5 most pleasantly surprising fantasy football players in 2023

  • Los Angeles Rams had two players that no one saw coming
  • Veteran receiver put in a huge year for Panthers
  • Rookie QB turned an entire franchise around

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) high fives head coach Matt LaFleur after throwing a TD pass against the Bears.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) high fives head coach Matt LaFleur after throwing a TD pass against the Bears. / Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams
Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua (17) stands on the sideline in the season finale. / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Puka Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Williams wasn't the only fantasy star wearing a Rams uniform this season as rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua was an absolute stud, one we saw coming early on.

Nacua just put together one of the best seasons a rookie wide receiver has ever had. He ranked ninth in the league in receptions (105) and fourth in receiving yards (1,486). Both of those numbers broke these NFL records.

Receptions in a season by a rookie: Jaylen Waddle, 104, Miami Dolphins- 2021
Receiving yards in a season by a rookie: Brill Groman, 1,473, Houston Oilers- 1960

In seasonal leagues, Nacua was a late-round pick at best. In dynasty leagues, he may not have been drafted at all.

He was drafted in the fifth round by the Rams out of BYU where he never had more than 48 receptions or 805 yards in a season. But he fit into L.A. so well and was helped by the fact that Cooper Kupp was not available to begin the year. The Rams found a fit for Nacua and then once Kupp returned to the lineup, they found a way to use both players effectively.

Nacua was likely on a major amount of championship rosters this season.