The 2023 NFL season is slowly creeping up on fans, and there's plenty to look forward to. A few quarterbacks had a rough 2022 season, whether it was due to injuries or career-low performances in new situations. The bright side is that it's a brand new season.
Four AFC QBs in particular are looking to bounce back, but oddsmakers seem to still be low on them. Here's why you shouldn't be.
Mac Jones (FanDuel Projection: 3250.5 passing Yards, 19.5 Passing TDs)
Mac Jones is entering his third NFL season as the Patriots' QB1 and is looking to bounce back from a rough 2022 season. It's hard for him to look any worse than he did last year, dealing with injuries and a defensive-minded offensive coordinator, so it's only up from here. The Patriots replaced their 2022 Offensive coordinator Matt Patricia with Bill O'Brien this offseason, which is likely automatically an upgrade as far as play-calling is concerned.
Mac Jones has a projection line of 3250.5 passing yards and 19.5 passing TDs on FanDuel. For reference, he had just under 3,000 yards last year in only 14 games. So if Mac Jones was able to play all 17 games last year, he would have surpassed that projection with ease. Now factor in the fact that they upgraded their offense with Mike Gesicki and Bill O'Brien, and are still looking to add weapons, then he should easily pass this 3,250 yard projection this upcoming season. For added assurance that he's capable, he threw for over 3,800 yards his rookie season. this wouldn't be anything out of reach for him.
Tua Tagovailoa (FanDuel Projection: 3800.5 Passing Yards, 25.5 Passing TDs)
After a scary injury-riddled 2022 season, Tua is looking to continue his elevation as a franchise QB and lead Miami back to the playoffs. Despite him not playing all 17 games, Tua had one of the best seasons from a QB last year statistically in terms of volume and efficiency. He finished the season with had 3548 yards and 25 passing TDs in only 13 games.
His FanDuel projection line currently stands at 25.5 TDs and 3800.5 yards, which are numbers he would have surpassed last year in only 14 games. With one of the best WR duos in the league and another offseason under Mike McDaniel, it's hard to see Tua taking a dramatic step back. It is worth monitoring Tyreek Hill's situation, but even if a minor suspension does occur, these are projections Tua should surpass with a full season.
Lamar Jackson (FanDuel Projection: 3400.5 Passing Yards, 23.5 Passing TDs)
Based off of last season's per game average on a 17 game projection, Lamar would have finished with almost 3200 yards passing. Now what changes this season, you might ask? First, Lamar secured a monster contract which locks him in with Baltimore for the next several years. This also means that they will want to protect their investment, especially with all of that guaranteed money. This could result in less designed runs for him, and that could be reflected with their offensive coordinator change.
Going from the run-heavy Greg Roman to pass-centric Todd Monken, one can expect the Ravens offense to utilize Lamar's arm and pass the ball more. They also brought in Odell Beckham Jr. and drafted rookie wideout Zay Flowers with their first pick in this year's draft. It only makes sense for Lamar to pass more than the 187 passing yards a game that he did in 2022. Lamar is one of my dark-horse MVP candidates for 2023.
Russell Wilson (FanDuel Projection: 3,700.5 Passing Yards, 24.5 Passing TDs)
Just like Mac Jones, it is nearly impossible for Russell Wilson to have a worse upcoming season than he did last season. The Nathaniel Hackett experiment was a failure, but as far as stats go, Wilson racked up 3,524 passing yards and 16 TDs in 16 games last season. Wilson had a career-low season in terms of accuracy and it put a dent into the offense's efficiency and ability to sustain drives. In comes new Head Coach Sean Payton, who Wilson has a great relationship with and is expected to take the offense to another level.
Tim Patrick is also returning, which is a boost for the WR room. With Javonte Williams still on the verge of returning to 100% after his ACL tear, it is also expected that they will pass a little more especially early in the season. If Wilson can complete 65% of his passes he should come close to 4,000 yards passing in 17 games, so his FanDuel projection line of 3,700 seems fairly attainable to me even if he does miss a game.
The thing about projections are that, well, they are just that: projections. I can't predict the future and there's still a lot of time left between now and Week One's kickoff, but these projections are pretty attainable for each of these franchise QBs. This can translate to fantasy football as well and can give you an advantage over your league mates. Stay tuned for my NFC QB edition coming up next!
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