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State of the Team by Fantasy Position - NFC East
David Dorey
July 25, 2008
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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.
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Dallas Cowboys
QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2005 36 48 2 499 300 60% 3639 12.1 23 17 13 10
2006 42 130 2 506 310 61% 4067 13.1 26 21 7 5
2007 36 124 2 531 342 64% 4290 12.5 36 19 4 2

Quarterback - While Tony Romo cooled down after a hot start in 2006, last year saw him on fire for the full season. He ended #2 in passing scores only to the record-setting Tom Brady and set numerous Cowboys records along the way. Not having Terry Glenn was not a problem since Romo merely turned to Jason Witten instead and made him the most productive tight end in the game last year. Going into 2008, the same crew returns except for Julius Jones being replaced by Felix Jones. At worst that should prove a wash to the passing game and could easily become another weapon for Romo.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2005 479 1801 3.8 10 90 67 74% 426 1 10 13 20
2006 427 1795 4.2 19 53 34 64% 359 2 12 19 4
2007 383 1617 4.2 12 90 74 82% 542 2 17 16 13

Running Backs - The Cowboys fell backwards in rushing scores last year but only because Romo found it easier to just pass into the endzone. Marion Barber and Julius Jones combined for the same effectiveness, they just were not called on as much as they were in 2006. Barber increased his workload from136 to 204 carries but Jones fell from 267 down to 164. Barber took over as the primary back and Jones was sent packing to Seattle. The drafting of Felix Jones was made to continue the committee backfield since Dallas selected the smaller and faster Jones over Rashard Mendenhall - a power back much like Barber. Training camp will be necessary to get Jones into the offense but he won't have to offer much more than relief work until the Cowboys are comfortable with him. Barber can certainly carry the load at least for the early part of the season and Felix will likely increase his workload as the weeks progress. The difference between Julius and Felix is that the Cowboys intended Julius to become an every down back. There are no expectations that Felix is anything more than a complement to Barber.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2005 297 162 55% 2417 14.9 15 12 10
2006 335 196 59% 2818 14.4 23 8 3
2007 270 155 57% 2442 15.8 23 15 5

Wide Receivers - The Cowboys actually declined in wideout yardage last year over 2006 but mainly because there was no #2 across from Terrell Owens like Terry Glenn. Patrick Crayton was the starter and had a respectable 50 catches for 697 yards and seven scores but Glenn was coming off 70 catches for 1047 yards and six scores in 2006. In two seasons, Owens has scored 28 times and comes off 1355 yards last year with 15 scores. The Terry Glenn dilemma continues but it appears heading into camp (which Glenn currently is not) that the Cowboys will likely stand pat with Owens and Crayton and let Sam Hurd man the worthless slot role.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2005 101 71 70% 796 11.2 7 8 8
2006 120 78 65% 880 11.3 1 7 30
2007 165 113 68% 1306 11.6 11 2 2

Tight Ends
- Jason Witten comes off a monster season where he was the #1 fantasy tight end in all but touchdown-only leagues (where he was still #2). After falling to a single touchdown in 2006, the first year of Jason Garrett's offense apparently was predicated on showing the tight end a lot of love. Sure Owens had a huge year, but Witten was the lead receiver for the Cowboys with 96 catches. Witten remains a very safe pick this year because even if he falls back he still will remain one of the top tight ends.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - This camp doesn't have the interest as last year when the offense was being installed. The Cowboys are just trying to bring the same level of offense to the field this year and use almost the exact same players. Felix Jones is worth tracking since the better he does, the less time he will need to become integrated into the Cowboys attack but camp is mostly about getting refreshed and embarking on the ever-elusive hunt for a playoff win.

New York Giants
QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2005 32 77 1 558 294 53% 3762 12.8 24 17 11 6
2006 26 23 0 522 301 58% 3244 10.8 24 18 20 10
2007 31 70 1 544 302 56% 3376 11.2 23 20 22 14

Quarterback - Eli Manning is basking in the glow of a Super Bowl MVP trophy and yet for the unbelievable stretch run by the Giants last year, he replicated 2006. And he only managed that with a four touchdown game in week 17 to end the regular season. Kevin Gilbride installed the new offense last year and it certainly worked in the playoffs so there isn't much more that Manning needs to work on other than getting used to not having Jeremy Shockey jawing in the huddle. The Giants will face that "extra effort" this year that all teams like to devote to the previous year's champion. In some ways this will be Manning's most scrutinized season.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2005 430 2082 4.8 16 97 69 71% 641 2 4 3 7
2006 426 2121 5 14 108 77 71% 668 0 3 5 9
2007 435 2076 4.8 14 123 72 59% 518 3 3 6 7

Running Backs - Not unlike the passing game, the Giants lost Tiki Barber to retirement last year and just turned in almost the exact same overall numbers in 2007. Instead of Barber and Brandon Jacobs combining for good numbers, it was Jacobs, then Derrick Ward and then back to Jacobs. Thrown in some Ahmad Bradshaw at the end of the year and the Giants still have one of the better rushing games in the NFL. What will be changing this year is that Ahmad Bradshaw should see much more use in 2008. After having almost no playing time in the first 15 weeks, Bradshaw turned in 151 yards and a score in Buffalo and during the playoffs was a big factor in the wins. Over four post-season games, Bradshaw averaged 12 carries per week. Jacobs continues to be the starter but Bradshaw will start to figure in and needs this training camp.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2005 318 151 47% 2136 14.1 15 20 12
2006 279 146 52% 1872 12.8 17 22 8
2007 303 164 54% 2118 12.9 15 23 15

Wide Receivers - As a mirror to the quarterback performance, the wide receivers basically replicated 2006 last year and even declined in touchdown catches in a season where most teams saw sharp increases. Plaxico Burress played on a bad ankle for almost the entire year but still had 70 catches for 1025 yards and 12 touchdowns. That dwarfed all other receivers including Amani Toomer's 59 receptions for 760 yards and three scores. Toomer hangs on as the starting flanker but has been increasingly ineffective. The Giants have plenty of promising youth on the roster though with Steve Smith impressing as a rookie and Mario Manningham falling to them in the draft. Sinorice Moss still cannot stay healthy or productive. Toomer is in the twilight of his career and so far Smith appears most likely to step up but Manningham is worth tracking. Moss will never be more than a slot receiver in this offense if even that.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2005 138 74 54% 985 13.3 7 5 7
2006 129 78 60% 704 9 7 13 8
2007 120 72 60% 765 10.6 5 10 16

Tight Ends
- No doubt the Giants will have lower receiving numbers from the tight ends this year with Jeremy Shockey gone but Kevin Boss showed definite promise as a rookie though he only scored twice and never had more than 50 yards in a game. But the Giants are comfortable with him and this is the first training camp for Boss as the starter. That's important enough.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - The newest NFL Champion enters the second year of their offense with nothing left to prove. What will be new in camp is integrating Ahmad Bradshaw and Kevin Boss into the offense since this will be their first season with the first team. Bradshaw only had a handful of catches last year and should be used more as an outlet for Manning, particularly with Shockey gone. Bradshaw is the player most worth watching in fantasy terms here. If they will involve him more as a receiver, he'll net enough fantasy value to draft but otherwise he'll mainly serve to decrease what Jacobs would do.

Philadelphia Eagles
QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2005 60 174 4 620 337 54% 3903 11.6 21 20 8 13
2006 56 301 3 541 322 60% 4298 13.3 31 8 4 2
2007 60 257 0 576 350 61% 4005 11.4 24 15 10 12

Quarterback - The equation is not hard to see here. Donovan McNabb just has to remain healthy. Over the last five seasons, he's suffered a sports hernia, torn knee ligaments and injured his ankle. He even recently sat out of the last few days of minicamp because of tendinitis in his shoulder. After ten seasons, this is actually a make or break year. If McNabb can regain form and remain healthy, he's back in 2009. If he struggles through another injury-marred campaign then he's gone. Training camp will be interesting to see Kevin Kolb at work because chances are he'll be called up at some point.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2005 301 1238 4.1 7 160 101 63% 859 4 29 19 26
2006 354 1658 4.7 9 170 121 71% 1058 6 16 6 21
2007 355 1680 4.7 12 153 111 73% 919 5 13 5 6

Running Backs - The Eagles are back to talking about how they need to lighten Brian Westbrook's load after he had 368 touches last year. Much like they were saying after 2006 when he had 317 touches. Westbrook has proven to be the main weapon in Philly and led the league in total yardage last year. Westbrook may be 29 years old but he is coming off a career best season. The Eagles are trying to find a way to rest him and may have done it when they signed Lorenzo Booker who is a Westbrook clone (in size at least). Correll Buckhalter only had 62 carries last year and the rookie Tony Hunt was all but forgotten and never challenged the aging Buckhalter. Booker is an interesting pickup if he can reprise the receiving role of Westbrook during the one week each season that he gets injured. The Eagles can certainly squeeze another year or two out of Westbrook and maybe even Buckhalter but time is approaching when the Eagle's backfield will change.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2005 323 161 50% 2250 14 12 17 19
2006 271 137 51% 2421 17.7 18 14 7
2007 325 190 58% 2564 13.5 16 10 12

Wide Receivers - The Eagles have always had a mish-mash of wideouts that did not feature any particular player until Terrell Owens showed up. After he left, it was back to the same though with a bit better stats from Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis. In week three last year, Curtis exploded with 11 catches for 221 yards and three scores (thank you Lions) but otherwise was less than stellar. Brown had a good season in 2006 with 816 yards and eight touchdowns but only scored four times last year. The Eagles added the rookie DeSean Jackson with their 2.18 pick and he could figure in as a slot receiver but his primary job will start as special teams where he proved deadly as a return man for CAL. After Brown and Curtis, no other wideout had more than 23 catches or 267 yards so the slot is hardly a fantasy goldmine in Philly.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2005 127 75 59% 794 10.6 5 9 14
2006 102 64 63% 825 12.9 7 9 6
2007 87 49 56% 522 10.7 3 23 27

Tight Ends
- It is easy to forget that L.J. Smith was a top ten tight end after last year when he suffered through a groin and later knee injury. Smith has never had more than five touchdowns in a season but he turned in over 600 yards in each of the previous two seasons. The Eagles slapped a franchise tag on him as well and he is one of McNabb's preferred receivers.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - Of course McNabb must remain healthy in the preseason so his work load and game time could be pretty limited, especially with the tendinitis. That should allow us a good look at Kevin Kolb who could get playing time this year if McNabb once again is injured. Kolb could potentially be the Philly starter in 2009 if everything went his way. While it will be interesting to see DeSean Jackson in camp and games, that will probably make it look like he is going to get more work than he really will. The Eagles just need to refresh and get ready for the season. Other than Lorenzo Booker, most fantasy notable players here are already known commodities.

Washington Redskins
QB Carries Rush YD Rush TD Pass Comp Comp % Pass YD YPP Pass TD Int Rank YD Rank TD
2005 49 114 0 479 277 58% 3329 12 24 11 22 8
2006 36 146 0 468 272 58% 3086 11.3 18 10 23 21
2007 44 186 1 522 317 61% 3588 11.3 17 11 15 23

Quarterback - The Redskins are installing a new offense this year under new HC Jim Zorn and OC Sherman Smith. Both are steeped in the west coast scheme which should favor the abilities of Jason Campbell. It also doesn't hurt having a head coach who was a quarterback as well. Zorn was the assistant coach who helped develop Matt Hasselbeck. This is a very important camp for Campbell to learn the new offense and work on developing chemistry with his rookie wideouts. Last year's starters - Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El were both speedy slot receivers miscast as the flanker and split end. Randle El has already been demoted back but Moss may follow. Campbell needs big receivers in the west coast offense, not a couple of 5'10" sub-200 pounders. This is a learning curve year and should start out slowly.

RB Carries Rush YD YPC Rush TD Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD Rcv TD Rank YD Rank TY Rank TD
2005 470 2057 4.4 15 78 54 69% 389 8 5 7 8
2006 427 1875 4.4 13 115 90 78% 736 2 9 7 13
2007 446 1675 3.8 14 116 85 73% 680 2 14 10 8

Running Backs - Clinton Portis comes off one of his better seasons and only his second of five years where he played every week. No other player had more than Portis' 325 carries last year and his 47 catches for 389 yards was also a personal best. The new offense will feature Portis who is only 27 years old and intends to use him more as a receiver which fits his speed and elusive running style. His workload has been significant but Portis held up last year and should balance any potential loss of carries this year with more receptions.

WR Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2005 246 132 54% 2012 15.2 9 24 25
2006 248 123 50% 1682 13.7 10 29 23
2007 284 166 58% 2132 12.8 7 22 30

Wide Receivers - This is an area that needs to be closely tracked, at least for those in dynasty leagues. Antwaan Randle El is expected to yield the flanker role to either the rookie Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas. The new west coast offense is not served by having two under-sized wideouts in Santana Moss and Randle El who are only 5'10". The Redskins went to the draft and picked out two of the highest rated wideouts and the only question is how quickly they can develop into the offense. Thomas was rated as the best wide receiver on most boards. Kelly has been the more impressive in minicamps. This will be a transitional year in Washington that will likely start slowly but aim towards a more productive 2009. The Redskins even brought over Billy McMullen who is 6'4". The starting wideouts from last year are looking up at their fellow wideouts this year - literally.

TE Target Rcv Catch % Catch YD YPR Rcv TD Ranks YD Rank TD
2005 146 92 63% 945 10.3 8 6 6
2006 101 61 60% 756 12.4 7 11 7
2007 123 74 60% 888 12.0 9 8 5

Tight Ends
- Training camp will be interesting for the tight ends because of two questions. First, the west coast offense does not typically feature the tight end much and Cooley is coming off a Pro-Bowl season where he lead the team in receptions (66) and receiving touchdowns (8). Secondly, why did they spend a second round pick on another tight end? Both Cooley and Davis are reviving tight ends but the team needs appear more towards blocking in 2008.

Training Camp Fantasy Angle - The Redskins are installing a new offense and that alone is worth tracking in camp. Campbell gets a QB guru for a head coach which should help and the team stocked up up young and tall receivers who will be filling the starting roles sooner than later. The entire passing game is of interest here since it will be much different than recent years. Kelly and Thomas are the two main players to follow since either could be a starter as early as week one.

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