05 Aug NFC East: Wins Total Futures
The football season is less than two months away. This means fantasy drafts are starting, and it is time to make some money!
This series will look at each division to see what teams we should, and should not, bet on based on the Las Vegas numbers for Over/Under Futures. You will also notice, there is not a ton of talk about numbers from last season. This is for good reason. Not only was last season an anomaly, but we also turn the page on a new chapter of NFL football in 2021. One which sees us with a 17-game schedule. We will be using the numbers from FanDuel Sportsbook for this exercise, and as we know, these numbers can change depending on what happens before the season.
Last Season NFC East O/U Futures Record: 1-3
NFC East: Wins Total Futures
Dallas Cowboys | Over/Under 9.5 Wins
Last season was a disaster for Dallas. Even before Dak Prescott was injured in the midst of a remarkable year, the team could not get out of its own way. Despite Prescott being on pace for more than 6,000 passing yards, the team was still only 1-3 in his four full games. And the one win came due to bad calls by the Atlanta Falcons (and new Cowboys defensive coordinator) Dan Quinn.
If 2021 is going to be any better, it starts on defense. The team drafted Micah Parsons at #12 in this year’s NFL draft, giving them a playmaking linebacker. But the defensive line is still a struggle, as is the secondary. If these units do not get fixed, it will be another long season for Dallas fans.
The offense should be great… as long as Prescott is fully healthy coming into the season. We saw in 2020 the importance of a backup quarterback. In the case of Dallas, they thought they had one in Andy Dalton, but it turned out to not be enough as the team limped to the finish line.
CeeDee Lamb seems to be a budding star, and we know what Amari Cooper can be. This duo, along with Michael Gallup, will once again be a top performing unit in the league. If Ezekiel Elliott cannot get back on track, this will most likely be the last season that he’s considered an elite rusher. This is the exact reason you do not give running backs bloated contracts. Tony Pollard seems quicker, and perhaps even a better fit in the offense. As a backup, he will provide a great value in fantasy drafts behind what is still a solid offensive line.
As for their record, this is a tough one. The NFC East is the weakest division in football. Player-by-player, Dallas has the most talent – at least on offense. But this is a two-way game, and their defense is dreadful enough to give me pause. Prescott alone has the talent to singlehandedly make me regret this decision, but I still have to go with my instincts. Washington won this division with a 7-9 record a season ago, and this year the winner should be over .500. It will not be Dallas though. I’m taking the Under.
New York Giants | Over/Under 7 Wins
The only thing you can say good about the Giants season from 2020 is that they beat Dallas in the final game to officially eliminate them from playoff contention. We can also say that the defense, under new head coach Joe Judge, showed signs of life as well.
Bringing in James Bradberry from Carolina proved to be a wonderful addition for Dave Gettleman and company. In a tenure full of bad or uneven decisions, this one is seemingly going to work out well. Adding Adoree Jackson on a bloated contract may have the opposite effect, although we will need to wait to find out.
The offense was a complete mess once Saquon Barkley went down for the season in Week 2. Optimists are saying he will be fully ready to start the season in 2021, but Barkley himself does not seem as certain. If he does miss some time, the Giants will again be in a world of hurt with Daniel Jones at the quarterback position.
Jones, in his first two years in the league, leads the NFL in turnovers. While some of these are interceptions, far too many of them are fumbles – something he has to be able to fix coming into year three. Although starting off slow, the offensive line came on strong by the end of 2020 behind No. 4 pick Andrew Thomas. Taking another step forward this year will go a long way towards keeping Jones upright and with the ball in his hands.
The receiver group for New York has been reworked this season. The addition of Kenny Golladay provides a talented option to pair with Jones. This will also allow Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard to move down to the WR2 and WR3 slots. Neither of these players are a WR1, and with Golladay they do not have to be. This will provide much needed help for a team looking to make the playoffs in this bad division.
The Giants finished strong last year. They will hope to carry that momentum into this season and build on what Joe Judge accomplished in year one. Will they win the division? Not likely. But they should be better than they were in 2020 – even if their record does not show it. I do think they can get to eight wins and battle Dallas for second place. Take the Over.
Philadelphia Eagles | Over/Under 6.5 Wins
What a season it was for the Philadelphia Eagles. Internal strife led to the departure of Doug Pederson only a few years after a Super Bowl win. It also led to the departure of Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts.
This season there will be an entirely new team dynamic in Philly. Not only are they being turned over to first-time head coach Nick Sirianni and his ‘rock, paper, scissors’ coaching mentality, but they are also turning over the offense to second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. While both of these plans may ultimately work out, we have yet to see anything from either of them to be overly excited about.
Hurts had a couple of good games last year, including a three-touchdown game against Arizona. But they lost that game in the end, and his other games were extremely uneven at best. The addition of Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith will bring a needed wide receiver threat to an offense which lacked greatly in this area in 2020. JJ Arcega-Whiteside has been a bust, and counting on the likes of Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward is not going to win games.
Zach Ertz seems to be on the way out of town, which will put all of the pressure squarely on Dallas Goedert to perform at tight end. This is an important position in the Eagles offense as they have, for the past decade or more, been great at the position. From Brent Celek to Ertz and now Goedert, it will be important for Hurts to find the connection with Goedert that past quarterbacks had with their tight ends. If they can find that connection, it will go a long way to determining whether this win total is able to be hit.
I am biased, having lived in the Philadelphia region my entire life, therefor rooting for the Eagles. That said, this team is terrible. If they can remain healthy, they might surprise, but it would surprise everyone if they did anything in 2021. It is seemingly a hope and pray type of year. For my money, there is no hope or prayer which could help this team for this season. I’m locked into the Under.
Washington Football Team | Over/Under 7.5
When looking at Washington, this number is criminal. Even last season, when they were throwing out Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, and remarkably, Alex Smith, they won seven games. The Football Team has what could be the best defense in the NFL in 2021, with Montez Sweat and Chase Young anchoring the line, stellar linebackers, and an elite secondary. This is the team to beat in the division.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has never met a pass he did not want to throw. On top of this, he also has a bit of rushing ability. Something he showed just two seasons ago as the leading rusher for Miami. With Antonio Gibson in the back field, and J.D. McKissic playing a role, he will not be counted on to lead the team, but his ability will make it easier for the rest of the backs in Washington.
The pass game is also going to get a huge boost from Fitzpatrick. Terry McLaurin is a stud. With a quarterback who loves to throw, he will continue on the trajectory he started as a newcomer. Something only slowed last season by two bad ankles and three bad quarterbacks.
With McLaurin as the number one, Washington brought in Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries to manage the underneath work. While not sexy, they are solid slot receivers, and will provide plenty of offense opposite McLaurin.
There is not much about this team to dislike. They went 7-9 in 2020, and with an extra game, a superior quarterback, and an elite defense, the number should be closer to nine. Take the Over.
Dominick is a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area. Playing fantasy football for more than 20 years and writing for more than five, he has a vast knowledge of both the NFL and fantasy football. Despite his being blind, Dominick is a consistent ranker amongst FantasyPros experts, and always strives to be better than last season. Follow him on Twitter @EnvisionFF and read his weekly Best Bets articles during the season.