100 Questions Heading Into NFL Free Agency (Fantasy Football)
The free agency window is about to open and you are going to see a flood of rumors, action, and hearsay across the Twitterverse.
Here’s a brief outline of the next two months so buckle up!
- February 28-March 6– NFL Scouting Combine
- March 7– Franchise Tag Deadline
- March 13-15– Legal Tampering Period to Contact Unrestricted Free Agents
- March 15– League Year and Free Agency period begins at 4:00 PM EST
- April 21– Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets
- April 27-29– NFL Draft in Kansas City
To get you completely immersed, we have compiled 100 questions to catch you up on each’s team’s biggest issues heading into March. Our Team Opportunity pages in the Dynasty Pass is flush with grades, vacated opportunities, and contract details on every single team; you can immerse yourself even more with the non-stop world known as the NFL. Our Free Agent Tracker and Injury Tracker can also keep you up-to-date with every single relevant player over the next few months.
Feel free to skip ahead to your favorite team for a quick reference.
1. With a deep RB class in the NFL draft and a plethora of star RBs available in free agency, is the supply bigger than the demand? Yes, and you’re going to see how teams view these prospects based on how quick some of the free-agent RBs sign. Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs headline the group but Tony Pollard, Miles Sanders, and David Montgomery all have produced and could easily be an RB1 wherever they go. You have to feel sorry for guys like Alexander Mattison who bided their time only to see a market flush with options. The lower tier veterans could get squeezed out of short term contracts and instead be brought in as camp bodies. D’Onta Foreman ran for over 900 yards but is not guarantee to see any sort of significant investment. Why pay for an aged veteran when the 8th-9th RB off the board in the NFL Draft is younger and even cheaper? It’s a deep RB class as evidenced by our rookie rankings in the Dynasty Pass.
2. How will the lack of WRs on the market affect how teams spend? Juju Smith-Schuster picked the right time to come back in the limelight. Looking at our Free Agent Tracker, the list is uninspiring, to say the least. In our Team Opportunity pages, the Bears, Ravens, Packers, Texans, Patriots, Giants, Titans, Falcons, and Panthers all received at least an “A” for WR opportunity based on vacated targets and a lack of true alphas on the roster. Don’t expect many multi-year deals as teams look to create more competition than assuming free-agent signees are solutions. Honestly, there are only a handful of WRs on the market who can offer above replacement-level value.
3. Which teams are ready to pony up and spend this off-season? Here are the teams with the most cap space this off-season:
|Cap Rank||Team||Players Under Contract||Active Contracts||Dead Cap||Cap Space|
|3||Las Vegas Raiders||47||$155,768,630||$29,402,498||$46,309,005|
|4||New York Giants||55||$177,190,355||$8,041,275||$43,339,480|
|5||New England Patriots||60||$192,718,104||$1,379,604||$37,821,222|
Remember that ample cap space is not exactly always a good thing. We’ve seen the Jaguars repeatedly splurge in the off-season due to the organization’s inability to develop and keep home-grown talent. Having cap space can be a sign of simply off-loading contracts or major roster turnover. Cheap young players help you keep a roster alive especially a franchise QB on their rookie deal. Chicago has a ton of holes on their team at several skill positions (RB & WR) and their impact defensive players are basically non-existent. If they are willing to roll with Justin Fields, they must surround him with the talent.
4. How will they handle the RB position? Devin Singletary is a free agent and while he could be re-signed on a cheap one-year deal, this team has been linked to a number of rookie RBs. They spent a 2nd round pick on James Cook who had his moments averaging 6.2 yards per touch, the 6th best for a rookie RB over the last decade. But he’s never going to command more than 15 touches in a game on a team bent on throwing the ball at such a high rate. Nyheim Hines was curiously traded for at mid-season and then received 11(!) total touches from Week 9 on. Fantasy managers might be pining for Bijan Robinson in the late first round but the likely scenario is a bigger Day 3 pick to mix in with Cook and Hines.
5. Do they trust Gabe Davis to be the long-term solution as their WR2? Were you disappointed in Davis? His ADP crept up to being a 4th round pick in Best Ball but a final line of 48/836/7 seems a bit underwhelming. Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, he is not a guarantee to be on this roster in 2024 despite entering his age-24 season. Based on his market value, he could get an extension or hit free agency next year with a potential 3-4 year deal worth $10+ million per season. Behind Stefon Diggs, it’s Davis, slot man Isaiah McKenzie, and Khalil Shakir. Shakir could overtake the veteran for the slot role but it feels like the Bills are squandering some of Josh Allen‘s best years with sub-par production despite targeting their WRs at the 3rd highest rate in the NFL.
6. Will the offensive line be rebuilt? If you need a refresher, rewind the tape on their Divisional Round playoff loss to the Bengals when he was pressured on over 45 percent of his dropbacks and posted the 2nd lowest QB rating of the year. The Bills quietly ranked 31st in their PFF running blocking grade and apart from All-Pro tackle Dion Dawkins, the rest of the group is sub-par. OF Roger Saffold will need to be replaced (thankfully) in free agency and OT Spencer Brown is a problem on the edge as they could bring in some competition.
7. Tua is the starter. But why does that still feel like a question? He led the league in yards per attempt (8.9) and tied Patrick Mahomes for the highest 1st down rate (62.5 % of his completions) as arguably one of the league’s best deep-ball passers. Despite playing only 13 games, he actually led the league in passing yards on play-action (1,431) accounting for over 40 % of his total passing yards. He’s eligible for a contract extension heading into Year 4 but it might be hard for the organization to commit to him knowing his concussion history.
8. Is the RB position going to continue to be 49er castoffs? Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. had their moments but neither are spring chickens. Oh, and neither is under contract for 2023. In fact, the only “running back” currently on the roster is fullback Alec Ingold. The team is not in a great cap situation so don’t expect this to be a prime landing spot for the elite tier of RB free agents. But don’t be surprised if they continue to take a Kyle Shanahan approach and piece together multiple backs. A cheap veteran + a Day 2 pick is a likely scenario.
9. What is their plan at TE? Someone smarter than me explain why the Dolphins franchised Gesicki last off-season for nearly $11 million. He was targeted on a career-low 14 percent of his routes, forced one missed tackle all year long, and was out-snapped by “backup” Durham Smythe. It’s easy to be reminded that he was an athletic marvel at the combine way back in 2018 but his utilization was confusing last year. Hunter Long was drafted in the 3rd round two years ago but barely has been on the radar. With 66 percent of the targets funneled to the WRs, there isn’t a ton of room for fantasy impact in Mike McDaniel’s system.
10. Who is this team’s WR1? Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor are free agents vacating 150 targets. Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker are in the final year of their deals. Tyquan Thornton was likely overdrafted in the 2nd round last year. Bourne had the highest targets per route run (15.8%) of the group while Parker will be 30+ years and Thornton is maybe just a one-dimensional speed threat only. Perhaps they are comfortable heading into the year with that trio but for fantasy purposes, it might be time to get a cheap dynasty flier out on some of them.
11. Did Mac Jones regress in 2022? The short answer is… it seems like it. He plummeted in yards per attempt, completion percentage, and TD rate while crumbling under pressure tying for the league lead in INTs under pressure. In fact, the only QB with a worse PFF grade under pressure in 2022… the illustrious Zach Wilson. Ouch. Jones is still their franchise QB and with the arrival of new OC Bill O’Brien, there is reason to have some optimism for this offense to return to above-league average. Keep in mind that the weapons are less than subpar so any interest in Jones’ long-term fantasy outlook needs to be restrained.
12. Can we just admit the Jonnu Smith/Hunter Henry splurge was a failure? Through two seasons, the trophies of the Patriots’ 2021 off-season spending have combined for two total receiving TDs last year. The two will combine for a $32.7 million cap hit in 2023 with nearly 15 percent of their cap going to the TE position. Props to Jonnu Smith‘s agent who somehow has him for the 2nd largest cap hit among all TEs in 2023 including an immovable $19 million dead cap figure. Henry can be off-loaded for only $5 million and save the team over $10 million. At 29 years old, he still can contribute and might be an attractive trading piece for contending teams who want to take a one-year shot on Henry.
13. Is Zach Wilson… on this roster? Ok, yes. He’s not going to be booted but everything points to Wilson being supplanted by someone whether it’s Aaron Rodgers or Derek Carr. Talk about a disaster using the second overall pick and turning it into the least likable player in your locker room. Everything is pointing to this team making a splash for one of those veteran QBs considering how good the defense and the young nucleus is on this team. Their 2022 draft was legendary which makes you forget how bad they whiffed in 2021.
14. Can they re-sign center Connor McGovern? After leaving Denver and signing a free-agent deal in 2020, McGovern has been a rock in the middle for the Jets for the last three years. He’s going to command upwards of $12+ million a year as one of the top-two centers on the market. Once again, if the Jets use most of their off-season assets toward a QB, there might not be enough left based on this roster construction.
15. How does the rest of the WR room shake out behind Garrett Wilson? Elijah Moore wants out, Corey Davis will be cut (to save $10+ million), and Denzel Mims is somehow still on the roster (insert laughter). Behind Wilson, it’s wide open but most of the focus will be on acquiring a franchise QB. A Day 2 pick is not out of the question but expect a big-bodied veteran familiar with Rodgers (Allen Lazard?) or Carr (Mack Hollins?) to be brought in. The team did themselves a major disservice by allocating almost $19 million in 2023 to the TE tandem of C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin.
16. Are they going to extend Tee Higgins? There might be debate if Higgins belongs in the conversation as a bonafide #1 WR. Yes, he’s had Ja’Marr Chase as a runningmate. Yes, Joe Burrow is throwing him the football. But he also leads the NFL in contested catches since coming into the league and one of seven WRs since 2020 with three consecutive seasons of 900+ receiving yards and six TDs. Is he worth it? Well, if you compare how barren the WR free agent market is this year you can see why Higgins can command $15+ million in the open market. He shared with NFL Network that he plans on “being in Cincinnati for awhile“.
17. What is the future of this backfield? After dealing with some early off-the-field issues, do not dismiss the rumors that Joe Mixon could be a cap casualty. Cincinnati could save themselves nearly $10 million if they want to move on from the veteran RB. Samaje Perine actually out-snapped Mixon in the AFC Title game as it seemed like Mixon wasn’t right physically to end the year. Perine is a free agent and seldom-used Chris Evans is the only other RB on the roster. Is this the time to reset with a cheaper, younger back (Bijan Robinson?) as the team clearly looks like one of the elites of the AFC.
18. Is there room for a young, athletic TE in this offense? Hayden Hurst was serviceable this year but he’s ancient for a 6th-year player and you almost forget the Ravens drafted this guy in the 1st round ahead of Lamar Jackson in 2018. He could be brought back on another one-year deal but he’ll never be anything more than a TE2 for fantasy. The Bengals do have the cap space (7th most) to add an athletic pass-catching TE (Mike Gesicki?) on a short-term deal to pair with blocking TE Mitchell Wilcox. They’ve also been linked to taking Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer or Utah’s Dalton Kincaid in the late first round. The question is does this team have too many mouths to feed for fantasy?
19. Where are thou, Lamar? This is easily the biggest free agent question in the NFL for 2023. Franchise QBs who are this young, who have won an MVP, and as popular as Lamar Jackson do not end up on the market. Period. The future of the Ravens is wholly dependent on their negotiations with Lamar this off-season. He reportedly turned down a 5-year, $250 million extension while technically this team can use the franchise tag for the next three seasons. Clearly, this is an emotionally charged situation but the franchise tag and a record-setting extension are the likely outcomes despite the dreams of opposing fanbases (Sorry, Atlanta). New OC Todd Monken is an interesting hire as his teams (in NFL and NCAA) have been way more pass-heavy (think Jameis Winston-led Bucs) and up-tempo.
New #Ravens OC Todd Monken on Lamar Jackson: “Elite. You know, he’s got an elite skill set. … I think he’s underrated as a passer, in terms of his ability to make plays and throw it down the field.” pic.twitter.com/howrvTDF1F
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 21, 2023
20. Can we get a new doctor to work with the RBs? Over the last two years, the Ravens have trotted out the past-their-prime likes of Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, Kenyan Drake, and Mike Davis just to simply take up space. J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards missed all of 2021 and struggled to maintain more than 35 percent of the snaps down the stretch in 2022. Is it the practice field? Is it the team doctors? Is it just bad luck? Regardless, both RBs are entering the final year of their contracts so don’t be surprised if a veteran back or a Day 3 pick is added to the roster.
21. Who else is catching passes here besides Mark Andrews? Close your eyes and stare into the void that is the Baltimore WR room. It’s painful I know. Rashod Bateman couldn’t make it out of October, Devin Duvernay is a better special teams ace than wide receiver, and by the end of the year, they were begging Demarcus Robinson to carry them. He’s a free agent along with vagabond Sammy Watkins. The average NFL fan can admit this is a team that desperately needs an upgrade here. Jakobi Meyers would be a dependable target but the likely outcome is Baltimore uses the 22nd overall pick to snag a big-play threat WR like TCU’s Quentin Johnson or Tennesee’s Jalin Hyatt.
22. Are they ready to let Kenny Pickett grow up? The Steelers went 6-2 in his final eight starts but fantasy is a far cry from reality. He didn’t have a single game above 20 fantasy points while also dubiously posting the lowest TD rate (1.8%) of any rookie QB (min. 12 starts) since 1990. Few rookies produce for fantasy so he can receive a pass in that department but the bigger issue is OC Matt Canada’s system. It felt mostly conservative as the Steelers tied for the 2nd fewest TDs (29) on the year. Pickett’s final year in college was marked by creativity and down-the-field shots which can only be unleashed if the offensive line woes are patched up.
23. Is George Pickens ready to take the next step? The rookie had some highlight-reel moments but it was mostly boom/bust based on how he was utilized. He saw the 7th most deep targets in the NFL with an aDOT of 15.6. The team felt comfortable moving on from Chase Claypool but any person in their right mind would’ve taken the 33rd overall pick for him. (Why Chicago? Why?) We know what Diontae Johnson is at this point in his career (a poor man’s Keenan Allen) but Pickens has the type of size and youth (only 22 years old) that puts him on a trajectory to potentially be an alpha in this league. A lot depends on Kenny Pickett‘s development but it looks like the Johnson/Pickens combo is what they will be rolling out in 2023.
24. Will they rebuild some of their missing defensive pieces through the draft? The biggest needs and holes on this team are in the secondary. After signing a two-year deal with Pittsburgh in 2021, CB Cameron Sutton will be one of the top 3-4 cornerbacks on the open market this year, safety Terrel Edmunds is gone along with DE Larry Ojunjobi. The core pieces are still intact but LB Alex Highsmith is also due for a contract extension. With three picks inside the top 50 of the draft, expect Pittsburgh to get younger and draft impact players on defense.
25. Do they regret the Deshaun Watson contract? I have zero inside info from the front office but the performance on the field when he returned suggests the Browns might’ve misread how NFL-ready this 5-year pro was for action after taking multiple years off football. The team averaged 16.3 points per game (26th) in six games with Watson while the Jacoby Brissett-led crew looked much more competent averaging 23.9 points per game highlighted by running the second-most plays (67.5) per game. Regardless, this team is married to Watson but it also cripples how they spend this off-season. The run defense was historically bad and needs to be addressed but expect this team to bargain-hunt instead of paying up.
26. Who is the RB2 behind Nick Chubb? Entering a contract year, you’d think the Browns would’ve milked Kareem Hunt of everything he’s worth or at least package him at the trade deadline. They did neither as Hunt was curiously irrelevant for fantasy with just two games with double-digit fantasy points all year long. Behind the All-Pro Chubb, there’s virtually no competition for touches as Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson are set to hit free agency. Jerome Ford was a 5th Round pick last year to keep an eye on as a deep dynasty sleeper.
27. Are they comfortable with their receiving options behind Amari Cooper? Cooper was solid at age 28 with the 5th most air yards, 4th most receiving TDs, and the 3rd most end-zone targets among WRs. He’s the clear No. 1 albeit on a team that wants to establish the run. Donovan Peoples-Jones is in a contract year, Anthony Schwartz might be fast but he’s done virtually nothing on the field, and David Bell had an incredibly quiet rookie year. The Browns are cap-strapped so don’t expect many splashes here.
28. How much can we expect from Calvin Ridley? Coming off a monster season where he finished as the WR4 in fantasy, Ridley was looking like an annual lock to be a WR1 before gambling on NFL games and being absent for the last year and a half. After being traded to Jacksonville, there might be excitement in theory but keep in mind this team has a number of established pass-catchers that helped this offense take a major step forward. Ridley is older than you think (28) despite only playing for a little over three years in the NFL. While Ridley has applied to be reinstated by the league, don’t immediately copy and paste his production from Atlanta. His arrival is probably a net negative for everyone including Christian Kirk.
29. Is Evan Engram coming back? Shmevan Schmengram emerged from the depths of dynasty despair to become a fantasy force down the stretch for the Jaguars. How good was he? He was the TE2 from Week 13 on helping managers win championships. He was asked to block on just 32 percent of his total snaps so basically ignore any assumption he is a TE. He could re-sign with Jacksonville but at this point, any team in need of a slot weapon could look his way. Expect a multi-year deal nearing $9-10 million per year.
"The interest is there on both sides for me to come back."@Jaguars TE Evan Engram discussed his approach to free agency and the possibility of the franchise tag.
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) February 20, 2023
30. Who are they going to bring in alongside Travis Etienne? While the Jaguars felt comfortable giving Etienne more work as the season progressed, he averaged just 16 opportunities per game. The most puzzling part is they don’t involve him more in the passing game. Only 14% of Jaguars targets went to RBs (tied for the second lowest in the NFL) and Etienne was targeted on just 12.7% of his routes (2nd worst among RBs w/ 40+ targets) There is room for competition in the Jaguars backfield as 2022 5th-rounder Snoop Conner is the only other relevant breathing body on the depth chart behind Etienne.
31. Is it time to move on from Ryan Tannehill? The Titans are at an interesting crossroads as the team missed their championship window and now are struck in a terrible cap situation mixed with some puzzling draft day decisions over the last five years. No one is questioning head coach Mike Vrabel but several core players are going to be released in the coming months. QB Ryan Tannehill is likely at the end of his rope after the Titans resurrected his career from the trash heap. He enters the final year of his deal but the team likely doesn’t feel comfortable with Malik Willis taking over. The Titans morphed into a JV team with him under center and they even started journeyman Joshua Dobbs over him in their final win-and-get-in regular season game versus Jacksonville. If Tannehill stays, be prepared for a 2024 off-season spent looking for a new signal-caller.
32. Can you name another WR besides Treylon Burks on the roster? You might say Robert Woods but the team just released the 31-year-old WR saving $12 million. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine? Dude is a free agent. Try again. Seriously, it’s crickets behind Burks and the team desperately needs playmakers at wide receiver. Burks struggled to stay healthy but he has all the tools to take a step in 2023. But behind him, there is room for Rookie TE Chig Okonkwo certainly can take another step forward as he showcased elite after-the-catch ability including leading all TEs in yards per route run.
33. Is the run game about to get an overhaul? Derrick Henry might be aging out but the biggest elephant in the room is how poorly the offensive line played in 2022. Henry is under contract for one more year although it wouldn’t be surprising if this team restructured his deal with so many issues on the line. You could argue 2022 was his most valuable season. The Titans ranked dead last in PFF’s pass-blocking grades and long-time OT Taylor Lewan was cut to save $14.8 million.
34. Are they finally ready to commit to a rookie QB? Over the last five seasons, this team has had eight different starting QBs as recycled goods like Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and Matt Ryan were (spoiler alert) not the answer. With the 4th overall pick, they’ve put themselves in a good position to draft one of the top QBs although there is some fear teams could trade with Chicago (#1) or Arizona (#3) to leapfrog them. Owner Jim Irsay has vocally praised Bryce Young but C.J. Stroud would be a nice consolation prize if he’s able to fall to them. Consider the Colts all-in on one of these QBs at the top of the draft.
35. Is Michael Pittman Jr. up for a contract extension? Here’s the good: Pitty City had 99 receptions. The bad news, as we shared on a recent Shocking Stats episode, is that it also equated to the lowest receiving yards in NFL history for someone with that many receptions. You can chalk it up to the low aDOT routes he was running and the poor QB play or maybe the fact he’s just not quite a WR1 in this league. Regardless of what you think, he’s entering the final year of his rookie deal and should command a hefty contract ($15+ million per year) if he hits the market in 2024. With Parris Campbell a free agent, they need second-year wideout Alec Pierce to take a step forward alongside Pitty City.
36. How will Shane Steichen influence the offensive play-calling? The Colts were one of the least imaginative teams in the NFL last year never clearer than during the two months experiment known as Jeff Saturday. They averaged the second-fewest yards per play (4.8) in the NFL amidst the carousel of quarterbacks under center. Steichen’s offenses were marked by big down-the-field shots early in games and vertical routes that force defenses to making back-breaking decisions with Jalen Hurts‘ rushing ability another weapon to account for. Jonathan Taylor should get a boost of confidence in your mind despite the fact he’s in a contract year.
37. Is it Bryce Young or bust? Pretty much. As much as the Texans need a franchise QB (sorry Davis Mills truthers), they need a marketable face after dealing with the aftermath of Deshaun Watson. At No. 2 overall, the team is locked into taking one of the top QBs and Young has all the playmaking tools and charisma you could want. As we detailed in his Rookie Profile, his quick release and arm strength despite his smallish (6’0″) frame show up time and time again on film.
38. Are they going to add a free-agent pass-catcher? Brandin Cooks doesn’t want to be here. He’s made that clear. Nico Collins couldn’t stay healthy and apart from being a big-body contested catch fiend, he doesn’t really influence how teams gameplay against the Texans. Many of the mock drafts have the Texans pairing their rookie QB with a rookie WR at No. 12 overall. While that might be wishful thinking due to the number of holes this team also has on defense, don’t be surprised if they add someone like Jakobi Meyers to a multi-year deal or take a flier on deep threat D.J. Chark.
39. Will they bring in some competition for RB Dameon Pierce? We brought up this notion recently on an episode quick question about Fantasy Fades. His 4th round draft capital, a new offensive coordinator (Bobby Slowik), and the lack of depth on the roster could lead this team to taking a Day 2 RB. It also shouldn’t surprise anyone if they brought in a free agent (Alexander Mattison?) without a ton of wear on the tires to compete with Pierce. The investment this team made in Pierce still should linger in our minds and while he totaled over 1,000 yards as a rookie, much of his production faded between Weeks 7-13 due to the lack of rushing TDs. With a new QB in tow, there are more question marks than the fantasy community might realize with Pierce.
40. Is Isiah Pacheco the certifiable starter? Andy discussed Pacheco’s outlook on a recent episode. The Chiefs are expected to decline CEH’s 5th year option and Jerick McKinnon is a free agent. While 7th round draft capital is nothing special, Pacheco’s usage throughout the playoffs was encouraging. The Chiefs might not utilize their RBs the way you want and Patrick Mahomes was a beast inside the red zone this year so the opportunities are fewer than you might think. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see Pacheco continue to receive 15+ touches a game as they add another pass-catching back in the mix. In terms of free-agent RBs, someone like Samaje Perine could make a ton of sense.
41. Who is this team’s WR1 in 2023? We asked the same exact question heading into 2022. Juju Smith-Schuster played his part and answered the call when this team needed him but he mostly likely is searching to cash in this off-season. Marquez Valdez-Scantling came up big in the AFC Title game but he is a vanishing act waiting to happen (see the goose egg in the Super Bowl) and was never viewed as a primary wideout. Mecole Hardman is a free agent. Skyy Moore was drafted in the 2nd round and looked like a deer lost in the headlights before redeeming himself as a special teams ace in the playoffs. Kadarius Toney is such a tantalizing evaluation given that he’s been targeted on 27.1% of his routes since entering the league in 2021. That is an elite number but will he hold up with a full amount of snaps? If 2022 taught us anything, its the fact Patrick Mahomes can win with just about anyone out there running wind sprints. This team has a number of cap issues, especially on defense deciding on the futures of Chris Jones and Frank Clark. Apart from getting under the cap, a cheap veteran WR could be coming to town boosting their best ball and dynasty value but not necessarily getting us excited for redraft glory.
42. How much longer can we count on Travis Kelce playing? It feels like we’ve all been waiting for Kelce to show a decline in production for years, yet he just keeps getting it done at an elite level. Kelce has been the model of consistency, playing 15+ games every year since 2014 with 1,000+ yards in seven straight seasons. Showing zero signs of slowing down, the 33-year-old posted an elite 2.23 yards per route run mark in 2022, ahead of WRs like Ja’Marr Chase, Keenan Allen, DeVonta Smith and D.K. Metcalf to name a few.
43. How will new OC Kellen Moore reshape this offense? Kellen Moore comes over from Dallas where he was the team’s QB coach in 2018 and the offensive coordinator from 2019 to 2022. With Moore at the helm, we saw some excellent football from Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense. Under Moore, the Cowboys have been one of the NFL’s more aggressive offenses, posting elevated pass rates with a faster pace of play while finding success moving the football and scoring TDs. Last year, Dallas ranked #1 in pace, fourth in points per game, and 11th in total yards. Excluding 2020 when Dak picked up a season-ending ankle injury, the Cowboys ranked inside the top four in yards per play in both 2019 and 2021. Look for the Chargers to remain up-tempo and throw at one of the league’s highest rates in 2023 under Moore. One area specifically that we could see change for LA in 2023 is the downfield passing attack. Among 47 QBs with 100+ dropbacks in 2022, Justin Herbert‘s 6.9 average depth of target (aDOT) ranked 43rd. Under Moore, Dak has ranked 18th, 16th, and 5th in the same metric.
we could watch kellen moore watch herbo film all day pic.twitter.com/lpPwsbDZRY
— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) February 16, 2023
44. Is Keenan Allen going to be cut? There have been conflicting reporters about the Chargers go to guy in the WR room early in the offseason. Some say Allen is a prime cut candidate given that he’s due to make over $21 million in 2023 as a 31-year-old WR who’s coming off an injury-plagued season a year ago. However, when healthy, Allen has continued to shown an elite ability to earn targets as a reliable chain mover for the Bolts. In ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry recent article, she quoted GM Tom Telesco, who was asked about Allen’s contract situation. Here’s what the Chargers GM had to say about cutting Allen, “It’s not tempting to me…Good players make money and I would rather have a lot of good players on our roster than a lot of cap space.” Even if Allen is back on the roster in 2023, the Chargers will likely be looking to add speed to their WR room after Justin Herbert posted one of the lowest aDOTs in the league last season.
45. Is Isaiah Spiller a bust? The Chargers used a 4th round pick on Spiller in last year’s NFL Draft, but he barely played in his rookie season. He carried the ball just 18 times for 41 yards as the team’s RB3/RB4 behind Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, and Sony Michel. Many thought Spiller would have an opportunity to be the change of pace back for LA behind Ekeler last year, but he couldn’t beat out Kelley in his first offseason as a pro. Both Ekeler and Kelley are back for 2023, so unless Spiller puts it together this offseason, he’ll likely be another late-round RB prospect who fades away into a dynasty “what could have been.” Keep in mind that Ekeler will be a free agent in 2024 and will be 28 years old.
46. Where do they go post-Carr? Derek Carr was released, and Jarrett Stidham is set to hit free agency, leaving Chase Garbers as the team’s only QB under contract as of now. Of course, that will change in a big way in just a few weeks. According to sports books, the Raiders are currently the betting favorite to land Aaron Rodgers if he leaves Green Bay, which would make sense with Rodgers’ California ties and Davante Adams there as the WR1. Jimmy G is also a name to watch given his ties to Josh McDaniels from their days in New England. If they don’t go with a veteran, expect Vegas to be heavily involved with the rookie QB class. They currently hold the #7 overall pick and have been linked to names like Will Levis, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson in several mock drafts.
47. Will they franchise Josh Jacobs? Josh Jacobs was a league winner in fantasy last year thanks to his ADP falling to the middle rounds. Why did that happen? Every offseason transaction from the team suggested Jacobs was falling out of favor – they declined his fifth-year option, signed/drafted multiple RBs to the roster, and had him out there as a bell cow for most of the Hall of Fame game. Of course, we know Jacobs went on to crush expectations, winning the NFL’s rushing crown in 2022 with over 1,600 yards. After a career year, Jacobs will be looking to get paid this offseason as one of several top-tier RBs to hit the open market along with Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard, Miles Sanders and others. We’ll see if the Raiders bring him back.
48. With the 3rd most cap space, how will the Raiders spend their money? This number could change if the team brings in Aaron Rodgers, but if they don’t opt for a veteran under center and instead choose to go with a rookie QB, the Raiders have a number of holes to fill on the depth chart, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Vegas ranked 28th in yards per game, 30th in EPA per play and 29th in points per drive defense in 2022. Beyond Maxx Crosby, this team is void of talent on defense, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see them spend heavily here.
49. How will Sean Payton affect Russell Wilson‘s psyche? Despite having the highest percentage of tickets and money bet for NFL MVP at BetMGM, Russell Wilson was a disaster. He had a 6-week stretch where he completed three total red-zone passes and infamously had more passing TDs than bathrooms in his house until Week 17. He also became an ongoing “Let’s ride!” meme as opposing NFL players made him the butt of jokes. The Broncos were a train wreck last year ranking dead last in points per game (16.9), 30th in red zone plays, and embarrassingly hitting their team implied totals just twice in their first 12 games. Payton’s time in New Orleans was full of fantasy goodness. His offenses led by Drew Brees were machines but it was the RB fantasy production that just kept on trucking along. From Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, Tim Hightower, Mark Ingram, Latavius Murray, and Alvin Kamara, if you suited up in a Saints jersey you likely had major relevance. The key is rebuilding the team’s confidence in Wilson. He becomes a trendy late-round QB pick as his Seattle offenses were bets on high efficiency than mere passing volume.
50. Where are we at in Javonte Williams‘ recovery? Once the pride of dynasty managers, Williams had a lost season after going down in Week 4. His recovery timeline will be one to monitor over the summer as Matthew Betz discussed: “these multi-ligament knee injuries, especially those that involve the LCL and PL corner, take much longer to recover than a “clean” ACL injury.” ESPN’s Jeff Legwold suggests Williams might be a bit behind and other reports suggesting he could potentially miss the start of the season. Still only 22 years old, he remains a top-6 dynasty RB in our minds but with added risk with his recovery. His rookie year was super encouraging with over 1,200+ yards from scrimmage and more than 50 targets. He was a force with the ball in his hands with the 6th most forced missed tackles among RBs. The team will likely add a Day 2 or 3 pick in the draft with Chase Edmonds a clear-cut candidate.
51. Is Jerry Jeudy playing for a contract extension? In the midst of a tumultuous year in Denver, Jeudy was the one bright spot for the Broncos. The third-year WR took a major step forward ranking 12th in yards per route run and 9th in yards per target at the WR position. He also showcased an ability for ceiling games down the stretch as the WR2 overall over the final five weeks of the season including a 3-TD game against the Chiefs. He’s three seasons in but still only 23 years old. Expect the Broncos to pick up his 5th-year option and kick the contract extension down the road to 2024.
52. How will they address the running game? Miles Sanders was a great fantasy pick at ADP this past summer, running for over 1,200 yards and 11 TDs behind the NFL’s best offensive line. He’s set to hit free agency, along with Boston Scott, leaving the team with 3 RBs under contract entering the new league year: Trey Sermon, Kenneth Gainwell, and Kennedy Brooks. Sermon and Kennedy were depth pieces while Gainwell operated as a change-of-pace back in 2022. With this team emphasizing the run game, it’s safe to say this team will be addressing the position via the NFL Draft and/or free agency. Philly is a smart organization, and with how deep this free agent class is for RBs, don’t expect the team to break the bank. After all, they’ve got a big payday coming up for their QB.
53. Will Jalen Hurts get extended? Speaking of Jalen Hurts, just last week, GM Howie Roseman was asked about Hurts and his contract. Here’s his response: “We’ll keep all the contract talks internal, but we definitely want to keep Jalen Hurts here long term.” Hurts still has one more year on his current rookie deal, but all signs point to Philly inking him to an extension sooner than later. They could wait until after the 2023 season, but if they do, Hurts’ price tag is only going to rise if he posts another strong season.
On the biggest stage, Jalen Hurts was incredible.
— Thomas R. Petersen (@thomasrp93) February 20, 2023
54. With several starters on offense and defense up for new contracts, how will the Eagles approach the draft? On offense, Philly’s biggest loss is C Jason Kelce (unless he decides to keep playing). Otherwise, this unit will enter 2023 with tons of continuity. On defense, however, the team is set to lose several key starters to free agency – DTs Fletcher Cox & Javon Hargrave, LBs TJ Edwards and Kyzir White (the team’s top two tacklers), and CB James Bradberry are the biggest names to watch here. As a result, several mock drafts have Philly using at least one of their 1st round picks on defense. You’ll frequently see a CB or EDGE player mocked to Philly in Round 1. Expect them to load up on defense in the 2023 NFL Draft.
55. Will Tony Pollard be franchised? OT Tyron Smith looks like a prime cut candidate saving the team $10 million. There’s also rumblings that Ezekiel Elliott is willing to restructure his contract to save the team some money against the cap. Four years after paying Zeke an absurd $90 million, no RB carries a higher cap hit in 2023 than Zeke, and obviously, at this stage of his career, looks to be one of the more foolish contracts given out in recent history to the position. If they do go that route, it opens up more possibility that Pollard is back on the roster either via a short-term deal or via the franchise tag. Pollard suffered a fractured fibula in the post-season, which may impact how opposing teams view him in free agency.
56. Is it adios for Dalton Schultz? Last off-season, the Cowboys and Schultz never got close to an extension as he was franchised for $10.93 million. After playing through a number of injuries early in the season, Schultz finished the year with 577 receiving yards and five TDs in 15 games. Schultz, who is set to turn 27 later this year, is likely looking for a multi-year deal after playing on the tag a season ago. Only Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, George Kittle, Dallas Goedert and T.J. Hockenson have more receiving yards over the last two seasons than Schultz.
57. Will they add another WR? Ceedee Lamb showed out as a full alpha but there was a lack of consistency behind him, Michael Gallup never looked fully right after signing a 5-year, $57 million extension this past off-season. Remember Jalen Tolbert? The rookie 4-year WR out of South Alabama is the highest 3rd round draft pick ever selected in Best Ball. He caught two passes on the season. Heck, they ended up playing washed-up T.Y. Hilton at the end of the year. Dallas needs to change some things to fix their cap situation so adding a free-agent WR is likely not on the docket. They will pickup Lamb’s 5th-year option only as a placeholder to get a long-term extension.
58. So… is Daniel Jones the guy? New York declined Danny Dimes’ 5th-year option entering the 2022 season. Whoops! To be fair, Jones didn’t really do anything to justify the team using it. He proved the doubters wrong, posting his best season to date while leading the G-Men to the post-season where they beat the Vikings. Now, the team is faced with a decision on Jones. New York isn’t picking high enough in the NFL Draft to take one of the top prospects, so if the team does decide to extend him, Jones has all the leverage with the QB free agent class looking pretty weak. Another option would be using the franchise tag on Jones to make him “prove it” for another year. He’s reportedly seeking more than $40 million per year and the way his contract plays out will affect how they handle Saquon.
59. What is Saquon Barkley worth? After multiple injury-riddled seasons, Barkley finally put it all together in 2022 with the 5th-most scrimmage yards among RBs. He’s still just 26 years old and is one of the most dynamic players in the league with the ball in his hands. He reportedly wants to stay in New York, and the Giants have the cash to make it happen with the 4th-most available cap space in the league. Saquon reportedly turned down a deal worth over $12 million per season during the team’s bye week in 2022. For reference, CMC is currently the standard at $16 million per season while Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, and Nick Chubb currently have deals that average more than $12 million per season. Look for Barkley to sign for somewhere between $14-16 million per year.
— Fantasy Footballers (@TheFFBallers) February 24, 2023
60. Who are the starting WRs in 2023? Sterling Shepard was released. Darius Slayton is a free agent. Richie James is a free agent. Neither seems like great bets to return and make an impact for fantasy. Kenny Golladay’s contract says he’s still on this team in 2023 with a whopping $21.4 million cap hit… thanks Dave Gettleman! Apart from finding Isaiah Hodgins on the scrap heap, this team has struck out recently at the position.
61. Is Sam Howell the answer? The former 5th-round pick out of UNC barely saw the field in his rookie season. It certainly can’t give you much confidence that the team continued to trot out Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke despite the fact that this team never had a shot to really compete in the postseason. Howell’s lone start came in a meaningless Week 18 game against Dallas where he completed 11 of 18 passes for 169 yards and a score. Heinicke is set to hit free agency and Wentz was cut Monday for a total of $0.00 in dead cap. Washington has some decisions to make at the position, but Howell is making next to nothing and could compete for the starting gig this offseason.
62. Will Antonio Gibson continue to be in the dog house? It’s been a sad decline for Mike’s former champion. From league winner to borderline first-round fantasy pick, to a roster clogger without much value. Gibson has one more year on his current deal, but this team is in love with Brian Robinson Jr. JD McKissic is is technically under contract for one more year but with the uncertainty surrounding his neck injuries. Pour one out for Gibson’s dynasty value.
63. How does Eric Bienemy’s arrival change their offensive approach? Eric Bienemy has had a ton of success with Andy Reid in Kansas City for the last decade. He’ll reportedly take over play-calling duties so it may seem logical to draw a straight line from what KC did on offense to what Washington might do. However, the issue is the planet’s best QB isn’t coming with, so we can’t just automatically project a 65+% pass rate right away, especially if it is Wentz or Howell under center right away. Reid and Bienemy have been ultra-aggressive, however, so if they can get their QB situation locked down, maybe we see a revamped version of the Washington offense with Bienemy at the helm.
64. Is this really the final year of Kirk Cousins? What about Dalvin Cook? Cousins is the Vikings’ best option if they want to repeat as NFC North champs in 2023, especially with Aaron Rodgers’ status in limbo. He’s still just 34 years old, but the franchise is at a decision point on Captain Kirk. He’s in the final year of his deal and making roughly $35 million this season. Cousins will probably be seeking a multi-year deal worth much more than that in 2024 and beyond. Cook carries the 5th highest cap hit among RBs for 2023 but the Vikings could save themselves almost $8 million if they want to move on this off-season. He’s technically under contract through 2025 and Alexander Mattison is a free agent. Expect a restructure but Cook is starting to show his age in dynasty formats.
65. Is Adam Thielen donezo? Ahhhhhh ahhh ahhh…Hooked on a Thielen! Well, not anymore. Thielen was a fixture in fantasy lineups for the last five years, but we did see a big time drop off in his production and efficiency metrics in 2022. Thielen’s yards per route run mark over the last three years has dropped from 1.86 in 2020 to 1.63 in 2021 to 1.08 a year ago. Similarly, Thielen’s yards per target mark has fallen off from 8.6 to 7.6 to a career-low 6.7 last season. The former star was once a dominant fantasy force. Now he’s 32 years old and likely to follow the path of many fantasy stars of yesteryear…it was a good run. Pour one out.
66. How does Brian Flores’ arrival shift their off-season spending/draft? The Vikings’ defense in 2022 wasn’t just bad…they were horrific. Last year they ranked 27th in total DVOA, 30th in yards per play, and 28th in scoring defense. Bringing in Brian Flores as their DC shows that this team knows their defense is a major issue. Look for Minnesota to spend on their defense in free agency and prioritize that side of the ball early in the NFL Draft. Almost every mock draft you look at has Minnesota taking a corner in Round 1, which makes sense considering they ranked 31st against the pass.
67. What is the long-term plan at QB? After trading for Jared Goff, everyone and their mother thought this would be a one-year thing and that the team would draft their QB of the future. Well, that hasn’t happened yet and credit to King Goffery, he played really well a year ago under OC Ben Johnson. Among QBs with 100+ dropbacks, Goff ranked 5th in adjusted completion rate and 7th in yards per attempt. Goff certainly has his limitations, but this team showed they can win with him at the helm. He’s got two more years on his current deal, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Detroit go after a rookie QB next season.
68. Are we running it back with JWilly? Wow. Just wow. Jamaal Williams pelvic thrusted in the end zone *checks notes* a massive 17 (!!) times in 2022. If you like one-yard TD scores, J Willy is your guy. Betting on regression here seems like a smart idea in fantasy circles, but this team loves Williams, who makes a positive impact both on the field and in the locker room. He’s set to hit free agency but both sides have hinted at a return. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him back in the Motor City on a two or three-year deal. The bigger story might be the murky future between D’Andre Swift and management as the Athletic’s Colton Pouncy recently detailed. He’s entering a contract year and he’s never been utilized the way fantasy managers envisioned. It’s likely this is his last year as a Lion.
69. Is former TE Dan Campbell going to put himself on the depth chart? After trading away former 1st round pick T.J. Hockenson last year (to a division rival?) in Week 8, the Lions’ depth chart at TE is… well… not great, Bob. Brock Wright looks more like a WWE wrestler and rookie James Mitchell is still quite green. The WRs are going to be the main cogs in the offense as we get a full year with the explosive Jameson Williams. Amon-Ra St. Brown is a lock for 95+ receptions but there still remains an open spot outside with D.J. Chark hitting free agency. A veteran WR could be added in the vein of a Darius Slayton or Marvin Jones Jr.
70. How’s that darkness retreat going Aaron? Well, this is what we talk about now in the NFL off-season I guess…Rodgers emerged from the darkness Bane style on February 23rd after four days without light. God bless that man’s pupils as he decides whether or not he wants to play football in 2023. The Jets reportedly remain very interested.
71. How will the RB workload be distributed? With the Packers restructuring Aaron Jones’ contract, he’s guaranteed to be back on the roster along with AJ Dillon. This team really struggled to score TDs in 2022, which makes it virtually impossible for two RBs to be elite fantasy options on a weekly basis. With Jones another year older coming off a season where he was nicked up frequently, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this turn into a true 50/50 split in 2023.
72. Will they bring back Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard or Robert Tonyan? All three players have been trusted targets for Rodgers so anecdotally it seems like they might be tied to Rodgers’ decision. 2nd-year wideouts Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs look like the returning starters but a veteran slot option like Sterling Shepard or Robert Woods could find their way on the roster. The Packers have a long history of not paying up for offensive skill position players in free agency so any connecting the dots of Juju Smith-Schuster to Green Bay is probably hogwash.
73. Is Justin Fields really on the outs? The rumors are swirling. Will the Bears entertain trade offers for the #1 overall pick with plenty of QB-needy teams (Colts, Texans, Panthers, etc.) picking just behind them, or will they stand pat and take a stud defensive lineman? Chicago has many (and we mean MANY) holes to fill on their roster, so it might make sense to trade down and accumulate several picks to give them flexibility with the roster. Justin Fields flashed incredible play-making ability, but he’ll need to make strides as a passer in year three. To his credit, it’s hard to look like an elite thrower of the football when your main guys are Darnell Mooney, EQ St. Brown, and Chase Claypool. Can we please get this guy some weapons and a good O-line to give him a real chance to be a top-tier QB?
74. Is it sayonara David Montgomery? Montgomery has been Chicago’s bell cow back for the last four years, with an average of 238 carries per year since he entered the league. He’s set to hit free agency, and Khalil Herbert has flashed whenever he’s gotten an opportunity. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Chicago sign an RB in free agency, but with how deprived this roster is of talent, it would be silly for them to spend up on a lucrative RB contract in free agency. Maybe Monty comes back on a hometown discount.
75. Please explain Chase Claypool to me. That isn’t really a question but more of a genuine confoundment of a player who the Bears gave up the 33rd overall pick in the upcoming draft for two months of utter poo. Seriously, he was running wind sprints out there. Just incredible cardiovascular endurance. Chicago’s WR room last year was…something. Darnell Mooney got hurt mid-way through the year and behind him, it was just a bunch of dudes. Please, Chicago, don’t make us watch that again. With the most cap space available in the NFL, a multi-year deal for someone like Jakobi Meyers could be a possible match.
76. It’s Kyle Trask time… right? TB12 is hanging ’em up. Is Kyle Trask really going to enter 2023 as the starter? The Bucs used the 64th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on the Florida QB, and he’s thrown a total of 9 regular season passes in two years. Entering free agency, Trask is the only QB under contract for 2023. They’ll be adding bodies to the depth chart…the quality of those QBs will tell us a lot about how they feel Trask. The offensive coaches were recently told Trask will get the first shot at the starting gig. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Tampa kick the tires on one or more of the free-agent QBs.
77. Is Leonard Fournette dead weight at this point? Dumps like a truck, truck, truck…thighs like what, what, what. Lenny’s nickname was a hit on our show in 2022, but his box scores were uninspiring and now he looks like the next RB to hit the age cliff which often comes with a rapid decline in production. Len’s yards per touch dropped from 5.1 in 2021 to 4.5 in 2022, and among RBs with 50+ carries in 2022, Fournette ranked 64th out of 69 qualified backs in PFF’s elusive rating. It looks like Uncle Lenny aka Playoff Lenny aka Lombardi Lenny’s best days are behind him as he’s 28 years old which in RB years is basically 71.
78. It’s Evans, Godwin, and… ? Evans (29) is entering the final year on his current deal while Godwin (26) has two more years left. Behind these two studs, the WR room looks scary. Russell Gage is still there, but he struggled to carve out a consistent role in his first year in Tampa. Second-year Cade Otton could be a beneficiary if this team doesn’t spend big in free agency on the WR position. He ran the 6th most routes at the position and the second most for a rookie TE over the last decade.
79. Who is taking the first snap under center in Week 1? Jameis Winston opened 2022 as the starter but the team decided to roll with Andy Dalton for the rest of the year after Winston got injured. The Red Rifle is hitting free agency while Jameis has one more year left. The fact that this team brought in Derek Carr for a visit and rolled out 35-year-old Dalton last year tells us a lot about how they feel about Winston.
80. Is the writing on the wall for Alvin Kamara? Kamara feels like one of the scariest fantasy investments early in the off-season. As we saw last year, the floor/ceiling combo isn’t what it was a few years ago, he’s turning 28 in July, and now he faces legal issues dating back to the Pro Bowl in 2022. Kamara could face discipline from the league as a result. He feels like a guy who has a lot to lose over the next six months.
81. Can this team find another dependable pass-catcher to pair with Chris Olave? Olave shined as a rookie and is an exciting option moving forward, but behind him, it’s scary down there in New Orleans. The writing is on the wall that the team is likely to move on from Michael Thomas given his contract, leaving guys like Tre’Quan Smith and Keith Kirkwood to round out the depth chart (yikes). Rashid Shaheed is an exciting field stretcher who flashed when given an opportunity last season, but he’s still a former UDFA. This team needs to add some juice in the receiving game.
82. Is Frank Reich the best QB on the roster? We thought Baker Mayfield would be the best QB DJ Moore has ever played with…he was not. He’s now a free agent after playing a handful of games in LA. Sam Darnold is a free agent and XFL superstar PJ Walker is a restricted free agent. Who’s left? Matt “Golden” Corral and Jacob Eason! There’s a reason you see a QB mocked to CAR in Round 1 no matter whose draft you read. The popular connection right now is Florida’s Anthony Richardson but we might be hitting the point of groupthink in the media. Can someone please save Frank from the constant QB turnover he’s faced as a coach?
Frank Reich's starting QBs:
2022: Sam Ehlinger
2022: Matt Ryan
2021: Carson Wentz
2020: Philip Rivers
2019: Jacoby Brissett
2019: Bryan Hoyer
2018: Andrew Luck
2017: Nick Foles
2017: Carson Wentz
would love to see Carolina get him one solid prospect to work with for a few years
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) February 23, 2023
83. Is Chuba Hubbard the presumed starter? A lot changes in a year. CMC is in San Francisco. D’Onta Foreman almost ran for 1,000 yards last year, but he’ll be testing the free-agent market. Chuba, Raheem Blackshear, and Spencer Brown are the three RBs the Panthers have under contract heading into the new league year. They could spend for a second-tier RB free agent like David Montgomery, or Kareem Hunt or invest in a Day 2 pick like UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet. New OC Thomas Brown is a former RB so expect him to have a heavy influence on their post-CMC plan to fix the position with Chuba being on the short end of the stick.
84. Is this the worst offensive skill position group in the NFL? In our Dynasty Pass, the positional opportunity grades for Carolina RB, WR & TE are about as high as you will find. We know rookie QBs tend to struggle to support top-tier offenses, so while CJ Stroud or Bryce Young might be upgrades over what Carolina had last year, it’s still difficult to get excited about this group. Behind DJ Moore, this team has absolutely no juice. A year ago, they ranked 27th in DVOA and 29th in yards per game. I wouldn’t necessarily connect them with WR free agents as Frank Reich’s systems have
85. Is Desmond Ridder the starter in Week 1? Yes*, but only if Lamar Jackson isn’t on the roster. Ridder started the final five games of the year but he didn’t exactly light the world on fire. But he displayed enough grasp of the offense to be given a longer audition. Keep in mind that incumbent starters who were former 3rd round picks like Davis Mills can be mere placeholders for their team’s future. Keep in mind that Atlanta can save $11.5 million by cutting Marcus Mariota. They have the money to make a true run at Lamar.
86. Who is this team’s WR2? I bet you can’t name a WR on the roster not named Drake London. Just for the education of it, go to our Team Opportunity page and immerse yourself in the nothingness that is behind London. He posted the highest target share (29.3) of any rookie WR over the last decade and should be the unquestioned alpha on this team with TE Kyle Pitts (hopefully) stepping in as the defacto WR2 on this team. The Falcons have the cap space available to bring in a veteran on a short-term deal and provide stability for the team. D.J. Chark would be an intriguing downfield threat to add this to the team although the Falcons are not short on length. Perhaps a cheaper alternative like slot man Parris Campbell or a homecoming for former UGA Bulldog Mecole Hardman could make sense to add some explosive playmaking.
87. How will Atlanta’s 1st round pick influence their off-season spending? At 8th overall, the Falcons will likely add a defensive piece to bolster their front seven. Atlanta ranked 27th in points allowed and dead last in pressure rate so that is a key priority for the team. With the 2nd most cap space in the NFL, expect them to tag OT Caleb McGary and go after one of the top defensive free agents such as LB Tremaine Edmunds or safety Jessie Bates. Apart from DT Grady Jarrett, there isn’t a dependable veteran leader on this defense. The NFC South is the weakest division in football. With above-average QB play, a healthy Kyle Pitts, and a reinvigorated defense under new DC Ryan Neilsen, the Falcons can be in the hunt for the playoffs if the Buccaneers take a step back.
88. Is it Brock? Trey? Jimmy G? Joe Montana? Another off-season of debating and talking about the 49ers’ QB woes. The team has publicly made it clear that they’ll finally move on from Jimmy G, so he’ll test the free-agent waters. Meanwhile, the other two QBs, Trey Lance (Ankle) and Brock Purdy (Elbow) are coming off injuries. Our injury analyst, Matthew Betz, wrote more about his concerns with Purdy’s recovery in the Dynasty Pass Injury Tracker, but it seems likely he won’t be 100% for training camp. This team will certainly be adding at least one more QB to the roster via the Draft or free agency. The quality of that QB brought in probably tells us a lot about how they feel about Trey Lance, who has started a total of four games since the team drafted him #3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.
89. Is Brandon Aiyuk part of the long-term plans of this team? Aiyuk was a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and has had an interesting career thus far. From freshman standout as a rookie to Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse to finally posting his first 1,000-yard season of his career in 2022. The team will have to decide sooner than later if they want to use the fifth-year option on Aiyuk or sign him to an extension. His 1.91 yards per route run in 2022 was a career-best mark in efficiency. Behind him, Jauan Jennings is a free agent and 2nd year man Danny Gray was mostly non-existent on the field.
90. How big of a hit is Demeco Ryans leaving town? The San Francisco defense in 2022 was elite. They ranked first in defensive DVOA and third in yards per play allowed. Ryans was the team’s defensive coordinator in 2021 and 2022. Will the defense regress with Ryans now the head coach in Houston? The Niners hired former interim Panthers head coach, Steve Wilks, as their new DC for 2023.
91. Is it time to ride again with Geno? The 2022 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, Geno Smith, was one of football’s best stories in 2022, leading the Seahawks to the post-season when everyone wrote them off before the season began. Both Seattle and Geno have publicly talked about wanting to run it back in 2023 and beyond. We think it’s likely the team signs him to a multi-year deal in free agency.
92. Will they bring in someone else to spell Kenneth Walker? Entering the new league year, the Seahawks’ current depth chart is as follows: Ken Walker, Deejay Dallas, Darwin Thompson. Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer are hitting free agency, so they definitely need to address the position. Regardless, Walker looks like the dude and will be a popular breakout candidate in 2023 after he ran for over 1,000 yards as a rookie. He had 17 15+ yard runs, the 3rd most among RBs & most for a rookie RB since Saquon Barkley.
93. Are they comfortable with Noah Fant at TE? Fant was brought over as part of the Russell Wilson trade last off-season. The former 2019 first-round pick enters the final year of his rookie deal after the Seahawks chose to exercise his fifth-year option. In fact, Fant is the first player the Seahawks have ever picked up a fifth-year option on, per ESPN. Financially, it tells us they like him, but his usage and playing time last season say he’s expendable. Fant was frequently losing snaps to Will Dissly (Big Montana!) and Colby Parkinson. Fant is still just 25 years old.
94. Is Cam Akers this team’s starting RB? No RB had a more confusing season in 2022 than Cam Akers. He crushed his recovery from a torn Achilles in 2021 and was supposed to be the team’s lead back for a Super Bowl contender in 2022. Instead, he was essentially benched then almost traded and released then ripped off six straight top-24 fantasy weeks to close the year. He’s entering the final year of his rookie deal, and there are several free-agent backs available.
95. How much do they regret signing Allen Robinson? A Rob needs to write a thank you letter to Kenny Golladay for being the poster boy for embarrassing WR contracts. Robinson signed a 3-year, $46.5 million deal with LA last offseason then failed to be a consistent contributor behind Cooper Kupp. Only 12 NFL wide receivers will be making more money than Robinson in 2023. Among 80 WRs who saw 50+ targets in 2022, Robinson’s 0.91 yards per route run ranked 78th ahead of only Ben Skowronek and Elijah Moore. Sheesh.
96. Is Tyler Higbee a potential cap casualty? Through mid-October, Higbee was a necessary part of this Rams offense. He averaged almost ten targets per game through Week 5 before the bottom fell out. Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp were injured and the Rams had to simply survive the season and press reset for 2023. Higbee is in the final year of his 4-year, $29 million deal he signed in 2020, but the Rams can save almost $4 million against the cap if they decide to cut the veteran.
97. How will Kyler Murray‘s recovery impact their off-season moves? Murray tore his ACL in Week 14 and will spend most of the offseason rehabbing. There are already rumors that the QB could miss regular season games, so it would make sense for the Cardinals to approach 2023 with a realistic mindset – punt it off and get ready to compete in 2024. In our opinion, this team should focus on finding young talent to help rebuild an otherwise aging (and declining) roster. Worth noting, Arizona is tied with the Houston Texans for dead last in odds to win the Super Bowl at +20000.
98. What type of compensation will DeAndre Hopkins bring? The writing is on the wall – DeAndre Hopkins probably won’t be playing for Arizona in 2023. He turns 31 in June, and this team is looking to get younger. Nuk will be a popular trade target for contending NFL teams, and given that the WR free agent class is pretty weak this season, it could make the trade market for Hopkins and other wideouts even more competitive.
99. Why did they re-sign Zach Ertz last year? Seriously, why? Ertz was great when he was in Philadelphia, but he’s an aging player who’s now coming off major knee surgery after he tore his ACL last year. Ertz is signed through 2024, and his efficiency metrics say the end is coming. His yards per target mark over his last three years has declined from 6.8 in 2020 to 6.6 in 2021 to 5.9 in 2022.
100. Have you gotten in on the Ultimate Draft Kit+? If you made it this far, congratulations. Your reading and perseverance have paid off. Now time for a shameless plug as the Dynasty Pass in the UDK+ takes this 11,000+ word article and takes it even further: