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Fantasy Football Flashback: Recapping the top players of the NFL season

Yahoo Sports

Welcome to Fantasy Football Flashback, where we celebrate the accomplishments of the most reliable players each week. For the final edition of the 2022 season, we will take a close look at those who dominated over the course of the entire campaign and finished with the highest point totals.

Top Overall Scorers

As is the case most years, the top overall scorers from this season all play the quarterback position. Four signal-callers stood out with point totals that separated from the pack.

Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Mahomes finished the season as the No. 1 scorer, collecting a whopping 428.90 points. The 27-year-old completely outclassed his positionmates through the air, leading the NFL by wide margins in passing yards (5,250) and aerial scores (41). And with 358 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, Mahomes continued to qualify as a dual-threat quarterback.

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Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills

Allen’s final point total (409.52) was impacted by the cancellation of his Week 17 game; he may have surpassed Mahomes if that game had been played. The hulking quarterback has become the model of consistency from a fantasy perspective, having logged at least 4,000 passing yards and 32 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons, while also posting at least 750 rushing yards in each of the past two campaigns. He's also compiled more than five ground scores in all of his five career seasons.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Hurts was the breakout star at the QB position this season, taking his passing game to new heights by collecting 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns. And he continued to be one of the best rushers among signal-callers, as he led the position with 13 rushing scores and ran for 760 yards. His excellent statistics are even more impressive when factoring in that Hurts missed two games, which unfortunately came during fantasy playoff time.

Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

Burrow had some mediocre games early in the season before catching fire in October and staying hot the rest of the way. The former No. 1 overall pick finished the campaign with the second-highest passing TD total (35) and also racked up a career-high five scores on the ground. With back-to-back outstanding seasons, Burrow is now a permanent fixture in the top tier of fantasy QB options.

The Difference Makers

Although QBs posted most of the highest point totals, the following five players were the top scorers at other positions, and therefore pivotal to claiming league titles.

Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

Ekeler started the season slowly, posting neither a touchdown nor 100 total yards in any of his initial three games. But the diminutive back started a dominant stretch of game-changing point totals at the outset of October that ended with Ekeler ranked as the top point scorer outside of the quarterback position.

Austin Ekeler continued to showcase why he's such a fantasy superstar. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Austin Ekeler continued to showcase why he's such a fantasy superstar. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) (Justin Casterline via Getty Images)

A prime example of the latest trends at an evolving RB position, Ekeler didn’t have a single 20-carry game and only twice rushed for 100 yards. But his 107 catches were 22 more than any other RB, and he led the NFL with 18 total touchdowns.

Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Jefferson continues to rewrite the NFL record book. The LSU alum owns nearly every record for cumulative stats during a wide receiver’s initial three campaigns, and this season he led the NFL in catches (128) and receiving yards (1,809). Jefferson scored just nine touchdowns, which provides a clear path to being even more productive in fantasy leagues next year.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, San Francisco 49ers

McCaffrey proved his doubters wrong by staying healthy for the entirety of the 2022 season. And he benefited by being freed from a mediocre Panthers offense, finding his stride as a member of the 49ers and putting up several huge statistical games during the second half of the campaign.

Many fantasy managers avoided McCaffrey during draft season due to the fact that he appeared in just 10 games across 2020-21, which should serve as a reminder that our ability to predict future injuries is vastly overstated.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

Jacobs is the most surprising name on this list. The former Alabama star watched his fantasy stock drop each day during the summer, as he was sent clear signals from the Raiders front office and coaching staff that he was no longer their feature back. And Jacobs started the season as expected, producing zero touchdowns and 251 total yards in his initial three games.

But his season took a dramatic turn against Denver in Week 4 (175 total yards, two TDs), and he averaged more than 100 total yards per game the rest of the way.

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennesee Titans

With 286.30 points, Henry narrowly edged out Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill for a spot on this list. The dominant back finished second in NFL rushing (1,538) and scrimmage yards (1,936) this season. He also added a career-high 33 receptions. There will be questions about where to draft Henry in 2023, but anyone who was lucky enough to have him on their team this season was thrilled with the result.

The 2022 Fantasy MVP

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

Although Kelce finished 22nd among all point scorers, a strong case can be made that the 33-year-old is this season’s Fantasy MVP. Kelce concluded the campaign with 110 catches, 1,338 yards and 12 TDs, which led to 88.9 more points than any other tight end. In fact, the gap between Kelce and the TE2 (T.J. Hockenson) was nearly identical to the gap between the TE2 and the TE20. Because of his positional dominance, Kelce was a preferable option to each of the players who preceded him in this article.