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State of the Team by Fantasy Position - AFC East
David Dorey
July 11, 2007

This series of analysis on the 32 NFL teams takes a look at where teams have been over the last three years for each position - where they have ranked in the most notable categories and the hard statistics produced. This is to give a view of each team heading into training camp and what they most likely need to improve on this season and where their strengths lie that likely won't need any changes. Ending each team review is a brief summation of what to watch in training camp in August to uncover those developing situations that you can take advantage. Combining where teams have come from and what they have done in free agency and the NFL draft gives you the very same thing that NFL coaches are looking at as they attempt to improve their team for 2007.

Buffalo Bills
QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2004 24 64 0 457 261 57% 3008 11.5 21 17 27 18
2005 49 165 1 459 269 59% 2849 10.6 18 16 29 22
2006 38 140 1 430 269 63% 3049 11.3 19 14 25 18


Quarterback
- The Bills finally got a full season out of J.P. Losman but the results were really no different than any other for the last three years. All the categories for the position remained largely the same anyway but Losman enters 2007 with a full season under his belt and he gets another chance to improve even though he will have no new receivers to use. The Bills also spent their 3.29 pick on Trent Edwards out of Stanford but he'll just watch this year. Losman remains the starter here but there's someone looking over his shoulder now.

 

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2004 442 1705 3.9 15 80 56 70% 375 0 12 24 8
2005 371 1408 3.8 5 83 59 71% 413 2 21 29 29
2006 367 1370 3.7 8 64 47 73% 330 0 27 30 24


Running Backs
- The rushing game has languished for the last two years with never better than 29th best at rushing yardage from the running backs. Willis McGahee turned in a big 2004 season when he had 13 rushing scores but he only managed 11 over the next two years and the Bills wanted to avoid a potentially contentious contract situation after this year so they sent him to Baltimore. Training camp will be critical to develop the rookie Marshawn Lynch because the only other runners of any note on the roster are Anthony Thomas (who is no competition) and fellow rookie Dwayne Wright who was chosen with the 4.12 pick in the draft. Evidently the Bills really wanted to till the soil on a running game that was one of the worst in the NFL. Biggest thing to look for in training camp is how well Lynch is catching the ball since he was accomplished in that role at CAL and the Bills offense does use tailbacks as receivers. Really no where to go but up here.

 

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD        
2004 59 37 63% 387 10.5 7 26 12        
2005 38 23 61% 165 7.2 0 31 31        
2006 52 30 58% 283 9.4 4 32 23        


Tight Ends
- The Bills had some decent numbers from tight ends in 2004 but that was when Drew Bledsoe was throwing to Mark Campbell. Mularkey's final season in 2005 never used them and Dick Jauron didn't really change anything last year. Adding a pass catching back like Lynch makes it even less likely this position has any fantasy value this year.

 

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD        
2004 284 168 59% 2246 13.4 14 19 15        
2005 323 186 58% 2269 12.2 15 15 11        
2006 312 191 61% 2435 12.7 15 13 12        


Wide Receivers
- Middle of the road here but slightly better than average the last couple of years because the tight ends never get much action. Lee Evans has already had a break-out season but the team still needs a #2 wideout to make a difference. Peerless Price returned last year but he only had 402 yards. Josh Reed turned in 410 yards and Roscoe Parrish had 320 yards. Combine all three together and they do not equal the 1290 yards that Evans had last year. Training camp should be about finding a decent #2 but the Bills did nothing to get a free agent and they did not draft any so expect the same thing here. Have to think that Parrish has an opening since both Price and Reed have already proven they are not going to matter as a starter. But - the team is standing pat. If Parrish can use his third season to break-out, then training camp may show something but he's only 5'9" and 170 pounds so it is unlikely that he's going to turn into any possession receiver to complement Evans. The Bills just apparently think Evans is enough.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - The entire offense remains the same from 2006 despite it's average - at best - production other than the rookie Marshawn Lynch taking over for Willis McGahee. Lynch needs to look good in camp AND show he can really catch that ball as well. There's nothing else here that seems likely to change from last year.

Camp starts July 26th; Preseason Games: 1-@NO, 2-ATL, 3-TEN, 4-@DET

 

Miami Dolphins
QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2004 26 72 1 585 308 53% 3343 10.9 19 26 20 19
2005 33 76 0 555 291 52% 3458 11.9 22 16 17 11
2006 32 44 1 590 342 58% 3577 10.5 16 19 12 25


Quarterback
- Here's a transition year. The offense changes with Cam Cameron coming over from Miami and Trent Green finally shows up from Kansas City. Any and all talk about Cleo Lemon is over and this is Green's team - at least for this year. The Dolphins picked up John Beck with their 2.08 pick but all he is supposed to do is learn good habits from Green so that 2008 - or 2009 at the latest - becomes Beck's turn. With a new quarterback that had been turning in 4000 yard seasons in Kansas City until last year and a new offense being installed, training camp is a definite worthwhile watch. The Dolphins have only been average in passing numbers and a new offense doesn't always start red hot - and if they do they often cool quickly. Training camp should give a sign what to expect here.

 

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2004 344 1188 3.5 9 101 64 63% 373 1 32 32 25
2005 396 1725 4.4 11 87 58 67% 379 1 13 18 17
2006 359 1505 4.2 6 84 60 71% 462 0 24 24 28


Running Backs
- The only time the Dolphins have recently had a decent rushing game was in 2005 with Ricky Williams (743) and Ronnie Brown (907) combined together. The Saban regime is now over and Cam Cameron expects to replicate the San Diego offense - at least to the extent there is personnel to fill the positions. That should have a nice effect on Ronnie Brown but training camp likely won't give a great clue since Brown likely won't be pressing too hard in preseason games, if he plays all that much. Cameron left the best runner in the league (and of all time for scoring) and is rebuilding around Ronnie Brown. The Fins did draft Lorenzo Booker with their 3.07 draft pick and no doubt he will get plenty of preseason playing time along with Jesse Chatman and a smattering of other no-names who won't make the team. What Brown does in camp learning the offense is important, but more important is just the overall look of the offense since Brown in particular likely won't be exposed to injury more than necessary. There's just no one behind him other than the rookie Booker who only weighs 193 pounds.

 

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD        
2004 137 86 63% 901 10.5 5 5 16        
2005 119 70 59% 639 9.1 6 16 12        
2006 114 78 68% 756 9.7 4 10 17        


Tight Ends
- This is interesting. The Dolphins allowed Randy McMichael to go to St. Louis. It would have been great if only he had stayed to play for the coach that last told Antonio Gates what to do. But they did acquire David Martin from the Packers and it's implausible to think the tight end will not have a role in this passing offense. Martin could be a sleeper type but he's already 28 years old and never had more than 224 yards in his six seasons in the NFL. Worth watching but Martin will have to come on really strong to merit fantasy attention. The Fins did not draft a tight end either. Seems most likely Cameron is going to work on the rushing game first and worry about tight ends later.

 

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD        
2004 323 158 49% 2109 13.3 13 23 18        
2005 334 159 48% 2423 15.2 15 11 9        
2006 392 204 52% 2346 11.5 12 15 19        


Wide Receivers
- The Fins have done nothing special with this group but have been settled on Chris Chambers, Marty Booker and Wes Welker for the last three years. Now that Welker left for the Patriots, the Dolphins picked up Ted Ginn Jr. with their 1.09 draft pick ostensibly to at least replace Welker. You know that Ginn will be a return man this year but how much he contributes as a receiver will be determined by training camp and those initial games of the year - provided his foot does not bother him. The "Charger" offense being installed already won't have a Gates equivalent, so the wide outs will have to pick up the slack and that could benefit Chambers in particular if the rushing game starts slowly and opponents have no film to study until a few games into the season. Of course the main thing here is to see if Chambers will get a lot of throws but that may not be answered well in training camp. Mainly - camp can show if Ginn will contribute much as a rookie receiver.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - Must see how well the new scheme is translated into the rushing game, if David Martin will be used much as a pass catching tight end or just a run blocker and finally what Ted Ginn Jr. is going to do. Most important is a general feel for how the offense is being picked up by everyone. This is the first year for Cameron's offense in Miami and it's a learning curve for everyone. Trent Green brings the veteran presence but he's only a one or two year fill-in until John Beck can get ready to take the reins. Preseason games will be interesting to see how the offense looks overall and how Cameron expects to succeed while not having the premier running back and tight end in the NFL.

Camp starts July 22nd; Preseason Games: 1-JAX, 2-@KC, 3-TB, 4-@NO

 

New England Patriots
QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2004 47 27 0 484 292 60% 3744 12.8 28 14 13 7
2005 38 101 1 564 352 62% 4322 12.3 28 15 3 3
2006 58 99 0 528 327 62% 3594 11 25 12 11 7

Quarterback
- Nothing to prove here in training camp. Tom Brady has been top 7 in passing TDs every year and the Pats were #3 in passing yardage in 2005 (Brady himself ranked #1 that year). What will be of note is how well he is meshing with his slew of new pass targets but that could be mostly anecdotal since the Pats are not very keen on being forthcoming with their team.
RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2004 473 2094 4.4 15 82 70 85% 575 2 3 3 7
2005 397 1387 3.5 15 112 88 79% 778 1 22 14 10
2006 432 1818 4.2 20 114 89 78% 755 4 10 9 2

Running Backs
- What needs to happen here the most is for Laurence Maroney to have a solid camp and not get injured. With the nagging health problems of 2006 still fresh in their minds, the coaching staff has to be determined to get Maroney the reps he needs AND deliver a fresh and healthy Maroney for week one. The Pats picked up Sammy Morris in the off season and most likely he will see the most play in preseason games, maybe to the point it appears he will be a bigger factor than he actually ends up being. Maroney already knows the offense and should fill the role well though this year could have less passes than ever being thrown to the running backs since there are so many receivers now. It would be nice to see Maroney tearing it up and remaining healthy in training camp but most likely it will only be an incomplete picture and a bit of faith will be needed by those who draft him.
TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD        
2004 85 56 66% 668 11.9 9 14 6        
2005 98 53 54% 733 13.8 9 12 3        
2006 143 81 57% 1039 12.8 6 3 11        


Tight Ends
- Ben Watson was a hot property last year since it was obvious that the Patriots were decimated in the wide receiver corps. The good news is that Daniel Graham (235 yards, 2 TDs) is now gone but the Patriots brought in three new wideouts and that should depress what Watson would have done. Not much to watch in training camp here and sadly less to expect from the 2007 season for Watson.

 

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD        
2004 309 162 52% 2484 15.3 16 14 12        
2005 356 211 59% 2823 13.4 14 5 13        
2006 280 156 56% 1802 11.6 15 25 13        


Wide Receivers
- The Patriots have remained very middle of the road in how their wide receivers ranked overall in the NFL other than 2005 when Brady led the league in passing yardage back when he had Deion Branch and David Givens. After a horrible year for their wideouts in yardage (and dropped passes), the Patriots acquired Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth and Wes Welker. They still have Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney. This is as loaded a set of wideouts that Brady has ever played with - even more so than the 2005 season. This is where all eyes will be in training camp to see how well these new players are absorbed by the New England scheme that typically spreads the ball around liberally without any one receiver truly excelling. The Patriots like to cloak their intentions and status but these players will have to get in synch with Brady and not just in training camp but in preseason games as well. Maroney needs to stay healthy but the wideouts must work with Brady and the new scheme. This should be one of the most interesting training camps for the Patriots in a long time and well worth watching. If Randy Moss catches two or more touchdowns from Brady in preseason games, expect his draft value to shoot up sharply.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - While it would be nice to see a lot of Maroney, that likely won't happen - at least in preseason games. This training camp is all about integrating Moss, Stallworth and Welker into the passing game. That not only helps to evaluate how the wideouts will individually contribute but just as importantly how highly to value Tom Brady this year. While it is reasonable to temper expectations of the wideouts since the system is predicated on spreading the ball around, remember that in 2005 Branch had 998 yards and five touchdowns and Givens turned in 738 yards. It's hard not to expect more from Moss and Stallworth than what Branch and Givens did. Keep an eye on the development of this passing game. The third preseason game against the Panthers should answer a few of these questions.

Camp starts July 27th; Preseason Games: 1-@TB, 2-TEN, 3-@CAR, 4-NYG

 

New York Jets
QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2004 47 148 1 437 282 65% 3231 11.5 19 10 22 20
2005 48 169 2 470 268 57% 2989 11.2 11 15 27 30
2006 37 119 0 485 313 65% 3352 10.7 17 16 19 23


Quarterback
- After a mere seven seasons, Chad Pennington finally last for an entire 16 game season in 2006 and the passing numbers were better for the Jets than they've been in years. That still only equated to an average passing attack at best but that was accomplished with a never ending rotation to the backfield. The Jets scored well enough on the ground to rank 7th in rushing touchdowns last year but the yardage and yards per carry were pathetic and made life tougher for Pennington. That could change this year with Thomas Jones on board so while there's nothing to track about Pennington in training camp, the status of the rushing game will directly impact what Pennington can do this year.

 

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2004 472 2227 4.7 14 125 103 82% 711 3 2 1 10
2005 332 1150 3.5 8 84 64 76% 367 2 31 32 25
2006 426 1448 3.4 15 75 55 73% 422 0 25 27 7


Running Backs
- Oddly enough, the Jets had a very good year with running backs scoring touchdowns but that came via three different backs - Kevan Barlow (6), Cedric Houston (5) and Leon Washington (4). The rushing yardage is where this team consistently failed to meet expectations and they only averaged an anemic 3.4 yards per carry. Because of this, the Jets acquired Thomas Jones and he's a definite August watch in an offense that sputtered last year and still had 15 rushing scores. Notable too will be trying to glean how much Leon Washington is likely to play in a third down role since he was the only tailback with any significant receiving yardage last year (270). This is where the offense is changing and where fantasy fans need to get an idea of how well Jones is meshing into the scheme.

 

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD        
2004 61 31 51% 282 9.1 5 29 20        
2005 84 52 62% 634 12.2 2 17 23        
2006 55 37 67% 344 9.3 4 27 22        


Tight Ends
- While the stats from this position were below average in the NFL last year, at least it was almost entirely Chris Baker who had 300 yards and all four touchdowns. Not really worth watching since you know that Baker only makes for a decent back-up tight end for your team and even then he'll probably not do much the one week you needed him.

 

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD        
2004 252 148 59% 2238 15.1 11 20 24        
2005 295 152 52% 1988 13.1 7 25 30        
2006 358 221 62% 2579 11.7 13 10 16        


Wide Receivers - The full season of Pennington didn't turn this position into a big fantasy contributor but at least the numbers almost entirely belonged to Laveranues Coles (1098 yards, six TDs) and Jerricho Cotchery (961 yards and six TDs). The Jets brought in no one notable and no other wideout here had more than 23 catches last year. Expect the same and not much to come out of training camp.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - Integrating Thomas Jones in this offense that has produced a lot of goal line opportunities is the key. That should remain almost exclusively with Jones. The rest of the offense hasn't changed at all from last year.

Camp starts July 27th; Preseason Games: 1-ATL, 2-MIN, 3-@NYG, 4-@PHI

Related Articles

State of the AFC East
State of the AFC North
State of the AFC South
State of the AFC West
State of the NFC East
State of the NFC North
State of the NFC South
State of the NFC West
a d v e r t i s e m e n t