This series will analyze every NFL team by division to forecast key fantasy football performances and overall team outlooks with futures bets in mind.
2022 Record: 13-3
Vegas Expected Win Total: 10.5 Wins (Over)
Team Outlook: The Buffalo Bills had a bit of a letdown season after being Super Bowl favorites in 2022. The loss of Brian Daboll hurt the offense’s efficiency and Josh Allen’s overall performance. This division will be a lot more competitive this year. The Jets will have a legit quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, Tua starts the season healthy, and the Patriots actually have an offensive coordinator. Still, I have faith in Allen to get the job done. From a fantasy perspective, the Bills are a great offense to target once again in 2023.
Josh Allen, Average Draft Position 20.0, QB2 (FantasyPros ADP)
As one of the select few to give you a true advantage at the position, Allen should be great again this year. Allen lost Brian Daboll in 2022, but still finished at the QB3 on a points-per-game basis. In 2021, he finished as the overall QB1 on a points-per-game basis. He keeps Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Dawson Knox, and also adds first-round pick Dalton Kincaid at the tight end spot.
However, what makes Allen great is his rushing ability and how much the Bills use him in the red zone. He has never finished with less than 420 rushing yards and has averaged 762 rushing yards and 6.5 rushing touchdowns in the past two seasons. His floor isn’t lower than QB5 and his ceiling is QB1. I am passing on the early groups of QBs but if you want him in round 3, he’s a fine pick.
James Cook, Average Draft Position 80.3, RB31 (FantasyPros ADP)
As one of the biggest risers in the fantasy football offseason, James Cook is looking to build off a solid rookie year. From weeks 13-16, when Cook started to take over more of the backfield, he was the RB25 on a points-per-game basis.
This season many are projecting Cook to have a chance as an RB2 and reports are saying Cook is the clear number one back in camp. While he may be more involved in the passing game this season, we have never seen the Bills rely on a running back in the rush game or in the passing game. I see Cook doing some work between the 20’s and maybe getting some catches but Allen owning the red zone as usual. He’s a fine RB3 and may be able to be an RB2 if he breaks some longer plays to reach the endzone.
Damien Harris, Average Draft Position, 110.3, RB39 (FantasyPros ADP)
The Bills added Damien Harris to fill in for the upcoming season. Damien Harris is an efficient runner but seems to be settling in as the number two back in Buffalo. He has been battling some knee issues in training camp, but if there is a back to get red zone touches I think it’s Harris. Still, Allen is the guy in Buffalo to run into the endzone in Buffalo. Harris is not a running back I want to own despite his landing in a high-powered offense.
Stefon Diggs, Average Draft Position 11.3, WR5 (FantasyPros ADP)
Once Stefon Diggs joined the Buffalo Bills in 2020, he never looked back. Over those seasons, he has finished as the WR3, WR7, and the WR4 this past season. He is an incredible route runner and has developed fantastic chemistry with Josh Allen. However, this offseason there was some drama related to how the team handled his situation. Diggs is currently going off the board as the WR5, which I am totally fine with even at age 29.
Gabriel Davis, Average Draft Position 101.3, WR41 (FantasyPros ADP)
Gabriel Davis is a hit-or-miss wide receiver from week to week. He has massive games that win you weeks, and he has 2-catch weeks that leave you shaking your head. Going into last season, Davis had tremendous hype after an 8-catch 201-yard 4 touchdown game vs. the Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs. Davis was drafted as a potential breakout and ended up finishing the season as the WR27. Not much has really changed for Davis other than the addition of Dalton Kincaid. He’s a great value in the 9th round if you can live with the inconsistency.
Dalton Kincaid, Average Draft Position 135.7, TE15 (FantasyPros ADP)
If I am taking a Bills tight end, I am taking Dalton Kincaid over Dawson Knox. Knox might start off the season getting more of the reps, but Kincaid will soon take over. Coming out of Utah, the Bills selected Kincaid with the
25th pick of the NFL draft. Kincaid is a great receiving tight end. Joe Buscaliga of the Athletic stated, “Almost every day, Kincaid is making himself available through excellent route running and movement skills for his size, and then capitalizing with effortless receptions while turning up field looking for more. Allen has shown complete trust in Kincaid when on the field together.” While rookie tight ends haven’t fared well in NFL history, I think they will start to do better because of the new style of tight end that mainly works as a receiver. If I miss out on Andrews, I don’t mind pairing Kincaid with another tight end late.
2022 Record: 9-8
Vegas Expected Win Total: 9.5 Wins (Over)
Team Outlook: I have not bet on it, but the Miami Dolphins to win the division at +300 is not a bad bet at all. The team went 8-5 when Tua started and the team still remains very much intact. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are probably the best wide receiver combination in the NFL and Mike McDaniel is a great offensive mind. The defense added Bradley Chubb to pair with Jaelan Phillips on the defensive line. Xavien Howard should have a bounce-back season and although Jalen Ramsey got hurt, he could be back by December to help this team finish strong. It would not shock me if Miami wins the division, as long as Tua stays healthy, they have a chance.
Tua Tagovailoa, Average Draft Position 89.3, QB11 (FantasyPros ADP)
Injuries, and specifically concussions, have been a huge problem for Tua Tagovailoa. He has missed 14 games over the past 3 seasons and is a high risk to miss more this year. However, with the addition of Hill, Waddle, and Mike McDaniel calling plays, Tua was the QB10 on a points-per-game basis in 2022. He’s a big injury risk of course, but if Hill is being drafted as the WR4, and Waddle is being drafted as the WR11, it makes sense for Tua to be drafted a little bit higher than QB11. Tua is my QB9 for this season.
Devon Achane, Average Draft Position 122.3, RB41 (FantasyPros ADP)
After a great career at Texas A&M, Devon Achane was drafted 84th overall in the third round by the Miami Dolphins. Achane joins Hill and Waddle as another speedster after posting a 4.32 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine. He has a chance to be the starting back in Miami, but is competing with Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and a potential free agent running back for touches in this backfield. I can see Achane starting off slow but taking over more of the backfield as the season progresses. At RB41 and in the 11th round, he’s a running back I would take a flier on because of his talent and the offense he plays on.
Raheem Mostert, Average Draft Position 150.3, RB47 (FantasyPros ADP) A basic principle of fantasy football is that in the double digit rounds, it’s all about upside. At that point, you want to be drafting guys who are young with high ceilings rather than aging veterans. Raheem Mostert is 31 years old and has been good in the past, but I would rather grab his teammate Devon Achane a couple rounds earlier. Mostert could be a starter in a bye week pinch if Achane does not work out, but he has no chance of winning you your fantasy league.
Tyreek Hill, Average Draft Position 7.0, WR4 (FantasyPros ADP)
Not much to say here, Hill is electric. He finished as the WR3 in his first year with Miami despite Tua getting hurt and missing time. The Dolphins added Mike White at quarterback which should be an upgrade over what they had last year in case Tua does miss time again. Mike McDaniel will scheme him open and Hill should continue to dominate targets even at 29 years old. I have Hill ranked as my WR3 this year only behind Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase, and would take him as high as 4th overall in half ppr leagues.
Jaylen Waddle, Average Draft Position 23.3, WR11 (FantasyPros ADP)
Waddle has been incredibly successful in his first two seasons in the NFL but did them in completely different ways. In year 1, Waddle broke the rookie reception record at 104 but had a low yards per reception at 9.8 leading to 1015 yards. In year 2, Waddle had 75 receptions for 18.1 yards per catch leading to 1356 yards. In 2021, Waddle finished as the WR21 and in 2022 he finished as the WR7.
However, in 2022, when Tagovailoa started and finished the game, Waddle almost was almost two full points better in half ppr (10.8 vs 12.25). With the addition of Mike White, Waddle will have a better backup if anything were to happen to Tua. I love Waddle at the 2-3 turn, he’s my WR11 which agrees with ADP. Plus, you get to Waddle when he scores touchdowns.
Not drafting him.
New England Patriots
2022 Record: 8-9
Vegas Expected Win Total: 7.5 Wins (Under)
Team Outlook: Any team that does not have an offensive coordinator, might have trouble with offense. Luckily, the Patriots have filled that hole with Bill O’Brien this offseason. I don’t think the Patriots will necessarily be bad, I just think the teams in the division have upgraded tremendously and New England has not. They’ll be well coached and should be better offensively, but I do see them finishing last in the division this season. From a fantasy perspective, there are pieces in this offense which could be enticing.
Mac Jones, Average Draft Position 210.0, QB31 (FantasyPros ADP)
While I think Mac Jones will be better from a real life football perspective with an actual offensive coordinator, I don’t see anything really exciting about Jones from a fantasy perspective. Not all of it is his fault. He does not have much to throw to and has a team that looks like it will be very balanced playcalling wise. He does not offer anything from a rushing perspective, so even in a 2QB league, I am out on Mac.
Rhamondre Stevenson, Average Draft Position 24.3, RB10 (FantasyPros ADP)
In 2021, the New England Patriots drafted Rhamondre Stevenson with the 120th pick in the 4th round of the NFL draft. He did not do much his rookie season, but in his second season, Stevenson exploded onto the scene and finished as the RB11. He finished with 279 touches and was efficient with those touches averaging 5 yards a carry and 6.1 yards per reception.
Harris is gone to Buffalo but the Patriots signed free agent RB Exekiel Elliott. Zeke scares me a little just because of his elite ability as a pass blocking back which could put him on the field on third downs. Still, this is Rhamondre’s backfield but maybe he’s a middle 3rd round pick instead of an early 3rd round pick. The offensive line is still solid and he should still get catches (69 last year) with Mac Jones’s inability to run. If Bill O’Brien can boost this offense, Stevenson has a chance to finish as a top 5 back in half ppr. He’s my RB11 this year.
Ezekiel Elliott, Average Draft Position 154.0, RB48 (FantasyPros ADP)
Elliott is of course not the runner he used to be, but I think he landed in a good spot from a real life football perspective. Elliott is still effective in the red zone and is a great pass blocker on 3rd down. He’s the handcuff to Stevenson but I fear he could take Stevenson off the field on 3rd down situations and possibly in the red zone. This is still Stevenson’s backfield, but it does make him a lot more risky. As for Zeke, I won’t draft an aging backup running back, but I think he will give Stevenson owners some headaches. He’s my RB41.
Juju Smith-Schuster, Average Draft Position 126.3, WR47 (FantasyPros ADP)
The Patriots leading receiver last season was Jakobi Myers with 804 receiving yards. Yuck. That led to the signing of Juju Smith-Schuster this year to be their number one receiver. Smith-Schuster finished with 933 yards and 3 touchdowns (WR29) with the best offensive play caller and quarterback on the planet.
This season, he signs with the Patriots as the number one option, but on a far less potent offense. He may be a value and has a chance to finish as a WR3 because of the volume he may receive, but I would rather draft younger receivers with a higher ceiling. I would rather have wide receivers going after him like Zay Flowers or Elijah Moore.
Jakobi Myers, Average Draft Position 161.3, WR59 (FantasyPros ADP)
If I am out on Juju, I am out on Jakobi Myers who should be the number two wide receiver in this offense. I do not think the addition of Bill O’Brien will allow Jones to adequately support multiple valuable fantasy football wide receivers. If you want a pass catcher in this Patriots offense, Smith-Schuster is your guy, I do not want one.
Hunter Henry, Average Draft Position 200.7, TE26
Not drafting him.
New York Jets
2022 Record: 7-10
Vegas Expected Win Total: 9.5 Wins (Under)
Team Outlook: The New York Jets are perhaps the most hyped team this offseason to take the NFL by storm. The addition of Aaron Rodgers instead of Zach Wilson will do that. The Jets had an incredible defense last season with Sauce Gardner leading the way, and should have a solid defense again (I do worry about their lack of a pass rush). The question is, how many wins is Rodgers worth instead of Wilson. The Jets won 7 games last season and I think that with the addition of Rodgers from a real life football perspective, it could be enough to get them to 10 wins. However, I have them falling just short because of the tough division they’re in and their suspect offensive line play.
Aaron Rodgers, Average Draft Position 106.0, QB12 (FantasyPros ADP)
I totally believe that Rodgers still has plenty left in the tank and will make this Jets team a much better football team. However, from a fantasy perspective, I am out on Rodgers. While I do think he will be great for the Jets, the passing volume just won’t be there. This team is led by a defensive coach in Robert Salah who won’t air it out constantly when he does not need to. Rodgers will take care of the football and be very efficient, but the lack of volume and rushing will prevent him from finishing top 12 at the position. He’s my QB17.
Breece Hall, Average Draft Position 32.0, RB13 (FantasyPros ADP)
Breece Hall burst onto the scene last year as the RB6 through weeks 1-7 before tearing his ACL. Hall missed the rest of the season and is on the PUP list during training camp. Hall has ridiculous talent and finds himself in a better situation with Rodgers as his quarterback which will open up much more scoring opportunities. The problem is, running backs really struggle their first year back from a torn ACL and then Jets just brought in Dalvin Cook with pretty significant money.
Hall is going as the RB13 right now but for me is more of a middle of the pack RB2 for me because he is not fully healthy and has to split with Cook. However, he could win fantasy leagues by the end of the year when he starts to become fully recovered and confident in his knee. If you’re willing to wait on Hall to produce, he could definitely be a fantasy winner this season, but he could also sink your team out of the playoffs. He’s my RB17 and will be a boom or bust in 2023.
Dalvin Cook, Average Draft Position 67.3, RB26 (FantasyPros ADP)
Cook finally found a home after shopping around for a little while, and 8.6 million is definitely more money than typical backup money which tells me this is a committee in New York between Cook and Hall. Cook comes in as RB29 for me but I see it unfolding like this. I think Cook starts the season with more work and is an RB2 for a stretch of 8 or so weeks. From there Hall will begin to take over and be the RB2/RB1 as he gets healthier to finish the season. I’d rather get the back end of the season with Hall than an aging RB in Cook.
Garrett Wilson, Average Draft Position 19.0, WR10 (FantasyPros ADP)
After winning the 2022 OROY, Garrett Wilson is looking to become a superstar in 2023. Having Rodgers throw you the football instead of Wilson should help. In 2021, Wilson finished as the WR19 and is currently being drafted in round 2 as the WR10. He will be the number one target on this Jets offense and Rodgers has already made comparisons between Wilson and DeVante Adams. While I am wary of change in a player’s fantasy situation, this is definitely a good one. The only thing that could hinder him is a Hall explosion or a high involvement of Allen Lazard in the red zone. He’s in my second tier of wide receivers and is my overall WR10.
Allen Lazard, Average Draft Position 136.3, WR51 (FantasyPros ADP)
While playing in Green Bay last season, Lazard finished as the WR33. He now follows Rodgers to New York and fills in as the number two wide receiver behind Wilson. I don’t see myself drafting Lazard very often this fantasy season, but I think he could cause some problems for Garrett Wilson. Last year, Lazard was 11th in the entire NFL with 17 red zone targets. Rodgers likes looking at the 6’5” Lazard in the red zone and if it continues in New York, it could hamper Wilson’s value. Lazard could be a boom or bust WR5 in redraft leagues because of his touchdown potential.
Tyler Conklin, Average Draft Position 215.3, TE29 (FantasyPros ADP)
Tight end streamer at best. Rodgers could make something of him but I will not be drafting him in 2023.
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