2023 Fantasy Football Predictions for AFC: Will Joe Burrow win MVP?

Go here for Dalton's NFC Predictions!

AFC East

1. Buffalo Bills 11-6

2. New York Jets 10-7 (wild card)

3. Miami Dolphins 10-7

4. New England Patriots 7-10

Fantasy predictions

  • Bills: Josh Allen sets a career-high in TD passes with a healthier elbow, though he also runs less. Gabe Davis bounces back and finishes as a top-30 fantasy WR … James Cook emerges as Buffalo’s clear lead back and is a top-20 fantasy RB, but Dalton Kincaid is a fantasy bust … Damar Hamlin wins Comeback Player of the Year … Offensive tackle could be an issue, but the Bills are major Super Bowl threats.

  • Jets: Breece Hall shakes off a slow start (and Dalvin Cook) and finishes as a top-five fantasy back. Hall is the first RB off most draft boards in 2024 … Garrett Wilson also blows up and is a top-five fantasy WR with Aaron Rodgers a massive upgrade at quarterback … Offensive line could be an issue, but the Jets allowed the fewest yards per play in the league last season while dealing with a tough offensive situation, so this roster plus a Swiftie has Super Bowl upside.

  • Dolphins: The health of Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle will be key for fantasy managers and Miami’s fate this season. Tagovailoa has MVP potential after posting one of the best YPA seasons ever, and 40-plus passing touchdowns are within reach if health cooperates … Miami’s backfield committee causes more headaches than fantasy production, with De’Von Achane emerging later in the year … With a legend coaching and a defense with potential, the Dolphins should be right in the playoff hunt in a tough division.

  • Patriots: Mac Jones and New England’s offense improve with a new offensive coordinator, but the pass-catchers provide little fantasy value thanks to a rotation (DeVante Parker and Hunter Henry are NE’s fantasy sleepers available super late in drafts) … Rhamondre Stevenson loses some targets and goal-line touches to Ezekiel Elliott but remains one of the league’s best runners, earning his ADP … The Patriots have an absolutely loaded roster on defense, but a historically tough schedule (after a favorable 2022) results in a last-place finish.

AFC North

1. Cincinnati Bengals 11-6

2. Baltimore Ravens 10-7 (wild card)

3. Pittsburgh Steelers 10-7 (wild card)

4. Cleveland Browns 8-9

Fantasy predictions:

  • Bengals: Joe Burrow leads the NFL in passing yards and wins MVP, while Ja’Marr Chase finishes as fantasy’s No. 1 wideout and wins Offensive Player of the Year … Joe Mixon disappoints while battling injuries, with Chris Evans and Chase Brown forming a committee when he’s out … The Bengals won’t benefit from facing so many backup quarterbacks like last season, but they have a legit defensive coordinator and a loaded offense (they won’t be able to afford to keep together much longer) that leads to winning the AFC in 2023.

  • Ravens: Lamar Jackson has a monster fantasy season now healthy, with a vastly upgraded WR group and a new OC who’s far more pass-heavy … J.K. Dobbins doesn’t catch a ton of passes but smashes anyway, finishing as a top-eight fantasy back … Zay Flowers impresses and produces spike weeks, but Rashod Bateman emerges as Baltimore’s WR1 … Mark Andrews doesn’t live up to his ADP … Roquan Smith staying healthy is key on defense, but the Ravens have one of the league’s best coaches and are another loaded team in the AFC.

  • Steelers: Pittsburgh’s offense came alive after its bye last year and has continued to impress throughout the preseason. Kenny Pickett is a strong Superflex target, while Diontae Johnson, George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth all provide profit at their ADPs. Johnson finishes as a top-10 fantasy WR … Najee Harris is a fantasy disappointment, as Jaylen Warren forces Pittsburgh’s backfield into a timeshare … OC Matt Canada could remain a problem, but it’s wheels up for the Steelers’ offense in 2023 … The Steelers would be favorites to win two other divisions (NFC North and NFC South) and possibly a third (AFC South) but will be fighting for a wild-card spot in the AFC North.

  • Browns: Deshaun Watson certainly has excuses (a long layoff, some windy conditions), but he went from being one of the league’s best players the last time we saw him to being vastly outplayed by Jacoby Brissett last year. Watson will improve in 2023, but he has struggled during the preseason, and his performance last season was beyond worrisome ... Nick Chubb leads the NFL in rushing (do you even lift, bro?), while Elijah Moore finishes a lot closer to Amari Cooper’s fantasy production than their wide ADPs would expect … Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a deep fantasy sleeper who could easily be a popular add in Superflex formats at some point this season … Cleveland has a loaded roster with a big question at the most important position.

AFC South

1. Jacksonville Jaguars 11-6

2. Indianapolis Colts 8-9

3. Tennessee Titans 6-11

4. Houston Texans 5-12

Fantasy predictions:

  • Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence gets MVP votes, while Calvin Ridley finishes as a top-10 fantasy receiver. Ridley to lead the league in receiving yards at 45-1 is my favorite long-shot bet this year … Travis Etienne falling in drafts because of Tank Bigsby hype ages poorly, as ETN finishes as a top-five fantasy back … Thanks to playing in the AFC South, Jacksonville cruises into the postseason.

  • Colts: Anthony Richardson makes a ton of mistakes passing but finishes as a top-10 fantasy QB anyway. AR is going to benefit greatly from having Shane Steichen, and I’ve moved the moderately athletic rookie up to my QB9 entering the year The Jonathan Taylor saga is a fantasy nightmare, but he remains plenty capable of being a top-five fantasy back after returning … Michael Pittman Jr. is an emerging star for the Colts, but he disappoints fantasy managers in 2023 … The Colts are in a growing/building season, but their future looks bright.

  • Titans: Tennessee is still trying to win now, bringing in DeAndre Hopkins and planning to start Ryan Tannehill throughout 2023, but the Titans could be forced into transition mode at some point. Derrick Henry is built different, but he’s a 29-year-old back with a heavy career workload. Treylon Burks was forced to learn a new position as a rookie and is recovering from a tricky knee injury. Hopkins is 31 and clearly in the decline phase of his career, and the Titans might have the worst offensive line in football … The good news is Chigoziem Okonkwo finishes as a top-10 fantasy tight end, while Tyjae Spears is a league-winner during the fantasy playoffs.

  • Texans: Nico Collins emerges as Houston’s alpha receiver, but Dalton Schultz disappoints fantasy managers … Dameon Pierce is the real deal and finishes as a top-15 fantasy back despite his environment … C.J. Stroud has a wide range of outcomes, as he showed remarkable accuracy during college but was throwing to an obscene group of future NFL stars at wide receiver and recorded an alarmingly low S2 Test score. Either way, it’s going to be another developmental year in Houston with an entirely new coaching staff as well.

AFC West

1. Kansas City Chiefs 13-4

2. Los Angeles Chargers 10-7

3. Denver Broncos 7-10

4. Las Vegas Raiders 6-11

Fantasy predictions:

  • Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes already has a strong argument that he’s the best quarterback ever, and it helps being paired with one of the league’s best coaches of all time. Mahomes somehow has KC’s offense getting more yards per play since losing one of the NFL’s three best receivers ... Kadarius Toney is a bust, with Skyy Moore producing more fantasy value. Justyn Ross is a deep sleeper, but ultimately Chiefs receivers once again fail to reach the fantasy numbers expected with a QB throwing for 5,000 yards … Also sporting one of the league’s best offensive lines, Kansas City remains poised for yet another Super Bowl run.

  • Chargers: Justin Herbert should benefit from being healthier and having new OC Kellen Moore, but his YPA hasn’t matched his star status. Don’t be surprised when Daniel Jones and Anthony Richardson score more fantasy points in 2023 … Quentin Johnston out-targets Mike Williams over the second half of the season, and Donald Parham Jr. does the same to Gerald Everett … Thanks in part to coaching, the Steelers just barely beat the Chargers (who benefitted from facing the league’s easiest schedule last year) for the AFC’s final wild-card spot.

  • Broncos: Russell Wilson has the right coach to bounce back, but it wouldn’t surprise if Jarrett Stidham makes starts in 2023 Javonte Williams is a fantasy disappointment while playing with a knee brace and splitting work with Samaje Perine … Denver’s tight ends form a frustrating committee, too … Thanks to another Jerry Jeudy injury, Marvin Mims Jr. outscores Courtland Sutton and leads Denver WRs in fantasy points … The addition of Payton is huge for the long term, but Denver is looking at another down season in 2023.

  • Raiders: Jimmy Garoppolo suffers from leaving Kyle Shanahan’s offense as well as another injury, leading to multiple starts from intriguing rookie Aidan O’Connell … Coming off a career-best season in which he racked up 393 touches and subsequently held out until late August, Josh Jacobs experiences massive regression in 2023 ... Davante Adams remains a top-five fantasy WR regardless of who’s throwing to him, but even a highly favorable rest schedule can’t stop Las Vegas from a last-place finish.

MVP: Joe Burrow

Offensive Player of the Year: Ja’Marr Chase

Rookie of the Year: Bijan Robinson

Defensive Player of the Year: Micah Parsons

Coach of the Year: Robert Saleh

NFC Championship Game: 49ers over Eagles

AFC Championship Game: Bengals over Chiefs

Super Bowl: 49ers over Bengals

Last year I had the Chiefs over Eagles and nailed OPOY and DPOY (#lookatme), so expect worse results in 2023.