AFC East Divisional Podcast Recap for 2022

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In today’s pod, the Ballers break down the AFC East. This series of divisional breakdowns provides an overview of each team and an analysis of offseason changes between 2021 and 2022, including the draft, new signings, roles vacated, coaching changes, etc. Andy, Mike, and Jason look at win totals and project how they see each offense functioning in the coming season. If you want to go deeper, dig into the data behind their prognostications in the 2022 Ultimate Draft Kit+.

Let’s Get Divisional – AFC East

Buffalo Bills (11-6)

Pace of Play PPG Total Yds Pass Att. Pass Yards Pass TD Rush Att. Rush Yds Rush TDs
Buffalo Bills 4 3 5 5 9 7 13 6 7

The Bills hit their preseason win total of 11 in 2021, but it could’ve been even better when you consider this: Buffalo was 0-5 in one-score games. Add a dominant defense (1st in points allowed), and you’ve got an impressive season from Buffalo. Brian Daboll’s departure to New York shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey was the Bills’ quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator, and Josh Allen is still under center. The Stallion is coming off back-to-back QB1 overall seasons. The only quarterback since 2000 to three-peat as QB1 is Daunte Culpepper, and Allen will have to reach the same heights to pay off his second-round ADP. Devin Singletary was the overall RB2 from Weeks 14-18, but second-round pick James Cook could compete for touches and limit the fantasy ceiling of both. Additionally, Buffalo running backs saw only 15% of total targets, the fourth-lowest target share in the NFL.  Stefon Diggs is poised for a monster year. Jason notes that we could see some positive touchdown regression; Diggs trailed only Cooper Kupp in red-zone targets in 2021. Gabriel Davis, the most divisive name on fantasy Twitter, hasn’t surpassed 35 receptions in a season. Mike points out that in this offense, the WR2 is going to be fantasy relevant. Mike cautions against reaching into the 4th and 5th rounds for Davis when other proven receivers are available, but he could provide a lot of value in the 6th or 7th round. Andy points out that if Gabriel Davis ends up being more of a low-volume touchdown target, Dawson Knox and new signing Jamison Crowder (aka “Jamison Target”?) could be more involved in the passing game. Crowder joins the Bills on a one-year deal to replace Cole Beasley and his 19% target share from the slot. At tight end, Mike is comfortable drafting Dawson Knox in the 9th round despite the signing of O.J. Howard. TL;DR: Draft the Bills.

2022 Projected Wins: 11.5

New England Patriots (10-7)

Pace of Play PPG Total Yds Pass Att. Pass Yards Pass TD Rush Att. Rush Yds Rush TD
New England Patriots 28 6 15 25 14 15 8 8 2

The Patriots beat their preseason win total of 9, due in no small part to an efficient rookie season from Mac Jones. New England finished an impressive 6th in points per game, but Jason cautions against taking that to mean this is a high-flying offense. Many of the Patriots’ wins were blowouts (four games won by 35+ points) and/or dominant defensive performances. Andy believes New England’s 28th-ranked pace of play is more predictive of the type of offense we’ll see in Mac Jones‘ sophomore season. Damien Harris is coming off a phenomenal 15 rushing TDs, a total that is unlikely to be replicated in 2022. With regression coming and Harris’ ADP in the 6th round, Mike and Jason would skip Harris altogether and take a shot on Rhamondre Stevenson in the 10th round. Hunter Henry, who scored nine times in 2021, should have similar opportunities and be the prominent red-zone threat in the passing game. Jason, Andy, and Mike all prefer the upside of new signing DeVante Parker over the other wide receivers in New England, but fantasy relevance will be hard to come by for any of them.

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2022 Projected Wins: 8.5

Miami Dolphins (9-8)

Pace of Play PPG Total Yds Pass Att. Pass Yards Pass TD Rush Att. Rush Yds Rush TD
Miami Dolphins 5 22 25 8 17 20 18 30 24

After starting 1-7, the Dolphins came on strong toward the end of the season and hit their preseason win total. Despite the second-half run, Miami fired Brian Flores and retooled the offense. Enter head coach Mike McDaniel, freshly cut from the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree. The offensive line upgrades and a bevy of after-the-catch speedsters give Andy and Mike confidence that there’s fantasy relevance at the skill positions, even if Tagovailoa is only as competent as, say, Jimmy Garoppolo. In a prove-it season for Tua Tagovailoa, Jason doesn’t think Tua can make the leap to being a starting fantasy quarterback in his own right. Blockbuster addition Tyreek Hill slots in as the WR1 in Miami next to Jaylen Waddle, who just set the rookie record for receptions. The competition for targets has docked Waddle’s draft stock into the late fourth round. With Tyreek Hill‘s ADP in the second round, Mike is taking the value presented by Waddle. The Ballers are in on Chase Edmonds as the lead back in Miami and believe he could be a steal in the back of the 8th round. Finally, Mike Gesicki doesn’t seem to be a fit for McDaniel’s new-look offense, which typically values good pass-blocking tight ends. Look elsewhere for a tight end in the late rounds.

2022 Projected Wins: 9

New York Jets (4-13)

Pace of Play PPG Total Yds Pass Att. Pass Yards Pass TD Rush Att. Rush Yds Rush TD
New York Jets 12 28 26 13 20 25 32 27 18

The Jets are coming off their sixth-straight losing season, the longest current streak in the NFL. Zach Wilson was either bad or injured, the defense was bad, and the offensive line was worse. In the 2022 draft, the Jets invested in some highly-touted pieces in Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson. Jason cautions that even an optimistic finish for Zach Wilson (Andy’s best-case: 4,000 YDS, 25 TD, 14 INT) could limit how much we should expect from the receiving options this season. Jason and Mike both like Breece Hall in the fourth round of redraft leagues, with Jason calling Hall an “auto-pick” if he falls to him in the fourth. The pick of Garrett Wilson in the first round crowds the receiving room for Elijah Moore and Corey Davis. All things being equal, Mike still prefers Elijah Moore to Garrett Wilson. He has already shown he can produce at the NFL level, and a second-year leap for Moore is in the cards after being targeted on a staggering 24% of his routes in 2021.

2022 Projected Wins: 5.5

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