The 2023 season is still a few months away. While much will change between now and opening night in September, let’s look at the biggest fantasy question for all 32 NFL teams.
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Biggest Question Heading into 2023 for Each NFL Team
Here are the biggest fantasy football questions for every NFL team.
BUF – Will James Cook turn into a fantasy star?
Many expected Cook to take over the Buffalo backfield last year. However, he ended up splitting the workload with Devin Singletary. While the veteran signed with the Texans this offseason, the Bills added Damien Harris. Yet, Cook could become a fantasy star with more work this season.
Last year the rookie had 12.4% of his rushing attempts go for 15 or more yards. Furthermore, Cook averaged 5.7 yards per rushing attempt and over three yards per attempt after contact.
More importantly, he ran a route on 86.3% of his passing snaps last season. Meanwhile, Singletary had the second-most slot snaps among running backs in 2022.
If the second-year player can keep Harris limited to the goal line work, Cook has top-20 upside this season.
MIA – Can Tua Tagovailoa become more consistent?
The first thing that comes to mind with Tagovailoa is the concussions. Last year the young quarterback suffered multiple concussions that forced him to miss four games. The last one cost him the final two games of the regular season and Miami’s playoff matchup.
However, the concussions weren’t the only thing impacting Tua’s fantasy value last year.
Tagovailoa started the year on fire, throwing for 469 yards and six touchdowns in Week 2. He also had three consecutive contests with at least 285 passing yards and three touchdowns from Week 8 through Week 10. Unfortunately, the quarterback had 60% of his passing touchdowns and over half of his fantasy points in those four contests against subpar defenses.
Meanwhile, Tua averaged only 1.7 passing touchdowns and 12.8 fantasy points per game in the other nine contests last season. Hopefully, Tagovailoa can be more consistent in his second year with Mike McDaniel. However, I am skeptical.
NE – Who becomes Mac Jones’ go-to receiver?
Last year the Patriots’ offense was a disaster with Matt Patricia running the show. Thankfully, Bill O’Brien will take over as the offensive coordinator this season. While he has his critics, O’Brien is a significant upgrade over Patricia. Meanwhile, Jakobi Meyers (96) and Nelson Agholor (53) were the only wide receivers with more than 48 targets last season. Yet, both left this offseason in free agency.
Unfortunately, the team lacks a go-to alpha receiver. Last year Rhamondre Stevenson led the team in receptions (69) and finished second in targets (88). However, that should change this year with a legit offensive coordinator. Meanwhile, the wild card of the group is Tyquan Thornton.
He missed time as a rookie with injuries and struggled because of the lack of offensive creativity. Yet, Thornton averaged over 6.9 yards per route run on routes 10 or more yards downfield. If Jones can get the ball downfield consistently, the second-year receiver could become an early season waiver wire target.
NYJ – How much upside does Garrett Wilson have?
Despite a merry-go-round at quarterback, Wilson was the WR19 last year, averaging 10.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. However, the rookie receiver was a hot and cold player. He had only three games with over 14.5 fantasy points last season. By comparison, Wilson had seven games with under 5.2 fantasy points, including two fantasy playoff matchups.
Thankfully, the addition of Aaron Rodgers will help the former Ohio State star in 2023. However, should fantasy players draft Wilson this season?
The answer depends on the draft cost. According to Underdog Fantasy, Wilson has an ADP of 14.2 and is the ninth wide receiver off the board. That cost isn’t ridiculous, though I would draft Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jaylen Waddle over the New York receiver. Yet, both have a lower ADP.
The Jets added Mecole Hardman and Allen Lazard this off-season. Reportedly, Rodgers asked the Jets to sign Lazard, though both players dispute the report. Nonetheless, Wilson will have competition for targets, which could limit his upside.
Last year the Ravens had only one player with more than 48 receptions — tight end Mark Andrews. However, Baltimore has made multiple moves this offseason. They signed Nelson Agholor and Odell Beckham Jr. in free agency.
The Ravens then used their first-round pick in the NFL Draft on Zay Flowers. Furthermore, Rashod Bateman has flashed potential when on the field. Yet, the question remains, which wide receiver should be the first drafted?
According to Underdog Fantasy, all three players have an ADP outside the top 40 wide receivers. Flowers leads the way as the WR44, Bateman is the WR47 and Beckham the WR51. However, Flowers is my favorite of the trio.
Beckham didn’t play last season because of a torn ACL he suffered in the Super Bowl the year before. Meanwhile, Bateman missed 11 games last year and 47.1% of the contests in his career because of injury. Flowers averaged over 2.2 yards per route run last year at Boston College and could turn into Lamar Jackson’s favorite wide receiver as a rookie.
CIN – Is Joe Mixon worth drafting?
While the veteran running back had his fifth consecutive year scoring at least 13 half-point PPR fantasy points per game in 2022, Mixon is on several do-not-draft lists this offseason. The former Oklahoma star averaged 15 fantasy points per game last year.
Yet, he had only 814 rushing yards, the second-lowest total of his career since his rookie season. Furthermore, Mixon’s end-of-year finish was boosted by one massive performance.
The veteran running back had 153 rushing yards, five total touchdowns and 53.1 fantasy points in the Week 9 matchup against the Panthers. That performance accounted for 18.8% of Mixon’s rushing yards, 55.6% of his touchdowns and 25.4% of his fantasy points for the season.
However, the Bengals lost Samaje Perine in free agency while their only addition was Chase Brown, a fifth-round rookie. Mixon has a late fifth-round ADP on Underdog Fantasy. At that cost, the veteran running back is worth the price.
CLE – Will Deshaun Watson bounce back?
Watson has always been a fantasy star. However, the events of the past two years have caused fantasy players to forget how good the quarterback was early in his career. He was the QB1 on a points-per-game basis as a rookie. Then Watson had three consecutive top-five finishes from 2018 through 2020.
Unfortunately, the off-the-field situation tanked his fantasy value. Furthermore, the star quarterback has played only six games over the past two years. After serving an 11-game suspension last season, Watson averaged only 14.3 fantasy points per game in 2022.
However, fantasy players should be optimistic about the star quarterback this year. He averaged 2.5 passing touchdowns and 19.7 fantasy points per game over the past two games last season. Furthermore, Watson started to use his legs more to end the year.
Over the final three weeks, the star quarterback averaged 33 rushing yards per contest and 5.3 fantasy points per game using his legs. More importantly, the Browns added Elijah Moore and Cedric Tillman this offseason, vastly improving Watson’s receiving core.
PIT – Which Najee Harris will show up this season?
The former first-round pick was a superstar as a rookie, totaling 1,667 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns in 2021. Harris was the RB4 that year, averaging 15.5 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. Unfortunately, the star running back struggled last season, averaging only 11.9 fantasy points per contest.
After totaling 74 receptions on 94 targets as a rookie, Harris had only 41 receptions on 53 targets last year following the change at quarterback from Ben Roethlisberger to Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett.
Yet, fantasy players should be encouraged by how Harris played at the end of last season. After dealing with a foot injury early in the year, the star running back averaged 86.4 scrimmage yards and 14.7 fantasy points per game over the final eight games. Furthermore, Harris was the RB4 over the final eight weeks last year.
More importantly, the Steelers added multiple starting offensive linemen this offseason. Last year, the unit ranked in the middle of the pack in run blocking, according to PFF. Harris should be much better in 2023.
HOU – Who becomes C.J. Stroud’s go-to receiver?
Houston traded away Brandin Cooks this offseason, leaving the team without a clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver on the roster. Yet, the team had a nice balance of veterans and young players. Robert Woods, Noah Brown and Dalton Schultz will give Stroud some sure-handed options.
Meanwhile, Nico Collins, John Metchie, Tank Dell and Xavier Hutchinson were all drafted in the past three years. Many are excited to see Dell this year after Stroud reportedly asked the Texans to draft the former Cougar star. However, will he become the No. 1 wide receiver?
Dell lined up in the slot 68.4% of the time last season at Houston. Yet, he averaged over 2.6 yards per route run in 2022. However, don’t rule out Collins becoming Stroud’s No. 1 target. The former Michigan star struggled last year because of poor quarterback production.
Collins had only a 50% catchable target rate in 2022, one of the worst in the NFL. Despite the quarterback struggles, the young receiver averaged 0.28 half-point PPR fantasy points per route run last season. If Stroud can give him enough catchable targets, Collins could be a breakout candidate this year.
IND – Will Anthony Richardson be a fantasy star as a rookie?
Despite being the third quarterback selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, Richardson has been the first drafted quarterback in most dynasty rookie drafts. The former Gator is a popular pick because of his unlimited upside.
Richardson had 103 rushing attempts for 653 yards and nine touchdowns last season and made several highlight-reel runs. That means the former Gator averaged 13.3 fantasy points per game last season on the ground. Furthermore, 56.9% of his rushing yards last year came on scrambles compared to 43.1% on designed runs, according to PFF.
Meanwhile, Richardson had 64 pass attempts of 20 or more yards last season at Florida. Yet, according to PFF, 17 attempts (26.6%) were big-time throws. More importantly, the rookie quarterback landed in an excellent situation for his fantasy value.
New head coach Shane Steichen was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia for the past two years. He helped Jalen Hurts be the QB9 in 2021 and the QB3 last season. While he won’t finish top five as a rookie, Richardson can have a similar impact on the ground and end the year in the low-end QB1 range.
JAC – What should fantasy players expect from Calvin Ridley?
Unfortunately, fantasy players have gotten only five games from Ridley over the past two years because of mental health issues and a suspension. Yet, the star receiver was outstanding in 2022. Ridley was the WR4 that year, averaging 15.8 half-point PPR fantasy points per game.
However, he was only ninth in the NFL with 143 targets that season. Furthermore, Ridley averaged 1.7 fantasy points per target. While he was excellent two years ago, the star receiver’s situation has drastically changed.
Ridley had a 22.8% target share in 2020. Meanwhile, Christian Kirk led the Jaguars with a 22.4% target share last season. Unfortunately, both wide receivers likely won’t see a 20% or higher target share in 2023. More importantly, fantasy players have to wonder how much rust the star receiver will have after playing five games in the past two seasons.
Fantasy players should prepare for Ridley to struggle over the first few weeks as he shakes off the rust and build chemistry with Trevor Lawrence. However, he has league winning upside in the second half of the season.
TEN – Which second-year player will lead the team in targets?
The Titans had arguably the worst receiving core in 2022. After trading A.J. Brown to the Eagles, Robert Woods and Treylon Burks were supposed to compete for the No. 1 role. However, Burks spent his rookie year struggling with asthma and injuries.
Meanwhile, Woods led the team with 91 targets, while Austin Hooper finished second with 60. Unfortunately, those two were the only players with more than 55 targets last year. Yet, both are no longer with Tennessee.
Instead of signing a big-name veteran in free agency or using an early draft pick on a wide receiver, the Titans waited until the seventh round to add a wide receiver. Therefore, can Burks step into the No. 1 pass catcher role? Probably, but don’t forget about Chigoziem Okonkwo. Furthermore, Kyle Philips is a deep sleeper candidate.
All three players got drafted in 2022. While Burks and Okonkwo flashed upside as rookies, Philips only played in four contests. Burks is the favorite to lead the team in targets, but Philips is worth drafting late in a few Best Ball leagues.
DEN – When will Javonte Williams be 100%?
Last year Williams was a popular breakout candidate. He started the year well, scoring 14.3 half-point PPR fantasy points in Week 1. Yet, the young running back had 12 targets in the games, catching all but one.
Unfortunately, the former North Carolina star suffered a severe knee injury in Week 4. Williams suffered a torn ACL and LCL and missed the rest of the year. However, there have been recent positive reports about the star running back.
Head coach Sean Payton recently said he is “hopeful” that Williams will be ready for training camp. However, does that mean the former North Carolina star will be ready for Week 1? Furthermore, when will Williams be 100% for fantasy players? J.K. Dobbins suffered a similar injury in the 2021 preseason.
After missing the season, he returned last year after missing the first few games. Yet, he needed another surgery and didn’t look healthy until the final month of last year. Therefore, fantasy players shouldn’t expect Williams to be 100% until the second half of the 2023 season.
KC – Can Kadarius Toney stay healthy and become the WR1?
Toney has been a fan favorite of the fantasy community for the past few years. Unfortunately, the former Gator has struggled to stay healthy. He has missed 44.1% of the games in his career, including eight last season.
Some believed Toney was milking the injuries because he was unhappy with the Giants. Yet, the receiver missed 30% of the regular season games once he joined the Chiefs. More importantly, he rarely made an impact when on the field.
The second-year receiver had 17 half-point PPR fantasy points in his second game with Kansas City. However, he scored only 29 fantasy points in the other six regular season games with the Chiefs. Furthermore, he had more than two targets in only two games with the team in 2022.
While Kansas City lost JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency, they spent a second-round pick on Rashee Rice. Toney is a talented player, but the injuries and inconsistent play make me skeptical that he can be the team’s WR1.
LV – Will Hunter Renfrow get traded?
Two years ago, Renfrow was a league-winning waiver wire addition. The slot receiver was the WR11 in 2021, averaging 12.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. He had 103 receptions on 128 targets for 1,038 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. More importantly, Renfrow finished top 10 in the NFL in receptions and receiving touchdowns that year.
Unfortunately, the Raiders underwent several changes last season, starting with the head coach. More importantly, the team traded for Davante Adams, who finished second in the NFL with 180 targets in 2022.
Meanwhile, Renfrow missed seven games because of injuries and saw his targets per game decline by 33.6% from the previous year. Unfortunately, the Raiders made several additions this offseason, signing Jakobi Meyers and several other veteran wide receivers. The team also spent a second-round pick on Michael Mayer.
Reportedly Renfrow could get traded over the next few months. Hopefully, he finds a new home because the receiver lacks fantasy upside in Las Vegas.
LAC – Is Austin Ekeler worthy of the 1.01 pick?
Ekeler has been the top fantasy running back over the past few years. He was the RB1 last season, averaging 18.8 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. The superstar was the RB2 in 2021, averaging 19.3 fantasy points per game, a career-high.
While he missed six games in 2020 because of injury, Ekeler was the RB6 in 2019, averaging 16.4 fantasy points per game, despite sharing the backfield with Melvin Gordon. Yet, the veteran running back has never had more than 915 rushing yards in any season of his career.
However, Ekeler has been a pass-catching machine, with 394 targets over the past four years, averaging 9.8 fantasy points per contest in the passing game during those four years. He had at least 94 targets in three of those seasons. While many believe he is the 1.01 pick in redraft leagues, there are some concerns with Ekeler.
The Chargers added Quentin Johnston in the NFL Draft and changed offensive coordinators. Both moves likely mean the superstar sees his target share decline this season. Yet, Ekeler is worthy of the top pick, but fantasy players shouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t end the year as the RB1.