Fantasy Football Nerd

2019 Fantasy Football Preview: AFC East

Posted: Friday, July 5, 2019


Training camps will be here before you know it followed quickly by the preseason. That means that fantasy drafts are right around the corner as is your fantasy research. Let's start that research with the AFC East.

Aggregated team reviews are below.

AFC East



Miami Dolphins Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins had trouble moving the ball last season, and there hasn't been enough movement this offseason to suggest that they're going to suddenly transform themselves into an offensive juggernaut. Ryan Tannehill is out which means that Ryan Fitzpatrick will start with Josh Rosen pushing him for playing time. Neither is a fantasy option, but Drake, Stills, Parker, and Wilson are.

Top Fantasy Player

Kenyan Drake

Kenyan Drake - RB

You can probably let Kenyan Drake fall to fourth round in most drafts, but he has the upside to make you feel awfully silly if you pass in the late third because you don't want to overdraft him. In the final five games of 2017 Drake showed us what he could do with feature role (118 yards per game) and in 2018 he shows us the ability to be a hyper-efficient pass-catching back. If he combines those abilities in 2019, you'll be wondering why we weren't talking about him as a second-round pick. Then again, Brian Flores may treat Drake the way Adam Gase did, making Drake more of a flex than a must-start running back. Miami is in rebuild mode and that will continue into 2019.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBRyan Fitzpatrick33rd$0
RBKenyan Drake21st$20
WRDeVante Parker62nd$1
TEMike Gesicki23rd$1

Sleeper: Kenny Stills

Kenny Stills should have the chance for a rebound year this season, and he would likely benefit if Ryan Fitzpatrick starts over Josh Rosen. Fitzpatrick is the type of passer who will take chances with the ball down the field, and that could benefit Stills more than playing with Rosen. In 2018, Stills had three-year lows in targets (64), receptions (37) and receiving yards (553), although he scored at least six touchdowns for the third season in a row. While Miami will have basically the same receiving corps from 2018 with Stills, Albert Wilson and DeVante Parker, it's Stills who has the most upside, especially with Fitzpatrick. But even if Rosen is the starter, that should be an upgrade for Stills over Ryan Tannehill from last year. Look for Stills in all leagues with a late-round pick

Breakout: Kenyan Drake

It's nice to find a starting running back in the 5th or 6th round. Drake shouldn't have to compete for his job, but his role is yet to be defined. Unless Brian Flores decides he is going to do his best impression of Adam Gase in the 2019 season, you can get Kenyan Drake relatively cheap with high upside in both standard and PPR formats.

Bust Alert: DeVante Parker

In a surprise move, DeVante Parker stayed in Miami this season. And hopefully a fresh start under new coach Brian Flores will help his production. The former first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft has been a bust thus far in four seasons, but he's still expected to be a key part of the Dolphins receiving corps. And the addition of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who isn't afraid of taking chances with the ball, could benefit Parker, probably more than if Josh Rosen wins the job. Parker has to prove he can stay healthy -- he's never played 16 games in a season yet -- and also show he deserves more targets than Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson. But Parker still has talent, so he's worth a late-round pick in deeper leagues, especially if he has a good training camp.

New England Patriots New England Patriots

Love him or hate him, there's no denying that Bill Belichick has a proven history of finding talent and using it effectively. He'll need that skill as it's going to be impossible to replace a guy like Rob Gronkowski. Instead look for him to continue with the short passes to New England's dynamic backfield. Tom Brady continues his march to the Hall of Fame, but as good an NFL quarterback as he is, his fantasy relevance is slipping. He finished last season as a Top 12 fantasy QB, but will likely struggle this year to be more than a fantasy QB2. Between Josh Gordon, Gronk, Chris Hogan and several secondary pieces, Brady is losing 41% of his 2018 targets. Fortunately, his top two targets (Edelman & White) remain.

Top Fantasy Player

James White

James White - RB

James White had a career season in 2018, and he will try to replicate that performance this year. He's worth drafting as a No. 2 running back in PPR in Round 4 and a flex option in non-PPR leagues in Round 5. Last season, White had career highs in carries (94), rushing yards (425), rushing touchdowns (five), targets (123), receptions (87), receiving yards (751) and receiving touchdowns (seven). He ranked third in receptions, second in receiving yards and tied for the most touchdowns among running backs, and he was the No. 7 running back in PPR. It could be hard for him to repeat that performance, and the Patriots added another running back to the roster with rookie Damien Harris joining Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. Rookie N'Keal Harry was also added to the receiving corps, but New England did lose Rob Gronkowski as well. Tom Brady should continue to lean on White as a security blanket, and White has proven himself as one of the top pass-catching running backs in the NFL.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBTom Brady20th$2
RBJames White26th$14
WRN'Keal Harry46th$7
TEMatt LaCosse52nd$0

Sleeper: N'Keal Harry

The Patriots selected rookie receiver N'Keal Harry in the first round of the NFL Draft from Arizona State, and he should be considered a potential starter for the receiver-needy New England offense. This offseason, the Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski (retired), Josh Gordon (suspended), Chris Hogan (Carolina) and Cordarrelle Patterson (Chicago), and Harry will likely compete with Phillip Dorsett for a starting job. Harry should at least be No. 3 on the depth chart, and he's worth drafting with a late-round pick in all seasonal leagues. In rookie-only drafts, Harry could be the first receiver off the board given his expected role in New England, as well as playing with Tom Brady.

Breakout: Julian Edelman

Things could not have gone better for Julian Edelman in 2018, and he's hoping 2019 will be just as successful. There's a lot to like about his Fantasy outlook this season, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 3 in PPR leagues and Round 4 in non-PPR formats. Last year, Edelman missed the first four games of the season due to a suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, but he was a star upon his return. He scored at least 12 PPR points in 11 of 12 games and averaged 16.6 PPR points over that span. He went on to win MVP in Super Bowl LIII, and then he got a contract extension this offseason. He's clearly the No. 1 option for Tom Brady now that Rob Gronkowski is retired, and Edelman should have another outstanding season in 2019.

Bust Alert: Tom Brady

It will be tough to trust Tom Brady as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback this season after the weapons he's lost this offseason. Rob Gronkowski retired, Josh Gordon remains suspended and Chris Hogan (Carolina) and Cordarrelle Patterson (Chicago) are gone via free agency. Brady will have to rely on Julian Edelman, James White, rookie N'Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas, Benjamin Watson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, among others. Brady will still have plenty of good moments, but age (42) could be catching up to him. He closed last season with only three games of at least 20 Fantasy points in his final nine outings in the regular season. Brady is still worth drafting in most leagues as your backup QB, but he should only be selected with a late-round pick.

N.Y. Jets N.Y. Jets

The Jets team hasn't produced a ton of fantasy-relevant players, but this year's team could be a nice surprise. The offense will feature Le'Veon Bell in both the running and passing games. That should help settle Sam Darnold down after a rocky rookie season. Let's hope so because Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson should have the potential to be fantasy contributors for your team on a weekly basis.

Top Fantasy Player

LeVeon Bell

Le'Veon Bell - RB

After a year off in 2018 because of a contract dispute, Le'Veon Bell is back in the NFL, only this time it's with the Jets instead of the Steelers. We hope the change in venue and the time off don't ruin Bell's incredible Fantasy value, but you should have some caution with him on Draft Day. While it's understandable to want to draft Bell in Round 1, which will likely be his Average Draft Position, we consider him more of a Round 2 pick. He's still worth drafting in the top 15 overall selections, but Bell could struggle with the Jets. New coach Adam Gase doesn't seem thrilled to have Bell, and he doesn't have the same supporting case that made him great in Pittsburgh, which included a Hall of Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, a standout offensive line and elite weapons. The Jets are on the rise with Sam Darnold, but Bell (27) is also older and has to get back in game shape from his time off. Our hope is that Bell is the same dominant force he was prior to 2018 -- he averaged 22.7 PPR points per game in 2017 and 26.3 in 2016 -- but he might be a lesser version of himself. Just understand there's some risk with drafting him in Round 1 this season.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBSam Darnold25th$1
RBLe'Veon Bell7th$52
WRRobby Anderson29th$23
TEChris Herndon14th$7

Sleeper: Jamison Crowder

Jamison Crowder is the new slot receiver for the Jets this year after signing as a free agent in March. He should be a primary target for Sam Darnold, along with Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Chris Herndon and Le'Veon Bell. Crowder has the chance to be a quality Fantasy receiver in all leagues. He played well to close 2018 in Washington with at least 12 PPR points in two of his final four games, and that was with mediocre quarterback play. Crowder should benefit playing with Darnold, and he's someone to target around Round 9 in all formats, with his value higher in PPR.

Breakout: Chris Herndon

Chris Herndon has the chance to be a breakout Fantasy tight end this season in his second year in the NFL. He showed promise as a rookie with five games with double digits in PPR points in his final 11 outings, and he proved to be a go-to option for Sam Darnold. The Jets added some weapons this offseason that could impact Herndon, namely Le'Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, but new coach Adam Gase is excited to work with Herndon this year. He has the potential to be a top-10 Fantasy tight end this season in all leagues, and he's worth drafting with a mid- to late-round pick.

Bust Alert: Le'Veon Bell

Sitting out an entire season voluntarily can't be positive. Moving from a potent offense with a solid offensive line isn't going to be helpful either. Bell is playing with downgrades at virtually every offensive position, but he'll have volume. He'll be asked to carry this offense, and while volume can be beneficial to a fantasy RB, the change of scenery has us concerned with Bell's potential fantasy production. He'll still be productive, but perhaps not at his current ADP.

Buffalo Bills Buffalo Bills

There are a lot of new faces in Buffalo including Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon, John Brown, Cole Beasley, Tyler Kroft, and rookie Devin Singletary. That's a lot of new talent surrounding Josh Allen who needs to step up in his sophomore season. He got fantasy owners excited with his feet - now he needs to do it with his arm. He threw more picks than touchdowns last year, completed just 53% of his passes, and never threw more than 250 yards. There's nowhere to go but up.

Top Fantasy Player

LeSean McCoy

LeSean McCoy - RB

Someone's gotta draft LeSean McCoy, and it'll probably be around the midway point of the draft. But whoever does it won't be happy about grabbing a 31-year-old back coming off a lousy season that saw him rack up just 752 yards from scrimmage. In 14 games. Sure, the surrounding cast was dreadful, but it doesn't figure to be much better in 2019, and there's more competition for touches with Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon, and rookie Mike Singletary. If you're desperate for a body at running back, McCoy still figures to lead the team in touches. But he's more of a bench back with the chance for a bounce back at this point.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBJosh Allen19th$3
RBLeSean McCoy34th$8
WRJohn Brown50th$1
TETyler Kroft54th$0

Sleeper: Josh Allen

Josh Allen should be considered a sleeper quarterback this season, one to target with a late-round pick in all leagues. As a rookie in 2018, Allen got off to a slow start, scoring more than 20 Fantasy points just once in his first six games. He then missed four games with an elbow injury, but returned to be a standout Fantasy quarterback to close the year. In his final six games, Allen scored at least 21 Fantasy points four times, while averaging 26.0 points over that span. A big reason for his breakout was his rushing prowess, as Allen had at least 95 rushing yards in four of those games, as well as five rushing touchdowns. It's hard to expect that kind of rushing production moving forward, but Buffalo did upgrade Allen's receiving corps this offseason with John Brown, Cole Beasley and Tyler Kroft, as well as better players on the offensive line. Allen has the potential to finish as a top-10 Fantasy quarterback this year.

Breakout: Robert Foster

Robert Foster should be among the top four receivers for the Bills this season, but it's unknown where he'll be on the depth chart heading into training camp. The additions of John Brown and Cole Beasley could push Foster to No. 4 behind Zay Jones as well, or Foster could emerge as the No. 1 target for Josh Allen. We need to see how Buffalo decides to use all of its receivers and where Foster slots in on the depth chart, but he played well to close last season with at least 12 PPR points in three of his final four games. He's worth a late-round pick in all leagues on Draft Day this year.

Bust Alert: LeSean McCoy

McCoy's 2018 on-field play was a serious warning sign. His efficiency dipped, and he didn't look like the super elusive rusher from years past. He also dealt with several injuries. When healthy, McCoy's usual big-game upside rarely popped. He never topped 4.8 yards per carry in a contest. And he exceeded 16 PPR points just once (24.8, Week 10 at the Jets). In total, McCoy finished as a top-24 RB in just 4 of 14 active weeks. Despite the now 31-year-old's dip in play, GM Brandon Beane called him the "starter" in late April. Perhaps he'll technically "start", but it's hard to love McCoy for fantasy given Buffalo's offseason moves. While Buffalo added O-line help and remains committed to the run, they also gathered backfield depth to push McCoy. For that reason, he profiles as no more than a questionable Flex play.

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