NFC East Preview: CeeDee to the Moon

August 6, 2021

The NFC East was a punchline last year in football communities but they also have some nice fantasy values and players. The Giants went out and got their alpha WR in Kenny Golladay, the Eagles went out and got Devonta Smith to be their No. 1, Dak makes his return in Dallas, and the Washington Football team went out and got FitzMagic. There are a lot of new faces and young talent in this division that should be competitive. There are also some young talented players such as Antonio Gibson, CeeDee Lamb, Terry McLaurin, and Jalen Hurts that could make a substantial leap this year. What would that mean for fantasy? Let’s have a look…

*I used Fantasy Pros as my positional ranking point of reference*

DALLAS COWBOYS

Dallas went into a full-blown defensive rebuild in the 2021 draft, so all the fantasy pieces on the Cowboys have been around for at least a year. Dak Prescott suffered one of the worst leg injuries that I’ve ever witnessed and isn’t quite healthy in camp, by the looks of it. It’s definitely something to monitor in camp. If he takes time off during the season this offense will most likely not live up to their ADP whatsoever. 

Must Draft: CeeDee Lamb, WR: Give me Cee Dee Lamb all day long. I’ll take it any way I can get. Off to an insane start to training camp, I expect him to outscore Justin Jefferson if Dak is indeed healthy. Is that spicy? I don’t care. Give me the heat: Ghost Pepper style! It’s not really that hot but I do like those Ghost Pepper chips. Also, he can be WR1 this time next year.

As I already mentioned, the Cowboys have a brand new defense and that means that they should let in plenty of points by the opposition, in my opinion. Meaning that Dak will be throwing the ball a ton, as he was when he played last year. Cooper is already banged up and I think Lamb will be their No.1 WR this year. 

In Dak’s five games played he averaged 371.2 yards, had 9 TDs, and a 68% completion percentage. Bless his heart, the boy was on FIRE. This is great news for Lamb. As the No. 14-ranked WR in PPR, according to Fantasy Pros, draft him and smile. I think he has Top-8 potential in this high octane offense. 

Avoid: Amari Cooper, WR: This is also about Lamb. Fantasy Pros has Cooper ranked at 13 for WRs, one spot ahead of Lamb. Draft the upside. Cooper is nursing an injury already and is a very streaky player. Cooper at No. 13 is his best-case scenario in my opinion. He’s now the No. 2 WR on this team and being drafted as the one. No thanks. 

Bust: Blake Jarwin, TE: Another buzz in Cowboys camp is Dalton Schultz. Yes, you read that correctly. Jarwin is coming off an ACL tear which could hamper explosiveness. I think Schultz could take his job, but at least he will cut into Jarwin’s snaps. He’s not draftable for me. 

Sleeper: Dalton Schultz, TE: Camp reports are sounding great for Schultz and he’s a guy you can get with one of your last picks. See my bust section for this team.

Neutral: Zeke Elliott, RB: Take him, but don’t reach at all. Tony Pollard could be a thing and this offense may be airing it out too much for him to live up to his first-round price tag.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

The Eagles are most likely the worst team in the division but should offer some fantasy value in season-long leagues. Drafting Devonta Smith with the 10th overall pick in the 2021 draft, this offense intrigues me. 

Must Draft: Jalen Hurts, QB: Fantasy Pros has Hurts ranked as the No. 11 QB for redraft formats. Hurts didn’t start until Week 14 and started (and finished) from Weeks 14- 16. He only trailed Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson in that time period! He has a long way to go in the passing department, with an underwhelming 52% completion percentage but what he lacks in passing skill he makes up for in rushing prowess. At his current ranking, he’s a great value, especially in SuperFlex leagues. This is all based on the Eagles NOT trading for Watson, obviously.

Sleeper: Devonta Smith, WR:  Yes, you’ve certainly heard of the 2020 Heisman-winning WR out of Alabama. No, this isn’t a joke. He’s currently ranked outside the Top 100 on major fantasy sites, and typically WR 40- 41. I think he can smash this price and possibly become a WR2 for your fantasy team with WR1 weeks sprinkled in. He could very well become the leading target consumer in this offense and we already chatted about Hurts. I will probably have him on 75 percent of my redraft teams. Monitor his MCL sprain throughout camp, but I am hoping they are going to be extra careful with him.

Bust: Dallas Goedert, TE: I am as ticked off as anybody over the 3,152 tweets that said “Ertz deal close to being done” as anybody else. However, Zach Ertz is still there and I don’t believe he’s going anywhere right now. That caps Goedert’s upside significantly, in my opinion. He’s ranked as the No. 8 TE on Fantasy Pros and I’d rather wait 50 or so picks and nab Evan Engram. 

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM 

I can’t wait for this team to grow up and pick a name. Enough is enough already. You can’t have a name that’s a hop, skip, and a jump away from WTF. It’s a bad joke. Anyways, they got a Harvard grad in Ryan Fitzmagic which I believe is a nice addition for Mclaurin, Gibson, and maybe Antonio Gandy-Golden. More on him later though.

Must Draft: Antonio Gibson (Gibby), RB: Gimme Gibby in any format there is. I think he has the talent and favorable situation to be a Top-5 RB. Being drafted in the third round around guys like Joe Mixon, he’s an easy draft for me. Cincinnati’s offensive line looks to be terrible. I’m rolling with Gibson. He should see an uptick in targets, and we know he’s a beast on the ground. 

Avoid: Logan Thomas, TE: The most productive TE who played with Fitzpatrick is Mike Gesicki, who had 703 yards off of 53 grabs. [https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/mia/2020.htm] Fitzy only played in nine games that year. Logan is going inside the Top 10 TEs. I’d rather draft Robert Tonyan or again, Evan Engram. 

Sleeper: Antonio Gandy-Golden (AGG), WR: The gigantic WR out of Liberty college could fight for some snaps this season. Outside of Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel (who can move around anywhere on the field), there isn’t much for competition. I’m not expecting anything crazy but he should be utilized in the red zone this year. Training camp reports have said he’s thriving on back-shoulder throws. He was a master with contested catches at Liberty, and that’s right up Fitzmagic’s alley. He loves a good 50-50 ball just as much as anyone. This is a deep sleeper who is absolutely free and could potentially get cut.

Value: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB: I’d rather have Fitzmagic over Carr and Big Ben, who he’s ranked near. Fitz will give you some QB1 weeks too and he has the BEST situation around him that he’s ever had. This could be a really fun year for Fitzpatrick. 

NEW YORK GIANTS

New Jersey Giants in reality, but we will let it go for the time being. I am not a believer in Daniel Jones. I’m not totally out but I’m also not looking for him. This makes this segment a bit rough to do, but we will get through it.

Must Draft: Saquon Barkley, RB, (I suppose): A running back coming off an ACL injury is a risky investment but he’s easily their best player and going to be their bell cow if he can handle it. We all know how talented he is and if his knee holds up and doesn’t affect him, he’s right behind CMC. 

Value: Kenny Golladay, WR:  Sidelined for 2-3 weeks for a hamstring injury will probably make his WR ranking of 24 slip even further. He’s their clear WR1 and has balled out under the likes of Jeff Driskell. I am buying, even still. 

Value: Evan Engram, TE: I have already mentioned him a couple of times but he’s a great value. Say one thing about Evan Engram, say he’s athletically gifted. He’s In the 100th percentile for his 40 time and 91st percentile in Agility Score (according to playerprofiler.com.) Just keep drafting until he hits. If he doesn’t hit, it’s no sweat off your back. 

Bust: Daniel Jones, QB: No thanks. I just don’t think he was a Kenny Golladay away from being an amazing fantasy asset. I’d rather dabble in the unknown and take Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, or even Taysom Hill later in drafts.