NFC East Division Preview: Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley headline this group's fantasy assets

Yahoo Sports Fantasy Staff
·10 min read

The Yahoo Fantasy analysts will preview all eight NFL divisions during the 2020 fantasy football draft season. Here, we’ll tackle each team’s most pressing fantasy question, and team win totals. Be sure to also check out each team’s full preview linked up below. Next up, the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott was QB2 in 2019 with 348.78 fantasy points. What are the odds he finishes 2020 with more?

Dalton: He was a fantasy monster last year, and Dallas added arguably the best playmaker in this year’s draft when CeeDee Lamb unexpectedly fell to them at No. 17. Blake Jarwin replacing Jason Witten is another upgrade for Prescott, who also dealt with a badly hobbled Amari Cooper over the second half of last season. Michael Gallup finished top-10 in yards per route run as a sophomore, while Tony Pollard is another mismatch at Prescott’s disposal. The Cowboys also provide one of the league’s best offensive lines, and Prescott has added 21 rushing scores over the first four seasons of his career. The addition of Lamb gives him a comical number of weapons, making Prescott an MVP candidate and my QB3 with easy No. 1 upside. But given that health isn’t a certainty, I’ll give him a 50/50 shot at beating his 2020 fantasy production this season.

Andy: Put me down for Prescott having, say, a 50-55 percent chance of hitting last year’s point total again. I mean, just listen to the video propaganda I gave you above. It’s hard not to love everything about Prescott’s fantasy setup in 2020. He has a pair of 1,000-yard receivers already on the roster, plus his team added CeeDee Lamb, a potential future All Pro. Lamb’s collegiate highlights are pretty much obscene. Weapons are certainly not an issue. Even if Prescott falls short of last season’s filthy passing stats, he’s a decent bet to boost his rushing numbers. He’s a clear top-3 QB for me.

Scott: My colleagues outline the pro-Prescott case very well. Unfortunately, the market understands this, too. Prescott stands as the QB3 in early Yahoo drafts, with an ADP inside the Top 50. Prescott might be my most-commonly rostered quarterback since he entered the league in 2016, given how good the value has so often been. But this year, I think I need to find someone a little cheaper in draft rooms; look for a little more fantasy profit potential.

OVER/UNDER on 9.5 Win Total from BetMGM

Scott: The most plausible side is the OVER, but at -164, you might have trouble justifying that ticket, given the juice you have to cover. If you’re a believer in Dallas (and this could be a fun team, now that Jason Garrett is gone), perhaps +110 to win the division is more your speed (only Philadelphia looms as a serious challenger).

(Click here for our full, in-depth Dallas Cowboys team preview)

Philadelphia Eagles: Miles Sanders’s current ADP in the middle of the second round. Is this a wishful draft spot, or are you willing to select him at this spot?

Scott: The Eagles usually love their backfield platoons, so I still live in fear that they’re going to add a curious veteran. They were linked to Carlos Hyde, though that eventually didn’t happen. In recent years, Philadelphia was the surprising harbor for Jordan Howard, Jay Ajayi, and LeGarrette Blount. If you can still run without your knees popping, ring the Eagles.

But upside is a gigantic part of fantasy football (obviously not a new concept), and Sanders offers that. And his current Yahoo ADP (19.2) is a giveaway if you consider at the global market; Sanders has an ADP of 9.79 over the last month of NFFC drafting. Eventually, this discussion will morph into “Do you dare take Sanders around the 1-2 turn?” But for now, he’s priced favorably and enthusiastically approved. Play to win, gamers.

Matt: I’m all-in at that cost. The Eagles have always used a committee approach under Doug Pederson. Sure, that’s true, but honestly, I don’t blame him for not deploying LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood, or any of the other middling options that hung around the depth chart in previous years. I just don’t think that’s a useful anecdote considering we’ve never seen a player with Miles Sanders’ combination ability, youth, and draft capital spent on the Eagles roster in the Pederson era. This same Philadelphia coaching staff trusted Sanders with a heavy workload to end 2019, as he averaged over 19 touches per game to close his rookie season. If he sees that volume as the lead man this season, he’s an easy bet to meet or beat his ADP.

Liz: After Jordan Howard suffered a shoulder injury in Week 9 of last year, Sanders averaged 19 touches per contest. Given the current state of Philly’s backfield, with Howard now in Miami and Darren Sproles enjoying retirement, the Penn State product figures to see a similar volume in 2020. Sure, creative wrinkles and gadget work from the talents of Jalen Reagor and Jalen Hurts could siphon away some of Sanders’ opportunities … but that’s going to take a minute. Figuring he manages a 300-touch season, there’s no reason he can’t be a top-12 producer. For context, I like him after Josh Jacobs, but ahead of Austin Ekler.

OVER/UNDER on 9.5 Win Total from BetMGM

Scott: It’s a fair number and a centered one; you get the under at even money, and only pay the slight -120 bump on the over. I’m going to give a slight UNDER lean for a few reasons; I like Dallas’s roster better inside the NFC East, and I’m not thrilled about the AFC North and NFC West full-division draws. The Eagles fell short of this number in three of the four Wentz seasons, though that other year was certainly worth it. The Eagles may or may not have full ascent this year, but Flags Fly Forever.

(Click here for our full, in-depth Philadelphia Eagles team preview)

New York Giants: What percentage chance do you give Saquon Barkley finishing as fantasy’s top-scoring RB?

Andy: I think he’s a near-lock to finish as a first-round value in any sort of PPR format, assuming good health. That’s why we’re taking him among the opening picks in every draft. I’d give Barkley essentially the same odds as McCaffrey to finish No. 1 overall — something like a 10-15 percent chance. Again, I’d always take the field over any individual player.

When Barkley finally recovered from last year’s ankle injury, let’s just recall that he was unstoppable. He gained 539 scrimmage yards and scored five touchdowns over the final three weeks. If you happened to make it to championship week with Barkley on your roster, there’s a very good chance you took home a title. He already has a season with 90-plus catches and 2,000 scrimmage yards on his resume, so there’s no question he has the potential to deliver an all-time fantasy campaign.

Scott: I’ll try not to waste anyone’s time here. Barkley’s ADP is 2.2 in Yahoo, 2.1 in NFFC. After Christian McCaffrey, he’s the clear go-to. The offense looks on the upswing, and Barkley is #good. I wouldn’t target him at the No. 1 slot, but I wouldn’t try to talk anyone out of it, either. We skate to where the puck is headed, not where it’s been.

Like Andy said, “field” is always the way to bet on these “Overall No. 1” questions. As for a percentage, that’s an unknowable thing. If Barkley vs. McCaffrey were a prop, I’d consider it -140 McCaffrey, +130 Barkley; something like that. When it comes to ranking Barkley, obviously a very small group of other backs needs to be considered.

[2020 Draft Rankings: Overall | QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | DST | Kickers]

Liz: TWENTY? If you need an exact percentage. Barkley is the No. 2 overall option just behind CMC. Does that mean that he’s a lock to finish as the best (or second-best) RB in fantasy? No, but his odds of delivering consistent top-end production are exceedingly high. The dude is an other-worldly talent in a single workhorse backfield being schemed by a run-loving OC. He is going to EAT.

While his overall 2019 numbers were negatively impacted by an early season high-ankle sprain, his week-to-week stats were astounding. From Weeks 7-16, after returning from injury, Barkley averaged over 112 total yards per week, posted 6 TDs, and finished inside the top-10 producers at the position four times over a nine-game span. That’s pretty close to what he did in 2018, a year in which he managed over 20 fantasy points per game. So, yeah, assuming he stays healthy … a top-two finish is certainly within his range of (highly) possible outcomes.

OVER/UNDER on 6.5 Win Total from BetMGM

Scott: The juice leans to the under side (-164), which might make this unplayable. Given New York’s 2020 schedule, that’s the only logical way to lean. The early part of the slate looks nasty, and even the remainder of the schedule could be tricky; in some books, the Giants are favored just twice in their 15 posted games (Week 17 is ignored). I think Jason Garrett was a reasonable hire as offensive coordinator, but let’s give him some time to sort this out; same thing goes for first-time head coach Joe Judge. The juice pushes me away from the window, but UNDER is the only call I can make.

(Click here for our full, in-depth New York Giants team preview)

Washington Football Team: Is there a sleeper on this team you’re keeping an eye on late in drafts?

Matt: We should all be tracking the reports out of Washington as to who is shining beyond McLaurin in the receiver room. Steven Sims showed juice as a slot/gadget receiver. Kelvin Harmon started getting solid No. 2 snaps as 2019 wore on. Even in the backfield, Antonio Gibson could be interesting if Guice gets hurt again, Adrian Peterson succumbs to his age, or both. As things stand right now, none of these players are worth a draft pick in a standard 12-team draft, outside of maybe Gibson.

Dalton: Steven Sims saw 29 targets and scored three touchdowns over the final three games last season, Washington took just one receiver (and not until Round Four) in the draft, and he remains super cheap even in PPR leagues. Antonio Gibson is another intriguing sleeper in Washington.

Liz: ANTONIO GIBSON. While he primarily lined up as a receiver in college, it’s expected that Gibson will contribute largely as a running back in Washington. In fact, Ron Rivera recently compared Gibson’s skill set to Christian McCaffrey’s, citing both players’ versatility. There’s no denying that Gibson is an electric player with big-play ability (14 TDs on only 77 offensive touches in college). He has homerun potential and a coach that believes in him … and that usually amounts to something. Eventually.

OVER/UNDER on 5 Win Total from BetMGM

Dalton: Dwayne Haskins finished last among 33 QBs who qualified in CPOE (-5) last season, but he encouragingly improved to league average (0) over his final three games. New coach Ron Rivera will likely provide a boost in Year One in Washington, while McLaurin, Guice, and Haskins provide upside at the skill positions (Haskins had a strong CPOE in college, so it’s too soon to write him off, and he projects to have one of the most favorable 2020 schedules). Moreover, the addition of Chase Young gives the defense potential to make a sudden leap, so I don’t see this team winning just four games this year — give me the OVER (-125).

(Click here for our full, in-depth Washington football team preview)

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