Some of us are good with the status quo, with the safe, with the bland. A hot bowl of mac and cheese or mashed potatoes can be satisfying, don’t get me wrong; that’s why it’s called comfort food. For me, though, the rush of a bite of capsaicin-laced food gets my adrenaline pumping and my heart racing, and that’s what these NFL hot takes do for me. You’ve surely seen the fantasy football rankings, season projections, and the draft guides by now that have been put out this close to the start of the football season, but we’re not going with the herd here. These are some off-the-wall takes, but they do have the possibility of coming true if the stars, planets, and certain chakras align. So let’s take a look at what gets my fire burning for the 2023 NFL season.


Allen Lazard Leads the New York Jets in Red Zone Targets and Finishes as a WR2

I know what you’re thinking. “Why and how could this happen with Garrett Wilson there as the number one wide receiver?” Well, don’t worry, little birds, I’ll tell you. Lazard has been one of Aaron Rodgers’ go-to guys when it counts, finishing 12th in red zone targets in 2022 and 16th in 2021, even with Davante Adams there. 16% of his total targets last season were in the red zone, compared to just 12.9% of Garrett Wilson’s and with Rodgers still creating chemistry with Wilson (which, admittedly, is already en fuego), Lazard should be put in plenty of situations where he becomes the main guy in the progressions. While Wilson will have plenty of yardage, look for Lazard to emerge as the top receiver in the red zone, and, with this efficiency, carve out a role as a WR2 in fantasy.

Treylon Burks Outscores DeAndre Hopkins as a Fantasy Receiver

“But you’re a Burks truther, blah blah blah.” I don’t want to hear it. These are my takes, and I’m a firm believer in Burks’ talent, even over that of DeAndre Hopkins. That’s not to say that Hopkins hasn’t been a prolific receiver in his time in the NFL, but his sun is setting, and there’s a new sheriff in town. Despite his history as a deep threat, Hopkins’ average yards per reception declined to 11.2 last season, and although some of that could be blamed on Kyler Murray’s injury, he’s entering his 11th year in the league and is over 31 years old. Burks, on the other hand, is a young, athletic, and highly prolific receiver (when he’s healthy), as he showed in a few games last season. Even in the limited games with a mix of Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis, Burks averaged 13.5 yards per catch, and now that he’s the number two in this offense, he’ll also be drawing softer coverage. He looks to be healthy after a training camp scare with his knee, and Ryan Tannehill has raved about his ability, saying, “I’m really excited from what I’ve seen from him.” Nuk is still going to be Nuk, but it may be a lesser version, and Burks is going to surprise people this season.

Sean Tucker Rushes for More Yards Than Rachaad White

Unless you’re in the niche of the devy corner of the fantasy streets, you may not have heard much about Sean Tucker. He went undrafted after a medical condition derailed what could have been top-three draft capital at his position. Fortunately, he has been fully cleared to play football again, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the savvy decision to pick him up immediately after the NFL Draft. In his final year at Syracuse, Tucker rushed for over 1,000 yards at an average of over five yards per carry on a pretty pedestrian squad that went 7-6. Rachaad White, although a prolific pass-catcher, had a very bad yards per carry average last season at only 3.7, and while much of that could be blamed on a depleted offensive line, it remains to be seen whether his college production was a result of a softer conference or his talent. With no real competition in the Tampa Bay backfield, I expect a split with White as the pass-catcher and Tucker emerging as the bruiser.

Greg Dulcich Will Be A Top Six Tight End

Depth charts, be damned! I know that Adam Trautman was brought over from New Orleans to be a part of Sean Payton’s “New Orleans West” team, but historically, his usage is as a blocker. Through three seasons in the league, he has only caught a combined 60 passes and has been primarily used as a blocker. Dulcich, on the other hand, is a very talented pass-catcher, finishing with over 700 yards and a 17.3 yards per catch average in his final year at UCLA. We didn’t see a large sample size last season, as he began the year on the injured reserve, but what we did see was impressive, finishing third among tight ends in deep targets, seventh in target separation, and ninth in yards per reception. With Jerry Jeudy injured and a lack of depth in the wide receiver room, Dulcich will be a huge factor in the passing game, potentially ending up second on the team in targets. At his aggregate ADP of TE18, he’s set to return huge value.


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