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The Hot Finishers in 2023

Looking at who closed out last year on high notes

We tend to get swept up by the guys who start the season with big numbers. It's not hard to understand why: The season is new, yesteryear is quickly becoming a distant memory, and guys like Puka Nacua, Raheem Mostert and Sam LaPorta are rocketing fantasy teams to the top of the standings.

It's comparatively much easier to lose sight of the guys that close out a fantasy season on a high note, so I circled back to revisit how 2023 ended for everybody. I drilled down on weeks 12-17 (Week 18 data is as wonky as ever, so I held it out) and went searching for guys whose performances over this timeframe significantly exceeded their production over the first 11 weeks of the season. I found a pretty interesting mix of players I expected to see and players I really didn't.

PlayerG 1-11G 12-17FPG 12-17
Jordan LoveQB12QB221.7
• Matthew StaffordQB21QB620.8
Derek CarrQB22QB1515.9
• Derrick HenryRB15RB615.1
Chuba HubbardRB36RB913.8
Deebo SamuelWR42WR221
Rashee RiceWR41WR614.9
• DK MetcalfWR28WR714.7
• George PickensWR33WR1113.1
Demarcus RobinsonWR159WR2011.5
• David NjokuTE12TE114.2
Isaiah LikelyTE59TE412.5
Tucker KraftTE77TE78.6
• Juwan JohnsonTE43TE88.5
Chigoziem OkonkwoTE29TE117.8

A lot of this data is not terribly surprising; we knew Jordan Love and Rashee Rice came on very strong down the stretch, and that Deebo Samuel was still up to his old fantasy hijinks when healthy last year. But I for one did not expect to see DK Metcalf edge out Tyreek Hill over the fantasy season's final six weeks. Ditto for Juwan Johnson outpacing Travis Kelce over that stretch.

Obviously, some of these finishes were borne out of injuries ahead of those players - Isaiah Likely and Tucker Kraft almost definitely won't have the opportunity to carry their hot streaks over into the start of 2024 directly. Speaking of which, honorable mention for Jake Browning (QB7) and Joe Flacco (QB10), whom I left out for obvious reasons. But I dotted the ones that I felt affected my perception of players going forward, and really all of these findings fall somewhere between interesting and relevant for me.

—Luke Wilson

Fantasy Index