2022 AFC North Fantasy Preview

2022 AFC North Fantasy Preview

Let’s take a quick look at the AFC North for the 2022 fantasy season. 

Cleveland Browns Fantasy Preview 

Key Losses: WR Jarvis Landry, TE Austin Hooper, OL JC Tretter 

Key Additions: WR Amari Cooper, QB Deshaun Watson, WR Jakeem Grant 

Offseason Fantasy Outlook:  

Cleveland started their offseason off with a bang by trading for WR Amari Cooper! Cleveland didn’t want Cooper to hit the open market and traded for him, and it only cost them a 5th and 6th rounder in 2022. Cleveland wasn’t done making moves they jumped right back in for their QB of the future Deshaun Watson to a 5 year 230 million fully guaranteed deal! Cleveland paid a plethora of picks including a 2022 first-round draft pick, 2023 first-round draft pick, 2023 third-round draft pick, 2024 first-round draft pick and a 2024 fourth-round draft pick. Cleveland also added Jacoby Brissett as insurance just in case Watson is suspended for any amount of time in the 2022 season. I think this is also why Cleveland has yet to trade QB Baker Mayfield. Once we have a clear picture on Watson Mayfield will be on the move at some point. Cleveland also added a dynamic kick returner in Jakeem Grant. These were their biggest offseason additions.  

NFL Draft Fantasy Impact: 

Cleveland didn’t add much during the 2022 NFL Draft. Cleveland’s biggest addition for fantasy was WR David Bell out of Purdue in the 3rd round. Bell is a very polished route runner who has great hands. Bell has great body control and isn’t afraid to go up and make highlight reel catches. His biggest flaws are his lack of speed to separate and isn’t a very good blocker for a team that loves to run the ball. He will need volume to be a good fantasy option. Jerome Ford was added in the 5th round. Ford has great vision, quick feet, and is a great inside rusher. Ford also has his flaws. Ford isn’t a natural pass catcher and needs to develop his pass pro skills. He won’t have a major role in this offense other than a decent backup for Nick Chubb. The Browns added Michael Woods in the 6th round as well. I don’t see Woods really beating out any WR to keep a spot on the roster.

Baltimore Ravens Fantasy Preview 

Key Losses: WR Hollywood Brown, WR Sammy Watkins, RB Latavius Murray, RB Devonte Freeman 

Key additions: RB Mike Davis 

Offseason Fantasy Outlook: Baltimore’s offseason wasn’t flashy by any means. Baltimore was one of the most banged up teams last year and their key focus was just to get healthy. Baltimore will get back star QB Lamar Jackson who missed the last 4 games of the year during their playoff run that fell short. Baltimore also get back Star RB JK Dobbins who was ready to breakout all over the place in 2021. Baltimore also lost Gus Edwards who was also a key piece of the offense. Baltimore decided to add RB Mike Davis this offseason as insurance just in case Dobbins and Edwards aren’t ready to go. Baltimore decided not to add any WRs because they trust Bateman, Duvernay, Proche, Wallace, and Andrews to get the job done in this run heavy offense.  

NFL Draft Fantasy Impact:  

Baltimore made a huge draft day splash trading their #1 Wide Receiver Hollywood Brown and a 3rd round pick for pick #14. The Ravens decided to take Kyle Hamilton, a very skilled safety. The Ravens then solidified their offensive line by taking Tyler Linderbaum. Baltimore also may have gotten the steal of the draft in David Ojabo in round 2. Ojabo prior to injury was a top 15 pick. It is safe to say the Ravens defense will be giving the offense plenty of chances to score in a very talented AFC North.

Cincinnati Bengals Fantasy Preview 

Key Losses: TE C.J. Uzomah 

Key Additions: OL Alex Cappa, OL La’el Collins, OL Ted Karras, TE Hayden Hurst 

Offseason Fantasy Outlook:  

Cincinnati went out this offseason and did what they needed to do. They loaded up their 1 major weakness that cost them a championship offensive line. The Bengals went out and added Cappa, Karras, and Collins to solidify their offensive line. Cincinnati added Hayden Hurst to this offense to replace C.J. Uzomah. Hayden is much more athletic and adds another dimension to this offense. The biggest winner is Joe Burrow who will have much more time to make plays happen. This team is primed to make another run this year in the AFC. I expect them to take the North once again.  

NFL Draft Fantasy Impact: 

From a fantasy standpoint Cincinnati didn’t really do anything to improve their potent offense. Cincinnati did load up on defense specifically at the cornerback spot where they were burned on multiple occasions. If the defensive play improves Cincinnati could easily put up over 30 points a game. Cincinnati weapons will be a big priority in drafts make sure to get any pieces you can. There are 2 options you could draft at value. The first could be Tyler Boyd who’s got very good hands, and a great slot wide receiver whose ADP is around 112. The second value could be Hayden Hurst who was brought over in free agency. Hurst and Uzomah are similar in size and have similar athleticism. C.J. splashed at times, and I think Hayden would be a great dart throw late in drafts. 

Pittsburgh Steelers Fantasy Preview  

Key Losses: WR Juju Smith-Schuster, WR James Washington, OL Trai Turner, WR Ray Ray McCloud 

Key Additions: QB Mitch Trubisky, KR Gunner Olszewski 

Offseason Fantasy Outlook:  

The Steelers started their offseason by saying goodbye to one of their legends Ben Rothlisberger. Pittsburgh then saw 3 WRs walk out the door in Juju, Washington, and special teams ace/gadget guy Ray Ray McCloud. Pittsburgh did bring in Mitch Trubisky as a potential bridge QB. I loved the move for Mitch because he instantly boosted the value for the offense. I think its safe to say almost anyone was an upgrade from what Ben had become. Pittsburgh also decided to go out and find a replacement for Ray Ray on special teams in Gunner Olszewski. Gunner was a small bright spot on the Patriots last year and he hopes to replicate that success in the Steel City. 

NFL Draft Fantasy Impact: 

Pittsburgh had themselves one hell of a draft. Taking Pickett with their first pick solidified their future at the position. Pittsburgh can afford to sit him his rookie year if they so choose to learn the system with the Trubisky signing. In the 2nd round they took a chance on George Pickens. Pickens is great at positioning his body to make highlight reel catches and has a large catch radius. With Pickens being from Georgia he has a very competitive nature and thinks he’s the best one out there when on the field. Pickens also has some downfalls. Pickens has an extensive injury history with his most recent injury being a torn ACL. Pickens also isn’t the best when it comes to press coverage. Pickens should be fine in the slot with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool drawing the starting corner matchups. Pickett and Pickens could build a great rapport together and dominate for years to come in the North. Pittsburgh added another WR in Calvin Austin. Austin is a great field stretching option with 4.32 speed and the burst ability to get off press coverage and separate instantly. Austin needs to improve his route running if he doesn’t want to be a one trick pony in the NFL. I see him more as a better real life asset than a fantasy asset. Overall the Steelers could give the Bengals a run for their money if everything offensively clicks with an already stout defense. 

Good luck in your drafts all and stay tuned for the NFC part of this series from TSF! 

Leave a comment