Josh Allen Could Be Even Better in Fantasy in 2023

Scott Edwards Jr.
Scott Edwards Jr.@ScottEdwardsJr

Josh Allen has been one of the best -- and most consistent -- fantasy football producers in recent seasons.

With elite running ability and a cannon for an arm, Allen has been at the forefront of a dual-threat movement that's resulted in some monster fantasy seasons from quarterbacks, including three straight elite campaigns from the Buffalo Bills' signal-caller.

Should we expect anything different from Allen in 2023, and how does he stack up against the other elites at the position?

Josh Allen Fantasy Football Projection

Projections via numberFire.

2023 Projection: 4,554 passing yards, 33.3 passing TDs, 14.0 INTs, 692 rushing yards, 7.7 rushing TDs
numberFire Positional Projection: QB1

Josh Allen Fantasy Football Outlook

Room To... Improve?

Allen had a great season in 2022, finishing with 4,283 passing yards, 35 passing TDs, 762 rushing yards, and 7 rushing scores -- totaling 395.52 fantasy points as a result. And yet, there was more meat on the bone.

Despite finishing as the QB2 behind Patrick Mahomes, Allen could have had the best fantasy season of his career if it wasn't for mistakes -- 14 interceptions and a staggering 13 fumbles (5 lost) -- that cost him fantasy points (and the Bills real-world points).

Add in that the Bills' touchdown rate in the red zone went from 66.3% in 2021 (first in the NFL) to 60.0% in 2022 (ninth), and you can see how much better Allen's already awesome season could've been.

And despite all that, he still likely would've finished as the QB1 if the Bills' game against the Cincinnati Bengals wasn't canceled as Allen finished just 20.9 fantasy points behind Mahomes despite getting one fewer game. That's how high Allen's floor/ceiling combination is.

Allen got hit a lot last season -- his sack rate of 5.5% was up from marks of 3.9% and 4.3% in 2021 and 2020, respectively -- and that likely led to some of the picks and fumbles. The Bills went out of their way to improve the offensive line in the offseason, adding David Edwards and Connor McGovern, and they got Allen a new pass-game piece in first-round selection Dalton Kincaid, someone who is capable of boosting the Bills' red-zone attack and gives them more options behind Stefon Diggs.

So, yeah, there's room for Allen to improve on what was nearly a QB1 season in 2022. That's scary.

Early-Round QBs Are a Thing Again

Early-round quarterbacks are back -- and for good reason.

There was a time -- back in the day of Drew Brees' prime -- when taking an early-round quarterback in one-QB formats was the norm, although we all eventually learned that is wasn't the optimal way to do things. Well, we're getting back to early-round QBs in recent seasons, and going by 2023 average draft position (ADP) data from FantasyPros, the trend will continue this year. Only this time, it is actually worth it to take a passer that early.

Allen, Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts are all going in the top 25 in 12-team, half-PPR leagues. All three are also going in the top 25 of FanDuel's best-ball leagues, with Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson also in the top 30.

For a while, part of the problem with picking a signal-caller early was that you could find similar production from QBs who were going later in drafts. It happened as recently as 2020 with Jackson, who had an ADP of 17th overall and finished as the QB10, with guys who were drafted much later -- such as Ryan Tannehill and Kyler Murray -- outperforming him.

Allen broke the trend of no one repeating as the overall QB1, finishing at the top of the position in both 2020 and 2021. In 2022, Allen and Mahomes were, on average, the first two quarterbacks off the board -- 21st and 30th overall, respectively -- and they finished as the top-two QBs.

In short, the early-round quarterbacks have been worth it of late -- in large part due to rushing production (yards and TDs). They're consistent and are providing a sizeable advantage at the position, especially a year ago. In 2022, the difference between Allen (the QB2) and Jared Goff (the QB10) was 10.0 points per game. In 2021, the difference between the QB2 and QB10 was fewer than three points.

Should Allen Be the First QB Off the Board?

Based on the track record and outlook for 2023, Allen sure looks like the guy to prioritize if you're wanting to grab a quarterback early.

numberFire has Allen projected as the QB1 this season, and their projections put four guys -- Allen, Hurts, Mahomes and Jackson -- out in their own tier. Jackson, numberFire's QB4, has a projection 34 points higher than the QB5's (Burrow). If you want a top-shelf quarterback, you should aim for one of those four.

While you could make a case for any of those four to be the QB1, Allen checks a lot of boxes.

He finished as the QB1 in both 2020 and 2021, and while he gave up that throne to Mahomes in 2022, Allen (24.7 points) still averaged more points per game than Mahomes did (24.5) and likely would've put together a third straight QB1 campaign if he got to play 17 games.

Also, things are looking up for Allen in 2023. As we talked about earlier, Allen -- and the Bills -- might be due for some positive regression in the red-zone touchdown department, and the addition of Kincaid could be the missing piece for an offense that has needed someone to step up behind Diggs.

On the flip side, it'll be interesting to see if the signing of Damien Harris results in Allen seeing fewer goal-line carries. numberFire doesn't expect it to as they have Allen projected at 7.7 rushing TDs this upcoming season. That's right at Allen's career average of 7.6 rushing scores per year.

Will Everything Click for Allen?

Most importantly for Allen, it's just about putting the final touches on his play.

His arm and running ability have made him one of the unicorns in fantasy football. There's still potential for him to have a record-like fantasy season, and last year -- one where Allen was outstanding but could have been even better -- shows exactly why Allen is being taken as the QB1.

Since he broke out three seasons ago, Allen's fantasy football floor has been the QB2. He's been consistently excellent, and barring injury, there's really no reason to expect Allen to be anything else in 2023.

Take him with confidence.

The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.