For average fans of NFL football, the season is over with the Los Angeles Rams beating the Cincinnati Bengals in what could be described as the best Super Bowl Halftime show of all time.
But for true fans, especially those who play NFL fantasy leagues and daily fantasy (DFS), next season is just beginning while the NFL season is over.
There are thousands of storylines to pursue and examine, numerous rocks to kick around and toss about, and plenty of “what-ifs” to consider before the start of volunteer OTA’s this spring.
Teams right now are amid turnover of both the front offices and their rosters. Some players are retiring, and there is the draft to prepare for, veteran players with salary cap implications, coaching changes, and more.
The upheaval means that there is also a ton of opportunity to over-evaluate how players may perform in the next season, especially as it relates to fantasy football.
For example, the Bengals’ offseason means they are set to lose only a couple of keys to their team, but they are significant potential losses.
Headlining the potential losses are tight end C.J. Uzomah, OT Riley Reiff, DB Tre Flowers, and S Jessie Bates. Each could be a devastating loss or a positive if they re-sign with the team.
Obviously, salary cap implications and cheaper, younger upgrades at each position will be a significant factor in these decisions. Still, it’s hard to imagine losing all the leadership, experience, and camaraderie listed here.
And it’s not just the Bengals that have some difficult decisions to make that could impact the entire NFL as well as your potential fantasy leagues.
There are some significant, juicy storylines to keep track of during the offseason. Some are of value based on a player’s usage to the team (Derrick Henry), unfolding drama (Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson), and how teams are going to adapt after losing a pillar of their team (Ben Roethlisberger).
Storylines To Impact The NFL And Fantasy Football
Derrick Henry: How the “king” returns from the foot surgery that saw him lose almost half a season and return for an early playoff exit is the dominant storyline for the TItans. But, as has been the case over the past few years, how Henry goes, so do the Titans.
Tampa Bay: How do you replace the best ever to play the game? With Tom Brady’s retirement, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette, and Chris Godwin may all see their chances be better-off elsewhere, even into retirement for a second time (Gronk). What management does to build around the void that Brady’s exit leaves will be telling for the team and fantasy owners’ chances.
Aaron Rodgers: What does Aaron Rodgers want to do, and will the Green Bay Packers give it to him? Also, any decision that Rodgers and the Packers make will undoubtedly impact elite wide receiver Davante Adams, and the loss of these two would undoubtedly impact Aaron Jones’s efficiency.
The Pittsburgh Steelers: The retirement of Ben Roethlisberger and the impending free agency of JuJu Smith-Schuster will impact the Steelers in many ways. The loss of experience, consistency, and leadership will affect what the Steelers offense may do, and even though Big Ben wasn’t what he was during his Super Bowl heyday, teams couldn’t just load up against Najee Harris in the run game.
Russell Wilson and The Seattle Seahawks: Rumors about Russell Wilson have been ongoing that Wilson is unhappy in Seattle and is quietly pursuing the opportunity for a trade. The question is, are the rumors about Wilson seeking a trade true, or are they just that, rumors? Wilson recently put to rest the idea of pursuing a trade, but it could all just be a smokescreen.
Coaching Changes: What impacts coaching changes have on team rosters and personnel is intriguing, such as Josh McDaniels being a plus for the Raiders and a negative for New England, or just more of the same? The same could be said for changes in Minnesota, Denver, Jacksonville, Houston, and Miami.
Super Bowl Hangovers: Finally, how will the Super Bowl combatants fare in the 2022-23 season? Will the Rams all return for another run, can Cooper Kupp continue to be all-world, and how will the Bengals overcome their hangover of having a near-victory in Super Bowl LVI?
Those storylines and much more will be discussed and examined every day until the first kick-off of the season.
How teams handle players’ return from injury, the upgrades from the draft and free agency, how players respond to coaching changes, and a little luck is all part of what makes the NFL and fantasy football so much fun.