All 32: Breakouts to Buy in the AFC East by @GNFF_Dynasty
MIAMI DOLPHINS: KALEN BALLAGE – RB
Surprised? It’s Kalen Ballage for the Miami Dolphins and his price is dirt cheap. Per Fantasy Football Calculator, Ballage’s ADP is currently 14.06. A simple dart throw could pay off and here’s why. All KB has to do is beat out Kenyan Drake who is not fully proven, rushing for 535 yards on 120 carries – scoring just four TDs in 2018. Ballage touched the ball way less and averaged 5.3 YPC (36 carries/191 yards). With a new coaching staff, the competition should be wide open. Ballage is 6-2, 237 pounds and runs sub 4.4 with a speed score of 115.2 (97th percentile) according to Player Profiler. Physically, it’s clear Ballage is a specimen and has home run ability. When he did get his chance against the Vikings, he finished with 12 carries, 123 yards and a TD. We can see the Dolphins using the Patriot way, rotating Drake and Ballage before he takes over and shocks the AFC East.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: SONY MICHEL – RB
To the defending Super Bowl Champions and their workhorse back Sony Michel. Michel had an absolutely dominant postseason, setting an NFL rookie record with six rushing touchdowns. He went off for 71/336/6 on the ground in his three postseason games. Only ten other RBs have scored five-plus TDs in the postseason and seven are in the Hall of Fame. The Patriots fully leaned on Sony last year and you can 100% expect them to do the same this year. He was the first skill position player taken in the first round by New England since Laurence Maroney in 2006. The Pats followed that up by taking N’Keal Harry this year. With Sony in the fold, New England went from passing 60% of the time in 2017, to 55% of the time in 2018. All signs point to Sony being fully healthy for 2019 and the knee procedure he had is described as a “clean-up”. Multiple reports indicate he is progressing quickly since his most recent arthroscopic knee surgery and has been running full tilt. Michel finished as the RB35 last year in PPR, playing in only 13 games but he seriously flashed at times – putting up almost 1,000 yards. He got 17-plus carries in seven of 13 games but the biggest knock on him is his lack of targets. I think there’s a good chance with a full offseason plus training camp that we could see Sony improve here. James White earned five targets his rookie season, and we all know how well he’s done since then. We’ve seen Patriots backs like LeGarrette Blount be highly productive for fantasy without being pass catchers but that is always going to be incredibly TD dependent. Right now Michel’s dynasty ADP is the lowest it’s been ever. This makes him a prime buy candidate. Public perception on him is obviously down, and I think he can improve in the passing game enough to raise his floor. There were times watching him last year where I was really impressed by his vision. He is very patient in the backfield and can make guys miss with well-timed cuts. I am not incredibly worried about Damien Harris either. Sure, he’ll be involved but the Patriots used a first round pick on Michel and rode him hard in the playoffs.
BUFFALO BILLS: JOSH ALLEN – QB
In Buffalo, QB Josh Allen started to come on during the latter part of the season, showing some big play ability with both his arm and legs. In his last five games Allen posted 200-plus yards per game and a total of seven TDs. Allen also surprised critics by finishing second in QB rushing yards with 631 and lead his position with eight rushing TDs. He had 95-plus rushing yards in four of his last six games. But Allen was turnover prone – among the league leaders in turnovers with 12 INTs and eight umbles. This was not all his fault as Allen had no help from the offensive unit, spending most of all games running for his life and throwing to WRs that could not create any separation. The Bills made a few moves in the offseason that will help the maturation of the Allen, by replacing four out of the five offensive linemen from last year. Adding veterans WRs like speedster John Brown and slot standout Cole Beasley to fuse with an emerging Zay Jones and big name sleeper Robert Foster. The backfield has also been revamped with veterans like Frank Gore, TJ Yeldon and rookie Devin Singletary to back up LeSean McCoy. With the new look offense and a focus on limiting turnovers, Josh Allen has a prime opportunity to breakout in 2019.
NEW YORK JETS: SAM DARNOLD – QB
Last season, Sam Darnold emerged as the starter from day one and gradually improved as the year went on. Darnold ended the year from weeks 13-16 with an average of 23.7 PPG and increased his yards per attempt from 6.83 to 7.83 in this span. If we can continue to see the improvement from Darnold in year two, in which we see the greatest jump in fantasy points for QBs, then Darnold can really emerge as a guy who can be relied upon as a consistent fantasy producer. With the emergence of Jamison Crowder and Le’veon Bell to the offense, along with new offensive minded coach Adam Gase – we expect to see Darnold flourish with great talent around him. Darnold is currently being drafted outside of the top 20 QBs but would be a great bet as a late flier in deep leagues or a very strong buy in dynasty leagues.