AFC North Fantasy Football Breakdown Recap

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Hoorah!  The Fantasy Footballers recently began their Divisional breakdowns, beginning with the AFC North. The most recent episode of the show featured some excellent discussion on the Ravens, Steelers, Browns, and the Bengals. What can fantasy football players expect from the players on these teams, and what is their value in fantasy drafts? Listen to the show for more context, but I’ll recap the highlights of the show in this article.

Looking for full statistical projections for the players on these teams? Be sure to check out the 2020 Ultimate Draft Kit!

Baltimore Ravens

Head Coach: John Harbaugh
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Roman

2019 Offensive Stats

  • Rush YPG: 206 – 1st
  • Rush TDs: 21 – 2nd
  • Pass YPG: 201.6 – 27th
  • Pass TDs: 37 – 1st

Projected Week 1 Starters (ADP)

Additions:

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Subtractions:

Offseason Summary

The Ravens were on an absolutely amazing pace in 2019, utilizing Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram in tandem as the best rushing attack in the entire NFL. They then went out and added rookie RB, J.K. Dobbins out of Ohio State, in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft to further bolster their rushing attack as the likely heir apparent to Ingram in 2021. The loss of Marshal Yanda is certainly a significant loss, but this team is likely to continue to utilize the rushing attack and play excellent defense to succeed in 2020. Gone is Hayden Hurst, now of the Atlanta Falcons, further opening up even more potential volume for Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown, who battled foot and ankle pain all season coming off Lisfranc surgery. Look for Lamar Jackson’s efficiency through the air to regress, but Marquise Brown will be much healthier in 2020, helping to provide a ceiling for Jackson in fantasy. Similar to the Chiefs, look for Brown and Andrews to provide a one-two punch through the air for this offense yet again in 2020.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Head Coach: Mike Tomlin
Offensive Coordinator:
Randy Fichtner

2019 Offensive Stats:

  • Rush YPG: 90.4 – 29th
  • Rush TDs: 7 – Tied-29th
  • Pass YPG: 186.3 – 31st
  • Pass TDs: 18 – Tied-28th

Projected Week 1 Starters (ADP)

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Player Additions

Offseason Summary

It’s probably not even worth bothering discussing the Steelers’ 2019 season on the offensive side of the ball. With the subpar QB play following Big Ben’s elbow injury and the team missing James Conner for 6 games last year, it’s actually kind of amazing this team went 8-8 and almost made the playoffs – shoutout to Mike Tomlin and the Steelers’ defense, who recorded the highest pressure rate in the league last year. I wrote up a detailed injury report regarding Ben’s elbow in the Ultimate Draft Kit, but the bottom line is if he is able to return to form, the entire offense will benefit. JuJu Smith-Shuster and Diontae Johnson provide interesting value in drafts, and James Conner is a high upside RB2 entering 2020.

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Cleveland Browns

Head Coach: Kevin Stefanski
Offensive Coordinator:
Alex Van Pelt

2019 Offensive Stats:

  • Rush YPG: 118.8 – 12th
  • Rush TDs: 15 – Tied-15th
  • Pass YPG: 222.1 – 22nd
  • Pass TDs: 22 – Tied-19th

Projected Week 1 Starters (ADP)

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Player Additions

Offseason Summary

We’ve seen this story before. The Browns hype train leaves the station…then falls off the rails. Last season, the hype surrounding the star-studded roster for the Browns was real, but Freddie Kitchens (the 2019 head coach) really lost the locker room, and the team struggled. Baker Mayfield seemed to regress in year two, and Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. both battled injuries throughout the year. In steps Kevin Stefanski, former offensive coordinator for the Vikings, and the team has shown us what they want to do in 2020. They signed Austin Hooper to the highest TE contract in NFL history, picked up David Njoku‘s 5th-year option, drafted a tackle 10th overall in the NFL Draft, and signed Jack Conklin, Pro Football Focus’ 9th best-graded tackle in 2019. This team should lean heavily on the run game to set up play-action passing, where Mayfield excelled last year. Look for the offense as a whole to rebound in a major way in 2020.

Cincinnati Bengals

Head Coach: Zac Taylor
Offensive Coordinator:
Brian Callahan

2019 Offensive Stats:

  • Rush YPG: 94.8 – 25th
  • Rush TDs: 9 – Tied-26th
  • Pass YPG: 228.3 – 19th
  • Pass TDs: 18 – Tied-28th

Projected Week 1 Starters (ADP)

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Player Additions

Player Subtractions

Offseason Summary

The Bengals struggled as an offense in 2019 with Zac Taylor in his first season, but there’s a reason for optimism in 2020. Yes, a rookie QB will be starting, but the team will get 2019 1st Round NFL Draft pick, Jonah Williams, back from injury to help bolster their offensive line. Furthermore, A.J. Green missed all of 2019 following ankle surgery, and even if he isn’t the same old A.J. Green, he’ll at least be another weapon for this offense to help Burrow move the chains and help move coverage off of Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and John Ross. Joe Mixon‘s hype is building, especially based on what we saw down the stretch last year. He was 4th in broken tackles, 7th in Yards After Contact, and he’s the only RB with 500+ carries and zero fumbles since 2018. This offense is still unlikely to make the leap into the top half of the league, but they will most certainly be better than they were last year, and they will have some usable fantasy football pieces for our rosters in 2020.

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