Paying attention to average draft position even this early year can give you an edge come draft day. Today we’re looking at the AFC East. If you are just tuning in, check out my last article here at Fantasy Sharks for NFC East draft day values.
Buffalo Bills – Zay Jones (Current Average Draft Position: 191)
Aside from LeSean McCoy there isn’t a player on the Bills roster this season that really excites me. Since we are almost assured to see another Sammy Watkins injury this year, Zay Jones needs to be on everyone’s watch list. With the departure of Robert Woods the WR2 slot is wide open in Buffalo (what a great agent he has, right?) Zay looked great in college and even set the FBS all-time reception record, although that may have been largely due to offensive scheme and middling competition. His college tape is pretty solid and he seems to know how to get open frequently. He’s a bit quicker than he is fast having posted Combine best times in the 20- and 60-yards shuttle while still posting a respectable 4.45 40-yard dash. He possesses good ball skills, catching the ball away from his body pretty much every time. On film he reminds me a lot of Justin Hunter coming out of Tennessee. If I was a betting man (which I am) I’d say Sammy Watkins goes down at some point this season. When that happens, if you drafted Jones anywhere near his current 16th round ADP you could be sitting on the Buffalo WR1 – any team’s top wideout is a steal at that price even if it’s only for trade bait.
Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker (Current Average Draft Position: 167)
I’m planting my flag now – this is the breakout year for DeVante Parker. He showed great strides in his all around game in 2015 despite Miami’s annually sub-par quarterback play. Parker was second on the team in targets (90) and receptions (56) behind only Jarvis Landry. Had Parker caught more than 4 touchdowns his draft day price tag would be much higher. Kenny Stills hauled in 9 scores so there is certainly room for a few more trips to the end zone. He’s on a ton of “sleeper” lists and rightly so given his current 13th round price tag but I do expect his draft position to rise steadily throughout the summer. Depending on when you draft, be prepared to reach up a couple rounds to ensure you get him. When you watch his 2016 film it’s clear the 14th overall selection in the 2015 draft absolutely has the pedigree and the skills to be among the NFL’s elite. Parker is healthy and based on his usage trend I really think it comes together for the third year wideout in 2017. If you are in a startup dynasty draft this year, don’t miss on drafting DeVante Parker as you may never get another chance to own him again.
New England Patriots – Tom Brady (current Average Draft Position: 23)
I really wanted to put Dion Lewis or James White here (ADP of 126 and 123 respectively) but that New England backfield is far too crowded for my tastes. I typically would never advise taking a quarterback this early but when I look at the players going around the same time as Brady, its clear to me that “TB12” is the safest play. You are typically building the core of your team in the first 3 rounds and nailing these early picks is vital. I’d rather build around an elite quarterback who is pretty much a sure thing than take chances on guys like DeAndre Hopkins, Jordan Reed or Lamar Miller — all of which could be great but are certainly not guaranteed to deliver the way Brady will. If we take Brady’s averages from last season and add 4 games, based on those numbers he finishes Top 4 in Passing Yards and Top 3 in Passing Touchdowns. I know for a fact I want a piece of the New England offense this season but guessing which piece to own is a crap shoot.
As frustrating as they might be when owned individually, Brady’s 2017 supporting cast as a whole might be his best yet, Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Dwayne Allen, Danny Amendola, James White, Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee give Tom a ridiculous arsenal to work with. He is getting old but I feel like he could have one of those late-career monster years like Peyton Manning had before his decline. Last year only David Johnson outscored the top quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) in standard scoring formats. If we guess right and Brady is the top scoring quarterback in 2017 you’ll be sitting on a Top 3 overall player. If the top scoring player costs you the 1.1 pick and the second highest scoring player costs you the 2.11 pick that is very nice value. I get the argument against taking a quarterback so early and I usually agree but this year might be an exception to the rule. Depending on your scoring format the difference between QB3 and QB12 is about 75 points. That’s about a 4.5 point difference each week – think how many match-ups you’ve won and lost by less than 5 points.
New York Jets – Quincy Enunwa (Current Average Draft Position: 200+)
With Brandon Marshall off to the Giants the door is now wide open for Enunwa to emerge as the Jets number one wideout. Eric Decker is still present and should be a full go for training camp, but that shouldn’t stop Enunwa from building on a solid 2016 campaign. Last season Enunwa posted a respectable 857 yards and 4 touchdowns while averaging 14.8 yards per reception. To put it into perspective, his counterpart Decker averaged 12.8 yards per reception back in 2015 (his most recent full season.) This is a value play plain and simple, he is currently going outside the Top 200 in mock drafts but I imagine he’ll start to rise once pre-season starts. If I’m drafting Quincy Enunwa it will be in one of the late rounds as a purely speculative pick. If he gets off to a fast start I’ll likely be trading him away since I’ll have plenty of other options at wide receiver already on my roster. I love having valuable trade pieces and Enunwa should be a cheap one come draft day.