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Fantasy Football 2023: AFC East Player Projections

Buffalo Bills Josh Allen Stefon Diggs
Jan 9, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) celebrates a catch that was ruled incomplete with teammate quarterback Josh Allen (17) against the New York Jets during the first half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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. Yes, Josh Allen is the consensus QB2, but why? If you feel Allen will have more than 38 total touchdowns, you’re likely more inclined to take him as the QB1. If you think there’s no way Ezekiel Elliott handles 100-plus carries, you’re likely to rank Rhamondre Stevenson 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 New England Patriots as a bottom-scoring offense. But what if Mac Jones takes a massive leap forward? It’s certainly in the world of possibilities, but it’s 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

AFC East Projections

Josh Allen and James Cook

Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen, 377 fantasy points (20.7 PPG, QB2): 

577 attempts, 374 completions, 4336 yards, 33.4 TDs

112 rushes, 676 yards, 4.8 TDs

Allen has elite rushing and passing upside. He’s a surefire top-three quarterback.

Stefon Diggs, 244 fantasy points (14.4 PPG, WR7):

161 targets, 107 receptions, 1372 yards, 9.4 TDs

Stefon Diggs’ 11 touchdowns last year were second in the NFL. The model expects this to regress. The addition of Dalton Kincaid and a healthy Gabe Davis are likely to eat into Diggs’ 2023 production.

James Cook, 177 fantasy points (10.4 PPG, RB25):

138 rushes, 650 yards, 3.2 TDs

70 targets, 52 receptions, 531 yards, 2.7 TDs

James Cook is expected to see the main work as the receiving back. Rushing touchdowns for Cook are capped by Allen and Damien Harris, who had 15 rushing touchdowns two seasons ago.

Damien Harris, 119 fantasy points (7.0 PPG, RB43):

137 rushes, 596 yards, 5.6 TDs

23 targets, 17 receptions, 163 yards, 0.6 TDs

Harris projects to split carries with Cook but to take over as the red zone back. 

Gabe Davis, 162 fantasy points (9.6 PPG, WR31):

109 targets, 67 receptions, 954 yards, 5.9 TDs

Davis is an enigma in this offense but should have a productive season if healthy.

Dalton Kincaid, 99 fantasy points (5.8 PPG, TE15):

71 targets, 51 receptions, 583 yards, 3.0 TDs

We all know rookie tight ends don’t produce, and my model takes this into consideration. Still, Kincaid is the highest-projected rookie tight end and could be an immediate contributor if used more like Travis Kelce. His upside is enormous, but it will eat into Diggs and Davis’ upside.

Dawson Knox, 93 fantasy points (5.4 PPG, TE19):

48 targets, 34 receptions, 382 yards, 6.6 TDs

Dawson Knox looks to be a solid contributor in the red zone.

My model expects the Buffalo Bills to take a slight step backward from the past few seasons. Most of this comes from the lack of consolidation in the passing game. If Allen spreads the ball around as much as my model projects, Diggs will likely be the only solid contributor as a top-10 wide receiver. With Allen’s rushing upside, he’s a safe bet at QB2.

Miami Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa, 301 fantasy points (17.7 PPG, QB12): 

597 attempts, 384 completions, 4632 yards, 31.8 TDs

26 rushes, 76 yards, 1.6 TDs

Tua Tagovailoa led the NFL in yards per attempt. Quarterbacks who have led the league in YPA include Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow. It’s not a stat you can be No. 1 in on accident. Tagovailoa is a safe QB1 in my eyes.

Tyreek Hill, 273 fantasy points (16.0 PPG, WR4):

177 targets, 119 receptions, 1599 yards, 8.4 TDs

Tyreek Hill finds himself in an opportunity to be incredible yet again. Unlike Jaylen Waddle, Hill was mostly quarterback-proof last season and should be drafted as a top-five wide receiver.

Jaylen Waddle, 234 fantasy Points (13.8 PPG, WR9):

141 targets, 92 receptions, 1417 yards, 7.3 TDs

There’s no problem with drafting Waddle as a WR1, but his upside isn’t higher than Hill’s. Waddle is an elite NFL wide receiver.

Raheem Mostert, 131 fantasy points (7.7 PPG, RB38):

118 rushes, 582 yards, 3.7 TDs

54 targets, 39 receptions, 269 yards, 1 TD

Jeff Wilson Jr., 98 fantasy points (5.8 PPG, RB50):

111 rushes, 543 yards, 1.7 TDs

28 targets, 20 receptions, 125 yards, 2.1 TDs

Devon Achane, 92 fantasy points (5.4 PPG, RB 52):

92 rushes, 432 yards, 1.9 TDs

36 targets, 25 receptions, 202 yards, 1.1 TDs

This backfield is a messy projection. Any of the backs could be startable in any given week. De'Von Achane would be my preferred target despite being projected as the worst. If he takes over as the RB1 late in the season, he could be a league-winner. Given his age, draft capital and the health of the other running backs, he’s worth a flyer.

Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins are projected to pick up right where they left off. When healthy, the trio of Tagovailoa, Hill and Waddle are among the best in the NFL. Tagovailoa’s lack of rushing upside is the only thing keeping him from being an elite fantasy quarterback. If you feel strongly about any of the running backs, take a flyer, but otherwise, draft Achane or stay away entirely.

New England Patriots Mac Jones Rhamondre Stevenson

New England Patriots

Mac Jones, 205 fantasy points (12.0 PPG, QB30): 

517 attempts, 332 completions, 3573 yards, 17.2 TDs

60 rushes, 130 yards, 1.3 TDs

Jones is projected to be among the worst starting quarterbacks in 2022. He’s hardly worth a speculative add in most formats.

Rhamondre Stevenson, 200 fantasy points (11.8 PPG, RB14):

199 rushes, 924 yards, 3.5 TDs

93 targets, 69 receptions, 503 yards, 0.7 TD

Stevenson is likely the only player worth adding in this offense. Despite the offense’s dysfunction, Stevenson should still be fantasy-relevant. 

Ezekiel Elliott, 118 fantasy points (7.0 PPG, RB44):

152 rushes, 593 yards, 4.7 TDs

34 targets, 23 receptions, 191 yards, 0.3 TD

Juju Smith-Schuster, 118 fantasy points (7.0 PPG, WR53):

94 targets, 63 receptions, 684 yards, 3.4 TDs

If New England’s offense puts things together, JuJu Smith-Schuster is the biggest person to benefit. He’s currently the wide receiver my model projects to lead the team in target share, but he could absolutely dominate if he exceeds expectations. 

Hunter Henry, 81 fantasy points (4.7 PPG, TE26):

60 targets, 37 receptions, 459 yards, 3.0 TDs

Mike Gesicki, 63 fantasy points (3.7 PPG, TE32):

52 targets, 30 receptions, 386 yards, 1.9 TDs

If either tight end significantly outperforms the other, he’d be worth adding in fantasy. For now, I’d recommend avoiding both.

My model projects this offense to be a bottom-three offense in scoring with just 29.5 touchdowns (31 in 2022). If this offense puts something special together, Smith-Schuster would be the biggest beneficiary given his projected target share and touchdown-receiving share. Stevenson is the only starter worth drafting in this offense.

New York Jets Aaron Rodgers Allen Lazard

New York Jets

Aaron Rodgers, 287 fantasy points (16.9 PPG, QB13): 

600 attempts, 407 completions, 4,444 yards, 31 TDs

27 rushes, 74 yards, 1.6 TDs

Rodgers is an elite two-time MVP who won’t likely provide an elite ceiling in fantasy football. He’s a high-end QB2. 

Garrett Wilson, 226 fantasy points (13.3 PPG, WR10):

138 targets, 91 receptions, 1,197 yards, 9.7 TDs

Garrett Wilson is poised to be the NFL's next elite wide receiver. I believe in the hype, and my model loved his 2021 stats.

Allen Lazard, 128 fantasy points (7.5 PPG, WR44):

82 targets, 55 receptions, 669 yards, 5.6 TDs

Allen Lazard will likely be one of Rodgers’ favorite targets when Wilson is unavailable. Lazard has a much higher ceiling than WR44.

Breece Hall, 205 fantasy points (12.1 PPG, RB11):

165 rushes, 789 yards, 5.1 TDs

70 targets, 55 receptions, 532 yards, 2.8 TDs

Expect a slower start with a strong finish in the fantasy playoffs for Breece Hall.

Dalvin Cook, 138 fantasy points (8.1 PPG, RB37):

161 rushes, 715 yards, 3.7 TDs

49 targets, 34 receptions, 176 yards, 2.2 TDs

Dalvin Cook will likely start the season off stronger than he finishes it as Hall eases back in.

My model projects the New York Jets to be ninth in offensive touchdowns (45.9 TDs), allowing for plenty of scoring all around. Wilson and Hall are two of my favorite targets, and my model projects them both to finish inside the top 10 at their position.

Other Projections

AFC: South | West | North

NFC: South | North | East

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