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  • Writer's pictureElijah Southwick

Fantasy Football Lessons Learned in 2023

Elijah Southwick



Every fantasy football season offers new information. New players enter the league. Trends start and finish. And overall strategy can change in ways that can sometimes be permanent.


2023 was no different. With the cold winter months marking the start of the NFL playoffs and end of the fantasy season, it can be tempting to check out for a little while and come back to fantasy football closer to the NFL Draft. But as a dynasty manager, now is as good a time as any to get ahead of the game. Take your much needed break, but don’t forget that it’ll soon be time to lock back in. Let’s take a look at which 2023 trends I’m buying and selling for 2024.


Instant Impact Rookies are Here to Stay


Over the last five seasons or so, rookies across all positions have stepped foot on NFL fields and made fantasy football impacts quicker than ever. The highly-touted 2023 rookie class was no different, and it did so in a big way. 


C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs, Puka Nacua, Zay Flowers, Jordan Addison, Tank Dell, Sam LaPorta, Rashee Rice, De’Von Achane, and several others were not only impact rookies, but keys to fantasy football championships. Rookie drafts will still be a risky exercise, and aging veterans are not to be ignored. But rookies have become a critical component of fantasy football success, and the days of managers being able to find success without having a strong grasp of the incoming rookie class are over.


Player Development is Alive and Well in the NFL


With fantasy football being as popular as ever, and dynasty becoming a mainstream format, managers’ average attention spans are declining. It’s a “what have you done for me lately” game. But 2023 proved that some players still take a more traditional route in the NFL. Some players don’t have large roles as rookies, sometimes even struggle in their second and third seasons, and can still develop into quality players.


Jordan Love and Tua Tagovailoa are probably the two biggest examples of successful development at the quarterback position this season. Travis Etienne, Kyren Williams, James Cook, Chuba Hubbard, and Devin Singletary are all names at the running back position with upward trajectory and big seasons in 2023. Nico Collins is an excellent example at wide receiver, and Evan Engram and David Njoku finally had big seasons at tight end, which traditionally sees late bloomers in their ranks.


Next year, a new crop of veteran players could emerge from seemingly out of nowhere. If and when it does, don’t write it off as a fluke. The NFL is still capable of developing players over time.


Don’t expect all of your struggling players on a dynasty roster to suddenly transform into stars in 2024, but patience can still sometimes be rewarded. Years can seem like a lifetime in a game that’s hyper-reactionary on a week to week basis. Just don’t forget that slow and steady still has a chance to win the race, even in the modern NFL.


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