Revisiting Redraft Predictions: AFC Edition

Since August 25th, I’ve had a thread pinned to my Twitter profile containing one Redraft prediction for each NFL team. Now that the fantasy football season is over, it’s time to look back at those predictions and see which ones were spot on and which were laughably wrong.

I already covered the NFC predictions here. Now it’s time to take a look at the AFC.

Three quick notes before we get started:

  1. None of these predictions were meant to be “hot takes.” I thought these predictions had a good chance of hitting before the season began.
  2. All scoring predictions are in PPR points per game with four points per passing TD.
  3. Week 18 is not included because it is not a part of the fantasy season. 

Okay, let’s get to these predictions.

Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson will finish as a top-two QB.

In hindsight, this prediction was too aggressive. Lamar Jackson has demonstrated a QB1 overall ceiling in his career, but with so many other elite QBs in the mix, the odds were against him. At 22 PPG (excluding Week 13) Jackson was still firmly within the elite tier of fantasy QBs, and I will go right back to the well next season.  

Buffalo Bills: Stefon Diggs will reach 1,350 receiving yards. 

Prior to the season, I thought Stefon Diggs was a dark-horse candidate for WR1 overall. That did not come to fruition (he finished as the WR5) but he did eclipse 1,350 yards for the second time in three seasons with Josh Allen

Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow will finish outside the Top-8 QBs.

After an outrageously efficient season in 2021, I thought Joe Burrow was due for regression. And I was right. Even with some of the league’s best weapons and an improved offensive line, Burrow’s yards per attempt dropped from 8.9 to 7.4 and his TD rate dropped from 6.5 to 5.8. Unfortunately, Joe Burrow still finished as the QB4 due to an additional 86 pass attempts and a respectable 259 yards, and five TDs as a rusher. 

Cleveland Browns: Deshaun Watson will miss at least 11 games.

Okay, this prediction clearly does not count. I included it in the thread as a joke because, cards on the table, I was rushing to post it before going to my real job and I didn’t have a very strong take on the Browns’ offense that day. I was technically correct, but I promise not to include it in my tally at the end. 

Denver Broncos: Albert Okwuegbunam will outscore Pat Freiermuth, Irv Smith, and Mike Gesicki. 

I really enjoy this prediction because I get to be wrong three times for the price of one. I thought Albert O was an excellent late-round TE pick due to his athletic profile, his history of efficiency, and a QB “upgrade.” Boy, was I wrong. Even before Greg Dulcich burst onto the scene, Albert O was being usurped by the likes of Andrew Beck and Eric Tomlinson. Gross. 

The most amazing part of this prediction is that Mike Gesicki and Irv Smith were completely useless this season and they still outscored Albert O comfortably.  

Houston Texans: Dameon Pierce will finish as an RB3. 

I was so, so close. Dameon Pierce finished as the RB23, two slots ahead of RB3 territory. I thought he would be eased in for a couple more weeks at the beginning of the season and that ultimately made the difference. Still, the essence of the prediction was that Dameon Pierce would be largely irrelevant despite all of the preseason hype, and in that regard, I was exactly right. You can find more of my thoughts on Dameon Pierce here

Indianapolis Colts: Michael Pittman will finish as a WR1. 

How can a WR rank eleventh in targets and eighth in receptions but finish outside the top 24 in scoring? I’ll give you three answers: Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger, and Nick Foles

Jacksonville Jaguars: Travis Etienne will reach 60 receptions.

Despite a strong sophomore season, Etienne fell way short of this mark. I really expected the team to utilize him more in the passing game given his history with Trevor Lawrence at Clemson. Perhaps his issues with fumbles and drops early in the season led to a reduced receiving role.

Kansas City Chiefs: JuJu Smith-Schuster will finish as a WR2.

In his first season with Kansas City, JuJu Smith-Schuster turned 101 targets into 78 receptions for 933 yards and three TDs. He finished as the WR33. With more favorable TD variance, he may have jumped into the low-end WR2 range. That being said, his 17.4% target share was a major disappointment given the lack of competition in that offense. 

Los Angeles Chargers: Mike Williams will outscore Keenan Allen.

Because he appeared in three additional games, Mike Williams did, in fact, score more fantasy points than Keenan Allen this season. However, Allen scored 14.9 PPG, narrowly edging out Williams at 14.1. I expected a changing of the guard in Los Angeles, and I was wrong. Keenan Allen remains an absolute target magnet.

Miami Dolphins: Chase Edmonds will finish as an RB2. 

I audibly laughed when I reread this prediction. For long stretches of the season, I forgot that Chase Edmonds was even a member of the Miami Dolphins. However, I must come to my own defense here. Much of the process behind this prediction was sound. The starting RB in the new-look Mike McDaniel offense proved to be quite a fantasy-friendly role. Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson combined for six top-15 finishes this season. And even Chase Edmonds contributed one way back in Week 3! 

New England Patriots: Rhamondre Stevenson will outscore Damien Harris.

Rhamondre Stevenson was a late riser during draft season, but he was still taken behind Damien Harris in the majority of drafts. I preferred Stevenson because of his pass-catching skillset. When Harris (and Ty Montgomery) went down early in the season, Stevenson became a three-down fantasy stud and one of this year’s true league winners. 

New York Jets: Breece Hall will be an RB1 in the second half of the season.

In one sense, this prediction couldn’t have been more wrong. Breece Hall scored exactly zero points in the second half of the 2022 season. That’s even less than Chase Edmonds! But I have to give myself partial credit for believing so strongly in Hall, who finished as the RB9 in PPG. Get well soon, stud.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Najee Harris will have under 55 receptions.

In 2021, Najee Harris never left the field. His 84.5% snap rate ranked first among all RBs. He was always there when Big Ben — who by that time was about as mobile as the more famous Big Ben — chose to check it down. Harris caught 74 passes on 94 targets that season. But with a reduced snap rate and a pair of more mobile QBs under center in 2022, Harris was limited to just 41 receptions.

Tennessee Titans: Both Robert Woods and Treylon Burks will finish outside the Top-30 WRs.

I’m ending on a high note! I couldn’t bring myself to invest in the Tennessee passing game, and that proved to be a profitable decision. Both Treylon Burks and Robert Woods finished outside the top 50. That being said, I’m optimistic about Burks in the long term.

Now let’s tally up the AFC results.

Correct: 4

Partially Correct: 3

Wrong: 8

Yikes! Better luck next year, I guess.

Thanks for reading this article! Follow me on Twitter at @fantasyfreezer if you’d like to hear more from me. I love discussing strategy and trades and engaging in heated debates about this very silly game we play.

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