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Biggest Quarterback Surprises - Fantasy Football Year In Review

Dak Prescott - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

The 2023 fantasy football season is in the rearview mirror. While the upcoming fantasy season is still months away, it’s never too early to start preparing.

One of the more critical things fantasy players can do to prepare is look back at the previous season and look at trends and surprises.

Let’s look at the seven biggest quarterback surprises from the 2023 fantasy football season.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!


Dak Prescott

Many were surprised by the Dallas Cowboys and Prescott last season. The Cowboys won the NFC East division while Prescott finished as the QB3, averaging 20.2 fantasy points per game. More importantly, the star quarterback had an outstanding year despite starting the season slowly. He averaged one passing touchdown and 12.6 fantasy points per game over the first five weeks. By comparison, Prescott was the QB1 over the final 11 weeks, averaging 2.7 passing touchdowns and 24 fantasy points per game.

The former Mississippi State star was a league winner. Outside of an ugly loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 15, Prescott scored 16.2 or more fantasy points in 12 consecutive games to end the season. Furthermore, he scored 20 or more in 66.7% of those contests. The veteran was arguably the best value at the quarterback position in 2023. He was a late-round draft pick in most leagues, but ended up putting up massive numbers during the fantasy playoffs.


Jordan Love

Despite entering his third season in the NFL, Love was a first-time starter in 2023. The former Utah State star started the year on fire, totaling seven passing touchdowns and 67.6 fantasy points over the first three weeks. Unfortunately, he hit a rough streak after the hot start. Love averaged 13.8 fantasy points per game over the next six contests, totaling fewer than 15.4 fantasy points in all but two matchups. However, he finished the year playing as one of the top quarterbacks.

Love was the QB2 over the final seven games of the fantasy season, averaging 2.3 passing touchdowns and 21.6 fantasy points per contest despite dealing with a banged-up receiving corps. The first-year starter was a league winner during the fantasy playoffs, averaging 253 passing yards, 2.3 touchdowns, and 23.3 fantasy points per game, totaling 28.4 in Week 17. The future is bright for the Green Bay Packers with Love under center.


Brock Purdy

The fantasy football industry should have ranked Purdy higher in their pre-draft rankings. The former Mr. Irrelevant pick averaged 18.2 fantasy points per game in his five regular-season starts as a rookie. More importantly, he has the best set of weapons in the league. Christian McCaffrey is a force on the ground and in the passing game. Meanwhile, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle make up the top wide receiver and tight end trio.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that Purdy had a breakout sophomore season. He ended the year as the QB6, averaging 18.5 fantasy points per game. The former Iowa State star finished third in the NFL with 31 passing touchdowns, finishing with only four fewer than Dak Prescott. Purdy totaled three or more passing in four of his final eight games, including four in two of those contests. The former Mr. Irrelevant pick has proved he is a franchise-caliber signal-caller.


Patrick Mahomes

Unfortunately, not all surprises are good ones. Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL. He led the Kansas City Chiefs to their third Super Bowl win in the past five years, including back-to-back titles. However, the superstar quarterback was a fantasy bust in 2023. The former Texas Tech star was the first quarterback selected in many fantasy football drafts last year. Yet, he didn’t finish anywhere near the top in fantasy points.

Mahomes was the QB8 last season, averaging 17.5 fantasy points per game. Furthermore, the superstar finished as the QB12 on a points-per-game basis among quarterbacks with at least eight games played.

While Rashee Rice had an impressive end to his rookie year, the Chiefs lacked another reliable wide receiver on the roster. Meanwhile, Travis Kelce struggled during the regular season, failing to top 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2015. Yet, Mahomes still averaged 1.7 passing touchdowns per game.


C.J. Stroud

Rookie quarterbacks usually struggle in their first year in the NFL. Therefore, fantasy players tend to avoid drafting them in redraft leagues. However, Stroud isn’t the prototypical rookie quarterback. The former Ohio State star had zero passing touchdowns and 9.7 fantasy points in his NFL debut. He then set the league on fire despite little expectations entering the year. Stroud ended the season as the QB9, averaging 18.4 fantasy points per game despite missing 2.5 contests because of injury.

The former Ohio State star was only the fourth quarterback since 2012 to end his rookie season with a top-10 finish. More importantly, he led the NFL in passing yards per game (273.9) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (4.6-1), joining Tom Brady and Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks in the past 50 years to lead the league in both categories in the same season. The only difference is that Stroud is the only one to do it as a rookie.


Baker Mayfield

When Mayfield signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, many thought he wouldn’t finish the season as the starter. Instead, he kept Kyle Trask glued to the bench and had a career year. The former No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick ended the season as the QB10, averaging 16.1 fantasy points per game. He set career highs in multiple categories, including passing yards (4,044), touchdowns (28), and completion rate (64.3%).

Mayfield made his first career Pro Bowl roster following his breakout season. The veteran had only a 1.8% interception rate, the second-lowest of his career. While he wasn’t a fantasy superstar in 2023, the former No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick had multiple games with 20 or more fantasy points. The former Oklahoma star saved his best performance for the fantasy playoffs, totaling 381 passing yards, four touchdowns, and 29 fantasy points in the Week 15 win over the Green Bay Packers.


Joshua Dobbs

No one thought Dobbs would have any fantasy value entering the 2023 season. The veteran quarterback started the final two games the year before for the Tennessee Titans, totaling 411 passing yards, two touchdowns, and 20.8 fantasy points. Dobbs started the preseason playing for the Cleveland Browns as Deshaun Watson’s backup. He got traded to the Arizona Cardinals during the team’s roster cutdown, becoming their Week 1 starter.

The veteran played the first eight games of the year with the Cardinals, totaling 1,569 passing yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions. However, Dobbs was a means to an end for Arizona, with Kyler Murray returning from a torn ACL.

The Cardinals sent him to the Minnesota Vikings at the trade deadline after they lost Kirk Cousins to a torn Achilles. While the veteran eventually got benched for Nick Mullens, Dobbs had a few-week run as a top-level fantasy quarterback because of his rushing abilities.

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