Was Monday night the last time we saw Tom Brady as a member of the Buccaneers? Or the last time we saw him in the NFL ever?
We'll be waiting to see what the GOAT decides to do, but it would be surprising if Brady returned to Tampa Bay in the 2023 season -- if he keeps playing. He'll be 46 in August and already has a TV deal in place with FOX once he decides to retire.
Should Brady play again next season, the teams expected to pursue him, according to the NFL Network, include Las Vegas, Tennessee and San Francisco. And Tampa Bay will also attempt to retain Brady, who will be a free agent.
His destination will determine his Fantasy outlook, but he ended the 2022 campaign on a sour note with a 31-14 loss to Dallas in the wild-card round. Brady was 35-of-66 passing for 334 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The game kind of summed up his season: a lot of passes with good but not great production.
If Brady plays in 2023, and is with the right team, he can still be a serviceable Fantasy quarterback. But he's no longer someone you'll draft as a No. 1 option. Father Time appears to have caught up with Brady -- like it does with everyone else -- it just took a little longer with the seven-time Super Bowl champion.
In Tampa Bay, if Brady leaves, we'll have to see who replaces him before determining the Fantasy value for Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. Unless it's a rookie or someone inexperienced like Kyle Trask, Godwin will still remain a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues, with his value higher in PPR. Evans will be a borderline No. 2/3 Fantasy receiver, but his value could crater if the quarterback situation is bad.
The backfield in Tampa Bay will be worth watching as well, and Rachaad White looks poised to overtake Leonard Fournette as the lead running back -- if Fournette stays with the Buccaneers. On Monday, White was the better of the two with seven carries for 41 yards and four catches for 36 yards on six targets. Fournette had five carries for 11 yards and one catch for 6 yards on one target.
Depending on the quarterback, White could be a popular breakout candidate next season. Fournette, however, will likely be someone to settle for, no matter who is under center for the Buccaneers.
As for the Cowboys, there was definitely a lot to like Monday night. Dak Prescott was a star with 305 passing yards and four touchdowns, along with 24 rushing yards and a score. Dalton Schultz (seven catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns on eight targets), CeeDee Lamb (four catches for 68 yards and a touchdown on six targets) and Michael Gallup (five catches for 46 yards and a touchdown on six targets) were all impressive. And Tony Pollard was the lead running back with 15 carries for 77 yards and three catches for 12 yards on three targets.
Only Ezekiel Elliott struggled with 13 carries for 27 yards and one catch for 9 yards on two targets, and he would fall under the category of stock down. Everyone else was in the stock up section, and we'll see what happens for the Cowboys next week at the 49ers in the divisional round.
Now, let's see who else had their stock rise and fall in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs when it comes to their Fantasy value for 2023. And we'll also have the updated rankings for those of you competing in any playoff challenge.
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1. All the Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence rebounded from four interceptions against the Chargers to throw four touchdown passes in a 31-30 victory. He showed the upside he possesses as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback, and he should improve in 2023 with the addition of Calvin Ridley. Christian Kirk (eight catches for 78 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets) and Zay Jones (eight catches for 74 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets) also delivered, and both should be viable Fantasy options next year. As of now, I'm ranking the Jaguars receivers Kirk, Ridley and Jones, with Kirk and Ridley as top 30 options. Jones won't be far behind either. Evan Engram also had a big game with seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets, and he will be a No. 1 Fantasy tight end in all leagues, especially if he stays in Jacksonville as a free agent. And Travis Etienne had a solid outing with 20 carries for 109 yards and one catch for 12 yards on one target, and he will likely be a second-round pick in most formats. It should be fun to see what the Jaguars do at the Chiefs next week.
2. Jones, Barkley star; Hodgins continues to surprise
The Giants pulled off a 31-24 upset at Minnesota, and Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and Isaiah Hodgins all contributed in a big way. Jones had 301 passing yards and two touchdowns and 17 carries for 78 yards, and he's put himself in the conversation to be a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in 2023. He's a free agent, but it would be a shock if he left the Giants. He finished 2022 as one of nine quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 3,000 passing yards and 700 rushing yards, and he had one of the worst receiving corps in the league. We'll see how the Giants upgrade that unit, but getting Wan'Dale Robinson (ACL) back healthy will help. And Hodgins looks like a keeper. He had eight catches for 105 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings on nine targets, and he now has five touchdowns in his past six games. He will be worth a late-round pick in all leagues depending on what the Giants do this offseason with their receiving corps. Barkley is also a free agent this offseason, but the Giants will hopefully bring him back in 2023. He had nine carries for 53 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota with five catches for 56 yards on six targets. If he remains with the Giants, Barkley is a first-round pick in all leagues.
3. Purdy's legend grows, Samuel shows up again
The 49ers had a dominant 41-23 victory against Seattle, and Brock Purdy had another big game. He was 18-of-30 passing for 332 yards and three touchdowns, and he added four carries for 16 yards and a touchdown. He's expected to compete with Trey Lance for the starting job in 2023, but if the 49ers have a long playoff run then it will be hard to justify replacing Purdy. He could be a high-end No. 2 Fantasy quarterback in all leagues. And it was great to see Deebo Samuel step up against the Seahawks. After missing three games with knee and ankle injuries prior to returning in Week 18, Samuel went off against Seattle with six catches for 133 yards and a touchdown on nine targets and three carries for 32 yards. We didn't get a chance to see Samuel and Purdy play together much because of Samuel's injury, but this was a great sign of what could happen in 2023. Samuel could be worth a third-round pick in most leagues.
4. Kenneth Walker III solidifies draft stock
Walker had a solid game against the 49ers with 15 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 3 yards on one target, and it's not easy to run against San Francisco's defense. We'll see what Seattle does this offseason to tweak the offense, but hopefully another running back of note isn't brought in. If Walker remains the lead back as expected he could be a first-round pick in the majority of leagues. As it stands now following the wild-card round, I plan to draft Walker at No. 12 overall in PPR.
5. J.K. Dobbins was right to be upset
Following the Ravens' 24-17 loss to Cincinnati, Dobbins expressed his frustration that he "didn't get a single carry" in the red zone, and that he "should be the guy" near the goal line. Hopefully, that's taken the right way by the coaching staff in Baltimore, and Dobbins can be a star Fantasy option in 2023. He played great against the Bengals with 13 carries for 62 yards and four catches for 43 yards and a touchdown on five targets. It would be amazing if his role in the passing game could be replicated, but we know that's not the norm. We'll see what happens with Lamar Jackson, and that will determine the Fantasy outlook with all the Ravens skill players in 2023. But Dobbins could be a potential high-end No. 2 running back, and he might be someone to target as early as Round 3.
1. Justin Herbert might need a new coach
Herbert wasn't the reason the Chargers blew a 27-0 lead against the Jaguars, but he didn't have a dominant game in his first playoff outing. He was 25 of 43 passing for 273 yards and one touchdown, with three carries for 12 yards. Mike Williams (back) being out didn't help, and Herbert struggled in the regular season as Williams and Keenan Allen battled injuries. Herbert averaged just 19.7 Fantasy points per game, and he was a bust since he was drafted as a top-three quarterback in most leagues. We'll see what happens this offseason, but Herbert might benefit from a new coach in place of Brandon Staley. It's a storyline to monitor, and hopefully Herbert can rebound in 2023 and play like a top-tier Fantasy quarterback again.
2. Is Joe Mixon worth drafting in Round 2?
Mixon struggled against the Ravens with 11 carries for 39 yards and three catches for 17 yards on four targets. Baltimore has one of the top run defenses in the NFL, so it's not a shock that Mixon had a bad game. But was Mixon great in 2022? And is he worth a second-round pick in 2023? He averaged 17.1 PPR points per game for the season but went over 17 PPR points just twice, including a 54-point outing in Week 9. Now, he had career highs in targets (75), catches (60) and receiving yards (441) in only 14 games. But he went from 16 total touchdowns in 2021 to just nine in 2022, and his yards per carry dropped to 3.9. I'm still confident in Mixon and will draft him in Round 2 in all leagues. But I hope he's not trending in the wrong direction.
3. Dalvin Cook no longer a top-12 running back
Cook had 21 total touches against the Giants in the wild-card round, but it was a frustrating game. He had 15 carries for 60 yards and six catches for 10 yards on seven targets. You'll take 13 PPR points from most running backs without a touchdown, but Cook feels like he's on the decline as a Fantasy option. He will be 28 in 2023 and just had a down season in 2022 at 14.0 PPR points per game. That's his worst season since 2018, and it's hard to count on him rebounding to a much higher level. The earliest I would draft Cook next season is Round 3, and he's no longer a top-12 running back for me.
4. Jaylen Waddle struggles again without Tua
The Dolphins nearly shocked the world against the Bills, who held on for a 34-31 victory in Buffalo. But Waddle did not have a big game, finishing with three catches for 44 yards on seven targets, along with one carry for 8 yards. Skylar Thompson started for the Dolphins with Tua Tagovailoa out with a concussion, and the Dolphins quarterback situation will be something to monitor this offseason. We hope Tagovailoa can return at 100 percent in 2023 after dealing with multiple concussions, and Waddle might need his former Alabama teammate back to be a trusted Fantasy option again. Waddle played five games without Tagovailoa in 2022, including the playoffs, and he scored nine PPR points or less in four of them. As of now, I'm planning to draft Waddle in Round 2 in all leagues, but without Tagovailoa or an upgraded quarterback in Miami, Waddle's Fantasy value could be trending down.
5. Can you trust Brandon Aiyuk with everyone healthy?
If you're ranking the 49ers skill players as Fantasy options in 2023, it's pretty clear that Aiyuk is last behind Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. Now, Aiyuk can still be a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues, but he might be tough to trust when everyone is healthy. In three games without Samuel from Weeks 15-17, Aiyuk had two outings with at least 13 PPR points. In those two games against Washington and Las Vegas, Aiyuk had 19 targets for 14 catches, 182 yards and a touchdown. Samuel returned in Week 18 against Arizona, and Aiyuk had four catches for 59 yards on five targets. Then against the Seahawks in the playoffs, Aiyuk had three catches for 73 yards on five targets. I love Aiyuk's talent, but his ceiling is capped if McCaffrey, Samuel and Kittle are all healthy, which limits Aiyuk's targets in this run-heavy offense.
1. Patrick Mahomes
2. Josh Allen
3. Jalen Hurts
4. Brock Purdy
5. Joe Burrow
6. Dak Prescott
7. Trevor Lawrence
8. Daniel Jones
I'm still expecting the Chiefs and 49ers to play in Super Bowl LVII, but the Bills and Eagles will make it tough for them to get there. Purdy's performance against Seattle, along with Burrow's struggles against Baltimore -- and the Bengals offensive line woes -- caused me to drop Burrow from No. 3 to No. 5 from last week.
Prescott should be able to post a quality stat line at San Francisco, and the same goes for Lawrence at Kansas City. But I'm not expecting those quarterbacks to pull off upsets in the divisional round.
1. Christian McCaffrey
2. Jerick McKinnon
3. Miles Sanders
4. Saquon Barkley
5. Isiah Pacheco
6. Joe Mixon
7. Travis Etienne
8. Tony Pollard
9. Devin Singletary
10. James Cook
11. Elijah Mitchell
12. Ezekiel Elliott
13. Samaje Perine
14. Boston Scott
As I said last week, McCaffrey is the easiest player to rank for the postseason because he could play four games if the 49ers reach the Super Bowl, and he didn't disappoint against the Seahawks with 137 total yards and a touchdown. But after McCaffrey, it's really wide open for all the running backs.
I lean toward McKinnon and even Pacheco as quality Fantasy options because I expect the Chiefs to make a Super Bowl run. Sanders also has upside if the Eagles can play three playoff games, which is a strong possibility.
The Bills don't have a running back to trust, and Singletary and Cook split work again in the wild-card round against Miami. Singletary had 10 carries for 48 yards, and Cook had 12 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown. Neither had a catch, so good luck leaning on either one against the Bengals.
Barkley should have a good game against the Eagles, and Etienne is worth trusting against the Chiefs. But each running back should see their playoff run end in the divisional round.
1. Stefon Diggs
2. Deebo Samuel
3. A.J. Brown
4. Ja'Marr Chase
5. DeVonta Smith
6. CeeDee Lamb
7. Gabe Davis
8. Tee Higgins
9. Kadarius Toney
10. JuJu Smith-Schuster
11. Brandon Aiyuk
12. Christian Kirk
13. Zay Jones
14. Isaiah Hodgins
15. Mecole Hardman
16. Khalil Shakir
17. Tyler Boyd
18. Cole Beasley
19. Richie James
20. Darius Slayton
21. Michael Gallup
22. Marquez Valdes-Scantling
23. Marvin Jones
24. T.Y. Hilton
25. Noah Brown
Samuel was the biggest riser from prior to the playoffs after his performance against Seattle, and I needed to see him back at full strength. I also moved up Davis, who did well against Miami with six catches for 113 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. Davis loves playing in the postseason, and he now has six touchdowns in his past three playoff outings going back to last year.
I also ranked Shakir and Beasley for Buffalo, and both had five targets against the Dolphins with Isaiah McKenzie (hamstring) out. We'll see if McKenzie remains out against the Bengals. Shakir had three catches for 51 yards against Miami, and Beasley had two catches for 35 yards and a touchdown.
I'm curious to see how the Chiefs use their receivers with Hardman healthy, but I'll go with Toney first based on upside. However, I think Smith-Schuster, Hardman and even Valdes-Scantling all have plenty of potential if the Chiefs can reach the Super Bowl.
For just the divisional round, there are plenty of receivers with great matchups. The 49ers (No. 5), Cowboys (No. 6), Chiefs (No. 8) and Bills (No. 9) finished the season in the top 10 in most Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers. That bodes well for guys like Lamb, Samuel, Kirk, Zay Jones, Chase and Higgins for this weekend.
1. Travis Kelce
2. George Kittle
3. Dallas Goedert
4. Dawson Knox
5. Dalton Schultz
6. Evan Engram
7. Hayden Hurst
8. Daniel Bellinger
There are some impressive touchdown streaks to mention with these tight ends. Kelce closed the regular season with six games in a row without a touchdown, but he has 10 touchdowns in his past nine playoff games going back to 2019.
Kittle had his four-game touchdown streak end in the playoff win against Seattle, but I'm not budging from him as the No. 2 tight end. And Knox caught a touchdown against Miami and has now scored a touchdown in five games in a row.
Engram snapped a four-game scoreless streak with his touchdown against the Chargers, and he has another solid matchup at Kansas City. And we'll see if Schultz can build off his two-touchdown game against Tampa Bay at San Francisco this week.
1. Harrison Butker
2. Tyler Bass
3. Robbie Gould
4. Jake Elliott
5. Evan McPherson
6. Brett Maher
7. Graham Gano
8. Riley Patterson