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One Target and One Avoid



One player to target: WR Amari Cooper


Target him as your: High-upside WR2


Strange home and away fantasy splits aside, Amari Cooper figures to reprise his role as the Browns’ WR1 in 2023 with a presumably much more dynamic Deshaun Watson under center. The two struggled to remain on the same page at the end of last season, but there’s no reason to think that Amari Cooper, one of the upper-echelon separators in the league, will have trouble building chemistry with Watson after a full offseason of work together. And it’s not as if Cooper needs a top-tier quarterback to produce; he garnered 126 targets last year with average, at best, quarterback play, including 37 of those targets in the red zone (5th in the NFL among WRs).


His nine touchdowns were also tied for the third most among all WRs – a number that could certainly go up if Deshaun Watson returns anywhere close to form (which all reports have indicated that it looks like he has)... His WR18 price in the late third/early fourth round doesn’t sting at all, either, making him a very safe pick at WR with upside to finish inside the top 10.


One player to avoid: RB Miles Sanders


Sanders has yet to finish a fantasy football season as a top-12 running back, but he has two RB15 finishes (2019 and 2022) under his belt as he makes his way to Carolina for 2023.


Last year saw him take over Philadelphia’s backfield, as he out-snapped both Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell by 200 carries each. However, Sanders’ biggest drawback has been his receiving ability – his 35.5 PFF receiving grade pales in comparison to Chuba Hubbard (59.6) and Raheem Blackshear (71.4), the two running backs behind him on the depth chart.


There’s no question that Sanders will likely control the rushing snaps and opportunities given that he signed a lucrative deal with the team in the offseason, but the Panthers' 2023 offense will not be anywhere close to the Eagles' 2022 offense. If Sanders is relegated to an early down role in the Panthers' offense, he won’t be able to lean on batches of touchdowns to carry his value in weeks where Carolina is slumping.


At his mid-sixth round price as the RB19, I’d much rather take a swing on J.K. Dobbins a few picks later or even James Cook at the 7-8 turn than accept the low fantasy ceiling Sanders projects to have.

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