2020 NFL Draft Dynasty Review: NFC East

Bruce Matson

There were a lot of stories circulating from the NFC East going into the 2020 NFL Draft. The Dallas Cowboys were starting things off fresh with Mike McCarthy as their head coach. The Philadelphia Eagles needed to make some changes at wide receiver. Dave Gettleman and the New York Giants are always hard to predict. We didn’t know how the Redskins were going to build their team to help Dwayne Haskins take the next in his development.

A lot went down on draft weekend. The NFC East was busy drafting new fantasy assets. Let’s take a look at how everything played out.

DALLAS COWBOYS

CeeDee Lamb, WR OKLAHOMA (ROUND 1, PICK 17)

With Lamb sitting there for the taking when it was Dallas’ turn to pick, we couldn’t blame them for running to the podium to make their selection. Even though wide receiver wasn’t considered a major need for the Cowboys, Lamb’s talent was too much for them to pass up at 17 overall. If anything, they made one of their strengths even stronger by selecting the highly-touted star from Oklahoma.

There are 146 vacated targets from Randall Cobb and Jason Witten’s departures. Lamb should see a large portion of the targets during his rookie season. He should get heavily mixed into the rotation with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as early as week one. The Cowboys’ passing game is expected to take a major leap forward.

Lamb is a very versatile wide receiver. Last year, he caught 25 of his 62 receptions in the slot while gaining 605 yards. He’s also a monster after the catch, averaging 11 yards after the catch per reception. Per Pro Football Focus, he averaged 3.99 yards per route run, making him one of the most efficient wide recovers in all of college football.

Kellen Moore must be smiling from ear to ear because he has three talented wide receivers he can move around the offense like a revolving door. All three of them are capable of playing in the slot and outside. With Jason Garrett gone, combined with the addition of Lamb, we should see the Cowboys lean more on the passing game.

From a fantasy football perspective, there’s a lot of speculation on Lamb’s long-term player value. I expect him to own a large enough target share during his rookie season to at least be a volatile contributor for your fantasy team. Over time, we should expect him to command a larger ownership of the passing volume.

Dallas has a potential out on Cooper’s contract after the 2021 season. Lamb would see a massive bump in fantasy value if Dallas decides to move on from Cooper in the next couple of years. At that point, Cooper would be 27 years old and would be hitting the last legs of his career.

Lamb is Dallas’ future WR1. It’s not going to be long until he’s the team’s main squeeze. He is currently valued as the WR39 with a 38.33 ADP which is a cheap price to pay considering he has top-five upside at the position. From a dynasty perspective, I wouldn’t let the potential target cannibalization between Dallas’ three-headed monster scare from investing in Lamb for the long term.

Ben DiNucci, QB JAMES MADISON (ROUND 7, PICK 231)

DiNucci is a gutsy quarterback who has a good feel of the pocket. He can spread the ball around to his receivers. Last season he passed for 3,441 yards and 29 touchdowns while completing 71 percent of his passes. He has to battle his way up the depth chart if he ever wants to be considered a threat to become a starter at the NFL level. Dak Prescott is obviously the man in Dallas, but DiNucci also has a tough task of supplanting Cooper Rush for the backup quarterback spot.

Unless you are in a uniquely deep superflex league, DiNucci isn’t a realistic option in rookie drafts. More than likely, he will be hanging out on your waiver wire during his entire career. If he does get the chance to start, there probably won’t even be a bidding war for his services.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Jalen Reagor, WR TCU (ROUND 1, PICK 21)

There is a large subset of Eagle fans who wanted the team to draft Justin Jefferson with their first-round pick and are very upset they drafted Reagor at 21 overall. The team also tried to move up to draft Lamb but couldn’t get a deal done. Reagor is a versatile wide receiver prospect who will be a perfect fit in Philadelphia’s system.

At TCU, Reagor proved to be one of the best deep threats in the country. He has excellent ball skills and has more than enough speed to stretch the field. Even with him catching just nine passes out of the slot in 2019, he has the skill-set to be a miss match nightmare all over the field. Reagor can be kicked inside to play in the slot and he can be moved to the outside to wreak havoc by stretching the field with his speed.

The Eagles needed an upgrade at the wide receiver position in the worst way. They drafted JJ Arcega-Whiteside last year, but they needed a true alpha to get the passing game back on track. Reagor has the potential to be the spark to get the offense rolling.

His fantasy value spiked once he officially received first-round draft capital. Some have him as the top wide receiver in this year’s class. He has the potential to provide big dividends as early as his rookie season. It’s highly likely, that he become a key contributor to the offense by the end of the year.

According to DLF’s Rookie ADP, he is usually the third wide receiver off the board with an 8.90 ADP. He is nestled in the mid to late first-round range. His upside is through the roof and since he’s just 21 years old, his long-term dynasty value will be age insulated.

Jalen Hurts, QB OKLAHOMA (ROUND 2, PICK 53)

The Eagles wanted to cover their bases at the backup quarterback spot when they drafted Hurts in the second round. This selection caught everyone off-guard since the team already has Carson Wentz locked down with a long-term deal. It’s far from routine to spend significant draft capital on a backup quarterback who will rarely see the field, but the organization wants to develop Hurts into a potential starter or a highly coveted trade piece.

Hurts is held heavy in the hearts of most dynasty owners. His rushing ability makes him a very enticing quarterback prospects because he has the potential to be a top-ten fantasy quarterback if he ever earns the starting job. At Oklahoma, he rushed for 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns during his senior season. That being said, even with him just being a backup quarterback during the first couple of years of his career, he’s still going to hold value in 2QB and superflex leagues, because his value will skyrocket if he ever becomes the starter.

John Hightower, WR BOISE STATE (ROUND 5, PICK 168)

The wide receiver position was a sore spot for the Eagles going into the draft. They wanted to make sure they took multiple swings at the piñata before everything was said done. In the fifth round, they drafted Boise State standout John Hightower. He will compete for a starting spot on the depth chart early in his career.

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Courtesy of DLF’s Player Combine Performance App.

He ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, equating to a 98.1 size-adjusted speed score. Hightower wasn’t the most lucrative wide receiver prospect in the draft but he projects more as a role player in the Eagles’ offense.

We will need to bust out the magnifying glass when analyzing his fantasy value because he’s currently going undrafted in many rookie drafts. He’s a free pick up off the waiver in a lot of leagues. Of course, Reagor is going to see a large share of the passing offense. Arcega-Whiteside is still developing and could siphon snaps away from some of the other receivers. Hightower will need to outplay the rest of the receivers on the depth chart if he wants to get enough playing time to become fantasy relevant.

Quez Watkins, WR SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (ROUND 6, PICK 200)

Outside of loading up at the wide receiver position, one of the main focal points for the team was getting more speed on the offensive side of the ball. Quez Watkins clocked in with a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. His ability to stretch the field will improve his odds of making the team. Like Hightower, he will need to work his way up the depth chart in order to become a starter.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Antonio Gibson, RB Memphis (ROUND 3, PICK 66)

The Washington Redskins didn’t need to draft a running back, but I imagine it was hard to pivot away from Gibson’s athletic prowess. At the Combine, he ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at 228 pounds which equated to a 122.8 size-adjusted speed score.

Gibson was used sparingly at Memphis but he received his largest workload during his final season, catching 38 passes for 735 yards and eight touchdowns while also rushing for 369 yards and four touchdowns. Not only is he an athletic specimen, but he is one of the best receiving backs in this year’s draft class.

With a Rookie Draft ADP of 24.20, he should be considered an upside flier in the second round. He profiles as a boom-or-bust fantasy prospect. His athleticism could aid him to develop into a high-level fantasy asset. On the contrary, his lack of production at the college level lends the notion there’s a chance he could struggle to carve a role at the NFL level. Players with both a very high ceiling and a basement level floor are not for everybody, but there comes a point in rookie drafts where the upside outweighs the cost.

Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR Liberty (ROUND 4, PICK 142)

After breaking out last year during his rookie season, Terry McLaurin proved to be one of the few bright spots in Washington’s passing game. The team relied on Steven Sims during the final weeks of the season. In the fourth round, they decided to add to their wide receiver depth chart by drafting Gandy-Golden.

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Courtesy of DLF’s College Market Share App

At Liberty, Gandy-Golden caught 150 passes for 2,433 yards and 20 touchdowns during his last two seasons. He was about as dominant as a college prospect could possibly be by owning a 35.29 percent market share of the team’s offensive production during that timespan while also achieving a 37.65 percent dominator rating.

Washington is holding a lot of competition at the wide receiver position. McLaurin will start the off-season as the team’s alpha-receiver. From there, anything can happen. Kelvin Harmon is a favorite to take over as one of the key contributors to the passing game. Sims looked good last year and the team liked using Trey Quinn out of the slot last season. Gandy-Golden should be a lock to make the 53-man roster. It might take him a season or two before he sees a sizeable role within the offense. With him being 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds, the team will be salivating to use him in short-yardage and goal-line situations.

DLF’s ADP has him as a consistent third-round pick in rookie drafts with a 34.40 average draft position. Considering he was a mid-round selection and will have to fight his way up the depth chart to see playing time, his current price point is more than fair. If the stars align we could see him receive an ascendance up the dynasty ranks. However, there’s also a good chance that we will just develop into a role player for the Redskins and struggle to be fantasy relevant. Gandy-Golden is fairly cheap to obtain in drafts, making him worth the investment to see what happens with his career.

NEW YORK GIANTS

It was a meat and potatoes draft for the Giants. It wasn’t exciting, but they got a few pieces for their team that will help them in the near future. They drafted three offensive linemen within the top-150. They also used seven picks on the defensive side of the ball. By adding some beef up front, Daniel Jones should have more time to survey the field while dropping back to pass. If everything goes according to plan, Saquon Barkley will look even more phenomenal when the new offensive lineman gets acclimated to playing at the NFL level.

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