Over the last few weeks, Zach Brunner (@FantasyFlurry), Trevor Land (@TrevorLand2) and myself (@LukeReim) have been analyzing the relevant players on each NFL team to give you the top fantasy football draft values. We gave you the tools that you need to help you understand each division.
Much of our conversation revolved around fantasy football draft value, leading to us giving a candidate for the value pick on each team. Be sure to rewatch all of our streams about this and other fantasy-relevant topics on our YouTube page. Like and Subscribe, of course.
We looked at one of the toughest divisions to evaluate in the league today with the AFC North. Guys like Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and Nick Chubb are going to be the best fantasy players in that division, but we are looking at those solid players, who for whatever reason are not being drafted high. On that note, let’s get into it.
Best AFC North Fantasy Football Values
Cleveland Browns – Deshaun Watson Fantasy Football Draft Values
It was no secret that Deshaun Watson was bad last year. Riddled with an offseason of headlines and not much football being played, followed by a 12-game suspension… that kind of makes sense. This season, Watson has no headlines, he has been at training camp and, most importantly for fantasy purposes, he does not have a 12-game suspension.
The Deshaun Watson fantasy draft value is currently QB10 and 88th overall. Before he missed the entire 2021 season, Watson threw for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns. Adding another 444 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, it is not crazy to think that Watson can at least hit 80% of that with a good Cleveland offense. At 27 years old, Watson still has a strong rushing ability, which is never bad for a fantasy quarterback.
We all know what Deshaun Watson looked like before his drama. Of course, he is not the same player, but with weapons like Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore, teams have to worry about much more than Watson in this offense.
*I am also in support of you if you don’t draft him morally; he is a scumbag.*
Pittsburgh Steelers – George Pickens Fantasy Football Draft Values
George Pickens is currently going as WR37, which is 82nd overall. Last season, Pickens finished as a top-30 WR seven times. To compare that to teammate Diontae Johnson last season, that is four more times. While Johnson is presumed to be the number one guy in Pittsburgh, Pickens has a higher upside. Based on athleticism and size alone, Pickens should be a bigger touchdown guy than Johnson. Add on top of that Pickens’ run-blocking ability and it becomes really hard to take this guy out of the game.
Pittsburgh has an upgraded offensive line and Kenny Pickett gets another offseason to learn and gel. People forget that the Steelers had a winning record last year and were close to sneaking into the playoffs. That team is back this year with another offseason together, and Pickens is going to be involved for that to work.
Pickens should see more work this year, given him being a match-up nightmare. If Pittsburgh can even slightly improve on last year’s offensive performance, it is easy to think the Georgia alum is at least a top-30 guy this season.
Baltimore Ravens – Gus Edwards Fantasy Football Draft Values
Gus Edwards is currently going as RB61, which is 203rd overall, or basically undrafted. Edwards is currently the RB2 in Baltimore and, while Lamar Jackson is probably RB1a over JK Dobbins, we know how much Baltimore likes to run and mix and match running backs (anyone remember Ty’Son Williams?).
Edwards averages about five yards per carry, so when he gets the ball, he does something with it. In his first three years in the NFL, Edwards rushed for over 700 yards in all three seasons. Injuries have hampered him, but if you can get Edwards as your RB4 or RB5, you are sitting pretty. Add on top that he is a handcuff for Dobbins, who has a role in the offense with Dobbins playing. It is hard to find that in fantasy football.
Cincinnati Bengals – Chase Brown Fantasy Football Draft Values
Chase Brown is the rookie backup running back in Cincinnati this season, who is currently going as RB59 (193rd overall). Brown showed the physical traits that he can be a workhorse running back in college. While, of course, that won’t be the case as Joe Mixon is ahead of him, if Brown shows enough promise leading up to the season, he can give the Bengals a reason to part ways with Mixon. Think Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, not that Gordon has the off-the-field problems that Mixon does, but in terms of having a reason to move on from a good RB.
In his career, Mixon has had stretches where he has been inefficient. Samaje Perine was able to balance that backfield out for a couple of years, but if Brown gets that opportunity, he absolutely finishes higher than RB59.
Of course, Chase Brown also plays in a dynamic Cincinnati offense. Yes, they throw the ball a lot, but Mixon has 16 one-yard rushing touchdowns in his career. If he misses anytime with injuries, inconsistency or legal troubles, that work goes to Brown. That feels like a safe risk at RB59.