We all thought that the AFC East in 2022 was the end of the Patriots’ reign. And then, they made the playoffs. But Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills let us know that there’s a new sheriff in town, knocking the Patriots out of the playoffs by 30. With the Jets also existing, and the Miami Dolphins retooling in a big way, this division should be fireworks going forward. What do the teams inside it need to do in this week’s NFL draft to make fantasy football fans happy? Let’s take a look.
Additions: Duke Johnson (RB – MIA), O.J. Howard (TE – TB), Jamison Crowder (WR – NYJ)
Losses: Matt Breida (RB – NYG), Mitch Trubisky (QB – PIT), Emmanuel Sanders & Cole Beasley (WR – FA)
Impact Picks: Round 1, Pick 25; Round 2, Pick 57; Round 3, Pick 89
Fantasy Needs: Running Back
The Fantasy Football Illuminati have spent weeks praying over their altar to Moloch that the Buffalo Bills take Breece Hall or Kenneth Walker III in this draft. And, to be honest, I can’t hate it. Right now, they have a one-two punch at running back that mostly devolves into a one-one punch with Devin Singletary. Zack Moss is nothing like what they hoped he would be when they drafted him in 2020; he notched just 96 carries last year in 13 games and failed to pan out as a goal-line hammer. There’s also the problem that Devin Singletary, while talented, is small (5’7” 203 pounds). The Bills could be in the market for an all-around back like Breece Hall or a 1A to Singletary’s pass-catching 1B, like Walker. As it stands, however, the thing they need most, from a fantasy football perspective, is a new running back.
Additions: Mike McDaniel (HC – SF), Terron Armstead (LT – NO), Tyreek Hill (WR – KC), Raheem Mostert (RB – SF), Chase Edmonds (RB – ARI), Cedrick Wilson (WR – DAL), Teddy Bridgewater (QB – DEN)
Losses: Jacoby Brissett (QB – CLE), Duke Johnson (RB – BUF), Will Fuller (WR – FA)
Impact Picks: Round 3, Pick 102
Fantasy Needs: Center
The Dolphins have one pick in the first three rounds, mostly because they spent all their picks upgrading the rest of their team. Well, more specifically, Tyreek Hill. The Dolphins went out and upgraded all around Tua Tagovailoa, giving him Hill and Terron Armstead, two of the premier players at their positions. They also filled in around the edges, snagging a one-two running back punch from the NFC West and Cedrick Wilson from the Cowboys. They even went out and got a hypercompetent backup should Tua Tagovailoa falter.
After the dust settled on their offseason, the Miami Dolphins only have one pick in the first three rounds (barely outside the top-100). And, they need a center. The rest of their line is fine, but they have to stop pressure up the middle from flustering Tua Tagovailoa. They’re out of the Tyler Linderbaum sweepstakes, as he’s likely a first-rounder, but Cameron Jurgens might fall to them, or Cole Strange or Zach Tom are both likely available in their range.
New England Patriots
Additions: Ty Montgomery (WR/RB – NO)
Losses: Ted Karras (OC – CIN), Shaq Mason (OG – TB), Brandon Bolden (RB – LV)
Impact Picks: Round 1, Pick 21; Round 2, Pick 54; Round 3, Pick 85
Fantasy Needs: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line
The Patriots backed up the Brinks Truck to a handful of wide receivers and tight ends last offseason. Unfortunately, none of that really panned out to the level we hoped when the Pats went out of their way to bring in Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. It’s why, even at this point, the Patriots still need to get a wide receiver in the draft. They’re in the correct range to pick up the scraps of the top-five at the position, unfortunately, that means they’re getting Chris Olave in the first round.
The Patriots could also use their first-rounder to re-acquire the offensive lineman they ditched this offseason, as they let Ted Karras walk and traded Shaq Mason to the Buccaneers so Bill Belichick could fulfill a gambling debt to Tom Brady (it’s the only explanation).
But, they’re the Patriots, so we all know they have their eyes set on George Karlaftis in the first round should he fall, the most Patriots Player on the Planet (the PPP).
New York Jets
Additions: Laken Tomlinson (OG – SF), C.J. Uzomah (TE – CIN), Tyler Conklin (TE – MIN)
Losses: Jamison Crowder (WR – BUF)
Impact Picks: Round 1, Picks 4 & 10; Round 2, Picks 35 & 38; Round 3, Pick 69
Fantasy Needs: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line
The Jets are unlikely to spend many premium picks on offense, given their needs on defense (and potential ability to double-tap Sauce Gardner and Kyle Hamilton in round one, completely revamping their secondary). But, should they spend on the offensive side of the ball, they need to get Zach Wilson some weapons. Their second-round picks fall right in the range of where guys like Skyy Moore could go, though they have Skyy Moore at home (they call him Elijah). Likely they figure out where they can get away with taking Alec Pierce, and they go from there. The Jets also need to shore up their offensive line, as Mekhi Becton isn’t panning out as they hoped (to put it lightly). They could spend #4 on one of Evan Neal or Ikem Ekwonu, which would signal Becton’s walking papers are in the mail, but chances are one or both of them are off the board before they pick at four.