With the NFL season finally upon us, it’s time to revisit the Fantasy Football Power Rankings. Which teams offer the most juice? Which rosters are we staying away from? That’s today’s assignment, as we compile Power Rankings Version 3.0.
This list will be revisited and revised quarterly during the season.
At least Bryce Young steps into a soft landing, as the Panthers face an unimposing schedule. The NFC South is obviously the weakest division in the NFL, and this group also matches up with the entire AFC South, a reasonable assignment.
New OC Bill O’Brien will feel like Bill Walsh after last season’s Matt Patricia/Joe Judge fiasco, but Rhamondre Stevenson is the only Patriots skill player you can draft with confidence.
Obviously the Cardinals are dead last on any NFL-only set of power rankings, as they take dead aim on the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft. Those Caleb Williams highlights are too good to be true.
C.J. Stroud is probably looking around and wondering where all those Ohio State receivers went. But Nico Collins was an interesting fantasy dart all summer long.
Shane Steichen’s fingerprints are all over the Philly success story, so he’s the perfect man to coach up Anthony Richardson. But it’s difficult to trust a team run by Jim Irsay. I generally don’t draft wait-for-it plays in fantasy, so I avoided the Jonathan Taylor pick when his story barreled off the rails.
If Cooper Kupp isn’t right (and I’m not someone who chases Injury Optimism), this offense has look-out-below potential. Cam Akers deserves a pass after last year’s fast finish. Tyler Higbee isn’t a downfield threat, but this offense might need him to catch 80-plus passes.
Is Baker Mayfield good enough to buoy Mike Evans and Chris Godwin? Even if Mayfield is adequate, he’s not going to come close to the league-record 733 passes Tom Brady chucked last year.
Derrick Henry heads into his age-29 season, a dangerous area for any feature back, especially someone with Henry’s mileage. The Titans also have one of the weakest offensive lines in the league. I avoided DeAndre Hopkins all draft season, but I punched some speculative tickets with Treylon Burks and downfield splasher Chig Okonkwo.
There’s probably a value receiver here, be it veteran Courtland Sutton or rookie Marvin Mims. Everyone else of consequence got hurt this summer. Of course we need Sean Payton to fix Russell Wilson, and that got off to a rocky start in August.
We don’t need Jordan Love to be a star, we just want him to be good enough so that Christian Watson and Aaron Jones can be weekly fantasy staples. AJ Dillon’s yards per touch is trending in the wrong direction: 5.5, 5.0, 4.6.
Sam Howell gives this offense some upside of the unknown, and Jahan Dotson looked like a breakout star all summer. Brian Robinson Jr. caught five passes in the preseason, and while they only went for 15 yards, it’s an encouraging trend for someone who had just nine receptions as a rookie. He was underrated in draft season.
Derek Carr’s poor 2022 season was a quiet mess — Andy Dalton actually had better efficiency metrics. Alvin Kamara was a polarizing pick all summer; camp reports were effusive, but he’s been a declining player for two seasons.
The air starts to leak out of the balloon when receivers hit their 30s, which is why Davante Adams was shockingly affordable in many leagues. Were the faders correct, or did many of us miss a gigantic discount?
I still think the Giants whiffed by not adding more wideout firepower, but perhaps it was a shrewd move to add Darren Waller as the de-facto No. 1, since tight ends command less than wideouts at the contract table.
Desmond Ridder is a midlevel quarterback struggling with his own limitations in the harsh face of stardom, but he’s been surrounded with three alpha talents, so plausible upside exists. Arthur Smith, there are no more excuses.
Nick Chubb is the most exciting back in the NFL, a joy of all joys, but I wanted to see Deshaun Watson shake off the rust in the summer and it never happened.
Khalil Herbert marked his territory with a good camp, and at least Justin Fields has a shot as a passer now that DJ Moore is around.
Everyone is dying to see what Breece Hall could do in a full season of featured work, but the Jets gave Dalvin Cook starter money, which can’t be ignored. Aaron Rodgers to Garrett Wilson looks unstoppable, and Rodgers compared Wilson to superstar Davante Adams, a supreme compliment. Drafting the Jets DST was a fool’s errand, as the opening schedule is a meat grinder.
Are the Lions now in the “so underrated, they’re overrated” file? Slotting them in the opening night game felt like a reach to me. Every quarterback wants a clean pocket and time to throw, but it’s essential to Jared Goff’s success. Impactful in-season trades are still rare in the NFL, but I’d love to see Mike Evans land in Motown.
The Steelers won the preseason and the offense has plenty of exciting skill talents. It all comes down to your opinion of Kenny Pickett. Jaylen Warren looks ready for a stand-alone role on opening day, and perhaps he could push Najee Harris for an even timeshare.
Is the glass half full or half empty with T.J. Hockenson? He averaged just 8.7 yards per catch after the trade to Minnesota, but when a tight end collects 8.6 targets a game, nothing else really matters. Jordan Addison has a chance to be fantasy relevant right away.
We might never know just how good Tua Tagovailoa really is, but when you’re throwing to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, why worry? The bigger Tua question is tied to his durability. Raheem Mostert isn’t made for full seasons, but he’s a Win September type of pick.
If you believe Calvin Ridley is a bonafide No. 1 right off the jump, Trevor Lawrence starts to look interesting as a boutique MVP pick. Can Travis Etienne keep enough of the high-value touches to justify his ADP?
Justin Herbert gets an injury pass for last year, and OC Kellen Moore is the fresh coat of paint this offense needed. Is this the last LA dance for Keenan Allen and Mike Williams?
We spent all summer scouting this complicated wide receiver room, and it’s still not clear who’s going to ascend to fantasy value, if anyone. Travis Kelce has been unstoppable his entire career, but age-34 seasons make you a little nervous (not to mention, a possible setback this week).
I don’t expect Geno Smith to pumpkin, which is why I drafted D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett proactively all summer. Pete Carroll’s culture is always about internal competition, which helps explain the Zach Charbonnet pick a season after landing Kenneth Walker.
The Cowboys finally cleared the deck for Tony Pollard, just in time for his age-26 season. He’s never going to lead the NFL in touches, but he doesn’t need that many to produce like a first-round pick. My draft slots haven’t fit Pollard’s ADP this summer, so he’s largely a FOMO player for me. It hurts.
Last summer, Gabe Davis was the most polarizing player in fantasy football. This year he’s just a useful but boring veteran, settling in around Yahoo WR36.
Ja’Marr Chase might be on all the magazine covers next summer. Joe Mixon isn’t a splashy player, but he’ll fall into the end zone at least eight times. Location, location, location.
3. Baltimore Ravens (2)
The Ravens loaded up the receiver room with four former first-round picks, though it’s a stretch to include Nelson Agholor, and Odell Beckham Jr. might be near the end. And of course, the team’s best receiver is still tight end Mark Andrews.
2. San Francisco 49ers (4)
George Kittle smashed with Brock Purdy last season, but long touchdowns are rarely sticky year-over-year, especially for a tight end. Kittle is one of my favorite current real-life players, but I’ve faded him most of the summer.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (1)
The running game could be crowded. Rashaad Penny is an efficiency darling (but not a pass catcher), D’Andre Swift is a splashy player, Kenneth Gainwell was a Circle of Trust back in the playoffs, and obviously Jalen Hurts will keep a lot of the ground stats for himself. Will the play-calling suffer now that Shane Steichen has left the building? Nonetheless, this is the NFL’s best roster. Get your popcorn ready.