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The Candidates to Be the Overall WR1 in 2023

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Welcome to our “No. 1 Overall” series for 2023, where we take a look at which players are most likely to finish as the top fantasy scorer at their position. Up today: WRs.

This series is as simple as it sounds. We’re going to go through the WRs — in tiers — that have the best chance of finishing as the overall WR1 in 2023. Let’s get to it.

 

Check out the other articles in this series:

Keep in mind these are not fantasy WR rankings, but a tiered list of players most likely to finish as the overall fantasy WR1 in 2022. 

Tier 1 Overall Fantasy WR1 Candidates in 2023

Jefferson was the No. 1 overall fantasy WR last year, and he was on pace to be the top overall fantasy player before a dud in Week 17, per our Fantasy Wins Added tool.

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There seems to be no ceiling for Jefferson, who went from 1,400 yards as a rookie, to 1,616 in Year 2, followed by 1,809 last year. Is 2,000 next? 

Chase had a similarly monstrous rookie year, and like Jefferson, he somehow built on it in Year 2. He finished with 87 receptions for 1,046 yards and 9 TDs, but he also missed 5 games. His full-season pace was 123 receptions, 1,500 yards, and 13 TDs. So on a per-game basis, he was essentially equal to Jefferson for fantasy purposes.

And Kupp, the 2021 king, was actually on pace to be the WR1 in 2022 again before an injury knocked him out. In other words, he has been the fantasy WR1 when healthy for the last two years. He’s an auto-include in this tier.

Tier 2 Overall Fantasy WR1 Candidates in 2023

Hill would be a Tier 1 candidate if it weren’t for the fact he heavily splits the load with Jaylen Waddle (who might take another leap this year). Hill posted a monster 119-1,710-7 line last year. The receptions and yardage were both career-highs, but the TDs were down from his heyday years with Patrick Mahones and the Chiefs. If his TD production spikes in 2023, he’s a threat to take down the WR1 throne.

Davante Adams Las Vegas Raiders Fantasy Football WR1 Candidates

Like Hill, Adams switched from an elite QB to a lesser in 2022, but his stats didn’t suffer as a result. Adams still went 100-1,516-14 and actually had a career high in yards per reception (15.2) by a significant amount (previous high was 13.3). But Adams is older than the rest of this crew (30) and his QB situation is about to downgrade for the third year in a row. Still, Tier 2 given those circumstances speaks to Adams’ skill. He should be a TD machine again.

Diggs had arguably his best year yet in 2022 (108-1,429-11), but it’s starting to feel like his ceiling after three years of similar lines. That’s not a problem, of course, but expecting Diggs to go even higher than those across the board in the year in which he turns 30 may not be fair. 

Tier 3 Overall Fantasy WR1 Candidates in 2023

Lamb had a 28.7% target market share last year, sixth among WRs, and he had the fourth-most targets of all wideouts (156). A leap to WR1 is well within his range — especially if Dallas passes more in post-Zeke Jerryworld. Dallas passed the ball just 53% of the time last year, down from 60% in 2021. 

Brown always pops in the advanced metrics. He once again dominated in Air Yards share (41%, third) and target market share (29%, sixth). Targets weren’t an issue — his 146 were eighth among all WRs — but like Lamb, Brown would benefit from even more passing. The Eagles passed just 50% of the time last year, the fourth-lowest rate in the league. 

Wilson is poised to make the leap as a sophomore in the league with Aaron Rodgers, and he has a good base to jump from. His 147 targets were seventh among WRs last year, and he had the 13th-most air yards with over 1,500. 

Deebo had a down year in 2022, but his 1,400-yard season on just 77 receptions from 2021 made it clear that an “on” year for the playmaker will have him in contention for the top overall WR spot. It would take all the cards to fall right for this to happen for Samuel — especially because there are so many other playmakers in San Francisco — but his ceiling is as high as anyone’s.

 

Tier 4 Overall Fantasy WR1 Candidates in 2023

It gets really, really hard to make a case for a player to have a shot at being the fantasy WR1 the further down the list we go. When Jefferson, Chase, Kupp and the Tier 2 guys all set the bar at 120-plus receptions, 1,500-2,000 receiving yards and 10-15 touchdowns, the list of players who can do that — or even have a realistic shot at the opportunity to do so — dries up fast.

Amon-Ra St. Brown Detroit Lions Fantasy Football WR1 Candidates

St. Brown sees enough targets (146 last year), but not enough depth (6.5-yard average depth of target — about 4-6 yards lower than every other WR targeted this much). Waddle sees 170 targets go to Hill, and Higgins is in a similar boat with Chase (ditto for Smith with A.J. Brown).

This is the group of very-good WRs who could realistically make the leap to overall fantasy WR1 if an injury to a teammate were to occur, or if their situation or usage slightly tweaked. 

Tier 5 Overall Fantasy WR1 Candidates in 2023

This group is basically the lesser version of Tier 4. Moore may finally see enough volume to have a legit run at this, while guys like Williams, Watson, and Evans could simply score enough TDs to put them in the running. McLaurin’s QB situation once again looks bleak, while Pittman is in a similar boat.

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