bigsby likely isn’t a real threat to Etienne’s role — rather it’s more of a death blow to the other backup RBs in JAX — but he’s a viable late-round flier on account of his three-down profile and upside in the event of an Etienne injury.
JONATHAN MINGO, PANTHERS
Projection: 38.7 catches on 65.3 targets for 498.3 yards and 2.8 TDs.
- An elite physical specimen at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds with a 4.46-second 40-yard dash, Mingo is among the best in the 2023 class athletically. Mingo has risen sharply throughout the draft process, beginning the offseason as a Day 3 pick before shooting all the way up to the second-round conversation. He wasn’t a huge producer at Ole Miss, although he spent his first two years behind Elijah Moore and struggled through injuries as a junior. In 2022, Mingo fell just short of a 30% receiving yards market share. Despite never breaking out in college, Mingo’s athleticism paired with his improvement in production year over year inspires hope that he can become a major contributor in the NFL.
- Mingo can slide in as a big slot between D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen for the Panthers, although Terrace Marshall, Laviska Shenault, and Shi Smith might push the rookie for snaps, especially early in the season. Still, Round 2 draft capital is no joke for a wide receiver, and we expect Mingo to earn a major role sooner rather than later. With Bryce Young at the helm, the Carolina offense actually has some upside in 2023. Thielen’s yards per route run metric has dropped in five consecutive seasons — including an awful 1.08 mark last year — so Mingo could usurp him and claim the WR2 role by midseason. There is legitimate target upside for the former Ole Miss Rebel as a rookie.
JAYDEN REED, PACKERS
Projection: 40.7 catches on 70.1 targets for 525.0 yards and 3.1 TDs.
- Reed was uber-productive during his four years in college, posting 797 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman at Western Michigan before transferring to Michigan State for his final three years of school. The former Spartan is capable of playing both inside and outside and also handled kick and punt return duties throughout his college career. He ran a respectable 4.45-second 40-yard dash at 187 pounds at the NFL Combine.
- Reed lands in an ideal spot for immediate playing time with the Packers. Green Bay’s wide receiver depth chart is extremely thin behind Christian Watson, as Romeo Doubs struggled with efficiency throughout his rookie season and their WR3 before Friday night was Samori Toure. This whole passing offense is a huge question mark with Jordan Love entering his first season as a starter, but Reed has fantasy relevance simply because he should be a Week 1 starter. If Love pans out, Reed could flirt with weekly flex status or better.
RASHEE RICE, CHIEFS
Projection: 29.2 catches on 49.1 targets for 382.5 yards and 2.5 TDs.
- The Chiefs don’t have a great wide receiver corps, but we’ve seen them take it slow with Mecole Hardman and Skyy Moore within the past few years. Rice had an electric senior campaign, posting 96 catches for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final season with SMU. He didn’t officially break out (above a 30% Dominator Rating) until his final season with the Mustangs, which led our Anthony Amico to rank him 13th among rookie wideouts in our pre-draft dynasty rookie rankings. Four-year prospects who don’t break out until their senior season have not fared well historically, but there’s no denying it’s the perfect landing spot for Rice.
- Rice primarily plays outside where he’ll have to compete with Kadarius Toney and Marquez Valdes-Scantling for targets rather than Skyy Moore and Richie James. With Patrick Mahomes at the helm, there is upside for Rice if he carves out a significant role, but we are in wait-and-see mode on how much he’ll see the field as a rookie. It’ll be important to monitor reports during the summer to gauge Rice’s fantasy value. For now, we’re erring on the conservative side.
MARVIN MIMS, BRONCOS
Projection: 28.5 catches on 50.4 targets for 410.2 yards and 2.2 TDs.
- 5-foot-11 and 183 pounds, Mims isn’t the biggest guy in the world, but he might be the best big-play threat of anyone in this class. Mims posted consecutive seasons with at least 20 yards per reception at Oklahoma — including a staggering 22.0 figure as a sophomore — and went 54-1,083-6 in his final season in Norman. He posted a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, corroborating the highlights demonstrating him blowing past defenders for chunk play after chunk play. Mims can contribute immediately in the NFL as a deep threat.
- The Broncos have a crowded wide receiver depth chart with Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick, but Mims should rotate in given his unique field-stretching ability. The elephant in the room is that Jeudy and Sutton have been the subject of trade rumors over the past year, but right now the Broncos don’t appear on the verge of moving either. If they were to trade one of those guys, Mims’ ADP would soar; he’s nothing more than a late-round dart throw for now. We are erring on the conservative side with the Oklahoma speedster at the moment, putting him behind Patrick in base target share and fantasy rankings, but we did give Mims a big ceiling case.
JALIN HYATT, GIANTS
Projection: 28.1 catches on 49.2 targets for 415.6 yards and 2.3 TDs.
- A skinny 176-pound blazer, Hyatt averaged an enormous 18.9 yards per reception in his final season at Tennessee. He had a quiet start to his college career, accumulating just 41 catches over his first two seasons, but Hyatt really came into his own as a junior. He torched Alabama for 207 yards and five touchdowns and recorded 15 total receiving TDs during his final season in Knoxville. Hyatt can contribute to a professional franchise from Day 1 as a downfield speed threat.
- Hyatt went later than expected in the NFL Draft, but he goes to a Giants team that is lacking weapons at the wide receiver position. Hyatt only has one year of high-level production, but he will play right away on a team that currently has Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, and Parris Campbell as the best veteran WRs. New York likely hopes Hyatt and Wan’Dale Robinson are the future of the wide receiver position, so we expect Hyatt to begin as at least a rotational player immediately and then potentially expand his role depending on how well he plays. The Giants still want to pound the rock with Saquon Barkley and get Barkley and Darren Waller involved in the passing game, so Hyatt likely won’t be a weekly fantasy starter as a rookie, but the path to immediate playing time is there.
CEDRIC TILLMAN, BROWNS
Projection: 22.9 catches on 38.9 targets for 296.9 yards and 1.8 TDs.
- Tillman stands 6-foot-3, 214 pounds and runs a respectable 4.54 40-yard dash. That physical profile stands out in a class full of smaller receivers. Tillman also had a standout junior season at Tennessee with more than 1,000 yards (on 16.9 yards per reception) and 12 touchdowns before an ankle injury kept him to just six games in his final season with the Volunteers. Tillman was clearly playing at less than full strength for part of last season, but his combination of size and athleticism paired with his production as a junior makes him an intriguing fantasy option pending Day 2 draft capital.
- Unfortunately, Tillman has a rocky path to targets in Year 1. Amari Cooper is entrenched as the WR1 for Cleveland and Donovan Peoples-Jones is coming off a strong season, so Tillman will likely rotate in behind them as the backup outside WR3. Elijah Moore should man the slot after coming over from the Jets and 2022 third-round pick David Bell will back him up after a fairly uninspiring rookie season. Tillman could eat into DPJ’s role as the season progresses and he has some contingent upside if either Cooper or DPJ gets hurt, but expectations should be tempered for the Tennessee product in Year 1.
JOSH DOWNS, COLTS
Projection: 31.0 catches on 50.0 targets for 398.5 yards and 2.1 TDs.
- Downs is a smaller receiver at just 5-foot-9 and 171 pounds and he lacks high-end speed (4.48 40-yard dash), but he was incredibly productive during his three seasons at North Carolina. Downs actually recorded a 31% Dominator Rating as a true freshman, although he played just four games. He then followed that up with a 35% DR as a sophomore before notching a 34% mark in his final season with the Tar Heels. Downs possesses great agility and has legitimate PPR upside in the NFL despite his diminutive size.
- Downs is a great fit with the Colts and could push Isaiah McKenzie for slot snaps right away. His college production bodes well for his chances of sticking around in the league, and Indianapolis has no commitment to McKenzie beyond this year. Downs may not be a Week 1 starter, although we expect this to be a legitimate battle throughout camp, and Downs very well could be the Week 1 starter. On a team that will eventually turn to Anthony Richardson and likely treat this as a rebuilding year, Downs could be a major contributor down the stretch in 2023.
SAM LAPORTA, LIONS
Projection: 32.9 catches on 50.3 targets for 359.1 yards and 2.7 TDs.
- LaPorta was the bright spot in an otherwise abysmal Iowa passing offense. He controlled 35% of the Hawkeyes’ receiving yards as a senior after posting a 27% mark as a junior. He’s also a strong athlete who ran a 4.59 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Day 2 TEs are rarely a good bet for fantasy purposes in Year 1, but LaPorta has long-term intrigue given his pass-catching profile.
- LaPorta will join Brock Wright, James Mitchell, and Shane Zylstra on a desolate Lions TE depth chart. He has a real shot to start in Week 1 considering earlier-than-expected draft capital and a lack of competition, but we aren’t expecting LaPorta to be a top-20 tight end right off the bat. Detroit threw to tight ends just 16.7% of the time last year, 27th in the league, and non-Day 1 tight ends have a precarious track record. Still, he could carve out a significant role by the second half of the year, so we don’t mind him as a dart throw in the final rounds of best ball formats. It’ll be worth monitoring training camp reports here to see whether he’s going to be the clear TE1 or if this will be a committee. If it’s the former, he could rise into fringe TE1 territory.
MICHAEL MAYER, RAIDERS
Projection: 25.8 catches on 39.2 targets for 281.5 yards and 2.1 TDs.
- Mayer has been on the NFL radar since he was a freshman at Notre Dame and unsurprisingly lands in the early second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He’s not incredibly athletic with a 4.7-second 40-yard dash and a below-average vertical jump, but he had a 26% receiving yards market share as a sophomore before topping that figure with 34% in 2022. He also managed to be productive as a true freshman, an impressive feat given he was playing alongside future third-round NFL draft pick Tommy Tremble in the Fighting Irish offense. Pro Football Focus noted he lined up in the slot nearly half the time as a junior, illustrating the versatility that makes him so enticing to professional franchises.
- Mayer will likely split time with Austin Hooper in a committee approach for the Raiders in 2023. Hooper is on a one-year deal and will enter unrestricted free agency next spring, so the path for Mayer to earn the TE1 gig is wide open long term. The track record of second-round TEs isn’t great in their rookie year, but many viewed Mayer as a Round 1 prospect and Hooper isn’t a terribly prohibitive obstacle if Mayer gets up to speed quickly. Mayer is a late-round TE3 in best ball formats.
LUKE MUSGRAVE, PACKERS
Projection: 29.0 catches on 44.9 targets for 316.4 yards and 2.3 TDs.
- Musgrave never topped 304 receiving yards in a season at Oregon State, but he likely would have shattered that number in 2022 if injury didn’t end his season after two games. In those two games, Musgrave had 169 yards and accounted for 33% of the Beavers’ receiving yards. He ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and posted elite jumping numbers.
- The Packers previously had Josiah Deguara as TE1 on their depth chart, so Musgrave will have a chance to come in and immediately compete for targets. As mentioned in the previous bullet point, he doesn’t have much of a pedigree to this point, so it’s an upside swing for a Packers team that desperately needs pass catchers to complement Christian Watson and the running back duo. As a Day 2 tight end with meager college production, drafting Musgrave as a best ball TE3 is a leap of faith, but the path to targets is certainly pretty open.