We made it through the AFC! It was a fun journey that hopefully proved helpful for our dynasty teams.
Make sure you’re catching the follow-up articles from @A_Winters9. Anthony is identifying possible landing spots for the incoming rookie class based on the needs of each team, and he’s going through it division-by-division, so we can all meticulously dig in and benefit from his excellent research. Not only is it fun to imagine where these players may land, but you get top-notch analysis along the way.
For now though, the NFC East awaits!
The division was utter trash this year. Congrats to the 7-9 Washington Football Team, I guess.
For as bad as the teams were at playing actual football, there are a plethora of interesting players and landing spots for incoming rookies, so let’s get after it!
The Cowboys defense was, for lack of a better term, horrendous. Fortunately for us, we only care about the offense. Unless of course you’re into having D/ST and/or IDP’s in your league and, in that case, explain the appeal to me, because I’ve long since abandoned D/ST in my leagues and have tried IDP’s but they’re not my thing. But hey, whatever you’re into is alright.
Anyways, the Cowboys can put up points, and that should only continue into 2021. Great News!
Dak Prescott entered the league and produced. It’s as simple as that. He is consistent and reliable as an actual quarterback and a fantasy one. This season’s injury aside, he has finished as a QB1 every year. How the Cowboys haven’t locked him up long-term is beyond me. Get it done Jerry Jones!
As for us dynasty owners, get Prescott if you don’t have him and keep him if you do. If Dallas is dumb enough to let him leave, then he will produce wherever he goes. I’m not even remotely worried.
I know we were only given a 4.5-game sample this year, one that was hilariously skewed by the 222 (No. 36 among qualified quarterbacks) Attempts he put up in such a short time frame, but he looked like he took another step forward as a passer. Looking at his efficiency should fill us with confidence.
Prescott posted an excellent 8.4 (No. 2) Yards Per Attempt average thanks in part to a 55.6-percent (No. 3) Deep Ball Completion Percentage. His accuracy went beyond the deep ball though, evidenced by his 7.8 (No. 5) Accuracy Rating and 47.5-percent (No. 8) Pressured Completion Percentage. He’s also mobile enough to be a threat in the red zone, scoring three (No. 10) rushing touchdowns in only 4.5 games. With fantastic numbers like these, it’s no wonder he ended with a +18.8 (No. 4) Production Premium.
Don’t let Dak slip under the radar. Lock him up and profit!
The bad news for Zeke owners is that the elite return window has closed. He isn’t a top 5 back anymore, and it’s just another reminder of how fast the cliff comes for running backs. I know you hate to hear it, but that cliff is coming for guys like Dalvin Cook. Just don’t be surprised when it happens.
The good news is that for elite backs, there are usually two cliffs. The first is from elite to RB2 territory. The second is what happened to Le’Veon Bell. This means that Elliott will still produce. If he’s more like Bell, then you have another year and that will probably be about it. If he’s like LeSean McCoy, you may have three to four years. It’s hard to say for certain, but with the volume that Zeke gets, he should be relatively productive for at least two more years.
Now, I get it. We can “excuse” away this season because the o-line was terrible, evidenced by Elliott’s 67.7 (No. 51) Run Blocking Efficiency rating. Also don’t forget that Andy Dalton, Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci started games. Sure, those are all valid points “Devil’s Advocate Dan,” but we have to face the facts.
Those facts start with Elliott’s hefty workload. He finished in the top 10 with a 74.9-percent (No. 6) Snap Share, 244 (No. 5) Carries, 73 (No. 4) Targets, 261.0 (No. 4) Weighted Opportunities, 51 (No. 9) Red Zone Touches (51), 363 (No. 2) Routes Run and 16 (No. 3) Goal Line Carries. Dallas kept feeding and feeding and feeding him. He just wasn’t that good.
He didn’t have much juice in the run game, pairing a laughable 1.6-percent (No. 58) Breakaway Run Rate with 1.12 (No. 40) Yards Created per Touch. His 3.9 (No. 53) True Yards per Carry average is cringeworthy for a guy who benefited from a 46.3-percent (No. 18) Light Front Carry Rate. And while he received plenty of targets, his 6.5 (No. 28) Yards per Reception indicates that Dallas would’ve been better throwing elsewhere.
It was a good run for “Elite Zeke.” If you want to enjoy “Not Elite Zeke,” by all means. But personally, I’d get out. I’ve been left holding the bag on former stud running backs, most recently Bell, and it’s negative fun.
With such misery at the helm after Dak Prescott‘s injury, it’s tough to judge the production and efficiency of Dallas’ receiving room. Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup are all good at football. I’m sure of that. But can they all produce in the same offense?
To answer that, I want to focus on the five-game stretch with Prescott. I know he left early in Week 5, but let’s count it as a whole game for simplicity.
Cooper, it should be noted, is signed through 2024, though it’s not awful to get out for Dallas after 2021. Outside of a tough Week 5 matchup against James Bradberry, he was a beast. Now, his production was fueled by Prescott’s absurd passing volume, but he garnered double digit targets in three of five games. However, those targets didn’t lead to insane yardage totals, thanks mostly to his lackluster 10.9 Yards per Reception over those five games. He operated closer to the line of scrimmage and was propped up by volume. Even so, he was the clear target leader. Even with Lamb’s emergence, Cooper should maintain WR2 levels of production with Prescott airing it out.
Lamb burst onto the scene as a rookie, going for double-digit fantasy points in all five weeks, which neither Cooper nor Gallup accomplished. He was solidly behind Cooper and ahead of Gallup in targets, but actually surpassed Cooper in yards (433 to 424), demonstrating his big-play ability. There wasn’t much of a learning curve for the polished Lamb, and even without Prescott, he demonstrated consistency. He’s an absolute stud and should be the priority in this offense.
Outside of his Week 3 blowup against Seattle, Gallup actually performed better without Prescott. Even with Prescott chucking it 222 times, he drew more than five targets only once and was clearly the third option. There will certainly be big weeks, but he is a complimentary piece and will be hard to trust as a result. There will be plenty of single-digit games. I like Gallup the player, but if Cooper sticks around long-term, I have a hard time seeing how Gallup brings much to the table. I’d love to see him land elsewhere and we will have to see what Dallas does after 2021 with his contract up.
Dalton Schultz was actually pretty solid stepping in for the injured Blake Jarwin. Dallas passers consistently looked his way and he tallied 63 (No. 5) Receptions, proving to be a decent playmaker in churning out 271 (No. 8) Yards After Catch. You could do worse than a possession tight end with a 6.5 (No. 35) Average Target Distance mark, but we also don’t know how things will look next year with presumed starter Jarwin coming back.
I’ve also been hearing whispers of Kyle Pitts to Dallas, so that would be fun!
Recap: Buy Dak Prescott. Sell Ezekiel Elliott. Amari Cooper is a hold, as is Michael Gallup in hopes that he lands somewhere else. Ride CeeDee Lamb to the moon. Don’t get too excited about Dalton Schultz or Blake Jarwin.
New York Giants
The Giants offense was terrible. They were easily the worst in the division and one of the teams they were competing with started Kyle Allen for four games. It certainly didn’t help that Saquon Barkley only had 25 touches before going down with a brutal ACL tear in Week 2. There are many holes and not much hope moving forward, but at least the draft is right around the corner!
There isn’t much to get excited about when it comes to Daniel Jones. Year 2 was a big ol’ struggle. He managed a paltry 11 (No. 29) Passing Touchdowns in 14 games. As impressively bad as that is, his 38 (No. 5) Dangers Plays and 24 (No. 8) Interceptable Passes are worse.
Counting stats aside, Jones struggled in almost every efficiency metric. There’s no easy way to explain away a 6.5 (No. 28) Yards per Attempt average, 79.0 (No. 29) True Passer Rating, and -18.9 (No. 31) Production Premium.
Managing 30.2 (No. 7) Rushing Yards per Game, he at least has that going for him. While I love a QB who can run, we need to see him pass the ball at least moderately well. Unfortunately, he hasn’t come anywhere close to “moderately good.”
The Giants will likely roll him out next year after blowing the 1.06 on him in 2019, but that doesn’t mean we should as dynasty owners. Time to get what you can for Jones.
Saquon Barkley‘s monster rookie season feels like it happened 10 years ago. After struggling through a high ankle sprain in 2019, limiting him to the kinds of numbers mortal players are accustomed to, there was great hope for 2020. Healthy Saquon is one of the most exciting runners in recent memory. And then the ACL went out. Brutal.
Look, the analysis here isn’t complicated. Barkley was one of the best running back prospects ever. He went nuclear as a rookie in a bad offense. His ceiling is the RB1 overall. He will still be 24 years old when the season starts. I get it. The injuries are scary. And honestly, it’s understandable if you’re scared off by them. However, I’m betting that he comes back and still has that elite athleticism that makes him so scary. There has absolutely been a price drop on him, so what are you waiting for? If he’s healthy, he has a few years of elite production ahead of him.
Going through the receiver depth chart on PlayerProfiler is a hilarious blast from the past. Golden Tate is still kicking. Dante Pettis and Corey Coleman have both landed in New York, and so has David Sills from Crosby, Sills, and Nash. Amazing for a guy in his 70s!
But seriously, this depth chart is less than inspiring. I go into great detail on Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton here. But this is a room that needs a true WR1. Hopefully they do us a solid and add someone fun from this loaded class (editors note: we said for the second straight season, sad face emoji).
Evan Engram miraculously made it through a whole season. Good for him, truly. I’m assuming that he will stick around for the final year of his contract in 2021, although the Giants can release him without incurring any dead cap. Engram was pretty good in a terrible offense this year though, so I think he’s safe.
While his overall numbers don’t jump off the page, it seems that was more due to Daniel Jones than it was to Engram himself. While he had a problem hanging onto the ball this year with his 10 (No. 2) Drops, he showed he could still punish defenses. He accounted for a 20.5-percent (No. 8) Air Yards Share, with Jones looking his way often enough to lead to a 13.8-percent (No. 9) Hog Rate. With a 7.3 (No. 25) Average Target Distance mark, it would’ve been nice to see the athletic Engram get downfield a bit more, but he received 109 (No. 4) Targets and stayed healthy. I’m pleasantly surprised.
Don’t expect Engram to join the ranks of Travis Kelce and Darren Waller, especially with Jones throwing the ball, but he has reminded us that he can be more than serviceable. The biggest worry will always be his plethora of lower body injuries (he even fought through a late-season calf strain this year), but it’s encouraging to see him last the whole year. It makes him an attractive buy in Tight End Premium leagues, especially since he carries the “injury prone” designation with him and might come at a discount.
The Eagles were a cartoon dog this season.
When Nick Foles improbably outdueled Tom Brady in Super Bowl LII, no one would have imagined that the person to benefit the most would be Carson Wentz and not Foles himself (Ok, Foles did just fine for himself).
After being tricked into Wentz year after year (funnily enough, I didn’t have him anywhere in 2017), I have to put my foot down and say “No More!” After performing relatively well in 2019 with an abysmal supporting cast, I truly thought he would go off this year, but Wentz looks broken. He only played 12 games and somehow still ended with 42 (No. 2) Danger Plays and 30 (No. 2) Interceptable Passes. Maybe it’s because the front office took Jalen Hurts in the second round, shaking his confidence. Maybe it’s just that Wentz has always been overrated and it’s now catching up with him. I don’t know, but it’s bad. And worse, the Eagles might still trot him out there as the starter in 2021! Like I said: The Eagles are a meme.
I am all in favor of running Hurts back this year to see what he is. The small sample was nice in that we saw how good of a runner he was (no surprise) and how much work he still needs as a passer (also no surprise), but we need more. For that reason, I don’t mind grabbing him in SuperFlex leagues where you can, but don’t put too much faith in the Eagles.
After a second-half rookie breakout, the expectations were high for Miles Sanders. However, like the rest of the offense, he struggled as he missed four games and was plagued with uneven play.
What is encouraging is that Sanders was heavily utilized when he did play, leading to the hope that he could go off with a full season of health. He was afforded a 77.0-percent (No. 3) Snap Share and a 76.3-percent (No. 6) Opportunity Share. Additionally, Sanders churned out 5.6 (No. 8) Yards per Touch thanks to a 1.67 (No. 10) Yards Created per Touch average. With 4.49 (80th-percentile) 40-yard Dash speed and a 123.2 (74th-percentile) Burst Score, he is clearly shifty, and hopefully he can improve upon his lackluster 3.0-percent (No. 45) Breakaway Run Rate.
On the negative side, his 12.3-percent (No. 13) Target Share was offset by a 53.8-percent (No. 34) Catch Rate thanks to his right (No. 2) Drops and an underwhelming 7.0 (No. 24) Yards per Reception average. It would also be nice to see more goal line work since he only managed three (No. 46) Goal Line Carries.
Overall, Sanders is a good bet to be an RB1 in 2021. The Eagles seem happy to give him most of the work, and unless someone new comes along to eat into it, volume (especially in the passing game) and the ability to create yards for himself should make him a great target to acquire.
The Eagles are still trotting out the corpses of DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, hopefully your dynasty team isn’t at this point. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has been performing about as well as an actual shark would on a football field. Travis Fulgham was a fun thing for a minute. Greg Ward is a slot receiver. What else should I say about him? That leaves us with two interesting options. Jalen Reagor or an incoming rookie.
The former Horned Frog struggled with a handful of injuries this year, leading to only 11 underwhelming games played. There isn’t a positive metric out there for Reagor aside from his 13.4 (No. 20) Average Target Distance mark. It’s never a great sign when a rookie faceplants this hard. Now, we can explain it away with the injuries and suffering through awful quarterback play. After all, a 68.5-percent (No. 94) Catchable Target Rate is just cruel. There’s that at least. With no rookie season production to speak of, we have to revisit his collegiate profile. Fortunately he has a good one, which earned him 1.21 draft capital in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Reagor was cursed with terrible passing offenses at TCU. Even so, he managed a freshman year 18.7 (96th-percentile) Breakout Age. He then posted a sophomore season 32.6-percent (92nd-percentile) College Target Share. His junior year wasn’t great, but as is the theme, only 60-percent of his targets were deemed catchable. He boasts an elite 140.4 (98th-percentile) Burst Score and above-average 4.47 (74th-percentile) 40-yard Dash speed.
If you have Reagor, you’re holding. Hopefully things will improve in Philly and he also logs a full season.
His 2020 campaign was about to be insane, but Goedert struggled with ankle and calf injuries, limited him to 11 games. Don’t get too concerned though, because he doesn’t have an Evan Engram-like injury history. His 2021 season will be great, and even in his injury-shortened season, Goedert was the best receiver in Philly. It’s especially encouraging that the Eagles used him to stretch the defense a bit with his 8.8 (No. 6) Average Target Distance mark and nine (No. 7) Deep Targets. Expect that trend to continue.
Goedert also vaporized Ertz with his +14.7-percent (No. 6) Target Premium and +9.1 (No. 6) Production Premium. Every knows it’s his time, and as he continues to hog the targets, expect him to improve upon an already respectable 10.6 (No. 8) Fantasy Points per Game average.
The Washington Football Team
Can they keep their name as is? Really. They’ve made the playoffs every year they’ve been WFT. I’m here for it. Naming aside, WFT is one piece away from being a serious team. Unfortunately, it’s the most important position.
Good for Alex Smith. Great story. Great Comeback. I love it.
Running Back & Wide Receiver
I’d also like to see another capable receiver play opposite McLaurin, so let’s hope a fun rookie lands in Washington.
After skimping on this team, I guess I at least owe you some words about Logan Thomas!
Thomas succeeded Tyrod Taylor as quarterback at Virginia Tech and was eventually taken by Arizona in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. After bouncing around the league, he made the switch to tight end. After learning the position for a few years, and carrying the QB/TE designation on some fantasy formats, he finally landed in Washington and became my late round tight end add everywhere I could get him.
Thomas boasts excellent athleticism and had essentially no competition. Though not even I could have predicted what happened in 2020. He was awesome and the team force-fed him looks all year. He demonstrated a versatile skillset, logging a 19.2-percent (No. 7) Target Share, 11 (No. 5) Deep Targets and 17 (No. 7) Red Zone Targets. His 27.6-percent (No. 3) Dominator Rating is mind-boggling for the former quarterback. And he cemented himself as a TE1 with an 11.0 (No. 6) Fantasy Points per Game average.
He will be 30 years old next year, but we have no reason to think that he will fall off the cliff. Scoop him up where you can, especially since he doesn’t carry the name brand recognition that many other tight ends in that range have.