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Wide receivers to consider fading in 2023 fantasy football drafts

We take a look at wide receivers to avoid in your fantasy football drafts for the 2023 NFL season.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Levi’s Stadium on January 22, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

As fantasy managers prepare for their upcoming 2023 fantasy football drafts, a sharp strategy is to account for players that could realistically come back down to earth after an incredible season, and wide receivers are no exception. Hunter Renfrow was considered a sleeper with an average draft position of 71, only for him to end up as WR102 as injuries and drops hindered his season. While you can never accurately predict who to fade, the best bet is to prepare beforehand.

Here are a few wide receivers to be wary of as you plan for your 2023 fantasy football drafts.

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

Samuel was a big reason many fantasy managers won their championships in 2021, and the same may be said for last season. However, but it’s hard to envision him matching that level of production amid a deep 49ers offense. Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell should carve into Samuel’s volume of carries, and when it comes to the receiving game, he finished with an average depth of target of only 4.2 last season, ranking 102nd. Until Brock Purdy returns, having Trey Lance or Sam Darnold under center gives some cause for hesitation.

Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers

Watson finally broke out in the latter half of the 2022 season, recording three 100+ yard receiving games after Week 10 while building some nice rapport with his quarterback. The problem there is that his signal-caller was Aaron Rodgers, who landed with the New York Jets in the offseason, setting up Jordan Love to take the starting snaps in 2023. The latter flashed some potential last season, but he still remains unproven, which limits the fantasy upside of wideouts such as Watson.

Drake London, Atlanta Falcons

London had an up-and-down rookie season with the Falcons as he went through a six-game streak of single-digit fantasy performances midway through the year. Poor quarterback play contributed to London’s subpar production, as Marcus Mariota completed just 61.3% of his passes last season. In 2023, it will be Desmond Ridder as the starting quarterback with veteran backup Taylor Heinecke behind him, but neither instills a high level of confidence that should make London an elite fantasy receiver.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Godwin averaged 14.9 PPR fantasy points per game in 2022 and finished as WR19 in total fantasy scoring, but that came with a Hall-of-Fame quarterback in Tom Brady under center. Now, the Pro Bowler will enter the 2023 campaign with Baker Mayfield as his starting quarterback, who ranked 32nd among all signal-callers with a 60.0 completion percentage. The uncertainty around Mayfield entering a new playbook leaves some cause for concern about the volume of targets, and pass attempts, to expect in Tampa Bay.

Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

Jeudy recorded the third-lowest slot catch rate (69%) out of the 17 players who were sent at least 48 slot targets in 2022, and while Russell Wilson’s inefficiency may have played a part, a handful of his drops last season came in the shorter area of the field. The former Alabama product thrived much more as a vertical threat with the capability of beating defenses over the top, so it remains to be seen whether new head coach Sean Payton can reimagine their offense to better maximize his impact.