2023 Fantasy Football Fallout | Players Poised for Peak Production in 2024

by Emerson Beery · Fantasy Football
Fantasy Football 2023

As the echoes of the 2023 fantasy football season begin to fade, it’s time to reflect on the narratives that unfolded. From breakout stars to unexpected twists, the season delivered a plethora of compelling storylines. Here, we’ll delve into the most significant developments, analyzing the performances of notable players like Rashee Rice, Breece Hall, CeeDee Lamb, and the impactful coaching changes that will shape the fantasy football landscape in 2024. Join us as we navigate the highs, lows, and unforeseen turns that defined the fantasy gridiron in 2023, offering insights and predictions that will undoubtedly influence fantasy drafts in the coming offseason.

Rashee Rice on the Verge

Rashee Rice had a fantastic 2023 season, recording 938 yards and 7 touchdowns despite sitting out the Chiefs’ final regular season game. However, he is better suited to be the second wide receiver in this offense in 2024 rather than the top target. Rice led wide receivers in Yards After Catch but ranked only No. 97 in Average Depth of Target. Most of his receptions came very close to the line of scrimmage, where coaches could scheme him into open space.

While Rice demonstrated incredible ability with the ball in his hands, his route running left something to be desired. Rice finished only No. 49 in Expected Fantasy Points Per Game, suggesting he is due for regression. The KC offense is starving for a downfield threat, and the Chiefs will look to add a premier target through the draft or free agency.

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Rashee Rice Advanced Stats & Metrics

Rice has a bright future, nonetheless. He sits just outside my top-20 dynasty fantasy football wide receivers. He is very young and will continue to improve, but lacks a traditional WR1 skillset. Players such as Deebo Samuel are very unique, and Rice is unlikely to achieve that level of efficiency. In dynasty fantasy football leagues, I’ll be avoiding Rice at his top-20 wide receiver price tag and would instead prefer similarly ranked players such as Zay Flowers or Nico Collins.

2024 Fantasy Football Free Agency Preview

Breece Hall Will be Unstoppable in 2024

While Breece Hall’s production was inconsistent in 2023, only Christian McCaffrey accumulated more scrimmage yards. Despite losing Aaron Rodgers, playing behind a poor offensive line, and rehabbing from a torn ACL, Hall finished as the RB2. With Rodgers returning in 2024, Hall is in consideration to be the RB1 in 2024 fantasy football leagues.

Aaron Jones¬†finished in the top-10 in Target Share each of his last three seasons playing with Rodgers. Hall is far more talented than Jones, too, finishing No. 1 in Dominator Rating and No. 2 in Evaded Tackles in 2023. Even though he was a focal point of the offense, the abysmal Zach Wilson-led offense failed to utilize Hall too often. That won’t be the case with Rodgers, and Hall is guaranteed to be among the leaders in running back targets.

Even though Hall posted some huge performances, he also finished outside the top-20 fantasy running backs eight times. He could have been so much better, and there are only a couple of other backs in the entire NFL who boast his kind of upside. Considering his age and talent, he is my favorite to be the RB1 in 2024 fantasy football drafts and is behind only Bijan Robinson in my dynasty rankings. Hall is a player that fantasy managers should buy high on and could have a McCaffrey-like impact next season.

Is CeeDee Lamb the Dynasty WR1?

Fantasy managers have been waiting for this version of CeeDee Lamb since the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. After a slow start to the season, Lamb is the WR1 in fantasy points per game since Week 6 by 5.5 points. Is he the best wide receiver in the NFL? Perhaps not; however, he should be the early favorite to be the WR1 in 2024 fantasy football leagues.

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CeeDee Lamb Advanced Stats & Metrics

There are no other players in the NFL that boast his combination of youth and offensive situation. Players such as Tyreek Hill are a year older, and Justin Jefferson could be developing chemistry with a new quarterback in 2024. Lamb led the NFL with 181 targets, something that shouldn’t change next season with Prescott likely receiving a contract extension.

While Lamb doesn’t excel as a deep threat, he makes up for it with target volume and Yards After Catch. His rapport with a dependable quarterback in Dak Prescott locks him in as a top-5 fantasy pick in 2024 drafts. In dynasty fantasy football terms, he’s entered the god-tier of wide receivers that includes Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase. Even though I prefer the talent of Jefferson and Chase, they will be behind Lamb in my early 2024 rankings.

2023 Fantasy Football Quarterback Analysis

Fantasy Managers Rejoice in Regime Change

Arthur Smith deserves to have a wonderful and happy life, just not as the coach for the Atlanta Falcons. Smith got fired following the Falcons’ loss to the New Orleans Saints and their elimination from the playoffs. After many thought the Falcons could be a team to watch in 2023, the offense failed to take a step forward as they squandered their talent once again.

Not using their last three top-10 picks to the best of their ability was one of the main reasons Smith finds himself without a job. Too often, the offense forgot about Bijan Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts. Furthermore, the coaches didn’t put players such as Pitts in positions to succeed. Instead of putting him in a position to take advantage of linebackers in coverage, coaches asked him to be a wide receiver. Pitts finished No. 1 in Average Depth of Target among tight ends, something Desmond Ridder wasn’t in a position to take advantage of.

As a result, this is a huge offseason for the future fantasy football value of these three players. Robinson is likely a safe asset considering his position as a generational running back prospect, but London and Pitts will be very dependent on their future coach and quarterback. A competent offensive mind paired with a quarterback such as Kirk Cousins could mean an explosion for the entire offense. At the same time, a quarterback such as Justin Fields could lead to inconsistent opportunities for the pass catchers once again.

What to Make of the Philadelphia Eagles Offense

The Philadelphia Eagles offense didn’t carry over the same fantasy football success in 2023 compared to their breakout 2022 campaign. Despite finishing as the QB2 in fantasy football, Jalen Hurts’ fantasy production decreased by nearly four points per game. Furthermore, A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith suffered drops in production as well. While they all still performed admirably, there may be a cap on the Eagles’ fantasy upside.

The Eagles’ offense was extremely efficient in 2022, but that is difficult to carry over from year to year. They were No. 23 in both pass plays per game and Pace of Play this past season. A dual-threat quarterback such as Hurts tends to limit wide receivers’ target volume and vulture touchdowns away from the running backs. This is exactly what we saw in 2023, as there was rarely room for Brown, Smith, and Dallas Goedert all to be productive. Swift didn’t fare much better in the second half of the year, rarely getting work at the goal line or through the air.

Ultimately, the Eagles boast an embarrassment of riches on the offensive side of the football. However, for fantasy purposes, there are too many talented players for everyone to find success every week. Philadelphia’s focus on ball control and their tendency to always play with a lead hurts their fantasy success as well. In dynasty leagues, managers will be drafting these players based on talent, but they are unlikely to produce at that value in 2024 with everyone healthy.