Hey, even the experts can have a tough time during their draft evaluations. We asked six analysts to reveal which player has been their hardest to rank for the upcoming fantasy football season.
Where to rank Anthony Richardson?
Ranking Richardson is nearly impossible. Thursday's preseason finale offered good and bad moments, summing up what his rookie season could be. Cam Newton’s debut game of 422 passing yards and three total touchdowns in 2011 is possible. Newton ended his rookie campaign at QB3, with 4,051 passing yards and 35 total touchdowns.
Or, we might get Justin Fields’ painful coming-out clunker in 2021, as he passed for 68 yards and got sacked nine times. Fields sat out five games later that season.
I want to rank Richardson higher than his current QB14 (120.9 overall) on Yahoo expert consensus rankings, just ahead of Aaron Rodgers. If head coach Shane Steichen turns Richardson loose on the ground like 2021 Jalen Hurts — 784 rushing yards and 21.4 fantasy points per game — the Colt would have a high floor. But his 53.8% accuracy at Florida last season could lead to bench time if he doesn’t improve.
If you draft him, grab a safe backup like Kirk Cousins or Jared Goff to start when matchups look tough. But Richardson’s ceiling is the stars. — Jorge Martin
Where to rank Cooper Kupp?
In all honesty, I have no idea what to do with Kupp, and it has nothing to do with a hamstring injury that sidelined him for a chunk of August. The 30-year-old is just two years removed from posting the highest fantasy point total ever by a WR, and last season he tallied a ridiculous 75 catches in nine games.
An optimistic ranking of Kupp puts him in the top overall pick discussion with Justin Jefferson. But I struggle to be optimistic about anyone on the Rams this season, as their roster is among the worst in football and QB Matthew Stafford enters his age-35 season after missing eight games a year ago. My raw projections have Kupp ahead of Tyreek Hill and Stefon Diggs. However, I regularly draft one of those two receivers over the Rams standout for the simple reason that I expect Los Angeles to have given up on the 2023 campaign by the time we reach the fantasy playoffs. — Fred Zinkie
Where to rank Calvin Ridley?
Once upon a time, Calvin Ridley was a special NFL player. He finished as the WR4 and a Top-20 fantasy player (per Value Based Drafting ranks) in 2020, but NFL seasons age like dog years. Consider, Alvin Kamara was the RB2 that season, Dalvin Cook charted as the RB3 and James Robinson was a Top-20 finisher. Ridley's primary offensive teammates that season were Matt Ryan, Todd Gurley and Julio Jones. It's been a long time, man. And Ridley’s last regular-season snaps came 22 months ago.
The Jaguars obviously have big plans for Ridley, and maybe emerging quarterback Trevor Lawrence is going to the moon in his third season. But there’s other competition for the ball here — Christian Kirk, Evan Engram and Zay Jones are all coming off strong campaigns. Sure, the Jaguars would love for Ridley to take over as the featured target, but it takes time to build rapport, crispness and trust in a new city. We need to accept that Ridley carries a wide range of outcomes as he kicks off the rust and steps into his age-29 season. — Scott Pianowski
Where to rank Kenneth Walker III?
If we would have drafted this season's fantasy football rosters at any point in the weeks leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, I definitely would have considered Kenneth Walker III somewhere near the first and second-round turn. Walker is of course coming off an efficient 1,000-yard season, which he capped with three straight 100-yard rushing performances. He's awesome.
But then the Seattle Seahawks went and did the thing they always seem to do, drafting a running back at least one day earlier than you thought they would. Zach Charbonnet is plainly going to be a problem for Walker. Both deserve to play. Both have been dinged in camp. Both profile as potential every-down, full-workload runners.
So now we're left with a situation in which Walker's range of potential outcomes in 2023 includes a top-five positional finish — which would vault him into next year's first round — and also a job-share scenario in which Charbonnet receives the most valuable touches. It's almost impossible to express your feelings for such a player in a position rank. Walker is currently my RB23, which seems pessimistic when you consider his terrific first season. — Andy Behrens
Where to rank Breece Hall?
The hardest player for me to rank has been Breece Hall. I want to make sure those using my ranks come out of their drafts with the exciting young back but without jumping ADP too far. Hall's draft position has fluctuated throughout summer, as questions remain both regarding his recovery from ACL surgery as well as the addition of Dalvin Cook. Making sure to rank Hall in that sweet spot (currently RB12 for me, the highest among the Yahoo crew) has been a moving target this summer. — Dalton Del Don
Where to rank Christian Watson?
Watson is easily the most difficult player to rank and that’s only gotten more challenging over the course of the summer. Let’s start with the player. My main and really only concern with Watson is that he needs to get better on base NFL routes like the slant, curl and dig to be a complete, true No. 1 wide receiver. But that is mostly offset by being a fantastic vertical route runner and special player in the open field. I do not want to be fading a guy I’ve compared to Martavis Bryant since I watched his collegiate film. We know he’s really good. There are questions beyond him, though, with the overall offensive transition to Jordan Love, who remains a big unknown. Also, after rookies like Luke Musgrave and Jayden Reed (I’m a big fan) have emerged as full-time players and clear-starter Romeo Doubs seemingly has developed a connection with Love, the target distribution may be a little less clear. There are a lot more players here to earn targets than consensus believes.
Will Watson settle in closer to 20% or 25% of the overall team passing volume? That could be the deciding factor in whether he emerges as a consistent high-end WR2 or more of a volatile flex play in fantasy. I’ve settled on having him near his ADP (79.8, WR27) in my rankings and making it clear he’s my favorite of those likely weekly boom-or-bust WR3 types like Jerry Jeudy, Mike Williams, Mike Evans, George Pickens, etc. I’ll take him in certain team builds, but I’m not all-in or all-out. — Matt Harmon