Here is a fantasy breakdown for each respective team in the NFC East after the 2012 draft to give owners an idea where each team’s offense currently lies before camp…
Dallas focused on defense in the draft and rightfully so. This is a talented offensive group, but has its respective question marks. Tony Romo is a starting quarterback in most fantasy leagues, but needs to stay healthy and keep away from careless turnovers that will lead to public scrutiny.
At running back the Cowboys have one player who has all the potential in the world and one running back that was once coined as having potential. DeMarco Murray has the talent to be a top three-down back in the league, but was dinged in his first go around. He is, however, good enough to target come draft time. His backfield cohort? Not so much. Word in the early off-season was that Dallas was entertaining the idea of dealing Felix Jones and this writer wouldn’t surprised if that’s what happened. Can’t make the club (real or fantasy) in the tub.
Finally, Dallas has a heck of a receiving corps, if again, they can stay healthy. Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are both talented enough to be a number one receiver in the NFL. But both, have issues. Bryant needs to keep his record clean off the field, while Austin needs to prove that he can stay healthy and worth the money he was paid a couple of years ago. Both are worthy fantasy number ones, but because of the risk, might be worth waiting on.
As for the tight end position, Jason Witten has been and will continue to be productive if, stop me if this sounds familiar, he can stay healthy. Also, don’t forget that if both Austin and Bryant stay healthy, there are only so many footballs that can go around. On the positive side, Witten still has top skills and an ongoing chemistry with Romo.
New York Giants
Even though he thought he was elite before last season, many fantasy experts didn’t agree (including this one). However, after his 2011 season, Eli Manning is legitimately an upper echelon fantasy quarterback. He’s got the weapons and the experience.
The Giants plan on going into the season with Ahmad Bradshaw as their #1 running back, but how confident are they? That question is worth asking after the Super Bowl Champions invested a 1st Round Pick in the draft on the running back position, by selecting David Wilson. Don’t forget Bradshaw had the chance to be the man in the Giants backfield and apparently didn’t win the team over. With Bradshaw’s injury history and Wilson now on the scene, this backfield could quickly become a committee.
As in Dallas, the wideout position is an impressive one for New York, but even more so. Victor Cruz blew up last year and remains a top target for fantasy owners. Lining up with Cruz is extremely talented, but injury risk, Hakeem Nicks. With Cruz established, Nicks’ value takes a little of a hit. Pay attention to newly drafted Reuben Randle, who has the opportunity to replace Mario Manningham.
Finally, the tight end position is in shambles as far as fantasy options. Both Travis Beckum and Bear Pascoe suffered awful injuries to their knees in the Super Bowl, leaving Martellus Bennett and rookie Adrien Robinson. No thanks.
The Eagles didn’t add a ton, offensively, through the draft and will rely on what they had last season. You know, the “dream team”. Well, the dream became a nightmare pretty quickly, thanks in part due to Michael Vick’s inability to stay healthy. Due to body frame and style of play, that’s not a shocker and is the main reason why this writer didn’t love Vick as much as others last year. Vick, though extremely talented, remains a health risk…a major health risk.
At running back, LeSean McCoy will look to follow up a great season with yet another. McCoy’s worth the investment and should be a top fantasy back in 2012. McCoy is backed up by Dion Lewis and newly drafted Bryce Brown. Neither Lewis nor Brown should play a huge role if McCoy is able to stay healthy.
On paper, Philadelphia’s wideouts are superbly talented. And, you know what they say about “on paper”. Both Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson have the skills, but are big-time injury risks. Jason Avant, Riley Cooper and rookie Marvin McNutt will provide depth.
Brent Celek rounds out the skill positions for the Eagles at tight end. Celek could be a gem come draft day, but his value relies on the health of Vick, Maclin and Jackson. It was proven last year that when Celek’s called upon, he can produce. But will he get that call? He is a draft and stash candidate.
The Eagles are simply one of the biggest, if not thee biggest, risk/reward team come draft day. Keep that in mind…
Ah, boom or bust folks, boom or bust. RGIII comes with the arm, legs, draft position and a world of hype. The question is; will he be the next Cam Newton or JaMarcus Russell? We’d say much closer to Newton than Russell. Griffin has the skills, the weapons and the coach to succeed in his rookie season. However, he also will play in the NFC East, where defense is a calling card. He’s draft worthy, but not as a starter.
I don’t think anyone can tell you what to expect from the Redskins backfield this season. Roy Helu looks like he has the talent, but owners will be working with a small sample size. The one positive is that we don’t see neither Evan Royster nor Alfred Morris as legit threats to Helu’s starting job. Therefore, he should start the season getting plenty of carries.
Update: Tim Hightower is back in Washington for another season, which means the Mike Shanahan games might continue at that position. What are those? Changing the #1 RB by the week. Fun times!
For Washington’s sake, let’s hope Pierre Garcon is a true #1 WR and not someone who took advantage of an explosive offensive led by one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Look, Garcon’s talented; just don’t expect top-10 numbers from him, even though he was paid this off-season. Santana Moss will do what Santana Moss does as the second option and catch footballs, but he is getting older and will relinquish some chances to Garcon, the next guy we write about and Fred Davis. The next guy? Keep your eyes on Leonard Hankerson; he’s young, came on late and has skill.
Since the Redskins decided to pay Fred Davis, you have to figure he’ll be a prime weapon this year. Davis is a good target, but he does come with a healthy amount of risk. It’s not so much health risk, as it is suspension risk. Don’t forget Davis was suspended at the end of last season and is dangerously close to losing a full season.
You can follow Nick Cattles on Twitter at – twitter.com/NickC941