As the 2023/24 NFL regular season draws near, here are five candidates who look primed for a breakout season.
To say there’s been plenty of hype surrounding the New York Jets this offseason, but one player that won’t be a part of that is WR Elijah Moore. He left town after several dustups with his former team, but that doesn’t take away his talent.
Although he won’t get to play with QB Aaron Rodgers, he will be pairing up with another All-Pro in Deshaun Watson. Not only that, but defenses won’t be able to key in on him like they did on the Jets.
The Browns have arguably the best RB in the NFL in Nick Chubb, so teams are forced to load up the box. Similarly, WR Amari Cooper is the clear #1, which should also free up space for Moore. The Browns are currently +350 to win the AFC North.
A bit more of an unknown in comparison to Moore is Jelani Woods of the Colts. He’s not even currently listed as the #1 TE on the depth chart, but he has the physical ability to still make a presence.
Indianapolis proved that they valued those physical gifts when they drafted QB Anthony Richardson out of Florida with the #3 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Woods could prove to be his security blanket in the red zone, as he is a massive target at 6-foot-7 and 253 pounds.
While he wasn’t the featured TE last season, when he got his chances, he capitalized. Right now, the Colts are listed at +600 odds to win the AFC South.
Keeping the theme of pass-catchers alive is another one from the Ravens. The hype surrounding Bateman when he entered the NFL was high, but injuries have plagued him. Now, he’ll be entering the season healthy.
Not only did the Ravens lock up former-MVP QB Lamar Jackson this offseason, but they also acquired veteran WR Odell Beckham Jr. and drafted WR Zay Flowers in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Like Cooper should do for Moore, those extra weapons should take pressure off Bateman and allow him to run free. Baltimore finds themselves listed at a +220 price to win the AFC North.
Another player that entered the league with immense hype was Kadarius Toney. His ceiling is as high as it gets thanks to his physical gifts. Unlike Woods being known for his size, Toney’s agility and quickness is unparalleled.
They were on full display as a New York Giant, but he was unhappy in his role with the team. So, he was traded to the already star-studded Chiefs, and now he’ll have a full season with QB Patrick Mahomes and company.
If there is one head coach that can scheme ways to utilize Toney’s physical gifts, it’s Andy Reid, with things like jet sweeps and reverses. The Chiefs are looking for their eighth straight AFC West title and are the favorites to do so at -160 odds.
Finally, to wrap things up is a RB. There has been plenty of discussions surrounding the position this offseason, primarily around their diminished role and underappreciation. That is in part what has Dalvin Cook on the free agent market.
With the bell cow no longer in the picture, Mattison will be running the show. As many fantasy football players know, when he got his opportunities, he took full advantage. In his six career starts, he’s had a ridiculous average of 115 total yards per game to go along with five touchdowns.
With WR Justin Jefferson posing a consistent deep threat, teams can’t stack the box against Mattison either. The Vikings are currently +280 to win the NFC North.