Wide Receiver Battles to Monitor (2023 Fantasy Football)

The 2023 NFL season is over three months away. However, offensive programming is underway. Teams are hosting OTAs this month, with mandatory minicamps starting in a few weeks.

While the upcoming season is still months away, positional battles are beginning. Let’s look at three wide receiver battles that fantasy managers should monitor.

Wide Receiver Battles to Monitor (2023 Fantasy Football)

(ADP via Underdog Fantasy)

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens had arguably the worst wide receiver corps in the NFL last season. Baltimore traded away Marquise Brown during the 2022 NFL Draft, leaving Rashod Bateman as the only legit threat at the wide receiver position. Unfortunately, the second-year receiver missed 11 games last year because of injuries, leaving Lamar Jackson with limited options.

However, the Ravens learned from their mistake. They signed Odell Beckham jr. in free agency and used their first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on Zay Flowers. After having Demarcus Robinson and Devin Duvernay being the top two wide receivers in yards last season, Baltimore has plenty of options this year.

Unfortunately, this isn’t ideal for fantasy players. The trio has a similar ADP. Thankfully, the Ravens trio all are getting drafted outside the top-40 wide receivers. Despite having the most success in the NFL, Beckham has the lowest ADP of the trio because of his injury history. Similarly, Bateman has struggled to stay healthy during his career. If Flowers shines during minicamp, fantasy players should expect his ADP to separate from the other two receivers.

Chicago Bears

Chicago has spent the past year vastly improving Justin Fields‘ receiving corps. Darnell Mooney was the clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver at the start of last season. Yet, the Bears traded for Chase Claypool at the trade deadline. They then acquired DJ Moore in their blockbuster trade this offseason with the Carolina Panthers.

Despite playing with several awful quarterbacks in Carolina, Moore has consistently been a WR2 for fantasy managers. He will remain the top wide receiver in Chicago and should have a career year now that he’s catching passes from Fields. However, who becomes the No. 2 wide receiver?

Mooney and Claypool are both entering contract years. Similarly, the veterans have one season of production in their careers. Mooney had over 1,000 receiving yards in 2021 but struggled last year before an injury ended his season. Meanwhile, Claypool averaged 11.5 half-point PPR fantasy points per game and had 11 combined touchdowns as a rookie. Yet, he has averaged only 7.3 fantasy points per game and scored three touchdowns over the past two years. Mooney has a much higher ADP, but Claypool could be the better value come August.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers traded Claypool to the Bears last year because of the emergence of George Pickens. The second-round rookie receiver had a productive season, totaling 52 receptions on 84 targets for 801 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Furthermore, he led the team in receiving touchdowns despite finishing third in targets.

Meanwhile, Diontae Johnson was extremely unlucky last year. The veteran wide receiver had the seventh-most targets in the NFL last season, finishing sixth among wide receivers. Yet, he averaged fewer fantasy points per game than Pickens. The rookie finished 60th in the league in targets last season by comparison.

However, Johnson should rebound in 2023. He had zero touchdowns on 86 receptions and 147 targets. That won’t happen again this season, as Johnson averaged a touchdown once per 12.7 receptions in his career before last year. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh added Allen Robinson this offseason, but the veteran receiver isn’t in the mix for the No. 1 role. Johnson and Pickens have a similar ADP, but that could quickly change depending on how things progress over the next few months.

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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.