Along with the two sophomore quarterbacks that are sparking a lot of Fantasy Football interest, there were a few free-agent moves that are going to shake things up as we build our rosters in August. We have a few new veteran receivers in this division and a veteran name at running back that’s going to make the Philadelphia backfield situation confusing. Also, there’s a rookie running back in Washington who is looking to take a chunk out of the backfield work. I’m going to quit burying the lead and get the damn thing started.
Before we get into the NFC East, I want to take a paragraph and congratulate Jay, Grey, and Rudy for their Top-3 (TOP EFFING THREE!) finish in Fantasy Football draft rankings for FantasyPros last season. These guys have been at it for years making Razzball not only one of the best fantasy baseball sites, but also one of the best fantasy football sites. Keep telling your friends about us, the results from our content speaks volumes when you see stuff like this.
At this time last year we all thought this was Tony Romo’s job for the next three years. It’s crazy how fast one preseason can change things, just ask Matt Flynn, if you can locate him that is. If I’m Flynn, I’ve disappeared to an island with the millions I robbed from Seattle. Not a bad life I guess, he certainly showed Brock Osweiler the way. Dak Prescott took his opportunity and ran with it in 2016. Although his 3,667 yards and 23 touchdowns through the air wasn’t in and of itself very impressive, he added almost 300 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground to finish in the top 10 amongst quarterbacks in fantasy.
Ezekiel Elliott is having himself quite an offseason. He is easily one of the three best backs in the league along with Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson but we may not even find out this week how lengthy of a suspension he is looking at. Even though Denard Robinson and Ronnie Hillman worked out for the Cowboys, I still expect Darren McFadden to get the bulk of the production in Eliott’s absence. I have no problem taking Elliot if he hangs out past the first round, especially if you handcuff him with whoever ends up starting.
I’m never going to be a Dez Bryant fanboy, and I’m most certainly never going to go out of my way to draft him. By missing 10 games over the past two years, this window has been created where his ADP has crept almost to 20th off of the board. I have to tell you, I’m starting to become at least a little bit intrigued. From 2012-2014, Dez put up top tier numbers. He’s in his late 20’s and by all accounts, he is now healthy. I’m willing to bet that I’ll take a swing at a 2nd round Dez in at least one league, just to see how it plays out.
Cole Beasley is at least worth mentioning. Beasley had eight games last year in which he had at least 10 fantasy points in PPR. This could easily repeat itself if Dez finds himself injured again. Jason Witten isn’t very useful anymore. His one big game last season was against Cleveland last year in a 25-point victory for the Cowboys. He’s now five years removed from his last 1,000 yard season and he hardly finds the end zone anymore.
Kirk Cousins, to my surprise, seems to be the real deal at putting up numbers. Whether or not he’s a franchise quarterback is up to the Redskins to decide. Although Cousins threw four less touchdowns than he did in 2015, he fell 83 yards short of a 5,000 yard season. He should be unanimously a QB1 across the industry especially with the emergence of Jamison Crowder and addition of Terrelle Pryor. He will barely notice the absence of Desean Jackson.
The running game, on the other hand, is a bit more of a question mark. Rob Kelley took over the starting job halfway through the year last season had a monster game in week 11 of 137 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. The problem? He was never able to replicate it. Kelley managed to have at least 60 yards on the ground 6 different times last year, but that may not be enough to hold off rookie, Samaje Perine, after training camp. Perine doesn’t get the hype that his former teammate Joe Mixon gets, but he happens to be the all-time leading rusher in Oklahoma Sooners’ history. As of the release of this article, Rob Kelley has been confirmed the starter going into training camp.
Terrelle Pryor Sr. will be playing with a respectable quarterback for the first time in his short career. While learning the position on the fly, Pryor managed a 1,000-yard receiving season on Cleveland. I can understand there will be hesitance because of his almost complete disappearance in the fantasy playoffs last year. Crowder is earning his buzz from not only having surprisingly useful weeks last season, but also from the coaching staff absolutely loving the kid. He’s going to see the majority of snaps on offense and try to build on the three 100-yard games he had last year to go along with 7 touchdowns.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Josh Doctson this season. He’s more than likely not going to be top three in targets on the team so he’s going to have to make the most of what he gets if he wants to leap frog Pryor and Crowder as the season goes along. The Achilles injury has healed and the talent is there, so the sky is the limit. Jordan Reed is a stud and should be drafted as such. Injuries have bogged down his four-year career, but whenever we get that fully healthy season, he will wreak havoc. In 14 games in 2015, Jordan posted 952 yards and 11 touchdowns, which are monster numbers for a tight end.
New York Giants
Over the last couple of years, we’ve figured out that Eli Manning can’t put up bottom tier QB1 potential numbers anymore on a consistent basis. 36 isn’t necessarily old in quarterback years, but last year’s numbers were worrisome. Eli’s yards per attempt has regressed over the past 3 seasons, sputtering to 6.7 in 2016, his lowest since 2007. The Giants did add Brandon Marshall, which will no doubt help in the redzone this season. Don’t get me wrong, he certainly should be rostered. He’s just not the guy that I want as my QB1 when I wait on quarterback, like I do in most leagues. I’d take my chances on Matthew Stafford or Tyrod Taylor if I’m going to be one of the last in my league to take a quarterback.
Paul Perkins could be primed for a big year. In weeks 15-17, he showed that he had the potential with 5.1, 4.5, and 4.9 yards per carry respectively, while getting at least 11 rushes per game in that stretch. This is absolutely the stuff that you want to see when you’re looking for your 3rd running back in the mid-rounds. It is somewhat worrisome that he hasn’t found the end zone yet in his career, which I’m sure has a lot to do with him being the 30th running back off of the board.
Odell Beckham Jr. is about as consistent as it gets putting up fantasy numbers. He has never had less than 90 catches, 10 touchdowns, or 1,300 yards in his three-year career. I’m personally a Julio Jones guy but a top four overall pick for Odell is not going to get any argument from me. The past 3 seasons in which Brandon Marshall has played all 16 games, he has had at least 100 catches and 1,295 yards. The problem is he obviously won’t be the WR1 for this roster. Also two of the past five seasons, he has failed to cross 800 yards while only missing four games total. At the age of 33, I think Marshall is sinking more towards the latter, but as I mentioned earlier I think he’s going to be a big red zone target for Eli. The addition of Brandon Marshall will probably cut into Sterling Shepard’s production somewhat and we aren’t likely to see another eight touchdown campaign from him this season.
Sometimes if your franchise is struggling, solace can be found in potential. This holds true not just for the 76ers in Philadelphia, but also the Eagles with Carson Wentz. Wentz absolutely did not have eye popping numbers his rookie season as a whole, but he was able to muster up four 300 yard games, which is nice. Although having a touchdown total of just 16 was ugly, he throws a nice ball and has new weapons at his disposal. The Eagles just have to be thankful they didn’t end up with Jared Goff.
Ryan Mathews has only played one 16-game season in his career and has missed 16 games over the past three years. Although he had a career high in touchdowns last season, Philadelphia took notice of his absences and added Leggarette Blount who had a resurgence last year in New England. Blount is expected to take over as the starter in Philadelphia, and while the volume will be there, he’ll be lucky to sniff half of the 18 touchdowns that he scored last season. I still like him at his value as the 24th running back off of the board.
The addition of Alshon Jeffery should be big for Carson Wentz. Wentz also isn’t much of a dip in talent from the Jay Cutler style of play that he is used to. Although he has been injury prone throughout his career, Jeffery averages 15.0 yards per reception, including 15.8 last season. He’s also a high-volume player when he is on the field. This should take some pressure Jordan Matthews who has yet to live up to the hype. Jordan drops a lot of passes and this is something that needs to change going into his fourth season. This could be his make it or break it year not only for fantasy, but also for a big contract in the coming years. Zach Ertz brought the heat towards the end of last season putting him in play for a tail-end TE1 for the 2017 campaign. Although he barely crossed the 800 yard mark last season, in four of the final five games, he had at least 79 yards receiving with at least one 20 yard reception in those contests.
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