NFC East Preview
NFC East Preview
New York Giants
The Giants appear to have come to a crossroads in 2017, both on the field and in fantasy. The hopes of both fans of the New York Football Giants and owners who draft these players all seem to hinge on one man, Eli Manning. Manning, as ever, was inconsistent last year and now a year older it shouldn’t be surprising if this sporadic play continues or even worsens. Sadly, while the Giants seem to pose and outstanding receiving corps for next season, this all may be for nothing if Manning continues his downtrend.
Stud WRs like 1st rounder Odell Beckham Jr. and last year’s rookie sensation Sterling Shepard seem to be locks for guaranteed volume and production, but the certainty ends there. The new additions to the boys in blue in veteran WR Brandon Marshall and rookie TE Evan Engram while being talented, are likely to be under-productive and over-drafted. Marshall’s name value in itself has caused his ADP to sky-rocket into the 5th round, a stratosphere no other No. 3 WR on any team has reached.
The surprise of the offseason perhaps in New York appears to be the trust that the Giants front office have placed in RB Paul Perkins. Perkins, who is entering his 2nd season, did not become the bell-cow back in New York for the majority of the 2016 season and many saw him as just a stop-gap player. With only 456 rushing yards in 2016, the former UCLA man did not exactly come out of the gates hot. While there is little behind him in the running-back depth chart to leach his carries, a 6th round ADP is a considerable price tag for a relatively unproven player. Derrick Henry, Danny Woodhead, and Frank Gore are all proven productive players which you can pick up after Perkins and even gambling on Samaje Perine in Washington may serve you better in the long run.
While the Giants may be looking to take a step back offensively this season, Washington will do nothing of the sort. At a late 8th round price Kirk Cousins is still a relative bargain in the quarterback market. Since becoming the starter in Washington in 2014 Cousins hasn’t thrown less than 4,000 yards in a season and has the potential to rival any other signal caller in daily fantasy formats due to his weekly ceiling.
The Redskins may have lost OC Sean McVay to the Rams but they have surrounded Cousins with even more talent to soften the blow. Deep threat WR Desean Jackson was replaced, and some would argue upgraded, to the behemoth WR that is Terrelle Pryor. While Pryor’s 3rd round price tag seems outlandish, his big frame and incredible athleticism place him in the running for a WR1 caliber season. While Pryor may be the sexy name, the fantasy superstar in this offense in 2017 is likely to slot receiver Jamison Crowder. While stud TE Jordan Reed will continue to get his, being constantly injured will allow Crowder to gain even more production out of the slot and positions him as a monster WR in PPR formats. Crowder has the potential for a Jarvis Landry-type season and is a full round cheaper than the afore mentioned Dolphin.
The big question mark in the Redskins high-flying offense, however, continues to be at the running-back position. Ex-Oklahoma stand out and rookie Samaje Perine will be looking to grab the limelight, however, he will have to wrestle it away from Rob Kelley, A.K.A. ‘Fat Rob’, who performed more than capably in his time as the starter last season. With both players carrying a mid-round price range it may be worth taking a shot on the younger Perine who is collectively assumed to have a greater potential to produce.
The Liberty wedding bells in Philly seem to be ringing for Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense this season. While the rookie showed much promise in amongst a tough rookie season, a recently fortified offensive staff will be the formula needed to boost Wentz’s second year into orbit.
Now surrounded by Alshon Jeffrey, Jordan Matthews, and Zach Ertz, Wentz now leads one of the strongest receiving corps in the NFL. The diverse skill sets of these players also will allow Wentz to step forward in his sophomore season and with a current ADP of the 13th round, Wentz is the fantasy bargain of 2017.
Jeffrey’s one-year contract will mean he is looking to put up huge numbers to boost his value in free agency this year and so while many have been stung by drafting Jeffrey high in the past, this may be the year to do so. A fellow ‘newbie’ to Philly who will also be looking to impress is RB LeGarrette Blount. The Eagles have a litany of small-backs and so while Blount may be absent in the passing game, his use as a goal-line back could see him once again lead the NFL in touchdowns. If this is the case, Blount could be a steal in the 5th round. Not many players from that range have the potential to be top-5 running backs, Blount’s TD potential gives him just that.
P.S. Jordan Matthews is available in the 12th round. Go get him and thank me later.
Last but not least, how ‘bout them Cowboys huh? While name value can often lead to the over-drafting of players, in the Cowboys case, they’re worth the price. Drafting Zeke and Dez won’t come cheap, both with ADP’s within the first two rounds, but the payoff could potentially be massive while the floor, for Ezekiel Elliott, especially is particularly high.
Dez Bryant, on the other hand, is a riskier pick. The combination of injuries, antics and the nature of breakout star QB Dak Prescott’s play all raise red flags to drop a 2.09 pick on Dez. Bryant’s style of play is wild and raw, relying on jump balls and contested catches to excel. Prescott earned Offensive Rookie of the Year honors by protecting the ball and avoiding being goaded into making hazardous, contested throws. While Dak is a solid fantasy quarterback, his safe style of play is counter-intuitive to the success of Dez. However, if Dak progresses and builds a trust with Bryant, both players could have potentially career years. Therein lies the conundrum of fantasy football. No matter how risky a pick is, there is always a reason to justify it.
The problem with drafting Cowboys players, as mentioned above, is their name value. While Dak did have a stellar year in 2016, finishing as the QB6, Carson Wentz, Tyrod Taylor, Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford are all available after him at his 10th round ADP. A smart move may be to draft a skill position player with guaranteed volume and the promise of huge production instead of Dak in the 10th, such as Corey Coleman or O.J. Howard. Skill position players are much deeper at this stage in the draft than if you were to take Dak here when a fairly comparable QB like Wentz is available three rounds later.