Russell Wilson – Fantasy Points Outlook

Bottom Line

Wilson was a massive disappointment last year.

Former HC Nathaniel Hackett was a disaster, but Wilson deserves plenty of blame, too. He registered career lows in completion rate and Pro Football Focus passing grade.

There’s bounce-back potential with the arrival of HC Sean Payton, a nice pass-catching corps, and a potentially strong offensive line. But we’re not betting big on it.

The soon-to-be 35-year-old Wilson should only be drafted as a QB2.

What We Learned Last Year
  • Wilson played in 15 of 17 games in his Broncos debut last year, missing Week 7 with what was reported as a partially torn hamstring and Week 15 with a concussion.
  • He averaged just 235 passing yards and 1.1 TDs across his 15 games.
  • Wilson ranked somewhere between 19th and 22nd among QBs in fantasy points per game, depending on your scoring system.
  • He finished as a top-12 fantasy QB in just four of 15 games.
  • He finished QB20 or worse in 9 of 15 games.
  • Wilson’s 60.5% completion rate was a career low. His 7.3 yards per attempt was his second-worst mark among 11 NFL seasons.
  • Wilson ranked 24th among 31 qualifying QBs in both adjusted completion rate (which omits dropped passes, throw aways, spiked balls, and batted passes) and Pro Football Focus passing grade.
  • The PFF passing grade was a career low.
  • That all followed a 2021 campaign – his last in Seattle – that saw Wilson struggle over the second half of the season. He posted a 61.5% completion rate and 7.0 yards per attempt over his final nine games. He ranked 26th among 31 QBs in PFF passing grade during that stretch.
  • Wilson will turn 35 in November.
  • He had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee early this offseason for an issue that had reportedly bothered him for multiple years. Wilson should be back to 100% in plenty of time for Week 1.
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What to Expect in 2023
  • The Broncos canned HC Nathaniel Hackett last December. (It’s worth noting that Denver scored 24 and 31 points in two games without Hackett after averaging just 15.5 points in 15 games with Hackett.)
  • Hackett will be replaced by HC Sean Payton, who Denver acquired from New Orleans in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 second-rounder.
  • Payton spent 15 seasons as Saints HC, leading the team to 13 top-10 finishes in total yards and 12 top-10 finishes in points.
  • Twelve of Payton’s 15 Saints teams ranked top-7 in passing yards. Those teams were, of course, quarterbacked by Drew Brees.
  • Brees finished as a top-9 fantasy QB in each of his first 13 seasons with Payton, including seven top-3 finishes.
  • The Broncos return their top 3 targets from last year: WR Courtland Sutton, WR Jerry Jeudy, and TE Greg Dulcich. They also added WR Marvin Mims in the second round of this year’s draft. It’s a nice pass-catching corps.
  • Denver’s offensive line ranked 18th in Pro Football Focus’ pass-blocking grades and ninth in ESPN’s pass block win rate last year.
  • The unit projects to be better in 2023 after the Broncos spent big money to add RT Mike McGlinchey and LG Ben Powers in free agency. LT Garrett Bolles will also be back after missing the final 12 games of last season with a broken leg.