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Dynasty Draft Primer: AFC North (Fantasy Football)

The AFC North is one of the best divisions in football year after year. In 2023, they saw three of their four teams make the playoffs and one – the Ravens – make it to the AFC title game.

As we turn toward 2024 and look at all of the changes in this division, the one thing that comes to mind for me is, “Here we go again.” We dive into the division and examine the dynasty draft outlook for each team. Let’s get into it.

2024 Dynasty Fantasy Football Guide

AFC North Dynasty Primer (2024 Fantasy Football)

Baltimore Ravens

Fantasy Depth Chart

The Ravens finished atop the AFC North last year with a 13-4 record and earned the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. They easily defeated the Texans in the second round before losing to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship. The team finished with 6,296 total offensive yards, the fourth-most in the NFL. They were first in rushing (2,661 yards) and 21st in passing (3,635 yards).

For fantasy purposes, the Ravens are a team with great potential. Lamar Jackson is a top-five QB and Mark Andrews is a top-three TE in most formats. The addition of Derrick Henry to an already run-heavy team should also bode well, even if he is a little older. The team lost both J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards to the Chargers, so Keaton Mitchell should see some carries this year again. At receiver, it’s pretty light after Zay Flowers, but Rashod Bateman could take a step up and is worth rostering in deeper leagues.

In terms of rookies, the Ravens once again got tremendous value in the draft. They added WR Devontez Walker from North Carolina and RB Rasheen Ali of Marshall on Day 3, but both could contribute at various points this season.

For dynasty, all of these players should be rostered everywhere on the outside chance that they once again lead the league in yards or injury hits as it did to Andrews last year. The Ravens are easily the best team in the AFC North again and possibly in the entire AFC.

Cleveland Browns

Fantasy Depth Chart

Believe it or not, the Browns finished second in the AFC North last year with a record of 11-6. They faced the Texans in the first round of the playoffs, but the Joe Flacco magic ran out, and they lost by 31 points. The team finished 11th in total offense (5,710 yards), 19th in passing (3,693 yards) and 12th in rushing (2,017 yards).

Dynasty managers that rostered Flacco hopefully got something for him because the team decided to let him walk in free agency. He’s now a backup in Indianapolis and not worth rostering again. RB Nick Chubb saw his dynasty value crater, and many managers traded him for peanuts after his injury. Even still, Chubb appears to be the starter going into 2024. The team did add a major piece in the WR room in WR Jerry Jeudy, but the jury is out on whether or not he’ll be fantasy-relevant this year.

Regarding rookies, the Browns only added WR Jamari Thrash from Louisville. The Day 3 prospect is likely buried on the depth chart and isn’t being drafted in most leagues, including deep ones. Not only is he a fifth-round rookie, but the players ahead of him will get more looks. Starting WRs Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore should be worth rostering, but you’re not getting much in return for them if you try to trade them away. The Browns have some good dynasty pieces, but none that stand out as “must-have” players to me.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Fantasy Depth Chart

The Steelers shocked the world last season, finishing 10-6 and squeaking into the playoffs to face the Buffalo Bills. They put up a fight but couldn’t hold on. Still, their season was a success just because they made it to the postseason. The team finished with a meager 5,173 total offensive yards, 28th overall, so many in fantasy circles weren’t that impressed. They were also 25th in passing (3,163 yards) and 13th in rushing (2,010 yards).

This season should look very different for a few key reasons. The first of which is that instead of QB Kenny Pickett under center, the team added two new signal callers to fight for the right to start: Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. Most expect Wilson to win out, but Fields could get a good chance to see snaps weekly based on his rushing abilities alone. I want to roster both in superflex leagues just in case Fields ends up being the better option. Not only that, but the team lost WR Diontae Johnson in free agency and added WR Van Jefferson in return.

Another main addition to this offense came by way of drafting Michigan WR Roman Wilson in the third round. Wilson should see starter reps right away, making him fantasy-relevant immediately.

I’m also very curious to see how long of a leash the team gives RB Najee Harris with how well RB Jaylen Warren played last year. Overall, this team will look different than 2023, and for fantasy, that’s definitely a good thing.

Cincinnati Bengals

Fantasy Depth Chart

Last but not least are the Bengals, who finished fourth in the AFC North with a 9-8 record. The AFC North was the only division in the NFL to have all four teams finish above .500 last year. And when your last-place team is a team like the Bengals, you better look out. Even with starting QB Joe Burrow getting hurt, they finished 16th in total offense (5,422 yards), 15th in passing (3,895 yards) and 31st in rushing (1,527 yards).

Heading into 2023, everyone in fantasy was chomping at the bit to draft the Bengals players from top to bottom. Most managers who selected Bengals players were disappointed. Stud WR Ja’Marr Chase finished as WR11 and since-departed RB Joe Mixon finished as RB6, both in PPR scoring. Burrow and backup QB Jake Browning finished as QB35 and QB27, respectively. All in all, it was a bad season for the Bengals and anyone who relied on them for fantasy, as well.

The NFL Draft helped the Bengals’ outlook improve for 2024. The team lost WR Tyler Boyd to free agency but replaced him with rookie WR Jermaine Burton in round No. 3 from Alabama. They also selected Iowa TE Erick All in round No. 4, who now pairs with free agent TE Mike Gesicki. Overall, this team got stronger in almost every way since 2023 ended. As long as Burrow’s wrist also strengthens, fantasy managers should be happy to roster whoever they can from this team in 2024.

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Andrew Hall is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his profile and follow him @AndrewHallFF.

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