Home Articles Fantasy Football Breakouts (2023): Mid-Round Candidates
Kyle Pitts | Fantasy Football Breakouts (2023): Mid-Round Candidates

Fantasy Football Breakouts (2023): Mid-Round Candidates

by Matt Kelley

With draft season in full swing, everyone wants to find those fantasy football breakouts that will lead them to a championship so you can tell your league “told ya so’” in the end.

Everyone knows the household names at the top of your fantasy drafts. The middle rounds, however, that’s where you can either find gold or step on a landmine. We’re going searching for mid-round gold.

Here are my favorite fantasy football breakouts from the mid rounds:

Fantasy football CTA

(ADP courtesy of ESPN)

Fantasy Football Breakouts (2023): Mid-Round Candidates

Brandon Aiyuk (WR, San Fransisco 49ers)

Current ADP 84.9 overall | WR30

My biggest flag plant of the 2023 season, Brandon Aiyuk, is hovering around the fifth to seventh round of fantasy football drafts, depending on the platform. In fact, I believe that Aiyuk’s ADP will flip next year with teammate Deebo Samuel, who is currently going nearly 50 picks earlier.

While Aiyuk was somewhat of a fantasy football breakout last season, totaling over 1,000 receiving yards, he’s poised for a more significant season in 2023. Aiyuk tallied 113 targets on a 23.3% target share last season despite the 49ers going through three quarterback changes during the regular season.

How did Aiyuk keep finding success? He averaged 2.31 yards of separation from his defender, third-best amongst all WRs. With Brock Purdy being handed the reigns at QB this season for the 49ers, all he has to do is deliver and let Aiyuk do work, as Aiyuk was also 17th in Yards After Catch (YAC). 

Aiyuk finished as WR23 in points per game, and he’s currently going as the WR30 on ESPN. Scoop him up. 

Kyle Pitts (TE, Atlanta Falcons)

Current ADP 64.8 overall | TE6

Kyle Pitts‘s first two seasons in the NFL couldn’t have gone more different. In his rookie season, Pitts had over 1,000 receiving yards on 68 catches. Last season, in 10 games, Pitts totaled a near impossibly low 28 catches for just 356 receiving yards.  Make no mistake, this was not on Pitts. Per Pro Football Focus (PFF), Pitts saw just a 59% catchable target rate last season, the worst among any TE running at least 200 routes.

However, Pitts saw the most deep targets, the second-highest Average Depth of Target (aDOT) and the fifth-most air yards among the TE position. Again, that was in just 10 games. While we all try to find the next TE to have an elite fantasy season, the easy question you can ask yourself is, “Can this player be their team’s number one target?”

That answer with Pitts is, assuredly, yes. He is an absolute matchup nightmare who saw a 27% target share last season. Rookie RB Bijan Robinson should take added pressure off the passing game and help sustain more offensive drives, leading to more scoring opportunities. If starting QB Desmond Ridder is even league average (which may honestly be a big ask), Pitts is prime for a monster bounce-back and fantasy football breakout season.

 Zach Charbonnet (RB, Seattle Seahawks)

Current ADP 144.6 overall | RB42

Second-round rookie RB Zach Charbonnet comes into the season behind teammate Kenneth Walker, who had double-digit fantasy points in every game but one (Week 13, where he left the game in the second quarter) after Week 5 last season. Week 5 is important here to Walker, as that’s when his snap share jumped to 56%, and it never fell below that mark the rest of the season when healthy.

So why target Charbonnet as one of your fantasy football breakouts? Size, draft capital and pass-catching chops are what make him appealing. Charbonnet is about four inches taller and about five pounds heavier physically, but in watching his tape, he plays with an almost Marshawn Lynch intensity. He’s the more physical back here, all while having better hands. Despite already having Walker, the Seahawks found it necessary to take Charbonnet in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft.

With Seattle looking to threaten with one of the league’s most prolific offenses, Charbonnet should have immediate FLEX appeal in your fantasy lineups. Should Walker miss extensive time, Charbonnet could go from FLEX appeal to league-winner. 

Thanks for reading my favorite mid-round fantasy football breakouts. Looking for more fantasy football draft advice? Follow me on Twitter @ThatMattKelley.

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