To improve as a fantasy owner, it’s important to reflect on your process. Review your analysis and see which players that you were targeting succeeded, which failed, and most importantly, why. Here are the results from last season to help us learn which players outperformed the market as 2023’s fantasy football MVPs.

To determine the value of each player last season, it’s important to evaluate players in direct comparison with their position, not by comparing their total points. For instance, Jared Goff is very likely to outscore Brandon Aiyuk – but that doesn’t mean he should be drafted higher in one-QB leagues.

Quarterbacks – even mediocre ones – who start the entire season are likely to outscore all other positions. Therefore, we need to evaluate how much more (or less) each player scored compared to the average at their position.

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

TL;DR:

  • To find fantasy MVPs it is important to find baseline points for each position, or else it becomes impossible to compare position against the position.
  • Without including cost, CeeDee Lamb and Christian McCaffrey were the most valuable fantasy football players of 2022.
  • Kyren Williams and Puka Nacua were league-winning values.

Points Above Average

To gain a baseline or average at each position, I use Fantasy Douche’s old baselines (from an article that is no longer available on the old Rotoworld) with Apex’s lineup and scoring settings. Apex utilizes PPR Scoring and weekly lineups of QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, Flex, K, and D. Defense and kickers were excluded from this study as they generally maintain little year-to-year predictability.

Below are the baselines for each position and their averages per game and for the entire season.

QB RB WR TE
Baseline 16 43 60 18
Average Season 293.06 199.23 204.86 169.77
Average Per Game 18.96 13.58 13.51 11.01

The Baseline above refers to the number of players included in the average. The average season finds a replacement-level value for the entire season. The average per game is a replacement-level value for each position per game.

Even when comparing players by position, there is still the question of whether to compare them by points per game or for the entire season. Players who missed any time are not viewed favorably if we’re comparing players by the entire season – as it is evaluated by a player’s total points for the entire season. It is important to include the per-game metric because of the high rate of injuries among NFL players, otherwise, a complete picture of the fantasy landscape would not be reflected in the data. Just because players don’t play the entire season, doesn’t mean they’re not dramatically improving your odds of winning.

The table below is sorted by Points Above Average Per Game (“PAA PG”) to allow us to fairly rank players who missed time due to injury. I also included a column for Points Above Average for the entire season under “PAA S”.

Another vital part of figuring out who was the most valuable is how expensive each player was in terms of draft capital – in other words, their average draft position (ADP). The cost of a player is a big determinant of how much value they can provide. Players like Raheem Mostert, who are drafted at an inexpensive cost and produced at a high level, are league-winning players.

For this reason, the Average Draft Position (ADP) from Apex Fantasy League drafts at the end of August 2023 is listed in the table below.

PlayerPOSADPPPRPPGPAA SPAA PG
Christian McCaffreyRB3.5391.324.46192.0710.88
CeeDee LambWR11.6403.223.72198.3410.21
Tyreek HillWR4.3376.423.53171.5410.02
Keenan AllenWR36.1278.921.4574.047.94
Kyren WilliamsRB#N/A25521.2555.777.67
Amon-Ra St. BrownWR13.7330.920.68126.047.17
Justin JeffersonWR1.1202.220.22-2.666.71
Alvin KamaraRB87.423317.9233.774.34
Raheem MostertRB162.4267.717.8568.474.27
Josh AllenQB27.4392.623.0999.544.13
Puka NacuaWR#N/A298.517.5693.644.05
Nico CollinsWR113.7260.417.3655.543.85
DeVon AchaneRB116.8190.717.34-8.533.76
Travis KelceTE6.2219.414.6349.633.62
T.J. HockensonTE51.821914.649.233.59
A.J. BrownWR9.9289.617.0484.743.53
Breece HallRB33.8290.517.0991.273.51
DJ MooreWR47.3286.516.8581.643.34
Mike WilliamsWR45.750.216.73-154.663.22
Mike EvansWR66.7282.516.6277.643.11
Sam LaPortaTE151.5239.314.0869.533.07
Travis EtienneRB40.7282.416.6183.173.03
Ja'Marr ChaseWR2.2262.716.4257.842.91
Deebo SamuelWR33.8243.716.2538.842.74
Stefon DiggsWR8.1273.816.1168.942.60
Jahmyr GibbsRB35.5242.116.1442.872.56
Evan EngramTE96.6230.313.5560.532.54
Mark AndrewsTE29.2135.413.54-34.372.53
Saquon BarkleyRB17.1223.215.9423.972.36
Rachaad WhiteRB82267.915.7668.672.18
Joe MixonRB43.226715.7167.772.13
Michael PittmanWR69.6250.215.6445.342.13
Davante AdamsWR14.7265.415.6160.542.10
Brandon AiyukWR51.3249.215.5844.342.07
Jonathan TaylorRB22.2156.415.64-42.832.06
Jalen HurtsQB25.1356.820.9963.742.03
James ConnerRB80.2201.515.52.271.92
Lamar JacksonQB34.8331.220.738.141.74
Isiah PachecoRB89213.915.2814.671.70
George KittleTE61.7203.212.733.431.69
Amari CooperWR33.222715.1322.141.62
David NjokuTE105.9201.212.5831.431.57
Tank DellWR#N/A16515-39.861.49
David MontgomeryRB76.6207.214.87.971.22
Dak PrescottQB106342.820.1649.741.20
Chris OlaveWR19.5231.314.4626.440.95
Derrick HenryRB21.5246.714.5147.470.93
Bijan RobinsonRB8.8246.314.4947.070.91
DeVonta SmithWR21.6227.614.2322.740.72
Jaylen WaddleWR17.4198.614.19-6.260.68
DK MetcalfWR28.6225.414.0920.540.58
Josh JacobsRB31.4181.113.93-18.130.35
Cooper KuppWR5.2164.413.7-40.460.19
Jakobi MeyersWR127.4218.613.6613.740.15
James CookRB88.4232.713.6933.470.11
Adam ThielenWR146.823113.5926.140.08
Jayden ReedWR172.9217.213.5812.340.07
Calvin RidleyWR27.4229.913.5225.040.01
Jordan LoveQB165.1319.118.7726.04-0.19
Rashee RiceWR135.6212.513.287.64-0.23
Kirk CousinsQB112.1149.718.71-143.36-0.25
Kenneth WalkerRB53.6199.413.290.17-0.29
Trey McBrideTE#N/A181.510.6811.73-0.33
Austin EkelerRB7.4185.413.24-13.83-0.34
DeAndre HopkinsWR45.3223.613.1518.74-0.36
Cole KmetTE149.2181.110.6511.33-0.36
Brian RobinsonRB108.4198.113.21-1.13-0.37
Brock PurdyQB167295.618.482.54-0.48
Tony PollardRB18.5222.613.0923.37-0.49
Jordan AddisonWR71.2221.313.0216.44-0.49
C.J. StroudQB192.727618.4-17.06-0.56
Jake FergusonTE198.9177.110.427.33-0.59
Zay FlowersWR83.3206.412.91.54-0.61
Kyler MurrayQB154.1146.418.3-146.66-0.66
Justin HerbertQB53.8234.218.02-58.86-0.94
Garrett WilsonWR13.7213.212.548.34-0.97
Dalton SchultzTE137.5150.510.03-19.27-0.98
Christian KirkWR51150.312.53-54.56-0.98
Kendrick BourneWR#N/A10012.5-104.86-1.01
D'Andre SwiftRB77.8199.312.460.07-1.12
Jerome FordRB166.4211.212.4211.97-1.16
Chris GodwinWR59.9209.212.314.34-1.20
Terry McLaurinWR44.5209.212.314.34-1.20
George PickensWR73.7208.812.283.94-1.23
Justin FieldsQB49.4230.217.71-62.86-1.25
Dallas GoedertTE76.3136.39.74-33.47-1.27
Aaron JonesRB51.8134.912.26-64.33-1.32
Rhamondre StevensonRB28.3145.712.14-53.53-1.44
Patrick MahomesQB20.9280.217.51-12.86-1.45
Zack MossRB#N/A169.612.11-29.63-1.47
Darren WallerTE73.7113.29.43-56.57-1.58
Tyler LockettWR62.4202.411.91-2.46-1.60
Courtland SuttonWR96190.211.89-14.66-1.62
Dalton KincaidTE125.4150.39.39-19.47-1.62
Diontae JohnsonWR55.9152.711.75-52.16-1.76
Russell WilsonQB133.1256.917.13-36.16-1.83
Jared GoffQB129.7289.117.01-3.96-1.95
Jaylen WarrenRB135.2196.411.55-2.83-2.03
Nick ChubbRB12.423.111.55-176.13-2.03
Tee HigginsWR24.6137.611.47-67.26-2.04
Najee HarrisRB39.4195.511.5-3.73-2.08
Christian WatsonWR41.3101.311.26-103.56-2.25
Javonte WilliamsRB80.1179.211.2-20.03-2.38
Hunter HenryTE#N/A119.98.56-49.87-2.45
Trevor LawrenceQB65.7262.516.41-30.56-2.55
Gus EdwardsRB178.518711-12.23-2.58
Drake LondonWR44.2174.410.9-30.46-2.61
Brandin CooksWR84.9173.210.83-31.66-2.68
Darrell HendersonRB#N/A43.510.88-155.73-2.70
Matthew StaffordQB158.9243.116.21-49.96-2.75
Chuba HubbardRB188.7182.510.74-16.73-2.84
Baker MayfieldQB#N/A274.116.12-18.96-2.84
Josh PalmerWR#N/A106.710.67-98.16-2.84
Jake BrowningQB#N/A144.416.04-148.66-2.92
Kyle PittsTE70.7137.38.08-32.47-2.93
Tua TagovailoaQB91.7270.415.91-22.66-3.05
Logan ThomasTE#N/A126.87.93-42.97-3.08
Rashid ShaheedWR166.4155.610.37-49.26-3.14
Romeo DoubsWR123.1174.410.26-30.46-3.25
Ezekiel ElliottRB171.4174.510.26-24.73-3.32
Noah BrownWR#N/A101.610.16-103.26-3.35
D'Onta ForemanRB158.191.210.13-108.03-3.45
Juwan JohnsonTE185.697.87.52-71.97-3.49
Joshua DobbsQB#N/A200.715.44-92.36-3.52
Gerald EverettTE148.2111.17.41-58.67-3.60
Zach ErtzTE#N/A51.77.39-118.07-3.62
Curtis SamuelWR176.4157.29.83-47.66-3.68
Jonnu SmithTE#N/A124.27.31-45.57-3.70
Devin SingletaryRB156.5167.39.84-31.93-3.74
Tyler ConklinTE187.2123.17.24-46.67-3.77
Tyler HigbeeTE143.4108.57.23-61.27-3.78
Sam HowellQB199.2257.515.15-35.56-3.81
Geno SmithQB114.9227.315.15-65.76-3.81
Marquise BrownWR60.9134.79.62-70.16-3.89
Gabe DavisWR71.1161.49.49-43.46-4.02
Cade OttonTE#N/A116.56.85-53.27-4.16
Luke MusgraveTE#N/A75.26.84-94.57-4.17
Khalil HerbertRB117112.59.38-86.73-4.20
Joe BurrowQB48.1147.214.72-145.86-4.24
Josh DownsWR#N/A157.19.24-47.76-4.27
Tanner HudsonTE#N/A80.26.68-89.57-4.33
Chigoziem OkonkwoTE143.1113.46.67-56.37-4.34
Tyjae SpearsRB175.7153.89.05-45.43-4.53
Michael ThomasWR96.689.88.98-115.06-4.53
Pat FreiermuthTE10876.86.4-92.97-4.61
Darius SlaytonWR202.11518.88-53.86-4.63
Wan'Dale RobinsonWR#N/A133.28.88-71.66-4.63
Jerry JeudyWR38.3141.88.86-63.06-4.65
Jaxon Smith-NjigbaWR59.2149.88.81-55.06-4.70
Michael WilsonWR#N/A114.58.81-90.36-4.70
Derek CarrQB151241.114.18-51.96-4.78
Zay JonesWR125.578.18.68-126.76-4.83
Keaton MitchellRB#N/A69.98.74-129.33-4.84
Tyler BoydWR108.9144.88.52-60.06-4.99
Isaiah LikelyTE#N/A101.15.95-68.67-5.06
Alexander MattisonRB58.2133.28.33-66.03-5.25
Donald ParhamTE#N/A79.55.68-90.27-5.33
Tyler AllgeierRB141.8137.68.09-61.63-5.49
Dontayvion WicksWR#N/A119.87.99-85.06-5.52
Antonio GibsonRB99127.47.96-71.83-5.62
Kareem HuntRB#N/A118.57.9-80.73-5.68
Elijah MooreWR87132.17.77-72.76-5.74
AJ DillonRB101117.67.84-81.63-5.74
DJ CharkWR153.6115.57.7-89.36-5.81
Odell BeckhamWR109.2107.57.68-97.36-5.83
Demario DouglasWR#N/A107.27.66-97.66-5.85
Michael MayerTE#N/A71.45.1-98.37-5.91
Josh ReynoldsWR#N/A128.87.58-76.06-5.93
K.J. OsbornWR149.31207.5-84.86-6.01
Kylen GransonTE#N/A734.87-96.77-6.14
Jahan DotsonWR75.3124.87.34-80.06-6.17
Tucker KraftTE#N/A78.54.62-91.27-6.39
Samaje PerineRB111.3121.37.14-77.93-6.44
Dawson KnoxTE177.954.64.55-115.17-6.46
Tutu AtwellWR#N/A112.47.03-92.46-6.48
Durham SmytheTE#N/A71.64.48-98.17-6.53
Jerick McKinnonRB123.584.47.03-114.83-6.55
Noah FantTE#N/A73.44.32-96.37-6.69
Justice HillRB#N/A109.36.83-89.93-6.75
Roschon JohnsonRB155.8102.16.81-97.13-6.77
Jameson WilliamsWR102.780.36.69-124.56-6.82
Khalil ShakirWR186.3113.16.65-91.76-6.86
Noah GrayTE#N/A70.64.15-99.17-6.86
Cam AkersRB65.446.76.67-152.53-6.91
Zach CharbonnetRB105.1106.16.63-93.13-6.95
Robert WoodsWR#N/A89.36.38-115.56-7.13
Desmond RidderQB#N/A177.111.81-115.96-7.15
Mike GesickiTE194.765.43.85-104.37-7.16
Tommy TrembleTE#N/A60.43.78-109.37-7.23
Rondale MooreWR134.21056.18-99.86-7.33
Jaleel McLaughlinRB#N/A1066.24-93.23-7.34
Brevin JordanTE#N/A50.93.64-118.87-7.37
Colby ParkinsonTE#N/A61.73.63-108.07-7.38
Gardner Minshew IIQB#N/A196.211.54-96.86-7.42
Nick Westbrook-IkhineWR#N/A856.07-119.86-7.44
A.T. PerryWR#N/A60.66.06-144.26-7.45
Adam TrautmanTE#N/A60.43.55-109.37-7.46
Kenneth GainwellRB169.197.46.09-101.83-7.49
Aidan O'ConnellQB#N/A125.811.44-167.26-7.52
Ty ChandlerRB#N/A1015.94-98.23-7.64
Dameon PierceRB68.182.75.91-116.53-7.67
Kalif RaymondWR#N/A97.45.73-107.46-7.78
Nelson AgholorWR#N/A97.15.71-107.76-7.80
Jonathan MingoWR14684.85.65-120.06-7.86
Brandon JohnsonWR#N/A73.45.65-131.46-7.86
Rico DowdleRB#N/A91.55.72-107.73-7.86
Josh OliverTE#N/A53.33.14-116.47-7.87
Trey PalmerWR#N/A95.75.63-109.16-7.88
Alec PierceWR155.195.45.61-109.46-7.90
DeVante ParkerWR186.572.45.57-132.46-7.94
Justin WatsonWR#N/A895.56-115.86-7.95
JuJu Smith-SchusterWR115.9615.55-143.86-7.96
Quentin JohnstonWR79.3945.53-110.86-7.98
Daniel BellingerTE#N/A50.52.97-119.27-8.04
Demarcus RobinsonWR#N/A87.45.46-117.46-8.05
Drew SampleTE#N/A50.32.96-119.47-8.05
Miles SandersRB63.287.65.48-111.63-8.10
Kendre MillerRB145.143.35.41-155.93-8.17
Salvon AhmedRB#N/A42.95.36-156.33-8.22
Darnell MooneyWR130.978.95.26-125.96-8.25
Kevin HarrisRB#N/A21.35.33-177.93-8.25
Emari DemercadoRB#N/A73.35.24-125.93-8.34
Michael GallupWR137.387.85.16-117.06-8.35
Latavius MurrayRB#N/A82.95.18-116.33-8.40
Rashod BatemanWR96.176.54.78-128.36-8.73
Cedrick Wilson Jr.WR#N/A69.64.64-135.26-8.87
Jamaal WilliamsRB125.860.84.68-138.43-8.90
Clyde Edwards-HelaireRB201.370.14.67-129.13-8.91
Zach WilsonQB#N/A119.99.99-173.16-8.97
Tony JonesRB#N/A32.24.6-167.03-8.98
Tre TuckerWR#N/A71.84.49-133.06-9.02
Marvin MimsWR150.970.74.42-134.16-9.09
Chase BrownRB201.753.54.46-145.73-9.12
Bryce YoungQB178.3156.49.78-136.66-9.18
Allen LazardWR117.460.14.29-144.76-9.22
Zamir WhiteRB182.173.94.35-125.33-9.23
Elijah MitchellRB127.647.54.32-151.73-9.26
Darrynton EvansRB#N/A304.29-169.23-9.29
Kadarius ToneyWR95534.08-151.86-9.43
Jeff WilsonRB173.641.34.13-157.93-9.45
Greg DortchWR#N/A64.54.03-140.36-9.48
Chris MooreWR#N/A68.34.02-136.56-9.49
Jauan JenningsWR#N/A51.53.96-153.36-9.55
Brandon PowellWR#N/A67.13.95-137.76-9.56
Trenton IrwinWR#N/A62.63.91-142.26-9.60
Michael CarterRB#N/A58.83.92-140.43-9.66
Skyy MooreWR92.753.73.84-151.16-9.67
KaVontae TurpinWR#N/A59.73.73-145.16-9.78
Allen RobinsonWR#N/A623.65-142.86-9.86
Braxton BerriosWR#N/A57.93.62-146.96-9.89
Joshua KelleyRB#N/A61.73.63-137.53-9.95
Jalin HyattWR177.460.33.55-144.56-9.96
Isaiah HodginsWR168.4603.53-144.86-9.98
Marquez Valdes-ScantlingWR147.756.53.53-148.36-9.98
Royce FreemanRB#N/A46.23.3-153.03-10.28
Ty JohnsonRB#N/A32.43.24-166.83-10.34
Chase EdmondsRB#N/A39.73.05-159.53-10.53
Chris RodriguezRB#N/A37.92.92-161.33-10.66
Matt BreidaRB#N/A46.92.76-152.33-10.82
Patrick TaylorRB#N/A302.73-169.23-10.85
Dalvin CookRB95.840.22.68-159.03-10.90
Cordarrelle PattersonRB20336.92.64-162.33-10.94
Jordan MasonRB#N/A44.72.63-154.53-10.95
Andrew BeckRB#N/A38.82.59-160.43-10.99
Pierre StrongRB#N/A42.82.52-156.43-11.06

Negative numbers refer to players who finished below the replacement-level average.

Macro Observations

I wrote the same study last year – below is the change in scoring at each position.

QB RB WR TE
Season Change -6.13 1.13 10.13 8.69
Per Game Change -0.71 0.46 0.27 0.4

Peaking in 2020 with 22.21 points per game, quarterback scoring fell again to 19.67 this season. Defenses are determined to stop explosive passing attacks and it is causing an obvious trend in QB scoring. This is the lowest QB scoring has been since 2020.

Except for Christian McCaffrey, no running back topped 300 PPR points. Kyren Williams is the only other RB who topped 20 PPR points per game. Still, the running back scoring baseline was up by just over a point.

Wide receiver and tight end both experienced big gains in season-long production after big drops last season. WR reached the highest season-long baseline since I’ve begun charting these.

2023’s Fantasy Football MVPs

If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to take a look at the table above. For the entire season, CeeDee Lamb and Christian McCaffrey were the most valuable. Lamb provided an incredible 198.34 points above average when compared with his position, and CMC finished with 192.07. Tyreek Hill (171.54) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (126.04) were the only other players to beat their position baseline by 100+ points.

McCaffrey led all players with 10.88 PAA per game, edging out Lamb (10.21). Hill was the only other player above 10. Keenan Allen (7.94) and Kyren Williams (7.67) were among the best when healthy. Unfortunately, their lack of games played hurt their fantasy owners.

When referring to 2023’s fantasy football MVPs, the cost or draft position must be mentioned. Kyren Williams and Puka Nacua were not drafted in many leagues and finished as the 5th and 11th most valuable players per game. Players like Raheem Mostert, Nico Collins, DeVon Achane, and Sam LaPorta were incredible values at where they were drafted.

You can toggle between the “PAA S” and “PAA PG” above to see who were the most valuable players last year.