The 2023 preseason has come to an end, and that means it’s time to turn focus to our fantasy drafts ahead of the season’s start on September 7. Ahead of Week 1, we’re taking a look at some of the wide receivers you should avoid in your drafts.
2023 Fantasy Football: WRs to Fade
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
Samuel struggled last season, finishing as the WR28 while totaling just 632 receiving yards through 13 games in 2022. He logged two touchdowns, adding three more on the ground off of 42 rush attempts. The 49ers offense is still very crowded, especially with the signing of Christian McCaffrey. He, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk will all be competing with Samuel for touches, and with Deebo’s average of 13.0 fantasy points last year already being so low, don’t expect his output to improve in 2023.
Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
London had a decent showing in his rookie season, totaling 866 receiving yards and notching four touchdowns while averaging 10.5 PPR fantasy points per game. Naturally, some games were better than others, and it didn’t help that last year’s QB1 Marcus Mariota didn’t have a great season either. Now they’ll have Desmond Ridder
George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers
Pickens lit up the highlight reels in his rookie season last year, but he didn’t move the fantasy needle as much as everyone expected. He averaged just 9.8 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues as he totaled just 801 yards and four touchdowns through 17 games. Pickens will be expected to perform a little better this time around, but for now, I’m avoiding him in drafts and keeping an eye on his performance down the road as a backup or streamer.
Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars
Ridley hasn’t been seen on the field since 2021 after he stepped away from the game for personal reasons, but he’s back this year and will be expected to see plenty of time on the field in Jacksonville. The fact that he’s such an unknown at this point is a big reason I’m picking to fade him. Of course, he was elite level a few years ago, but after taking two years off from the game it remains to be seen how quickly the 28-year-old will adjust to life back in the league. The last time we saw him, he was trending downward as his production dipped at the beginning of 2021 before he called it quits, averaging 14.2 PPR fantasy points in the five games he played.