April 21, 2024

Eric Karabell ranks players based on their value for the rest of the 2023 season by position every week. Use the information to optimize the players on your bench for their future potential. Eric’s top 100 can be found below the positions in this column.


Rankings changes: Running quarterbacks scored the most points in Week 4, led by Josh Allen, Anthony Richardson, Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields, who did most of his fantasy damage throwing the football. We await the week Fields can provide 25 PPR points against a better defense than the Denver Broncos though. Richardson forces his way into our top 10 with Joe Burrow as the odd man out here. Rankings aren’t based on history. We need numbers today and Burrow has fewer fantasy points in four games than Allen did on Sunday.

For those in Superflex/multi QB formats, we introduce new and potentially relevant passers to the rankings, some you know such as the Steelers’ Mitch Trubisky and Falcons’ Taylor Heinicke, some you may not such as Raiders rookie Aidan O’Connell (in for Jimmy Garoppolo). The Bengals claim they will not give Burrow time off, but adding backup Jake Browning (who is healthy and thus, may be a short-term upgrade) in deep formats makes sense.

Trade for: There is clearly a pathway for Brock Purdy to end up a top-10 fantasy QB based on consistency and avoiding turnovers. Richardson is impressive and quarterbacks who run boast high upside. Texans rookie C.J. Stroud keeps surpassing 300 passing yards. He looks relatively safe, at least for a first-year option. Note that the bye weeks start now, with the Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers up first, so you may find you need fill-in quarterbacks you had not considered prior.

Be cautious: We need to see more consistency from Fields each week, though the Bears’ schedule is not challenging moving forward. Chicago faces Washington this week on short rest. Same deal with Sam Howell. Keep doing it, it will convince us. The Cardinals may not be in any hurry to bring back Kyler Murray, but it is dangerous to assume that Joshua Dobbs will keep performing well. As for the Jets’ Zach Wilson, he showed improvement, but trading for him, even in a deep league, is perilous.

Running back

Rankings changes: Christian McCaffrey was already the top running back, but now he moves into the overall top slot. Tough to argue with these incredible numbers, averaging 30 PPR points per game, more than four points higher than anyone else. Kyren Williams forces his way into the top 10, pushing out rookie Jahmyr Gibbs, who lost touches to a healthy David Montgomery. Alvin Kamara made a strong impression in his season debut and joins the top 20. Rhamondre Stevenson and Javonte Williams slide further.

Trade for: Austin Ekeler (ankle) last played in Week 1, but he should return in Week 6. Ekeler’s current investors may be frustrated, but we know a healthy Ekeler can dominate. Jonathan Taylor (ankle) could debut in Week 5. Time may have run out to acquire Derrick Henry and Josh Jacobs at a bargain price. The Lions’ Montgomery may be more valuable than the rookie Gibbs from here on out.

Be cautious: Miami’s De’Von Achane scored 27 PPR points Sunday, but on a mere 11 touches. He will need more volume to keep producing at that high level. Taylor returning soon obviously impacts Zack Moss. Burrow’s issues do not help Joe Mixon. Carolina’s Miles Sanders has not impressed since Week 1. The Bears’ Khalil Herbert had a big Sunday, but again, the Broncos do not defend well.

Wide receiver

Rankings changes: Houston’s Nico Collins is a big riser, moving into safe WR2 range. Collins has top-5 fantasy finishes in two of the past three games. Rams rookie Puka Nacua keeps producing, and it seems likely it continues even when Cooper Kupp debuts. The Bears’ DJ Moore moves closer to WR2 territory, while the Panthers’ Adam Thielen reaches WR3 status. The Lions’ Jameson Williams had his suspension reduced and should debut in Week 5. He went right after the Jets’ Garrett Wilson and Saints’ Chris Olave in the 2022 NFL draft. Williams is talented, readily available in fantasy and in our top 100.

Meanwhile, as much as it hurts, Bengals WRs Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins (ribs) fall in the rankings. Same with young Steeler George Pickens and ignored Chargers rookie Quentin Johnston. Which Jaguars WR would you prefer between Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk? Ridley has seven catches over three weeks while Kirk thrives. What about with the Broncos with Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. The numbers may surprise you.

Trade for: Olave had a rough Week 4 game, but it was likely aberrant. Amari Cooper will be fine. Deebo Samuel will bounce back in Week 5, but that doesn’t mean we cannot like Brandon Aiyuk as well.

Be cautious: Chase is immensely talented, but Cincinnati’s season seems to be slipping away. Watch the Bears on Thursday night before assuming Moore is safe. Trading for Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans options, presuming better performance from here on out, is dangerous. Same with the Kansas City Chiefs. Not much happening there.

Tight end

Rankings changes: There is so little consistent production from this position that only five tight ends warrant overall top-100 placement. George Kittle, Dallas Goedert, Darren Waller, Kyle Pitts and Pat Freiermuth combined for 19.3 PPR points in Week 4. Cole Kmet had his first big game. This seems hard to believe, but Jonnu Smith seems more valuable in fantasy than overhyped Pitts now.

Trade for: Unless you are targeting one of the top four options, it does not seem worth it. Evan Engram hasn’t scored a touchdown yet, but with his volume, he will. He rises to the No. 5 spot.

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