Fantasy Football: The top 10 league winners who helped bring home championships — how'd they get it done?

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve been playing Queen’s “We Are The Champions” on a loop since sometime on New Year’s Eve. Celebrate the victories, even plan a parade. Perhaps the family dog can join you on a makeshift float through the living room.

Now that the fantasy title is yours, it’s time to look back at what got you here. A star who avoided injury and delivered all season is the easy way to look at who took you to the title. But every title is much more than that. It could've been an early-season FAB pickup that worked out. Or a trade that broke just right. Or a speculation play-and-hold of a rookie to see if they could mature and contribute at just the right time.

Yes, this article is about more than just who went off in Week 17. Great players such as Davante Adams (31.10 fantasy points) and DJ Moore (26.40) were sensational in the biggest week, but they both put up clunkers in the semifinals and had some inconsistent weeks as a whole. Hard to imagine that many fantasy teams made the playoffs with them, surviving those rough efforts to play for the big prize. This is about who got you to the dance and then moonwalked you to center stage to crown you the champion.

Our Yahoo research team uncovered the players who appeared on the most fantasy championship rosters, and this article is going to celebrate the top 10 who lifted teams to titles.

Before getting to the top 10, though, we should highlight Lamar Jackson, who appeared on 12.35% of championship rosters — just outside the 10 best.

Within six days, Jackson strafed two of the best defenses in the NFL for 573 yards and seven touchdown passes. That is going to make the NFL MVP award as much a coronation as anything. In the three main playoff weeks (15-17), Jackson scored no fewer than 19.54 points. The high was the 36.34-fantasy-point masterwork he laid on the Dolphins in the form of 321 yards and five touchdowns. The QB3 on the season, Jackson was a beast when it mattered most and was on more than 12,000 championship rosters.

With that shoutout out of the way, let’s get into the 10 players who delivered teams to fantasy championships and how they got there.

Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers

Rostered on 30.09% of championship teams

Averaging 22.4 fantasy points per game, McCaffrey eclipsed 2,000 scrimmage yards for the second time in his career and was a scoring machine with 21 touchdowns. He ended up scoring more than 100 fantasy points than the RB2, which shows his dominance and why he was on the most title teams. Remarkably, he scored in 13 of 16 games, though one of his touchdown-free games was in Week 17, when he still put up 91 scrimmage yards. It was a remarkable season.

Kyren Williams, Los Angeles Rams

Rostered on 21.91% of championship teams

Arguably the waiver-wire pickup of the year, Williams was money when the games mattered most. With more than 100 yards and at least one touchdown in each game in Weeks 15-17, Williams carried people to fantasy titles with a three-touchdown, 29.10-point performance in championship week. The RB4 on the season, Williams finished second with 1,144 rushing yards despite missing four games. He’s another example to spend FAB early because those players can be difference-makers all season.

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Rostered on 21.71% of championship teams

There were five 4,000-yard passers through Week 17, and Allen will likely join them this week in the battle for the AFC East with the Dolphins; he’s at 3,947 yards. While some would see 2023 as something of a down year, his fantasy points per game of 24.1 were good enough to make him the QB1 and just a hair under the 24.3 last season. His 15 rushing touchdowns were one more than McCaffrey's, including the two he had championship week on the way to a QB6 finish with 22.16 points.

Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins

Rostered on 22.41% of championship teams

Mostert was a prime example of the player who delivered teams to championships but had to step aside at the last minute to let someone else take teams to the finish line because an injury left him inactive for Week 17. Yet his outlier season cannot be denied, as he’s likely going to finish the year leading the NFL in rushing TDs, with 18, at age 31. Even having missed a game, he’s the RB2 after being picked as the RB40 in drafts last summer. Not a bad ROI.

Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins

Rostered on 21.44% of championship teams

The Cheetah’s dream of a 2,000-yard season would require a Herculean effort of 283 yards Sunday against the Bills, but he still delivered eight 100-yard games this season and six monstrous games with more than 25 fantasy points. His 76 yards in championship week do not dampen things, as getting to the dance opens the door for others to shine.

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Rostered on 20.84% of championship teams

Kamara is a bit of a surprise to be in the top 10, as he delivered just 84 total yards in the last two weeks of the fantasy season, and he missed the first three weeks of the season. Getting picked as the RB30 in the 10th round allowed teams to load up their rosters, and he was the RB2 Weeks 4-16.

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Rostered on 19.75% of championship teams

The boo birds in Philadelphia these past couple of weeks did not have fantasy managers among them, as Hurts delivered 23.1 fantasy points per game this season. That was 2.5 points lower than last season, but he still posted 13 fantasy weeks of at least 20 fantasy points — missing one week with 19.90 — and tied Allen with 15 rushing touchdowns.

CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys

Rostered on 18.38% of championship teams

What a feeling to roster Lamb on Saturday night of championship week and see him obliterate the Lions for 227 yards and a touchdown on 13 catches for 33.70 fantasy points and the WR1 finish. That snuck Lamb past Hill for the WR1 overall spot on the season. Just a magical year for the Cowboy, who surpassed 100 receiving yards eight times this season. With a pair of rushing TDs, Lamb tied Hill for second in wide receiver touchdowns at 12.

Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams

Rostered on 17.66% of championship teams

Nacua might be putting together the greatest rookie wide receiver season in NFL history. He’s three receptions behind Jaylen Waddle’s record of 104, and with 1,445 receiving yards, he's well within striking distance of Bill Groman’s record of 1,473 in 1960 for Houston. Nacua was also clutch in the biggest moments, putting up games of 9-164-1 and 5-118-0 in Weeks 16 and 17. Along with Kyren Williams, he’s another late-round selection/FAB pickup who helped win titles.

Brandon Aubrey, Dallas Cowboys

Rostered on 20.06% of championship teams

This is the specialists’ section of the article. Aubrey made all 35 of his field-goal attempts, including nine of 50-plus yards with a high of 60. Not bad for someone who played soccer at Notre Dame and was selected as the 12th kicker off the board in 2023 fantasy drafts. Incredible value.

Cleveland Browns D/ST

Rostered on 18.40% of championship teams

The Browns allowed the fewest passing yards on the season (2,655) and finished seventh in sacks (46) and fourth in interceptions (17). That across-the-board production led the Browns to pile up seven games with 12 or more fantasy points and be that set-it-and-forget-it defense.