About My 2023 Draft Tiers
I've done all the legwork. Now, it's time to put it together. The tiers are for 12-team leagues with PPR scoring and one quarterback starter. Check out my rankings to tweak them to the format of your choice.
Tiers are better than rankings because they encourage more mental flexibility than staring at players with numbers assigned to them.
The players in each tier will be separated by position and subcategorized by their ceiling and floor relative to their draft-day value:
- High Ceiling/High Floor
- Low Ceiling/High Floor
- High Ceiling/Low Floor
Several players will be ranked significantly higher or lower than their tier. For example, you don't need to take Michael Thomas as a top-36 player, but I value his ceiling this much that it's worth making him a priority pick at the range of his ADP value, if not 1-2 rounds earlier.
These placements will hopefully help you formulate a strategy to get as many of the players in the highest tiers as you can.
Not every player from my rankings will be included in every tier. If you're inclined to ask me, "What about...?" see below.
Let's keep this simple. If you want to learn more about the players in these tiers, here are my extended thoughts:
- Matt Waldman's Rankings with Commentary
- From the Gut
- Players We Trust
- Boom-Bust Players
- Premium Picks + Their Mid-Range/Late-Round Alternatives
- Unlikely Heroes
- Thoughts on individual teams, units, and players
How To Use These Tiers
Mark the current ADP next to each player's name and use it as a cheat sheet. I left ADP off because we're in a period where it may change significantly.
If your drafting style is risk-averse, target as many high-ceiling/high-floor picks as possible, consider high-floor/low-ceiling options with early-round ADPs and limit your selection of high-ceiling/low-floor options early in the draft.
If your style incorporates moderate risk, I'd limit your high-floor/low-ceiling options in the middle rounds and target 1-2 more high-ceiling/low-floor players.
If you embrace risk, just eliminate the high-floor/low-ceiling from your consideration. You may want to consider drafting only from the high-ceiling categories, and if it means you reach a bit for players you want, go for it.
Regardless of your risk tolerance, it's wise to limit, if not curtail, your consideration of high-floor/low-ceiling options after the 12th round in 20-round formats.
Tier 1: Foundational Anchors for Your Build
The players in the first tier have the athletic ability, technical skills, and opportunity to deliver top-12 production at their position. Many have past experience delivering this value.
Most of these players will provide starter value for your roster based on their average weekly production. Some may deliver this value consistently, but their best weeks could put your team well over the top on any given Sunday and will finish the year with similar total point values as the more consistent weekly producers in the tier.
I'm listing all quarterbacks and tight ends that I believe will deliver starter value that you rarely remove from your lineup. The QBs and TEs in this tier could allow you to wait until the end of the draft for depth, and in the case of the TE position, you might decide to play the waiver wire and rent an option for your bye week.
Tier 1 - High Ceiling/High Floor
- Justin Jefferson
- Ja'Marr Chase
- Cooper Kupp
- Stefon Diggs
- Davante Adams
- A.J. Brown
- Jaylen Waddle
- CeeDee Lamb
- Amon-Ra St. Brown
- Amari Cooper
- Chris Olave
- Garrett Wilson
- DK Metcalf
- Tyler Lockett
- Christian McCaffrey: Record-breaking ceiling this year.
- Austin Ekeler
- Nick Chubb - Record-breaking ceiling this year.
- Derrick Henry
- Najee Harris
- Joe Mixon
- Aaron Jones
- J.K. Dobbins - Probably safer for the next tier, but I believe this summer was a ploy to rest Dobbins for a big year ahead.
- Patrick Mahomes II - Record-breaking ceiling this year.
- Josh Allen
- Jalen Hurts
- Lamar Jackson
- Joe Burrow
- Justin Herbert
- Trevor Lawrence
- Geno Smith
- Dak Prescott
- Travis Kelce - Recording-breaking ceiling this year.
- T.J. Hockenson
- Mark Andrews
- Dallas Goedert
- Dalton Kincaid - Perhaps he'd be better cast as the best of the low-ceiling/high-floor options, but I think there's a legitimate chance he outproduces Gabriel Davis as the second-most productive option on the Bills and flirts with 1,000 yards receiving as a rookie.
Tier 1 - Low Ceiling/High Floor
- Tee Higgins
- DeVonta Smith
- Calvin Ridley - 1.5 years away from the game, supporting cast, and first real year as "the primary" in the NFL.
- Brandon Aiyuk
- Rhamondre Stevenson - Strong RB2 with low-end RB1 upside, but Ezekiel Elliott eliminates elite RB1 ceiling.
- Bijan Robinson - Will be the lead back, but his projected usage with Allgeier and Patterson may be limited this year.
- Jahmyr Gibbs - Like Robinson, a worthwhile RB2 with RB1 potential, but an elite RB1 ceiling is unlikely.
- Dalvin Cook - Breece Hall is concerned about whether he can make all the cuts, and he is still dealing with knee pain. That's enough to look to Cook as a one-year RB2 who could emerge as a low-end RB1 if Hall doesn't return to form down the stretch.
- Evan Engram - Improved his game in the 2022 offseason, and the Jaguars needed him more than they may in 2023. Still, a solid TE1.
- Sam LaPorta - The common factor why I'm against the grain on two rookie tight ends factoring as starters is their ability to win one-on-one as a detached option and their offenses' willingness to deploy them in this capacity.
- Kirk Cousins - He's outside my QB1 value in my rankings, but that has more to do with his lack of rushing upside. He's still mostly likely a safe QB1, but you'll have to take him in the 8th or 9th round.
Tier 1 - High Ceiling/Low Floor:
- Tyreek Hill - Off-field and Tagovailo's concussion history.
- Michael Thomas - Injuries are my only concern. If he has overcome them, he's a high-end WR2, at worst.
- Christian Watson - Paired with a new quarterback, Watson still needs more NFL experience to consider him reliable relative to his upside.
- Kadarius Toney - The talent and scheme are there, but injury history and maturity are legitimate question marks.
- Saquon Barkley - A homerun-hitting mentality that also leads to bad decisions and injury.
- Tony Pollard - Boom-bust potential if there's added volume. Has worn down in the past.
- Jonathan Taylor - On the trading block, and this year's acclimation period, volume, and supporting cast are unknown. Best as your RB2-RB3
- Alvin Kamara - A stocked depth chart and suspension could lead to fewer touches than in the past but worth it as your RB2-RB3.
- Josh Jacobs - It's difficult to miss training camp and handle the volume he handled last year. If he does it, he can repeat 2022 as an RB1.
- George Kittle - A do-everything-type in an NFL where they wear down fast and begin missing chunks of games.
- Darren Waller - He has top-five production potential at the position, but his injury history is a legitimate concern.
- Kyle Pitts - The first two years in Atlanta tell the story perfectly.
Tier 2: Capable Starters
With the exception of the quarterbacks and tight ends on this list, you probably don't want any of these runners and receivers as your top starter on your depth chart, but they can provide occasional top-12 weeks. You're starting these players weekly unless you're loaded at the position, or there's a significant matchup nightmare for the player and you have a viable alternative with a great opportunity on the schedule.
The quarterbacks in this tier make solid committee options paired with a second passer where you can play the matchups. Until proven otherwise, these passers are not ideal set-it-and-forget-it starters.
The tight ends in this tier are players you can use as standalone starters, but they may lack great upside, and you should be open to having a second option on your roster who could emerge as that weekly option.
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