Fantasy Division Update: NFC East

The joy of Tuesday cannot begin to touch my new found love of Dornfelder grapes, which produce a velvety red sweet wine..and if you want to know what that has to do with Fantasy Football updates, well....

I don't know either, except that I have a passion for both (German wines and fantasy football that is).

Who's in it? Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo opened the season with 103 points in the first 6 weeks (one being a bye), never getting less than 15 pts per game...and then he got injured. Kitna did an admirable job filling in, and combined they would have ranked #10 among QBs...Felix Jones was their top rusher and finished 26th, but the passing game still got fantasy points. Miles Austin finished 13th and when healthy Dez Bryant was a legit #2 receiver. Jason Witten jumped to the #1 spot among tight ends. An 11th place D/ST was better scoring than I remember it being, especially with how bad that pass defense was. What's New? Some good O-line help, a solid LB, and an interesting pick Demarco Murray that may signal Marion Barber leaving Dallas. So 2011... I don't know what the D/ST will be do, but I do believe that the offense will remain solid in fantasy. Felix Jones has 1000 yard potential next year and should be a solid #2 option, meanwhile Witten and Austin are both #1s at their positions, and so is Romo when healthy. Dez Bryant should build on his first year, but it worried me some his main targets came from Kitna, not Romo. Bryant is a low #3 option for me, and a steal as a 4th receiver.

New York Giants: Eli Manning finished 10th as a #1 QB, which was impressive with a WR carrousel and some RB issues going on in NY. It worked out though, and by the end of the year Ahmad Bradshaw was #14 among RBs and Brandon Jacobs adjusted (eventually, grudgingly, and with much complaint) to a change of pace role and placed 22nd. When the Giants settled on Hakeem Nicks, he blew up and finished 7th among receivers and Mario Manningham finished 17th, making a solid duo. They missed Steve Smith (injured) some early on but made it through fine. Kevin Boss was an unimpressive #2 option as a TE, getting less than 600 yards on the season and the D/ST fell to middle of the league. What's New? Defense, and they looked like they needed it last year. CB Prince Amukamara and speculated Chicago target DT Marvin Austin add some real play making skills to New York, but don't expect much out of Jerrel Jernigan, rookie 3rd round receiver. So 2011... Eli Manning is often underrated as a fantasy QB. He is coming off of back to back 4000 yard, 25+ TD seasons, a #1 QB and worth a 3rd-4th round pick easily. Nicks will be his primary target in 2011 and should stay a #1 WR, but will probably be draftable as a #2 because guys like Fitzgerald, D. Jackson, Austin, and S. Johnson (all of whom Nicks outperformed in 2010) will go first based on perceived talent. If you can get him in the 5th, its a great option. Steve Smith should push Manningham back to 3rd option and may be a forgotten man in drafts available in the 7th-8th round. I still don't like Boss, and look at the D/ST as second tier right now, but Bradshaw will remain the primary rusher in New York and is a great #2 back I'd take in the late second, early 3rd.

Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick, despite not playing a quarter of the season, finished 4th at the QB spot, and while he did damage with his legs, he also turned Jeremy Maclin (#12) and DeSean Jackson (#16) into great #2 fantasy options...And boy did LeSean McCoy make a great impression finishing 7th. Sadly, Brent Celek never really manifested, as Vick didn't seem to look for the TE very often in what was a speed offense from start to finish and the D/ST was terribly disappointing at #19 under its new coach. What's New? Philly wants to win now, and Watkins is a great fit on that massive line. The next 3 selections went to help a back 7 in need of coverage skills. So 2011...Like NY, I don't have a great feel for a resurgent Philly D/ST, and its the 3rd straight NFC East team with coaching turnover here. With that said the bigger question is if Vick can sustain what was magical to start and disappointing later in the season. He may be a top 12 QB in 2011, no reason he can't be, but I think he will be highly over drafted because of the "star" power attached to his name. I'd rank him in the 4th round but I doubt he gets out of the 3rd in most leagues. LeSean McCoy is so small and speed based, that like Vick I expect some drop off. The team took the league by surprise with their overall speed a lot last year, but I think it gets reigned in some in 2011. That still makes McCoy a top #2 RB or a low end #1 though, so don't be gunshy if you can get him in the 2nd. D. Jackson will go high and deservedly, but he seems to be such a one trick pony at times I view him as a #2 receiver for fantasy and will actually trust the more polished and physical Maclin more as the seasons roll on. I'd target Jackson in the 5th and Maclin in the 6th, and wouldn't be surprised if Maclin comes out on top. Celek will probably continue to disappoint with Vick at CB, because Vick will run rather than check to the TE, as he proved in 2010.

Washington Redskins: "Rex Grossman is our Quarterback". McNabb had a backup fantasy stat line and got sat in favor of Grossman, who was nowhere near fantasy worthy in 2010. The typically RB friendly system of Mike Shanahan broke down, leaving Ryan Torrain the leading rusher at 31 among backs. Santana Moss remains underrated and came in 19th, and Chris Cooley quietly regained his top 10 spot for TEs...but that D/ST is shameful. So What's New? They added to the defense with DE Kerrigan and DT Jenkins, but the fantasy interest should focus on WR Leonard Hankerson and RB Roy Helu. So 2011... I think McNabb is leaving Washington, and a QB contest that could star as a reality show could start...I won't draft a QB from here, not even as a 2nd-3rd option. Moss may escape in Free Agency, which would be a shame for Washington (but I wouldn't mind him in Chicago). Cooley is consistent and I trust him as a mid-level #1 TE annually. I think Shanny will try to employ Torrain and Helu, and it scares me more than New England's RBs because the QB and O-Line play will be worse. and the talent is less. Hankerson will start if Moss leaves, but its a stretch to say he deserves drafting before the last 5 rounds of the draft...And as goes Mike Shanahan defenses, the D/ST will remain irrelevant. I live in MD and I don't see this getting much better anytime soon.

Final Thoughts: 3 likely #1 QBs coming out of this division, and very similar expectations from the running backs. There will be a plethora of really good receivers here too, with Maclin, Jackson, S. Smith, Nicks, Moss, Austin and Bryant...but if I had to pick a rebound D/ST for 2011, it would be NY.

Next Up: NFC West

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