Real-life football and fantasy football – while they share similarities – they also share many differences. In the NFL, the most important position on the field is the quarterback. It is becoming very difficult to win in this league without a stud as your signal caller. That is not the case though for fantasy football. Oftentimes, we see up to the first three rounds go by in fantasy drafts without a quarterback taken. Getting an elite quarterback is not nearly sought out as much as securing an elite running back or wide receiver.
With that being said, quarterbacks do matter in fantasy football. Since it seems likely that the best-of-the-best quarterbacks are probably going to get somewhere around 25 points per week, you cannot go into a matchup with someone scoring zero at the QB position. My point here is that while quarterback is not the most needed on a fantasy football team, it is going to be tough to win without one. On that note, let’s take a walk down memory lane and hand out some fantasy football awards to the quarterbacks this year, including the MVP, Waiver Wire Winner, Biggest Bust, Best Value Pick and Best Keeper for 2023.
MVP: awarded to the player that finished with the most fantasy points and brought the most consistent value to his fantasy managers throughout the season.
Biggest Bust: awarded to the player that was touted as a top fantasy football option entering the season but ultimately did not produce enough to support his high ADP.
Waiver Wire Winner: awarded to the player that either had a very late ADP or went undrafted in the majority of fantasy football leagues that emerged on the waiver wire during the season and provided excellent value for fantasy managers.
Best Value Pick: awarded to the player that finished the season much higher than their initial ADP indicated but still was regarded high enough that they were rostered on most fantasy squads. In other words, the biggest steal.
Best 2023 Fantasy Football Keeper: awarded to the player that, based on his ADP and season production, would be the best option for keeper leagues next year. We are assuming you get to keep this player in the round they were drafted.
Fantasy Football Awards
Fantasy Football Awards 2022 | Quarterbacks
Fantasy Football MVP: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
This year, the top 12 players in fantasy football were quarterbacks, but only two quarterbacks reached that 400-point threshold. Out of those two, Patrick Mahomes scored 16 more points than Josh Allen – 428-412. On the year, Mahomes threw for 5,250, the most in his young career. Not only did Mahomes lead in passing yardage, but he also led in passing touchdowns, with 41. Mahomes didn’t only beat these other quarterbacks, he dominated them this year. He threw for 500 more yards and six more touchdowns than the next closest players. That is a two-game lead on everyone else in the league.
Not only did Mahomes have an incredible passing season, but he added 358 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Adding all of that up results in one of the best fantasy football seasons of all time, and the best quarterback season for fantasy football of all time.
The high point in the season came early for Mahomes when he put up 360 yards and five (!) touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals in week one. From week one, it was all Patrick Mahomes as other than week 18, his lowest scoring output this season was 16 points in week three against the Indianapolis Colts. During the season, Mahomes scored above 26 fantasy points seven times this season. While he didn’t reach a 40-point game, like Lamar Jackson or Justin Fields, he did score 23.5 points per game on way to leading the Chiefs to the one seed in the AFC.
Biggest Bust: Russell Wilson, Broncos
Taken as the eighth quarterback and the 77th player overall on average in fantasy drafts this year, many expected much more out of Russell Wilson. Especially with a new offensive-minded head coach in Nathaniel Hackett and a young receiving core of Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick, Wilson should have been a stud. That was not the case, as Wilson recorded just 16 touchdown passes this year, which is by far his lowest output as a starting quarterback.
Now, it is easy to blame Wilson’s poor performance on the headache that was the Denver Broncos, but the reality is that Denver’s defense was really good this year, giving up just 21 points per game. Wilson had opportunities and just did not do anything with them. Most of that was by way of himself too, as he turned the ball over 13 times, scoring 26 points less than he probably should have.
This year, Wilson scored more games in single digits than he did above 20. In fact, if you take away the last two games of the season, Wilson scored 20+ just twice this season. The lowest point in Wilson’s season came during Week 16 against the Los Angeles Rams, when he threw for 214 yards and a touchdown, but added three interceptions. That all came out to seven points. For those who drafted Wilson in the seventh round or higher, I am sorry, but he wins our fantasy football award for biggest QB Bust.
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Waiver Wire Winner: Justin Fields, Bears
This is an interesting pick for the waiver wire winner fantasy football award, because there were a lot of people that drafted Justin Fields. That changed though, as Fields scored in double-digits once in the first four weeks in that monsoon against the San Francisco. Putting up three single-digit games in a row turned a lot of people off of Fields.
What happened next was incredible for fantasy owners. Starting with New England, Fields ripped off six straight starts with a rushing touchdown.
He followed the New England game with a two-passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown performance against the Dallas Cowboys. The high point of Justin Fields’ season came the next game though, when he dropped 41 fantasy points on the Miami Dolphins defense. He only threw for 123 yards, but he had three touchdowns through the air one on the ground. Add in another 17 points from 178 yards rushing and Fields greatly improved many fantasy teams this year. Fields followed up that performance with a two-TD passing, 147-yard rushing and two rushing TD performance.
For those who took Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers or Matt Stafford early, the pick of Justin Fields may have been a league winner for them.
Best Value Pick: Jared Goff, Lions
On the flip side of Russell Wilson, we have Jared Goff. In fantasy drafts this year, Goff was being taken as the 25th quarterback off of the board, behind guys like Mac Jones, Carson Wentz and Ryan Tannehill. In Dan Campbell’s system this year, Goff threw for 4,438 yards and 29 touchdowns, with the touchdowns being the second-highest mark of his career. Goff scored in double-digits in all but four games. In that crazy Week 4 game against the Seattle Seahawks, Goff recorded his highest scoring output, throwing for 378 yards and four touchdowns – resulting in 33 fantasy points.
When looking at the players who were drafted around directly before Goff – Eno Benjamin, Carson Wentz and Kenyan Drake. Goff finished as QB10 on the season, averaging 16 points per game, proving that he was this year’s best value pick.
Best 2023 Fantasy Football Keeper: Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars
For this fantasy football award, I was between Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, but assuming that many people dropped Fields and probably stuck it out with Lawrence, give me TLaw here. With Doug Peterson as a perfect head coach for Lawrence, he drastically improved from his disaster of a rookie season. In 2022, Lawrence threw for 4,113 yards and 25 touchdowns. On top of that, Lawrence ran for 291 yards and five touchdowns.
With many people drafting him late in fantasy drafts, in the last round even, there does not seem like there should be a better option for a keeper at quarterback. With Pederson in town, a great wide receiver room and playoff experience, I would guess that we are going to see Lawrence look more like his second than like his rookie year in the coming season. This season, Lawrence finished as QB7, averaging 16.6 points per game.
The Trevor Lawrence fantasy value as a keeper stems from him being drafted 150th overall – one pick ahead of the Green Bay Packers defense. That means that Lawrence was probably drafted somewhere in the 12th round. Having the quarterback on the team the team that was 11th in touchdowns this year is not a bad option – proving why Lawrence is this year’s top keeper.