AFC East Pre Draft Offseason Risers and Fallers
Part 6 brings us to the AFC East and the home of the Super Bowl champs. Itʼs also home to 2 excited QBʼs entering their sophomore season and a new QB could bring some Magic to Miami. Brady is still the GOAT whether Gronk is in town or not, but how are we viewing him in dynasty? Letʼs take a look at the fantasy football landscape in this division from a dynasty perspective.
Coaching Changes - None (Josh Allen gets another year in the same offense that helped him become a fantasy asset in 2018).
Free Agency - No major losses, but a few interesting pickups for the Bills including John Brown, Cole Beasley, Frank Gore and Tyler Kroft. Maybe most importantly they added multiple O-lineman that should help everyone on this offense. The Bills are doing their best to help Josh Allen and while none of these pieces are exciting on their own, they are collectively a major upgrade all around over what they had last season.
Risers - Josh Allen is a polarizing figure in fantasy circles and I understand why. Heʼs not likely to ever pass for 4,000 yards or throw for more than 25 touchdowns . He can be very inaccurate at times, will turn the ball over more than you would like and his style of play could lend itself to some injury issues. However, heʼs also capable of rushing for 1,000 yards with 10 TDʼs if he stays healthy while putting up modest passing totals which would easily make him an exciting QB1. His athleticism is off the charts and he has the size to absorb more punishment then almost every running QB weʼve seen in the past. He also has elite arm talent despite the occasional inaccuracy and pushes the ball down the field well. The addition of John Brown will help the vertical game and Beasley and Kroft will give him mid range options he simply didnʼt have last season. And thatʼs not to mention Say Jones, Shady McCoy and the expectation that they could add a Number 1 type WR and TE in the draft. Add it all up and I want Josh Allen on my team.
Fallers - Has LeSean McCoyʼs value ever been this low before? I donʼt think it has. He will be 31 by the
time the 2019 season starts and heʼs coming off of the worst statistical season heʼs ever had. Only 514 rushing yards on 161 attempts good for a 3.19 ypc average. He also only chipped in 34 receptions and 238 receiving yards and only had 3 total touchdowns all season. Some of that can be linked to a poor O-line and the lack of an effective passing game, but a lot of it may also be due to Josh Allen vulturing TDʼs and taking away from McCoys attempts over the course of a game. The addition of 36 year old Frank Gore doesnʼt help either, plus the Bills are almost certain to use a draft pick on an RB or bring in a good undrafted rookie to compete. Thereʼs a chance Shady has a better 2019, but I believe we are most likely at the end of the road.
Coaching Changes - Adam Gase is gone from Miami and anyone who has followed me on twitter knows that I think that will be a great thing for the skill players on this team. Brian Flores takes over as the head coach and Chad OʼShea follows him from New England and will coordinate the offense. Heʼs never called plays before so heʼs a bit of an unknown but his history in New England (since 2009) could at least give a few hints as to his style.
Free Agency - The Dolphins lost a good offensive tackle in Jaʼwuan James and said good bye to Danny Amendola and local hero Frank Gore. Tannehill is out the door and on to Tennessee and the bearded
wonder, Ryan Fitzpatrick, takes over the offense. Dwayne Allen comes over from New England and could take over as the in line TE freeing up Mike Gesicki to run more routes.
Risers - All of the offensive weapons are risers to me for three reasons. First, Adam Gase is gone and there will presumably be more consistency with playing time for everyone (I.e. Devante Parker having 45 snaps one week, 24 the next for no apparent reason). Second, Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to push the ball down the field aggressively. Say what you want about him, but he typically improves the value of those around him. And finally, game script combined with Fitzmagic could be very favorable for garbage time production. Anything can happen in the NFL, but Miami should have the best odds for the number 1 pick in 2020. Take all of this together and guys like Devante Parker, Kenny Stills, and Mike Gesecki should be in for good things in 2019. Iʼm putting in offers for all 3 in hopes to buy low.
Fallers - I donʼt have quite as much confidence in Kenyon Drake keeping the starting job throughout 2019 since the team could draft an RB or turn to Kalen Ballage. Drake was definitely serviceable last season albeit in a limited role. Could Gase have been holding him back? Possibly, but are also doubts about his ability to hold up under a bell cow type role. Best case scenario for Drake is probably that he becomes the “James White” in this offense which would make him interesting in PPR
leagues, but Iʼm not betting on this since Fitz is not known for throwing dump off passes to his RBʼs.
New England Patriots
Coaching Changes - No changes.
Free Agency - Thereʼs always plenty of turnover in NE and this offseason has been no different. Trenton Brown may be the biggest loss to the O-line but I have no doubt they will replace him adequately. As far as skill players, NE lost Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson, Dwayne Allen and most importantly Rob Gronkowski chose to retire. Austin Seferian-Jenkins steps in as the top option at TE (for now) and could be in line for some high quality targets if the Pats choose to stay pat at the position (they wonʼt). They also recently signed Demaryius Thomas, but we should expect Thomas to progress slowly on his way back from an achilles tear.
Risers - Despite my bias towards RBʼs that are involved in the passing game, I find myself irrationally high on Sony Michel. His regular season was ok where he registered 931 yards on just over 200 carries (4.5 ypc) with 6 rushing TDʼs, but the playoffs showed I already believed the future was for these Patriots. In the 3 playoff games he ran the ball 71 times, had 336 yards and 6 TDʼs. The TD rate is probably unsustainable, but the 23.7 carries and 112 yards he averaged during that time arenʼt too far off from what I expect in 2019. Extrapolated out to 16 games would be a 379 carry, 1,792 yard season. No one
expects those numbers from Michel, but could we see a 300 carry 1,400 yard season from him? I think thatʼs possible, especially if Michel becomes the Terrell Davis to Tom Bradyʼs John Elway and the Patriots try to take some of the load off Brady for the next couple years. With Gronk gone and not a lot of great pieces in the passing game this offense could turn into a bully and run it down the throats of opposing defenses. Time will tell, but this is the narrative Iʼm going with until Iʼm convinced otherwise.
Fallers - Tom Bradyʼs value was already down during last season and early drafts show that the dynasty community doesnʼt expect him remain a QB1. Look, heʼs the most successful QB in NFL history and I never want to bet against him, but right now his weapons arenʼt
very strong and if the offense becomes run first the way I expect I wonʼt be owning Brady anywhere.
New York Jets
Coaching Changes - (Deep, Deep Sigh). Adam Gase has been hired as the head coach and defacto OC of the Jets. On the one hand, Gase provided us with an epic introductory press conference and will at least have an opportunity for a fresh start. Perhaps heʼs learned from his time in Miami and maybe having Sam Darnold will make a big difference in how he handles the team if they are succeeding on the offensive side of the ball. The fear of course, on the other hand, is that he has learned nothing and will ruin the value of everyone on this team. (Shrug emoji). We shall see.
Free Agency - The Jets lost 11 players to Free Agency and have another 13 that remain unsigned. That kind of turnover can be expected with a new coach in town an the biggest losses of the skill players are the unsigned Bilal Powell and Jermaine Kearse, while Isaiah Crowell signed with Oakland. Both the RB and WR units received upgrades however as the Jets brought in the biggest FA prize in Leveon Bell in addition to Ty Montgomery and Jamison Crowder. Hopefully Bell will be the workhorse in the offense (considering the investment) and I like Crowders potential as long as he see consistent snaps.
Risers - I donʼt know if Gase is a QB guru or not, but I do know that heʼs fully on board with Sam Darnold and that Darnold is fully on board with him. That combination could be exactly what Darnold needs in his second year. He was already impressive in his rookie season and showed a lot of potential for growth. Having Lev Bell in the backfield with him should only help as he will be a very reliable pass catcher out of the backfield. Iʼm high on Robbie Anderson and the addition of Crowder gives another dimension to the offense he didnʼt have last season. This is a team Iʼll be watching closely during the draft to see if they bring in other skill position players, but I could see Darnolds value continuing to rise over the course of the next 6 months.
Fallers - There is a giant risk for all of the Jets skill position players if Adam Gase tinkers with playing time the way he did in Miami. Because of this, I do not expect to invest much in
anyone outside of Darnold. Perhaps Iʼm wrong, but Iʼll let someone else take that chance.