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Touchdown scoring can make the difference both in fantasy football and NFL standings. Here are AFC North TD Projections.
The TD projections series continues as we go division by division. After tackling the AFC East TD Projections, here are the predictions for the AFC North. Which teams and players will likely score the most touchdowns in 2022? How will certain complicated backfields be split? Who might disappoint with their upcoming scoring totals? Well, find out in these AFC North TD Projections.
Total TD Projection: 53
In my 2022 TD projections, I have Baltimore with the 3rd most offensive touchdowns in the NFL. With 53 total scores, the Ravens are only two behind a certain AFC East team, and three behind another franchise that will be revealed in a future article. Part of that ranking comes from Baltimore having the 3rd most rushing TD in my predictions. And that all begins at the QB himself. To go along with his 31 passing touchdowns, I project Lamar Jackson will score 7 times on the ground for a total of 38 offensive touchdowns. That places him in a tie for 4th place among quarterbacks in total TD production.
For the rest of the Ravens runners, that was arguably the most difficult part of predicting this team’s output. Both of the top two running backs are coming off of ACL tears in 2021. So while I currently have JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards with 12 rushing touchdowns combined, that number could shrink if either (or both) are forced to miss time in the regular season. So the current split is Dobbins at 7 scores, Edwards at 5, and the backups with 3 rushing touchdowns combined. More than anything else, if I were to take touchdowns away from Dobbins or Edwards, I would likely move those scores to the 3rd string RB, whoever that may be.
To finish out the running backs, I also have the positional group with only two receiving touchdowns as a whole. 1 from Dobbins, and 1 likely coming from rookie Tyler Badie, whose strong suit in college was his passing game involvement from him. Again, if Dobbins were to miss time then that receiving score might go toward Badie in my projections. Speaking of receiving scores, no surprise I have Mark Andrews leading the team with 10 touchdowns. And not just leading Baltimore, but more than tripling up almost every other pass catcher. Aside from Rashod Bateman, I project no other Baltimore player will produce more than 3 receiving touchdowns.
All in all, I have Andrews and Bateman with over half of Jackson’s passing TD output. Between Bateman’s 6 and Andrews’ 10, I project that duo will account for 16 of Jackson’s 31 touchdowns through the air. Aside from those two, every other Ravens WR is fairly cheap in fantasy football. You can basically pick your shot on any of them late in drafts. Looking at my TD projection work, if I had to select a Balitomre breakout (aside from the 2nd-year Bateman) it would be Devin Duvernay. That is because he has been better at accumulating yards, than the other options on the depth chat. And Duvernay also had a pair of receiving touchdowns last year, showing some chemistry with Jackson.
Total TD Projection: 48
After an impressive season where they played in the Super Bowl, the Bengals are likely looking to bounce right back off of that season-finale loss. However, I do have the offensive production taking a slight step back, specifically with scoring. Instead of 52 offensive touchdowns, like Cincinnati produced in 2021, I have them projected to find the end zone 48 times. The biggest loss is likely to be felt in the run game, specifically for Joe Mixon. Last year he scored 16 times, with 13 coming on the ground. In my 2022 projections, I have Mixon with only 8 rushing touchdowns and 3 receiving scores, resulting in a drop from 16 to 10. But the truth is, Mixon had never produced double-digit touchdowns until 2021. So a 10-scrimmage TD season would actually be the 2nd highest of his career.
The one aspect of the Bengals attack that may persist is the passing efficiency demonstrated late last year. Perhaps not to the extreme like the fantasy playoffs, but I have Joe Burrow with 35 passing touchdowns for the 2022 season. That projection is only one off of last season’s production. And once again, Burrow’s top TD target will likely be Ja’Marr Chase. Now, even with a ridiculous 1,400+ yard rookie season, Chase outproduced his TD expectation by finding the end zone 13 times. While I expect some form of negative regression, I still predict Chase will score 12 times. And 12 receiving touchdowns is the high water mark in this series. According to my 2022 projections, Chase is one of four players with 12 receiving scores. So looking at that, I would say he has as good a chance as any to lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns.
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After Chase, next on my Cincinnati TD list is Tee Higgins with 7 receiving scores, followed by Tyler Boyd with 5 to himself. That means the top trio of Bengals wide receivers to catch 24 of Burrow’s 35 passing touchdowns. As I mentioned earlier, I expect Joe Mixon’s TD totals to drop below Chase. However, I still believe he will still find the end zone more often than Higgins and Boyd.
After the top three wide receivers and Mixon, I actually have a pair of running backs and a tight end as the next highest producing Bengals. According to my projections, Chris Evans, Samaje Perine, and Hayden Hurst will also score 3 scrimmage touchdowns each. Among this group, Hurst has the most potential to produce that number. He is, after all, the starting TE in the offense. However, Hurst has only eclipsed 3 scores once so far in his career. Now, between the two backs, I would say it is likelier that Perine scores more rushing touchdowns, while Evans has more receiving scores.
Total TD Projection: 50
Without a doubt, the Browns were one of the most difficult offenses to project. At least, I thought that when trying to predict these touchdowns, and I’m sure anyone trying to project the Cleveland offense thought the same. Although we have received some recent clarity with news that Deshaun Watson will be suspended for 6 games in 2022. To create the Browns passing TD projection, I combined Watson and Jacoby Brissett’s career TD rates (5.9% and 3.0% respectively) Which gave a total of 26 passing touchdowns. Considering Watson’s suspension is less than originally anticipated, perhaps this TD amount is also too low. But I believe I made up for Watson’s effect on the offense in the rushing portion of my projections.
I predict that the Browns will lead the league in rushing touchdowns. Part of that comes from arguably the best RB duo in the league. Indeed the RB duo with the most combined success and production at the NFL level. For 2022, I expect Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to combine for 17 rushing scores. I currently have it split 11-6 in favor of Chubb but I could see the potential for those two to be closer. We have witnessed Cleveland be very run-heavy in the red zone with this current offensive system. Regardless of Chubb’s status as the lead-back, Hunt and even 3rd string D’Ernest Johnson will likely see opportunities near the goal-line.
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But even with an 11-6 rushing TD split for the running backs, I have Hunt closing the gap with his receiving work. In terms of total scrimmage score, I project Chubb with 12 and Hunt with 10. Part of that prediction with Hunt is 4 receiving touchdowns, which would put him 2nd on the team among pass-catching scores. I only have Amari Cooper eclipsing Hunt with 7 receiving touchdowns. But for every other player on the Browns roster, there is just no history of much pass-game production.
Based on their career numbers up to this point, Hunt outdoes all of these secondary receiving options, especially when it comes to TD scoring. I project that Donovan Peoples-Jones, as well as a pair of tight ends in David Njoku and Harrison Bryant, all get 3 receiving touchdowns a piece. In my numbers, no other Browns player has more than 1 receiving score. I suppose the biggest wild card is David Bell. But the rookie is currently injured at training camp, so I am going to be conservative with his TD production for now.
Total TD Projection: 34
Because Kenny Pickett is a rookie, he obviously has no NFL stats. So in order to project the Steelers’ TD totals, I made the assumption that Mitch Trubisky would play all 17 games. Therefore, I used Trubisky’s career TD rate of 4.1%, which gave 22 passing touchdowns. Along with 11 rushing scores, this places Pittsburgh in the bottom quarter of the NFL in my offensive TD projections.
Most of the rushing touchdowns go to Najee Harris’ credit, as I project him to score 8 of the Steelers’ 11 end zone trips on the ground. Considering that Haris monopolized most of the RB touches last season, I don’t expect the backup running backs to produce more than 1 TD combined. If anything, the threat of TD vultures may come from other positions, namely, the QB Trubisky, but also WR Chase Claypool. The wide receiver does have a history as he produced a pair of rushing touchdowns during his rookie season.
Even with the rushing TD boost in the projections, I still have Claypool with the same number of scrimmage touchdowns as Diontae Johnson with 6 each. After those two wide receivers, I project Pat Freiermuth will be third on the team in receiving scores. Following an impressive rookie season where I have produced 7 touchdowns, I expect some form of negative regression for the tight end. My previous article referenced the NFL average of 155 yards per scrimmage TD. Given that, Freiermuth should have been expected to score 3 receiving scores on the 497 yards accumulated as a rookie. But some credit must be given to the players producing the touchdowns, even if they are at an elevated pace. So instead of dropping Friermuth all the way down to 3, I project he will score 4 receiving touchdowns.
While I was unsure exactly how rookie George Pickens would fit in, I predict that he will have 3 receiving touchdowns during his inaugural NFL season. Perhaps the rookie scores less than 3 and allows the 2nd year tight end Freiermuth to produce 5 or more touchdowns. Or perhaps he takes over as main target, making my projection of 3 look foolish. Either way, Pickens is a wild card for this offense. One last player I want to reference is former Ravens receiver Miles Boykin. I have him chipping in with 2 receiving scores on the season as the clear top four WR on this team.
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