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Fantasy Football 2023: NFC East Player Projections

Philadelphia Eagles Jalen Hurts A.J. Brown
Dec 4, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) and wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) walks off the field after win against the Tennessee Titans at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

An NFL projections model offers valuable insights, helping fantasy football enthusiasts analyze team outcomes based on data-driven analysis. You can think of these projections as a guide. Yes, Saquon Barkley is a top-five running back, but why? If you feel Barkley will have fewer than 11 total touchdowns, you may be inclined to move him down your rankings. If you think DeVonta Smith finishes with more targets than A.J. Brown, you likely will rank him higher.

These projections look to provide a median output for all players without considering an entire range of outcomes. For example, my model projects the Washington Commanders as a bottom-scoring offense. What if Sam Howell puts together a convincing QB1 season? It’s certainly in the world of possibilities, but not captured by this model.

Note on methodology: The above projections are built using machine learning (ML) algorithms in Python. Using historical player, team, and league stats/tendencies, an ML model can predict likely outcomes for NFL players. 

It’s nearly impossible to model with 100 percent accuracy. Injuries, breakouts, and surprises happen in many shapes and forms every season. Each player is modeled as if the team stays healthy for 17 straight games. Of course, this is a pipedream. 

Note: All scoring below is in .5 PPR

NFC East Player Projections

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys CeeDee Lamb Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott, 308 Fantasy Points (18.1 PPG, QB10): 

605 attempts, 402 completions, 4,320 yards, 31.8 TDs

37 rushes, 151 yards, 3.5 TDs

Dak Prescott is an analytically backed good quarterback ... most of the time. He was third in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play last year if you remove all quarterback turnovers. Unfortunately, that’s a stat he led the NFL in. Prescott would be a top-five NFL quarterback if everything went his way. He’s yet to put everything together, but he should still be a decent late-round QB1 option in a high-scoring option.

CeeDee Lamb, 265 Fantasy Points (15.6 PPG, WR5):

163 targets, 109 receptions, 1421 yards, 10.8 TDs

Few wide receivers were better down the stretch than CeeDee Lamb last season. Lamb has proven to be among the best NFL wide receivers and is projected for another monster season.

Brandin Cooks, 132 Fantasy Points (7.8 PPG, WR42):

100 targets, 63 receptions, 684 yards, 4.9 TDs

Brandin Cooks was consistently a top-24 option at WR until last season. I worry these projections are too bearish on Cooks despite his WR39 ADP.  Cooks is a sneaky option in the mid-late rounds.

Michael Gallup, 103 Fantasy Points (6.1 PPG, WR59):

75 targets, 47 receptions, 389 yards, 4.4 TDs

Michael Gallup has shown flashes of being a solid NFL player, but at 27, his best seasons are likely behind him.

Tony Pollard, 149 Fantasy Points (13.0 PPG, RB7):

202 rushes, 933 yards, 4.7 TDs

73 targets, 53 receptions, 516 yards, 4.2 TDs

Everything about Tony Pollard's situation makes him an un-sexy RB1 overall candidate. He is a viable top-seven option at running back.

Jake Ferguson, 87 Fantasy Points (5.1 PPG, TE24):

75 targets, 47 receptions, 389 yards, 4.4 TDs

Jake Ferguson may not even be the team's starting tight end, especially with the addition of rookie TE Luke Schoonmaker. He’s hardly worth a speculative add.

The Dallas Cowboys are one of my favorite offenses to draft this offseason. My model projects them as the fifth highest-scoring offense. If you think that’s too high, remember that this team led the NFL in points for two straight seasons with a healthy Prescott. The week 17 game against Detroit is poised to be a shootout, giving even more appeal for drafting players from this potential top-five offense.

New York Giants

New York Giants Daniel Jones Saquon Barkley

Daniel Jones, 323 Fantasy Points (19.0 PPG, QB9): 

536 attempts, 350 completions, 3,757 yards, 21.6 TDs

114 rushes, 674 yards, 6.5 TDs

Daniel Jones was the QB5 from Week 10 onward last season. He has top-five upside, is firmly projected to be a top-10 quarterback, and is poised to silence doubters this season. 

Saquon Barkley, 260 Fantasy Points (15.3 PPG, RB4)

303 rushes, 1317 yards, 9.4 TDs

69 targets, 47 receptions, 365 yards, 2.2 TDs

Barkley is primed for another elite season at running back. Assuming he can maintain his success on the ground and regain his footing as a receiver, overall, RB1 is in the world of outcomes for Barkley.

Darren Waller, 177 Fantasy Points (9.2 PPG, TE4)

114 targets, 78 receptions, 925 yards, 4.5 TDs

Darren Waller is projected to lead the Giants in target share. Waller is a fringe elite tight end option.

Isaiah Hodgins, 102 Fantasy Points (6.0 PPG, WR60)

72 targets, 48 receptions, 560 yards, 4.0 TDs

Darius Slayton, 96 Fantasy Points (5.7 PPG, WR63)

74 targets, 43 receptions, 580 yards, 3.2 TDs

Jalin Hyatt, 65 Fantasy Points (3.8 PPG, WR86)

49 targets, 31 receptions, 407 yards, 1.8 TDs

This offense may be too high funnel to involve Jalin Hyatt at all. Still, his upside is a potential perennial WR1 for the Giants, making him worth a flyer in the deepest of leagues.

The New York Giants offense is full of sleepers. My model projects the trio of Jones, Barkley and Waller to all finish in the top 10 at their positions. Even the wide receiver group is likely to produce one weekly flex option. The offense is projected for 41 TDs, the 17th most, making them incredibly average from a TD standpoint. Still, the high funnel nature between the main trio should be enough to keep them afloat.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Hurts, 370 Fantasy Points (21.8 PPG, QB4): 

525 attempts, 334 completions, 4,113 yards, 25.9 TDs

162 rushes, 761 yards, 9.6 TDs

Jalen Hurts led the NFL in fantasy points per game last season. Although regression is to be expected, it's not out of line to rank him as the QB1.

A.J. Brown, 235 Fantasy Points (13.8 PPG, WR8)

148 targets, 92 receptions, 1367 yards, 9.1 TDs

Brown is the WR1 on this team and one of the best options in the NFL. 

DeVonta Smith, 188 Fantasy Points (11.1 PPG, WR17)

133 targets, 81 receptions, 1075 yards, 7.1 TDs

Smith had a stellar 2022 after disappointing his rookie season. Expect his numbers to regress a bit, which makes it hard to justify his WR13 price tag. Smith will be a solid player this year but does not project well.

Dallas Goedert, 115 Fantasy Points (6.8 PPG, TE11)

93 targets, 55 receptions, 691 yards, 3.5 TDs

The TE1 for the Philadelphia Eagles had some hot and cold weeks in 2022. If healthy, Goedert is a week-in and week-out starter for fantasy, but expect his best weeks to be when the other talented Philadelphia pass catchers underperform.

D'Andre Swift, 139 Fantasy Points (8.2 PPG, RB36)

116 rushes, 549 yards, 2.6 TDs

48 targets, 38 receptions, 346 yards, 3.0 TDs

My model projects D'Andre Swift to earn the receiving role, with Rashaad Penny to earn the rushing role. This makes Swift more valuable in PPR formats. Swift may be in a better situation than ever, but his historical letdowns have my model pessimistic.

Rashaad Penny 127 Fantasy Points (7.5 PPG, RB39)

196 rushes, 838 yards, 6 TDs

11 targets, eight receptions, 40 yards, 0.1 TDs

Both should be flex options, but unfortunately, each running back will likely prevent the other from true fantasy relevance. These players will likely alternate spike weeks and immediately become an RB2 option with the other injured.

The defending NFC Champions are projected to be the third highest-scoring offense in the NFL. This offense is packed with quality weekly starters despite some uncertainty week to week. This offense is one of my favorites to target for best ball formats.

Washington Commanders 

Washington Commanders Jahan Dotson

Sam Howell, 231 Fantasy Points (13.6 PPG, QB26):

499 attempts, 296 completions, 3,505 yards, 18.4 TDs

53 rushes, 383 yards, 1.5 TDs

Howell has shown some flashes, but he will be a bottom-10 quarterback without taking a humongous leap forward in 2023.

Terry McLaurin, 174 Fantasy Points (10.2 PPG, WR26)

111 targets, 68 receptions, 986 yards, 5.7 TDs

Terry McLaurin was projected as a top-20 wide receiver ahead of his turf toe injury. Washington’s leading target earner has been McLaurin since his rookie season. My model expects this to continue, with Jahan Dotson creeping ever closer.

Jahan Dotson, 154 Fantasy Points (9.1 PPG, WR33)

106 targets, 66 receptions, 748 yards, 4.5 TDs

There is a genuine chance Dotson leads this wide receiver room, especially with McLaurin’s injury. He’s a value at WR36.

Brian Robinson Jr., 164 Fantasy Points (9.7 PPG, RB29)

234 rushes, 910 yards, 7.0 TDs

32 targets, 21 receptions, 171 yards, 1.0 TD

Brian Robinson Jr. is slated to be a bellcow rusher despite seeing limited volume through the air. Robinson’s role won’t change much, even with an Antonio Gibson injury.

Antonio Gibson, 160 Fantasy Points (9.4 PPG, RB31)

159 rushes, 582 yards, 4.2 TDs

62 targets, 45 receptions, 393 yards, 3.1 TDs

Often called the “J.D. McKissic Role,” Gibson looks to be third in the team in targets. He likely won’t provide enough total upside to be a solid RB2, but he has flex appeal. Gibson has more upside than Robinson and becomes a high-end RB2 with any Robinson injury.

If Howell proves to be a starting-caliber quarterback, these projections will be way off. Currently, the offense is projected for 36 touchdowns, the seventh-fewest. The McLaurin injury is a murky situation, creating an opportunity for Dotson to be the team's WR1. Otherwise, every player provides little value beyond a weekly flex option.

Other Projections

AFC: South | East | West | North

NFC: South | North   

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