Top 5 Player Picks From Each Team: NFC East
If I was drafting today, These are the guys I prioritize, in order, from each NFC East team.
- Ezekiel Elliott – Elliott led the league as a rookie with 1,631 yards on the ground, and he’s preparing to beef up his numbers even more in the passing game, where he was underutilized in his first year. He’s easily the first Cowboy you should take off the board and arguably the first player overall.
- Dez Bryant – Now “100%” healthy after two straight seasons of nagging injuries, Bryant should return to his 1,300+ yard form with TDs in the teens. The Cowboys didn’t add any real threats to Bryant’s workload in the offseason, so there’s no reason to doubt the hype.
- Dak Prescott – 2016’s Wonder Boy, Prescott doesn’t have the luxury of low expectations to silence the critics in his sophomore year. People are expecting big things, and his unflappable nature will help him deliver. He’s had a stable environment to thrive in, and that’s all a developing QB could ask for.
- Cole Beasley – Beasley actually led the Cowboys in receiving yards(833) as the safety valve for rookie Prescott in 2016. He’s having some issues with hamstring tendonitis, which explains the redundant move to bring in Ryan Switzer – an almost identical player, but he’s been playing with the injury since week 10 of last season. Beasley is probably only really useful in PPR formats though.
- Jason Witten – Witten just signed a new contract, albeit it with no new guaranteed money, so he’s in good shape to remain the Cowboy’s starting tight end for yet another season. He’s no longer the juggernaut we once knew, but Witten has yet to miss a game in his career, and he’s remained relatively healthy.
New York Giants
- Odell Beckham – It’s hard to tell what kind of impact Brandon Marshall will have on OBJ’s production, especially in the red zone, but with a running game that looks far from smash-mouth in New York, I’ll take my chances.
- Brandon Marshall – Marshall has consistently been a cancer in team locker rooms, but he almost always comes through on the field. I’m going to treat his 2016 season as an anomaly and fully expect him to top 1,000 yards and 6 TDs.
- Paul Perkins – I like Perkins, I really do, but I’m a little worried about him taking 3-down duties for the Giants. I’m even more worried that Orleans Darkwa is getting considerable run with the first team right now. That being said, the Giants are going to give Perkins every opportunity to run away with the job.
- Eli Manning – Manning is a shadow of his former self, but he’s got the most talented receiving corps that I can remember him having and a running back who thrives as a pass catcher.
- Evan Engram – Engram is really just a big wide receiver, but he’s a very good one. I considered putting Sterling Shepard here, but the Giants are putting more two tight end sets on the field this year in an attempt to help the running game.
- Alshon Jeffery – I would have no reservations about having Jeffery as the first Eagle off the board if not for his recent injury history – the kind of injury history where you don’t know if he’s playing even if he’s active. That kind of uncertainty can be aggravating, but the upside here is palpable.
- LaGarrette Blount – No, I’m not sure Blount will be the most effective Philly back this season, but I am fairly certain that he’ll get the bulk of carries on the goal line, and that’s good enough to have him second behind Jeffery.
- Darren Sproles – I really want to put the rookie Donnel Pumphrey here, but I think Sproles may have one more year as the primary pass catching option out of the backfield in Philly.
- Carson Wentz – Wentz had a slew of passing yards his rookie season(3,782), but he also had almost as many interceptions(14) as TDs(16) – his accuracy on long balls also went down over the course of the season. He’ll have more reliable targets this year though, and several running backs who are able receivers. Wentz is the only thing that can keep himself from having a great year.
- Zach Ertz – Ertz will inevitably lose targets to all the new additions in Philly, but he’s been Wentz’s favorite targets this spring, and with Wentz succeeding more at small ball, Ertz should retain a prominent role this season.
- Jordan Reed – Even with a new no.1 WR in Terrelle Pryor, the Redskins will continue to syphon their passing offense through Reed as long as he’s healthy, which isn’t usually that long. He’s still in the argument for the top TE spot in fantasy.
- Terrelle Pryor – I’m excited to see what Pryor can do with a real QB under center. He’s going to push Reed for team leader in receiving TDs.
- Samaje Perine – Matt Jones is already on his way out, and Rob Kelley isn’t a special talent. Perine is well on his way to leading the backfield in Washington.
- Jamison Crowder – Cousins loves Crowder, and that’s enough to keep him viable in my book. He and Reed have been Cousins’ favorite target this offseason, and they’ll be heavily involved when the season gets going.
- Kirk Cousins – Cousins perpetual slow starts to the season are why I don’t have him higher on his teams’ pecking order. He’ll get things going, but it might be several games in before he really starts to light things up.