NFC East Divisional Dive

by Jason Allwine · NFL

The NFL Draft is over, most free agents have been signed, and trades have been made. Barring any more major trades, we now know what each team will be working with in 2022. Before we move completely onto the next year, it is important to remember what players and teams found success in 2021. After all, a player’s fantasy success is largely tied to their team’s success. This series will serve to function as a reminder of last year’s performances and also take a look at who may breakout in 2022. Each division will have its teams dissected and I will find a player who should be a more valuable asset in 2022 than they were in 2021. Every relevant player leaving, every relevant player coming, and every draft pick is here. So without further ado, let’s take the NFC East Divisional Dive.

Dallas Cowboys

2021 Record: 12-5

Offense: Points For – No. 1, Yards For – No. 1

Defense: Points Allowed – No. 7, Yards Allowed – No. 19

Top Fantasy Players

1. Dak Prescott, QB – 320.56 points

2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB – 252.06 points

3. CeeDee Lamb, WR – 232.8 points

Fantasy Relevant Players Leaving

1. Amari Cooper, WR – Browns

2. Cedrick Wilson, WR – Dolphins

Fantasy Relevant Additions

1. James Washington, WR

Draft Results

R1: Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa

R2: Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss

R3: Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama

R4: Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin

R5: Matt Waletzko, OT, North Dakota / DaRon Bland, CB, Fresno State / Damone Clark, LB, LSU / John Ridgeway, DT, Arkansas

R6: Devin Harper, LB, Oklahoma State

Potential Breakouts

Tony Pollard, RB

The Cowboys’ RB timeshare will continue as both Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott are under contract through 2022. What should change though, is an increased Snap Share for Pollard. In 2021, Pollard had a 33.7-percent (No. 60 among qualified running backs) Snap Share, but still finished with over 1,000 all purpose yards. He also averaged 10.8 (No. 30) Fantasy Points Per Game. He was extremely efficient with the ball as shown below, much more efficient than Elliott.

Tony Pollard 2020 Efficiency Metrics

Ezekiel Elliott 2020 Efficiency Metrics

It’s clear that Pollard deserves an increased role in the offense. His receiving prowess makes him an even more valuable fantasy asset as well.

Philadelphia Eagles

2021 Record: 9-8

Offense: Points For – No. 12, Yards For – No. 14

Defense: Points Allowed – No. 18, Yards Allowed – No. 10

Top Fantasy Players

1. Jalen Hurts, QB – 312.16 points

2. Devonta Smith, WR – 185.6 points

3. Dallas Goedert, TE – 165 points

Fantasy Relevant Players Leaving

1. Jordan Howard, RB* (still a free agent)

Fantasy Relevant Additions

1. A.J. Brown, WR

Draft Results

R1: Jordan Davis, DT, UGA

R2: Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska

R3: Nakobe Dean, LB, UGA

R6: Kyron Johnson, LB, Kansas / Grant Calcaterra, TE, SMU

Potential Breakouts

Devonta Smith, WR

With A.J. Brown being traded to the Eagles, Jalen Hurts is obviously receiving a huge upgrade. Nothing changes for him though as he was already a top 10 QB last year. He just won’t have to rely on his rushing as much anymore. I will give a hot take here and say that Devonta Smith probably benefits the most from this trade. Brown’s arrival only makes Smith’s job easier since he will now take on the CB2 most of the time. He already has the chemistry with Hurts. And while Brown is a stud, Smith will likely remain Hurts’ main read.

Look at Tee Higgins‘ growth in his second year when the Bengals added Ja’Marr Chase. He went from 908 yards to 1091 yards on only two more targets. I see a similar trajectory for Smith, where his targets may not increase drastically, but his performance should.

Washington Commanders

2021 Record: 7-10

Offense: Points For – No. 23, Yards For – No. 21

Defense: Points Allowed – No. 25, Yards Allowed – No. 22

Top Fantasy Players

1. Antonio Gibson, RB – 229.1 points

2. Taylor Heinicke, QB – 222.86 points

3. Terry McLaurin, WR – 213.5 points

Fantasy Relevant Players Leaving

1. Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB* (still a free agent)

2. Adam Humphries, WR* (still a free agent)

3. Ricky Seals-Jones, TE – Giants

Fantasy Relevant Additions

1. Carson Wentz, QB

Draft Results

R1: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

R2: Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

R3: Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama

R4: Percy Butler, S, Louisiana

R5: Sam Howell, QB, UNC / Cole Turner, TE, Nevada

R7: Chris Paul, G, Tulsa / Christian Holmes, Oklahoma State

Potential Breakouts

Antonio Gibson, RB

Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson will hopefully enjoy successful seasons next year with Carson Wentz bringing an upgrade to the QB position. Gibson however serves to have the biggest upgrade in usage in 2022. For some reason the Commanders love using J.D. McKissic, but at some point Gibson’s athleticism has to take over. On only a 56.3-percent (No. 23) Snap Share, Gibson had 258 rushes for 1,037 yards, 42 receptions for 294 yards, and 10 touchdowns. He averaged 14.3 (No. 17) Fantasy Points Per Game. Provided that his usage increases, Gibson has a pretty high ceiling, but it might not increase at all with the Commanders drafting Alabama RB Brian Robinson in the third round and re-signing McKissic, so tread with caution.

New York Giants

2021 Record: 4-13

Offense: Points For – No. 31, Yards For – No. 31

Defense: Points Allowed – No. 23, Yards Allowed – No. 21

Top Fantasy Players

1. Daniel Jones, QB – 167.52 points

2. Saquon Barkley, RB – 148.6 points

3. Graham Gano, K – 119 points

Fantasy Relevant Players Leaving

1. Devontae Booker, RB* (still a free agent)

2. John Ross, WR* (still a free agent)

3. Evan Engram, TE – Jaguars

4. Kyle Rudolph, TE* (still a free agent)

Fantasy Relevant Additions

1. Tyrod Taylor, QB

2. Ricky Seals-Jones, TE

3. Matt Breida, RB

Draft Results

R1: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon / Evan Neal, OT, Alabama

R2: Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky

R3: Joshua Ezeudu, G, UNC / Cordale Flott, CB, LSU

R4: Daniel Bellinger, TE, SDSU / Dane Belton, S, Iowa

R5: Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana / DJ Davidson, DL, Arizona State / Marcus McKethan, OL, UNC

R6: Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati

Potential Breakouts

Daniel Jones, QB

Say what you want about Daniel Jones, but he is being given the best opportunity to succeed in 2022 that the Giants can afford. This roster is talented with Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Kadarius Toney as Jones’ supporting cast. Not only that, the Giants brought in Bills’ offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll to be their new head coach. The Giants are betting that Daboll was behind Josh Allen‘s success, and if that is even partly true, Jones should enjoy fantasy success in 2022. The Giants even drafted Alabama OT,Evan Neal to protect him. If he doesn’t succeed, he will be replaced next season or Tyrod Taylor will take over, or both. It’s his contract year, and the Giants declined his fifth-year option.