Here at NerdBall, we pride ourselves on the fact that we are constantly striving to provide data and insight to help you with your fantasy football teams. This can take many forms, from player rankings and draft strategies, to more global views of team performance. That’s where our NFL team NEFF rankings come in. They’re designed to give a statistical view of each team’s performance on a weekly and season-long perspective for all three phases of the game. (We even go further and breakdown the defenses into pass and run defense rankings.)
I’ve been recording the team NEFF rankings for a number of years, and have a database of over 5,000 games dating back to the 2002 season. However this year I have done something I’ve never done before.
I have taken what I’ve learned from years of NEFF data, alongside the multitude of changes in team player and coaching personnel, to give my projected view of how the NEFF rankings will look when we close Week 18 in January 2023.
Without further ado, here’s how I project the 2022 NFL season playing out.
The Cream of the Crop
At the top of the rankings, I’m projecting the Bills to repeat as the top rated team in the NFL for 2022. They were never out of the top-2 teams from Week 3 in 2021 and led the rankings from Week 12 through to the end of the season. Quite simply they have one of the best rosters in the NFL, with a projected top-3 offense and defense with ascending players on both sides of the ball. I even left their special teams as the 22nd-ranked team like they were in 2021, so any improvement in this area only strengthens their projection. If the Bills do repeat as the top rated NEFF team, they will be only the second team to do so after the dominant 2014/5 Seahawks.
Just behind the Bills, I have the Buccaneers, who finished as the third-rated team in 2021 but have a stacked offense under Tom Brady and a still dominant defense. The may be some questions after the Bucs lost center Ryan Jensen to a major knee injury, but do we ever doubt Tom Brady given his achievements and experience? The Bucs, like the Bills, also have the 14th-easiest schedule based on these NEFF ratings, meaning they have a relatively smooth path to success.
In third place I have placed the defending Super Bowl champion Rams. Los Angeles has managed to re-up on some key pieces of their championship roster, as well as adding Bobby Wagner to the middle of their defense in free agency.
Risers and Fallers
In terms of the biggest risers from last year’s rankings, the Broncos I have moving up from 21st to 9th, driven by the trade for Russell Wilson. We know the receiving depth that Denver has, and a top tier quarterback is the missing piece that should unlock all that potential.
I have the Ravens moving up 11 places to 6th overall. They have a healthy Lamar Jackson, invested both free agents and high draft picks to both lines, and signed a difference maker to their secondary by adding Marcus Williams from the Saints. Before Jackson got injured last season, the Ravens were inside the top-10 teams in terms of NEFF rating, before dropping to 17th over the last 6 weeks of the season.
The other team I have shooting up the rankings for 2022 is the Chargers. I have them as the fifth-best team for the season ahead. This is driven by me projecting them as the No. 1 offense in 2022, led by the ascending Justin Herbert. They also added to their offensive line by drafting guard Zion Johnson and they added pass-catching tight end Gerald Everett from the Seahawks. On defense I have them rising 14 places, thanks to the addition of a number players including free agent splash JC Jackson at cornerback, plus edge rushers Kyle Van Noy and Khalil Mack, with mack coming over from the Bears in a trade.
The biggest fallers for 2022 are the Seahawks, for obvious reasons. I have Seattle dropping to the 30th-rated team after trading Russell Wilson to Denver and leaving Drew Lock and Geno Smith to battle it out to be the starting quarterback. Also letting Bobby Wagner and Carlos Dunlap leave in free agency means I have the Seahawks dropping significantly on both sides of the ball.
After the Seahawks, the Packers and Cardinals I have both dropping 7 places after being top-10 teams in 2021. This is partly due to other teams moving up ahead of them, but I have regression coming for both offenses, with the Cardinals’ defense also set to step back in 2022.
The Bottom of the Barrel
At the bottom of the rankings I have the Falcons, who I have set to finish dead last on both offense and defense in 2022. Losing Matt Ryan to the Colts is the main catalyst for this, but overall there is a dearth of talent across the Falcons’ 2022 roster.
Just ahead of them are the Lions. Detroit is another talent-light roster who remains under the charge of Jared Goff for 2022. I haven’t moved the Lions offense and defense much for 2022, but other teams that finished 2021 below them—such as the Giants, Jaguars and Jets—have made more positive moves either in coaching or player personnel, which gives me more confidence than I have with Detroit this year.
Rounding out the bottom three are the Seahawks.
Here are the full projections for all 32 teams for the season ahead, plus strength of schedule (1 = easiest schedule, 32 = hardest).
2022 NEFF Ratings Projections
|Team||Projected Record (Vegas Totals)||2022 Strength of Schedule||2021 Total NEFF Rank||2022 Total NEFF Rank||2022 ONEFF Rank||2022 DNEFF Rank||2022 STNEFF Rank|