Every year in the NFL, players from all positions have breakout years that tell the world they are among the best at their position in football. Every breakout year matters for every type of player, but in dynasty, the focus is on skill players like a wide receiver, tight end, linebacker, safety, and so on. When dynasty breakout seasons occur, it could win dynasty players their league if they correctly acquired the player before the season started. You got a lot of value by buying players like James Conner or Dalton Schultz before they break out. Getting the right dynasty breakout players before or very early in the season can change how your entire season goes. Here are some names to keep in mind for the NFC East.
Leighton Vander Esch, LB DAL
Vander Esch has failed to live up to being a first-round draft pick for the Cowboys since his rookie year, when he had 140 tackles and 102 solo tackles. He was en route to another tough year last season until he picked up his play in the final third of the season last year. Of course, it helped that he was the healthiest he had been since 2016 and appeared in every game of the season. In 2021, he had an interception, two passes defended, a sack, and 77 combined tackles, including 48 solo tackles. The tackles were the most since his rookie year.
Due to having his fifth-year option denied, Vander Esch reached free agency but ultimately re-signed with the Cowboys on a one-year “prove it” deal. This year could be the year the 26-year-old re-breaks out once again. He’ll be one of the starters in the middle linebacker room on a defense that will be forced to prove they can support an elite offense. Vander Esch is a cheap depth linebacker to acquire in IDP leagues. He’s an LB3/4 but has the potential to jump to LB2 numbers. He’s a pure upside player, and on a team with very few players that aren’t broken out or rookies, Vander Esch is the best bet to have a breakout dynasty year. Buy him now and sell high when he does have some big weeks.
Chauncey Gardner-Phillips, S PHI
Gardner-Phillips was acquired by the Eagles a couple of days ago from the Saints in a mind-boggling trade involving late-round picks. He’s now set to be the Eagles’ starting strong safety for a vastly improved defense. Don’t be surprised if Gardner-Phillips has a career year. He is a player that gets into opposing players’ minds. He’s a trash talker and one of the best. Gardner-Phillips has caused numerous players to get penalties which can be enormous in crucial situations. Last year, he appeared in 12 games for the Saints and had three interceptions, seven passes defended, two sacks, 46 combined tackles, 32 solo tackles, and four tackles for a loss. Solid numbers for a part-time safety, especially considering he only played in 12 games. This year, those numbers will rise.
Gardner-Phillips will be playing a lot for the Eagles, which means increased chances for tackles and impact plays. He’s excellent in man coverage or stopping the run. He has repeatedly proven that he’s an extra linebacker in the box. Gardner-Phillips is a solid slot corner in addition to being a safety. He can do it all, making him indispensable this year to the Eagles. He’ll ensure the defense has a nastiness to their play, and he’ll make plays. You can likely get him off waivers right now. Gardner-Phillips is a depth DB with the potential to be a DB2/3. Not often can you get a reliable contributor off the waivers. Buy now and watch his price/stock rise.
WanDale Robinson, WR NYG
Robinson was selected in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft to serve as one of the lead wide receivers for the Giants. This was the first offensive skill player that new GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll made. That is significant as he’s the player they chose for their new offense. Robinson’s a multi-purpose wide receiver who can wreck opposing defenses in various ways. He’s a terrific route runner, backfield rusher, and catcher and has excellent deep threat ability. You should expect him to be one of the focuses of the new-look offense.
Robinson played at Kentucky in the SEC, where he dominated with 104 catches, 1,334 yards, and seven touchdowns. He rushed for over 600 yards in college, showcasing his Deebo-like ability. He’s an early Day 2 pick, has strong abilities and was handpicked by the current coaching regime. This screams breakout rookie year potential to me. That’s why I chose him as the Giants’ breakout dynasty player. He’s only going to get more expensive, so it is time to buy now. My projections seem low compared to his work this preseason, but here they are ten rushes for 92 yards, a touchdown, 85 targets, 58 receptions, 625 yards, four touchdowns, and 9.3 PPR ppg. Solid numbers for a player, but not enough are hyping.
Jamin Davis, LB WAS
Davis was a first-round pick by the Commanders in 2021 but didn’t make as large of an impact as many wanted or expected. Veterans partially blocked him on the field, and Cole Holcomb had a career year. However, this year, he’s set up to be the LB2 on the Commanders. This will enable
In 16 games and eight starts last year, Davis had 76 combined tackles, 48 solos, a sack, three tackles for loss, and two quarterback hits. It was an encouraging season, but not the best one. It didn’t help he only played on 56% of the snaps. With the increased playing time and after having a great preseason, Davis will likely push for LB2/3 numbers this year. You can get him for much lower than that price right now. Get him now before he has a breakout year that leads to the Commanders having the best linebacker duo in the NFL. That’s if Cole Holcomb ever gets the respect he deserves. Buy Davis since he’s a breakout dynasty player in 2022.
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As always, May the Force be with You…