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NFC East Buys, Sells and Holds

Joe Colonna highlights a few players from the NFC East that fantasy owners need to buy, sell, or hold.

In this article series, I will be going through each division and listing players that I think you should buy, sell, or hold on to your dynasty rosters. Today, we will be discussing the NFC East.

NFC East Buys

DeVonta Smith, WR PHI

Courtesy of NFL.com

Smith is a young, ascending number one receiver on a youthful offense. At just 23 years old, Smith had 104 receptions, 916 receiving yards, and five receiving touchdowns in year one of his NFL career and finished as the WR31 in PPR scoring. He just missed breaking that 1,000-yard threshold in his rookie season. There’s a reason for optimism in 2022.

For starters, Smith gets another entire offseason working with QB Jalen Hurts in coach Nick Siriani’s system, so there is some continuity. He had a 22.1% target share in his rookie season, and there is room for improvement in that area. If he improves his target share slightly to 24%, Smith will remain a viable weapon for any fantasy roster.

Smith was 12th in Air Yards (87.5 air yards per game) and sixth in Air Yards share (38.9%), per PlayerProfiler.com. He also received plenty of deep targets, ranking ninth in that area with 26 deep targets on the season. Eagles’ quarterbacks also fared well when targeting Smith, as he garnered a 107.1 quarterback rating when targeted. You would think that this could lead to more targets for Smith moving forward, given the efficiency when targeted.

An area that Smith should look to improve on that would greatly help his fantasy production is his red-zone productivity. He was just 59th in targets in the red zone, with only eight red-zone targets in his rookie year. If he can see more opportunities in that area of the field, that would improve his overall target share. Look out for DeVonta Smith in 2022 and beyond.

As for Smith’s price, he’s currently being drafted as the WR16, around names like Chris Godwin, Terry McLaurin, and Keenan Allen. I’d recommend taking Smith over each of those names.

NFC East Sells

Ezekiel Elliott, RB DAL

There are several reasons why I believe now is the time to move on from Elliott. First, he is entering his age 27 season, and the wear and tear is starting to catch up to him. His number of touches per season declined each of the last three years. In 2019, he had 355 total touches. In 2020, that number dipped to 296, and last season, Elliott had just 284 total touches. He also played through a PCL injury during the 2021 season, which is worrisome.

When looking at some advanced rushing statistics, you can start to see a decline in several areas for Elliott. He has had a decrease in yards after contact in each of the last three years, fewer broken tackles every season, and just has not shown that same explosiveness he did in his earlier years.

On top of all of this, the Cowboys’ backup RB Tony Pollard has been earning a more consistent role each year. He provides the Cowboys with a nice spark on offense. He should continue to see more opportunities. Elliott will still get plenty of touches due to his contract, but the overall explosiveness and efficiency have started to dwindle a little bit as well. Be cautious with Elliott.

If you can, try and acquire a younger back like Cam Akers, J.K. Dobbins, or even Antonio Gibson, even if you have to add a minor asset to your side to get it done. Let’s move off from Elliott before it’s too late.

Kenny Golladay, WR NYG

Golladay signed with the New York Giants last off-season and significantly underperformed in his first season with New York. He had just 37 receptions for 521 yards and zero touchdowns and finished as the WR81 in PPR scoring. He ultimately has not been the number one receiver the Giants expected when they signed him. Golladay has battled through multiple thighs, hip, and even rib strains in each of the last two years. With all of these injuries, and the disappointing 2021 season, this has me pondering, who exactly is Golladay?

Courtesy of NY Post

In 2019, Golladay had 65 receptions, 1,190 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns, which was the best season of his career. In 2018, he had 70 receptions, 1,063 receiving yards, and five touchdowns. The Giants thought they were getting the guy from 2018 and 2019. Instead, he was quite underwhelming in his first season with New York.

In 2021, he only had a 16.6% target share (significantly less than the 22.3% and 21.1% he had in 2018 and 2019), and his efficiency with those limited targets was not great. He had just a 50% catch rate, which was less than the 59.3% from the 2018 season and the 56.0% from the 2019 season. Giants’ QBs had a 73.1 QB rating when targeting Golladay in 2021. Previously, in 2018, Golladay had a 96.1 QB rating in 2018 and a 105.1 QB rating in 2019. That 73.1 mark is very concerning. (Stats courtesy of PlayerProfiler.com)

On top of that, the Giants are going through many changes in their front office and on the coaching staff, which is concerning since this new regime did not bring in Golladay.

Given the injuries, the inefficiency, the coaching changes, I’d instead look elsewhere for someone I can count on from week to week. Some players with an ADP near Golladay: Gabriel Davis, Van Jefferson, and Corey Davis. Each of those names feels like safer investments to me than Golladay.

NFC East Hold

CeeDee Lamb, WR DAL

Lamb is a sensational talent. The former first-round draft pick that has shown glimpses of his potential, and we fantasy managers are waiting for him to put it all together. In his rookie season, 2020, he had 74 receptions, 935 yards receiving, and five touchdowns. He just missed a 1,000-yard rookie season.

In 2021, he cleared that threshold with 79 receptions, 1,102 receiving yards, and even added one more touchdown as well, yet some folks are debating if Lamb is worthy of his top-five dynasty receiver status. There’s reason to believe that Lamb can do even more than what has been done.

For starters, he’s still very young and has his long-term QB, which is great to see. The Dak Prescott to Lamb connection will be a fun one to watch over the next several seasons.

Next, he’s seen an increase in targets from his rookie season, and there’s reason to believe that even more targets could be coming Lamb’s way. Fellow teammate Michael Gallup is a free agent and could likely sign elsewhere. That would vacate just over six targets per game (Gallup had 105 and 62 targets each of the last two seasons). Dalton Schultz is also a free agent and could be too pricey for the Cowboys to keep. Schultz had 89 targets in 2020 and 104 targets in 2021. If either Schultz or Gallup signs elsewhere, that opens up plenty of opportunity for Lamb and even Amari Cooper.

I firmly believe that Lamb’s price of WR3 is very fair. When you draft Lamb, you are drafting the number one receiver on the offense that scored the most points in the NFL. Considering that Lamb is just 22 years old, there is continuity in the Cowboys’ offense, and the potential vacated targets, there is plenty of reason for optimism moving forward.

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