There’s a saying in fantasy football, “Get Your Guys.” This means don’t rely solely on ADP when drafting. If there’s a particular player you believe in, don’t be afraid to reach at times to ensure that player is on your team. The sole purpose of fantasy football is to have fun with this game inside the bigger game of NFL football. It’s YOUR team.
I’ve never been too savvy on stats or analysis. When reflecting on why I picked these guys as “my guys,” I came to the conclusion that I have a strong affinity for players with what I call “grit.” Grit is defined: courage and resolve; strength of character. Going into the 2023 fantasy football season, I’ve found that I drafted these players with grit repeatedly.
Tootsiepops’ 2023 Fantasy Football My Guys
Jalen Hurts was drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. He relieved Carson Wentz as the starter in the later portion of that season. In his first two seasons as the starter, Hurts was scrutinized, and critics questioned if he could be a franchise quarterback. Despite all that, in the 2022 season, he took the Philadelphia Eagles back to the Super Bowl. Although they lost, Hurts said in a post-game interview, “You either win or you learn.” Hurts is a fighter. He doesn’t listen to the naysayers. He just keeps working and proving his worth. Any time he’s been available to me in a draft, I’ve taken him. I look forward to what he proves in 2023.
Tyler Lockett finished 16th in fantasy points per game last season, but his fantasy outlook coming into this season has been all over the place. I’ve gotten him anywhere between the 5th and the 8th round in drafts. His teammate, DK Metcalf, finished 24th in points per game last season, but he’s being drafted much earlier than Lockett. I appreciate the value I’m getting on Lockett, but fantasy football players as a whole are sorely underrating him and will soon realize their mistake. I attribute a 2nd place win in a league last year in part to having Lockett on my team. His resolve to produce respectable stats gives him a place among my players with grit.
In Week 15 of 2021, Sterling Shepard suffered a season-ending torn Achilles. Then, in 2022, he tore his ACL in Week 3. In his first five years in the NFL, he averaged 703.6 receiving yards. During those years, the team was muddling to make any headway, with an average of 5.8 wins. Considering that, Shepard’s receiving yard average was remarkable. The tough luck of returning from back-to-back injury seasons has put Shepard at a very low ADP for fantasy drafts. I find him to be a sneaky pick in the later rounds. He’s able to play both slot receiver and on the outside. The mental toughness it takes to return from two major injuries and rally makes Shepard one of “my guys” this season.
In the 2021 NFL draft, Amon-Ra St. Brown fell to the 112th pick. As seen on last year’s Hard Knocks series, he memorized all 16 receivers drafted ahead of him and assuredly took that as his motivation. St. Brown finished 7th among wide receivers in points per game in the 2022 season. Going into 2023, the Detroit Lions are without TJ Hockenson, so St. Brown is primed to make another prominent showing this year, if not surpass last year’s. When I think about St. Brown, I see a guy who people discounted in the beginning. Yet, he just keeps working hard, showing up, and showing out. He is making sure no one forgets The Sun God again.
Jamaal Williams had 17 total touchdowns in the 2022 season with the Detroit Lions. Even though he was considered the RB2 to D’Andre Swift, Williams finished #12 in fantasy points per game while Swift finished at #18. This year, Williams is playing for the New Orleans Saints. Again, he is relegated to RB2, this time behind veteran Alvin Kamara. With Kamara’s 3-game suspension to start the season, however, Williams will have a chance to prove what he can produce with the Saint’s ground game. In addition, whenever Williams is interviewed, you can’t help but think he’s a genuinely positive and fun person who enjoys every minute of the game. Who wouldn’t root for that?
Yes, as a Minnesota Viking fan, there will always be love for Adam Thielen. He is a Minnesota native who signed as an undrafted free agent with the Vikings in 2013. The hustle and determination to achieve that is notable in itself. In 2023, Thielen was released due to a salary cap move and later signed with the Carolina Panthers. There’s criticism among fantasy analysts and players alike that Thielen is “washed” and attributes his age (33) as a factor.
There was a noticeable downgrade of his target share last year as Jefferson rose as one of the top receivers in the NFL. I believe the new coaching system was to blame for the changed usage of Thielen. I look forward to what he achieves for the Panthers. Watching him these past years as a Vikings fan, I know he’s not one to pass an opportunity by. In my opinion, it’s just a matter of time before these critics change their tune. I didn’t pass up the opportunity to draft him when I could.
These were six of my favorite guys to target during this draft season. I can’t help but be drawn to an underdog story. All of these guys have demonstrated grit through the adversities they’ve had to face. I’ve always believed hard work leads to success. I can’t help but reward these players by drafting them on my fantasy teams.
We’ve reached the start of the 2023 Fantasy Football Season- LET’S GO!
Who were your “guys” this draft season, and why?