Must, Bust, and Lust for the AFC East
You can follow me on Twitter @smooth1074
With the fantasy football season quickly approaching, I wanted to take a journey around the NFL and look at each team's roster to see what players might be an option come draft season. Just like every other season, some players are must-have players that are usually the keys to a fantasy team's success. While other players are a bust and will drag your team down to the gutter in a hurry. Most importantly though are the sleepers, which are the players that most fantasy owners are lusting over to have on their team. Fantasy owners believe these are the players that will give them an edge over their opponents en route to a championship.
This season more than any other, fantasy managers need to be on their A-game, due to the lack of a normal offseason training process, players will be very volatile this year. Hopefully, with this series, I can help you hoist the title at the end of the season.
Without further delay here we go!
- The Must: Stefon Diggs - During the offseason, Diggs found a new home in Orchid Park. He went from being Adam Theilin's sidekick in Minnesota to being Josh Allen's number one wideout. Even though Allen tends to be inaccurate at times, his arm strength is unquestioned. Allen had a completion percentage of 58.8% in 2019, improving from his rookie season by six percent. Diggs has proven over the last three years that he's one of the top contested-catch rated wide receivers in the league. He has averaged 68.4% catch rate for his career. Diggs is WR 27 off the board and has an ADP of 61 in PPR leagues making him a fifth-round pick. With that ADP and possibly being my WR2 or WR3 on my fantasy roster, I can definitely Diggs that.
- The Bust: Devin Singletary - Singletary had a nice rookie season for the Bills last year despite missing four games due to a hamstring injury. I can still see the running back being productive in the passing game as he's proven that he has receiving skills. Singletary sported a dandy 70.7% catch rate for the Bills last season. Where I see Singletary taking a hit will be in the running game. The Bills drafted Zack Moss out of Utah University who proved that he can be a workhorse when called upon. Last season for the Utes, Moss rushed for 1,416 yards and 15 touchdowns and added 28 receptions for 388 yards to go along with two additional touchdowns. Singletary will not only lose touches in general to Moss, but he will see Moss take over carries in the RedZone especially inside the five-yard line, sending Singletary to potentially visit Bustville.
- The Lust: John Brown - We want the Smoke! Smokey Brown is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL. After going over 1,000 yards for the second time in his career, Brown showed the promise he illustrated early in his career. With an ADP of 119.3 and being WR 44 selected, that's a pretty great value right there for a receiver that posted career-highs of 72 receptions and 1,060 yards. Diggs's arrival has scared many fantasy managers from Smokey, but all that will do is create greater value for Brown come draft season.
- Dynasty Nugget - As mentioned before rookie Zack Moss will be a name to remember in the second round of your rookie drafts and the mid-rounds of your start-up drafts. Another player to monitor is Dawson Knox. The tight end caught 28 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns last season as a rookie. He has the potential to be a TE2 for your fantasy team, as Diggs and Brown will clear out the secondary for him to work inside one-on-one with linebacker coverage.
- The Must: Preston Williams - Williams was on his way to a possible 1,000 yards season in his rookie campaign before he tore his ACL. The talented rookie wide receiver was signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent. During the offseason and training camp, he rose from the bottom of the depth chart to becoming one of starting wide receivers for the season opener. He contributed 32 receptions for 428 yards and three touchdowns in eight games. As WR 53 and an ADP of 145.5 Williams can be drafted in the double-digit rounds that can outplay is ADP with ease.
- The Bust: Ryan Fitzpatrick - Even though I was tempted to place Devante Parker here since he really blew up last year once Williams went on injured reserve, I decided to place FitzMagic here. The gunslinger with the DGAF attitude, was perfect for the Dolphins last season as he made losing exciting. But unfortunately for Fitzpatrick, his days as a starter are numbered. Dolphins fans' dream has finally come true when in the NFL Draft, Tanking for Tua came to fruition.
- The Lust: Tua Tagovailoa - For a team that has been searching for a franchise quarter for over twenty years, all Dolphins fans finally rejoiced once Roger Goodell's lips said with the fifth pick of the NFL Draft the Miami Dolphins have selected Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa had a stellar collegiate career totaling 7,442 yards passing, 347 yards rushing, and 96 total touchdowns in 32 games. With the apparent news that Tagovailoa is fully healed from his hip surgery, it's going to be Tua Time not only for the Dolphins but also for your fantasy teams.
- Dynasty Nugget - Williams and Tagovailoa are must-own players in dynasty but another player that can make an impact on any occasion is Matt Brieda. The running back was acquired in a trade during the NFL draft. When healthy and given the opportunity, Brieda is a PPR gold mine. Over his last two seasons, he has averaged an 86.8% catch rate. He can be an excellent reserve that can be plugged in when a starter gets injured or as a bye week fill-in when needed. If Jordan Howard were to get injured Breida will be flying up draft boards.
New England Patriots
- The Must: Cam Newton - For those fantasy owners implementing the late-round quarterback strategy into drafts, Newton might be the player you're looking for. With a current ADP of 171 and QB 23 selected, that is excellent value for a player that can easily be a top 10 quarterback when healthy. Newton claims to be in the best shape of his life and is recovered from last year's foot strain. Coach Bill Belichick witnessed first hand what a Lamar Jackson led offense can do when the Ravens smoked the Patriots 37-20 last year. So with the departure of future Hall of Famer Tom Brady over the offseason what better time to implement a new offensive scheme than now. The only thing that Newton has to do is beat out Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer which should not be too hard of a task.
- The Bust: Sony Michel - Anytime a player has an offseason surgery, the red flag in my mind starts to wave. Michel who is no stranger to injuries having a few knee procedures done throughout his career, had foot surgery this past May. The running back has been rehabbing in Foxborough since June, but there is a chance he can start the season on the PUP list. His ADP has continued to tumble down the rabbit hole and is currently at 99 as RB 38. Only time will tell if Michel can rehab his way back for the start of the season but for me, it's a hard pass no matter what.
- The Lust: N'Keal Harry - Julian Edelman has been consistent for so long for the Patriots, that no one can argue he will once again be heavily involved in the offense. But the wide receiver that intrigues me the most is Harry. Harry missed half his rookie season due to injuries and never got himself in gear in this offense. Once Newton wins the starting job, Harry is the type of receiver that Newton loves throwing to the most. He's a wide receiver with a great catch radius and does well with catching contested thrown balls. Newton is not scared of throwing the ball and giving his receivers a chance to catch it. Harry has worked on his footwork this offseason in order to create better separation between defenders. There should be a major spike in Harry's touchdown rate, as he should be a key player in the Redzone. As the current WR 59, Harry is a high upside pick that should be selected in the twelfth round of fantasy re-drafts if he's still there.
- Dynasty Nugget - Damien Harris is a must-have player in dynasty leagues. The Alabama product should have an extended look in the offense this season. If Michel were to get placed on the PUP list, Harris's value would skyrocket. This might be the time to see if the Harris owner in your league is willing to trade him before training camp news starts to trickle in. You might also want to check your waiver wires just to make sure Harris is not floating around there because if he is, stop reading this and go pick him up now.
New York Jets
- The Must: Jamison Crowder - Crowder proved last year that he is Sam Darnold's number one wide receiver, but he's also Coach Adam Gase's number one option as well. Coach Gase has illustrated over his four years as a head coach, all of his offenses flow through the slot receivers. Crowder was targeted 122 times and that includes the three games that Darnold missed due to mono. He posted 78 receptions for 833 yards and 6 touchdowns last year. With a 112.8 ADP and possibly available in the early ninth round, Crowder is a great value for the Jets number one wide receiver.
- The Bust: Breshad Perriman - After four years of injuries and unfulfilled promise, the former first-round draft pick finally had a career year last season for the Buccaneers. He finished strong for the Bucs last year scoring in double figures in eight of the last nine games. Will that transition to the Jets, who knows. Perriman has only a half-season of actually being consistent and a startable option in fantasy line-ups. I have been burned by Perriman in the past. Until he can show that last season was not just a mirage and he can be more consistent he will be a player that I will avoid in drafts. Furthermore, Perriman will have to deal with hot-shot rookie Denzel Mims for targets on the outside.
- The Lust: Le'Veon Bell - I will be honest with you, I have always passed on Bell if he'd be available in a draft because of all of his drama in the past, his high ADP, and overworked usage. This might be the year that I will actually pull the trigger and draft Mr. Bell. He has an ADP of 33.8, making him very appealing third-round running back with a full workload. In PPR leagues he's a must-own player as he had 66 receptions on 78 targets, giving him an exceptional catch rate of 84.6%. The most important thing to note is that Bell played behind a swiss cheese offensive line last year that had a lot of holes, and the Jets have rectified that by overhauling the o-line this offseason. This should create more opportunities for Bell to run wild this year and be a solid RB2 or maybe an RB3 if you draft three straight running backs to start your draft.
- Dynasty Nugget - The player that dynasty managers should try and obtain is Chris Herndon. Herndon is a playmaking tight end that last season was irrelevant. Between serving a four-game suspension and suffering an injury upon his return that landed him on injured reserve, he is sure to be forgotten. This is a buying opportunity before training camp starts and his fantasy owner realizes that Herndon should return to form. In his rookie season two years ago, Herndon produced 39 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns, so the talent is there.
The next upcoming division that I will tackle will be the AFC South.
Overall ADP was determined by using Fantasy Pros.
Stats were provided by Pro Football Reference