AFC North Divisional Podcast Recap for 2023 (Fantasy Football)
With the start of training camp on the horizon, it’s time to get divisional! Andy, Mike, and Jason kick off the divisional breakdowns with the AFC North. As we start the series, a reminder – this is a general overview of the teams. The guys will chat about off-season changes from 2022 to 2023 (i.e., players, rookies, coaches), give an overview of the offense last year and how it COULD function in 2023, and give some of their takes on win totals and who could win the division.
A reminder that we are up to three shows a week now – tune into The Fantasy Footballers Podcast on any and all of your devices!
If this overview leaves you wanting more, head to the website and check out the UDK, brimming with tools like consistency charts, market share, and team opportunity.
Let’s jump in!
Let’s Get Divisional – AFC North
The AFC North has divisional parity, with all four teams going 3-3 within the division last season, and this year they are the only division where all four teams are projected for over 8.5 wins. It makes sense to Jason.
Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
Cincinnati is one of just two teams with a projected win total of 11.5 (tied with KC), and they are favored in 15 of their 17 regular season games, according to DK Sportsbook. It’s shaping up to be another solid year for the Zac Taylor-led Bengals. Once Taylor got out of the way in Week 3, the Bengals threw the ball on first down at the highest rate in the NFL, which paid off nicely offensively.
They lost TE Hayden Hurst and Andy’s favorite Samaje Perine but added TE Big Irv Smith Jr. Mike doesn’t think there will be enough targets left for Smith to really be valuable weekly; he is a matchup guy this year.
They look to have improved their offensive line, which was ranked 28th by PFF at the end of 2022, to one ranked 17th at the start of 2023, and this could help Joe Burrow get even better. Burrow is being drafted as early as the third round, which is too rich for Jason’s blood, even with his tremendous talent. With the Chase Brown and Trayveon Williams question marks in the RB room, this team is ripe for the late signing of a veteran, trustworthy RB to sign, even if Mixon returns, which Andy believes he will. The Bengals start the season with two divisional matchups.
Vegas predicts 11.5 wins for the Bengals this season.
Baltimore Ravens (10-7)
This team had so many unknowns to begin the preseason, and you might have forgotten that Baltimore ended 2022 with Pro Bowler Tyler Huntley and Anthony Brown starting games at QB. But Lamar has signed, the Ravens have added some weapons, J.K. “Two Leg” Dobbins looks to be healthy(?), and new pass-heavy OC Todd Monken is part of the organization, so the Ravens could see a big jump offensively in 2023.
Even though the WR room looks better in name, Andy questions what they exactly have there, and no matter what, it shouldn’t change Lamar’s rushing upside. Andy is the lowest on Jackson – his mobility brings the risk of missed games due to injury, but it also brings the upside of finishing the QB1. With so many players destined to be great this season, it might be challenging to figure out who will be the WR or RB to draft past Mark Andrews. With this confusion, it might just make sense to be in on Lamar and Andrews and move on.
Vegas predicts 9.5 wins for the Ravens this season.
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-8)
Mike Tomlin is entering his 17th year as the Steelers’ head coach, and they have never had a season below .500. Andy foresees a rough road this year, but nothing that the addition of WR Allen Robinson can’t fix. Kenny Pickett should have a better year simply because his season last year was so subpar, but it is questionable if he is genuinely their QB for the future in The Steel City. Even with Pickens’ incredible highlight reel-catching prowess, the guys are more in on Diontae and The Muth.
Najee and Jaylen Warren are great values on the heels of the below-average offensive 2022 season, married with Pittsburgh’s much improved OL. Even with that, Andy is nervous about a team that was 26th in points per game. They start 2023 against San Francisco, so hold your breath, Steelers fans.
Vegas predicts 8.5 wins for the Steelers this season.
Cleveland Browns (7-10)
The 2022 combination of Jacoby Brissett and Deshaun Watson led to a subpar season for Cleveland, but hopes are higher that Watson has shaken the rust off and can lead the Browns to a better year. Andy is in on this offense – Watson has past success, Chubb is one of the best RBs in football, and they have an underrated WR room. Njoku is a sleeper TE in Cleveland as well.
Cleveland’s success depends on whether Watson will return to his old ways, and if you believe in that, you believe in the offensive pieces. In Mike’s eyes, Amari Cooper is an acceptable pick as WR18, and Nick Chubb is a lock. He could be even better if he gets the passing work that the hype train is suggesting.
Andy, Mike, and Jason agree that the Bengals will win the AFC North.
Vegas predicts 9.5 wins for the Browns this season.