This year, we’re bringing you a new series covering each NFL division’s dynasty fantasy football outlook. We’ll bring you an overview of each team, highlight the best and worst positional groups, and make some cool predictions for the division as a whole. Let’s jump into it!
NFC East OUTLOOK:
Since a season-ending ankle injury, Prescott has lost his rushing upside and is now just a pocket passer, which poses a large concern to his value with the limited options at pass catcher on this roster. For Prescott to continue being a top-12 quarterback, he is going to need massive production out of Lamb and Brandin Cooks.
This receiving corps is not what it used to be. Once seen as the strength of this high-volume passing attack, it is now a huge cause for concern. Lamb should have league-winning upside, but aside from him, the success of the Cowboys season will depend largely on whether Cooks and Michael Gallup can be passable contributors.
To make matters worse, the number two target from last season, Dalton Schultz, has moved on to Houston, leaving an even bigger hole in this passing game. Schultz has been replaced by a trio of young tight ends, headlined by rookie Luke Schoonmaker. Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot are also on this depth chart, but it remains to be seen if either can be relied upon.
This could be a transitional year for a once-elite offense. On the one hand, they could take one last bite at the apple and make a deep playoff run, but it is nothing out of the range of outcomes that this season signals the first stage of failure, and a complete teardown is on the horizon for the Cowboys.
The Eagles are, without question, the class of the NFC. The reigning NFC Champions are easily the most potent offense in this division and should score at will in most games. Last season, Jalen Hurts was able to morph into the quarterback fantasy managers had hoped for, and he cemented himself in the top tier of quarterback. His rushing floor is among the best in the league, and while his skills as a passer are not on par with those of Patrick Mahomes, he has proven to be more than enough to give him QB1 overall upside.
While this wide receiver corps may not be deep, it sure is top-heavy. AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith are a duo that rivals any duo in the NFL. Brown is going slightly higher in ADP than Smith, even though Smith outproduced him over the second half of the season. Both players are elite receivers and prime early-round targets, made even better if you stack one of them with Jalen Hurts.
The running backs on this roster are far riskier than the receivers. Both Rashaad Penny and D’Andre Swift have an extensive history of injuries but have proven to be solid producers when they are in the lineup. If both stay healthy, it is unclear which of the two will get the first crack at being the starter.
Behind them, on the depth chart, is Kenneth Gainwell, who has shown he can be electrifying with the ball in his hands, but he has yet to be given a full allotment of snaps and serves as nothing more than a third down option. At the same time, Boston Scott has been little more than an injury handcuff who feasts on the Giants run defense.
Philadelphia also sports one of the under-rated tight end options in the league. Dallas Goedert routinely finishes in the TE6 range while being passed over for the shiny new toys on the block. If you miss one of the elite tight ends in your draft, Goedert is a safe and cost-effective option.
new york giants
The Giants are a mystery of a team. Daniel Jones proved he can be a QB1 last season, and yet he is being drafted consistently outside the top 15 at the position. He is not a sexy pick and is far from a high-end talent, but his rushing upside gives him a solid floor for fantasy. Jones is currently coming at a draft cost that makes him a prime target for a second quarterback in superflex leagues, but he is not someone I would want to rely on as my QB1.
Saquon Barkley is back under the franchise tag. Currently, there are rumors that he may be destined for a holdout unless he gets a new contract, but this is highly unlikely, given the current state of the NFL CBA. Barkley cannot afford to sit out and will play out the season on the franchise tag before moving on.
If Barkley is in the lineup, you start him. He has a skill set that is tough to match, and he routinely goes later in drafts than some of the bigger names of his talent level. There will be a minor difference in year-end production between him and the elites, so why not scoop him up a half-round later?
This wide receiver room, simply put, is a mess. There are seven names on the list, and all of them could lead the team in targets or find themselves cut during training camp. The journeymen of the group are Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, but it remains to be seen if either of them has anything left in the tank. Suppose they can stay healthy long enough to produce, which is also an issue for the younger duo of Parris Campbell and Wan’Dale Robinson, who both have the talent to be the WR1 in New York but have difficulties staying on the field.
Isaiah Hodgins was the most productive receiver for the Giants last season, but a third-year mini breakout is hardly enough to solidify him as the Alpha WR. Add in rookie Jalin Hyatt and well-traveled veteran Jameson Crowder, and you have a better chance of winning the lottery than you do starting the right Giants receiver on a weekly basis. Avoid this wide receiver room unless you are playing best ball.
The tight end room is where it gets genuinely interesting. Yet again, we see a player known for injuries, Darren Waller has been a top-three tight end in his career, but those days seem to be far behind him. If he can stay healthy, he has the potential to lead the Giants in targets, but he, too, is a risky proposition. Daniel Bellinger seemed to be a potential breakout candidate, but a freak injury as a rookie and the addition of Waller have all but sunk his ship.
The Commanders offense is one that has a wide range of outcomes. If things start to click for this young roster, they could be the second-best offense in the division; they also have the potential to be unplayable for fantasy managers.
Much of that will depend on the development of second-year quarterback Sam Howell, who is, for all intents and purposes, a rookie, as he started only one game last season.
The receivers in Washington could prove to be a serious value. While Terry McLaurin has lost some of the allure he previously held, he is still a solid WR2 that comes at a decent cost. The bargains here are Curtis Samuel, who has WR3 upside and can be had late in drafts, and sophomore receiver Jahan Dotson who can be had as WR35 but who has the potential to outscore McLaurin.
Once again, these receivers’ value heavily depends on exactly how much progress Sam Howell can make.
The Washington backfield has always been a frustrating mess. Just when you thought Antonio Gibson was going to be a workhorse league winner, JD McKissic kills his value. When we think it will be Brian Robinson that wins us leagues, Antonio Gibson does just enough to kill his value.
The Commanders coaching staff seems determined to kill this entire backfield for fantasy managers and institute a full-on running back by committee approach. Since the hiring of Eric Bienemy as offensive coordinator, the coaching staff has appeared to come around on the pass-catching prowess of Gibson; if Gibson sees significant targets and manages to hold onto a significant share of the carries, he could prove to be a massive steal at his current double-digit round ADP.
POSITIONAL GROUP RANKINGS:
1. Eagles: A+
2. Cowboys: A-
3. Giants: B+
4. Commanders: C+
This group of quarterbacks is solid. We see a top-tier quarterback in Hurts and a set of top-ten quarterbacks in Jones and Prescott. All three have significant upsides, and the latter of the three comes at a very fantasy-friendly price.
The forgotten man in the NFC East is Sam Howell. Nobody is talking about him, and the stars in this division are shining far brighten than he is. He is currently graded as a C+, but I consider it more incomplete than an actual grade. Howell does not have Hurts or even Prescott-level upside, but if he can develop, a Daniel Jones level of fantasy production is well within his range of outcomes.
Hurts may be the hot hand who has lit up the league for the past two seasons, but it is Prescott with a proven history of being a league winner. Dak is being ignored in fantasy drafts and is selected as more of an afterthought than an actual target.
The same can be said of Daniel Jones. Hurts are easily the highest-upside quarterback in the division, but as far as risk vs reward goes, I am going to have lots of teams with a Prescott/Jones superflex quarterback stack.
1. Cowboys: B+
2. Giants: B+
3. Eagles: B-
4. Commanders: C+
The running backs in this division are a bit of a mystery. We see everything from potential holdouts to timeshares and even players that will be adjusting to a new role. One thing is certain, when we talk about NFC East running backs, nothing is certain.
We start off with a duo of potentially elite running backs at the top of the division. Saquon Barkley has been elite for as long as he has been healthy, and if he plays on the franchise tag, there is little reason to doubt that outcome once again in 2023.
Tony Pollard is the other running back going in the first round of fantasy drafts but comes with significantly more risk than Barkley. The talent is there for Pollard, but is he just another running back who was far better in a timeshare? It is common for committee backs to see a significant decrease in efficiency when thrust into the workhorse role, which could be the case here. Pollard is receiving far more hype currently, but give me the safety and certainty of Barkley all day.
1. Eagles: A
2. Cowboys: A-
3. Commanders: A-
4. Giants: D+
The NFC East may have some of the best 1-2 receiver punches in the NFL. The unquestioned class of the division is the Eagles duo of Hurts and Smith. They are both top-ten receivers and are truly elite.
The Cowboys duo is also solid, but not as solid as the Eagles pairing. CeeDee Lamb is elite, there is no disputing that, but the difference is his running mate. Whether Brandin Cooks or Michael Gallup proves to be the WR2 on this team, they should be a formidable duo, just not to the elite level.
Next, we have a Commanders duo that is both ultra-talented and have the potential to explode for fantasy this season. By year’s end, it is entirely within the range of outcomes that the dup of Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson is viewed as a top-five duo. All it will take is a solid season by Sam Howell, and we could have a new superstar tandem on our hands in Washington.
The Giants. Woof! It is shocking to see a roster with seven receivers who could lead the team in targets, yet all seven will still likely be outproduced by their tight end. This is a best ball wide receiving corp. If you must decide which one to start each week, let someone else deal with the hassle.
1. Eagles: A-
2. Giants: B-
3. Cowboys: D
4. Commanders: F
Tight ends are not the strength of this division. We see a squad of players that will all fall in the tight end dead zone that could see them finish between tight end six or 15.
The Eagles head the division at the position simply because Dallas Goedert has proven to be the most dependable of the tight ends in the division. Still, with him competing for targets with two elite wide receivers, even he is not as safe as he once was.
The Giants had a solid rookie tight end on their hands, but a freak injury derailed his 2023 season. They then went out and signed injury-plagued veteran Darren Waller. He has shown the ability to be a top-three tight end over his career, but the injury history simply makes him too risky when factoring in his top-ten tight end draft cost.
From here, we move on to Dallas. They possess a trio of good young tight ends but currently, profile to operate as a tight end by committee. If one of Luke Schoonmaker, Peyton Hendershot, or Jake Ferguson were to win the job outright, they could easily produce at a level comparable to that of Dalton Schultz. Still, I do not expect that to be the case and prefer to avoid the entire group until it clears up a bit.
The Commanders. Yikes! Logan Thomas is currently listed on the depth chart as the starting tight end, and considering I thought he was retired, it is best to avoid these guys entirely. There is nothing to see here, folks!
MVP: CeeDee Lamb, wr dal
Over the past two seasons, the Cowboys have moved on from Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott, leaving a huge opportunity for CeeDee Lamb. Outside of Lamb, the only competent offensive weapon is Tony Pollard, who has yet to prove he can be an every-down workhorse, aside from the ghost of Brandin Cooks, who may have little left in the tank at this point in his career.
There are simply no weapons left on this team that can be relied on outside of Lamb and Pollard. Factor in Dak Prescott’s decreased rushing ability since his injury, and this is setting up for a top-three wide receiver finish for Lamb in 2023.
Lamb should expect to see a career-high in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns should he stay healthy, and Lamb figures to be the MVP of not only the NFC East but in all of fantasy football.
Lvp: Brian Robinson, RB WSH
A below-average offense starting what is a rookie quarterback does not make for a fruitful fantasy scenario. Add in a crowded backfield that also features Antonio Gibson, who is being talked up by the coaching staff and rookie running back Chris Rodriguez, and it figures to be a backfield to avoid, especially when you factor in Robinson being the most expensive of the trio.
Not only is Robinson the most expensive, but he also bears a striking resemblance to Rodriguez in his skillset. Both Robinson and Rodriguez are plodders on the feel and lack any game-breaking talent. Gibson is easily the most talented runner and pass catcher in the Commanders backfield, and should he finally be given the chance to produce, Robinson is going to be worthless.
MOST IMPROVED: sam howell, QB WSH
While Howell may not be enough to buoy this entire offense and effectively kills the value of Brian Robinson, he will prove to be a substantial discount for superflex fantasy managers in need of an emergency quarterback.
Howell started only one game as a rookie for the Commanders, but in that one game showed he had the talent and the poise to make big throw after big throw. He may not have the ceiling to be an elite QB1, but he has a solid possibility of being a mid-range QB2 similar to Kenny Pickett, except at a significant discount.
Year two will bring significant improvement for Sam Howell, and 2023 should show us just how good he can be as a passer while adding in an above-average rushing floor.
BIGGEST STEAL: Jahan Dotson, WR WSH
The third consecutive Commander on this list shows the potential I see in this offense. I do not anticipate any of these players being fantasy league winners, but they all come at a palatable cost and should easily outperform their ADP; Jahan Dotson will be no different.
Terry McLaurin routinely goes as a top 20 receiver despite that being his ceiling, while Dotson, who has comparable talent and ceiling, is going off the board at WR35 in DLF ADP and has zero chance of underperforming at this cost.
There is a significant chance that Dotson outscores McLaurin this season, and with him coming at half the price, he is a massive steal.
BIGGEST BUST: darren waller, TE NYG
Waller has shown us an elite season in his past, but that is a distant memory that is unlikely to be replicated. His ADP, on the other hand, is valuing him as if that season were last year.
He is going off the board as TE9 in dynasty startups despite being just shy of 31 years old. Add in a new team to acclimate to and a history of being fragile on the field, and he is going well ahead of where he should be.
He does have the potential to be a high-end TE again for fantasy, but the trio of hurdles he must overcome to do so makes him a huge risk and highly unlikely to return on his investment.
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