Which players are values at their current draft position? Zach has the answers, identifying one in each round of the draft through Round 6!
Round 1: RB Bijan Robinson, 7.8
Runner-Up: WR Stefon Diggs, 8.5
Bijan is suffering just slightly in his ADP because of the presence of two other capable RBs in Atlanta's backfield (Tyler Allgeier, Cordarrelle Patterson), but all signs are pointing – and have been pointing – to him being the Falcons' workhorse back. Miss me with his RB3 placement on Atlanta’s keyword “unofficial” depth charts; he wasn’t selected at 8th overall to sit behind a late-round running back from the draft prior and a long-time veteran. Robinson’s combination of talent, draft capital, and situation makes him as bulletproof a pick at RB as Justin Jefferson is at WR – he can finish as the overall RB1. And coming off the board in the latter half of the first round, he’s a bargain at his price. Stefon Diggs is the runner-up here but doesn’t trump Bijan because of the scarcity that exists at RB.
Round 2: RB Tony Pollard, 16.5
Runner-Up: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, 13.3
Pollard’s upside makes him worthy of a 1st-round pick in 2023, but his ADP is still lagging behind because we have yet to see him handle a workload over 200 carries. Lucky for us, we can take advantage of that lag and get ahead of his true fantasy breakout, which is imminent with essentially all of his competition for volume disappearing with Ezekiel Elliott’s departure. He finished with Top 2 marks in yards per attempt, yards after contact per attempt, breakaway run %, and yards per reception, making him one of the most efficient backs in the NFL. With a goal-line role, his touchdowns could increase significantly en route to a potential overall RB1 finish. And in the 2nd round, that’s a fantastic payoff.
Round 3: WR Keenan Allen, 35.7
Runner-Up: RB Josh Jacobs, 31.1
Josh Jacobs would be the surefire pick here if the reports of his holdout coming to an end were more substantial. But the uncertainty surrounding his situation is enough to make him less of a value in the third round than Keenan Allen, who has proven that – when healthy – he is Justin Herbert’s favorite target on an offense that is extremely pass-heavy. The addition of Kellen Moore should only make things easier on Allen, who was the PPR WR4 from Weeks 11-18 when he returned to action after his injury. In that span, he also led the Chargers in target share by a full 10 percentage points (24.8%) and racked up an exceptional 38.9% air yards share. Nothing is stopping Allen from doing the same in 2023, who should have another fantasy WR1 season in him while Mike Williams and Quentin Johnston duke it out for the No. 2 spot in the pecking order.
Round 4: QB Justin Fields, 43.6
Runner-Up: RB Joe Mixon, 41.9
The value in the fourth round gets scarce, with almost every player in this range having a reasonable path to underperforming this year (these are your D.J. Moores, your Terry McLaurins, and your Drake Londons). Mixon has one of the safest floors in the 4th round, making him the runner up – but no other player in this range has the scoring ceiling of Justin Fields. Assuming he can stay healthy, we should be looking at close to another ~1000-yard season on the ground from him, and with new help along the offensive line and at WR (the aforementioned D.J. Moore), Fields has overall QB1 upside with a floor that should be safely buoyed by his rushing production. And in the fourth round, you could build an excellent 4-round start with the flexibility of knowing you can get Fields’ rushing upside relatively late compared to the other top ball carriers at QB.
Round 5: WR Diontae Johnson, 55.6
Runner-Up: RB Alexander Mattison, 59.6
I was very tempted to put Alexander Mattison here as the top value in Round 5, but there isn’t enough of a sample size with Mattison in the lead role for me to confidently label him that way. For Diontae Johnson, though, there’s no shortage of evidence of him being a proven fantasy commodity. We’ve seen him operate as a target-earning machine for the past two years, earning 25+% target share in both 2021 and 2022. Not only is positive regression due for Johnson after not scoring a touchdown last season, but Kenny Pickett also seems to have improved his game from Year 1 to Year 2 (three drives with the starters, three touchdowns in two preseason games). Sure, George Pickens can make flashy plays, but Johnson should be a lock once again for the heavy target volume that has allowed him to be fantasy relevant since he joined the Steelers.
Round 6: RB J.K. Dobbins, 67.3
Runner-Up: TE George Kittle, 62.8
It was a very close battle between Kittle and Dobbins for the best value in the 6th round, but Dobbins has breakout written all over him this season in a more balanced Ravens offense. Don’t get it twisted – Kittle is still a value as well, but the price you’re paying for his services, while palatable, doesn’t qualify as a steal like Dobbins’s price. Dobbins is an explosive runner with a career yards per carry over 5.0, and new OC Todd Monken has also expressed interest in getting him involved in the receiving game, as well. With his mini-holdout resolved and little competition for touches around him in the RB room, Dobbins has a relatively clear path to finishing as an RB1 if he can stay healthy.