Hallelujah! Tom Brady and his rein of terror in the AFC East has come to an end. For 17 of the last 19 years, the New England Patriots have put the boots to their divisional opponents. Aside from the New York Jets winning the AFC East in 2002 and the Miami Dolphins winning it in 2008, the Patriots have been the Bills’, Dolphins’ and Jets’ daddy. What will this year bring? Can Bill Belichick actually keep the Patriots at the top of the division? Take a look at the preview of the AFC East heading into the 2020 NFL season.
Say what?! Your fantasy football league didn’t use Fantrax last year? Unthinkable! Check out all the features Fantrax has to offer, and we think you’ll be singing a different tune for the coming season.
AFC East Fantasy Previews
The Buffalo Bills
I’ve never been a Bills fan despite their proximity to my home, mainly because I’m not a glutton for punishment. However, this just may be the year to jump on the bandwagon if that’s your style.
An impressive 10-6 last year, the Bills took advantage of their wealth of cap space in 2020 and added Stefon Diggs to what should now be a very respectable receiving corps with John Brown and Cole Beasley. The Bills also got some much-needed size at receiver when they drafted the talented Gabriel Davis.
In the backfield, they drafted Zack Moss to give the Bills the true one-two they couldn’t achieve with the dependable, but clearly pooched Frank Gore. Add in a potential leap from the exciting Josh Allen, and we could see some fireworks. The only real question mark on the offensive side is what they’ll get out of Dawson Knox and Tyler Kroft. In the end though, it may not matter with how good they look everywhere else.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bills didn’t really need to do anything, but they spent anyway. In 2019 the Bills’ defense ranked third overall. They were 10th versus the run and fourth against the pass. Some would say the 2019 unit was among the best in franchise history, so the Bills making additions really makes you wonder how good they could be in 2020. They added DE A.J. Epenesa in the 2nd round while also signing EDGE Mario Addison, CB’s E.J. Gaines and Josh Norman, DE Quinton Jefferson, and DT Vernon Butler via free agency. Maybe this is the year the hurt train comes to halt.
Projection: 12-4 (Ya, I said it!)
The Miami Dolphins
We’re going to see if trusting the process really worked for the Miami Dolphins. They were a burning diaper filled dumpster in 2019, but ended up with six 2020 draft picks in the first 3 rounds to help their cause.
The 2019 running game was pitiful to say the least, but should be quite improved with the additions of Jordan Howard and Matt Brieda. Both could reach 1,000 total yards behind an offensive line that added tackles Austin Jackson (Round 1) and Robert Hunt (Round 2), while also signing FA Erik Flowers. It may not be the best offensive line, but it should be good enough to help the dolphins be respectable running the ball while affording their QB solid protection.
When it comes to pass-catchers, the Dolphins may have a very nice duo with Devante Parker and Preston Williams who could both push for 1,000 yards in 2020.
At tight end, Mike Gesicki is a prime breakout candidate entering his 3rd year. Oh, and they also added what they hope will be there franchise QB of the future in the electric Tua Tagovailoa. The dolphins just might be a sneaky good offense in 2020 regardless of who starts at QB.
The defensive unit looks to be the most improved for the Dolphins. Not only did they draft CB Noah Igbinoghene (Round 1) and DT Raekwon Davis (Round 2), but they opened up their wallet for defensive free agents.
- Bryon Jones – 5 years, $82.5M
- Kyle Van Noy – 4 years, $51M
- Shaq Lawson – 3 years, $30M
- Emmanuel Ogbah – 2 years, $15M
This is a massively upgraded defense and they could very well have the best CB duo in the game with Xavier Howard and Byron Jones. Its time for the Dolphins to go to work in the AFC East in 2020.
The New York Jets
The Jets are another team in the AFC East that is no stranger to futility, but there is hope on the horizon…maybe?
The offense isn’t getting much respect, but if things go their way, it just could be fairly good. The offensive line was pathetic in 2019. They made it a point of emphasis in the off-season of making significant additions. They signed C Connor McGovern, OL Greg Van Roten, and T George Fant in free agency, while also adding stud T Mekhi Becton in the 1st round. It pays to have a GM that’s a former offensive lineman. Le’Veon Bell struggled last year behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. His running style makes a solid offensive line more important for him than most RB’s. You can’t be a patient RB and wait for holes that will never open. These additions should help him to greatly improve his efficiency.
The Jets also added Breshad Perriman and drafted the talented Denzel Mims to compliment Jamison Crowder. The return of promising tight end Chris Herndon as well as a healthy Sam Darnold could equate to a very respectable offense…if Adam Gase can manage not to mess it up. That’s a big if though, Jets fans.
On the defensive side, there weren’t any big splashes in the draft or free agency. The Jets drafted S Ashtyn Davis and EDGE Jabari Zuniga in the 3rd round while signing CB Pierre Desir and EDGE Jordan Jenkins via free agency. The good news is, the Jets had some nice pieces on defense already, so it may be an underrated unit if they can develop and have solid coaching.
Also check out Corbin Young’s take on the AFC West!
The New England Patriots
This looks funny, huh? No, I don’t believe Bill Belichick can pull this off. The AFC East no longer belongs to Bill and his Patriots. Who did they add? Pretty much no one of significance. They also didn’t have a first-round pick, but they did add S Kyle Dugger and LB Josh Uche in the 2nd round. They had three third-round picks and used them to draft EDGE Anfernee Jennings, TE Devin Asiasi, and TE Dalton Keene. I think its safe to say these guys won’t be enough to help the Patriots overcome their significant losses. It also remains to be seen what we can expect from Jarrett Stidham.
Who did they lose? WR Phillip Dorsett, DT Danny Shelton, OLB Jamie Collins, OLD Kyle Van Noy, S Duron Harmon, and some dude named Brady. They still have plenty of pieces in Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, and what should be a strong running game with Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, and Damien Harris. The problem is, the other 3 teams in the divisions look better on paper.
The Patriots will likely be respectable, and perhaps Bill shows us just how easily he can polish a turd into gold, but it looks like its going to be a long year for Patriots fans. The AFC East is finally free from the Patriots’ stranglehold. Rejoice Patriots haters.
Got a different take on how the AFC East plays out? Share it in the comments below.
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2019, and we’re not letting our foot off the pedal now! With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.