The 2023 NFL Regular Season ended last week. While we’ll see how playoff games impact these performers, we saw enough over the last 18 weeks to find some regular-season winners and losers. In today’s edition, I’ll focus on losers. Below are two players at each of the four positions that hurt themselves in 2023.
Stock Down: Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
About: It’s fair to say the experiment with Wilson in Denver hasn’t worked. He’s won just 11 games in two seasons and ended by being benched for the final two games. The Broncos are still debating whether to release Wilson—and eat a huge dead cap number—or keep him in 2024. Either way, it doesn’t seem like an ideal marriage of player, coach, and system. Wilson was fine for fantasy in 2023—finishing as QB14—but his days as a QB1 seem to have passed. That, combined with an uncertain future, has greatly diminished his fantasy value.
Stock Down: Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
About: In two years, after getting a record contract, Watson has played 12 games. In 2022, it was due to a suspension. In 2023, it was due to durability. Watson was technically 5-1 as a starter when he was on the field, but he only appeared in six games. His team often looked better in the games he didn’t play at the end of the season. Watson managed just 1,115 yards, seven touchdowns, and four interceptions, completing just over 61 percent of his passes. He wasn’t a great fantasy asset, either. His position seems somewhat secure due to his contract, but it’s fair to moderate expectations moving forward.
Stock Down: Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
About: All good things come to an end. Ekeler spent the past two seasons as the No. 1 overall running back in fantasy. In 2023, a contract year, he finished as RB26. He had just 628 yards rushing and five touchdowns, averaging less than four yards per carry. Now, he heads into the off-season an older running back coming off a down year with an uncertain future. Those are not things you want to see if you hold him in dynasty.
Stock Down: Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys
About: The Cowboys tagged Pollard last off-season, choosing him over Ezekiel Elliott as he was coming off a career year in 2022. He finished as RB14, which wasn’t terrible. But with nearly 60 more carries, he finished with two fewer yards at 1,005 and three fewer touchdowns at six. He caught 16 more passes, with 55, but had fewer yards and no receiving touchdowns. He looked less explosive and less suited to be a feature back. That’s a blow to Pollard and his long-term prospects as the guy in a backfield, something that fantasy players will need to consider moving forward, especially as he enters the free-agent market again.
Stock Down: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
About: Diggs has been the best receiver for the Bills for the past few seasons, and he still was in 2023. But the ceiling for what he could do in that role changed greatly. The Bills’ offense hit the skids mid-season, and when they righted the ship, it was as a ground-and-pound kind of offense. That meant Diggs didn’t hit 100 yards receiving in any of the team’s last 10 games. He finished as WR9, but had only two games with double-digit points after Week 10. That’s a worrying sign for those used to him producing at a strong WR1 level. It could be a temporary dip, but it’s something worth watching this off-season, especially for a player who hasn’t always been happy on teams where he’s not featured.
Stock Down: Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
About: It’s fitting that a new version of Mean Girls hit theaters last week. Much as we need to stop trying to make Fetch happen, it might be time to give up on Jeudy in fantasy. Jeudy is like the Fetch of fantasy. We’ve expected big things since he was drafted, and that remained true in 2023 as he gained Sean Payton as his coach. And yet, it didn’t materialize. Jeudy finished as WR50, averaging just 8.9 points per game. He has never been a good return on his draft cost for Denver or fantasy players.
Stock Down: Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers
About: Everett had a strong 2022, leading him to be a trendy late-round TE selection on what looked like a good Chargers’ offense in 2023. None of those assumptions panned out. Everett finished as TE23, averaging just 7.4 points per game. At times down the stretch, he looked like the third-best tight end on his team. He’s an older veteran who doesn’t have a secure future. Based on this year’s performance, I’m fading him in dynasty formats.
Stock Down: Darren Waller, New York Giants
About: The trade to acquire Waller looked like the answer for the New York Giants and for fantasy players. Waller finished as TE22, struggling to stay on the field and not making a huge impact when he was on the field. For the past few seasons, we’ve clung to Waller’s potential as a Top 5 talent at the position, but he’s consistently struggled to stay on the field and produce. It’s time to start moderating expectations and coming up with a Plan B for those holding him in dynasty.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.