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Fantasy Football Previews: Bop or Flop 2023 – AFC NORTH

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Draft Season is here! Bestball Leagues are flowing! The NFL Preseason is upon us. Drafthustle is here to get you ready to dominate your drafts and get to the money and the trophies! This is part of a series I am titling "Bop or Flop". From each team, I will be choosing one player I am high on (Bop), and one player I am avoiding in fantasy drafts at cost for the 2023 season (Flop). You can check out my rankings here!

Baltimore Ravens

BOP – Rashod Bateman, WR

FantasyPros ADP – WR51, #125 Overall

DH Rank – WR42

Prior to injuring his foot, Rashod Bateman was the clear #1 WR for Lamar Jackson in 2022. His current 11th round ADP is mostly due to him being on the PUP list, but I love the value on him right now. He is going last of the top 3 Ravens WRs, and if that remains the case through August, I will own a lot of Bateman in 2023.

FLOP – Odell Beckham Jr., WR

FantasyPros ADP – WR45, #108 Overall

DH Rank – WR64

Sad to say that the Odell Beckham of old is more than likely gone. I like his ability to mentor the young Baltimore Ravens WR core, but he should not be getting drafted as the first Ravens WR. He has the least upside of the 3, and the odds of him playing a full season are low. Do not fall for the name value here.

Cincinnati Bengals

BOP – Joe Mixon., RB

FantasyPros ADP – RB16, #39 Overall

DH Rank – RB9

Joe Mixon is finished as the RB8 in PPG in 2022. He also had 60 catches last season with Samaje Perine as the primary 3rd down back. Perine is now gone, but Joe Mixon is currently being drafted as the RB16. The uncertainty of his roster spot is gone, which means that ADP is entirely too low. We love the Bengals offense and expect them to put up plenty of points, and if Joe Burrow starts off the season slow with his injured calf, they will lean on Mixon even more.

FLOP – Tee Higgins, WR

FantasyPros ADP – WR14, #32 Overall

DH Rank – WR18

Tee Higgins falls into the category of team WR2s who I am lower on than the consensus, which means I will have very few shares of them in my fantasy leagues. Ja’Marr Chase is the clear alpha in the Bengals WR core. Tee Higgins ranks 3rd for me among the 3 team WR2s currently being drafted in the 2nd round, behind Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith. The only plausible scenario for me drafting Higgins is at the end of the 3rd round where I can grab Jow Burrow in the early 4h round to get the Bengal stack.

Cleveland Browns

BOP – Jerome Ford, RB

FantasyPros ADP – RB64, #201 Overall

DH Rank – RB49

Kareem Hunt was a 5th round pick as the Browns RB2 last year, and that was way too early. Jerome Ford has that role in 2023, and his 16th round ADP is entirely too low. He isn’t as talented as Hunt, but the role is still there, and he is the locked-in RB2 with D’Ernest Johnson out of the picture. I prefer to draft Ford as my RB5 on teams where I do not own Nick Chubb, giving my team more upside, but for people who do the RB handcuff thing, Ford is easily attainable.

FLOP – Deshaun Watson, QB

FantasyPros ADP – QB9, #81

DH Rank – QB9

I have no issue with Deshaun Watson in terms of his place among the other QBs. His overall ADP is my only gripe. In the middle of the 7th round, there are plenty of RBs and TEs that I can still build the core of my team with, and I will be just fine waiting until the next tier of QBs comes up.

Pittsburgh Steelers

BOP – Diontae Johnson, WR

FantasyPros ADP – WR34, #82 Overall

DH Rank – WR24

One of the biggest anomalies of the 2022 fantasy season was Diontae Johnson having 0 TDs on 147 targets. In his 1st 3 seasons, Diontae Johnson had a 5% TD rate. If you apply that to his 147 targets in 2022, he should have had 7 TDs last season. Those 7 TDs bump him from WR39 to WR19 on the year. The bottom line is he will not have 0 TDs again, and he will crush his current WR34 ADP in 2023.

FLOP – George Pickens, WR

FantasyPros ADP – WR35, #86 Overall

DH Rank – WR41

I can see the upside case for George Pickens, especially in bestball formats. The biggest detriment to his fantasy value to me is Kenny Pickett and the offensive philosophy. Diontae Johnson had 63 more targets than Pickens last year, and even with a year more of NFL experience for Pickens, I can see that still being a 40-target differential this season. Pickens belongs more in the low end WR4 territory rather than low end WR3.

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