WHO SHOULD I DRAFT? – AFC EAST
Welcome to the next article in the who should I draft? series that I have been writing for you, in a hope that you can find some hidden gems for your upcoming draft. This time I will be looking at the AFC East which has had some big changes happen in the offseason. Another reminder that all figures are at 1/2 PPR.
First up in the AFC East champions is the New England Patriots who had a 12-4 season last year but have had one of the biggest changes to their team in years with the departure of QB Tom Brady. After 20 years with the Patriots the 6 time super bowl winner moved on and joined the Tampa Bay Bucs leaving a massive whole in the Patriots offence. Currently the Patriots have rookie QB Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer on their squad. Neither QB has and ADP in the first 15 rounds and to be honest neither of them appeal that much unless you are playing in dynasty then you might take a punt on Stidham.
At running back the Patriots do not look like the most exciting team with Sony Michel leading the line again for another year. He was the running back number 24 last year and managed to amass just over 1,000 all purpose yards as the teams main RB. Unfortunately he doesn’t get a lot of work in the passing game which limits the amount he is used. His ADP is currently 7.12, which is good value for a starting running back but he does get limited usage due to the presence of James White. White was and has always been used as the pass catching back for the Pats and that’s not going to change. His ADP is 8.07 which puts him close to Michel in drafts and the biggest problem for both of them in fantasy is that they take points away from each other. If you picked them up as your 3rd or 4th choice running back then they would be worth taking but you would want to make sure you had better quality in your team already.
The wide receivers that the Patriots have currently are also not great compared to their previous years. Their number 1 wide receiver is Julian Edelman who has been a main stay in the Patriots offence for many years. The downside to Edelman is that without Brady you just don’t know how successful any of the wide receivers will be. The plus side to Edelman is that last year he was the wide receiver number 13 with 1,117 yards and 6 touchdowns. Along with Edelman the Patriots have got N’Keal Harry, who unfortunately due to injury, only played 7 games last year. Harry is worth thinking about given his ADP of 13.07 and was a 1st round draft pick in the 2019 draft. Obviously the biggest problem for him is the same as Edelman and the rest of the offence, you just don’t know who is going to have the best relationship with Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer.
Along with Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry the Patriots have got a few more wide receivers who you might want to pick in deeper leagues. Mohammed Sanu had an ok season last year picking up 520 yards and a couple of touchdowns showing that he could do something if he played all games. The Patriots have also taken Marquis Lee from the Jaguars in free agency and also Jackobi Meyers are still on the roster at the moment. None of these guys would give you big numbers but might be worth picking up in deep leagues.
At tight end it doesn’t look much better either with the number 1 tight end on the team roster sheet being Matt LaCosse who was the tight end number 57. Having said that they also drafted 2 tight end’s in this years draft by bringing in Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene. Neither player looks like they are going to be amazing in their first year but if you are playing dynasty then they might be worth a punt especially Asiasi.
I have to say as i have been writing this i would probably only suggest taking Julian Edelman in a draft. The problem with the Patriots this year is that it is clearly a transitional period without Tom Brady. I just cant recommend any other players due to the uncertainty of Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer and who knows who they will have a good relationship with.
Next up is the Buffalo Bills who managed to get into the play-offs last year with a 10-6 season showing that they are trending in the right direction. The Bills will be lead by Josh Allen again at QB and he has a very good chance of being a top end QB like he did last year. Allen will always get you a lot of points from his rushing yards and last year he was the number 6 QB mainly due to his rushing. He was the 3rd highest rushing QB with 510 yards and there is nothing to make me think this wont continue. His ADP is around the 7.04 and it feels like this will be a personal choice if you take him. I normally take a QB quite late in my drafts so I probably wouldn’t pick him at that price and I would argue you could get a good QB in the 10th or even 12th round. Jake Fromm was picked up by the Bills in the draft and the ex Georgia college player would only be useful as a potential dynasty stash.
At running back Buffalo have got a good young starter in Devin Singletary who was just short of 1,000 all purpose yards last year. He only played 12 of the 16 games leaving him the running back number 31 overall. You have to feel that with another year as part of the team and being the number 1 on the team he will improve and if he can play all 16 games he could have a significant increase in numbers. His ADP is currently 3.07 which puts him close to players like Melvin Gordon or James Conner.
Along with Singletary the Bills have got new draftee Zack Moss and T.J Yeldon to compete against. Yeldon will just be a back up but Moss was a good college player and could make an impact causing numbers to move away from Singletary. Moss has an ADP of the 14th round and you have to feel he would be a good choice at the price especially in dynasty leagues. He is a big guy with really good vision and hands and you have to feel that he will become a big time player for the Bills in the not to distant future.
Wide receiver has been a position that the Bills have struggled with the last few seasons but they made a big splash in free agency this off season. They gave up their 1st round pick amongst other later picks in order to take Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings. Diggs is a solid performer who has amassed over 1,000 yards in the last two seasons and 15 touchdowns over the last two as well. The main problem for Diggs and fantasy owners is that we don’t know how he will be with his new QB. Josh Allen has always been more of a runner compared to a QB like Diggs had previously in Kirk Cousins. With an ADP of 4.08 Diggs seems a bit expensive given the unknown of how he will be with Allen, especially as you could get A.J Brown, D.J Moore or Courtland Sutton in the same round.
Also the Bills have got John Brown and Cole Beasley on their roster as their other main wide receivers. Brown had 1,060 yards and 6 touchdowns last year showing that he is capable of being a fantasy asset, although you have to think with Diggs coming in he wont get as high as last year. Beasley is in a similar situation as Brown because he got 778 yards and 6 touchdowns last year but will most likely not hit the same numbers. I think if you are going to pick either of them then you would opt for Brown as he will probably be the number 2 over Beasley.
At tight end the Bills have got Dawson Knox who played 15 games last year but didn’t really have a lot of targets. Looking at their depth chart you have to think he will be their number 1 for the team and so his usage could go up. His ADP is beyond the 15th round and so I think if you are going to draft him you would only do so as a back up to a better tight end. Tyler Kroft is also on the team but I would be very surprised if anyone drafted him and I cant see him getting much in the way of game time.
The next team to look at in the AFC East is the New York Jets who had a disappointing season last year with a 7-9 record. Led by QB Sam Darnold for the 3rd straight season, the green machine will be hoping to do much better this year as the division they are in is much weaker this time around. Darnold has only managed 13 games in both of his previous seasons which is partly why he has been the QB number 27 both seasons. If he could manage a injury free season he could move up to a top 20 position relatively easily. His ADP is lower than the 15th round and you have got over 25 quaterback’s going before him showing that you could get value from him.
At running back the Jets have got Le’Veon Bell who since his move to the Jets from Pittsburgh has not really done a great deal. The former RB1 has struggled with making large runs and also has a head coach that doesn’t particularly like him. The one big plus for Bell is that he will get a lot of rushing attempts but the downside is that the O-line is not the best. His ADP is currently 3.04 which puts him with other starters like Chris Carson and Kenyan Drake showing that you can get more upside from the others. Also, with Bell the Jets have added veteran Frank Gore who wont be of much use to many in fantasy but may take a few reps away from Bell just to freshen things up.
The wide receivers at the Jets have had an upgrade from last year with a 3 pronged attack of Jamison Crowder, Breshand Perriman and Denzal Mims. None of these guys are going to light up your team but they are an improvement for the team. Mims is a tall, athletic wide receiver who given a bit of time could become a big name for the Jets. His ADP is currently 9.03 which does feel quite high for a player that might not make an immediate impact but would defiantly be worth checking out in dynasty.
Jamison Crowder looks to be the main guy for the Jets this year especially given his performance for them last year. He amassed 833 yards and 6 touchdowns for a struggling team showing that he had a good connection with Sam Darnold. His ADP is currently 11.02 and that seems like quite a nice price for a certain starter who you would hope will improve for his 2nd year in New York. Finally you have got Breshad Perriman who was in Tampa Bay last year and has moved over to the Jets during free agency. Perriman had not really done much until the Bucs got some injuries and he managed 645 yards and 6 touchdowns last season. Obviously, with a new team he may take some time to get going and get a connection with Darnold but he is cheap and isn’t even in the first 15 rounds. He could be worth taking a punt on as he is so cheap.
When it comes to tight end the Jets have got Ryan Griffin and Chris Herndon. Neither guy has got a lot to offer although Griffin did show he was a red zone target picking up 5 touchdowns but only 320 yards. Herndon missed most of last season but in 2018 he did manage 502 yards and 4 touchdowns showing that he can be useful when on the field. Both players are not near the top rounds in drafts and you would most likely pick them up as a back-up for a better tight end.
The last team in the AFC East to look over is the Miami Dolphins who had a tumultuous year finished with a 5-11 record. Everyone was claiming that they were tanking the season so they could get the 1st pick at the beginning of the season, only for them to pick up wins at then end of it and miss out on the 1st pick. The irony is the guy they were ‘tanking’ for, Tua Tagovailoa ended up being who they got with the 5th pick. Tua, who is coming off the hip injury will not be the starter for the Dolphins at the beginning of the season and Ryan Fitzpatrick will start after a decent season as the quarterback number 16. Both players have very low ADP’s in the 14th round, mainly due to no-one knowing how long Fitzpatrick will play before Tua takes over the job full time.
Running back wise the Dolphins have picked up a few players via free agency after previous running back, Kenyan Drake, left for the Arizona Cardinals. Jordan Howard has moved to the Dolphins from Philadelphia where he managed to get 525 yards and 6 touchdowns but he had a very good O-line in front of him. Matt Berida brings a similar story to the Dolphins after being with the 49ers. Both players have ADP’s in the 9th round and to be honest you would be better off getting running backs earlier on in the draft.
At wide receiver the Dolphins have got some good talent who could make a difference to your team but they do come with one major reservation. We don’t know how many games Fitzpatrick will start and he loves to throw the ball around. Although Tua has shown he is more than capable of making big plays he also like to run the ball quite a bit. If Tua throws just as much as Fitz then they could be a gem for a lower price available here.
Firstly, you have got DeVante Parker who had his best season with the Dolphins last year amassing 1,202 yards and 9 touchdowns to become the wide receiver number 6. Parker could be a steal at an ADP of 7.04 if he can repeat them stats but I cant help but feel he will regress due to Preston Williams coming back from injury. Williams got 428 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first year with the team in his first 8 games before he got injured. If he had carried on at that pace he would of got 856 yards and 6 touchdowns which would of been great for a player in his first year. His ADP is currently 13.06 which would be amazing value for a potential player who could get 1,000yards and 6/7 touchdowns.
Finally, the Dolphins have got one of the most promising tight ends around this year in Mike Gesicki who had his breakout last year. He was the tight end number 11 with 570 yards and 5 touchdowns and you have to think that he will improve for a 2nd year at the Dolphins. He has an ADP of 9.10 which is exactly the type of price that I would normally go for a tight end and he has the potential to really kick on and become a top end tight end in the future if your playing dynasty.
Top QB : Josh Allen
Josh Allen is clearly the best QB in the division at this point in time, however, I probably wouldn’t pick any of them given their situations and draft price. Allen has an ADP of 7.04 which I feel would be too high for me but some people may opt for that as its not in the highest rounds. He will get you a lot of fantasy points due to his rushing so he is a solid choice and you would expect him to be a RB1 again next year.
Top RB : Sony Michel
There was a few RB’s that I could of gone for but the reason I went for Michel was that he is still the starter for the New England Patriots. I understand that James White will take away the pass catching work but Michel managed over 1,000 all purpose yards and 7 touchdowns which is pretty impressive for a running back whose ADP is 7.12. Devin Singletary has an ADP of 3.08 and had poorer stats and LeVeon Bell is 3.4 and will only give you 200 more yards. Purely for his ADP Michel will be a consistent performer at a cheap price.
Top WR : Jamison Crowder
Wide receiver is a really tough one to pick just one to go for as there are many who are good value given their ADP. Stefon Diggs has been a good WR2 at least for most of the time he has been in the NFL but he is expensive and on a brand new team that likes to run. Julian Edelman has always been a consistent performer but without Tom Brady who knows what will happen. I really like Preston Williams but I think he will only get so much of DeVantae Parker’s yards from last year. So I have gone from Jamison Crowder who has an ADP of 11.02 and was the wide receiver 34 last year. I think he will kick on after his first year in New York and he will become the number 1 wide receiver on the team this season.
Top TE : Mike Gesicki
A really easy choice this one, Gesicki is a top end tight end in the making and you have to feel that he is going to kick on after his first year with the Dolphins. He managed 570 yards and 5 touchdowns in his rookie year and it would be a major disappointment if he didn’t do better. With an ADP of 9.10 he is in a really nice place to pick up your starting tight end.