In a season with some horrible injuries, there have been some unbelievable individual performances too

By Martin Richardson

In a season that has seen injuries to big name players like Nick Chubb, there have been weeks where players such as Aaron Jones, David Montgomery, Saquon Barkley and De’von Achane to name but a few have also been injured; so most fantasy football players would have been scrambling on the waiver wire to get viable starters in their league. Hopefully some of you turned to my articles for help! But, few fantasy footballers would have predicted some of the unbelievable points hauls that some players collected over the season, both good and bad. However, through all of those numbers and player injuries, there is only one place to start…


1459 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns

564 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns

3 fumbles

Yes, you guessed it, no hot takes here: Christian McCaffrey is the fantasy MVP for 2023. His numbers are absolutely monstrous and have no doubt won playoffs and championships in recent weeks. However, what I will say is that in week 17, Championship weekend for some, he didn’t have his best game, with no touchdowns and less than a hundred total yards; so he may well have cost some people a championship. But with an average of just under twenty points a game, CMC has been red hot all year round. Even on a down week, he still hit double figures with a touchdown and fifty one yards against the Cowboys.

CMC had two of his best fantasy weeks against the Arizona Cardinals in weeks 4 and week 15. Their first encounter saw him rush for over 100 yards and three touchdowns, as well as go for over 70 yards receiving and another touchdown. The second time round saw him rush for 115 yards and a touchdown and then catch two more touchdowns for over 70 yards again. Around this he had a total of seven games where we rushed for over a hundred yards, wracking up points after points every week in a 49ers offence that was cooking every week (apart form the Ravens week and even then he got a touchdown too).   

I feel like this season we’ve had more injuries at the running back position than ever before. But we’ve also had a massive drop off in fantasy value in the position as well. People would have been clamouring for players like Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey and even Bijan Robinson in the summer. But once you’ve gone past the likes of Joe Mixon and Alvin Kamara post suspension, the picks in a draft for RB became a bit of a lottery. Which is exactly how I have looked at the MVPs and busts of the RBs in fantasy football season. Does that mean some big names could be under the microscope, possibly. But like the QB MVPs and busts, I’ve taken into account those off the field issues as well as any QB changes that have impacted the offensive play.


Embed from Getty Images

1012 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns

175 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns

4 fumbles

After the obvious MVP in CMC, this is the only place to start and anyone who says otherwise hasn’t been paying attention. Mostert has more than 20 touchdowns this season and is on track to break all kinds of records for Miami Dolphins. Not to mention perhaps breaking the ‘young man’s game’ narrative that seems to have been thrown the way of RBs of late. He has been nothing short of sensational for the Dolphins this season, even with De’von Achane chasing him all the way. For fantasy players, picking him up was a stroke of genius. Averaging 4.9 yards rushing, 7.1 yards from from 24 targets, and an average of 15+ points per game, Mostert has been a points monster and sure-fire reason some people have made the playoffs. Admittedly this receiving ability has diminished of late, with most of those air yards coming before the week 7 against the Eagles. He has made double figures in all bar three games this season and got 20+ points in five games, meaning he is likely to get a least one touchdown a game, but will certainly have the opportunity to run it into the end zone for multiple scores.

Looking back at the season’s projections, ESPN had Mostert sandwiched between Rashaad Penny and Zach Charbonnet, with only 106 fantasy points and 5 total touchdowns. To make matters worse for the folks at ESPN, they said that Mostert would be ‘an underwhelming FLEX’ option.

Wow. Imagine being the person who confidently wrote those words last summer.


1144 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns

206 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns

3 fumbles

I think there are two types of people in the world of fantasy football now- people who have him in their team and people who have fallen victim to him.

I am one of the lucky ones who has not had to fall victim to his outrageous performances- 158 rushing yards and two touchdowns in week 6 against Cardinals where he got injured is just one of them. On hie return, he exploded back into fantasy leagues again against the Cardinals in week 11 where he had over 200 total yards and two receiving touchdowns. The Poor Cardinals just couldn’t catch a break with Williams and CMC running all over them in four separate games. Add to that another three games with over 20 points, Williams has been fantastic for people who most likely picked him up as a waiver claim around the time of the Nick Chubb injury.

He came back just at the right time for people who were in the playoffs, with big games and big scores, and even if he doesn’t get a touchdown in a game, he is amassing over a hundred yards from scrimmage. This has made him a consistent top RB option for any player this season and beyond.  Speaking from personal experience, he was a massive factor in me winning my fantasy league, and he is no doubt going to be someone I probably go high on in next year’s draft.



Embed from Getty Images

416 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns

101 receiving yards

As I said last time about Kenny Pickett and the hype around him, the same can be said about Dameon Pierce and the Texans. In some cases, their run game was just non-existent. Now that can be in part to the fact that they have an elite, yes I said elite, quarterback in CJ Stroud, who can move the chains so easily. All you have to do is look at that touchdown to Nico Collins against the Colts to see that. So that may have played a factor. But also, Devin Singletary seemed to be the more dynamic of the two backs and one that was trusted by Demeaco Ryans and his staff. In comparison, Singletary had nearly double the amount of rushing yards and four touchdowns. To make matters worse, Singeltary probably wasn’t even drafted by some players in fantasy football last season.

Pierce’s two touchdowns came against two teams that are very hit and miss: the Broncos and the Jaguars, so read into that what you will. But what makes him such a bust is that he averaged just two yards a carry and had games of 14 yards and 16 yards rushing, making him so much less effective than players like Jerome Ford or even Tajae Spears.


Embed from Getty Images

617 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns

398 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

4 fumbles

What a bad advert for holding out for a big deal and it not working out. Looking back at the season he’s had, you could argue that it was coaching and how he had been schemed, but he’s just not been the same person in 2023 to 2022. Staley was the coach in 2022, but it wasn’t Kellen Moore as OC that year, it was Joe Lombardi. And let’s not forget, Kellen Moore was supposed to be this offensive mastermind, so much so that the Dallas Cowboys let him go in a sideways move to the Chargers. So, what do we learn here? I think Ekeler is an enigma: for 2023, he was a total bust with a drop off from 2022 that is just unprecedented. With thirteen rushing touchdowns and 915 rushing yards in 2022, he has five this season and 617 yards. The four total fumbles are a killer in fantasy matchups and to not have the consistent touchdown play but the chance of a fumble, lots of people would not doubt have been benching him and going for players like Ty Chandler or someone like Chuba Hubbard who had more mobility and yardage down the stretch.

His 18 total touchdowns in 2022 made him a solid RB1 in drafts everywhere, but he just hasn’t been the same guy. There have been injuries throughout the season, but once he came back from them, it was like he was carrying Khalil Mack on his back and he just couldn’t get moving. A lot now depends on what Ekeler does next. A free agent in 2024, Ekeler may well be the next victim of wanting a new deal and it just falling flat. He could well prove people wrong in a different situation, but one thing is for sure, he won’t be a top fifty pick in 2024 drafts based on this season.

With some big names that have not perhaps performed as well as we all would have hoped, it will be interesting to see where the likes of Bijan Robinson go, with a new Head Coach in a Atlanta to perhaps unlock his generational talent. There could well be some movement as well, with players like Tony Pollard and Josh Jacobs potentially being free agents, so next year’s fantasy running back projections could be very different. 

Next on the agenda is perhaps a position that has one or two elite players, or so we thought, and some players who are yet to break out, and that’s the Tight Ends, so look out for that one. 



A Yorkshireman living in Lancashire, Martin is a massive NFL fan but his heart belongs to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Also a huge Fantasy Football enthusiast and spends far too long crunching the numbers! Follow him at @MRBucsFan31