Fantasy Football: 4 NFL Teams Expected to Run, Pass More in 2023

Scheduling advantages and offseason personnel changes significantly impact fantasy football value. 

Drafters should target passing-game components from the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks, because both teams will likely increase their passing rates and overall passing volume in 2023. The same can be said for the Dallas Cowboys’ and Detroit Lions’ run-game components and their expected rushing projections. 

Let’s dive into the offseason changes those offenses made and why they’re expected to change how they operate this coming season. 

Pass-Heavy Offenses in 2023

Baltimore Ravens

This offseason, Baltimore’s front office swapped out run-centric offensive coordinator Greg Roman in favor of the pass-happy Todd Monken. Monken produced solid results during his run from 2016 to 2018 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which he plans to repeat with QB Lamar Jackson

The table below ranks Monken and Roman’s regular-season passing data from 2016-to-2022. The 2021 and 2022 data sets are limited to Jackson’s healthy games. 

NFL Passing Data Neutral Pass % Total Pass Att. Yds/Att.
Monken/TB – 2016 53.1% (No. 25) 324 (No. 13) 7.6 (No. 10)
Monken/TB – 2017 58.6% (No. 5) 329 (T-No. 10) 7.5 (No. 10)
Monken/TB – 2018 58.3% (No. 11) 290 (No. 15) 8.1 (No. 8)
Roman/BAL – 2019 43.7% (No. 32) 248 (No. 29) 6.9 (No. 26)
Roman/BAL – 2020 41.4% (No. 32) 193 (No. 32) 7.7 (No. 13)
Roman/BAL – 2021 (W1-14) 50.2% (No. 28) 234 (No. 13) 7.6 (No. 15)
Roman/BAL – 2022 (W1-12) 50.7% (No. 23) 257 (No. 6) 6.9 (No. 19)

Monken’s presence will increase Jackson’s passing rate, but Jackson’s incoming stat line also gets a boost from the 2023 schedule makers. The 33rd Team’s Josh Larky and Ryan Reynolds project Baltimore to play in 10 games with 50.0 percent or lower chances of winning. 

Potent offenses like the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins should help push Baltimore’s offensive pace by scoring quickly against the Ravens’ diminished defense

Conversely, pushover defenses like the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Rams will be unable to slow Jackson’s aerial attack.

Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta quelled Jackson’s salary concerns and increased the team’s pass-game potential by compiling an exceptionally deep pass-catching corps. The Ravens acquired free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr. and drafted Boston College’s Zay Flowers with the 22nd overall pick. 

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle soared to the No. 8 neutral-game passing rate (58.7 percent) and pass-attempt total (353) with QB Geno Smith in 2022. They finished 18th in both categories (53.6 percent and 298, respectively) with Russell Wilson at the helm in 2021. All signs point to Seattle leaning into the passing game again in 2023.

General manager John Schneider bolstered the team’s passing-game personnel by adding Round 1 WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Round 2 RB Zach Charbonnet and free agent center Evan Brown. Smith-Njigba significantly increases Seattle’s ability to utilize three-wide receiver sets, a package the team lacked last year. 

In 2022, tight ends Noah Fant (359) and Will Dissly (254) finished No. 3 and 5, respectively, in routes run for Seattle, with WR Marquise Goodwin trailing Fant by a 50-route margin in the No. 4 spot.  

Offensive tackles Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas should get better in their second seasons. Last season, the Seahawks ranked No. 14 (33.5 percent) in quarterback-pressures-allowed rate and No. 19 in pass protection blown-block rate (2.976 percent), per SportsInfoSolutions.

Reynolds and Larky peg Seattle for eight games with a 50.0 percent or lower win probability, excluding games against the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans. They give the Seahawks a 60.0 percent chance of beating the Browns and Titans. Seattle’s high-quality opposition will keep Smith throwing in at least 10 of 17 games. 

The defense enters 2023 with No. 1 CB Tariq Woolen on the mend, having suffered an undisclosed knee injury in late May. Schneider re-signed CB Artie Burns to a one-year contract after Woolen’s injury, which could cause concern. 

Devon Witherspoon, who the Seahawks selected No. 5 overall, is expected to start opposite Woolen in Week 1. Though the duo should be humming by season’s end, any weakness will be exploited by opposing offenses, ensuring Seattle’s offense has a high-volume pass rate. 

Run-Heavy Offenses in 2023

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys fired offensive coordinator Kellen Moore this offseason, which resulted in head coach Mike McCarthy’s “run the damn ball” declaration when asked about his play-calling intentions. 

Reynolds and Larky give the Cowboys 60.0 percent or better odds in 10 of 17 games this year. Dallas earned a 50.0 percent win probability against the Chargers, who ranked bottom-seven in yards allowed per rush attempt (5.43), broken and missed tackle rate (12.0 percent) and yards allowed after contact per rush attempt (2.7). 

The offense produced a 22nd-ranked 50.9 percent neutral-game passing rate in 2022, and their 337 pass attempts ranked No. 13. Moore’s high-tempo offense helped offset the lower frequency. Still, with McCarthy hellbent on resting his defense, the raw passing total is likely to plummet while the rushing total and frequency ascend.

Jerry and Stephen Jones spent the No. 58 overall pick on inline-Y-tight end Luke Schoonmaker, who received praise for his blocking chops from The 33rd Team contributor Greg Cossell. Schoomaker should immediately improve the Cowboys’ mid-tier 2.137 percent run-blocking blown-block rate. 

Dallas parted ways with long-time star RB Ezekiel Elliott this offseason but kept Tony Pollard. Pollard ranked top-10 with 5.2 yards per rush attempt and top-five with 3.76 yards after contact per rush attempt among 69 NFL running backs with at least 50 rush attempts. 

Promising sophomore Malik Davis (2.05 yards after contact per rush attempt) will compete with sixth-round rookie Deuce Vaughn. Though diminutive (5-foot-5, 179 pounds), Vaughn maintained a high-volume workload at Kansas State.

The table below ranks in parentheses Vaughn’s 2022 rushing data among 41 Power Five running backs with at least 150 rush attempts.

Power 5 RB Rush Att.  Yds – TD YPC  Tackles: Broken – Missed YAC/Att. – BT+MAT/Att. %
Deuce Vaughn 293 (No. 3)  1,558 (No. 5) – 9 (T-No. 23) 5.3 (T-No. 21) 21 (T-No. 17) – 30 (T-No. 6) 2.6 (T-No. 36) – 17.4% (No. 29)

Detroit Lions

The NFL schedule-makers gifted the Lions an extremely run-friendly schedule. Last year’s offense sat middle-of-the-pack in neutral-game passing rate (53.9 percent, No. 17), but their pass attempt total (343) was tied for No. 10. 

The Lions’ fantasy-friendly offense should continue their high-volume ways but with a near 50-50 run-pass split. 

Reynolds and Larky give Detroit 60.0 percent or better win probability in 12 of 17 games, with two more resting at 50.0 percent. Plus, a cakewalk against the aforementioned Chargers’ poor rush defense. 

Detroit also has the benefit of facing the division-rival Green Bay Packers twice. The Packers tied for 22nd in broken and missed tackles rate (10.7 percent) in 2022.  

General manager Brad Holmes parted ways with co-starters Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift this offseason, replacing them with David Montgomery and Round 1 RB Jahmyr Gibbs

Montgomery handled more than 200 rush attempts in his first four NFL seasons and can grind out tough interior yards. He offers a thunderous (5-foot-10, 222-pound) presence alongside the lighting-quick 5-foot-9, 199-pound Gibbs. 

The table below ranks Gibbs’ 2022 rushing data in parentheses among 41 Power-5 running backs with at least 150 rush attempts.

Power 5 RB Rush Att.  Yds – TD YPC  Tackles: Broken – Missed YAC/Att. – BT+MAT/Att. %
Jahmyr Gibbs 151 (T-No. 39)  926 (No. 27) – 7 (T-No. 31) 6.1 (T-No. 9) 17 (T-No. 31) – 22 (T-No. 13) 3.4 (T-No. 10) – 25.8% (No. 7)

Detroit’s efficient guard changing should keep the ground game rumbling in 2023. 

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