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2019 Season Computer Simulation Chat -- RC and XC Discuss the NFC East

Date:
June 4, 2019 6:02 PM
June 12, 2019 7:47 AM

NFL Mock Draft guru Xavier Cromartie and I (RC) recently published a daily series we do about this time every year – a computer simulation of the upcoming NFL season based on our inputs on the talent levels of the rosters, the schedule challenge/interpretations, etc.

Now, we are publishing our annual post-simulation chat about each division in the NFL -- looking at our differences and asking various questions about teams in the division. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we’re far apart.

We’ll be publishing our chat, done via email, division-by-division each day and soon after we’ll be publishing our ‘Top 3’ over/under win total bets with a fictitious $1,000 to spend on the three teams and seeing how we do after the season. We’ve both been ‘over/under’ winners for a couple of years now…you could make money following our ideas. Or just sit back and enjoy the free discussion and debate of ideas.

Please note, we were emailing back and forth. There might/will be typos, grammar things, abbreviations…but they’re limited, and you’ll be able to follow just fine, but note this is the raw transcript of our discussions…

NFC-E (XC) W L .PCT

x-PHI … 9 - 7 = 0.563

DAL … 6 - 10 = 0.375

WAS … 5 - 11 = 0.313

NYG … 5 - 11 = 0.313

NFC East (RC)

DAL … 9 - 7 = 0.563

PHI … 9 - 7 = 0.563

WAS … 6 - 10 = 0.375

NYG … 4 - 12 = 0.250


RC: We have about the same projections on the NFC East with every team except the Dallas Cowboys. I have them winning the division and you have them going 6-10. I'm not going to defend Dallas to the death, but I do think they have what it takes to get 8-9 wins -- strong defense with depth and I take Dak over Wentz, personally (but I’m cool with Wentz too). I think Dallas has a nice 1-53 man roster with a terrible head coach that stays out the way but won't help them get to the next level and an owner who sell his soul to win/make a trade in-season if needed.

I'm as worried about the direction of the Eagles. I don't get what they are doing with their personnel. You look back at their last 4-5 drafts and it is terrible. Dallas Goedert is great, but a backup for them. Al Dillard makes a lot of sense, love that -- but then I'm not sure they have a strong player drafted/starting for the past 4-5 years last 20-30 picks (at a quick glance). A great O-Line. A defense leaking talent for a few years and one of the worst secondaries in the league. Doug Pederson is the best coach in the division, and they have the best O-Line, but Dallas has a good+ O-Line and a much better pass rush and secondary. Wentz is fine, but injury prone and St. Nick can't save them anymore. I think they're closer to Dallas than further apart. I wouldn't be surprised if the NFC East winner is 8-8 this year. Do you have a 'good' feeling about the Eagles...or just 'someone has to win!' feeling?

XC: I think that the Cowboys are more of a 7-8 win team than 6 wins, even though I projected them 6-10. They beat my projections last season. I know that in most recent years, they are an 8-9 win type of team. Because the Cowboys are so bland, I think that they can lose to weak teams in games that they're supposed to win. One issue for me is that although the Redskins and Giants seem like four easy games, they are not so easy when they are your division rivals. Every team puts extra focus on beating division rivals.

I'm not a real fan of the Cowboys' talent either. I liked Byron Jones and Leighton Vander Esch as draft prospects. The rest of the team doesn't excite me much. I would rather let Dak Prescott go elsewhere than pay him $30M/year. However, I am a longtime fan of Kellen Moore, and I think that he's going to be a good offensive coordinator (and hopefully head coach when Jason Garrett is fired). We'll see if he does something other than run mediocre RB Ezekiel Elliott.

I'll agree that if you look at the Eagles' roster, you see a lot of old guys. They aren't finding young talent. They might be in trouble in the next few years. But the guys that they have are still getting it done for now. Although the Eagles are not exceptional anywhere, they also lack major weaknesses except perhaps at LB. I don't think they're backing into a division title; I think that they are a real playoff team. The schedule isn't too tough. They have the tools to generate offense. They could win 9 or 10 games. Historically they're a quality franchise.

RC: Would you agree with this statement in 2019...Alex Smith 16-games healthy and never had that injury from 2018 -- the Redskins sneaky favorites to win the NFC East (again, this is a sad division)?

XC: No, I wouldn't agree with that statement. The Redskins are one of the least talented teams in the league. There is not a single star player on either offense or defense. Josh Norman is 32 and no longer a threatening CB. They overpaid Landon Collins just because he's from Alabama; his performance is nothing special. As a unit, the defense seems to work better than the individual talent suggests, but it's not by much. Alex Smith probably will never play again, but if he did I wouldn't consider him much of an upgrade over Dwayne Haskins. I don't think either one is very good at this point. The Redskins were a fraud 7-win team last season. Without Kirk Cousins, they're back to being a 5-6 win team, like the worst teams in the league are.

RC: I think the Redskins have an underrated, really good O-Line. A solid D-Line front with Montez Sweat added to their OLB pass rush. I like the Redskins secondary when it's healthy Norman-Dunbar-Moreau. I don’t like Landon Collins, but you know how I feel about safeties anyway. He's fine-ish.

I just think the Redskins have some Eagles and Cowboys traits...very good O-Line, plausible backfield/WRs/TEs, and a decent+ defense when healthy. I like the Redskins defense better than the Eagles defense in 2019. In 2018, the Redskins were #15 in PPG allowed (PHI #12), yards allowed WAS #17, PHI #23.

The thing is, the Redskins were averaging 19.3 PPG allowed thru their first nine games (top 3 in the league) and then Quinton Dunbar went down, and a few other injury hits happened, and they lost Alex Smith/control on offense. Before Smith went down last year, the Redskins were 6-3 and Dallas and Philly were both 4-5 -- and then Smith went out and all hell broke loose.

In no universe is Dwayne Haskins near as good as Alex Smith...not right now for sure. I'm just saying a healthy, never brutally injured Smith going at a fading Philly and unpredictable Dallas franchise -- they could mix it up for that 8-8 win the division title claim.

XC: The Redskins have two decent OLs in Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff but they're not dominating. The other three are ordinary guys. They have potentially the worst WR trio in the league and then never-reliable TE Jordan Reed. Chris Thompson is also too brittle to use more than a few plays per game. Anyone can win some games if they do what the Redskins did. They admitted that they have weak talent, so they tried to play the old game of ball-control and no-turnovers. Their wins were four road games against the worst teams in the league and three mediocre teams at home. Against good teams they got whacked all season. They were frauds. Now they've lost four of their best defensive players (Zach Brown, Preston Smith, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DJ Swearinger) and replaced them with weaker players (except maybe Montez Sweat). And then Dwayne Haskins, who fails the minimum QB athleticism threshold, comes in as starter.

RC: How about the Giants? I really like everything they are doing with the youth rebuild and jettisoning overpriced veterans, etc., except it's all negated by Eli Manning being a waste of space in this era and Daniel Jones was maybe the worst pick valuation in the entire draft. They have a really promising secondary a year or two from now and that D-Line is good/deep and a plausible LB group. The O-Line is improving. Workable WRs-TEs. Saquon at RB. I would say this is the NFC East team of the future, but it's all negated by Daniel Jones, which will get Shurmur and that GM fired in a year or two -- and it's their own fault. It's a shame...a nice rebuild plan all crushed by one glaring mistake, no?

XC: Saquon is a stud but there's not much else of interest. They have a bunch of serviceable players, but it's a problem when the team doesn't have anyone special other than Saquon. I like Julian Love as a CB more than Deandre Baker. Both are slow, unfortunately. I'm a Dexter Lawrence guy but he's not going to impact wins and losses very much. I knew the Giants were taking Daniel Jones all along, but I don't get it. It's not just the Giants but certain scouts are in love with him. They really are projecting "Manning" traits into Jones just because of the relationships there. The analytics community hates him and will likely be proven right. If I were a Giants fan, I would hope that Jones fails for two years, the Giants dump everyone, and they end up with the first pick in 2021 to get Trevor Lawrence.

RC: NFC East Random questions...

(1) First head coach fired from the NFC East current group?

(2) The Giants ditched Eli and signed Nick Foles...would you see them .500-ish or better or still a losing record.

(3) You're the GM...pay the big contract to get either Wentz or Dak?

(4) If you were now the Giants GM...would you trade Saquon for a King's ransom right now in the NFL?

(5) Which team realizes the made a mistake first and drafts a 1st-round QB before the other does...Washington or NYG?

(6) Best hidden super-talent, regardless of position, in the NFC East -- a hidden, underappreciated, whatever type player is who?

XC: If the Cowboys have a disappointing season, Jason Garrett should be gone. For his career, all he has is three losses in the divisional round of the playoffs. They have their future head coach, Kellen Moore, waiting to take over. Moore could land the job before the season ends if they fall out of the playoff race.

I wouldn't pay Dak Prescott if I were the Cowboys. Certainly not at the price that he expects. I'd rather let him ruin someone else's cap space. Carson Wentz has shown high-end potential. I'd pay Wentz if I were in the Eagles' situation.

I think that Nick Foles would improve the Giants by about one win. They'd win six or seven. The Giants will probably replace Daniel Jones before the Redskins replace Dwayne Haskins. Haskins was more of the owner's pick, and Haskins theoretically has some QB potential compared to Jones. In two or three years, the Giants could throw out everyone in management. Once this group is out, Jones is out with them. It feels similar to the Jake Locker era in Tennessee.

I love Saquon but I'd be happy to trade him for something that will get me more wins. Looking at everyone's roster, I think the best trade that I could propose would be to the Bucs: Saquon Barkley for Chris Godwin and OJ Howard.

I'm going to say that the secret unappreciated talent lurking in the NFC East is JJ Arcega-Whiteside. We disagree on this player, for the same reasons that pro scouts disagree on this player. Doubters say that he doesn't get open. I say just throw it to him, because he's going to make the catch, contested or not. Somewhat of a Kenny Golladay type.

RC: My answers to the NFC East Random questions...

(1) First head coach fired from the NFC East current group?

I'll agree it's Jason Garrett, but Jay Gruden is hot on his heels...and, I maintain, that it's somewhat undeserved because he's had nothing but injuries to deal with. He loses Trent Williams, and maybe it is Gruden 'for the win'.

(2) The Giants ditched Eli and signed Nick Foles...would you see them .500-ish or better or still a losing record.

I think the Giants are a year away from being a division winner with the right QB, but not Eli or Jones. Foles might could swing them to 8-8, and that might be in the title race by the end in this division.

(3) You're the GM...pay the big contract to get either Wentz or Dak?

I'm a Dak guy, by a slight edge. I think he's the better passer, better leader, and most importantly -- more sturdy/less injury-prone. I'm not against riding with Wentz, but I think the gap between them is not much. Wentz gets credit for his great start to 2017 but Dak gets no credit for the even more stunning rookie season he had as a shock starter. Wentz gets some odd secondhand smoke credit for Nick Foles bailing this franchise out twice. I don't get the hate for Dak by people. Love for Wentz is OK, cool...but why disrespect Dak? If Wentz is a franchise QB, then Dak is. I'd rather go neither and get an elite passer, but NFL teams get stuck settling.

(4) If you were now the Giants GM...would you trade Saquon for a King's ransom right now in the NFL?

How could you propose that trade for Saquon...a WR and a TE? Saquon for real QB would be my target. But then as I thought of a deal, I thought no one would trade me their franchise QB...so it goes to show how ridiculous NFL teams are wasting draft capital on an RB. Saquon and Daniel Jones for Russell Wilson? I would trade Saquon in a minute...an RB paying all that high-draft pick money to is criminal.

(5) Which team realizes the made a mistake first and drafts a 1st-round QB before the other does...Washington or NYG?

I agree it's NYG. Jones will play in 2019 or to start 2020 and be exposed, taking Shurmur and Gettleman with him and the new group comes in and drafts their guy.  

(6) Best hidden super-talent, regardless of position, in the NFC East -- a hidden, underappreciated, whatever type player is who?

I'm going to avoid naming rookies, but Al Dillard to Philly this year is smart. I like Will Hernandez OG NYG as the guy who helps Saquon get richer and Byron Jones as a the best shutdown corner in the division...a guy wasted as a safety for years because the NFL really gets talent. Quinton Dunbar CB Wash., I think, is another key player that changes things for his team when he's totally healthy.

XC: Prescott is good enough to start in the NFL but he's not enough to put a team over the top. He's a guy that you get stuck with for a decade and never win anything. Some years are better than others, but none are ever good enough. If a team doesn't have one of the top-15 or so QBs, then they won't win a Super Bowl. That's why I'd let low-level starters walk away when it's time to pay them.

No one is going to trade a franchise QB for any RB. The best info we have is to base a trade on what the Steelers tried to get for Le'Veon Bell. They wanted a second-round pick and a player. No one agreed to that. I tried to propose a trade that is realistic. The Bucs need a RB. They act like they didn't want to draft OJ Howard. Chris Godwin hasn't had a chance to break out yet. Those are two outstanding receiving options that would contribute to winning a lot more than any RB.

Byron Jones is great, and I think everyone knows that now. We were 100% correct about him as a draft prospect. I swear by the broad jump as a useful metric.

RC: I should've clarified...I would have tried to get Wilson before the big contract, and knowing I was likely spitting into the wind...but offering Saquon + the #6 pick in the draft + my 2020 #1 + Janoris Jenkins, pre-Wilson deal maybe would've stopped and made them think. Maybe they'd be suckers for Saquon to run the ball in their all-run game they don't apologize for. Seriously, there are no semi-young franchise QBs to even trade for that are like in a weird place/spot/contract situation. And Saquon wouldn't get it done for one...again, the spending NYG is going to do on Saquon is ridiculous. Hey, at least they are smartly not putting all their eggs in the Saquon/a single RB's basket...they have Paul Perkins and Wayne Gallman just in case.

NFL team's stupidity knows no bounds.



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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>