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League Winners for the 2023 Fantasy Football Playoffs

The term “league winner” is not something that should be thrown around lightly. Everyone has in their head what makes a league winner in fantasy football. Our writers have their own take on which players are set up for success to wrap up this fantasy football season. If you have any of these players on your roster, we think you have a good chance at winning your league.

Fantasy Football League Winners for the 2023 Playoffs

Joshua Dobbs, Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings

Yes, the same Joshua Dobbs who threw four interceptions and scored 8.5 fantasy points in Week 12 is a league winner. Do me a favor. Before you keep reading, go see if he’s available in your league. After such a dreadful performance going into Week 13, it’s possible the manager with him on their roster cut ties with him.

We all know this season is a grueling one when managing fantasy quarterbacks. Nearly half of the league’s Week 1 starters are injured or sitting on the bench heading into Week 14. Up until Week 12, Dobbs has been a pleasant surprise as the starter for both the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings this season. In his first three games with the Vikings, Dobbs averaged seven rush attempts per game, scored seven total touchdowns, including three on the ground, and threw just one interception. Don’t let his Week 12 performance define your thoughts on him as a potential league winner moving forward.

Speaking of moving forward, Dobbs will have Justin Jefferson returning to the Vikings this week. He joins T.J. Hockenson and rookie Jordan Addison as an elite receiving trio for Dobbs to throw to. Dobbs will be looking their way in favorable matchups for a quarterback, too.

In Weeks 15 and 16, the fantasy quarterfinals and semifinals, Dobbs faces the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions defenses. They both rank inside the top eight in points allowed to the position. In Week 17, the fantasy football championship, he gets a Sunday Night Football matchup at home with the Green Bay Packers. They could give way to Dobbs’ strengths as they’ve allowed the fifth-most rushing yards to the position. By the way, the Lions and Bengals have allowed the most and second-most rushing yards respectively to quarterbacks, as well.

Plugging Dobbs into your playoff line doesn’t seem ideal, but it will pay off. He’s a much better option than most at this point with rushing upside and a great schedule. Don’t miss out on this league winner.

Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, New England Patriots

Fantrax Writer: Michael Reedy, @MikeReedyFF

Mike’s Breakdown: I was torn between three players when deciding who I believe is a 2023 league winner. Austin Ekeler, Isaiah Pacheco, and Rhamondre Stevenson all come to mind. Even though I think Ekeler and Pacheco have easier schedules for the rest of the season, I didn’t think it would be as much of a surprise to write about either of those guys. So, though I was originally going to write about Stevenson, I am moving to Ezekiel Elliott. Let it be known this was submitted before his massive Thursday Night Football performance!

With Rhamondre Stevenson getting injured in Week 13, Zeke took over the full workload of the Patriots’ backfield. Elliott is used both as a runner and pass catcher. In Week 13, he had 17 carries for 52 yards and four receptions for another 40 yards. I know you’re thinking the Patriots suck and you’re right, they do. However, the schedule is not daunting from a running back perspective. The Patriots running backs had combined for a 21% target share from Weeks 1 through 13. With Stevenson out, most of that should go to Elliott. He will see a heavy majority of the rush attempts, too.

You can look to Zeke to become a volume-based producer getting you double-digit fantasy points weekly until Stevenson returns. Zeke is the type of waiver wire addition that takes teams to fantasy championships. I think he averages 18.0 or so points per game and is a league winner.

Michael Pittman, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts

Fantrax Writer: Justin Taylor, @jtorange

JT’s Breakdown: Coming into the 2023 season, there were questions surrounding Michael Pittman and the Colts’ passing game. Could Pittman be a top-flight fantasy WR1 with huge questions at quarterback? Most people faded Pittman in redraft leagues or sold cheap for whatever they could in dynasty leagues. Many people did not believe in the recently signed Gardner Minshew or rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, who was drafted with the number four overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Growing pains for the offense were expected. Many people thought some regression was coming for Pittman, but he has regularly been a top 10-15 wide receiver this season. While Pittman only has two 100-yard games so far this season, he is getting peppered with targets. Pittman has 95 targets through 11 games. He has 41 targets over his last three games. Minshew is finding his best weapon and often, giving Pittman a staggering 38.3% target share over their last three games, as well.

In 2021, Pittman’s second season in the league, he amassed 88 catches for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns. With terrible quarterback struggles last season, Pittman still amassed 99 catches for over 900 yards. His yards per reception dropped from 12.5 yards during his first two seasons to 9.3 in 2022.

This season, Pittman is back above 10 yards per reception as he has run more short and intermediate routes in an effort to get him more targets. Pittman has 87 catches for 889 yards with four touchdowns this season. He is on pace for a career-high 1,259 receiving yards.

The Colts have a favorable schedule to close out the season against some secondaries that have struggled this season. They wrap up the fantasy football season with the Bengals, Steelers, Falcons, and Raiders. None of those teams have a shutdown corner that they will shadow Pittman. Put the target numbers together with the upcoming Colts schedule, and you have yourself a league winner.

Russell Wilson, Quarterback, Denver Broncos

Fantrax Writer: Ray Kuhn, @Ray_Kuhn_28

Ray’s Breakdown: The way you began the 2023 fantasy football season is not the way you are ending it. While we would like to paint a nice story about drafting a dynamite team and carrying it through to the fantasy playoffs, that is likely not the case. Things never go according to plan, but there are always alternatives. Nowhere has rings truer than at the quarterback position.

In most situations, you are likely experiencing some issues at quarterback. That is where Russell Wilson comes into play. It is very evident that this is not the same Broncos team we saw in 2022, especially as of late. Before you call me crazy, I am aware that Wilson is averaging just under 200 passing yards per game this season. The good news though is that Wilson has 21 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions this season. He also has two touchdowns on the ground. While we don’t exactly think of Wilson as a true running quarterback, his 312 yards are a nice bonus.

As you fight for playoff positioning, and then enter the postseason, it is all about the schedule. In Week 14, Wilson gets to take on the Los Angeles Chargers who are one of the worst defenses in the league against opposing quarterbacks. To begin the playoffs, Wilson then faces a Detroit Lions team that is just as bad. Following that, Wilson gets a New England Patriots defense that is simply not the same as they once were.

When it gets to fantasy football championship week, Wilson then gets a rematch against the Chargers. This is a Chargers team that is allowing the second most passing yards per game (266) this season. If you were dealing with an injury and forced into streaming at the quarterback position, Wilson could be your league winner answer over the next four weeks.

Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Half-PPR by Position | Flex Rankings | Positional Ranks w/ K & DST | Dynasty | Superflex Dynasty

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