The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Advice to Help Kickstart Your Fantasy Football Team

Doug Benc/AP

NFL football is back this Thursday, bringing the semester-long (and maybe even longer with a playoff push) fantasy football season back into our weekly schedules for many. 

Though the 2023 offseason was calmer than previous years, there were many changes that will change the landscape for fantasy stars. This preview will be based on PPR (points per reception) projections for each position.


Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow and Josh Allen should continue their bright careers and be safe options for any fantasy lineup all year.

Following the clear top five, look for Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawrence and especially Justin Fields to threaten climbing into the upper echelon of fantasy QBs. Though the Bears went 3-14 en route to the number-1-pick in the draft, Fields showed flashes of elite play throughout the second half of the season and finished as a top-six QB.

If you cannot snag any of those eight QBs, think about taking steady players like Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers or high-upside players like Deshaun Watson or rookie Anthony Richardson. 

Running Backs

The running backs are always a very interesting position in fantasy lineups because injuries are prevalent and can derail playoff pushes. Still, there always seems to be a sleeper that will take the league by storm and win championships.

The top fantasy backs from recent years are back, as Christian McCaffery and Austin Ekeler lead draft boards as the first RBs taken. Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry should be drafted within the first round, though the two workhorses may have a lower outlook than in years past.

There was much drama regarding contract negotiations for star players Johnathon Taylor, Dalvin Cook, Saquon Barkley and more. Barkley and Raiders breakout star Josh Jacobs threatened a holdout and even requested trades. Both players will return to the Giants and Raiders for one more year before possibly testing out free agency.

The 2023 offseason saw the departures of Zeke Elliot and Dalvin Cook from their longtime squads. Zeke will join the New England Patriots, joining star Rhamondre Stevenson, who is slotted around the third round in most leagues. Stevenson is a big-play back and a receiving threat, so Zeke will be used often in the red zone and short rushing opportunities. The Cowboys will now exclusively feature Tony Pollard, who usurped Zeke’s power as the workhorse last season and will be a top breakout candidate picked early in leagues. Expect Pollard to be a top-ten back, barring injuries. 

Dalvin Cook left the Vikings to join Aaron Rodgers in New York. Paired with sophomore Breece Hall, Cook will create a dynamic backfield for the Jets. Both backs will be used in different ways, but combined, the Jets may have trouble finding a lead back for fantasy players. With Cook’s departure, expect longtime Vikings RB2 Alexander Mattisson to get an uptick in production. 

Before Hall’s season-ending injury, Hall was on his way to a fantastic rookie fantasy campaign. Two current rookies that could finish as stars by January are Falcons Bijan Robinson and Lions Jamyr Gibbs. Both players were selected within the first 15 picks of the NFL draft and are slotted for massive production for their teams. Target Gibbs in PPR-heavy leagues, while Bijan will be a dynamic threat in rushing and passing attacks. 

Wide Receivers

The wide receiver rankings look similar to recent years but have a clear number one in Vikings superstar Justin Jefferson. Following Jefferson, fellow college teammate Ja’marr Chase is expected to have an explosive third year if he and Joe Burrow can stay healthy. Behind them, veterans Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill are expected to maintain their longtime production. 

Following a breakout 2022 campaign, Lions Amon-Ra St. Brown, Eagles Devonta Smith and Dolphins Jaylen Waddle are expected to take another step in their third years. Expect them to be drafted within the first two or three rounds. Each player should surpass last year’s production, barring injuries. 

Sophomore receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are slated to have breakout seasons after getting improved quarterbacks in the offseason. Derek Carr moved south to New Orleans and should give Olave and the Saints a consistent presence at QB, raising Olave’s floor, especially in PPR leagues. However, Garrett Wilson may be the biggest winner, as former MVP Aaron Rodgers moved on from Green Bay after 17 years. Rumors from training camp suggest the duo already have a solid connection, so anticipate a breakout year from Wilson. 

After receiving a year-long suspension from the NFL, Calvin Ridley is back with the Jaguars after a solid career in Atlanta. Regardless, Ridley has impressed throughout camp and should build a great rapport with breakout QB Trevor Lawrence. 

Besides Ridley, other WRs who will immediately impact their new teams are Bears DJ Moore and Titans DeAndre Hopkins. Moore should both help and benefit young Justin Fields, who is expecting a bigger year in the passing game. Moore and Fields should create a great duo in Chicago, but questions loom about Fields’s passing ability. DHop, while getting into the latter stages of his career, may regress fantasy-wise due to the questionable QB situation for the Titans. 

Rookies Jordan Addison, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Quinten Johnston should top the rookie receiver rankings, but look out for Ravens’s Zay Flowers, who could quietly become the WR1 in Baltimore. Look for all four players to have solid starts to their bright careers. 

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce is widely expected to continue his dominance at the tight end position and is the undisputed first off the board in all leagues. Kelce will be a first-round pick in most drafts. 

Following Kelce, anticipate Mark Andrews and TJ Hockenson to fill out the top three tight ends. 

Since TE is a very hit-or-miss position, the last two surefire starters are George Kittle and Darren Waller, who was traded to the Giants this past March

The six to fourteen ranked tight ends can all be viable starters on a playoff fantasy team if they can live up to expectations. A flier on the ultra-talented Kyle Pitts is certainly a risk based on his lackluster career so far, but the top-three upside is there if the stars align. Players like Dallas Goedert, David Njoku and Pat Freiermuth are players that should be able to hold down a starting spot, though they do not have Pitts-like ceilings. 

The 2023-24 fantasy football season is shaping up to be another action-packed season with many twists and turns, so make sure to sit back and enjoy the return of the NFL every Sunday for the rest of the semester.

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