February 23, 2023, 3:44 pm
Kansas City Chiefs
Another incredible season is wrapped up by an impressive Super Bowl victory for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs were able to top the Eagles in the championship game by a score of 38-35, winning on a late field goal which capped off a rather impressive comeback victory. During the regular season, the Chiefs looked dominant, especially in their division, finishing with a 14-3 record and earned the top seed in the conference. The Chiefs only lost one game at home this year and once again were unable to be beaten by any of the AFC West foes.
Although Patrick Mahomes was the league’s MVP this year and finished as the overall QB1 on the season, the Chiefs’ fantasy star was Travis Kelce. Kelce had 32% more fantasy points as this season’s TE1 than the TE2 had this year. He had 316.3 fantasy points in PPR formats, while T.J. Hockenson finished the year with 215.4 points. The separation between the two top at their position was absolutely absurd. Kelce was essentially a cheat code if fantasy GMs took the shot at him in the early rounds of last year’s redraft leagues. He had more weeks inside the top-3 than he had outside of it. In super early best ball drafts for next season, Kelce is currently being drafted in the middle of the first round. That’s how superior he is than the other players at his position.
JuJu Smith-Schuster had the opportunity this year to reclaim glory in the NFL and in fantasy football leagues, yet he severely dropped the ball on that opportunity. He finished the year with 78 receptions for 933 yards, which was good for the WR27 in PPR formats. All things considered, it was not an awful year, but when you are on this high-powered offense with Mahomes throwing you the ball, acting as the team’s WR1, it’s a pretty underwhelming outcome. From Week 10 through 18, JuJu was the WR46, only finishing inside the top-18 once and inside the top-55 twice. Brutal performance after brutal performance during the home stretch of the fantasy season was more than enough to burn his fantasy GMs’ championship aspirations.
The one and only question that needs to be answered by the Chiefs next season is, can they run it back? No team has won back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots repeated back in 2006, but with Mahomes and Kelce, there always seems to be an opportunity. The Chiefs have a couple positions to address this offseason, but if they hit on any of those needs in the NFL Draft or Free Agency, the Chiefs will be a tough out once again next season. They are currently the Vegas favorites to win next season, sitting at around -480 to bring home another title.
Los Angeles Chargers
Although the Chargers made the playoffs, their season was ultimately a disappointment. Prior to the season, the Chargers made some splash moves, bringing in some great talent to bolster their defense. Unfortunately, both sides of the ball had star players either struggle with performance on the field or missing numerous games to injury. The Chargers finished the season with a 10-7 record, but only one of those 10 victories came against teams that made the playoffs, losing their other five games against playoff-bound teams. In typical ‘Chargers’ fashion, they blew an incredibly comfortable 17-point halftime lead in the Wild Card Round against the Jaguars, to showcase that the Chargers will never change, losing on a last-second field goal.
Austin Ekeler was the clear-cut fantasy star for the Chargers once again this season. The workhorse RB executed a very rare feat, finishing as the RB1 in back-to-back fantasy football seasons. Ekeler may not have had the most outstanding year when it comes to rushing yards, but in full PPR formats, he was remarkable. If Ekeler was a WR, he would have been tied for fourth most receptions this year, but since he is a RB, he comfortably led the position in receptions and targets, while finishing second in receiving yards and TDs. After a relatively slow start to the season, Ekeler rattled off five-straight weeks of finishing inside the top-5 at his position. He later capped the season off with a remarkable RB1 performance in championship week.
Although he still finished inside the top-10 at his position for season-long rankings, Justin Herbert was a big fantasy letdown this year. He finished as the QB16 in fantasy points per game with 17.1. A rib injury slowed him down through the middle parts of the season, which definitely played a factor in his performance. Last season, Herbert tossed for 38 touchdowns, but thanks to his injury and injuries to Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, that touchdown total substantially dipped down to 25. The ultimate letdown was during the first two rounds of the fantasy playoffs, when Herbert combined to throw for zero passing touchdowns. Next season should be a much better year for Herbert and co.
As Herbert enters the fourth year of his rookie deal, will the Chargers be able to finally get over the edge and put together a deep playoff run? They added Kellen Moore as their new offensive coordinator, so there is some excitement for this offense next year, but with the potential loss of Keenan Allen, this offense could look much different for Week 1. Hopefully the Chargers don’t waste another very young talented player on their offense, which seems to be a common theme in years past for this team.
Las Vegas Raiders
After making the playoffs one year ago and following that up with a 6-11 year, this season was a major letdown for the Raiders, especially with the addition of Davante Adams and the resurgence of Josh Jacobs. The Raiders were very poor away from home this season, finishing with a 2-7 record on the road. Derek Carr took the majority of the blame for their lack of success, but the Raiders defense was brutal, ranking in the bottom-5 in nearly all major defensive categories. There is a large abundance of concerns that came to the forefront this season in all aspects of the Raiders’ gameplay, which ultimately led to a regressive season.
Adams gets an honorable mention as the Raiders fantasy star this season, finishing as the WR3 in PPR formats. He had a fantastic season, but he was drafted to finish in that range. Jacobs, on the other hand, was drafted as a mid-range RB2 but finished the year leading the league in rush yards, earning himself the overall RB3 on the season. He paid off his draft capital and then some, dominating throughout the course of the season for his fantasy GMs. He finished inside the top-8 at his position on eight occasions this year and only finished outside of the top-24 in four contests.
Darren Waller missed Weeks 5 to 14, which ultimately destroyed the fantasy GMs that drafted him in the middle-rounds of redraft leagues. The worst part was, when he was healthy to start the year and finish the year, Waller did play well in the majority of the games he suited up for, but fantasy GMs had no faith or trust in him when he returned in Week 15. Waller wanted to make sure his injury was fully healed before he returned to play, which is very understandable, but fantasy GMs still do not like it. Hopefully next season Waller is able to return to his top-5 TE days.
The most obvious and glaring question for this franchise is, who will start at QB for this team next season with Derek Carr officially being released? Let’s not forget that Adams came to Vegas to specifically play with Carr, will he also want to leave now too? This team seems to be in shambles, so unless they address the major QB void in Free Agency, next year could continue trending downwards.
This season was a year drowned by disappointment all surrounding the off-season acquisition of Russell Wilson and how he failed to deliver for his new squad. The offense looked good in only a few games this year. Outside of those games, they looked entirely incompetent and stale. On the other hand, the Broncos defense was once again elite, allowing them to stay close in the majority of games, even though the offense struggled to score. They had one of the highest projections and expectations, yet collapsed and let down their fans the hardest. The Broncos finished with a 5-12 record and struggled in divisional games, recording a meaningless victory over the Chargers in Week 18 to close out the season with a 1-5 record against division foes. The Broncos had the worst record in the NFL away from home at 1-8 this year.
Surprisingly, the fantasy star for the Broncos this season was not on their roster to start the year. Latavius Murray was acquired midway through the year and quickly became a very fantasy relevant player. Although he finished as the RB32 on the season, Murray was the RB15 from Weeks 10 through Week 18, tallying three RB1 performances in that span. Outside of Murray, there were very few fantasy performances from his teammates that rendered any sort of fantasy relevance throughout the course of the season.
An argument could be made for Courtland Sutton or Jerry Jeudy for their underwhelming years, even Javonte Williams who had his season cut short due to injury, but Wilson takes home this prize and does so with ease. Plain and simply, Wilson was bad this year. Wilson finished the year as the QB15 this season and as the QB20 in fantasy points per game. He had his lowest QBR, passing touchdowns, completion percentage and took the most sacks of his 11-year career. Wilson had the same number of games, three, inside of the top-14 this year as he did outside of the top-27 for weekly QB ranking. Devastatingly bad numbers.
Will Sean Payton and co. be able to fix this team and get Wilson back on track? Payton spoke highly of himself this offseason when he proclaimed that he would be able to do so, so he has officially put his money where his mouth is. This season could easily have been just an off-year for Wilson, who has never changed teams before in his career. He has a bundle of talented players surrounding him, so the chance of the Broncos returning to relevance is not too far fetched with the addition of Payton to the organization.