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10 Fun Fantasy Football Facts

10 Fun Fantasy Football Facts

With the 2023 fantasy football season disappearing into the rearview mirror, let’s take a look back at some of the weird and quirky choices or stats and facts that shaped how it played out. Below are 10 fun facts from 2023. If you have more suggestions, tag me and FantasyPros on Twitter with them.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

2023 Fantasy Football Fun Facts

1. A.J. Brown & CeeDee Lamb Had Different Bye-Week Experiences

The Cowboys turned their offense around during their Week 7 bye, with none of their fantasy-relevant players ranking inside the top 10 at their positions in PPR points per game (PPG). CeeDee Lamb was the WR24, averaging 14.9 points, 5.7 receptions and a 22% target share per game. Throughout the rest of the season, Lamb would average 28.0 PPG (1st), 8.8 receptions and a 33.7% target share. The Cowboys unleashed him. Meanwhile, A.J. Brown and the Eagles headed into their Week 10 bye week feeling good about themselves. Brown had been a top-12 wide receiver every week since Week 3 and was starting to garner some MVP whispers thanks to his 22.6 PPG (WR3), 111.7 yards per game and 15.0 yards per reception. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, Brown would go on to score a single touchdown the rest of the season, averaging WR33 production with 63.1 yards per game and 11.6 yards per reception.

2. JuJu Smith-Schuster Over Jakobi Meyers Was Not a Good Choice

Almost a year ago in free agency, the New England Patriots chose not to re-sign wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, despite him wanting to stay with the team. They let him walk out the door and sign with the Raiders (a three-year, $33 million deal), which was more than Bill Belichick deemed him worth. The Patriots swiftly moved on and signed JuJu Smith-Schuster to an almost identical deal the next day. Meyers would go on to score seven touchdowns, despite the Las Vegas turmoil, compared to Smith-Schuster’s lone score. Meyers would also outperform Smith-Schuster in yards per target (7.4 vs. 5.5), receiving yards (746 vs. 260), and, perhaps most importantly, snaps (89% vs. 64%). Now the Patriots are saddled with a fat contract for a player who looks washed, while Meyers looks like an ideal WR2 for the Raiders.

3. Justin Jefferson Survived With Poor Quarterback Play; Ja’Marr Chase Didn’t

The first two receivers off the board in 2023 drafts both had difficult circumstances presented to them this year (significant injuries to Kirk Cousins and Joe Burrow). Cousins’ injury, as well as the hamstring issue that caused Jefferson to miss seven games, didn’t prevent Jefferson from topping 1,000 yards for the fourth consecutive year. Jefferson’s fantasy output dropped slightly without Cousins — 22.22 PPG to 18.86, a drop of 15.1%, in part due to the lack of touchdowns the Vikings put up without Cousins. Meanwhile, Chase saw his output drop far more — 18.97 points per game to 12.16, a 35.9% drop, which saw his output compare to the WR35 for the rest of the season.

4. Travis Etienne‘s Lack of Consistency is a Multi-Year Problem

In 2022, Travis Etienne played so well over the first nine weeks of the season that the Jaguars moved on from James Robinson, thinking they had a true workhorse running back. Unfortunately, from Week 9 onwards, things got worse, not better for Etienne. Between Weeks 1-9, Etienne averaged 14.0 points per game and 6.2 yards per carry to go along with 0.5 rushing EPA before averaging 3.5 yards per carry in Weeks 9-16, before a stats-padding win over the Jets in Week 17. Etienne also saw his PPG drop to 10.2 and his rushing EPA drop to -1.7. In 2023, Etienne again thrived over the opening half of the season, averaging 20.5 points in Weeks 1-8 before averaging 13.1 for the rest of the season. For two years in a row, Etienne hasn’t had enough juice to last the season at his peak performance. Fantasy managers need players who don’t fade when the games matter most.

5. Texans’ Run Defense Finally Got the Best of Derrick Henry

When the 2023 NFL schedule was released much was made of Derrick Henry facing the Texans twice during the fantasy playoffs in Weeks 15 and 17. Henry had regularly torched the Texans’ run defense before this season, averaging 203.6 yards and 2.0 touchdowns per game over their previous five meetings. Many assumed Henry would fair similarly this season. This Texans defense, however, is different under DeMeco Ryans. They held Henry to 52 scoreless yards and 9.2 PPR points across two meetings on 32 touches. Projecting defense from one year to another is always tricky; this was perhaps the biggest miss of the offseason.

6. Marquise Brown Was Better Without Kyler Murray on the Field

There were plenty of factors that went into this, including the health of both players and those surrounding them, but the undeniable fact is that Marquise Brown averaged 4.76 PPG with Kyler Murray at quarterback and 12.99 in those without him. Brown sustained volume during the first half of the season, making up in some ways for the lack of quality quarterback play — five 15+ point games compared to four below 15 in games without Murray. Brown’s air yards per target jumped from 10.5 to 13.8 upon Murray’s return. Brown also saw eight deep targets in three games compared to nine total without Murray. Unfortunately, the production just wasn’t there in year one of this new offense.

7. Kenny Pickett Defied the Odds to Experience Minimal Positive Regression

Last offseason you probably heard how Kenny Pickett’s low 1.7% touchdown rate was the 660th-lowest rate among quarterbacks to start 10 games or more since the year 2000 (679 total sample size). The NFL average touchdown rate over the last three seasons among quarterbacks starting 10 games or more has been 4.53%, so it seemed inevitable Pickett could make a sizable jump to at least closer to average. Pickett did progress in this category — by a whopping 0.2% — to 1.9%. The only starting quarterbacks with lower rates were Daniel Jones (1.3%) and Ryan Tannehill (1.0%). Pickett might have been hampered by Matt Canada, but at a certain point, we can just accept it’s not going to matter for fantasy football, despite having good weapons surrounding him.

8. Anthony Richardson Showed Why We Chase Ceiling Outcomes

Fantasy football is all about ceiling outcomes. If you worry yourself too much about safe floors and injuries then it can be very easy to miss out on some of the more exciting players. Anthony Richardson only played four games but he averaged 18.2 points in those games (including two games he left early). In his two full games, Richardson scored 20.9 and 29.6 points. Richardson finished as a top-12 QB in PPG, and in four incomplete games, he scored 72 points — more than Ryan Tannehill (67.6 in nine games) and Daniel Jones (57.0 in six games). Remember folks, Christian McCaffrey was injury-prone until he wasn’t.

9. Lengthy Field Goals (60-Yards+) are Becoming More Commonplace

Back in 2019, only five 60-yard field goals were attempted, two of them successful (40%). In 2020, one of 10 such attempts made it through the uprights. In 2021, that number jumped to nine attempts with four of them successful (44%). In 2022, coaches gained belief in their kickers and let 13 be attempted from that distance, but only five came up good (38%). In 2023, coaches stayed similarly aggressive with nine attempts, but the kickers came through, converting five of them (55%). This isn’t something that will become overly predictive but having a good kicker on a team prone to kicking field goals could pay off handsomely in leagues with kickers.

10. Over 66 Different QBs Have Started Games for Two Seasons Running

In 2022, we saw a record-breaking 68 different quarterbacks start games for NFL teams. In 2023, we saw an almost identical amount — 66 different starters. In Superflex (and single-QB) leagues there has never been a better time to roster additional quarterbacks. Too many seasons have been burned of late by changes under center. Depth at the wide receiver position is much easier to find on the waiver wire than starting quarterbacks worth utilizing.

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