11 Fantasy Football Breakouts That Will Sustain in 2023
2022 is now in the rear-view mirror, but before we say our final goodbyes, which players broke out in 2022 that could sustain it for 2023?
The players we’ve listed here have great potential in both dynasty leagues and redraft for 2023.
Breakouts That Will Sustain (Fantasy Football 2023)
Where else could we start but perhaps THE breakout star of 2022, Justin Fields, who finished as the QB5 in points per game? Fields had a poor start to the season, but with good coaching that spotted ways to get more out of his talents, he became an elite option, rushing the ball 160 times for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns. Fields still has a long way to go as a passer. However, he should be aided by the Bears having the league’s most cap space and whatever bounty is acquired for trading out of the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. The ceiling is very high for Fields in 2023.
The Giants’ wide receiver struggles were plentiful this year, but it didn’t stop Daniel Jones from being the QB10 in points per game as he threw for 3,205 yards and rushed for 708. The 18.4 points per game that Jones put up were more than Justin Herbert, Tom Brady and Trevor Lawrence managed. If you had Jones as your second quarterback in a Superflex team, you were on to a winner. It remains to be seen how the Giants approach extending Jones this offseason, with Saquon Barkley also needing a new deal. But if the Giants do sign Jones to an extension and sign some wide receivers, Jones could take a further leap in 2023.
Many people spent a lot of time worrying about narratives like, “the Patriots never lean into one running back.” But a better use of time would have been to consider “what happens if Rhamondre Stevenson has an opportunity to seize a bigger workload.” That situation came to pass in 2022, and Stevenson finished as the RB9 in total points, with the fourth-highest amount of receptions and 235.9 PPR points with only six touchdowns. Damien Harris is a pending free agent, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone worthy of challenging Stevenson currently on the roster. If the Patriots’ offense can take a step forward in 2023 and Stevenson can reach 10 or more touchdowns, his ceiling could be even higher.
It wasn’t the rookie season Breece Hall hoped for when it was brought to an end by an injury after seven games, but Hall still finished the season as the RB7 in points per game. Hall’s 2.1 10+ yard runs per game ranked fourth highest, and his 5.8 yards per carry was the highest average of any player to play six or more games. When Hall got injured, no player stepped up in his place, and Michael Carter seemed to regress from his rookie year. This makes it straightforward for Hall to regain the dominant workshare when he is healthy for the 2023 season.
After years of Zero RB truthers holding Tony Pollard up as the key to fantasy titles, he finally paid off and paid off in style. Pollard scored 16.5 PPR points per game, which was the sixth-most and 3.3 more per game than his teammate, Ezekiel Elliott. Jerry Jones can continue to say that “the team goes as Zeke goes,” “Zeke is the straw that stirs their drink” or any other nonsense he likes. The simple truth is that Pollard is the more explosive running back who the Cowboys have turned to in moments of need, and he has delivered. Pollard is a pending free agent, and his 2023 landing spot will be very interesting.
The Slim Reaper, DeVonta Smith, followed up an impressive rookie season with a top-10 finish in 2022, with 30 receptions of 20 yards or more. The Eagles massacred the league’s easiest schedule this year and strolled to a first-round bye. In 2023, they’ll face a first-place schedule, and they may be forced into more pass-heavy scripts which will sustain Smith’s floor and ceiling.
The Jaguars were one of the most pleasant surprises of 2022 and fully deserved all the praise they get. At the heart of their season was Christian Kirk proving everyone wrong who said the Jaguars overpaid him. Kirk finished as the PPR WR14 and had eight games of 15 or more points, easily paying off his best ball ADP of 78. With Calvin Ridley added to the mix in 2023, defenses could struggle to cover the multitude of options the Jaguars possess.
Lost in all the usual chaos of the Washington Commanders was Jahan Dotson quietly having one of the best rookie years of any wide receiver in 2022. Dotson finished the season with six games over 16 PPR points, including three from Week 13 onwards. The Commanders garner less interest than some of the buzzier teams around the league. This perhaps explains why Dotson’s season flew under the radar somewhat. But heading into 2023, he should be firmly on fantasy managers’ lists of sleepers to draft.
The constant changing of quarterbacks couldn’t stop Garrett Wilson from having an excellent rookie season, finishing as the WR22 in total points and the rookie WR1 with over 1,000 yards. There are people in New York whose jobs depend on them getting the quarterback position right this offseason. It’s hard to imagine anyone coming in who can’t help Wilson’s value going forward.
As the tight end position evolves, perhaps it’s time for us to consider how we view rookie tight ends entering the league. As more tight ends are drafted for their pass-catching upside, more are leaving college as well-rounded athletes, often in the form of big-bodied wide receivers. Greg Dulcich certainly popped when he entered the Broncos’ starting lineup with three top-12 tight-end performances in consecutive weeks. Dulcich displayed an ability to win near the line of scrimmage and downfield. If the Broncos get their head coach position right, it’s hard not to imagine Russell Wilson performing slightly better, and Dulcich could benefit greatly.
From Weeks 12-17, Chigoziem Okonkwo had the third most yards per route run of any player in the league. Not just tight ends, but any player. The Titans were leaning into him, and he delivered and displayed great ability in the blocking game. With Austin Hooper now a free agent, Okonkwo may make the Titans’ tight end role his own for 2023.
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Who is your favorite candidate to sustain a breakout in 2023? Find me on Twitter @NFL_Tstrack and let me know.