February 21, 2023, 8:13 pm
Even with an impressive 13-3 record, this season was once again a major disappointment for the Bills. They were unable to get over the hump and make a run deep into the playoffs, losing to the Bengals in the second round. There were several great fantasy performances throughout the season for this team, which featured two players finishing in the top-4 at their respective positions.
Although there were two very great fantasy stars on the Bills this season, the nod goes to Josh Allen for his continued success in the fantasy playoffs. Unlike the runner up for this award, Stefon Diggs, Allen was able to dominate in the fantasy playoffs, finishing with QB2 and QB4 performances before the unfortunate events that transpired on MNF during Championship Week. Allen only had two games where he finished outside the top-12 QBs on a given week, including finishing in the top-5 each of the first six weeks to open the year. Averaging 24.4 fantasy points per game this season, Allen was able to hold the QB2 spot at year’s end.
Gabe Davis was easily the biggest fantasy letdown for fantasy GMs this year. Yes, he had a pair of strong performances, finishing as the WR9 and WR1 on those weeks, but the bad greatly outweighed the good. In 14 games this year, Davis finished outside of the top-31 in 10 of those contests, averaging 7.6 fantasy points in full-PPR leagues. Being the WR2 on the second-best passing offense in the NFL, while averaging 7.6 fantasy points in 71% of his games, put him in unstartable territory in the majority of formats.
The glaring question heading into next season for the Bills is how are they going to win playoff games? There is a lack of talent at the running back position and with a few strong RB free agents hitting the market this offseason, including their own lead-back Devin Singletary, there may be opportunity for a change of offensive philosophy and for them to lean on the ground game a bit more. The offense could also use some help alongside Diggs by adding another WR, but outside of that and the hole at RB, the Bills have a very strong foundation to build upon.
Injuries at the quarterback position in the second half of the season truly derailed things for the Dolphins this year. Their season was on quite the rollercoaster ride of streaks, opening the season 3-0 before quickly falling back down to 3-3. They followed up that three-game losing streak with a five-game winning streak. Sitting at 8-3 heading into Week 13, the Dolphins seemed like a lock to make the playoffs and a threat to dethrone the Bills from the division title. Wrong. They rattled off five straight losses, yet somehow survived a snoozefest win-and-get-in game in Week 18 against the Jets and made the playoffs with a 9-8 record. Tua Tagovailoa has yet to be cleared from the concussion protocol three weeks after the Dolphins’ season had ended, due to his third concussion of the season, so there are some major concerns about his long-term health.
Tyreek Hill literally ran away with the fantasy stardom on the Dolphins this season, setting career-highs in receptions, targets and yardage. Hill finished as the WR2 in PPR formats and he was on pace to potentially break Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yardage record, but thanks to the QB carousel later in the season, he was unable to come close. The speedster was able to finish in the top-4 at his position on five occasions this season, proving that he is still able to get the job done in Miami. He finished the year with 119 receptions on 170 targets for 1710 yards and seven touchdowns.
Mike Gesicki was a late-round sleeper TE option in redraft leagues heading into the season, but completely played himself out of fantasy relevance. He had seven games this season where he finished with less than 2.0 fantasy points in PPR formats, while scoring 25.4% of his yearly fantasy points in the Week 6 matchup with the Vikings. Outside of that game, he only finished inside the top-21 on two occasions. On one of the league’s most powerful passing attacks, their starting TE was a very huge disappointment.
The biggest question heading into the offseason and next year for the Dolphins is simply what is the health of Tagovailoa and how do the Dolphins handle it? Tua suffered three concussions in a very short period of time, including two in four days. If he is able to get back to full health and maintain his health, the Dolphins should be well off and be successful next year, but if he suffers any setbacks or any sort of injury, this season was very telling for how quickly their squad falls apart without him.
New England Patriots
The season for the Patriots was fairly disappointing, but their offense mainly struggled mightily thanks in part to injuries to key players at their skill positions. The Patriots were only able to win a single game this season against playoff teams and were consistently beaten up by any teams in the top-half of the league, reversing that against weaker competition. Heading into Week 17, there were hopes for the Patriots to make the playoffs but they needed to win out and get some help, falling short of that feat and missing the playoffs with a 8-9 record.
Although the fantasy star award could easily be handed to Rhamondre Stevenson, who was dominant during the middle stretch of the season, the Patriots’ fantasy star this season was their DST. The Patriots DST finished as the overall top-ranked fantasy defense this season. They were the best fantasy DST in the past three seasons and the fourth-best DST since the 2014 season. They averaged 1.1 more points per game than the second-ranked defense this year and had nine games with at least 11.0 fantasy points. Their defense finished first in interceptions and defensive touchdowns, while ranking in the top-5 for sacks, forced fumbles and special team touchdowns. At a position that has such a high level of variance each week, the Patriots defense was one of the most consistent units, while also having the highest upside for massive games.
The biggest fantasy letdown for the Patriots this season was Damien Harris. Harris came out of the gate strong, scoring 12.6 fantasy points in three of his first four games, but unfortunately the injury bug bit him throughout the remainder of the season, in addition to the emergence of Stevenson. The fourth-year back battled a handful of injuries throughout the year, but it was his thigh injury that slowed him down the most in the second half of the year. Harris was not a massive sink in draft capital in redraft leagues, but finishing as the RB52 and only having seven games with double-digit touches was very disappointing.
There are a pair of very important questions that need to be answered by the Patriots. Firstly, can they stay healthy? They lost games from injury to Mac Jones, Harris, Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry and every single one of their top receivers. This leads to the next question, can the Patriots bring in some talent to increase their depth and put players on the field that can be game-changers? They played slow-paced football this year and relied heavily on their strong defense, but if they were trailing early, they struggled to compete. They have a good foundation with some youthful talent on offense, but they need to bolster that in order to hang with the powerful offenses of the Bills and Dolphins.
New York Jets
The Jets season was looking really good before they headed into their Week 10 bye. They were fresh off a win over the Bills, winning five of their last six games. Zach Wilson was winning games and their defense was looking great. Breece Hall was a game changer on their offense until his devastating injury in Week 7, but Michael Carter showed last season that he was more than capable of stepping in. The Jets and Patriots were playing to a gross 3-3 tie game in Week 11, until the Jets punted and the Patriots returned it for a walk off touchdown. Everything changed drastically from there. The Jets went on to lose their last six games of the season and had their team essentially come unraveled, finishing the year at 7-10.
There should have been a very clear winner of the fantasy star title for the Jets this season, as Hall was the RB7 through the first seven weeks of the season before his unfortunate injury. Garrett Wilson steals away the title for this season from Hall as he was also a very strong fantasy asset this year, finishing as the WR22. There was a stretch during the middle portion of the season, where Wilson was playing incredible. From Week 8 through to Week 15, Wilson was the WR13 in PPR formats, averaging 16.7 fantasy points per game. Even with the QB spiral that he dealt with through the season, Wilson was still able to be a strong fantasy star for the majority of the year.
There are a handful of fantasy letdowns on the Jets’ team this year, but the biggest standout was Corey Davis. Davis was being scooped in the later rounds of redraft leagues and was a hot waiver-wire target through the first four weeks of the season, coming out of the gates strong, scoring 13.7, 16.3 and 18.4 fantasy points in three of his first four contests. After that, injuries riddled his season with problems, causing him to only score over 7.5 fantasy points in a single game from Week 5 through Week 18.
Can the Jets figure out what they need to do at the Quarterback position so they can take the leap to the next level and compete in the AFC East? The Jets have a lot of young skill players on their roster, they just need someone to get them the football. If the Jets are able to pick up a quality QB in free agency or in the draft, they will be a very dangerous team for the next several years. If the Jets continue down the same path, there is a strong likelihood that the prime years of Hall and Wilson will be washed away with nothing to show for it.