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NFL Free Agent Frenzy: The NFC East

by Photo of Jake Langbecker

A look at the fantasy impact of the moves in the NFC East

NFL Free Agent Frenzy: The NFC East

Welcome to part 1 of our 8 part series on the fantasy impact of the recent NFL free agent frenzy. Today we will be looking at the members of the NFC East: the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. 

We will update this post as new moves are made but as of right now all moves are current as of August 2nd. We will list player additions/subtractions if we feel they have a fantasy impact. Offensive linemen might get listed if we feel the O-line is an issue that will impact other positions and defensive players will only be listed if we feel it is a team defense worth drafting early. Let's get to it.

Dallas Cowboys

Record Last Season - 6-10

Key Additions/Re-signings: DeMarco Murray, Kyle Kosier, Doug Free

Key Losses: Roy Williams, Marion Barber, Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis

Fantasy Impact: While the losses of Roy Williams and Marion Barber might hurt the Cowboys from a win/loss perspective, the moves help clear up the fantasy picture on offense. Felix Jones figures to be the feature back with Barber gone and this could lead to a very productive fantasy season. I would put him in the second tier of running backs and should be a 2nd or 3rd round pick in most fantasy drafts. Jones will be backed up by Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray, who fantasy owners should consider taking in later rounds if they have Jones.

Things should also be a lot easier for Tony Romo, who is recovering from a collarbone injury last season. Roy Williams and the distractions that came with him are gone. Expect Miles Austin and Jason Witten to have big years and Dez Bryant would make a nice choice in the late middle rounds. I would put Witten in that second class of TE's behind the Antonio Gates' and Dallas Clarks'. Austin should be one of the top fantasy receivers this year and is worthy of a high round pick.

Sleeper: Martellus Bennett - The Cowboys have always liked to run two TE sets and will probably have to do more of that this season to protect Romo behind an unproven offensive line. This could lead to a break out season for Bennett who is known for his pass catching abilities.  

New York Giants

Record Last Season - 10-6

Key Additions/Re-signings: Ahmad Bradshaw, Ben Patrick

Key Losses: Shawn Andrews, Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert  

Question Marks: Kevin Boss, Steve Smith

Fantasy Impact: The Giants picture is a little less clear as of right now with Kevin Boss and Steve Smith still unsigned. Reports have the Giants showing interest in bringing both guys back but right now we will operate under the assumption that they won't be returning. The Giants lose a lot on the offensive line which could effect Eli Manning and the running game. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw will be splitting the carries but it is unclear who will be getting the majority of the time. Neither running back is worthy of a high round pick unless a clear starter emerges from training camp. Hakeem Nicks would be good a second receiver on a fantasy team. He figures to get a lot of targets without Smith, especially around the goal line. 

Sleeper: Eli Manning, much like older brother Peyton, is a tight end maker. Kevin Boss was nobody before Eli so whoever is the Giants #1 TE, whether it is Boss or Ben Patrick should be considered a good value pick. 

Philadelphia Eagles

Record Last Season - 10-6

Key Additions/Re-signings: Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Ronnie Brown, Donald Lee, Vince Young, Alex Henry

Key Losses: David Akers 

Question Marks: DeSean Jackson

Fantasy Impact: The Eagles haven't exactly had a quiet offseason adding numerous pieces and forming a "Dream Team". Michael Vick should be one of the top quarterbacks taken because he is surrounded by weapons in DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, and Ronnie Brown and because of his running ability. DeSean Jackson, assuming he ends his holdout, isn't the most consistent receiver prone to have 20 point weeks and also 4 point weeks, but is still worth a #1 receiver slot. 

It will be interesting to see how the Eagles split the carries between McCoy and Brown and until that is clearer neither is worthy of a #1 running back position. In PPR leagues however whichever running back wins the starting job would be more valuable as Andy Reid loves throwing to backs.

The Eagles biggest upgrades came on the defensive side of the ball. It is always a difficult thing to try and predict defensive success in fantasy but I have the Eagles as the top team defense in leagues that count defense and special teams together. The ridiculous secondary and upgrades to the defensive line should force lots of turnovers and generally limit yards and points allowed. Jackson's return abilities add a huge plus and make the defense even more attractive.

Sleeper: Brent Celek. He might not have as big a name as Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, or Tony Gonzalez and had a down season after breaking out in 2009 but could be a good value pick because of his targets near the goal line. The Eagles have small receivers who won't be as easy to target in the red zone. 

Also keep an eye on Alex Henry as a sleeper kicker pick. Longtime kicker David Akers is gone and the Eagles figure to score lots of points this season.

Washington Redskins

Record Last Season - 6-10

Kay Additions/Re-signings: Santana Moss, Tim Hightower, Jabar Gaffney, Shayne Graham, Rex Grossman

Key Losses: Donovan McNabb, Casey Rabach

Fantasy Impact: My advice? Avoid any Redskins players in the early rounds. This team was a mess last year and it seems to be in similar disarray this year. A starting quarterback hasn't been named yet but your choices are Rex Grossman and John Beck. Santana Moss is coming off a great season but a receiver can only be as good as his quarterback. Moss could be a good value pick if you get him in the middle rounds but don't let the 1,000 yard season last year fool you and avoid him in the top rounds.

Sleeper: Shayne Graham. Graham was a consistent kicker for the Bengals earlier in his career and was 12 for 12 last year for the Patriots. I have a sense the Redskins will have trouble scoring touchdowns this season which could lead to plenty of field goal opportunities. Obviously though, he's still a kicker so this a sleeper pick for the last few rounds of your draft. 

Check back tomorrow for our fantasy preview of the AFC East and visit Charged.fm for all your NFL ticket needs.    

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