Training camps are finally upon us. With that in mind, this is a prime opportunity to look at some of the biggest fantasy football questions heading into the season. Eight divisions, 32 teams, 32 questions. Every team has something intriguing to think about heading into training camp and also fantasy draft season. Let’s dive into them and continue with the AFC East.
One Big Fantasy Question – AFC East Edition
Miami Dolphins – Can We Finally See A Breakout Season From DeVante Parker?
Brian Flores is the new head coach in Miami and this means a new system is in place for the Dolphins offense. New offensive coordinator, Chad O’Shea, comes over from New England with Flores. O’Shea was the wide receivers coach in New England since 2009 and was responsible for the growth of Wes Welker and Julian Edelman. This can only be a positive sign for Parker’s future success.
Parker is finally the lead receiver in Miami after Jarvis Landry and Danny Amendola have moved on to other teams in the past couple seasons. Parker is certainly a gifted player, but injuries have plagued his career from really taking off. Also, we hear every year that Parker is finally healthy and is going to be a factor in the upcoming season. Also, there is a quarterback battle going into training camp between Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick. So why should this year be any different?
With Flores coming into the fold as the head coach, you would think he takes his learnings from Bill Belichick and runs the offense through the running game. Now that may be the case and it may very well be a run-first offense.
The thing that will help Parker this year compared to other years is that the run-first approach will put less pressure on the passing game. They will throw enough to keep the defense guessing, but this offense will go through Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage. This means that Parker can be the Edelman of this offense and be the main target to move the chains.
The tight end position is improved as well which can lead to Parker finally taking that next step and be a breakout receiver in fantasy circles this season.
Projected Draft Round:
DeVante Parker – 13th, Kenyan Drake – 6th, Kalen Ballage – 12th
Buffalo Bills – Which Receiver Is Worth Drafting In Buffalo?
Josh Allen comes into year two with a loaded backfield. LeSean McCoy is joined by T.J. Yeldon, the ageless-wonder Frank Gore, and the highly-touted rookie, Devin Singletary. So the pressure to be the focal point of the offense is not so much of a factor for Allen as it was his rookie year. The problem is, who can be his go-to guy in the offense to throw the ball to? This is a crucial question going into training camp because this can either help or hurt his progress as a young quarterback in the league. Let’s dive into the cast of characters that is the Bills wide receiver group.
First, there are the veteran free agents in Cole Beasley and John Brown. Beasley comes to Buffalo with a fresh attitude and hoping for more opportunities than what was given to him in Dallas. Although he was one of the more targeted receivers during his time in Dallas, he felt that the slot position was not valued there and he needed to find another team that can utilize his skills better. So the hope is that Brian Daboll can use him effectively in the slot.
Let’s move to Brown, who is coming off one of his best seasons in the league with Baltimore. Brown can be that deep threat for Buffalo, as we all know Allen can throw a long ball for days. In Baltimore, Brown was a starting receiver and he really stepped up his game in that role. Expect him to continue his growth in Buffalo and try to avoid being typecast as just a deep threat.
Along with the veterans, the Bills also have a few young pass-catchers that can push for some playing time. Zay Jones led the team in targets and receptions in 2018. The former second-round pick has all the talent to be a great receiver in the league. Coming into his third-year, Jones is looking to continue developing his skills and becoming a legit option in the passing offense.
Another young receiver coming into his second year in the league is Robert Foster. Foster was signed as an undrafted free agent, cut, signed to the practice squad, and then finally made the roster again all last season. Even with all those moves, Foster was able to play in the final seven games of the year and had at least 50 receiving yards in five of them. Foster is a promising player and earned looks from Allen consistently down the stretch of the season. He should be a player that should earn some targets in this Bills offense to build off a strong end to the 2018 season.
So with all that said, who is the guy(s) to target come your fantasy draft? Brown and Jones should most likely earn the starting jobs and Beasley will work the slot position. Foster intrigues me to earn his share of targets and may steal from Brown if he doesn’t continue to develop as more than a deep threat. The two names that would make the most sense would be Beasley and Jones, but this is an interesting situation to watch once the season begins. All in all, Allen is a very sneaky option to add to your fantasy roster as a possible fantasy streaming option and a fantasy playoff option as well. The weapons are there for him, let’s see how he is able to use them and further develop as a young gunslinger in the NFL.
Projected Draft Round:
Cole Beasley – 12th, Zay Jones – 13th, Robert Foster – Undrafted, John Brown – 13th, Josh Allen – Undrafted, LeSean McCoy – 7th, Frank Gore – 14th, Devin Singletary – 13th, T.J. Yeldon – Undrafted
New York Jets – Is Le’Veon Bell Going To Be As Good As He Was In Pittsburgh?
Bell is staying on the East Coast but has traded in his black and yellow Steelers uniform for a green and white Jets uniform. After taking a year off from playing in the NFL, the question is whether Bell still has it in him to be one of the elite fantasy players in the league? That’s a worthy question, but it makes more of a difference if he can replicate his typical success in a brand new offense, with fewer weapons.
Bell is no longer playing with the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster, David DeCastro, and Maurkice Pouncey. While Bell is a great player, he had a lot of top-level talent around him that drew attention as well. Now coming to New York, he has to adjust to playing with a second-year quarterback in Sam Darnold, above-average receivers like Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder, and Quincy Enunwa, and a sub-par offensive line.
If Bell can keep his attitude in check, now that he earned his payday, he can enjoy a successful season. Ranking him among the top running backs in the league is valid, but there is no guarantee that he can sustain success. Adam Gase is an offensive-minded head coach and he should have no trouble involving Bell in all facets of the offense. The thing that has a lot of people worried about is whether the inconsistent play of everyone around him will ultimately make him not as valuable of a running back. This may cause Bell to slip into the second round of your fantasy draft and there is good value there. He might not be the clear-cut top RB this year, but he is sure to bring you a solid point total weekly.
Projected Draft Round:
Le’Veon Bell – 2nd, Sam Darnold – Undrafted, Robby Anderson – 7th, Jamison Crowder – 12th, Quincy Enunwa – Undrafted
New England Patriots – What Can We Expect From N’Keal Harry In His Rookie Year?
Harry becomes the very first wide receiver that Bill Belichick has drafted in the first round ever, during his time with the Patriots. Sony Michel was drafted in the first round last year and he became a prominent role player in the offense. There is good reason why Harry was drafted in the first round and he is sure to be a key role player during the season.
Now the thing with the New England offense, rookies don’t always succeed when it comes to picking up the passing offense. So Harry will have a lot to learn in order to become a serious playmaker in the offense. He has all the skills to develop into a great receiver, but let’s see what he can do in this New England offense. As mentioned, they drafted Michel last season and then followed it up by drafting Damien Harris out of Alabama in the third round. This offense could be going through the running backs as opposed to relying on the air attack. Let’s not forget that James White is still a part of this offense and will command a lot of touches as well.
While Rob Gronkowski retired, Harry still comes into a situation where Julian Edelman is the lead dog in the passing game. Demaryius Thomas also came over via free agency, so this may be a situation where Harry may not earn a lot of targets to be fantasy relevant. Although he has all these things working against him, Harry still has too much talent to be on the bottom of the depth chart for long. Thomas is not the same receiver he was back in Denver and although Edelman hasn’t lost a step, he could use more help to divert coverage away from him. While Harry may not put up huge numbers, there is a chance he generates more value the longer he’s in the system. His stock could very well rise as the season moves along and could be a valuable roster addition once the fantasy playoffs roll around.
Projected Draft Round:
N’Keal Harry – 10th, Julian Edelman – 4th, Demaryius Thomas – 13th, Sony Michel – 3rd, Damien Harris – 14th