Offenses That Will Make the Leap to Top-10 in 2024-2025

  • What’s the best way to win your fantasy league?!? There are probably a million different answers you could give, but one of the main ways is predicting the offenses, and therefore players, that can go from bad to good, at least from a production and statistical standpoint. So here are four teams that really underperformed last season that I believe will take a step forward to finish this year around the top-ten or above. Sometimes, it’s really just as simple as getting a new quarterback or a healthy one, and maybe pairing that with a new coordinator or head coach.  There are, however, many aspects to it as the season gets going and it’s important to consider those before you draft in dynasty, best ball or redraft. The four I am betting on for a rags to riches story from last year to this year: Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons.   

    CHICAGO BEARS 

    2023 Stats

    • Points/Game: 21.2 points (18th)
    • Yards per game: 323.2 yards (20th)
    • TD’s: 37 (20th) 
    • Receptions: 321 (31st)
    • Rec Yards/Game: 3,421 yards (28th)
    • Rec TD’s: 19 (30th)
    • Rushing Attempts: 534 (2nd) 
    • Rushing Yards: 2,399 (2nd) – 141.1 rushing yards/game
    • Rush TD’s: 16 (11th) 
    • 1st Downs: 322 (20th)
    • 3rd down conversion rate: 41.2% (12th)

    Chicago leaves this draft with Caleb Williams at #1 overall and Rome Odunze at #9 overall, completely resetting their franchise.  To really paint the picture, let’s start a few decades in the past here: if Caleb can throw for more than 4,000 passing yards and 30 touchdown passes, it will be the best season by any Bears QB in history.  Erik Kramer threw the most TD’s in a single season for the Bears with 29, all the way back in 1995. The top movies that year were Dumb and Dumber and Billy Madison. Last year’s team, with Justin Fields (QB18 last season) and Tyson Bagent (QB45 last season) starting at quarterback, their offense was only able to manage 19 TD’s through the air, which was 30th in the league. They were also 31st in receptions per game, 28th in receiving yards per game and 30th in receiving touchdowns. The passing attack was pretty miserable. 

    They did, however, finish 2nd in both rushing attempts and yards, averaging 141.1 rushing yards/game. The stark difference in rushing vs receiving stats was mostly due to the QB play as both Fields and Bagent, who would either hold onto the ball too long waiting for a wide open throw and then take off running, or bail after the 1st or 2nd read, and take off running. We were able to witness some amazing highlights because of it, but it doesn’t really lead to an efficient offense in today’s NFL.  Well, insert Caleb Williams, who is arguably the most hyped quarterback prospect of all time, and some new skill players, and we have a real NFL offense that will certainly be pushing the ball down the field A LOT more this season and, hopefully for all Bears fans, years to come.  

    Williams begins his rookie season with an amazing cast around him: the aforementioned 1st rounder Rome Odunze, along with veteran wide receivers Keenan Allen and DJ Moore, solid runners and pass-catching running backs in Khalil Herbert, D’Andre Swift and Roschon Johnson, and a strong duo of tight ends in Gerald Everett and Cole Kmet.  It’s arguably the best all-around offensive skill group in the league, excellently assembled by GM Ryan Poles, and tailor-made for a rookie QB to thrive immediately.  Chicago also has an improved offensive line and a new offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron, who brings just under twenty years of coaching experience, including ten in the NFL. Needless to say, Bears fans are going absolutely wild and I’m totally here for it.  There is a very very good chance this will be the best offensive season in Bears history and that’s not hyperbole at all.  

    Fantasy Thoughts: 

    • Quarterback: I am drafting Caleb Williams in every format that I can. Don’t overthink it.   
    • Running Back: It’s a coin flip between the three and will depend on health but I prefer Johnson (RB 47 last season), Herbert (RB 43 last season) and then Swift (RB 20 last season) in that order.  The Lions and Eagles both showed us how much they didn’t believe in Swift by moving on from him despite decent production, and I don’t expect that to be different with Herbert and Johnson both on this roster. I believe Roschon Johnson can take the lead in this backfield if he can show growth early in the season.  If you draft one of these RB’s, I like the idea of snagging another one of them, and playing the odds on who makes it out on top.  I would prefer to wait and take Johnson and Herbert, but that would likely have to be in back to back rounds, or potentially back to back picks, since they are so closely ranked.  If this offense can be as efficient as we expect, there might be a top-10 back from this group. We just need to see one emerge as the main guy.  
    • Wide Receiver:  DJ Moore (WR 6 last season) and Keenan Allen (WR 8 last season) are likely both in for a big season this year.  Allen, obviously traded from the Chargers to Bears, is a great fit with Caleb Williams and an amazing vet to have in his rookie season.  Allen had an impressive 31% target share last year with Justin Herbert in LA and showed no signs of slowing down despite turning 32 in 2024.  But his age and competition for targets do concern me for his fantasy season.  Moore was somehow able to finish WR 6 last season and could be in for the best season of his career.  The addition of Allen and Odunze both does threaten that but we are talking about an offense that only had 19 passing touchdowns last season so there is plenty of room for multiple wide-outs to be productive.  Unless Moore and/or Allen miss time, it will be hard for Odunze to be very productive this season.  
    • Tight End: Cole Kmet (TE 8 last season) and Gerald Everett (TE 23 last season) will surely both see a lot of playing time, but I prefer Kmet by a good margin.  He had a career-high 73 catches last year and scored six touchdowns, despite the bad passing attack.  Both guys will be impacted by the strength of these WR and RB groups, so Kmet is likely just out of the TE1 group, but I still like his upside.  

    CINCINNATI BENGALS 

    2023 Stats

    • Points/Game: 21.5 (16th)
    • Yards per game: 318.9 yards (22nd)
    • TD’s: 41 (14th) 
    • Receptions: 420 (4th) 
    • Rec Yards/Game: 4,257 (12th) 
    • Rec TD’s: 27 (14th) 
    • Rushing Attempts: 383 (30th) 
    • Rushing Yards: 1,527 (30th) – 89.8 yards/game 
    • Rush TD’s: 12 (19th) 
    • 1st Downs: 329 (16th) 
    • 3rd down conversion rate: 37.6% (20th) 

    2024 is the return of Joe Burrow (QB25 last season). He missed most of the season last year, which was the main reason for the Bengals struggles. He had a preseason calf injury that noticeably inhibited him in the first three or four weeks of the season, but he did look like himself again when healthy. In weeks 5-11, before his wrist injury that ended his season, Burrow was QB9 in fantasy, ranking third in touchdown passes with 13, second in 300-yard games with three, and third in touchdown passes of 40-plus yards with two during that span. Tee Higgins also struggled with injuries last season, suffering a rib fracture, chest fracture and hamstring strain. It wasn’t necessarily a bad year for Higgins, but he did post career lows with 42 catches, 656 yards and 5 touchdowns, mostly because he and Burrow both were far from 100%.  This offense, however, still managed to finish 16th in points per game with 21.5, and 14th in touchdowns with 41. They were 4th in total receptions with 420 and 14th in passing touchdowns with 27.  A lot of that production was due to the greatness of top-WR Ja’Marr Chase (WR11 last season) with 100 receptions and over 1,200 yards. Chase led the NFL in red zone targets per game over the last two seasons, making him a top candidate to finish as WR #1 overall this season if we can get a full season of Burrow.  

    Of course, Higgins has requested a trade out of Cincy multiple times in the last few months, as they work through some contract disputes. The Bengals decided to franchise tag Higgins for the upcoming season, but he wants a long-term deal with more guaranteed money, and he certainly deserves it.  I understand the Bengals approach here, as they likely can’t compete paying Burrow, Chase and Higgins all top-dollar. Whether Higgins stays in Cincy or is dealt somewhere else, he has a lot of incentive to play well this season to get that big second contract he covets. I think, however, they work it out for this season as the Bengals are doing everything they can to run it back one more time with the three of them, chasing that Super Bowl win that has evaded them thus far. Don’t forget, two years ago, Burrow was QB4 in fantasy, the Bengals were a twelve-win division champion that advanced to the AFC Championship game. The year before that, they found their groove, played very well through the playoffs, narrowingly losing to the LA Rams in the Super Bowl.  If they can stay healthy, they will be a top-10 offense again in 2024-2025. Joe Burrow is still one of the best QB’s in the league and I will be betting on them to get back to the playoffs this season.  

    There are some new faces in the building for this year as they look to inject some more energy and youth into this already skilled group. They decided to move on from running back Joe Mixon (RB6 last season) and signed Zach Moss (RB31 last season) from Indy to replace him.  Mostly a cost-saving move, as Moss will have his best real chance to lead a backfield since entering the league. He was productive last season filling in for Jonathan Taylor in Indy. In the seven games he started and played at least 50% of the snaps, he finished with 21.1 touches and 98.5 total yards per game. He and second-year RB Chase Brown will likely split the workload this season as the Bengals try to revive their running game that finished 30th in rushing attempts, 30th in yards and 19th in rushing touchdowns. 

    They lost Offensive Coordinator Brian Callahan to Tennessee, as he gets his first shot running an NFL team. Callahan was able to lure long-time veteran slot-wideout Tyler Boyd (WR49 last season) to come join him as well. The Bengals drafted Jermaine Burton out of Alabama to replace Boyd in the slot. While he isn’t the nuanced route-runner Boyd was for Burrow the last few seasons, he adds some extra speed and will allow them more flexibility in offensive sets, as he can easily line up out wide. This will give Chase and/or Higgins an opportunity to work from a different part of the field.  If there has been one consistent issue with the Bengals offense the last few years (besides a ton of injuries), it has been their predictability, relying on their raw talent in Chase and Higgins to win 50/50 go balls down the sidelines. Don’t get me wrong, if I had Chase and Higgins, I would be doing a lot of the same and this offense was very successful leaning into that, but I would love to see Cincy give the defense some more to think about, more to adjust to both pre and post snap.   

    A big focus for Cincy in free agency and the draft was addressing the tight-end position.  They have cycled through a number of guys since drafting Burrow, but have yet to find a consistent and efficient option for him.  This year, they signed Mike Geisiki who has shown some flashes in his six seasons with MIA and New England, particularly skilled at catching jump balls in the end zone, but he can’t be an every-down option, nor is he a long-term solution.  They double-dipped in the draft, grabbing Erik All from Iowa in the 4th round and Tanner MacLachlan from Arizona in the 6th. Both with very strong athletic profiles with potential to grow into reliable options for Burrow.  All to say, this is an offense ready to get back to what they did in 2021 and 2022.  

    Fantasy Thoughts: 

    • Quarterback: Burrow comes into the year ranked QB7 in consensus rankings.  The guy is a competitor, so bet on the fact that he will bounce back this season and push to be a top-5 fantasy QB.  He is a set-it-and-forget-it QB1 in all formats.  
    • Running Back: Moss will likely be drafted higher than Brown in most drafts, but it’s more of a toss-up for me.  A lot of people expect Moss to get most of the carries, but I expect it to be more of a 50/50 split in terms of percentage of snaps, with Brown getting a lot of the passing down work.  For that reason, I prefer Brown more at cost in redraft and in dynasty they are pretty even.  
    • Wide Receiver: Chase and Higgins are still one of the best duos in the league.  Chase ranked top-five and Higgins top-30 currently, but both with a realistic chance to finish top-20.  In 2022, Chase finished 11th and Higgins 18th, and in 2021 Chase finished 5th and Higgins 24th.  Personally, I will be drafting Higgins lower than consensus this year, simply due to injury concerns but I like buying low on him in dynasty formats before he may change teams and be the #1 option somewhere else.  I am drafting Chase in as many formats as I can.  You can likely stack Chase and Burrow with where they are falling in drafts right now.   
    • Tight End: I am mostly fading Mike Geisiki this season as I believe the rookies (All & MacLachlan) have a better shot at consistent production.  You likely could snag one or both off waivers after any draft in redraft format.  I prefer MacLachlan slightly over All even though they drafted him later.  He is a former basketball and soccer player with incredible hands and plenty of room to grow.  


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