The NFC East was the worst division in football in 2020, and it wasn’t even close. There was a point in mid-October where it was mathematically possible that a five-win team won the division. My new conspiracy theory: the seventeen-game season is solely to diminish the odds that a seven-win team hosts a home playoff game again. They’ll just be 8-9 instead. The NFC East made big moves this offseason, with three teams making quarterback moves, and the fourth team adding the biggest fantasy-relevant free agent. Of course, the NFC East forced themselves into our minds, as is their need. But, with the NFL Draft on the horizon, it’s time to turn our sights to the glorified conference call for our own selfish means. What players should the NFC East teams take in the 2021 NFL Draft to better our fantasy football options for next season?
Dallas Cowboys (6-10)
Picks: #10, #44, #75, #99, #115, #138, #179, #192 (DET), #227, #238
Key Additions: None
Key Losses: None
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Offensive Line
The Cowboys don’t need any more skill-position players. They snagged CeeDee Lamb in the first round last year to add to Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Dallas has Ezekiel Elliott and his backup Tony Pollard inked, and they backed the Brinks truck up to Dak Prescott’s house. They’re all full up on offensive weaponry, though I wouldn’t put it past Jerry Jones to trade the farm to get Kyle Pitts. But, I wouldn’t put money on that. That leaves one real option…
When you close your eyes and think of the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line, you think of a young, hot, top-five unit. Unfortunately, those days sit firmly in the past. The two remaining players from that line (Zack Martin and Tyron Smith) both turn 31 this season (and Smith missed 14 games in 2020), and the third-best guy, La’el Collins, missed all of 2020 with a hip injury. Wrap all this up into a bow and you get a team that probably shouldn’t rest on its laurels along the line any longer. Unfortunately, their bottom-ten (by Football Outsiders’ DVOA) defense presents a more pressing matter. It’s unlikely they spend significant capital to address their offensive line in this draft, banking on health to improve their bottom-five unit in 2020, instead.
New York Giants (6-10)
Picks: #11, #42, #76, #116, #196, #201 (ARI)
Key Additions: Kenny Golladay & John Ross (WR), Kyle Rudolph (TE), Devontae Booker (RB), Mike Glennon (QB)
Key Losses: Golden Tate (WR), Cam Fleming (OL), Dion Lewis & Wayne Gallman (RB)
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line
This is the last ride for Daniel Jones before we start to put the B Label on him, given his draft price. This offseason feels a lot like we could see a replay of the 2020 Denver Broncos’ draft. The Giants added Kenny Golladay, and are likely to beef up Daniel Jones’ weaponry with at least one receiver and some top-shelf offensive line talent. That sort of puts Daniel Jones into “one last ride” territory before they clean house and start over with a new quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. That having been said, the Giants have a lot of options available to them in this draft, with a bevy of wide receivers slated to go in the first 50 picks or so. They could also beef up their interior offensive line with some pieces to go alongside 2020 rookie tackles Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart.
This feels like a make-or-break year for Danny Dimes, and the NFL Draft should get him some weapons to make him NFL—and fantasy football—relevant.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-11-1)
Picks: #12 (SF via MIA), #37, #70, #84 (IND), #123 (MIA), #150, #189, #224, #225, #234, #240 (SF)f
Key Additions: Joe Flacco (QB), Jordan Howard (RB)
Key Losses: Carson Wentz (QB), Alshon Jeffery & DeSean Jackson (WR)
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Offensive Line & Wide Receivers
The Eagles’ 2020 offensive line fell apart entirely, mostly due to injury. Unfortunately, injuries just might end the tenures of both Jasons—Peters and Kelce—that dominated the Eagles’ offensive line for ages. The Eagles turned a massive page in 2020, ending their connections with Alshon Jeffery, Carson Wentz and DeSean Jackson (who had sojourned around the league before rejoining Philadelphia for an injury-plagued two years). All of this combined with two major needs for the Eagles for fantasy football purposes: an offensive line, and wide receivers.
Unfortunately, the Eagles have a more dire need on the opposite side of the ball, with most mock drafts having them end up with one of the big cornerbacks (Patrick Surtain or Jaycee Horn) in the first round. They do usually bounce back with an interior offensive lineman in the second, before adding depth players in the third round or later.
Washington Football Team (7-9)
Picks: #19, #51, #74 (SF), #82, #124, #163, #244 (LAS), #246
Key Additions: Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB), Curtis Samuel (WR)
Key Losses: Alex Smith (QB)
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Offensive Line, Future QB
I wanted to stay away from the offensive line here, as I gave three teams in this division upgraded offensive lines, and the Washington OL ranked sixth in the league last season, so things could be a lot worse upfront for Ryan Fitzpatrick and company in 2021. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the thought by a lot of guys in the know, and hell, everyone could always use an offensive line upgrade.
Wide receiver would be a lot of fun here to give FitzMagic even more weapons to work with, but we risk tipping the balance in what will be a very crowded pass-catching corps: Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Logan Thomas will all garner targets, and Washington hopes to get guys like Antonio Gandy-Golden and Kelvin Harmon back from injury, as well, so I’m not feeling the need for a top-flight wide receiver so much.
I do, however, believe the Football Team needs a QB of the future under contract as soon as possible. Kellen Mond is a project QB who likely plops right into their lap in the third round. I like that as a developmental play for the Football Team to have a potential starting-caliber quarterback in the third round this year. There are whispers of WFT trading up to get Trey Lance, but I don’t think the squad wants to expend the necessary capital given the bidding war at 4 for the Atlanta Falcons’ pick. Still, Trey Lance with Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin would sure be fun.
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