Every NFL season, there’s always that one rookie phenom that takes over the NFL. Justin Jefferson for example, came right out of the gate and took over the NFL with his swagger and elite wide receiver play. Before the 2020 NFL season, no one would’ve thought to have taken Justin Jefferson in the early rounds, but whoever got him in the late rounds, has a potential keeper for years.
In 2021, Amon-Ra St. Brown became the next rookie wide receiver to showcase being a late-round gem in fantasy drafts. Last year, Garrett Wilson put up numbers nobody thought could be done and he has changed the perspective people have on taking Jets players in fantasy. Now with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, Wilson is considered a top 20 pick in fantasy drafts.
As this season approaches, it’s time to take a look and see which under-the-radar rookie wide receiver from the 2023 NFL draft and see who has the potential to impact your fantasy teams.
Rookie Wide Receivers to Consider Drafting
The former USC wide receiver was drafted in the first round at pick 23rd by the Minnesota Vikings. Jordan Addison caught the nation’s attention when he had a great sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh as he racked up 100 receptions for 1,593 receiving yards to go with 17 receiving touchdowns in the 2021 season. As a result, he became the third Pittsburgh wide receiver to win the Fred Biletnikoff Award, joining Antonio Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald.
He made the transfer to USC after saying at Steve Clarkson’s quarterback retreat back in May of 2022 that it was a “Gut Move”. Addison put up decent numbers in his one year at USC in the 2022 season with Caleb Williams at quarterback playing in his Heisman season. Addison had a 59-875-8 stat line in 11 games for USC. Even though the stats didn’t pop off as much as his sophomore year, he still cemented himself as a potential first-round pick as the nation had their eyes on Caleb Williams and Addison took advantage of the buzz.
The Vikings drafted Addison to essentially be Adam Thielen‘s replacement as Addison will be featured in a three-wideout set that includes Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn with Kirk Cousins quarterbacking the offense. It’s hard to replicate Justin Jefferson’s rookie season, but Addison should be due for a great rookie season as the Vikings have one of the most efficient offenses in the league.
Rashee Rice was drafted by the Chiefs in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft for his physical build and athleticism as a draft prospect. Rice measures 6’1″, 204 pounds, and arm measurements 33″ long. Not saying he can be the Chiefs’ next Tyreek Hill, but he has the potential to be another Chiefs threat as he poses explosive and Physical RAC, who can dodge defenders coming at him at angles and even break tackles.
Rice is in a Chiefs offense that has Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, and Richie James. If Rashee Rice can impress throughout the rest of the training camp and throughout the season, he can rise up the depth chart and wide receiver to look out for.
The New York Giants selected Jalin Hyatt in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft out of the University of Tennesee after having a great junior season posting a 67-1,267-15 stat line. His 15 receiving touchdowns were second in the FBS.
Right away during training camp, Hyatt caught notice from the league for his ridiculous speed that would make it hard for defensive coordinators to plan around. In the Giants’ second preseason game against the Panthers, Hyatt showed the definition of his ability to fake out defenders and create separation where Tyrod Taylor placed it perfectly in the bread basket as there were no defenders around Hyatt in the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown.
Hopefully, Daniel Jones can build off his stellar 2022 season where Giants head coach Brian Daboll was able to get the best out of Jones and proved that he can be the answer at quarterback for the G-men. If so, then Jones will have a lot of fun throwing to what people are considering to be the next DeSean Jackson.
The Giants wide receiving core is decent, but it’s still looking for a number-one wide receiver. Hyatt has a great opportunity to showcase his talents in the Big Apple.