THFantaC 2023 Fantasy Football Division Previews: The NFC East

Disclaimer: we are not researchers, just compilers and writers. A majority of these numbers can be found in a myriad of places. For simplicity’s sake, and to prevent you from having to read extensive in-text citations, the list of places we got our data (and what we used) is here:


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Philadelphia Eagles


The ascension of the Eagles last year was a wild thing to watch. Granted they had one of the easiest schedules last year, but the acquisition of AJB, the growth of Devonta Smith, and the ascension to MVP-Caliber QB play from Jalen Hurts transformed the Eagles into one of the most fantasy-viable teams in the NFL last year.

Based on everything we’ve learned through studying the rise of the Konami Code player and how they affect their teammates for fantasy: mobile QBs are good, one satellite position player will be good, and you can fade the rest. As we saw last year Jalen Hurts: great, WRs: great, TE pretty good. What I do want to go over first is why the Eagles were so successful as a team and what led them to score so many fantasy points for you.

It’s easy to sit here and say, “This player is good, this player is bad,” but I want to give myself, our audience a reason why, so that we can find trends and get better at projecting.

Shane Steichen’s scheme of abusing the RPO in a zone running scheme to force defenses to switch to man to cover the threat of a rushing Hurts, which was then used to force defenses to cover AJB and Smith in an air raid style passing attack, was why Philly was so successful on the surface level.

The real juice here is the ascension of Jalen Hurts’ processing ability to read defenses and audible within the formation, which led to extreme efficiency and exploitation of the defense.

The main form of option the Eagles used was the zone read where Hurts would watch what the LBs were doing. If the player is coming down to attack the running back, he’ll take off, if the player stays, hurts hands it off. Layers are added to this as the RB will motion in different directions to either be a blocker or kick out as a runner to further confuse the defense. Some defenses ended up just saying fuck it, always chase the RB, which led to Hurts just running rampant. This flux of play and letting Miles Sanders use his vision to follow the #1 ranked offensive line (per PFF) allowed for a variety of runs to occur to further confuse the defense. There are a lot of derivatives and variations of what occurs here, but the short of it is, that the Eagles’ offensive line and running scheme is VERY VERY good, which leads to the opening up of the passing game.

Ironically enough the passing scheme didn’t get better until their bye week. Initially, the Eagles were using AJ Brown as he was used in Tennessee as a drag route type player where he was short to intermediate across the middle, and Devonta Smith as the deep threat. Initially, teams used press coverage to try to jam up AJB at the line, but his release package improved, being a dawg at the catch point and the coaching staff realized he could beat guys off the line so he was then transitioned to the deep threat while Smith would run intermediate and outside. The offense leaned into “fuck it AJB down there somewhere,” even on jammed plays with no indication he’d be open, Hurts would still throw it his way no matter what. Then he would transition to curls and short routes to get YAC. Basically, AJB put it all together to be the elite receiver knew he was.

We all know Steichen is now the HC of the Colts, so you may have some hesitation on who the OC is now in Philly, but don’t worry Birds fans, they promoted from within. New OC Brian Johnson used to be the QB coach in the Eagles and the new QB coach is former Assistant QB Coach and OC Assistant Alex Tanney. What this means is that we’re expecting a repeat of last year on scheme, structure, and output of this team’s offense, but post-bye week Philly where they were putting up 30 points a game.

So now let’s get into the juice, the man who said, “god bless whoever hating on me.” The Man who got paid. Jalen Hurts.

Hurts ranked 10th in passing yards and 13th in air yards per Player Profiler. Hurts increased his accuracy and efficiency where he was #22 in danger plays and #24 in interceptable passes (a lower number is better here). He was #4 in passer rating and QBR, 5th overall in deep ball accuracy, 3rd in clean pocket accuracy, #2 in deep ball catchable pass rate, and #9 in catchable pass rate.

In man vs zone coverage, Hurts was ninth or better in all passer rating and completion percentages.

The downside of Hurts’ passing game last year was he was ranked #21 in red zone accuracy and red zone completion rate, but who gives a shit when you’re ranked #1 in carries, red zone carries, and rushing TDs.

I’m not going to fluff this or add caveats, Jalen Hurts is ranked QB1 on 4for4 and we’re all for it in all formats as he is a true unicorn. He has an ADP of 20 per 4for4 and 24.6 per Underdog which puts him in the middle of the second round.

Wide Receivers

Fortunately for the WR room, Philly added no one of consequence so its wheels up for AJ Brown and Devonta Smith in 2023, even if the data says that a mobile QB can’t have not only one top 10 WR but 2 like he and Philly had in 2022.

We’re going to start with AJB here, it was tough to pick one to begin with but we’re going with OUR GUY. Last year AJB  was top 10 in targets, target share, and target rate, 4th in receiving yards with 1496, #2 in yards after the catch with 543, over 3 yards per route run, 10.2 yards per target, and 17 yards per reception. The thing about all these numbers is that AJB had 819 unrealized air yards. There’s a world where AJB cracks 2k yards in a season. This isn’t even blind optimism, I think with the team’s understanding of how AJB can function as a complete WR, there’s a strong probability that AJB can crack 1800 yards this season.

Now, it’s hard to play second fiddle to AJB and follow in the footsteps of Jalen Hurts but Devonta Smith is able to fill those shoes pretty easily.

Last year the Slim Reaper was #13 in targets, had 1196 air yards, 95 receptions, and 7 TDs. People are always concerned about the size of Smith, but being #7 in the league in yards after the catch with 485 yards, I’m not concerned about his size anymore. 2 years in a row Smith has proven he’s the real deal. Smith also had 634 unrealized air yards. So here’s another instance of the probability of an increase in yards this year. When you look at Smith’s metrics on Player Profiler, there’s a lot at an average of about WR20, as he is lower in some areas like contested catch rate and higher in juke rate #3 in the league, but there’s still a very good picture painted here of a WR1, but put into the context of there’s also another WR1 on this team really shows you the offensive prowess and open availability of fantasy points on this offense. Although I’m a Zero RB or Hero RB player, there’s a world where you would be happy with Smith as your WR1 in fantasy.

Currently, per 4for4 Smith is WR12, right behind Olave and ahead of Jalen Waddle with an ADP of 22, so late 2nd round. Granted it does seem a little higher than what you’ve been drafting Smith at the last 2 years, it does feel like you’re drafting him at his ceiling at this point, where your return of investment feels a little tighter compared to the ceiling of AJB.

Tight Ends

Onto Ryan’s favorite position, the tight end. In episode 77, I gushed about Dallas Goedert being a buy-in dynasty. My main sticking point there was 10 points separated TE12 and T6. That’s 1 catch for 10 yards in PPR, the position clearly is flukey outside of the big dawg of Travis Kelce. Seeing as how Goedert missed 5 games in fantasy, we can assume he’d finish above that marker and could have potentially finished top 3 at the position behind Kelce and Hock. So the way I want to view the value of TE going for this year is obviously the number of targets they’re getting and the quality of targets they are getting to optimize efficiency at the position. Last year Goedert did not finish below the top 4 at the position in yards per route run, yards per target, yards per reception, yards per team pass attempt, and yards after catch. All these efficiency markers signal to me that even though there is competition between AJB and Smith, even with a 5.7 avg target per game Goedert has shown that he can optimize those targets to make them count for fantasy purposes. He might not have a 100-target season like other TEs but being one of the most efficient TEs in the league is something I will bet on for fantasy success. Godert ranked 13th out of 98 for all starting TEs and that is a number I want to see for a fantasy TE, I don’t want them to block ever, run the routes. Last year, Goedert saw his career-highest percentage of snaps come out of the slot position at 30.8. They’re clearly transitioning Goedert to be the possession and YAC guy on the team in the short range, which in PPR is pure gold for TEs.

Per 4fo4 Goedert is ranked as TE6 behind Kittle and Pitts, ahead of Waller and Engram. Goedert can be picked up around the early 6th.

Here comes the hard part and who I’m projecting to fade as a group unless they are depth pieces, the running backs.

Running Backs

In 2022, The Eagles had Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell, and Trey Sermon

This year they have Rachaad Penny, Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, Trey Sermon, and D’andre Swift. Granted one of those guys is on the chopping block, it’s probably Sermon since no one wants him and he has 43 total attempts in 2 years.

Last year Miles Sanders had his career year with 259 attempts for 1269 yards, which can be attributed to the #1 ranked offense, the abuse of the RPO Zone Run Scheme, and the fat rip of coke the Eagles offense took last year. Sanders finished the year #5th overall in yards, #4 in red zone tds, #9th overall in total tds, #8 total carries but still only finished as RB15 in PPR. Granted he over-performed his ADP, but there’s a picture here that is missing a component and I’m sure you guys can see it pretty obviously. Mobile QBs do not utilize the passing game for their running backs. All RBs last year in Philly had a total of 55 targets. RB9 last year, Aaron Jones had 59 catches, 7 total TDs, and 1100 yards, so it shows how vital pass catching is. Granted Sanders’ main skill isn’t pass catching, so I don’t feel it’s fair to say it’s all based on scheme but there isn’t really a way that 4 total RBs are not good at catching passes. Philly is doing something a little different this year with the acquisition of D’andre Swift for basically for free so there’s a small wrinkle in what to expect from this team in regards to the scheme.

Swift has shown that his biggest asset is his breakaway speed and pass-catching ability, but given the context of this team, I don’t see how a mobile QB that only had 56 total targets to the RB is going to be able to feed Swift 50 targets for him to be fantasy viable as Swift has never played a full season and never cracked 620 yards rushing. I think the RB room is a real trap in Philly, just as we were beating on the drum pre-draft to anyone that was saying “Bijan or Gibbs to Philly is fantasy gold.” Bijan I could see, as he does more but I think everyone who has been slobbing the knob of Bijan being Jesus Christ reborn on the field would have come for Nick Siriani’s head if he finished as RB15 in PPR. Praise him.

Rashaad Penny has value to me in the context of, “It’s round 10 and I need a weekly filler or I’ll draft him knowing full well that the probability is that this guy plays 4 game winning weeks for me before I release him to pick up Achane in week 6 for $12 of FAAB. Penny will win you weeks, I don’t doubt that, but which games those are going to be is incredibly hard to predict the later we get through the season. Penny has only played 28 total games in the last 4 years in the NFL. If he can stay healthy, I think he can definitely put up Miles Sanders’s numbers, but that’s a big if. However at RB38, around the middle of the 9th round, I think he’s a perfectly fine lottery pick because you’re getting really ugly in your drafts at this point, where you’re taking guys purely based on name value. There’s one player in this 34-39 range that I feel is way too low.

The players are in order, Zach Charbonnet, Damien Harris, Javonte, Kamara, and Penny. Gibson.

Any one of those guys becomes a league winner if they hit their “expected production”, but they all have flags on them to me personally outside of Charbs.

I don’t think any of our readers are in deep enough leagues where Kenny Gainwell is a viable guy to draft as he’s around the likes of Allen Robinson, John Metchie, and his teammate Boston Scott.

I’m planting my flag as the position to have in Philly outside of Jalen Hurts is the WR room, with a strong belief in Dallas Goedert. In summary: AJB has the highest ceiling with the availability to have the best return on investment at his draft position in my eyes, Smitty is being drafted at his ceiling, so he’s more a less a wash to me at ADP and based on team structure I wouldn’t be upset with him as my WR1 if I’m going more RB heavy or start TE/QB. Speaking of TE, I feel like Goedert is being drafted fairly, but I believe he can return more value at his ADP than TE6 so I feel he’s also I don’t mind going a little early on in drafts if I’m trying to avoid the blob of TEs. I’m personally out on all RBs in Philly this year at ADP. If Penny stays healthy, he’s going to win you your league, full stop and you’ll look like a genius. If you want to swing for the fences, I support you and I’ll probably do it once, but make sure you have a backup ready to go for what could be the inevitable.

Washington Commanders


Washington goes into this year with the worst odds to win their division, but I do believe there is some fantasy relevancy on this roster, so let’s start at QB. Sam Howell was a 5th-round pick and played one game last year, beating the Cowboys and going 19/25 for 168 yards with both a touchdown and an interception. In 2022, I compared him to 2021 Baker Mayfield as a prospect. He’s got a ton of swagger and poise, but we need to pump the breaks on the Sam Howell hype, and here’s why:

  1. Washington’s offensive line at this moment is really a “hope for the best” scenario: Charles Leno was strong at Left Tackle last year, and everyone else kinda sucked. They’re hoping 3rd round rookie Rickey Stromberg from Arkansas can be a day 1 starter and signed Nick Gates from the Giants, who has an injury history and is a middle-of-the-pack guard. They brought in Tackle Andrew Wylie from Kansas City most likely because Eric Bienemy has come over to be an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. If Wiley, Stromberg, and Gates hit, Washington’s offense will have time to operate. If they don’t, it might be Caleb Williams’s time in Washington a year from now.
  2. Bienemy is coming from Kansas City. Now, I think a lot of the offense is Reid’s, right? Here is the list of former Reid offensive coaches that got head coaching or offensive coordinator jobs elsewhere: Matt Nagy (BAD), Doug Peterson (GOOD), Pat Schurmer (who went 19-46 in Cleveland and the Giants, and was also fired with Vic Fangio in 2022 as the Broncos OC- BAD). It could really go either way for Bienemy, but let’s be real: this ain’t Kansas City, and a full playbook reinstall with a rookie QB who spent the last year learning the OLD playbook doesn’t inspire confidence in me.
  3. I needed to make peace with Shane before I slandered his boy, so here goes: if Sam Howell had shown anything last year that even resembled confidence or ability, don’t you think he would’ve cracked the lineup before week 18? So, you take this dude, who hasn’t shown enough to beat out two below-replacement-level QBs, give him the reins, and then erase the chalkboard and make him learn a new system? If Howell is successful, I gotta give him all the props in the world for turning chicken shit into chicken salad, but I’m not betting on him and it’s not because I don’t like him, I do. I just don’t think he was put in a place to succeed this year and I hope he survives.
Running Backs

Brian Robinson started his NFL career by getting shot, and by the end, he had almost 800 yards through 12 games and had started the Great Giant Hat Craze of 2022. Make no mistake about it, Antonio Gibson is there, but he’s not a hindrance to Robinson getting touches. In games the two played together, BRob still averaged 16 carries for 64 yards. He’s not going to get you more than one target a game, but if you’re sour on Antonio Gibson, considering his right lower half has a lisfranc injury, an MCL sprain that he needed offseason surgery for, and a bunch of soft tissue strains, Robinson might be a sneaky buy. Robinson may have averaged 16 carries a game with Gibson healthy, but the one game he played without Gibson active he got 24 rushes. Even without the targets, those are still great opportunities. RB39 on 4for4 is a price I’m certainly willing to pay to get a share. I’m not expecting him to be anything more than a bench player unless Washington’s offense really picks it up this season, since Robinson was 37th in the league in Red Zone touches, with an average of 2 a game. Washington won’t necessarily be the team that runs at the 4th highest rate this season, but I still think they’ll protect Howell by keeping that number in the top 10, so I like Robinson’s chances to put up a thousand yards and 5-7 touchdowns if he’s healthy for all 17. To me, that’s the perfect bench guy to have.

4for4, and a lot of people on the Football Absurdity Discord and on Fantasy Twitter are all super high on Antonio Gibson this year as a sneaky value, to the point where I think he won’t be if we continue this discourse through early September. Here’s some of what people have been saying: almost 70 targets are vacated to Washington backs with JD McKissic off the roster, Bienemy is going to have them pass at a higher rate than last year, and they love the pass-catching efficiency. All of those things are true. Gibson’s receiving profile every year is strong, even with McKissic around, and now he’s got all the pass work to himself.

Here’s where they lose me: projecting last year’s Jerick McKinnon role and therefore results onto Antonio Gibson is fantasy football advice malpractice, and I’ll tell you why. McKinnon only had 12 more targets last year than Gibson but still ended up with 31 more fantasy points: most likely because of his NINE receiving TDs. The opportunity and targets may be there, but we aren’t just going to photocopy the KC offense and project it’ll work well enough for Gibson to be a “league winner” at his price of RB30 on 4for4? Remember last year, when everyone was scrambling to be the fantasy analyst that nailed the whole “who fills the Tyreek Hill role in KC this year”? And it turned out to be nobody, just expanding the roles of what people were asked to do instead of asking one guy to take over the entire responsibility of replacing a stud? Who was the offensive coordinator in KC last year? Eric Bienemy? Yeah, totally.

I think being in on Antonio Gibson makes a ton of sense. I believe his targets will increase, his yards will increase, and he will be a reliable low-end RB2 right around where Robinson is. Both guys were within one of each other when it came to red zone carries and carries inside the 5. However, I’m not giving him a top 15 or even top 20 ranking because I don’t think this offense scores a ton of touchdowns this year so I’m not drafting Gibson to score double-digit TDs.

Chris Rodriguez is a “whatever” rookie back that was drafted in round 6. At best he’s a below replacement level backup if he makes the 53.

Wide Receivers

Terry McLaurin is the DJ Moore of the Washington football organization. In his 4 years, here’s where Player Profiler has him ranked in terms of WR target accuracy:

2019: 86th (finished WR29 in FPPG)
2020: 11th (finished WR20 in FPPG)
2021: 79th (finished WR29 in FPPG)
2022: 61st (finished WR22 in FPPG)

You know what you’re getting with Terry, an excellent WR that has spent the majority of his career being held back by shitass QB play. Ironically, his best statistical year came the only time he’s played 30% or more of his snaps from the slot. Must be a coincidence, let’s not think about it any further. In his one game last year with Howell, Terry went 3/74/1 on 6 targets, which was WR14 on the week. I think right around there is his ceiling as a WR in terms of fantasy if Howell is a GOOD QB. His ADOT of 12.8 is really nice, but ironically lower than Jahan Dotson’s bougie 13.6. Howell is a deep ball guy, in fact, I had him with the best deep ball in the 2022 class, and I think Terry, who had almost 400 yards receiving on 25 attempts more than 20 yards down the field, could ball the fuck out this year if things play in his favor. He’s still one of the best WRs in the league at beating press/jam coverage and has a contested catch rate of over 75% in all his years. He just doesn’t get to show it off as frequently due to crapass QB play.

At worst, he’s going to be WR28 and you’ll watch him catch 4 of 6 targets for 78 yards and no touchdowns each week. He’s WR16 on 4for4 which might be drafting him at his ceiling given QB play.

Jahan Dotson’s rookie season was salvaged by a preposterous 7 touchdowns on 35 catches. He had 61 targets in 12 games and would have made a strong push for OROY if he played all 17 at that pace, and he caught 3 of 4 targets for 72 yards in Howell’s only game with him. For a guy that’s 5’11” and 182, Dotson thrived downfield last year, with 30% of his targets coming more than 20 yards past the line of scrimmage. In spite of this, he never really commanded a big target share: his 15.9% was 56th in the league. Reception Perception indicates something that you also saw me bring up with Terry: Jahan Dotson is a guy with great marks against man, zone, and press, and will be held down by bad QB play. You’ve seen those green charts, with success routes for each type of route? Dotson is better than the league average on every single one of those routes except the flat. His numbers in the curl and comeback routes are outstanding, at 94.1% and 86.7%. Those numbers are elite. He also faced a contested catch on 22% of routes charted and had an 81.6% win rate. For a little guy, this dude plays huge. I believe he is going to end up right around where he ended last year because he will play more games but his TD regression is gonna hit. I think, like so many of these Washington guys, that he could end up being a solid 8-11 points in PPR on a weekly basis with a touchdown every few weeks, but once again, if this offense hits and he retains 75% of his TD production he’s a weekly flex starter. If Howell is somehow magically good, Dotson and Terry could blow the fuck up. I just can’t see it right now.

Curtis Samuel caught 64 of his 92 targets last year as Washington’s primary slot WR. He’s going to get his again this year, and I’m sure his ADOT of 6.5 will stay the same. That was 95th in the league, by the way. He had over 650 yards and 4 touchdowns last year, but what made him extra valuable were his 38 rushing attempts, which added an additional 187 yards and a touchdown. Washington’s obsession with giving him the ball via the handoff or jet sweep might not completely go away, but banking on another 30+ carries this year is a fool’s gambit. Samuel will go back to catching 5 passes for 38 yards on a given week and might be worth a spot start, late-round bench stash, or DFS discount play. At WR63 on 4for4, I kinda fuck with that price point.

Here’s my final summation for the Washington WRs and the role I think they’ll have:

Terry McLaurin: the alpha, will get 140 targets this year and has WR 15 ceiling
Jahan Dotson: second on the team in targets, may hit 90, and could be a WR3 if things fall right
Curtis Samuel: floor play, should not be a weekly starter but could be a strong bench asset

I am not interested in any of the TEs. Washington doesn’t value the tight end, and none of these guys even possess the same framework of skills that Travis Kelce brings to Kansas City and that offense, so I’m not even gonna pretend. There are 90 targets that are going to be split between Logan Thomas who can’t stay healthy, Cole Turner who is a red zone specialist only, and John Bates who sucks ass. Pass.

New York Giants

Brian Daboll is the fucking truth, man. He brought the Giants to the playoffs with a roster we didn’t believe in, with a QB we made fun of, and with a constant stream of WR injuries. The offensive line needs to take the next step forward for this team to be able to compete in this division. Rookie Evan Neal was garbage at RT last year, but he did switch from the left side after college. If he takes a step forward, and rookie C John Michael Schmitz is what he was advertised to be, this is a league-average line. If not, this is in the conversation for one of the worst lines in football. They are ranked 27, 28, and 29 among my sources.


Daniel Jones had himself quite the season last year, as he finished the year as QB10 in FPPG. His yards per attempt stayed similar, but huge leaps in completion percentage (almost 3% higher than his previous best), and 708 rushing yards (plus 7 rush TDs) did a lot of work for a guy who still only threw 15 pass TDs last year. He had 120 rushes last year, and 53 of those were on designed runs. That sounds like a static number to me, as the RPO rate will stay incredibly high since the run game truly sets up the passing game for Jones.

His increased accuracy and lack of turnovers (he had 49 turnovers in 38 games going into 2022, and only had 8 in 16 games last year) is a good thing for fantasy, but it’s because he is an incredibly conservative QB. He is a check down guy, much to the dismay of all the WRs I saw running uncovered down the field. He’s a ball control, slow play, dink, and dunk QB. The Giants were last in the NFL in explosive pass plays last year, and a lot of that is from Jones’ hesitation to let shit rip down the field. Bringing in a burner like Jalin Hyatt and getting the WR room healthy will help with that, ideally.

Jones was incredibly accurate last year, and if that accuracy stays true with a deeper push down the field, things could get really interesting this year for Jones. Having 5 games without a passing TD last year hurt Jones a lot statistically, but his rushing numbers covered up for a lot of it. If they let him rip even more this year and he keeps it going, it’s wheels up. Jones smoked zone coverage last year, as he was the 3rd most accurate vs zone last year. If you trust Daboll, which you should, Jones should be the one who gets the biggest boost this year. They gave him the weapons, the system is built for him to be successful, and he has one year down with the playbook.

I think Jones ends up right around the end of the QB1 tier, with a few boom games. If you completely punt QB, he’s a great later-round pick.

Running Backs

This RB room is incredibly explosive, with 70 explosive runs charted last year between all ball carriers. 11 personnel is the Giants’ bread and butter, and they’re best in the NFL in EPA from that personnel on the ground, per Brett Kollman.

Saquon Barkley’s resurgence was not shocking to most of us who knew he was running hurt for all of 2021, on a freshly repaired ACL, and expected a better offense last year. The team’s run system is filled with a ton of small sight reads that players are expected to make, and as a result, this is one of the most efficient run schemes in the league that isn’t just a generic zone run system. As a result, Saquon had the second-best season of his career, after his rookie season. He ended up as RB5 in FPPG, going 295/1312 and adding 57/338 and 10 total TDs in 2022. Finishing 4th in rushing yards while also being 7th among backs in receptions is a recipe for a top 5 finish every single season. If Evan Neal picks it up on the RT side, every gap on the line could break 4.0 yards per carry this year, which is sick as hell (the 25 Saquon runs charted off RT last year got a total of 67 yards last year). Saquon managed to perform regardless of offensive line, as his blockers were rated 36th, but he was 5th in yards created.

295 carries is a reasonable amount for Saquon, at an average of 18 or so a game. I think he breaks 300 this year, as the team should continue to play closer games to their opponents, and his game script should improve (the Giants were 24th in game script last year). His role in the red zone last year was middle of the pack, with 38 red zone touches, but if the offense continues to expand he can grow those TD numbers.

Saquon is going to hit 300 carries this year on about 19-22 rushes a game, and give you 5 targets each week. Draft him as the bona fide star he is. I’d take him before any RB not named CMC or Bijan. Yep, you heard me: over Ekeler, Chubb, JT, Pollard, Jacobs, Henry.

Nobody else in this backfield has utility unless Saquon goes down. Breida had 54 carries, and Gary Brightwell had 31. I wouldn’t expect that to change. Don’t waste a pick.

Wide Receivers

I loved Isaiah Hodgins last year, and he made me a ton of money in both DFS and on gambling lines. He came in and went 33/39 for 351 and 4TDs. He also went 8/9 for 105 and a TD in the wildcard upset over Minnesota. He was insanely efficient: Isaiah Hodgins was a top 10 WR (6) in catch rate last year. He went 6/6 in the Red Zone last year. Hodgins is a red zone specialist, he had 4TDs on 33 receptions, and 84% of the passes thrown his way were completed. He was 4th in QB accuracy per target and 7th in fantasy points per target. The plan, as I can see right now, is to let Slayton and Hyatt be the deep threats, let Hodgins be the intermediate possession guy, and let Campbell and Wan’daddy run over the middle. His ADOT of 9.6 seems to indicate this as well. He’s going to be incredibly efficient in those short area passes, and he has the potential to be a serious cheap volume play.

I like Hodgins a lot and I feel like people are sleeping on him this offseason. The logic makes sense, that he only came in and produced at the end of the season, and he was scooped off the Buffalo practice squad because of how injured the room was. However, Hodgins was on Buffalo’s PS when Daboll was there, and you know this was his call. The Giants rushed and passed the exact same amount of times last year, which means you can expect another 450+ pass attempt season, and from where I’m sitting I don’t see anything in the way of Hodgins getting between 80-100 targets this year. At his price point, I’m taking that shot.

Jalin Hyatt was brought in to be the deep ball threat, and my god does he ever play fast. His 40-speed is good, but it’s his play speed that elevates him over others. Hyatt will be a key component to this offense, even if his numbers don’t indicate it right away. The scary thing is seeing WRs run free downfield and seeing Daniel Jones instead choose to check down- the tape is filled with examples of it. That said, if there’s a WR from this class that makes you more likely to want to take those chances, it’s the guy with speed to burn that will require deep safety at all times. For fantasy, I’m good. I could see him as a best-ball guy, but I’m not betting that he gets enough work to be useful in fantasy. Jones was 33rd in the league in passes thrown more than 20 yards down the field, with 28.

Darius Slayton and Jalin Hyatt will have similar profiles this year in this offense. Slayton’s ADOT of 12.6 is juicy, but his 5 games as a WR2 tell you what the profile is: a boom-bust guy where the ceiling isn’t as high as you’d want for a boom-bust guy. He, like most of these Giants WRs, is getting priced down based on a low-ceiling offense that is based on the run/play fake, but he will go off a few times this year. He’s a solid WR with some juice, and the team knows it. They re-signed him this offseason, but the out is much cheaper after this season and if Hyatt makes that leap, Slayton goes elsewhere (and probably thrives).

Let’s talk some Wan’Dale Robinson here. Wan’daddy looked really good in the two games when he had 8 or more targets, finishing 15/21 for 150 yards in those games. He’s an electric athlete in space, and in his limited time, he ended up catching almost 4 for 40 every week. Bringing in Parris Campbell makes the slot snap share a bit more confusing, but I love Wan’Dale and believe that they will emphasize getting him the ball in space. Campbell only got a one-year deal, so I still believe that in the long run, it’s Robinson’s spot to lose.

Don’t write off Sterling Shepard’s potential to fuck everything up for everyone else too by coming back and producing.

Until we have a better idea of how Daboll chooses to fill the roles of deep ball threat and slot guy, all those guys are off my boards unless very cheap in best ball. I love Hodgins as the guy with the clearest path to targets. Everyone else I’m willing to wait.

As an offense that used the bootleg at one of the highest rates last year, and with Daniel Jones having an aDOT on those bootlegs of 3.3 yards, you can expect this facet of the game to pump a good amount of short targets to the Giants tight ends, but how efficient can they be? When the Giants made it to the Red Zone, they were 7th in scoring TDs, but they were 20th in trips to that part of the field, per Brett Kollman.

Tight Ends

Despite missing 13 games between the last two seasons, Darren Waller continues to produce at an elite level. Since 2019, he’s finished in FPPG: TE 5, 2, 6, and 10. He’s efficient in both the first and second levels of the field and historically has had a yards per catch rate in the 11-13 yard zone. He won’t be used as a deep guy in this scheme, but he will be put in motion and fed off of play action, anywhere between 0-20 yards down the field. Jones being a short-field QB with a low ADOT means that Waller, Wandale, and Hodgins all have space to operate, get open, and get targets. Daniel Bellinger, the TE of record last year, only had 5 targets beyond 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. Waller was brought in to do the opposite and help stretch the field out. If you believe Waller can get Jones to throw downfield more often, this is a match made in heaven, Waller gets triple-digit targets, and returns to the top half of the TE1 conversation.

Waller has had trouble staying healthy these last two seasons, Daniel Bellinger was a quietly solid receiving option for the Giants last year, with one of the best catch rates per target numbers of the entire TE field. If Waller leaves, Bellinger is a decent extremely cheap floor option if you need 3 for 40 to hold the line, and hope for a TD (he did have 6 of his targets last year take place in the red zone).

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas went 12-5 last year, finishing 2nd in the division and retiring Tom Brady before getting mudhole stomped in the playoffs with Ezekiel Elliott at Center. OC Kellen Moore, who everyone was tired of, is out as offensive coordinator. Brian Shottenheimer was a consultant last year for Dallas, and now he’s the offensive coordinator. He’s been the OC for the Jets (Chad Pennington era), St. Louis Rams (Sam Bradford era), and 3 years in Seattle (Russ Wilson era). We’re expecting a different type of offense here. Tyron Smith returning to health is a great sign and when healthy, this is easily a top-10 offensive line in the league, with some solid depth to boot- my sites have the offensive line listed at 8, 8, and 6.

For fantasy, it’s important for us to acknowledge that Mike McCarthy is actually going to be the play-caller, and if he’s to be believed, there’s going to be a renewed emphasis on the run game and only about 30-35% of a change in philosophy from what Kellen Moore was doing. The last time Mike McCarthy called plays (2015 Packers), they were 14th in the league in rush percentage, and last year Dallas actually was actually 6th in the league in rushes per game. Is this deflection, or is Mike McCarthy an idiot? I think it’s probably both. Dallas will most likely have an uptick in run percentage, but I’m not going all in on saying this offense is going to give more volume than they did last year, because the only teams who rushed more were the Falcons, Eagles, Bears, Browns, and Commanders. They were also second in the NFL in rushing TDs with 24. The upside Tony Pollard has in fantasy this year is because of backfield touch splits, I don’t believe it will be because of huge schematic changes.


How does the change in offensive philosophy benefit or hinder Dak Prescott? Well, last year’s QB13 in FPPG also led the NFL in interceptions, with 15 picks over 12 games. Not only did he lead in raw numbers, but of all starters, he was highest in INT rate. He’s also lost the rushing TD upside he used to have: he was averaging 6 rush TDs over his first three seasons, and since his traumatic ankle injury he’s only rushed for 2 TDs in the following 28 games. As Dallas goes to more of a run-heavy approach, Dak’s asked to do less: in the years he was a top 10 fantasy QB, he attempted 596, 596, and 459 passes. In the years he was lower than QB10, his attempts were: 526, 490, and 394 (last season). If he’s not going to provide you with the rushing TD upside that he had early on in his career, he needs to operate with elite efficiency. Schottenheimer and McCarthy have both called plays for the top 6 fantasy QBs in Russ Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, and that’s really the type of player Dak Prescott has become. He’s a tiny bit above the middle of the pack in ADOT (8.4), but the shift out of the downfield passing of the Kellen Moore offense will bring this down.

As I mentioned just a minute ago, Dak was the leader in interceptions and interceptable pass rate, even though he only played in 12 games. However, he was 9th in the league in passes charted as interceptable, so it seems like he had some bad luck, the opposite of QBs like Geno Smith. I have some cool Dak Prescott INT stats: on 106 play-action pass attempts, he was only intercepted once. 11 of his 15 interceptions came on throws 10 or more yards down the field, 8 of those falling between 10-19 yards from the line. That area? That’s the Kellen Moore area of the offensive scheme. Dak has a great deep ball and an okay short-range area component to his game, but the shift from Moore to McCarthy/Schottenheimer should bring that interception number way down, as the targets get shorter and an increased emphasis on the run should improve Dak’s accuracy.

Dak has no rushing utility and will be a low-volume, high-efficiency QB in fantasy this year. If he ends up throwing 550 times, something isn’t working on that defense or offensive line. As such, I’m putting Dak right at the end of the “startable fantasy QB” tier, but he’s not someone I expect to break out and return top 6 value.

Running Backs

Ezekiel Elliott’s departure opens up a lot of production in Dallas: he vacates 231 rushes, 876 yards, 17 receptions, and 12 touchdowns. Holy shit that’s a lot. Zeke was 10th in the league in carries last year! You’d be correct to assume Tony Pollard will go up from his 193 carries, but even with that split load he still managed over a thousand rushing yards, to go along with his 39 catches and 12 total TDs. Pollard was RB 8 last year even though he was 23rd in carries, 16th in targets, and 30th in RB snap share. The 12 TDs were preposterous, and really carried him to the top 10 finish, but we can all agree he’s most likely going to still end up there (even with touchdown regression) due to a volume increase.

Pollard has never had more than 200 rushes in a season and never caught more than 39 passes. So, it’s fair to assume that with more touches, his efficiency will have to go down: the only starting RB with a similar yards per carry that Pollard had plus the same amount of touches was Aaron Jones. Pollard was also incredibly efficient when targeted as a receiver, he was second in yards per reception at 9.5, on a 1.4ADOT which shows how deadly he is on screens. Play action helps set those up.

Pollard had 6 games last season as a top-10 RB for the week. He only broke 20 carries in one of those games. If his carries go up and he sees 20 carries and 5 targets a game, he’s got an outside chance to end up a top 2 RB this year. At the end of the day, these are the guys you want, right? The ones with the shot to be a tremendous return on value? The safe play around Pollard’s ADP could be Saquon Barkley or Jonathan Taylor, but Pollard is the high upside and high variable asset. I want that lotto ticket because even his floor is strong with the offensive line and pass catching profile.

Ezekiel Elliott was RB22 last year on 231 carries and 17 receptions. Ronald Jones’ best season was 2020, when he turned in an RB21 finish on 192 carries and 28 receptions. Ronald Jones profiles to be the thunder in this backfield, but I’m not sure he has the remaining juice to provide what even a totally cooked Zeke brought to the team last year. Should RoJo get a start due to injury he’s worth a look, but in PPR he’s going to lose work to Deuce Vaughn and Malik Davis as a receiver, hurting his upside. I think Rojo might have some weekly production, and I can see him getting 10 or so carries a game this year! When he returns from suspension he’s a guy I will gladly spend some FAAB on.

If the Cowboys, who have gone on record saying they want to run more, put up 531 carries last year, we can probably safely bump it to 550. Does Pollard get 300 carries? Here’s how we can break it down:

Option 1: Tony Pollard is the workhorse
Tony Pollard: 300 carries
Ronald Jones: 150 carries
Malik Davis: 50 carries
Deuce Vaughn: 50 carries

Option 2: Pollard touches more than last year, but not workhorse level
Tony Pollard: 225 carries
Ronald Jones: 175 carries
Malik Davis: 75 carries
Deuce Vaughn: 50 carries

Option 3: Somewhere in the middle
Tony Pollard: 250 carries
Ronald Jones: 160 carries
Malik Davis: 75 carries
Deuce Vaughn: 65 carries

In all of those scenarios, Rojo has fantasy value on a weekly basis, it’s just going to be dependent on Red Zone touches. Damn, did I just talk myself into a beaten-down Ronald Jones? When McCarthy was in Green Bay and in Seattle under Schottenheimer, here’s the rush attempt average per game for RB2 on the teams they coached: 7.0 in Green Bay, and in Seattle it’s 7.36. Rojo is going to get cheap touches on a high-scoring offense, and that’s the type of lotto ticket that can hit.

Wide Receivers

CeeDee Lamb has improved each year in targets, catches, yards, and touchdowns. He was WR6 in FPPG last season. He makes plays at all three levels of the field and has success running pretty much every route. He was also 9th in the league in games with double-digit targets, something that tells me a ton about him being the focus of this passing game going forward. He’s still got room to improve: he was 44th among WRs in end zone targets, 20th in Red Zone targets, and 14th with over 700 unrealized air yards. The addition of Brandin Cooks means Lamb should continue to kill it in the slot (4th in slot targets, 30th in out wide targets, 4th in overall targets). He also hilariously played 7% of his snaps in the backfield, to go with 41% out wide. It’s amazing that he is asked to play every spot on this offense and has done it well. As a slot guy, he’s going against a lot of zone coverage, and per Reception Perception he beats zone coverage at an 80% success rate. Lamb was double-covered on almost 14% of his routes, which is bonkers when you consider how often he runs out of the slot.

Lamb had 5 weeks of WR1 production last year, another wild stat when you consider his WR7 finish. He had another 4 weeks in WR2 territory. However, when he scores, he scores in bunches: you can expect him to win you multiple weeks with a 25-35 point blowup week. Dallas was 14th in the league in total pass attempts, and Lamb was still the 4th most targeted WR in the league. With the arrival of Cooks and the McCarthy lie about running the ball a ton more, you can probably expect him to go down in overall targets, but the ancillary metrics that indicate another boom regardless are present: the hopeful increase in red zone/end zone targets, which would get him to double-digit TDs on the season, the shift away from Kellen Moore means Lamb won’t be stuck getting tackled almost immediately after the catch (he was 9th in the league in total yards after the catch, but 87th in YAC per catch, right next to Garrett Wilson and Tyreek Hill, two dudes who had a lot of work but mostly through the air on deeper passes). The shorter element of the offense will allow for Lamb to be a YAC monster, something we’ve never really seen on a consistent basis in the Kellen Moore/Ceedee Lamb years.

Lamb doesn’t have WR1 overall upside given the offense, but he’s almost a lock to end up top 10. If everything breaks right he goes top 5. I like Lamb and he’ll be a return on value as a late 1st/early 2nd WR, but the upside isn’t the Moon.

If Lamb is a lock for 145-155 targets this season, you’d have to assume Brandin Cooks is worth about 95-100, right? As the every-down boundary guy, you can expect him to get 6 targets a game on a passing offense that is going to be less focused on the TE as the second-best pass target and instead letting Dak rip shit to a guy who can beat people deep (like they used TY Hilton last year for) or be a boundary dominator who takes the wide side of the field (like how they used Amari Cooper, but with less of a ceiling). Cooks’ days as a perennial top-20 WR are most likely over, but there’s no reason why he can’t turn back time a little bit and still have some low-20s finishes this year. If the tight end room isn’t going to get the 130 targets it has in the past (it still might), Cooks can pick up some of that work and still be the main deep threat on the team. Noah Brown (not on the team) and Michael Gallup had a combined 102 targets last year, and I think Cooks gets a 70/30 cut of that, plus some of the Schultz vacated targets.

I’m locking him in for about 95 targets, 60-65 catches for 850 yards. Just remember, with guys in this range, TDs matter so much: Donovan Peoples-Jones caught 61-97 targets for 839 yards. Why don’t you remember him doing so well? He had 3 TDs on the year and ended WR42. Double those TDs and DPJ scored as many fantasy points last season as Drake London, WR31. If Cooks gets 6TDs this season he’s a value.

Tight Ends

Lastly, let’s dive into the dreaded TE by committee room. Woof. The TE room last season had a combined 130 targets, and at this moment things seem to indicate that Jake Ferguson is running with the 1s, Luke Schoonmaker is with the 2s, and Peyton Hendershot is the depth guy. Of course, with a high-powered running attack, there’s a higher likelihood we see all three this year more often. Let’s first off remember that the system is changing slightly, and the old reliable TE, Dalton Schultz, is gone. Schultz had target totals of 89, 104, and 89 in his three years as a starter in Dallas. Jake Ferguson isn’t going to get 89 targets on this offense, even if Dak just has a target lock on big boys running routes. Schultz did have the most red zone pass attempts thrown to him among all TEs (tied with George Kittle- 10). This seems to help Hendershot, who usually comes in as the second TE. Hendershot had 11 receptions, 2 of which were in the red zone, and on those 11 catches, he had 3 TDs. I think we check in on which Dallas TE is the second TE on run plays early on in the season, and hammer TDs on him in DFS because he’s gonna get the short-yardage scores. It could be any of them, but I think Ferguson is the one that plays every snap.

Schultz was averaging almost 6 targets a game, and between the three of these guys, I think you can expect about that. I’d say it’s probably 3-4 to Ferguson, 1-2 to TE2, and TE3 is an injury fill-in/jumbo package specialist that might pop off for one at some point.

The role (if filled by a singular player) is juicy, it really is. However, I’m not sure I want to try to spin the wheel in redraft to try to find out who it might be, because I think all of them get enough work to cut into the upside of the others.

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