We got through free agency. We made it through the NFL Draft. We can now squint and see the beginnings of a fresh fantasy football season, and with that, it’s time for a fun (and perhaps a little silly) team-ranking exercise.
I’ve examined all 32 NFL depth charts and come up with a set of Fantasy Power Rankings for the franchises. What follows is how interesting I consider the teams to be from a fantasy perspective, starting with the teams that offer the least amount of juice and working to the teams that excite fantasy managers the most.
It’s a subjective list, and your grouping would surely look different in spots. That’s the fun of it. That’s why we have a game.
I will revisit this list at least once before the season, and then we’ll have quarterly reranks in-season. See it for what it is, a breezy and fun way to get ready for the season.
Bill Belichick isn’t long-term invested in Mac Jones, but franchise-solidifying quarterbacks don’t fall out of trees. At least Bill O’Brien is around to helm the offense; he can’t be worse than last year’s clown car in the OC room.
How do you rebuild Kyler Murray following a serious knee injury? The Cardinals chose an offensive mind — Drew Petzing — from the Cleveland Browns. I’ll need to be talked into this offense.
29. Houston Texans
It’s not unheard of for rookie quarterbacks to play well right away in the modern game. And a bunch of draft pundits felt C.J. Stroud was the best quarterback in his class. The Texans aren’t overloaded with skill talent, but it’s a respectable group.
Tom Brady knew when to leave New England, and he knew when to leave Tampa, too. Are you ready for a full year of Baker Mayfield, starting quarterback? Somehow Mike Evans went 11 straight games without a touchdown in the middle of 2022.
27. Tennessee Titans
It’s Derrick Henry, an older DeAndre Hopkins and a cast of thousands. Henry beat the odometer last year, finishing as the RB3 and leading the league in carries for the third time in four years. But how confident can you be chasing him into his age-29 season? He’s always going to be limited as a receiver (although the Titans did bump him up to 33-398-0 last year) and we want our primary backs to be tied to winning teams, something Tennessee is unlikely to be in 2023.
If Sam Howell can play, this could be a fun offense. But Howell was a fifth-round pick for a reason. This is probably the first year in forever I don’t go out of my way to collect Terry McLaurin shares.
A year ago, Jordan Love looked hopeless. Now, unquestionably, we have some hope. But this team still has just three priority draft picks on it for fantasy, and Love isn’t one of them yet. Green Bay was spoiled for about 30 years; now, it sees how the rest of the world lives.
24. Los Angeles Rams
Heck, this might be too optimistic. You can draft Cooper Kupp if you trust the rehab, Cam Akers if you trust the late-season run and Tyler Higbee if you’re giving up at tight end. I’ve always been a believer in Sean McVay, but you need players, too. The Rams don’t have enough of them.
23. Denver Broncos
Sean Payton wouldn’t have taken the Broncos job if he didn’t think Russell Wilson was fixable. Do you believe the offensive genius? By this rank, you know where I stand. But I’m open-minded to Payton winning me over. Jerry Jeudy's fast finish in 2022 caught my attention.
22. New York Giants
Brian Daboll performed a miracle with Daniel Jones last year, but why haven't the Giants aggressively pursued reinforcements at wide receiver?
Chris Olave is probably headed to the moon and Jamaal Williams will quickly become the spirit animal of this offense like he was at Green Bay and Detroit. But Derek Carr is never an upside quarterback, and Alvin Kamara has several arrows pointing in the wrong direction.
20. Atlanta Falcons
Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs both feel like second-round picks, then it will be hands-off on the Raiders for a while. Jimmy Garoppolo usually looks good in the efficiency stats, but how many games can we reasonably expect out of him?
Anthony Richardson has a wide range of outcomes, but admit it’s exciting to see him land in Indianapolis, where the Colts have decent skill talent and a clever offensive mind in Shane Steichen. I’m definitely giving Jonathan Taylor a mulligan, assuming player and team can figure out how to keep Taylor happy.
When you draft wideouts as skillfully as the Steelers do, why bother kicking the tires on Allen Robinson entering his 10th season? Perhaps the cheese has already gone bad with Robinson. That said, Pat Freiermuth is an underrated riser, and George Pickens has an upside worth chasing.
16. Cleveland Browns
We can’t take Deshaun Watson’s play last year at face value — he had missed almost two complete seasons. But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to draft him proactively. The receiver room is at least average, perhaps better than that, and Nick Chubb always passes the eye test.
15. Chicago Bears
I wouldn’t say the Bears have stocked the fridge for Justin Fields, but DJ Moore is a nice start. There’s an interesting three-headed tussle going on in the backfield.
14. New York Jets
It’s too late in the Aaron Rodgers dance to assume he’s a sure thing, but maybe an offense with Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson is too strong to fail — assuming Rodgers can approach league-average play at quarterback. The early injury reports on Hall are encouraging, too.
13. Detroit Lions
This could be one of those “nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded” teams. The Lions were a fun, secret little club last year that grew into a bandwagon, now they’re cast as NFC North favorites, which feels a little too expectant for my taste. I had no problem with Bijan Robinson commanding the draft capital he did, but I wouldn’t have taken Jahmyr Gibbs where the Lions did. Gibbs will always need a running mate in any backfield; that’s not what you look for at No. 12 overall.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins was merely the QB8 last year despite being tied to Justin Jefferson, the top receiver. Pocket quarterbacks are getting closer to dinosaur status.
11. Miami Dolphins
Last year, we weren’t sure if Tua Tagovailoa was good enough. This year, we’re not sure if he’s durable enough. Meandering through the Miami backfield for fantasy value feels like a fool’s errand.
Trevor Lawrence turned out to be the star all expected, he just needed a fair shot with the coaching staff. Jacksonville’s skill talent is good, not overwhelming, but a narrow usage tree keeps things efficient for fantasy purposes.
Most things fell wrong for the Chargers last year, but doesn’t it feel like we say that every season? Even with a fresh rookie in the receiver room, the Bolts still have one of the slowest offenses. But Justin Herbert is a buy coming off last year’s injury-excused season.
8. Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Andy Reid — they’re all royalty, all headed toward the Hall of Fame. But is there a wideout or running back here you can draft proactively? Kelce is also headed into his age-34 season, a touch worrisome.
Geno Smith earned his circle of trust privileges, and the Seahawks have a tidy depth chart; full of high-end talent and streamlined to just a few targets. I understand the Jaxon Smith-Njigba pick, but not the Zach Charbonnet selection. Still, Seattle has earned the benefit of the doubt after last year’s prove-it season.
6. Dallas Cowboys
With Ezekiel Elliott moving on and Brandin Cooks coming to town, Dak Prescott is ready to have his best passing season. CeeDee Lamb could percolate into the first round come the teeth of draft season.
5. Buffalo Bills
I’d like to see another outside vertical threat, but Josh Allen is going to have a ball chucking it down the seam to Dalton Kincaid. At what point does Allen start to reconsider his daredevil rushing ways?
They look like this year’s Steakhouse Team, the restaurant that has just about everything — drinks, salads, appetizers, ambiance — but you’re not sure about the entrees. I’d follow Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk into a burning building. But can we trust Brock Purdy if he's the starter? And how good is Purdy if he is the starter?
3. Cincinnati Bengals
The Joe Mixon situation could be in limbo for a while, but if Joe Burrow wants to put this entire offense on his shoulders — balanced with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins — fantasy managers won’t mind at all. (Burrow is going to miss summer work with a calf strain, but the team seems optimistic he'll play opening day.)
Finally, Lamar Jackson has the buy-in he’s always wanted from the Ravens — on the paycheck, and more importantly, in the receiver room. Even if Odell Beckham Jr.’s tank never gets refilled, it’s an exciting offense on paper.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
They have to prove they can do it without Shane Steichen, and that’s a challenge. But man, is this offense overloaded with dynamic playmakers. No team threatens every yard of the field like the Philadelphia Eagles. Is this the year Dallas Goedert starts dominating in the red area, not just between the 20s?