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Dynasty Fantasy Football Buy, Sell and Hold: NFC East

Eric Hardter continues his series that picks out buys, sells and holds from each division.

Saquon Barkley

With the NFL Draft now months behind us, team minicamps ongoing, and training camp/preseason just around the corner, we are nearing the crescendo of the NFL off-season. As such, the window for making final roster adjustments is drawing to a close, with the obtainment of actionable game information just over the horizon in September. Put another way, it would not be unreasonable to assert player values are less likely to fluctuate over the next couple months (pending injuries) as compared to September when the regular season is in full force.

In that spirit, I’ve selected players to buy, sell and hold for all 32 NFL teams. This miniseries will be broken down by division, with 12 players highlighted per article and 96 overall. In a 12-team league with 20 roster spots (similar to the DLF ADP), that accounts for 40% of the players!

Before we dive in, a few notes and disclaimers:

  • Player values were obtained from the combination of the June ADP, and the DLF Top 250 rankings;
  • League paradigm is assumed to be PPR and 1QB (players superflex and/or 2QB leagues would likely have some divergence from those I’ve selected);
  • Opinions on players are my own; and finally,
  • Exact player values are always going to be dependent on individual leagues and owners, and may not be consistent with the assertions provided herein.

With that said, let’s continue with the NFC East! Players will be profiled individually, with a tabulated summary of all 12 provided at the article’s conclusion.

Dallas Cowboys

Buy: Jalen Tolbert, WR (ADP = 134.5, Rank = 125.9)

With last season’s injury to fellow receiver Michael Gallup, followed by the off-season trade of Amari Cooper to the Browns, the Cowboys pass-catching pecking order is rife with both uncertainty and intrigue. CeeDee Lamb will undoubtedly continue to focus as the team’s top wide receiver, and tight end Dalton Schultz (pending any continued contractual disputes) will receive his fill of targets as well – but behind them, someone will need to step up to receive the remainder of the weekly 67.3 PPR points quarterback Dak Prescott doled out in 2021.

Enter Tolbert, the team’s third round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. With reasonable metrics (6’2”, 194 pounds with a 4.49 40-yard dash) and an “alpha” profile (96th percentile college target share and dominator rating), I would anticipate Tolbert functioning as at least the team’s WR3 come week one, with a high probability of unseating the decidedly unspectacular James Washington for the WR2 position behind Lamb. If and when Tolbert eats early on in the season, his ADP is likely to increase from his current standing as the WR63.

Sell: Tony Pollard, RB (ADP = 97.7, Rank = 87.6)

I’m not sure if it’s love for Pollard, hate for Ezekiel Elliott (more on that below), or perhaps simply a case of a very vocal minority, but the dynasty community has been seemingly waiting to anoint the Cowboys’ backup running back for years now. And to an extent I understand it – Pollard has flashed abilities when called upon, with an aggregate 5.1 YPC through three years, coupled with 82 receptions at 7.8 YPR.

Unfortunately for him, he’s simply not called upon terribly often, with only eight of his 15 2021 contests yielding double-digit carries, and only three of those occurring in the year’s final nine regular season games. It was a similar story in college, where he only managed to eclipse 100 touches once in three years at Memphis. It is enough to make one wonder if the reason he’s so explosive is because his touches are limited, and a more significant role might yield lesser results. I don’t have the answer to that, but three separate coaching staffs (dating back to college) appear to have reached this conclusion.

With Zeke locked in as the starter, 2022 could yield another season of decent but unspectacular results (PPR RB28 in 2021, but RB40 by average points) – so while his ADP isn’t inherently unreasonable (RB30), there are others in the range with more proven ability I’d prefer.

Hold: Ezekiel Elliott, RB (ADP = 60.7, Rank = 52.1)

Whatever your thoughts on the amount of run Elliott should be getting, the fact is he’s the team’s bell-cow running back and has proven his durability with only two missed contests over the last four years and 1,381 touches (including playoffs). In doing so he’s never had fewer than 237 carries or 47 receptions, and he brings with him double-digit touchdown upside.

Even in something of a perceived down year, Elliott’s 4.2 YPC was more than acceptable, and he concluded the year as the PPR RB7 (though RB19 by weekly average). No matter your thoughts on Elliott (and/or Pollard above), as the dynasty RB22 by ADP he’s providing massive return on investment. Soon to turn 27 years of age, he should continue to provide output for at least another couple of years.

New York Giants

Buy: Saquon Barkley, RB (ADP = 21.5, Rank = 26.4)

Seeing as Barkley was one of my three “running backs to buy” during Dynasty trade month, it should be no surprise to see his name populating this space as well. And while there’s a bit too much to copy and paste over here, the short version is if you believe he’ll be fully recovered from his ankle and knee injuries prior to the inception of the 2022 season, you’ll be receiving a true freak athlete with massive production when healthy (21.7 PPR points per game in his first two seasons in the league).

Barkley will also be on what should be an improved offense, with a more than likely massively improved coaching staff. An ADP in the low second round isn’t chump change by any stretch, but when the RB8 by average has proven RB1-overall upside, it presents an opportunity to make a deal.

Sell: Kadarius Toney, WR (ADP = 95.5, Rank = 114.3)

As seems to be the case with each division I’ve chronicled, there’s typically one team where the “sell” candidate isn’t immediately apparent. The Giants represent this squad in the NFC East, as apart from Barkley, Toney is the only other player with an ADP under 100. As the overall WR50, Toney’s ADP certainly isn’t unreasonable, and his upside more than likely is significantly higher. However it’s tough for me to get excited about a player who was the subject of trade rumors after missed minicamps, coupled with notable off-field issues and a laundry list of soft tissue and joint injuries. While noting the “human joystick” element is part of his game, it’s also fair to wonder if his yards after catch (57% of his yards in 2021) are sustainable.

The new Giants regime doubled down on receiver with the selection of playmaker Wan’Dale Robinson in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, who is similar to Toney stylistically (45% of Robinson’s yards in his 2021 collegiate season were after the catch), which could be perceived as a shot across the bow of sorts. Whether the combination of these notes yield more smoke or fire, Toney is a player where I simply won’t be upset if I miss out on a future breakout.

Hold: Kenny Golladay, WR (ADP = 151.3, Rank = 143.4)

Following two straight 1,000+ yard seasons in 2018-2019, Golladay has been on a downturn due either to injury (just five games played in 2020) or overall offensive ineptness. To that latter point and despite missing three games last season, Golladay actually led the Giants in targets and yards, and apart from John Ross (who only accounted for 11 receptions) and to a lesser extent Darius Slayton, was the only receiver offering something resembling a downfield threat (14.1 YPR).

On what should be (and really has to be, for the sake of suffering Giants fans everywhere) an improving offense, and one where quarterback Daniel Jones has been encouraged to throw downfield and provide big play opportunities, Golladay feels like a safe bet to improve upon a moribund 2021. As such, and given he’s only being selected on average as the WR69, Golladay makes for a sensible hold as a player likely to recoup value.

Philadelphia Eagles

Buy: Miles Sanders, RB (ADP = 86.7, Rank = 79.7)

Sanders was once again a bastion of efficiency in 2021, with a second straight season above 5.0 YPC, to go with 26 receptions. The problem, as has seemed to be the theme in his three NFL seasons, was volume – in 2021 Sanders could only muster 11.4 carries per game, with just over two receptions. Adding to the misery, he didn’t record a single score either through the air or on the ground.

With that said, the difference between Sanders and Pollard (who I touched on above), is the Eagle still led his positional cohorts in carries. It’s true he’ll need to continue to contend with a running quarterback in Jalen Hurts, but beyond that neither Kenneth Gainwell nor Boston Scott could match Sanders in either volume or efficiency. With one additional mouth removed from the feeding frenzy in Jordan Howard, and a little more scoring luck, Sanders stands to make good upon a current investment as the RB29 by ADP.

Sell: Dallas Goedert, TE (ADP = 89.3, Rank = 89.1)

If I had to pick a loser in the Eagles’ shocking draft-day acquisition of star receiver AJ Brown, I’d have to go with Goedert. In 2021 he was already behind rookie first round selection DeVonta Smith in the pass game hierarchy, and was only 14 and 19 targets clear of such luminaries as Quez Watkins and Jalen Reagor, respectively (though noting Goedert played in two fewer contests).

Brown is going to come in as the immediate alpha, given his production to date with a weekly line of 4.3-70-0.6 despite playing on one of the league’s more conservative offenses in Tennessee. As such, and unless Philly “lets Jalen cook,” the targets are going to have to come from somewhere. Given that, his ADP as the TE8 is a little too rich for my blood, and an argument can be made for the next four players below him (Dalton Schultz, Pat Freiermuth, Mike Gesicki and Dawson Knox) being better positional values.

Hold: Jalen Hurts, QB (ADP = 93.0, Rank = 92.1)

2021 was something of a roller coaster for the second-year signal caller, as Hurts arguably (or inarguably, depending on who you talk to) had a much better fantasy season than regular season. But, for the points that count to us dynasty aficionados, he finished the year as the overall QB10 in both total points and points per game. This was done largely on the back of his rushing prowess, which accounted for 38% of his fantasy production. To put a bow on that, Hurts easily lead all quarterbacks in rushing scores with 10, while also barely edging out Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson to claim the positional rushing crown. The downside here is that of the entire QB1 tier, Hurts easily had the lowest numbers of attempts, yards and touchdowns, checking in at just over one aerial score per game.

With that said, Hurts showed improvement from a rookie season where he was unexpectedly thrust into the starting lineup. His completion percentage improved by nearly 10%, along with a marked increase in his touchdown to interception ratio. The addition of Brown adds a nuclear-level weapon, and the Eagles also declined to add competition via the NFL Draft. 2022 now represents Hurts’ chance to prove his worth as a real-life signal caller and not just a fantasy stud, and as such I’m holding the QB7 by ADP to see if he can put it all together.

Washington Commanders

Buy: Terry McLaurin, WR (ADP = 45.5, Rank = 34.9)

While noting the ADP and ranks were taken prior to McLaurin’s handsome new contract, even a modest bump will still render the fourth-year veteran a bargain. To attempt to put that in perspective, and while noting he’s somewhat older for a fourth-year veteran (he’ll be 27 in September), consider the below comparisons to fellow draft class standouts AJ Brown and DK Metcalf:

Name Games Targets Receptions Yards TDs
McLaurin 46 357 222 3090 16
Brown 43 295 185 2995 24
Metcalf 49 358 216 3170 29

Though he doesn’t score the ball at the same clip, McLaurin compares favorably in terms of receptions and yards to the other two players. Continuing, the scores can be explained easily, as over the past three years the Washington <INSERT EVOLVING TEAM NAME HERE> only accounted for an aggregate 55 passing touchdowns over 49 games. To put that into perspective, this scoring total matches the seasonal NFL record by Peyton Manning, which of course was performed in 16 contests.

Wine from water, chicken salad from chicken ****, use whichever metaphor floats your boat. McLaurin has done less with more his entire career, but still finds himself as a late fourth-round pick per the ADP. With apologies to my dynasty brethren partaking in the mock drafts comprising the ADP, this treason cannot stand! Though Carson Wentz is hardly a world beater, he’ll be the best NFL quarterback McLaurin has played with, and as such I expect a breakout season in 2022.

Sell: Curtis Samuel, WR (ADP = 200.2, Rank = 172.4)

There was a time I was cheerleading Samuel (at least at cost…), even after an utterly forgettable 2021 season (see here for details). That time is decidedly in the past, following the Commanders’ selection of receiver Jahan Dotson in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. And while I will declare my conflict of interest here freely (Dotson went to my collegiate rooting interest in Penn State, and is the only NFL player I’m aware of from my Nazareth Area High School alma mater), unbiased observers during Washington’s minicamp sessions have noted he’s been the star of the show.

As such, Samuel is the WR3 at best in the current pecking order, and a future return of tight end Logan Thomas figures to bump him even further. Wentz will be better than the clown car cast of characters under center for Washington the past few years, but few (if any) signal callers can support three to four high end fantasy assets. Given that, and given Dotson’s ability to play in the slot, I would be okay cashing out on Samuel while he’s still able to return some value.

Hold: Antonio Gibson, RB (ADP = 41.7, Rank = 36.6)

In my February recap of the Football Team/Commanders’ season, I noted the following about Gibson:

“…Gibson continued to function as ‘the guy’ in the backfield, and possesses enough dual threat ability to keep him relevant in a PPR setting. He’ll be just 24 years old before the 2022 season, and it’s fair to reason Washington has too many holes on its roster to consider selecting a ball carrier in early rounds. Gibson has shown enough in two years that a vault to a top-five running back is within the realm of possibility, but far from guaranteed. As such a dynasty ranking of the RB13 by ADP seems about right, and I’d be fairly agnostic for either buying or selling at that price.”

Of course my assertion was proven wrong, with the third-round selection of running back Brian Robinson. However, I have some updated information here too, when I asserted in late May that Gibson remains a buy:

Robinson is big and fairly fast, which stands as a great complement to Gibson who is also big and even faster. Robinson caught 35 passes in his final collegiate season, relative to Gibson who was… a college wide receiver. It’s fair to reason Robinson might be a more natural runner, but his overall college profile is lacking, with a 5.0 YPC average and a lack of breakout until his fifth year.

JD McKissic is still around, but he was around last year too. Behind him and Gibson was a rotating cast of characters including players such as Wendell Smallwood and Jonathan Williams, highlighting the need for a capable backup. Trading for Gibson given his value dip could yield a nice return if Robinson winds up as nothing more than a change of pace.”

I can’t predict the future, but it’s not unreasonable to continue to assert Williams will come in as a change of pace type ball carrier, and Gibson will continue to largely dominate work. Given that, a status as the RB18 by ADP could very well rise.

The tabulated list of the players discussed here is shown below.

Conference Team Buy Sell Hold
Name ADP Rank Name ADP Rank Name ADP Rank
NFC East Dallas Cowboys Jalen Tolbert 134.5 125.9 Tony Pollard 97.7 87.6 Ezekiel Elliott 60.7 52.1
New York Giants Saquon Barkley 21.5 26.4 Kadarius Toney 95.5 114.3 Kenny Golladay 151.3 143.4
Philadelphia Eagles Miles Sanders 86.7 79.7 Dallas Goedert 89.3 89.1 Jalen Hurts 93 92.1
Washington Commanders Terry McLaurin 45.5 34.9 Curtis Samuel 200.2 172.4 Antonio Gibson 41.7 36.6

 

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Buy, Sell and Hold: NFC East
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Gregory Massa
28 days ago

As a Giants fan I could not disagree more with your buy/sell/hold for the team. Maybe its the pessimist fan in me, but I am buying Toney (and Wan’dale), selling Barkley before the bottom completely drops out, and holding Jones in case he finally figures it out.

Derek Lipski
Reply to  Gregory Massa
27 days ago

Well Greg…you usually say some good stuff…but now, you have completely killed it…lol

Leon Topping
Reply to  Derek Lipski
27 days ago

Boo this man!

Derek Lipski
Reply to  Leon Topping
27 days ago

Don’t boo Greg 🤣🤣
It’s not his fault he’s still a Giants fan and STILL thinks Daniel Jones might “figure it out”!!! Lol 😁

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