For some fantasy football players, draft season is far more important than the actual NFL season. After all, it’s in the draft when the die is cast, and the season is won and lost.
Of course, in-season maneuvering is also important. But it’s the deliciousness of draft preparation that fantasy fans savor, almost as much as Illinois sports betting customers enjoy cashing wining wagers.
To that end, IllinoisBet.com took a hard look at wide receivers as those fantasy drafts approach. We took stock of two categories – the top 100 returning WRs in PPR ranking for 2023, according to FantasyPros.com, and the FantasyData.com final PPR rankings among wide receivers in the 2002 season. Subtracting the 2023 projections from the 2022 final results gave us the biggest jumps for WRs in fantasy football.
Players with fewer than 12 games played last year, or any current free agents for 2023, were not included.
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WR Biggest Fantasy Football Jumps
Where Bears WR Darnell Mooney Ranks
After IllinoisBet.com, your source for Illinois betting apps information and reviews, compiled our research, we found a young Bears wide receiver who could be worth watching in 2023.
Chicago Bears WR Darnell Mooney appears to be one of those players who will make a big jump in the drafts that will be happening in the coming weeks – or at least that is the perception being generated among fantasy players.
Entering his fourth season, Mooney is tied for the fifth-largest elevation in rankings between the end of last season and the projected ranking for 2023. He jumped 16 spots, tied with Washington’s Jahan Dotson and New England’s Tyquan Thornton.
Mooney finished 2022 with a PPR ranking of 72. His preseason 2023 ranking for PPR is No. 56.
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Mooney A Bit of a Fantasy Football Gamble
Mooney is a bit of a dice roll. He is coming back from ankle surgery. Reportedly, Mooney is practicing hard, but he did not play in the Bears’ first preseason game, a 23-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans. On top of the injury concern, Mooney’s share of targets might be affected by Chicago signing D.J. Moore. Chase Claypool is also in the mix for targets from quarterback Justin Fields.
To Chicago’s advantage, the NFC North is not projected to be particularly strong in 2023.
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Mooney was once expected to be Chicago’s WR1 (he had 81 receptions for 1,055 yards in 2021). But in 2022, his production waned for the first three months of the season, then he was hurt in Week 12. He finished with 40 catches for 493 yards and two scores.
So Mooney’s jump in ranking is driven, in part, by a low baseline of 2022 performance. Still, he could be a bargain, especially if he flourishes as one of Fields’ go-to guys out the slot.
Young Chiefs WR Is Biggest Mover
The top WR in the IllinoisBet.com analysis of wide receivers who are perceived to make jumps in fantasy rankings is the Chiefs’ Skyy Moore, by far. The Chiefs are the favorite at Caesars Illinois Sportsbook, with +600 odds, to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Moore had a 2022 PPR ranking of No. 121 and a 2023 preseason ranking of No. 52. That is a 69-place leap.
The No. 2 WR in the IllinoisBet.com Difference of Ranking category was Cleveland’s Eijah Moore (38), and No. 3 was Buffalo’s Khalil Shakir (37).
Wideouts who finished No. 9 and No. 10 will go high in fantasy drafts, but they might also be hugely productive because they’ll be working with veteran quarterbacks. New Orleans WR Chris Olave, No. 9 on our list, is up 13 spots from 2022 to 2023 projections. His new quarterback is veteran Derek Carr, signed as a free agent after leaving Las Vegas.
And at No. 10 is New York Jets WR Garrett Wilson, who has odds of +2500 for customers using the BetMGM Illinois bonus code to be the AP Offensive Player of the Year. He rises 11 spots, up to No. 10 in preseason projected PPR. Wilson’s new QB is Aaron Rodgers. The Jets acquired the future Hall of Famer in a trade with Green Bay.