The 2018 NFL Fantasy Football season is closing in on us. Throughout the next eight weeks we’ll be going through all the fantasy options for teams by division. The first week we’ll be going over the AFC East which is basically a division of the Patriots and “everybody else”.
AFC East Fantasy Outlook
New England Patriots
Additions: WR Jordan Matthews, RB Jeremy Hill, RB Sony Michel.
The Patriots are the cream of the crop in the AFC East for obvious reasons, they are routinely one of the best teams in the league and good teams usually lead to good fantasy outputs.
QB: It’s Tom Brady, does anything else need to be said? Tom Brady finished 3rd in fantasy scoring last year with 295.9 points. Father time will catch up to him eventually, but when is the question? Does he have another good year left in him? Brady will have a high ADP this year and at his age is a fantasy risk. He’s the best fantasy QB in the AFC East.
RB: Currently #1 on the Patriots depth chart at the writing of this article is recently drafted rookie Sony Michel. Draft him with caution though. To be fair, draft any Patriots RB with caution. The Patriots are known for their running back committee. They will all get points, but guessing which one is going to get the ball from week to week is going to be the challenge. The Patriots have 4, maybe even 5 quality RB’s. Michel, Burkhead, White, Hill and even Gillislee. Pay attention to Patriots training camp, only thing fantasy owners can do right now.
WR: Last year Julian Edelman threw a wrench into the mix of Patriots WR’s by getting hurt, this year he’s doing it via suspension. Edelman will miss the first four games of the 2018 season due to violating the league’s PED policy. Behind him on the depth chart is Chris Hogan who will have significant value, even before the Edelman suspension. Newly acquired Jordan Matthews should have a prominent role in the offence. It’s also worth noting that even though he didn’t play last year and is hurt currently after making a brief appearance at OTA’s. Malcolm Mitchell should have a significant role in the offence once he’s healthy.
TE: It might be an unpopular opinion but I believe it’s the truth. Rob Gronkowski is no longer the best TE in the NFL. He’s still by far the best TE on this team and will have an impact in the offence. I wouldn’t trust him at the ADP he’s going to be. Second string Dwayne Allen is pretty much non- existent in the passing game and is a non-factor fantasy wise.
Defence: Last year was the first time in five years that the Patriots defence finished outside of the top 10. Despite an atrocious start to the season, they were last in the NFL through Week 6. They managed to bring it back and finish 18th. I believe the start to last year was an anomaly and I’d draft the Patriots D with confidence this year.
Additions: WR Jeremy Kerley, QB Josh Allen.
The Buffalo Bills just came off a season where they snapped the longest playoff drought in North American pro sports making the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Unfortunately, I think that is a one-off and they won’t make it again this year.
QB: Currently listed on the depth chart at starter is former Bengals back-up, AJ McCarron. I believe he’ll start the season for the Bills. Surprisingly Nathan Peterman is second in front of newly drafted Josh Allen. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Allen end up being the official back-up out of training camp, he may even win the starting job. I wouldn’t draft a Bills QB. Pay attention to how training camp and the first couple weeks of the season plays out.
RB: Ye ole faithful. LeSean McCoy will once again be a popular running back come draft day. It’s worth noting, however, at the time of writing, LeSean McCoy has been accused of domestic violence. McCoy has come out and said the claims are “baseless”.
I’ve always been a bit more reserved on his performance and I’ll continue with that. He’s not exactly in the twilight of his career but he will be 30 years old at the beginning of the season. He won’t be able to carry the workload like he has in past years. Chris Ivory is a solid back-up for the Bills and wouldn’t surprise me if he finds a way to be fantasy relevant. I can’t see the Bills turning into a gun-slinging offence so both of their RB’s should hold value.
WR: The Bills only have one fantasy relevant WR in Kelvin Benjamin. Both Zay Jones and Jeremy Kerley may hold streamer value later in the season but shouldn’t be drafted. It’s a combination case of not having a great QB, nor great WRs.
TE: Other than LeSean McCoy. Charles Clay has been one of the more consistent fantasy players on the Buffalo Bills. He finished TE18 last year, however, he did miss 3 games. He might be worth taking a flyer pick on later in the draft.
Defence: Buffalo’s defence finished 22nd in scoring last year, while they have some decent pieces in the lineup and can make plays, they don’t have a good enough offence that can sustain drives to keep the defence off the field. Buffalo’s defence is at best a streaming option and shouldn’t be drafted.
Additions: RB Frank Gore, QB Brock Osweiler, TE Mike Gesicki
The Dolphins this year will be a tweener team for me this year, I don’t believe they are good enough to make the playoffs. I also don’t think they’ll be the worst team in the division. Fantasy relevant options on the Dolphins are going to be slim this year though.
QB: Ryan Tannehill is the definition of an average QB in my eyes, he’ll never finish in the top of fantasy scoring but he’ll more than likely never finish in the bottom either. Tannehill is a great late pickup if you are one of the last teams to draft a QB in your league or a fantastic streaming option.
RB: Kenyan Drake arose last season as a quality fantasy option after Jay Ajayi got traded to the Philadelphia Eagles midseason. He’s flanked by veteran Frank Gore. Kenyan Drake should be drafted in all leagues as his consensus ADP is 40. Frank Gore, however, won’t be drafted in most leagues as his ADP is #188, but he should be a quality streaming RB if you run into injury problems later in the year.
WR: I’m torn between if the Dolphins have two quality fantasy options or three fantasy options at WR. Both DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills are locked when it comes to fantasy options and Amendola who is currently sitting at fourth on the depth chart I believe can be a viable option by the time the season rolls around. One thing that tempers me on the expectations of the Miami WRs is the fact Tannehill isn’t an all-star QB.
TE: Mike Gesicki is the new rookie TE out of Penn State that the Dolphins drafted recently. He will be the #1 TE in this system. Adam Gase has a good track record of using TE’s effectively and with the loss of Jarvis Landry, Tannehill needs a big short pass option.
Defence: Miami finished 23rd last year in fantasy scoring and might not finish much better this year. Don’t draft the Dolphins defence as they’ll be solely a match-up dependent streaming defence. I fear their offence won’t be able to sustain drives, therefore, the defence will spend a lot of time on the field. Doesn’t help they play the Patriots twice a year.
New York Jets
Additions: WR Terrelle Pryor, RB Thomas Rawls, QB Teddy Bridgewater, QB Sam Darnold, RB Isaiah Crowell.
The New York Jets are the final team playing in the AFC East. Which is basically a division of the Patriots and “everybody else” this year. They will not be a playoff contender and they do not have many fantasy relevant options.
QB: Complete toss-up, the Jets have three QBs that could start out of camp. Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Darnold all theoretically have a shot at earning the job out of camp. McCown currently sits at #1 on the depth chart though. None of these QBs will be fantasy relevant beyond a streaming option.
RB: The Jets have a plethora of RB’s they can choose from in 2018, the problem is none of them are really that good. Isaiah Crowell just signed a three-year contract out of free agency and is currently listed as the 1st string. However, I feel the Jets will have a running back committee as all their options are around the same talent level.
WR: Robby Anderson currently sits atop of the depth chart after a break out season last year. He’s currently averaging 14.6 yards per catch in his career and if he can keep that up he’ll be a fantastic fantasy option. He currently sits at a #104 ADP and has the potential to be a 1,000-yard receiver, if you can find him around that #100 pick range he’s worth taking. Other than Anderson the Jets don’t have much relevance at WR as Kearse and Enunwa I don’t believe should be drafted in any format.
TE: Jets TE Jordan Leggett got injured in Week 2 of the preseason of his rookie season last year so we haven’t been able to see the Clemson product in the NFL yet. He currently sits on the depth chart as the 1st string TE. Currently, I’m not drafting any Jets TEs.
Defence: The Jets defence finished 31st last year. It’s hard for them to get any worse. Do not draft them.
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