Aug 19, 2023

Fantasy Football 2023: AFC West Player Projections

Ben Wolbransky

August 29, 2023 6 min read

An NFL projections model offers valuable insights, helping fantasy football enthusiasts analyze team outcomes based on data-driven analysis. You can think of these projections as a guide. Patrick Mahomes is the consensus QB1, but why?

If you feel Mahomes will have less than 42 total touchdowns, you could be inclined to move Josh Allen up in your rankings. If you think there’s no way Davante Adams finishes with less than 1,200 receiving yards, you’re likely to rank him higher.

These projections look to provide a median output for all players without considering an entire range of outcomes. For example, my model projects the Las Vegas Raiders as a bottom-scoring offense. What if Jimmy Garoppolo puts together his best-ever season, elevating his offense like never before? It’s certainly in the world of possibilities, but not captured by this model.

Note on methodology:

The above projections are built using machine learning (ML) algorithms in Python. Using historical player, team, and league stats/tendencies, an ML model can predict likely outcomes for NFL players.

It’s nearly impossible to model with 100 percent accuracy. Injuries, breakouts, and surprises happen in many shapes and forms every season. Each player is modeled as if the team stays healthy for 17 straight games. Of course, this is a pipe dream.

All scoring below is in .5 PPR

582 attempts, 369 completions, 4,241 passing yards, 24.9 passing TDs

65 rushes, 329 rushing yards, 2.2 rushing TDs

Few players have as wide of a range of outcomes as Russell Wilson. If he returns to form, he could finish as a top-five quarterback.

131 targets, 79 receptions, 1,020 receiving yards, 4.9 receiving TDs

Jerry Jeudy was initially projected for around 19 more targets before his hamstring injury.

112 targets, 65 receptions, 797 receiving yards, 4.2 receiving TDs

Courtland Sutton is projected for around 10 more targets with the Jeudy injury. If this injury lingers, Sutton could be one of the best values of 2023.

177 rushes, 752 rushing yards, 5.4 rushing TDs

49 targets, 34 receptions, 319 receiving yards, 2.0 receiving TDs

If Javonte Williams returns to form, he’ll be a smash at ADP. The model projects Williams to split touches with Samaje Perine.

151 rushes, 625 rushing yards, three rushing TDs

61 targets, 46 receptions, 388 receiving yards, 1.5 receiving TDs

Perine isn’t much of a breakout candidate, but he should deliver some value at ADP.

75 targets, 46 receptions, 584 receiving yards, 4.9 receiving TDs

Sean Payton has historically had noteworthy tight ends, so Greg Dulcich could take a huge step forward in Year 2. My model is already above consensus on Dulcich, and I am drafting him like a TE1.

There is a ton of uncertainty in Denver’s offense. Will Wilson be good? Will Williams return to form? How does Jeudy’s injury affect this wide receiver room?

The reason why so many Broncos are being drafted low is their uncertainty. If any of these players deliver big time, they’re surefire league winners. Until then, it’s best to let them keep falling and take them as they come.

659 attempts, 431 completions, 5,091 passing yards, 40.7 passing TDs

50 rushes, 295 rushing yards, 1.9 rushing TDs

This is a case of QB1 doing QB1 things. Mahomes is projected to gain roughly six more points than Josh Allen.

152 targets, 107 receptions, 1,304 receiving yards, 11.3 receiving TDs

And this is a case of TE1 doing TE1 things. My model projects Travis Kelce to maintain his historic level of dominance, scoring 60 points more total points than the next closest tight end.

173 rushes, 781 rushing yards, 4.5 rushing TDs

58 targets, 41 receptions, 394 receiving yards, 2.6 receiving TDs

Isiah Pacheco is projected to be the bonafide RB1 in this room, but he still splits carries between Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon.

80 rushes, 324 rushing yards, 3.0 rushing TDs

46 targets, 30 receptions, 322 receiving yards, 2.2 receiving TDs

If Edwards-Helaire is somehow the RB1 for this team, he is an absolute smash at ADP. Unfortunately, there is likely a running back by committee role among him, Pacheco and McKinnon.

104 targets, 64 receptions, 820 receiving yards, 5.1 receiving TDs

My model projects Skyy Moore to fill the role JuJu Smith-Schuster had last season. Although Moore is the projected WR1 on this team, it could just as likely be Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling or another wideout added in the offseason.

It’s wise to take a piece of the best offense in the NFL. My model projects the Chiefs for more touchdowns than any other team. Although the offense runs through Mahomes and Kelce, Smith-Schuster (last year’s WR29) proved there is still some value to be had elsewhere.

586 attempts, 380 completions, 4,172 passing yards, 21.7 passing TDs

36 rushes, 122 rushing yards, 1.5 rushing TDs

It’s hard to get excited about Garoppolo being on your fantasy team in 2023.

143 targets, 89 receptions, 1,190 receiving yards, 8.7 receiving TDs

I’ve been fading Adams all offseason. I don’t think Garoppolo is capable of elevating the Raiders’ offense and sustaining Adams’ prolific stats. My model feels the same.

89 targets, 54 receptions, 703 receiving yards, 3.3 receiving TDs

Jakobi Meyers is projected to slightly beat out his ADP. He benefits from Garoppolo spreading the ball out to his receivers.

235 rushes, 992 rushing yards, 7.8 rushing TDs

46 targets, 37 receptions, 293 receiving yards, 0.6 receiving TDs

Josh Jacobs has returned from his holdout, but I’m still actively avoiding him. My model doesn’t project this offense to be high-scoring, and I don’t believe he can repeat his stellar 2022 season.

66 targets, 42 receptions, 471 receiving yards, 2.6 receiving TDs

At one point, some believed Michael Mayer was the best rookie tight end. Now he projects third among the rookies and is projected to be irrelevant in most fantasy formats.

The success of the Raiders depends solely on Garoppolo and Jacobs. Without these two playing their best, this offense won’t be great. My model projects this offense as a bottom-seven scoring unit.

685 attempts, 451 completions, 4,965 passing yards, 35.9 passing TDs

53 rushes, 143 rushing yards, 0.9 rushing TDs

My model projects Justin Herbert to have more attempts than any other quarterback in the NFL. I’m drafting Herbert like the QB5.

183 rushes, 821 rushing yards, 10.0 rushing TDs

106 targets, 78 receptions, 529 receiving yards, 4.0 receiving TDs

The RB1 last season certainly will have a hard time repeating his performance if Keenan Allen and Mike Williams stay healthy. Austin Ekeler‘s ADP as the RB2 is a bit too high in my eyes.

142 targets, 93 receptions, 1,155 receiving yards, 8.9 receiving TDs

If Allen stays healthy, a top-12 season is possible. Still, WR14 is well ahead of his price tag of WR20. Allen projects to be a massive value pick.

111 targets, 73 receptions, 968 receiving yards, 7.2 receiving TDs

Williams is not as much of a value as Allen, but he is still a solid option as WR28.

93 targets, 58 receptions, 764 receiving yards, 3.3 receiving TDs

Injuries to Williams or Allen would catapult Quentin Johnston into WR2 territory. He is the highest-projected rookie wide receiver in my model.

This team is projected to continue passing the ball at a high rate in 2023. If that’s the case, there could be a ton of fantasy points to be had from all pass catchers. I’m certainly a bit lower on Ekeler given the health of the other pass catchers in 2022, but I’m grabbing everyone else where I can at ADP.

AFC: North

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AFC: North