As we approach the start of the NFL season, I will be writing an article previewing each of the 8 NFL divisions. These articles will break down two players from each team to have on your fantasy radar as well as one sleeper. So many fantasy football drafts are occurring towards the end of the summer and you need to know these players in the AFC East so that you can out-draft your league-mates. The players below will assist you in your march to a fantasy championship late in the season. Here are the top players to know for fantasy football in the AFC East.
- Josh Allen QB:
- Allen is as close to a lock for a Top 5 QB finish (without injuries) for 2021 and beyond. He took a huge step forward last year with the addition of Stefon Diggs that led to a massive amount of fantasy points. He is also a threat to run in for touchdowns in short-yardage RedZone situations. The only downside to Josh Allen in 2021 is the draft price. His ADP is right around #35 overall, that is a little too pricey for me but if you can get him at a value, smash that draft button.
- Stefon Diggs WR:
- Diggs led the NFL in most statistical categories (catches, yards, and targets) in 2020. The Buffalo WR might very well be the best route runner in the NFL, his ability to get open cannot be overstated. The only way that someone can argue that Diggs disappointed last year is the fact that he only scored 8 touchdowns. You do not usually get 166 targets and only 8 TD’s. He is due for positive touchdown regression. Lock him in as a top WR in 2021.
- Sleeper – Zack Moss RB:
- One player to keep your eyes on late in drafts from the Bills is Zack Moss. In his rookie season, Moss competed for touches and opportunities with Devin Singletary. Moss has true 3-down talent and can completely rule this backfield moving forward. His downside is one of the bonuses of Josh Allen, touchdown vulturing. Moss more than likely, will lose some goal-line/RedZone opportunities to Josh Allen. If he falls much further than his ADP of Round 10 I highly suggest taking a flyer on him as a low-risk potential league-winning running back.
- Myles Gaskin RB:
- Let me say this about Gaskin, if he owns the backfield, he will finish as a high-end RB2. He is currently in a crowded situation in Miami but he does seem to have a strong grip on the starting role. Gaskin had a good run of form for the Dolphins late in the year last season, if he keeps that up the job is his to lose. I think that Gaskin fits with what Head Coach Brian Flores wants to do, play defense and control the game through the rushing attack. If he is the workhorse that he projects to be then taking him in the 5th round is a no-brainer.
- Will Fuller V WR:
- At this point in the offseason, I am unsure who to trust in the field stretching role for the dolphins. I believe that rookie Jaylen Waddle will start the season strong due to Will Fuller’s pending suspension. I also think that I like the long-term impact that Fuller can have on this offense for the rest of the season. Fuller has proven, with his time in Houston, that he can lead a group of WR’s on a team in targets, catches, and yards. The only major question for any of the Miami playmakers is, can Tua get them the ball in meaningful ways? I do project Miami to be a low passing team but I think that Fuller can overcome and outproduce his current ADP of 95 overall.
- Sleeper – Tua Tagovailoa QB:
- The biggest fantasy sleeper for the Miami Dolphins just so happens to be the biggest offensive question mark, QB Tua Tagovailoa. If we see Tua take a big step and command this offense then he will inevitably be good for fantasy. If we see Tua continue to underperform in his starts then he will continue to be disappointing. The good thing, from the fantasy football perspective, about Tua is his current price of a 16th round, undrafted in some leagues. His upside is massive due to the number of playmakers brought in by the Dolphins front office. This team is trending in the right direction under Brian Flores, can Tua do enough in this offense to make him a viable starting QB on your rosters? I guess we will find out.
New England Patriots
- Damien Harris RB:
- To be frank, I’m not sure if I want a player from either the Patriots or the Jets but here we are anyway. If I had to draft one player from New England then it would be Damien Harris. He profiled as an every-down back coming out of Alabama. He has yet to be used this way since coming into the NFL in 2019. According to the beat reporters, he could be seeing additional work in both the running and passing game in 2021. Sure, Cam Newton will vulture some of the goal-line carries/TD’s from him but Harris could see standalone value apart from that. He was the team’s leader in rushing yards and carries last year and they don’t seem to trust Sony Michel anymore so I don’t see the downside in selecting Harris in the 8th round, especially if you adopted a Zero-RB strategy.
- Jonnu Smith TE:
- There is a world where Jonnu Smith leads the Patriots in targets and catches. The Patriots organization has been very vocal about how they are planning to use Smith all over the field, even a hint about him being lined up in the backfield. I believe that his athleticism and versatility can help him stand apart on this crowded TE depth chart. They did not pay Smith $50 million to catch 20 balls a season, he will be involved in the Patriot’s passing game. With the easiest schedule for Tight Ends in 2021 (according to FantasyPros) Smith should see plenty of targets because he is a matchup nightmare. His ADP took a huge hit with the addition of Hunter Henry but I think he is a lock to outperform his ADP of TE15.
- Sleeper – Nelson Agholor WR:
- The other major part of the receiving corps revitalization from the Patriots was the addition of 2020 Raiders standout Nelson Agholor. After averaging 10.9 yards per catch in Las Vegas the Patriots were very aggressive in acquiring Agholor. It will be very clear to fantasy managers early on what Agholor’s role will be in New England. I believe that most of the targets will go to both of the tight ends but Agholor will act as the deep threat as well as catching some passes underneath. I like his outlook a little more with Mac Jones instead of Cam Newton but it is clear that Newton has the job to start the year. I think that Agholor will pace the WR’s on the team in targets and receptions but it is unclear if the team will pass enough to make it worth your while. The good news here is that you will not have to pay a premium for Agholor. He is going as the 60th WR off the board in drafts, I have no problem taking a flier late in drafts on Agholor who will show you very early on what his involvement in the offense will be.
New York Jets
- Michael Carter RB:
- If we are discussing incoming rookies who have immense ceilings with a super-low floor, Carter might be at the top of the list. His range of outcomes in the Jets offense is somewhere in between every-down workhorse and 3rd string back. I believe that, as most rookies do, Carter will need some time to acclimate to his new offense and Tevin Coleman will see most of the looks in the backfield early in the year with Carter looking to pick up the job as the season moves along. I believe that Michael Carter will excel in the Jets offense, which should reflect the Kyle Shanahan system in San Francisco. There is a high possibility that New York takes a committee approach with the running backs, which could create a system that doesn’t produce a viable fantasy option. I think that Carter was drafted to play the majority of downs for the Jets and he certainly has the talent to do so. I wouldn’t blink twice in buying the ceiling of Michael Carter in drafts with the price tag of the RB30.
- Corey Davis WR:
- Yet another Wide Receiver coming into a new team with exciting potential. The former 1st round draft pick from the Titans was lured to the Big Apple by new head coach Robert Saleh. Corey Davis provides the Jets with something that they were missing in a big way last season, a consistent downfield threat in the passing attack. I think that fantasy managers will need to temper expectations a little for Davis coming into 2021. He will not be alone in the WR room and he will have a rookie QB throwing him the football. Jamison Crowder and Elijah Williams both project to be decent underneath options for this offense which could take away targets from Davis. It is also hard for WR’s to thrive for fantasy with a rookie QB under center. I do think that he will provide some week-to-week value while being slightly volatile in his production as we’ve seen throughout his career. Davis has massive potential but also comes along with several question marks regarding his consistent production.
- Sleeper – Elijah Moore WR:
- My sleeper pick for the New York Jets is rookie WR Elijah Moore. I played around with the idea of Jamison Crowder here but instead, I went with his eventual replacement. To be fair I like Moore’s outlook in future years more so than the 2021 season, more of a dynasty or keeper player to look at rather than someone for redraft. If you want a good example of a player garnering buzz at training camp and catapulting him into a fantasy darling, look no further than Elijah Moore. The coaches and beat reporters have been very vocal about how versatile and talented the young rookie is. There have been reports of them using Elijah Moore in a Curtis Samuel role, manufacturing targets and carries at or behind the line of scrimmage. I think that Moore has a path to be a relevant wide receiver in 2021 but he has more of a chance to break out in future seasons. Make sure you keep your eyes on him later on in drafts as a possible bench stash that could pay off in a big way.