2023 Fantasy Football Opportunity Index: Vacated targets, running back touches, and more for all positions

As we gear up for the 2023 launch of the NFL league and NFL free agency, it’s time for my annual review of who needs what in terms of fantasy football. At the bottom of this article, you’ll find a table that breaks down how many running back opportunities and goals each team should fill by position. While many of these needs will be met in the 2023 NFL Draft, this breakdown gives us a good idea of ​​who needs what when we enter free agency mode.

Here is a breakdown of the teams with the most opportunities for running back and wide receiver. There are five teams with over 300 runner opportunities available, five teams with 150 wide receivers available. No team even has 100 tight targets, so the data is in the chart below, but there isn’t much to talk about. Other teams can still make additions, but their opportunity must come at the expense of someone already on the roster.

On the way back

Miami Dolphins (406) – The Dolphins are the only team to have over 400 combined run back attempts and substitution goals since last year. Their piecemeal approach, featuring Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson and Chase Edmonds, resulted in a season in which they finished below average in virtually every dimension of the game.

Assuming they want to stick with the cheap committee, a combination of Rashaad Penny and Samaj Perina might be a good combination. Penny has struggled to stay healthy, but the last two years he’s been on the field, he’s been very good. Perin could spell it on the misses and last looked better than Joe Mixon in 2022.

Denver Broncos (385) – It’s time to remind you that some of these opportunities can be used by players from the squad. The Broncos are certainly hoping the same will happen with Havonte Williams in 2023. But Williams suffered a complex knee injury involving multiple ligaments, so it could be a J.K. Dobbins situation where we don’t see him at full strength for the rest of the year. . Even if Williams is ready by the first week, as one report suggested, he will share.

Sean Payton had already reached out a little, suggesting that he would like Latavius ​​Murray back. Murray finished the year with the Broncos and has experience with Payton in New Orleans. He would also be easily pushed off if Williams accelerated to full speed early.

Detroit Lions (372) – I want to tell you that D’Andre Swift will take on a lot of those touches. But even if he adds 200 touches in 2023 and stays healthy, they’ll need someone else. This is a team that throws a lot on the back and leaves quickly.

Miles Sanders could fit right next to Swift, who can handle most misses. Both Sanders and Swift have a high percentage of explosive plays, which is what Ben Jonson appreciates in this role. Sanders is not as good at short distances as the recently departed Jamaal Williams, but we would still like to see Swift take over this role.

Philadelphia Eagles (345) – The Eagles seem to me one of the most likely teams to solve this problem through the NFL Draft, perhaps as early as the third day. They already have Kenneth Gainwell, they’ve decided to let Miles Sanders walk, and they don’t use runners as much as most teams anyway. Their target RB share of 12.08% comes in last place, with Jalen Herts taking over most of the work in the red zone.

If they decide to add some free agents, D’Onta Foreman might make sense. He is cheaper than Sanders, but over the past year and a half he has shown the same ability to play big. His lack of passing work wouldn’t matter much if Hurts was in the QB and Gainwell was in the roster.

Carolina Panthers (340) – Frank Reich has a RB-focused offense in Indianapolis and also likes to throw the ball to his back. This offensive line was better than expected last year, resulting in monster second-half performances for both Foreman and Chuba Hubbard. In other words, this could be the best opportunity, depending on who the quarterback is.

If I was looking for a main character who could handle a big role, David Montgomery and Kareem Hunt would be my two best candidates. Age would have me leaning towards Montgomery, who could return to the top 12 on this offense, but the Panthers may be convinced that Hunt has little run because he shared with Nick Chubb. Also, don’t overlook the possibility that they will just bring Foreman back.

wide receiver

New York Giants (207) – The Giants are the only team with over 200 wide receivers, and the guys they’re replacing were terrible last year. Isaiah Hodgins and Van’Dale Robinson could be bigger roles, but they’re desperate for a real No. 1 choice. Unfortunately for them, there may be none in this class of free agents.

Jacoby Meyers has demonstrated the ability to score 120 goals in a season and will only turn 27 in November. Even though he is known as a slot recipient, he has actually been more efficient outside of the last year. The Giants staff would have known him well since his Buffalo days, but everyone should know that he would instantly become their No. 1 wide receiver.

Green Bay Packers (184) – So it’s embarrassing. We still don’t know who the Packers quarterback will be. And this is definitely one of those situations where the Packers are looking to Christian Watson and Romeo Dubs to absorb most of the vacant targets. But assuming Jordan Love is starting, it would be great to bring in a veteran like Adam Thielen to work in the red zone and help Watson and Daubes become better receivers. Thielen might also like the team that just cut him twice a year.

Kansas City Chiefs (169) – The Chiefs have been on this list before, and it’s absolutely like a trap as long as Travis Kelsey is on the list. They hope that Kadarius Tony and Sky Moore will also become regular receivers.

The only free agent that makes sense for the Chiefs is the return of Juju Smith-Shuster. He’s already spent a year on Andy Reed’s offense and is great at blocking. None of these things will interest you for fantasy purposes, but they will help the Chiefs win.

Arizona Cardinals (167) – The reason the Cardinals made this list is because I’m planning a roster without DeAndre Hopkins. There’s also a chance they’ll lose Greg Dortch, but as a restricted free agent, I’m guessing Dortch will stay. Basically, they have Marquise Brown as #1 and Dortch or Ronal Moore in the slot. So adding receiver #2 outside is a priority.

Allen Lazard fills the role as another good blocker who feels more comfortable when someone else is getting most of the defensive attention.

New England Patriots (157) I wouldn’t be surprised if new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien tries to keep DeAndre Hopkins away from the Cardinals. If he can’t, Odell Beckham could be a nice consolation prize. Beckham had a torn ACL over a year ago and has more room to grow than anyone else in this class. If he is 80% who he was before, he can help the Patriots understand what they really have in Mack Jones.

The table below is sorted by the number of targets a team must replace, with the Houston Texans leading the way. And I’m not even planning a deal with Brandin Cooks yet. Available options from left to right. The three extreme columns indicate the target share by positions by teams. A team that has a lot of wide receiver targets to replace and throws at them a high percentage of the time is a good bet to make that position a high priority in free agency and/or the NFL Draft.


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