One of the most common ways to start preparing for the upcoming season in fantasy football is not just Look at the position ranking but also on the offense status of each NFL team.
Which teams are best set up for success? Which teams will fight? Which of these expected bottom-feeder teams has latent fantasy talent to draw from? Which of these top teams could actually disappoint fantasy managers?
Over the next few weeks, fantasy football analyst Liz Loza will comb through each division and highlight the biggest fantasy problems each team faces. First of all the AFC East.
Buffalo Bills: Which RB Will Lead the Backfield?
Despite the nickname “Motor”, it took almost three years Devin Singletar‘s engine overrevving in Buffalo.
Until the end of November 2021 (and with Zach Moss in and out of the lineup), however, Singletary had emerged as Buffalo’s lead rusher. The third-year player averaged 17 touches per contest (15 rushing and 2 received) and recorded six touchdowns from weeks 12-18. The team also relied on him in the postseason, which saw the former Owl add another three points.
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It’s that nose for the end zone that made Singletary such an exciting product to come out of FAU (4,287 rushing yards and 67 rushing TDs in Boca). While the 24-year-old has an amazing ability to flap, shake and stomp through even the smallest hole… he’s not fast (4.66) and he’s just 5ft 7 and 203lbs. He’s also limited as a pass catcher (just six receptions in his senior year of college and a 2.3 pro-career average per game as of 2019).
So it makes sense that Buffalo would want to add extra depth and dynamism to the backfield.
Dalvin’s little brother won’t break many tackles, but he can glide through space at 4.4 speed and plus fluidity. He can catch too everything the balls. And not just little dink and dunks. Cook has a varied route tree and can be used as a receiver in a number of ways.
The blow to the rookie is that he was never successful as a workhorse, instead being viewed primarily as a third-down option. While a team like Buffalo certainly has the ability to unleash a player’s full potential, Cook is unlikely to get the lion’s share of touches from the vault. But that doesn’t mean Cook can’t overtake Singletary at some point.
And the “when” of that is what fancy heads bet on.
After the Bills flirted with her JD McKissic, it was obvious that they were not entirely sold on Singletary. I would argue that the bottom they got at Cook is well above the ceiling McKissic could have offered. Given that Buffalo issued a second-round pick for the rookie, the org seems to agree. That kind of enthusiasm for a position that is undervalued by the market indicates an excellent opportunity for Cook. Ironically, the rookie is currently drafted in round 12, a few spots behind McKissic.
I’ll flip that kind of value on its head every day…even if it means I have to stow it away until Thanksgiving.
Miami Dolphins: Can Tua Support Tyreek?
After the organization hires a system-friendly HC, they strive to strengthen the offensive line by adding Terron Armstead and Connor Williams and steals from it Patrick Mahomes‘Fastest weapon for which there are no more excuses Tua Tagovailoa.
I hit the Phins QB1 hard upon leaving college, going so far as to write: “[Tua] plays with the confidence and improvisation of a man who grew up believing football was his destiny.”
Tyreek Hill adding to that platitude, declaring earlier this week that Tua throws one of the “most beautiful balls” he’s ever caught. The star wideout praised his QB’s accuracy and arm strength, adding that he was extremely confident in Tagovailoa’s ability.
The jaded skeptics will roll their eyes and murmur something along the lines of, “What else can he say?”
And that’s fair.
The difference is that Tua’s wishes have been granted this year. He’ll never be Mahomes on his ceiling, but he could be Drew Brees: A QB that is accurate, balanced and mobile enough.
What fans of Tua need is no proof of a cannon. In fact, it’s not measurable at all. Tua needs to convince himself – and then the rest of us – that he believes in football is his destiny… and he’s ready to accept it.
The timing and rhythm between Hill and Tagovailoa is obviously key to the duo’s success, but their commitment to chemistry seems legitimate. Additionally note Jaylen Waddle‘s top 14 Dominator rating from the last year (29.4%) and Mike Gesickis Success in the Slot (412 Slot Snaps, TE1) Tua’s stats should improve. He may never make a YPA above 7.5, but that doesn’t mean he can’t flirt with 4,500 passing yards and top 15 fantasy numbers.
As for Hill? The man has finished in the top-11 in fantasy points per game for five straight seasons. The change of scenery will of course affect his production, but his expected volume combined with his elite skills should make up for the drop in efficiency.
I expect the Cheetah to release top 12 fantasy numbers with a stat line of around 90-1160-7.
New England Patriots: Who is your #1 WR?
when i spoke MacJones on Radio Row last February, he immediately stood out Kendrick Bourne as a player who has shown tremendous growth throughout the season. Jones also spoke about the relationship he had formed with Bourne. That confidence was evident — not just in Bourne’s comments about Jones’ physique at OTAs — but in the 2021 wideout’s numbers.
The former 49er finished third in team goals (behind Jakobi Meyers who drew 126 looks and Hunter Henry who logged 75) but averaged an impressive 11.4 YPT (WR2) and 14.5 YPR (WR21). With reliable hands (78.6% catch rate, WR3) and fantastic YAC skills (6.7 per receptionWR5) Bourne improved Jones’ passer rating when aimed, particularly on third downs (153.8, WR3). That chemistry — especially in clutch moments — will keep Bourne productive throughout 2022 (FF: 58-787-4)
But the chances are good De Vante Parker takes advantage of his opportunities this fall. New England acquired Parker from Miami in early April. It was reported that Parker requested the divisional move – and the Dolphins allowed it. That’s a little odd, especially given the soft-tissue issues that kept Parker off the field for seven games last season.
If Bill Belichick – at least so far appears to be the offensive play caller – wanted him, then BB will use him. Probably also as the team’s X-recipient. At 6ft 3 and 209 pounds, Parker is a physical pass catcher who excels in competitive situations and has posted at least a top-21 catch rate in his last three consecutive campaigns. The 29-year-old is also two years away from his 2019 career (72-1,202-9, WR7).
It’s a gamble I’ll be happy to take given his late 12th round ADP – especially given the juiciness of his Week 1 @ Miami matchup. 2022 FF: 56-728-5
New York Jets: Will Zach Wilson make the leap in 2022?
Well, it will certainly take a leap of faith on the part of fantasy managers (Wilson is currently the QB23, per ECR), but the Jets seem very committed.
Interestingly, despite a true passer rating of just 72.2 (QB25), Wilson managed a top 10 red zone accuracy rating (7.2) and a top 7 deep ball catchable pass rate (67.4%). While he certainly made mistakes, his receivers did him no favors, recording 41 passes lost.
That should change with the first round selection Garret Wilsonwhose body control, ability to separate (93rd percentile separation versus single coverage in 2021, per PFF) and post-catch creativity made him one of the most effective deep targets in FBS.
They also like big bodies CJ Usoma (whose 6-foot-5, 263-pound frame has regularly bailed out a similarly beleaguered QB over the past year) and Tyler Conklin (89th percentile burst) give Wilson reliable options in the red. There is now depth and momentum in the TE position, offering renewed safety over center for the QB in year two.
Heading into 2022, there is also an opportunity for BYU product to realize its potential as a rusher. With Mekhi Becton (hopefully) recovered and Laken Tomlinson added, Wilson should have more time to demonstrate the anticipation and elusiveness as a runner that made him a top two overall pick.
Frenzied athleticism combined with a fast perimeter scheme made the marriage between Wilson and (Kyle Shanahan protégé) OC Mike LaFleur so seemingly perfect. While the honeymoon is over for these two, fantasy executives might secretly benefit from their clear commitment to each other.
Connect with Liz on social media @LizLoza_FF