Fantasy Football Outlook: AFC East Pre-Draft
It is never too early to start game planning for the next fantasy football season. That being said, the NFL Draft is less than 2 months away, so now is the perfect time to start analyzing the fantasy-relevant needs of teams across the NFL. We will continue with the AFC East.
2023 Draft Picks- 1.27, 2.59, 3.91, 4.130, 5.139, and 6.205
The Bills ultimately don’t have a ton of needs on the offensive side of the ball, but they could certainly draft players early in the 2023 draft that would have an immediate impact from a fantasy standpoint. The Bills QB position is solidified for the foreseeable future, so that is not a concern heading into 2023. The tight end position is also not a main need for the Bills, as they have Dawson Knox under contract through 2026. The two positions that the Bills could use some help at are the RB and WR positions. Devin Singletary is a UFA and it would not surprise me if they chose to not re-sign him. The Bills currently have Nyheim Hines and James Cook under contract and they both offer the same type of ability that Singletary can. It is not clear where Bijan Robinson is going to be drafted, but most have assumed that it is going to be in the 1st round. The Bills would be one of the most logical places for him to be drafted if he were to fall that late in the 1st round. If they were to use that pick on him, Bijan would automatically fall into the RB1 situation due to his talent/skill and being on such an elite offense. The Bills could also draft a WR in the early rounds of the draft as well. Gabriel Davis has not worked out as we had hoped and the Bills could use a WR2 to work alongside Stefon Diggs this upcoming season. There are about 5 incoming rookie WRs that if they were to land in Buffalo in the 1st/2nd round, would automatically have an immediate fantasy impact. If that did happen those WRs could be seen as high-end flexes with upside heading into the 2023 season.
2023 Draft Picks- 2.51, 3.77, 3.84, 6.178, and 7.240
The Miami Dolphins have plenty of needs on the offensive side of the ball, but unfortunately, they do not have a 1st round pick this year. I would like to say that they have their QB of the future in Tua, but the fact is that it is not clear how long he will be able to play in the NFL. Tua had 2 concussions this past season and he appeared to have suffered a 3rd which caused him to miss several games this season. It is being reported that Tua is learning Judo to help him learn how to fall and avoid more head injuries. Hopefully, that helps him in 2023 and the future. With all that being said, I do not believe that the Dolphins are going to use a high draft pick on the QB position this year. The WR position for the Dolphins is where they should be the most confident, as they have Waddle and Hill under contract for the foreseeable future. The RB position is interesting for the Dolphins as they don’t have a top-tier RB option heading into the off-season and should be in the market for either a top free agent/ or a rookie prospect. Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and Salvon Ahmed are all free agents and there is no guarantee that all/any of them will be re-signed. I could very well see them using their 2nd/3rd picks on an RB that would offer immediate fantasy value. We have all seen the kind of value RBs can have in Miami and if you could get the right player in there, he would automatically have high-end RB2 value due to the situation alone. Lastly, the TE position for the Dolphins looks to be one of their major needs on the offensive side of the ball as both Mike Gesicki and Adam Sheehan are free agents this off-season. I would expect that they are not going to re-sign Gesicki as they used the franchise tag on him last year and barely used him. The good news for the Dolphins is that this draft class is stacked with tight-end talent and they should be able to get a decent option with one of their 3rd round draft picks if they don’t sign someone before the draft.
New England Patriots
2023 Draft Picks- 1.14, 2.46, 3.76, 4.107, 4.117, 4.135, 6.184, 6.187, 6.192, 6.210, and 7.258
The New England Patriots QB situation isn’t a major need for this year, as they have Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe under contract. It is not clear if either of those QBs is the QB of the future for the team, but it is highly doubtful that the Patriots move up to take a top-tier QB this year. The RB position is pretty secure for the Patriots as they have a young and upcoming RB in Rhamondre Stevenson, who should hold onto the lead role for the next 2-3 years. The Patriots love to draft middle to late-round RBs and they’re usually very good at finding value in those rounds. I don’t expect the Patriots to use their first three-round picks on an RB but wouldn’t be surprised if they targeted 1-2 with the rest of their picks. They would be names to keep an eye on but probably won’t be drafted in redraft leagues come September. They would carry more value in the 3rd-4th rounds of dynasty drafts depending on how late they were drafted. The Tight End position is a need for the Patriots, as they don’t have a top-producing tight end as they had in the past. They still have Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith under contract for the foreseeable future, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they chose to draft a TE in the middle rounds of this year’s draft to compete with them and to add another weapon for Jones or Zappe. If they were to take a TE in the 3rd round or later, I would temper my expectations for at least this year until we see who emerges as the top TE for the team. The most glaring need for the Patriots on the offensive side of the ball would definitely be the WR position. If they chose not to take a defensive player in the 1st round, I would almost guarantee that they would take one of the top-tier rookie WRs. The Patriots are most likely going to lose Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor in free agency, so there should be plenty of targets to be had for an incoming rookie WR. If they did draft a WR with their 1st or 2nd round, they would automatically be in the flex conversation with WR2 upside depending on which WR they took.
New York Jets
2023 Draft Picks- 1.13, 2.43, 3.74, 4.112, 5.145, and 6.185
The New York Jets primary need is at the QB position and I believe it will be filled via free agency/trade and not through this year’s NFL draft. If they surprised us and did end up waiting until the draft and made a move to get one of the top 4 QB prospects this year, then that QB would be a high-end QB2 from the beginning with QB1 upside heading into dynasty and redraft leagues alike. The Jets are pretty much a QB away from being one of the better teams in the AFC East. The RB position is not a need that needs to be addressed early in this year’s draft/ free agency as they have Breece Hall and Michael Carter under contract. James Robinson and Ty Johnson are both free agents but could very well be brought back as depth for a decent price. Hall should be back in time for training camp. Hall and Carter should be a viable 1-2 punch for the Jets until Hall regains his full strength from his injury. The Jets have much bigger needs that will be addressed with their first 3 picks in the draft. The WR position is also one that is not necessarily a top priority for the team either.
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