NFC East Season Preview
NFL season is right around the corner. Teams are starting training camp, preseason is only a few weeks away, and the regular season is a little over a month away. With that being said, I would like to take a look at each of the 8 divisions and talk a little about each team from both a fantasy perspective, but also a real life perspective. The first division I am going to look at it will be the NFC East which features an interesting division top to bottom that has the defending Super Bowl Champs.
Vegas Win Totals
Eagles- O/U 10.5
Cowboys- O/U 8.5
Redskins- O/U 7
Giants- O/U 6.5
These are the projected win totals for each team. They all look about right to me. Nothing looks off to me. The Giants one might be a tad high, buty for the most part these look like pretty accurate lines.
Philadelphia Eagles– The defending Superbowl Champs, the Philadelphia Eagles bring back a strong roster that will be looking to go for back to back titles. From a real life standpoint, this is hands down the best team in the division on paper. They have the best QB in the division and even if he is not ready by week 1 we saw what Nick Foles can do. This roster is awesome on both sides of the roster. The Eagles have what I believe is the best offensive line in the league as well as the best defensive line in the league. They have the advantage in the trenches against everyone which is such a key to their success. On offensive, they have an efficient running attack which they feature multiple guys, a receiving core that features deep threat Mike Wallace, possession and redzone guy Alshon Jeffery, a reliable go to guy in Zach Ertz, and a speedy slot man in Nelson Agholor. The offense will be top 3 in the league I would expect. Defensively, they are also extremely strong. However, their one weakness comes on this side of the ball and that is secondary. The Eagles won the Superbowl, but Tom Brady still put up 500 passing yards vs them at the end of the day. Their secondary is very young at cb, but the issue is they really didn’t improve it this offseason. I mean yes they get Sidney Jones back and added a CB in the draft, but it’s tough to expect rookies to really help improve what is a bad secondary. With how good their DLINE is, I don’t really have much concern about the secondary because they pressure the QB so well, but there will be weeks where they get destroyed by the pass and it is the way to beat them. That’s all real life stuff, now let’s talk fantasy. The Eagles are quite the interesting team from a fantasy perspective given how good they will be as a team. There aren’t a lot of players I really want to draft in season long, but from a DFS perspective they are quite fun. Carson Wentz is an absolute stud, but in season long I really can’t draft him coming off a knee injury at his fairly high ADP. Week to week though he will most likely always be a top 5 option in DFS, I just can’t quite draft him in season long as there are much better values at QB. At the RB position, you have Jay Ajayi set to be the lead back with Blount gone. I like Ajayi, but I am not completely buying him yet. The goalline work should be his, but you never know with the Eagles. I like his chances of having quite a good year, but my issue is he has no pass game role. I would be okay with Jay Ajayi in season long just know his floor is a lot lower than you think. For DFS purposes, I will look to target Ajayi in positive gamescript situations. The guy I really like in the Eagles backfield is Corey Clement. Clement burst onto the scene last year as an UDFA and made plenty of splash plays last year. He had several big ones in the Superbowl. Look, he isn’t going to receive a high volume of work being the change of pace guy, but what I like with Clement is the big play ability and his receiving skills. Yes, Sproles is back, but I’d imagine his role is very limited leaving more work for Clement. I love him as a late round flier in drafts and think he will always be a good cheap flex play in DFS with plenty of upside. Now to the receiving core, the Eagles best pass catcher is Zach Ertz and this is not debatable. Ertz is a top 3 fantasy tight end this year along with Gronk and Kelce. I love Ertz coming into this year more than I ever have in the past. Doug Pederson really likes to feature Ertz which I am all in for. Ertz generates great separation over the middle of the field and is becoming a better redzone target. He found the endzone a good amount last year and I think that continues with Blount gone. Ertz is being drafted in the 4th round where Gronk is going 2nd and Kelce going 3rd based off current ADPs. I think Ertz has a real shot at outproducing both and is going after them both. Buy Zach Ertz and keep buying him. In terms of the Eagles WRs, there is some to like here. Alshon is a fine option, but his ADP of the start of the 5th round is too high for me. He’s too inconsistent and his target share is too small for me to feel safe drafting him. In DFS, Alshon is always a good GPP play vs weaker secondaries. The thing I noticed with the Eagles last year was anytime the opposing team had a number 1 CB who was elite the Eagles just ignored Alshon and went elsewhere which is why I am always skeptical about owning Alshon because a lot of weeks the Eagles just treat him as a decoy. The guy I do like at WR on the Eagles is Nelson Agholor. His ADP right now is at WR 47 and round 10. This is great value for a guy who you can draft to be a bench player, but you can plug and play every week at your flex. I love how the Eagles are using Agholor in the slot and as a deep threat. He has weeks where he doesn’t do much, but that is built in with his ADP, but his upside week to week is a top 20 fantasy WR. I just see that as too good of value to not give him a look in drafts. Week to week he is also my favorite Eagles WR to pair with Wentz excluding Ertz as he is a TE. The only other WR I want to talk about is Mike Wallace. Wallace really isn’t season long relevant as he takes Torrey Smith’s role, but as we saw last year there were weeks Smith went off. Wallace is an upgrade to Smith in my opinion and this makes him a guy we will always have to look at week to week in terms of DFS. If the opposing team struggles vs the deep ball, Mike Wallace instantly is on the radar as a GPP dart throw. The last fantasy relevant part of the Eagles is defense. I love this defense, but I have always been a defensive streamer in season long which is why I will never draft them, but they score a lot and get to the QB which is why you should draft them. Week to week they are always in play for DFS as they always have the upside to score and generate a lot of sacks. All in all the Eagles outside of Wentz and Ertz are more of a team I am looking to attack in DFS rather than season long.
Lastly, I want to touch on the vegas win total. The Eagles is set at 10.5. I talked a lot about how much I love this roster still, but the NFC is very tough as a whole and no team has won the NFC East two years in a row since 2004. I think that changes this year though. I would lean to the side of over on 10.5, but just barely. I have the Eagles 11-5. It’s a tricky schedule which is why I am not super confident in the over.
Dallas Cowboys– The Cowboys finished 2nd in the NFC East last year going 9-7 in what was a weird year with the whole Zeke suspension and the team never really being healthy. The bring in what is a different roster. They let Dez walk. Jason Witten retired. The offense will look different from a passing standpoint, but they don’t have to worry about a Zeke suspension going into this season which is nice. The Cowboys drafted a LB out of Boise they expect big things from right off the bat. They also added a WR I am very high on from the draft in Michael Gallup. Gallup was a great college producer at Colorado State. Gallup has good size at 6’1 200 pounds. I expect the Cowboys to use him outside with Allen Hurns on the other side. Beasley will man the slot. It’s not a great WR core, but I think they exceed expectations. Dak thrives in playaction when the Cowboys are running it well and they can mix in some playaction and get Dak out of the pocket. I could see all three of Gallup, Hurns, and Beasley exceeding 50+ catches. It’s crazy, but I really do like this Cowboy’s offense knowing they will have Zeke. This is a top 10 offense in my opinion even though that might be a hot take. It’s not that different than the team that went 13-3 and two years ago. They ground and pound and milk clock. Dak just needs to be more like rookie year Dak than sophomore year Dak. Now to the defense; it’s an interesting unit. We all know the deal with Dallas. If Sean Lee is healthy and on the field, this is an above average defense. Without Sean Lee, this is a bad defense. They have talent on the DLINE. Demarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Taco Charlton, etc. They have guys who can get after the QB which is often their struggle. A lot of times Dallas is often stuck covering for so long they give up big plays. I love Dallas’s secondary. It’s young and fun. Byron Smith is an awesome utility CB/S. He showed a lot of promise last year. They’ve added other pieces too that should help them be better. The bottom line though is Sean Lee must stay healthy for this to be a good defense and a team who hopes to get back to the playoffs. The Cowboys from a fantasy perspective are interesting in my eyes. It all starts with Zeke. Zeke is being drafted as the 4th RB right now behind Gurley, Bell, and DJ which is about right to me. The Cowboys line is still good and Zeke is back ready to go. I might be on and island here, but I actually would be drafting Zeke over Bell and DJ. Zeke week to week in DFS given matchup will always be my number 2 behind Gurley. Zeke also is likely to see an increase in pass game work this year which really has me higher on him. Now to Dak, Dak is being drafted in the 13th round at an ADP of QB 23. I’m not sure what to think of this. I’m a Dak fan and believer in him. I guess the WR core might be scaring people off. I feel like QB 23 is way to low for a guy with his rushing upside. The issue is Dak isn’t a volume passer. He’s an efficient one who rarely exceeds 30 attempts. The thing I like about Dak is he doesn’t really turn it over. The issue with drafting Dak is the schedule. The Cowboys open up with some tough pass defenses. My stance on Dak would probably be to avoid him and hope he starts mediocre and someone drops him. Scoop him up for when the schedule gets easier. Let someone else try using him the first half of the season. For DFS purposes, Dak will be someone I look to trying to save salary. I actually like pairing him with Zeke because it assures you every red zone touchdown the cowboys score. The nice thing with the cowboys is you literally can ignore the TE position as they really don’t have a TE who is a pass catching threat. I still like Rico Gathers is dynasty, but in season long and DFS there is no one with any value. Now to the WR core, I actually like something here. Allen Hurns currently has a 9th round ADP and is being drafted as WR 43. I’m not sure there is really value here. Hurns should lead the team in receiving, but I think 9th round is a little early. For DFS, I will be targeting Hurns a lot. Hurns is a guy who had big games in Jacksonville and still possesses week to week upside. I’m curious to see how much Dallas runs him in the slot because that’s where I like Hurns. He’s not the fastest guy so I like him in the slot where he can win with physicality. I really have no interest in Cole Beasley at all. He’s not a red zone threat, he doesn’t score, and he doesn’t get many yards. I’m sure he will have a 10-60 line once this year, but he really never possesses any upside week to week to garner a roster spot in DFS or season long. The next guy who seems like he has been there forever and has done nothing, but is still an active body on the WR core is Terrance Williams. You shouldn’t draft Terrance or ever play him in DFS. HE just isn’t good to be short and to the point. He doesn’t get separation at the line. He isn’t a real deep threat. He doesn’t score touchdowns. He just isn’t fantasy relevant. The next guy I have to talk about is Tavon Austin. Tavon is someone I have come around to this offseason actually. When Dallas signed him, I didn’t think much of it. However, I am actually starting to like Austin. Dallas plans to use Austin in a hybrid role. He will essentially serve as the backup RB to Zeke and used elsewhere across the line of scrimmage. I expect Dallas to try to get Austin plenty of touches in space where he can make plays. While I like Austin, he isn’t someone who is really being drafted in season long, but if you are in a league with a larger bench I think he makes for a late round flier. The thing with Dallas is there is so much we don’t know. The only thing we know is Zeke is getting the ball a lot. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Finally, the guy I really am high on coming into the year is Michael Gallup. At WR 58 and a 12th round ADP I think this is the value of the Cowboys. Yes, he’s a rookie playing on a run first team. The thing I like about Gallup is he’s a very good route runner. I know most people don’t care about Mountain West football, but I watch quite a lot of it. I saw Gallup play a bunch over his career at CSU. He showed the ability to make plays at all levels of the field. I think Dallas will learn pretty quickly they need to get this kid the ball. It wouldn’t shock me if he lead the team in targets, catches, and yards. I have been drafting a lot of Gallup in best balls as he is a low risk high reward at his ADP. It’s a little early for bold predictions and to be looking this far ahead, but week 2 vs the Giants on SNF I think we see really what this rookie has. I’m going to be playing him a lot in DFS at a cheap price vs exploitable secondaries. It’s an island I will be on all year, but I really am buying Michael Gallup for the upside I believe he has. I think he easily exceeds his WR ADP and finishes somewhere in the low to mid 40s by the years end. There isn’t anyone else really worth talking about on Dallas. It should be an average defense, but it’s not a defense that scores for fantasy purposes. Their might be a stream week or 2 but that is about it. All in all the Cowboys have a roster that for fantasy purposes is interesting. We know what we will get from Zeke. There is a lot of uncertainty elsewhere, but I think we can find some potential value in their WR core.
Now let’s talk the vegas win number. The Cowboys is set at 8.5. Similar to the Eagles, this is a very tough schedule. The big difference though is the Cowboys get most of their tougher games at home which will be huge. I’m going to lean over here, but again this isn’t a strong lean. If Sean Lee stays healthy, this team could push for the division if not at least a wildcard. There is a lot of uncertainty, but this a team I could easily see exceeding expectations and winning 10+ games.
Washington Redskins: The Washington Redskins are coming off a disappointing 7-9 season that featured a lot of injuries and the team returns this year with a different look at QB. The Redskins traded Kendall Fuller and a pick this offseason in order to acquire Alex Smith from the Chiefs. The team proceeded to let Kirk Cousins walk in free agency. Is this an upgrade? I think it is actually. I like this new look Redskins offense. To be clear, I’m a big fan of Kirk Cousins. I just think he never really fit well in Washington. They never showed commitment to him. I like bringing in a proven veteran in Smith who is a franchise QB. The Skins gave him an extension right away which shows the confidence they have in him. Smith isn’t the only piece the Skins added to their offense. They went out and signed Paul Richardson. Richardson should essentially be the deep threat for the team and play a lot in 3 wide sets as I expect Doctson to start outside and Crowder to man the slot. The Skins hoped they were getting a deep threat last year when they signed Terrelle Pryor. Hopefully they actually get that with Richardson. The other big piece Washington added was drafting Guice late in the 2nd round. This was an absolute huge pickup in my opinion. Guice was the second best RB prospect in this draft in my opinion and Washington absolutely stole him. Guice should slide right into a lead back role. He isn’t a huge receiving threat, but the Skins will spare him with Chris Thompson anyways on 3rd downs and passing situations. Washington also added some rookie WRs, but I don’t see any making an impact with too many mouths to feed. The Washington defense is interesting. They lost two corners in Breshaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller. They did add Orlando Scandrick in free agency and picked up two rookie corners, but I think the secondary could be a real problem outside of Josh Norman if Scandrick doesn’t play well. I liked the pick of Daron Payne in the first round of the draft. Washington needed to add depth to their dline and they got it. Payne plays the run really well and can get after the QB a little too. I have no idea what to make of the rest of Washington’s defense. It looks like an average roster on paper. There just isn’t a lot that stands out. Their LB core is a bunch of older veterans now that Sua Cravens is gone. I like the DLINE. I expect Jonathan Allen to take a step forward. I just don’t know with this roster. It’s weird. There aren’t a ton of holes. There just isn’t a lot that stand out. I think this offense could be really really good if the line can stay healthy and they can run the ball with success. Now let’s talk fantasy with the Skins. It all starts at QB. Alex Smith is currently being drafted as the QB 19 in the 12th round. There is a lot of value here in my opinion. Some guys being drafted ahead of Smith include: Jared Goff, Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, and Kirk Cousins. I like Smith more than all these guys. He’s efficient. He also adds a lot with his legs. It always feels weird starting Alex Smith at QB in fantasy, but given how deep QB seems to be this year I really like the idea of waiting on QB and targeting Smith. Smith was a guy I was on big time last year in DFS, he is always low owned because yeah he is Alex Smith. He’s perceived as a boring dink and dunk QB. However, last year he was actually PFFs top graded QB on deep throws. Smith is a guy if you get on him at the right times he can make you money because he does have big weeks. Alright I have spent way too much time on Alex Smith, let’s talk some skilled positions. At running back it appears to be a log jam right now, but by the end of preseason it will not look that way. The Redskins currently have 3 guys “battling” for the early down role in Samaje Perine, Rob Kelly, and rookie Derrius Guice. Guice is going to win this job. Rob Kelly is slow and just yeah not good. We saw what Perine is last year. He struggled to avoid defenders and break tackles and never really showed any flash like he did in college. That’s why the Skins drafted Guice. Guice should handle all early down work and has a chance to post some really good touchdown numbers. To put in perspective how bad Perine was last year, out of every running back to handle 100+ carries last year only Doug Martin and Ameer Abdullah had a lower ypc. Guice will win this job and with an adp in the late third round and rb 17 I love taking Guice in season long this year. Guice isn’t really a pass catcher, but the volume he should see and the TD opportunities still make him a valuable asset in my opinion. Other running backs being drafted around Guice include: Derrick Henry, Alex Collins, Jay Ajayi, and Rashaad Penny. All those guys have other players who will steal early down work and limit their upside. Yes, Guice isn’t 100% locked into the starting job, but it’s all but certain. The other fantasy relevant back on Washington is Chris Thompson. Thompson only played 10 games last year with his season ending to an injury, but he should be back and ready to step right back into his 3rd down role. Through 10 games last year, Thompson was not only leading the Skins in rushing, but also receiving. He had 40 catches for 510 yards in those 10 games to go along with 4 scores. Thompson was averaging 4 catches a game and was a big play machine last year. Thompson has been being drafted in the start of the 8th round as the RB 35. As you’re reading this, that probably seems high. I actually think there is some value here with Thompson. For anyone who tends to take the wait on RB approach after round one Thompson is a guy I would be thrilled to scoop in round 8. With his receiving ability, he has RB 1 upside every week and most likely he will be your flex. There will always be weeks where game flow is bad, but given his price and upside I really like targeting Thompson in drafts. I also think him and Guice could both be played together. In terms of DFS, both these guys will be game flow dependent. You want Guice when the Skins have a positive game script and vice versa with Thompson. Now we get to the receiving core, which is quite a deep and interesting core. Washington made some small and minor changes to it’s WR core this offseason. The team let Terrelle Pryor walk after a disappointing one year stint in DC. The team went on to sign Paul Richardson from Seattle. Then drafted Trey Quinn out of SMU. The team also lost Ryan Grant to free agency. I’ll start with Jamison Crowder. Crowder is coming off what was a really up and down year. He lead Washington in catches, targets, and yards. However, he only found the endzone 3 times. Crowder is going in the late 7th round right now. I want to like Crowder, I was on him big last year. I just don’t know exactly what his role is going to be with Alex Smith at QB. Crowder isn’t a guy who we can project to see a big TD increase with it looking like Josh Doctson will be the redzone guy and we know Alex Smith loves looking at his tight ends in the redzone. I might like Crowder more if the guys he is being drafted around just weren’t so much better and in better spots. These players include Manny Sanders, Will Fuller, Pierre Garcon, and Randall Cobb. All four of these players off much more upside and are just in a better position to succeed in my opinion. Cobb is a locked in number 2 in Green Bay’s offense. Manny is the slot WR in a Case Keenum lead offense which Case favors the slot guy. Will Fuller is loaded with upside and has Deshaun Watson back. Pierre Garcon is the number 1 in a Kyle Shanahan offense. With all that being said, Crowder should be a high volume WR with limited upside. He could hover around 70-850-4 which is a fine line, but I really think that is a stretch. It’s just tough for me drafting Crowder knowing his upside is limited. Next we go to the most frustrating player in fantasy over the last couple years, Jordan Reed. Oh Jordan Reed why can’t you ever stay healthy is what I will probably will be saying week 4. Jordan Reed is so good at football it’s scary. Another year another chance to draft Jordan Reed. Jordan Reed is my favorite tight end value right now coming into draft season. Reed a really bad year being hurt on and off all year he just never could stay healthy(shocker). We all know the story with Jordan Reed. If he stays healthy, he can be the number 1 TE in fantasy. Reed is currently going in the 8th round as the TE 10 which is just ridiculous. Alex Smith has always loved targeting his tight end. It started with his days of throwing to Vernon Davis in SF and then Kelce in SF. I don’t see why we think there is a reason this trend won’t continue. Reed has not been as good as those guys were, but he’s just as talented and capable of a big year. I strongly believe and expect that if Reed plays all of or most of the games this year he will lead Washington in every receiving category except yards. I think that 8th round ADP is such a steal I am drafting Jordan Reed every chance I get. The guy is good. He has a massive opportunity to have a huge bounce back season. I will touch on Vernon Davis real quick. He’s old, but has quietly been productive when given the opportunity. He’s a great guy to stash on your bench especially if you draft Reed with his injury risk. Davis always has spot start appeal when Reed is out. Now we move to a guy I can’t stop talking about, Josh Doctson. Doctson had a weird sophomore year. Doctson made some big plays, but was really inefficient. He graded out as the 75th WR on PFF which is yeah not good, but that’s fine. It’s a new year and a new offense. Doctson has the size and frame to be a dominant redzone threat which is just what I expect this year. Washington wanted it to be Pryor last year, but that just didn’t work. Now they turn to Doctson and can feature him on the outside. Doctson’s issue last year was his low catch rate. He was seeing lots of targets down the stretch, but with a catch rate below 50% that just won’t cut it. A lot of that was attributed to Kirk Cousins not playing his best, but still Doctson can be better. Doctson is going in the 12th round as the WR 56. That’s crazy to me. This tells me people think Paul Richardson will have a much larger role, but I really don’t see it. Richardson is a deep threat that’s it. I don’t think he impacts Doctson much which is why I am drafting plenty of him. All the reports say Gruden wants the Skins to feature Doctson in the redzone which is why I am all over him. Alex Smith is a more accurate QB than Kirk Cousins. He’s just better than Kirk Cousins. I think if Doctson takes steps forward a 10 TD season isn’t out of play. Also, Doctson is a big play threat too. As long as he holds off Richardson to start outside this current ADP is just a steal for a guy with the potential to get plenty of scoring looks. Draft Josh Doctson and don’t look back. Finally, I will touch on Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn real quick. Quinn is simple, he’s a dynasty league pick at this point. I don’t see a path to targets without injury so there is no season long appeal or early DFS appeal. Paul Richardson will have boom or bust flex appeal all year in season long and will always be a GPP flier in DFS. He’s a deep threat. He isn’t a volume guy. You need to hope Alex Smith’s deep passing last year wasn’t just a result of his weapons in KC because if it was then Richardson won’t make much of an impact. The defense isn’t bad, it’s just not a good fantasy one. Overall, I really like a lot fantasy wise on Washington with my favorite targets being Alex Smith, Jordan Reed, and Josh Doctson.
Now to the vegas win total, it’s interesting. The over/under is set at 7. I look at the schedule and man it’s tough. They have a lot of tough road games and are in a loaded division. Once again I am going to lean over as this team won 7 games last year and improved this offseason, but this is not a strong lean at all. The schedule is brutal. This number is accurate.
New York Giants: Finally, we reach the last team in the NFC East. The New York Giants had their worst season in a while winning just a meer 3 games last season. A lot of people have optimism for this team however. Odell is back. They drafted a generational talent at RB in Barkley. They picked up Nate Soldier to play LT. Acquired Alec Ogletree to play MLB. The one thing the Giants didn’t do is get a QB. I don’t get this Giants hype at all which is why this is the easiest team to cover for me. Eli is washed. He’s been on downward spiral for years now. I don’t see why anything changes this year unless the fountain of youth is a real thing. The Giants still have major holes across the whole oline. This expectation that adding a RB will make things better is nuts. People will try and reference the Jags, but the Jags were not any worse or better with Fournette on and off the field. They were good because of their defense and Bortles was a game manager. Unlike the Jags, the Giants have a bad defense and an even worse QB. I do love the Giants weapons on offense with OBJ, Sterling Shepard, Barkley, and Evan Engram. All should have great years, but I don’t think it translates to winning for the Giants. The defense isn’t at the level it needs to be to overcome Eli’s struggles. Let’s talk fantasy now. It starts at QB with Eli. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but yeah I have no interest in Eli in season long. If you want to take a flier on him at his 13th round ADP, go for it. I think Eli is washed. He’s got weapons sure, but from what I saw last year his arm strength was really weird. His decision making was poor. Less shots downfield. I’m sure the addition of more weapons back could help, but personally Eli is just a guy I will not own and will rarely target in DFS unless I was just completely wrong about him. We move to running back and the Giants invested the number 2 overall pick on Saquon Barkley out of Penn State. Barkley is a freak athlete, arguably the best we have seen at the RB position. Barkley is going in the middle of the first round of drafts so far. I like Barkley’s spot he is in. I think the Giants use him a lot out of the backfield and I think 60-70 catches is very realistic. Early in the offseason there were talks that the Giants would use Jonathan Stewart as the goal line back. I don’t buy this for a second. Barkley is a big back he should handle the goal line work. The question I have with Barkley is how many good scoring opportunities will he receive. The Giants line is still terrible. Barkley struggled at Penn State when teams either stacked the box or his line was just overmatched. He’s elusive as hell, but often gets stuck in the backfield and the Giants oline and how bad I expect them to be puts in a little skepticism in my head. I’m not saying not to draft Barkley by all means. I just prefer other guys over him at his ADP which include Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon, and Alvin Kamara. When it comes to DFS, Barkley will always be a high upside guy. I will look to target him in spots where the opposing team struggles to cover running backs out of the backfield. As I mentioned earlier, the Giants also Jonathan Stewart. He isn’t fantasy relevant unless Barkley gets hurt. He might vulture a few TDs, but that’s it. Now we get to the receiving core which has a lot in terms of fantasy. It all starts with Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham is an absolute monster when on the field. He comes off a season in which he played just 4 games. Beckham will look to bounce this year and I fully expect him to. In terms of where I would put Beckham in WR rankings, he would come in at 3 behind Antonio Brown and Deandre Hopkins. I love OBJ. If you are drafting at the end of your league, Beckham would be my top target. Beckham finally has other weapons around him that will garner attention. He won’t be dealing with weekly teams and teams do they will surely pay. I have no fear with Beckham this year and am drafting him when I am in the right spot. Week to week in DFS he arguably has more upside than anyone. He is ELITE. The other relevant Giants WR is Sterling Shepard. He currently is going as the WR 44 in the 10th round. Shepard is awesome out of the slot and had some big games last year, but that was also without Odell on the field. His ADP feels about right to me. He should be a WR on your bench. His upside is limited unless the Giants just completely explode. I don’t see there being enough looks for him to really outproduce his current ADP. However, given Beckham’s injury history, temper, etc I do think he is a worthwhile bench WR to own. I just wouldn’t reach on him. Week to week in DFS he is an interesting play especially when OBJ will be shadowed by an elite CB. He makes big plays. He just has a lot of other guys competing for targets as well. The last Giants pass catcher I want to touch on is Evan Engram. Engram didn’t look like a rookie last year as he had great success as a rookie being Eli’s top target for most of the season. Engram is generally the 6th TE off the board in the mid 6th round right now which seems right. I wonder how he will produce with OBJ back and Barkley also present now, but he is an uber talent with plenty of upside. I just think with all the mouths to feed his ceiling is capped a little which is fine. I don’t need that out of my TE. Engram is reliable and should produce at a consistent rate. He gets open to much not to get the looks he needs. I just have never been one to draft tight ends high so Engram won’t be on a lot of my teams going forward given his rise in ADP over the Summer. Week to week in DFS he will be a guy I will attack in cash games when the price is reasonable. I will touch on one last guy just because I like the player. Roger Lewis isn’t a guy who you should draft or who has any fantasy relevance at the moment, but he is a guy to monitor to see if he gets the snaps in 3 wide sets because if that is the case he would be a guy who could garner some value if Sheppard got hurt. He’s a big play guy. I just wanted to bring him up as he was a guy I used in tournaments in DFS last year with his big play ability. The last thing to touch on is the Giants defense. Do not draft the Giants defense. It’s simple. They are bad. For the most part though, this is a team with plenty of fantasy relevant players. Their defense should be bad which bodes well for the Giants offensive players. More throwing equals more scoring opportunities.
Finally, I will touch on the vegas total. The Giants sits at 6.5. This one is easy for me and one of my 3 favorite win total bets. You take the under. The schedule is impossible. They open up the year with home vs JAX, @ DAL, @ HOU, home vs NOLA, and @ CAR. That sounds like 5 losses to me. This team is improved, but Eli ultimately holds them back.
Updates: Some things have changed while I have been working on this and want to touch on them. Josh Doctson suffered a mild AC joint sprain. Washington expects him to not even preseason time so my stance on him remains the same. Chris Thompson now looks like he will not be ready for the season opener and could miss extended time. Thompson goes from a guy I was targeting to a guy I will avoid and look to target in DFS whenever he is back. This bodes well for Derrius Guice as this should increase his weekly touch floor. The last thing I want to mention is the Eagles CBs have supposedly looked very good at camp. I thought this was relevant since I expressed my concerns about their secondary. I take camp reports with a grain of salt usually, especially on the defensive side. However, it is interesting to hear and something I will be keeping an eye on in the preseason and early in the regular season. It could change a lot of how we attack Philly’s defense in DFS.