This is the first part in an eight-part series previewing each NFL division. I will predict team’s records, order of finish, and point out fantasy studs, mid-round values, late-round gems, and a breakout player from each division. First up, the NFC East.
NY Giants (5-11)
This division is divided between the have and the have nots. Dallas and Philadelphia have loaded rosters with legitimate chances for a Super Bowl appearance, while Washington and the NY Giants are young, rebuilding, and have many unknowns.
First/Second Round Studs
In Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott this division has two of the top-four overall draft picks in any format. Assuming Elliott reports to camp, draft either with confidence and your team is off to a tremendous start.
Zach Ertz – Ertz caught 116 passes for 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Philadelphia will likely spread the ball around a little more this year, but Ertz is still the main pass-catching option in this offense, so his numbers should remain intact. Draft him in the late second/early third round in TE-premium leagues. In other leagues he is still the No. 2 TE off the board behind Travis Kelce.
Evan Engram – Engram has had a difficult time staying healthy. If he is able to play all 16 games this season he could end up as the Giants leading receiver. His talent is unquestioned and there are 124 targets (in only 12 games) to account for due to the departure of Odell Beckham. Engram was quietly better than many remember last year. Injuries limited him to playing in just 11 games. In the last four games of the season (with Beckham out of the lineup) he had 22 receptions for 320 yards. That’s 88 receptions for 1,280 yards extrapolated over a full season!
Sterling Shepard has started camp with a broken thumb and Golden Tate is facing a four-game suspension to start the season. Barkley will get his catches, but Engram should get a ton of volume and is set up to have a big year.
Carson Wentz – Wentz is going to be a monster this year! Now that he is fully healthy, look for him to return to the MVP candidate he was two seasons ago. The Eagles have surrounded him with a plethora of talent (DeSean Jackson, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders) and most of their weapons from last year are returning as well. As I mentioned earlier, Ertz should again approach 100 receptions and the remainder of their talented pass catchers should combine for numerous yards and touchdowns. I have Wentz ranked as my No. 6 QB and he could easily finish in the top three at the position.
Michael Gallup/Randall Cobb – The Cowboys offense is going to be “lights out” this year. Elliott will get his yards and touchdowns but Dak Prescott will be much more comfortable with another year in the offense. The offense took off last year after the Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper.
Teams will take note of this and secondaries around the league will be focusing on Cooper. Gallup and Cobb will see single coverage almost exclusively and that should make them great values. They are currently being drafted in the second half of drafts, sometimes falling to the last four or five rounds.
Trey Quinn – “Mr. Irrelevant” becomes “Mr. Breakout.” Quinn is the best receiver in your fantasy draft that you have never heard of. He led all of college football his junior year at SMU with 114 catches, 1,236 yards, and 13 TDs. His success prompted Washington to grab Quinn with the final selection of the 2018 NFL Draft, thus his title “Mr. Irrelevant.” Last year, injuries limited Quinn’s rookie season, although he caught nine of ten targets and one touchdown in weeks 11 and 12. Coach Jay Gruden has already named Quinn the starting slot receiver for this season. Don’t be surprised when he leads Washington in receiving in 2019. Quinn offers you a rare opportunity to draft a team’s No. 1 receiver in the last few rounds of your fantasy draft!