Once upon a time, this yearly piece was called What’s In My Wallet, meant to outline the players I’ve drafted the most. Not long ago, we pivoted to a My Guys approach, where it’s still covering players I love drafting, but it also allows me the latitude to include players I’m sold on, even if I’m not lucky enough to land multiple shares of them in my drafts.
My cards are on the table. My opponents know the guys I want. Basically, I’ll mess up my remaining drafts here, for your benefit. As always, season this to taste, and apply it to the unique challenges of your rooms. You know your setup better than I ever could.
Garrett Wilson, WR, Jets
You have to elbow people out of the way on the overflowing Wilson bandwagon, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad take. Often, the wisdom of crowds leads us to the right answer. Wilson posted a useful 83-1,103-4 line as a rookie despite New York’s clown car of quarterbacks. Obviously, Aaron Rodgers represents an upgrade, no matter that he’s in the late stage of his career. Rodgers is going to target Wilson off the bus, and did you see their touchdown from last week, the impossible-to-defend back-shoulder throw?
— New York Jets (@nyjets) August 26, 2023
Didn’t it remind you a little of Rodgers to Davante Adams? Wilson is headed to the moon.
Jahan Dotson, WR, Commanders
Here’s another case of why I like drafting early; months ago, there was a several-round gap between Dotson and Terry McLaurin, ignoring the fact that these players ran to a dead heat in the final five weeks of 2022. Now their ADPs are almost identical; with McLaurin now dealing with a nagging toe injury, it’s possible Dotson will go before him in some late-drafting rooms. Dotson probably has a better touchdown-equity case than McLaurin, and I dare new QB Sam Howell to play as poorly as last year’s Washington quarterbacks did.
Steelers' passing game
There’s a ton of young talent here — Kenny Pickett, Pat Freiermuth, George Pickens, even running back Jaylen Warren — and obviously Diontae Johnson’s crazy touchdown count from last year (still zero) is headed for positive regression. Pickett wasn't overmatched as a rookie and his play spiked in the year's final quarter. The Steelers built on that in the summer, with Pickett leading five straight touchdown drives during the exhibition schedule. Even if you don’t like OC Matt Canada, there are a lot of possible right answers here.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Lions
Sometimes continuity is your best friend in fantasy, and the Sun God sure has that. Same quarterback, same offensive coordinator, even the same spotty depth behind him. Opponents surely will be focused on St. Brown every snap, but the routes he wins on are almost impossible to stop, even if defenders know they’re coming. The third-year receiver spike can still be a thing; St. Brown will likely be a first-round fantasy pick in 2024.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals
He’s not a splashy player, but he’s going to get an enormous snap and opportunity share, tied to one of the best offenses in the league. Often the running back puzzle comes down to solving for touches and red-zone opportunities, and that will never be a problem for Mixon. There’s plenty of tread left on the tires as he enters his age-27 season.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Titans
He’s still a specialist of sorts, someone the Titans don’t completely trust as a blocker. But let’s focus on what Okonkwo does well: he runs like a wide receiver and he gets downfield for chunk plays. The Titans have a thin wide receiver room, which means eventually they’ll find proactive ways to get Okonkwo on the field. There might not be a safe floor here, but Okonkwo can still push his way into the top five-right tier at tight end.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks
Lockett has charted between WR11-15 for five years running, yet you can draft him around or under his floor, which is a gift. Sure, DK Metcalf is around, and rookie hotshot Jaxon Smith-Njigba is going to get work when his wrist eventually heals. But the Seahawks don’t throw to their tight ends or running backs much, so this tree isn’t as wide as you might fear. And I don’t expect Geno Smith to turn into a pumpkin, either. Pete Carroll is the West Coast version of Mike Tomlin — you expect a contending season every year.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Saints
In a perfect world, all of our picks would be four-month monsters and our title would be secured on draft day. Alas, the NFL is a meat-grinder of a league, where injuries and variance and bizarre plot twists are part of the story. That’s why I try to play this game with a microscope, not a telescope, so let’s focus on what’s in front of us.
With that in mind, Williams looks like a good pick for the "Win September" crowd. He’ll probably see plenty of work while Alvin Kamara misses the first three games, and it’s possible Williams will keep the team’s short-yardage role (love those easy touchdowns) even after Kamara returns.
If you’re looking for another short-term, "Play for Today" type of pick, consider Samaje Perine in Denver.