NFC East Training Camp Preview

NFC EAST

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Dallas Cowboys: Rookies 7/26, Veterans 7/26

Jason Garrett enters his 9th season as the head coach.  The new wrinkle this year will be from new OC Kellen Moore.  Moore was on the Cowboys roster in 2017 before becoming the QB coach in 2018.  He just turned 30 in July and will be one of the most important young football minds to keep an eye on.  I’m expecting to see more creativity in the passing game this year.
Dak Prescott is in his fourth year in the league and has not finished outside of the top 12 quarterbacks in fantasy points.  He’ll be one of my favorite redraft targets this year.  His ADP is around QB19!  If Kellen Moore can help juice up this Dallas passing game, Prescott just might sneak into the top ten this year and deliver some career numbers.  Not much to watch after Prescott, but we’ll see Mike White and Cooper Rush compete for the back up job.
We don’t need to spend much time on stud running back Ezekiel Elliott.  He is a consensus top 4 pick this year, and the favorite to lead the league in rushing yards.  He’s entering his final year of his rookie deal, giving Dallas a tough decision to make soon.  After Elliott, they Cowboys drafted Tony Pollard out of Memphis in the fourth round, and then doubled down with another running back in the seventh, Mike Weber out of Ohio State. Darius Jackson and Jordan Chunn are the only other backs on the roster.  The #2 spot is totally up for grabs and will be the most interesting camp battle for us to watch this summer.
Amari Cooper is the main attraction in the Dallas receiving group.  He’s being drafted around the WR12 range in the early third.  He was a bit inconsistent last year, but he was traded mid-season and now has a full off-season to get more comfortable with his new team.  It’s very likely we see some new career highs from Cooper this year.  My issue with his ADP is that I’m into a handful of running backs in the third round.  Feel free to target him at ADP.  After Cooper, the Cowboys lost Cole Beasley in free agency but signed former Packer Randall Cobb.  Michael Gallup enters his second season and will start as the other outside receiver.  The trio of Cooper/Gallup/Cobb has me pretty excited for Dak Prescott the most.  Gallup will be a better best ball target than a redraft pick.  Cobb has the opportunity to provide us a consistent WR3 in PPR leagues.  Allen Hurns was just released, so the WR4 job is up for grabs.  We’ll watch the competition between Tavon Austin and Noah Brown.  They have a handful of young wideouts trying to make the team; Lance Lenoir, Cedrick Wilson, Reggie Davis, Devin Smith, Codey McElroy, Jon’Vea Johnson and Jalen Guyton.
Jason Witten has come back from retirement and will take over his role as the starting tight end.  I’m not too excited to rely on Witten this year, but it might not be a terrible idea to snag him at the end of drafts and see what he can do week 1.  We’ll have to monitor his practice reports to see how well conditioned he is.  Blake Jarwin is the number two tight end and is a solid dynasty stash.  He flashed at the end of last year and can have value for us if anything happens to Witten.  Rico Gathers and Dalton Schultz round out the rest of the tight end group.

 

New York Giants: Rookies 7/22, Veterans 7/24

Head coach Pat Shurmur and OC Mike Shula are going into their second season with the Giants.  Most of the Giants talk this off-season will be about the decision to trade away Odell Beckham Jr and the selection of quarterback Daniel Jones at #6 overall.  We won’t do that here.  The Giants believe they put themselves in the best situation for their future, without compromising the present (too much).  This team will be built around Saquon Barkley and their young core of pass catchers.
The biggest position to watch in training camp will be the quarterback positon.  Eli Manning will be the starter, but for how long?  Early camp notes were that Manning was not looking very sharp.  He should not be in our redraft plans on draft day, but I’m open to him being usable in 2QB leagues. Saquon Barkley is too important in the passing game for us to ignore.  Eli was QB17 last year and only had Beckham for 12 games.  If Eli can hold off Daniel Jones this year, Manning has a solid chance at finishing as a top 20 QB.  This is a big If.  If the Giants are losing games early and appear to be going nowhere, the team will eventually want to see what they have with their 6th overall pick.  Jones is a cheap dynasty buy but should not be drafted in redrafts.  Watch him closely in the pre-season before making any quick judgements on the outlook of his career.
We don’t need to talk too much about Saquon Barkley.  He is the consensus number one overall pick in redraft leagues.  He has no competition behind him.  His biggest concern will be about the quarterback play potentially limiting his upside.  Without Beckham, do teams commit to stopping Barkley with 8 man boxes?  Either way, he will be the teams leading receiver and deliver us a high floor in PPR leagues.  His backups are Wayne Gallman, Paul Perkins, Elijhaa Penny, free agent Rod Smith and rookie Jon Hilliman.  Keep an eye on Hilliman this pre-season.
Sterling Shepard headlines the receiving group.  The team also signed Golden Tate.  These two are clearly the best options on the team and will flirt with WR3 numbers this year.  Tate might have more receptions but Shepard should score more touchdowns.  Because of the quarterback situation, I have been ignoring all Giants receivers.  The competition for the 3 and 4 spots will be between Corey Coleman, Bennie Fowler and Cody Latimer.  Rookies Darius Slayton and Reggie White Jr will also be in the mix.  Both rookies got time with the 1s this off-season.  I’m mostly interested to see who Daniel Jones is riffing with in practice and in games.  This player could have dynasty and redraft value for us next year.
Evan Engram might be the only other Giant work a shot at ADP.  He is usually the 6th TE off the board and has top 5 upside this year, no matter who is playing quarterback.  He was very productive the last two years in games that Beckham was out.  His overall numbers dipped last year because he missed 5 games, but his fantasy points per game were similar to his stellar rookie season.  After Engram, Rhett Ellison is the number two.  Jerell Adams, Scott Simonson, Garrett Dickerson and CJ Conrad will compete for the remaining roster spots.

 

Philadelphia Eagles: Rookies 7/24, Veterans 7/24

Head coach Doug Pederson is entering his fourth year with the Eagles.  His offensive coordinator Mike Groh is in his second year as coordinator, but it’s his third with the team.  We shouldn’t expect many changes in terms of play calling and personnel.  They ranked 14th in total offense and finished 7th in passing yards.  They finished 28th in total rushing, easily their biggest weakness from the 2018 season.  They have one of the best offensive lines in the league and were able to add weapons to their receiver and running back groups.
Carson Wentz received a four year extension worth up to $128 million.   Wentz has no questions with his game on the field.  It’s his ability to stay healthy that raises concern.  He tore his ACL in 2017 and then broke vertebrae in his back last season.  He has missed 8 total games over the past two seasons, not including playoffs.  Wentz was on pace to finish as a QB1 last season before his injury.  He’s being drafted around the QB10 range and possess top 5 upside.  I’m all for targeting Wentz in the middle rounds of your draft.  With Nick Foles now in Jacksonville, Nate Sudfeld will be the main backup.  Cody Kessler and Clayton Thorson will compete for the reserve spot.
The Eagles acquired Jordan Howard from Chicago this off-season.  They then spent a second round pick on rookie Miles Sanders out of Penn State.  They did not give up too much capital in order to get Howard, so many drafters are excited about the 2nd round pick spent on Sanders.  He’ll be one of the biggest names to monitor this training camp.  He missed all of OTAs and minicamps with a hamstring injury.  It’s not believe to be serious, but definitely something to keep an eye on. Howard is a fine runner and might be able to hold onto his starting duties this season, but if Sanders gets on the field and starts impressing, the team will likely roll with the rookie. Howard has an ADP around RB34 and Sanders RB38.  We know what we’re getting with Howard, so I’m more inclined to spend the 7th/8th round pick on him for now.  Pederson is known to use multiple backs in the past, so overall, I’m not too sure I’m excited about any Eagles back at the moment.  They still have Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams.  Continue to monitor training camp reports to see who’s sticking out amongst this group.
Alshon Jeffery is entering his third season with the team and remains atop the depth chart.  The Eagles traded for DeSean Jackson and are excited for his vertical element he brings to the offense.  Nelson Agholor will be the third receiver and get the majority of the slot work.  Jeffery’s ADP is around WR29.  Jackson’s is around WR46, and Agholor around WR75.  Jeffery finished as WR26 last year and presents the best value among the group.  He missed three games in 2018 and has WR2 upside.  I’m excited to get DeSean Jackson in best ball leagues, not so much for redraft.  He has been generating lots of positive buzz this off-season, gelling with Carson Wentz.  If the price is right, I’ll snag DJax at the end of my drafts for this year. The Eagles also drafted an exciting young receiver in the second round after Miles Sanders.  JJ Arcega-Whiteside excelled at Stanford as a jump ball receiver and red-zone threat.  If the team moves on from Jeffery next year, we’ll definitely be interested in JJAW for redraft leagues next year.  The 5th receiving spot will be up for grabs between Shelton Gibson, Braxton Miller and Mack Hollins.  Guys trying to make the team include Carlton Agudosi, Greg Ward Jr, Marken Michel, Charles Johnson, Devin Ross and DeAndre Thompkins.
Zach Ertz is coming off of a career year, breaking the record for receptions in a season for tight ends with 116. This number is almost guaranteed to come down.  He’ll have good odds at breaking 1,000 receiving yards and match his 2018 touchdown total of 8.  He’s currently the second or third tight end of the board, going as early as the late second round.  I’m not so sure I’m buying Ertz at ADP this year.  Second year tight end Dallas Goedert is being labeled as the second starting tight end and should begin to take away targets and touchdowns from Ertz, especially in the red-zone.  Teams will have to account for Jeffery, DJax and Ertz, leaving Goedert with the most favorable matchups.  Wentz will likely spread the ball around more this season, so I’m fading Ertz at ADP and actually targeting Goedert as my TE2 in the double digit rounds.  Monitor this duo in training camp to see if the Goedert buzz continues to grow.  After these two, Richard Rodgers, Josh Perkins and Will Tye will compete for the main backup duties.

 

Washington Redskins: Rookies 7/24, Veterans 7/24

Jay Gruden is coming into his 6th season as the Redskins head coach.  They promoted Kevin O’Connell to offensive coordinator, previously their QB coach in 2017 and passing game coordinator/QB coach in 2018.  They Redskins lost Alex Smith in Week 11 last year with a severe leg break.  They suffered from poor QB play the rest of the year, resulting in some major off-season moves.  They acquired Case Keenum from Denver, and then went on to draft Dwayne Haskins with their first round pick.  We won’t be expecting much from this young Redskins offense this year, but they have a lot of young talent that can become useful for us in years to come.
We’ll briefly go over the quarterbacks here.  They have Case Keenum, Colt McCoy and Dwayne Haskins.  There is no clarity on who has the leg up to start week 1.  We will not be drafting either of these guys in redraft leagues.  Haskins is a value in dynasty league drafts this year.  Monitor this camp battle closely, specifically Haskins and whichever receiver he is in sync with.
At running back, Adrian Peterson is back for another season and Derrius Guice is returning from his torn ACL last year.  Peterson quietly ran for over 1,000 yards last year and should not be dismissed.  Guice is the more exciting talent but should be worked back into the offense slowly.  Perhaps by mid-season, Guice can start taking over and produce at an RB2+ level.  Peterson has an ADP around RB57 and Guice around RB26.  I’m willing to spend a mid-round pick on Guice if he excels this August and Washington commits to him as their starter. Chris Thompson is still here and will get work on third downs and passing situations.  Samaje Perine will compete for the RB4 job with Craig Reynolds and 4th round draft pick Bryce Love.  Love has been placed on the PUP list to start camp and may not be ready for his rookie season.
The Redskins have a cluster of WRs we will need to monitor this training camp.  I’m not sure we are interested in anyone in redraft leagues for this year.  Josh Doctson and Paul Richardson should be the starting outside receivers.  Doctson is a big bodied red-zone threat, and Richardson the deep target that can stretch the field.  They drafted Terry McLaurin out of Ohio State in the third round, and then Kelvin Harmon out of NC State.  Harmon should get a chance to prove himself if Doctson continues to unimpress.  McLaurin has a chance to earn the starting slot role but will have to beat out Trey Quinn.  Players trying to make the team include; Brian Quick, Darvin Kidsy, Robert Davis, Steven Sims, Cam Sims, TJ Rahming and Jehu Chesson.  I’ll be most interest on watching the top five guys in Doctson/Richardson/McLaurin/Harmon/Quinn.  Whoever is clicking with Haskins will grab my attention
Jordan Reed headlines the tight end group here.  Vernon Davis is back for another season and will be the primary backup.  Reed has been labeled injury prone, but was able to play in 13 games last season and finished as TE14.  He’s a decent TE2 option on draft day in redraft leagues.  If he can somehow play a full 16 games, he should end up as a TE1.  Because I’m cautious about the quarterback situation, I’ll probably let someone else grab Reed and look elsewhere.  After Reed and Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle, Matt Flanagan, JP Holtz and Donald Parham will compete to finish out the group.

 

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