Before we fully dismiss the six playoff teams recently eliminated in this year's glorious wild-card round, let's give each of them one final look, in the usual fantasy six-pack manner. We're calling out one meaningful stat for each team, with an eye on 2023.
1,517 - This is how many total receiving yards were produced by all Baltimore Ravens wide receivers this season, an outrageously low number. It was the lowest in the league this year and the lowest total of any team since 2019, when Ravens wideouts finished with just 1,419 yards in a 16-game season. Justin Jefferson and Tyreek Hill each delivered more receiving yards on their own than did all Ravens wide receivers in 2022, and Davante Adams was only a single yard behind them. Baltimore gained nearly as many rushing yards per game (160.0) as they did passing (178.8), which is simply not what an offense should look like in such a pass-friendly era. It just might be time for a reassessment of offensive philosophy.
257 - Kenneth Walker III gained 257 yards after contact in the final three weeks of the regular season, the highest total of any back by a wide margin — and, in case you'd forgotten, he did it while playing through an ankle injury and rarely practicing. After taking over as Seattle's featured back in October, he averaged 95.9 scrimmage yards per week and reached the end zone eight times. If we were drafting a 2023 fantasy roster today, Walker would clearly deserve consideration as a late first-round option. The Seahawks have glaring defensive needs and a big decision ahead at quarterback, but running back is not a worry.
46 - Kirk Cousins was sacked 46 times this year, third-most in the NFL, the highest single-season total of his career and tied with Geno Smith for the most among playoff QBs. He took more hits than any quarterback in the league (84). When he threw that doomed 3-yard completion to T.J. Hockenson on fourth down on Sunday, he did not have another millisecond with which to work, nor did he have another receiver coming open. Cousins is an easy target, literally and figuratively, but he is certainly not a liability. Minnesota needs to fix its dreadful defense and patch that O-line.
7.0 - Justin Herbert's average depth of target this season was just 7.0 yards according to PFF, which ranked No. 30 out of 33 quarterbacks who had at least 250 dropbacks. Only 9.7% of his attempts traveled 20-plus yards downfield. If this seems like a waste of a guy with weapons-grade arm strength ... well, yeah. Understandably, the team is making changes to the offensive coaching staff. They should maybe take a long look at the receiving room, too.
6.4 - In what seems likely to have been Tom Brady's final season with the Bucs, he averaged just 6.4 yards per pass attempt. That was his lowest rate since 2002, when Brady himself was only 25 years old and Rich Gannon won the NFL MVP. Brady had the league's lowest average time to throw this season (2.3 seconds) and his aDOT was just 7.3. He still passed for 4,694 yards, but he needed a league-leading 733 attempts to get there. Injuries to the team's offensive line were obviously a factor in his slide and Tampa's do-nothing run game did the offense no favors — somehow the Bucs finished with only five total rushing scores, one of which belonged to Brady. Wherever he plays next season (assuming he plays), it's going to have to offer a perfectly move-in ready offensive environment.
0 - This is the number of running backs that Miami currently has under contract, with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. both headed into free agency. It should go without saying that Mike McDaniel's offense is a stellar landing spot for any back. This year's free-agent class is unusually loaded — Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard, Miles Sanders, David Montgomery, Kareem Hunt, et al. — and the incoming draft class features plenty of talent. There's a decent chance we'll be drafting some yet-to-be-determined Dolphins running back in the very early rounds in a few months.