The Fantasy Points staff recently welcomed NFL Insider Adam Caplan to talk about the NFC East as part of our Virtual Town Hall Series. We highly encourage you to check out the entire conversation by accessing our Fantasy Points YouTube page and the Fantasy Points podcast feed.
Adam joined John Hansen and company to break down the NFC East from front to back to help us get a deeper understanding of every roster heading into the summer. John has been holding these closed-door meetings with Adam for the last 15+ years. The Fantasy Points staff is proud to let the public peek behind the curtain during these exclusive meetings! Here are the notes we compiled from the NFC East conversations.
Adam Caplan (AC): Mike McCarthy wanted to call plays in a true West Coast offense. Brian Schottenheimer will help McCarthy out with the offense and he’ll instill discipline into Dak Prescott after his interception issues last season.
Brett Whitefield (BW): Kellen Moore is a guy who prefers to exploit matchups in the passing game. McCarthy says he wants to run the ball more, but their personnel moves (releasing Ezekiel Elliott and trading for Brandin Cooks) don’t really shout that they want to run the ball.
Graham Barfield (GB): The Cowboys are still going to air it out with their receiving personnel. The problem is how much is Dak Prescott going to run this season. He’s mostly a pocket passer, which caps his ceiling.
AC: Deuce Vaughn can’t be the #2 RB. He’s a change-up player, and you can’t ask Tony Pollard to grind out carries all season. They have to bring someone else in.
BW: Luke Schoonmaker didn’t get a ton of opportunities to showcase his skills as a receiver at Michigan, but he has more pass-game chops than people think. Graded him as a late-third, early-fourth-round pick, and he’s similar to Dalton Schultz. He’s a little more athletic than Schultz and blocks well at the second level. The problem is tight ends typically face a developmental curve so this will likely be a committee with Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot.
New York Giants
BW: Daniel Jones is Josh Allen on a diet. Brian Daboll is taking the same track that he took with the Bills. They’re loading up on speed and separators at receiver, and they’re doubling down on Jones by giving him all these weapons. John Michael Schmitz is also a dude at center.
AC: Center was a huge problem for the Giants last year. They were playing guys they didn’t want to play so this offensive line is going to be better. Wide receiver is better than last year but they have a lot of questions at the position with players who are coming off injuries. They’re paying Darius Slayton $6 million so he’s going to be in the mix. They also got an athlete at tight end. You have to wonder what the Raiders know about Waller. They signed him to a big extension last off-season and moved on from him one year later.
GB: Darren Waller may have lost a step. His yards per route run has tailed off in five straight seasons. Brian Daboll could have a plan for him as a former TEs coach.
Joe Dolan (JD): They clearly view Waller as their big receiver, but I have no clue what to do with Waller. He could be washed up, but if he stays healthy he could be the guy. Jalin Hyatt did a significant amount of his damage from the slot.
BW: Eric Gray was a fun guy to watch. He’s average or above average in everything, and he was shredding guys as a receiver at the Senior Bowl.
AC: Brian Johnson has play-calling experience from his time at Florida. Kevin Patullo is the secret sauce to the passing game. They promoted him, and he’ll help Johnson and Nick Sirianni. They still have incredible personnel.
AC: They think Olamide Zaccheaus is an upgrade on Quez Watkins, who played through a shoulder injury last season. They gave Zaccheaus some guaranteed money.
AC: They’ll have a competition in the backfield. D’Andre Swift is the favorite to win the “starting job,” but they’re going to use all these backs. Trey Sermon has even gotten himself together, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him dress on gamedays.
BW: On paper, it’s one of the best backfields in the league if they stay healthy, especially with how they complement each other. This is a dynamic backfield, but the question is how long will it stay intact. Swift won’t play through injuries, while Rashaad Penny can’t avoid catastrophic injuries.
JD: The late-round fantasy QB is dead. Quarterbacks are flying off the board in the top 60 picks and even in the top-25 picks. Jalen Hurts’ offensive line is still elite and they’ve rebuilt the backfield.
AC: Tyler Steen should win the right guard spot. Jeff Stoutland believes in him.
GB: The Eagles have the perfect passing offense for fantasy. The ball is going to go to A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert. Smith played better than Brown down the stretch, but his ceiling is a bit capped with Brown in front of him. The days of drafting DeVonta in the sixth round are long gone.
AC: They’ve made it clear Sam Howell will be the starter unless he bombs. They’re not going to ask him to throw it a lot. Ron Rivera wants to win by running the football and playing defense, and he wants to hide the quarterback. Eric Bienemy knows the run game as a former running back, and he’s got Andy Reid’s playbook. He’ll use diverse personnel, but play calling is an art. We don’t know how it will it go for him until he’s done it.
BW: Howell can spin it, and there’s a lot of talent to throw the ball to in Washington. Play-action will be huge for them, but it’s depressing to hear they won’t throw it a lot with Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel together. They’ll use lots of read-option calls and RPOs, and they’ll put second-level defenders in conflict and take shots off of the run game.
AC: Logan Thomas has a cap number of $9 million, and they like Cole Turner from Nevada. They got plenty of bodies at TE, but O-line has been a major issue for them.
AC: Antonio Gibson has the passing-game role, and Brian Robinson is the lead runner. Gibson is in the final year of his rookie deal, and it’s more important for RBs to get a second contract than ever before.
BW: Had a sixth-round grade on Chris Rodriguez. He doesn’t move well in space, but he could be a short-yardage guy. He’s a bulldozer. Was a huge fan of Robinson coming out with a firm Day 2 grade. He performed well despite being shot last year, and he played about 10 pounds lighter than he did at Alabama.
GB: Robinson and Gibson are undervalued right now, especially if they’re going to run it as much as we think they will. They also both played well to close out last season.