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The 2023 Fantasy Football Awards

Once again, the fantasy football season has sadly come to a conclusion, and it is time to etch the results into the history books. For the fourth year, Fantrax has provided a platform to publish the 2023 Fantasy Football awards to memorialize the players who helped millions of fantasy footballers win championships this season.

Five Fantrax diehards—Joe Goodwin, Colin McTamany, Ryan Kirksey, Ray Kuhn and Michael Reedy—joined me to vote on the top three players in seven categories, and the results were tabulated. The elite 2023 fantasy football stars are profiled and enshrined in the annals for all-time.

Enjoy my fellow fantasy football fanatics!

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2023 Fantasy Football Awards

Quarterback of the Year (Points)

  1. Josh Allen, Bills (21)
  2. Lamar Jackson, Ravens (18)
  3. Dak Prescott, Cowboys (7)

Heading into Week 18, there will officially be over 60 different starting quarterbacks who opened a game behind center during the 2023 campaign. The record is 69 in a single season. Between the consistent injuries to the position, as well as poor play, many of the quarterbacks who fantasy fanatics trusted to win leagues, and invested significant draft capital on to do so, let their managers down.

Josh Allen did not. While he set a career-high in interceptions (16), in just 16 games, Allen still led the position with 24.1 fantasy points per game (FPPG). He scored just 3.9 fewer total points than he did in 2022, as well. Allen now has four straight seasons with a points-per-game average of 24.0 or more. Consider, too, that Allen’s top wide receiver, Stefon Diggs, had his worst statistical crusade with the Bills this year. There’s no question the Buffalo star will once again rank inside the top three at the position in 2024. Grabbing him as anything other than the QB No. 1 is a legitimate discount.

Lamar Jackson comes in as the second-highest-ranked quarterback from our panelists. Though his 21.2 points per game average doesn’t top Josh Allen or even Jalen Hurts, Jackson’s 26.2 points per game average in the fantasy playoffs, from Weeks 15-17, is what dreams are made in the fantasy universe. Not only did he likely lock up 2023 NFL MVP honors during this stretch, but he definitely won plenty of fantasy football league titles, as well. Those who faded Lamar won’t make the same mistake next year.

As fantasy footballers can see, with just seven points, the support for Dak Prescott to round out our top three is limited with others in close consideration. Taking his Average Draft Position (ADP) from the summer into account, Prescott was arguably the best “bang for your buck” amongst quarterbacks in 2023.

After a slow start, Dak’s value skyrocketed following the Cowboys’ Week 8 bye. He averaged a second-best 23.8 points per game amongst all quarterbacks from that point on. While I am bitter about Dak’s 7.1 points and QB No. 32 finish that knocked me out of a few Week 15 fantasy playoff quarterfinals, Prescott is one of just five quarterbacks this season to average 20.0 or more fantasy points per game. It includes a 19.95 average in Weeks 16 and 17 which benefitted those with a first-round playoff bye. All three are well deserving of the votes bestowed upon them this season.

Colin McTamany, @Colin_McT

Running Back of the Year

  1. Christian McCaffrey, 49ers (30)
  2. Raheem Mostert, Dolphins (12)
  3. Kyreen Williams, Rams (11)

This year, there is a clear No. 1 running back in fantasy, and his name is Christian McCaffrey (CMC). It is so easy to just dismiss his accomplishments because fantasy fanatics have become so familiar with his excellence. In traditional PPR settings, CMC recorded 391.3 points for the season, which is the highest point total belonging to a player other than a quarterback. During the season, McCaffrey had six weeks as a Top-3 RB and 12 weeks as a Top 10 RB. In short, CMC was clearly the best running back in fantasy.

The voting for 2nd and 3rd place was more interesting. Our voters recognized Raheem Mostert as the No. 2 RB (12 points) and Kyren Williams as No. 3 (11 points). Raheem Mostert led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns, even though the Miami Dolphins employed two explosive backs this season. Devon Achane, rather than competing for touches, seemed to complement Mostert as both were successful in spots. Mostert logged six Top 10 weeks in 2023. When Mostert was good, he was REALLY good, posting five games of 20-plus points.

Kyren Williams is definitely the value pick in fantasy leagues for 2023. As the 79th-ranked RB during draft season (257 overall), Williams was thrust into the fantasy spotlight once Sean McVay (and the Rams) jettisoned Cam Akers to the Vikings. The Rams’ runner notched eight Top 10 RB weeks. If he had stayed healthy, he missed four weeks, Williams may have even challenged CMC for No. 1 overall; and most certainly, would have passed Mostert for No. 2.

Also deserving of some accolades are Breece Hall, Jets, Travis Etienne, Jaguars, and Rachaad White, Buccaneers. All three posted seasons worthy of receiving consideration as a Top 3 running back. It appears the next wave of running backs is upon us even if most fantasy teams are now leaning heavily toward receivers in the early rounds.

Joe Goodwin, @JGoody77

Twitterverse on Fire!

Identify the fantasy football Waiver Wire Player of the Year:

  • TE Trey McBride, Cardinals: 3%
  • WR Puka Nacua, Rams: 65%
  • QB Baker Mayfield, Buccaneers: 2%
  • RB Kyren Williams, Rams: 30%

“Kyren Williams for me. Getting the second best running back off the waiver wire is amazing, but Puka Nacua is likely the overwhelming choice.” @aceholesrule

“Went Kyren Williams. Running back has been a wasteland but Kyren was incredible for me after losing Nick Chubb.” @BFTGJason

Scholar’s Vote: In my book, there is no question that Puka Nacua is the Waiver Wire Player of the Year. In 35 years playing fantasy football, rarely has fantasy fans been able to acquire a Top 10 fantasy receiver on the waiver wire. The former BYU playmaker posted the foremost rookie campaign by an undrafted fantasy wideout since Cardinals’ WR Anquan Boldin, who finished sixth among receivers, in 2003.

Wide Receiver of the Year

  1. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (28)
  2. Tyreek Hill, Dolphins (18)
  3. A. St. Brown & Puka Nacua, (3)

Only one player could overtake the dominant season Tyreek Hill had in Miami, and it’s the otherworldly last two-thirds of the season that CeeDee Lamb produced in Dallas. Lamb’s final numbers (through 17 weeks) are 168 targets, 122 receptions, 1,651 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns. His 23.11 PPR FPPG was second only to Hill, but Lamb was at his best when it mattered most. The Dallas gamebreaker had 135.7 PPR points from Weeks 13-17, and only one other wide receiver (Deebo Samuel, 119.3) had more than 100.

Lamb’s lowest PPR score in those most important weeks was 19, and he brought many championships to rosters in Week 17 with his 40-point explosion against Detroit. Lamb’s low mark of 19 points was the most Tyreek Hill got in Weeks 14-17, which is why Lamb takes the award over Hill. However, the Dolphins speedster was on a record-breaking pace until injuring his ankle in Week 14, causing him to miss a game and a shot at 2,000 receiving yards for a season.

Hill had almost 50 more PPR points than any other wide receiver from Weeks 1-13, scoring below 25 fantasy points just three times in that span. Hill has a 30% target share and 40% air yards share heading into Week 18 and could still easily reach 1,900 yards on the year, a feat only accomplished twice in NFL history.

Finishing quite a ways behind Lamb and Hill are Amon-Ra St. Brown and rookie Puca Nacua. These two fantasy elites took very different paths to get there, but finished within 14 points of each other in half-point PPR scoring.

ARSB was a second-round pick in most leagues while Puka Nacua was a waiver wire add after Week 1. St. Brown had an average depth of target (aDOT) of 7.5 while Nacua was 10.4. The Rams’ rookie had more yards after the catch, but St. Brown scored more touchdowns. In the end, both players put up big performances in the fantasy playoffs and are likely to be drafted very close to one another when 2024 drafts come around.

Ryan Kirksey, @CableBoxScore


Gridiron Scholar’s 2023 All-Fantasy Team

  • QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens
  • RB Christian McCaffrey, 49ers
  • RB Kyren Williams, Rams
  • RB Rachaad White, Buccaneers
  • WR Tyreek Hill, Dolphins
  • WR CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys
  • WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions
  • TE Sam LaPorta, Lions
  • Kicker Brandon Aubrey, Cowboys
  • SuperFlex Josh Allen, Bills

Tight End of the Year

  1. Sam LaPorta, Lions (24)
  2. T.J. Hockenson, Vikings (12)
  3. David Njoku, Browns (8)

In most fantasy leagues, Sam LaPorta was a big Week 2 and Week 3 Waiver Wire addition. He may have been one of the best additions of the season. In season-long play, Sam LaPorta finished as the overall tight end No. 1, concluding the campaign with 113 targets, 81 receptions, 860 yards, and nine touchdowns.

LaPorta became the second option that the Lions needed in their passing game. Second in target share with 20.8%, trailing only Amon-Ra St. Brown. Downfield passes were also something LaPorta saw as he finished third on the team in air yards with 21.7% for the season.

With the Lions being the third most prolific passing offense in the league, it doesn’t look like the volume of targets will go away any time soon. Good route running, vice-like hands and his ability to get yards after a catch make him a trustworthy receiver for Jared Goff in the future.

Michael Reedy, @MikeReedyFF

Twitterverse on Fire!

Identify the fantasy football Bust of the Year:

  • RB Najee Harris, Steelers: 10%
  • QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs: 25%
  • WR Christian Watson, Packers: 11%
  • RB Austin Ekeler, Chargers: 54%

Scholar’s Vote: Like the voters, I also selected Austin Ekeler, who was a first-round selection over the summer. He scored only 173 fantasy points, which ranked outside the top two dozen runners in PPR-scoring formats. A total disaster for fantasy diehards, who built their squad around the Chargers’ pass-catcher.

Kicker of the Year

  1. Brandon Aubrey, Cowboys (30)
  2. Justin Tucker, Ravens (15)
  3. Jake Elliott, Eagles (4)

I abhor when fantasy footballers advocate for eliminating kickers. It is insane. The history of the NFL cannot be written without kickers, and fantasy football leagues should always include kickers in lineups. I even recommend increasing the scoring for distance kicks over 40 yards, i.e. 44-yard FGs are worth 4.4 points and 53-yarders score 5.3 points.

In the past four years, a different kicker has been at the top of the poll, and the Cowboys have rostered the best kicker for the past two with Brett Maher last year and Brandon Aubrey in 2023. If readers do not know, Aubrey is one of the more interesting stories in the NFL over the past five seasons.

With Maher missing five extra points in the 2023 playoffs, the Cowboys did not re-sign the unrestricted free agent. Dallas needed a new kicker, and Aubrey took advantage of the opportunity. In college, Aubrey played soccer at Notre Dame and was selected in the first round of the MLS Draft by the Toronto FC. Eventually, he decided to try place-kicking. He kicked for two seasons (2022 & 20223) in the USFL with the Birmingham Stallions before signing with Dallas in July.

As a rookie this year, Aubrey posted one of the best seasons in NFL history. The Cowboys’ kicker has not missed a field goal all season with 35 and made 44 of 47 extra points, scoring 172 fantasy points and averaging 10.8 FPPG. He became the first kicker ever to connect on two field goals over 59 yards in the same game and established a team record with 35 consecutive field goals. Also, 93% of his kickoffs resulted in a touchback, and he produced double-digit fantasy points in seven games this season.

Our panel unanimously agreed that Aubrey deserved the 2023 Kicker of the Year award after his outstanding season. Justin Tucker of the Ravens has finished second in back-to-back years, and Jake Elliott of the Eagles came in third place this season.

Once again, kickers are far too important to exclude them in starting lineups in fantasy football…Do not eliminate the position despite the many misguided voices promoting an end to kickers in our hobby.

John Laub, @GridironSchol91

Rookie of the Year

  1. Puka Nacua, Rams (28)
  2. Sam LaPorta, Lions (10)
  3. Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions (9)

Heading into the season, the thought is that this award would have been a slam dunk. But then again, that is why they play the games. For better or worse likely depends on how many shares of Bijan Robinson a manager had on their fantasy team.

This certainly is an interesting list as only one of the three, Jahmyr Gibbs would have been on the preseason list. Sam LaPorta was certainly a fantasy-relevant option on draft boards, but rookie tight ends don’t have success, right? And then you have Puka Nacua, who was on the smallest number of radars possible and instead made a lot of people look smart with their Week 1 waiver claims.

Going forward, Gibbs is slated to be a fantasy-relevant starting running back, but he did get off to a slow start in his rookie year. While he did rush for nine touchdowns, the Rams’ runner didn’t get into the end zone for the first time until Week 7 (he did miss two of those weeks). He did break the 100-yard mark twice this season, but at just 915 yards on the season, he didn’t get the usage we truly wanted. At the same time though, can we argue with 5.4 yards per carry?

With 10 rushes for at least 20 yards, Gibbs clearly is an explosive back. He also added 52 receptions, for 316 yards, so there is real PPR value. The presence of David Montgomery ultimately limited Gibbs, but we are looking at an RB No. 1 for 2024.

These winners illustrate that the future is bright in Detroit. Drafting in generalities is never a good thing, and LaPorta certainly proved that. Out of 16 games, the former Hawkeye only had three in which he scored less than eight PPR points, and it is difficult to match the production at the tight end position, let alone from a rookie. He was a large part of Detroit’s offense all season as he was targeted 113 times. LaPorta was generally efficient as he caught 81 passes for 860 yards while also finding the end zone nine times.

What stands out both with LaPorta and Nacua, is that they were top options at their positions this season regardless of their status as rookies. With respect to Nacua, he is clear proof that making waiver claims after the first week can truly pay off.

With Cooper Kupp sidelined to begin the season, Nacua took true advantage of his opportunity. If fantasy fans have a knock on the rookie, it’s that he only had five touchdown receptions, but that is really harsh. Through 16 games, Nacua has 101 catches for 1,445 yards, and that production shouldn’t be taken lightly. If we do want to take a hard stance, Nacua had four games of single-digit PPR points, but is that fair? Instead, we should enjoy how strong of a season he truly had for fantasy managers.

Ray Kuhn, @Ray_Kuhn_28

Twitterverse on Fire!

Who is the fantasy football Rookie of the Year?

  • WR Tank Dell, Texans: 3%
  • RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions: 14%
  • WR Puka Nacua, Rams: 70%
  • TE Sam LaPorta, Lions: 13%

“I think the answer (Nacua) to that question is obvious and the poll reflects it!” @RonnieAEvans

“Puka Nacua got me to a championship game. He was on fire all season.” @GeorgeReedFF

Scholar’s Vote: While QB CJ Stroud, Texans could have also been included among the candidates, it would not change my vote. Nacua was named Rookie of the Year by the voters, and I completely agree. In the Class of 2023, the Rams’ receiver surpassed all his contemporaries and helped lead millions of fantasy managers to championships.

Fantasy Football MVP

  1. Christian McCaffrey, 49ers (23)
  2. CeeDee Lamb,  Cowboys (11)
  3. Tyreek Hill, Dolphins (7)

I have been lucky enough to roster 49ers’ runners on my fantasy squads for decades. I can never forget Roger Craig, Ricky Watters, and Frank Gore, who dominated the fantasy landscape over the past 40 years.

From 1985-89, Craig logged some of the greatest seasons ever produced by a fantasy runner–one of the OGs in the company of pass-catching running backs. In three seasons on the Bay, Watters subjugated opponents as a pass-catching dynamo in fantasy football. And finally, Frank Gore might be the most underrated fantasy ball carrier in my lifetime: Check out his enormous fantasy production from 2006-2010.

After 27 games wearing the red and gold, Christian McCaffrey stands among the elite in San Francisco. He is well deserving of the 2023 Fantasy Football MVP after rushing for 1,459 yards, catching 67 passes for 564 yards, and scoring 21 times. In PPR formats, McCaffrey produced 391.3 points and averaged 24.5 FPPG, which led all fantasy players after 17 weeks. While CeeDee Lamb and Tyreek Hill finished second and third in the voting and are worthy of fantasy praise, McCaffrey warrants the top spot in 2023.

John Laub, @GridironSchol91

Voting Points Awarded

1st place = 5 points

2nd place = 3 points

3rd place = 1 point

All-Time Fantasy Football Awards and All-Scholar Teams

Players of the Year

QuarterbackJosh AllenJosh AllenJalen HurtsJosh Allen
Running BackDalvin CookJonathan TaylorAustin EkelerChristian McCaffrey
Wide ReceiverDevante AdamsCooper KuppJustin JeffersonCeeDee Lamb
Tight EndTravis KelceMark AndrewsTravis KelceSam LaPorta
KickerYounghoe KooNick FolkBrett MaherBrandon Aubrey
RookieJames RobinsonJa'Marr ChaseGarrett WilsonPuka Nacua
Fantasy MVPTravis KelceCooper KuppJustin JeffersonChristian McCaffrey

Scholar’s Team

QuarterbackJosh AllenJosh AllenPatrick MahomesLamar Jackson
Running BackDalvin CookJonathan TaylorAustin EkelerChristian McCaffrey
Running BackAlvin KamaraAustin EkelerJosh JacobsKyren Williams
Running BackDerrick HenryJoe MixonChristian McCaffreyRachaad White
Wide ReceiverDevante AdamsCooper KuppJustin JeffersonCeeDeeLamb
Wider ReceiverTyreek HillDevante AdamsTyreek HillTyreek Hill
Wider ReceiverCalvin RidleyDeebo SamuelDevante AdamsAmon-Ra St. Brown
Tight EndTravis KelceMark AndrewsTravis KelceSam LaPorta
KickerYounghoe KooNick FolkBrett MaherBrandon Aubrey
SuperFlexAaron RodgersJoe BurrowJalen HurtsJosh Allen

Week 18 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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