NFL 2018: AFC East Sports Betting & DFS Preview for DraftKings & FanDuel

Posted By Nate Weitzer on August 27, 2018 - Last Updated on August 26, 2018

NFL 2018: AFC East Sports Betting & DFS Preview

The NFL is back and that means NFL DFS and sports betting is back! We’ve got a full series of previews for each division to ready you for the upcoming season.

The New England Patriots have dominated the AFC East more than any team has dominated any division in professional sports over the past two decades. With Tom Brady and Bill Belichick still at the helm of a loaded roster, the Pats are once again the odds-on favorites to win their division, conference and potentially another Super Bowl.

The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets have both taken considerable steps back over the past couple of years even though the Bills managed a fluke of a playoff berth last season. Both teams should struggle to reach five wins.

The Miami Dolphins traded star running back Jay Ajayi midway through the 2017-18 season and let elite slot receiver Jarvis Landry walk this offseason. They also lost one of the best defensive linemen in the game in Ndamukong Suh, and have little chance of challenging the Patriots for the division.

New England Patriots

Season Win Total: 11.5
Conference Odds: 3/1
Super Bowl Odds: 7/1
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Key player additions

Cordarrelle Patterson
Jeremy Hill

Key player losses

Julian Edelman (4-game suspension)
Dion Lewis

Draft picks

Isaiah Wynn, OL (Out for Season, Torn Achilles)
Sony Michel, RB
Duke Dawson, CB
Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB
Christian Sam, LB
Braxton Berrios, WR
Danny Etling, QB
Keion Crossen, CB
Ryan Izzo, TE

DFS relevant players

Tom Brady
Rob Gronkowski
Julian Edelman
Rex Burkhead
James White
Chris Hogan
Philip Dorsett

Parting thoughts

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are back for at least one more run at another championship. In a contract year, “Gronk” should continue to perform as the unquestioned top tight end in DFS. He may see a boost in targets with Julian Edelman (PEDs) suspended the first four games of the season.

With Edelman suspended over the first four games, Philip Dorsett has a chance to play his way into Brady’s coveted circle of trust. Chris Hogan should see more targets as well, but could get dominated by superior cornerbacks as he reportedly has been in training camp by Stephon Gilmore.

Look for receiving backs James White and Rex Burkhead to see an upswing in targets in the early going with the Patriots likely maintaining their pass-heavy approach. Rookie running back Sony Michel is struggling with ball security and may not earn a goal-line role early on, opening the door for Jeremy Hill or Mike Gillislee to soak up short touchdowns.

While the Patriots’ schedule is difficult, the overall inefficacy of the other AFC East teams almost ensures they will produce half their win total with six conference victories. Betting against Bill Belichick and his tightly run ship earning 12 regular season wins would be foolhardy. It’s a bit early to take the Super Bowl favorites at the worst odds among NFL teams, but New England is certainly capable of making it back to the big game with a loaded roster.


Miami Dolphins

Season Win Total: 7
Conference Odds: 40/1
Super Bowl Odds: 100/1
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Key player additions

Frank Gore
Danny Amendola
Albert Wilson

Draft picks

Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB
Mike Gesicki, TE
Jerome Baker, LB
Durham Smythe, TE
Kalen Ballage, RB
Cornell Armstrong, CB
Quentin Poling, LB
Jason Sanders, K

Key player losses

Jarvis Landry
Damien Williams
Jay Cutler
Julius Thomas

DFS relevant players

Kenyan Drake
Kenny Stills
DeVante Parker
Danny Amendola
Albert Wilson

Parting thoughts

With elite slot receiver Jarvis Landry gone, the Dolphins could struggle even more to move the ball this season. Kenny Stills is now the top receiver for shaky QB Ryan Tannehill, while the oft-injured Danny Amendola will look to produce out of the slot when healthy. Athletically gifted outside WR DeVante Parker was having a poor camp before suffering a broken finger. Former Chiefs receiver Albert Wilson should see more work as long as Parker’s out and he is also expected to see some touches out of the backfield.

At the notable age of 35, Frank Gore muddles the Dolphins backfield and is listed as a co-starter with 24-year-old Kenyan Drake. Drake averaged 118.8 scrimmage yards on 21.6 touches over the final five weeks of the 2017-18 season and should separate from Gore to become the Dolphins’ feature back sooner or later.

With a weakened defense and question marks surrounding the offense, Miami will be hard pressed to win seven games this season. The Dolphins play the Patriots twice, have road dates at Green Bay, Minnesota, and at improving Indianapolis, plus tough home games against Jacksonville and Oakland.


Buffalo Bills

Season Win Total: 6
Conference Odds: 40/1
Super Bowl Odds: 100/1
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Key player additions

Corey Coleman
Chris Ivory
Travaris Cadet

Key player losses

Tyrod Taylor

Draft picks

Josh Allen, QB
Tremaine Edmunds, LB
Harrison Phillips, DT
Taron Johnson, CB
Siran Neal, CB
Wyatt Teller, G
Ray-Ray McLoud, WR
Austin Proehl, WR

DFS relevant players

LeSean McCoy
Chris Ivory
Kelvin Benjamin
Charles Clay

Parting thoughts

Buffalo has one of the least desirable offenses to target in fantasy football, ranking 31st, 32nd, and 31st in pass attempts over the last three seasons. Dual-threat QB Tyrod Taylor is gone and leaves behind an uninspiring comittee of possible starters. A.J. McCarron suffered an injured collarbone during the preseason that will cost him at least a few weeks and rookie Josh Allen suffered a concussion during an exhibition as well. If neither QB is able to go, turnover-prone Nathan Peterman could start the season for Buffalo, which would make opposing defenses lick their chops.

Along with the loss of linemen Eric Wood, Richie Incognito, and Cordy Glenn, Taylor’s departure would seriously hurt LeSean McCoy if he’s eligible to start the season. McCoy is currently being investigated for his alleged role in an assault on his former girlfriend and could be placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. With a groin injury also plaguing him, “Shady” is a huge question mark entering the season and if he’s unable to suit up for any games that could thrust Chris Ivory into a workhorse role. Travaris Cadet would see an expanded role in the passing game if McCoy misses any time.

Former Browns WR Corey Coleman is an exciting talent with the potential to make splash plays down the field. He may be more appealing on a weekly basis than the Bills’ top WR, Kelvin Benjamin, who still seems hobbled by knee injuries and lacks the speed necessary to separate.

Buffalo should be the favorite to finish last in its division after going 9-7 with Taylor at the helm. With games against the NFC North and tough AFC South in addition to two likely losses against the Patriots, the Bills could fall short of six wins this season.


New York Jets

Season Win Total: 6.5
Conference Odds: 66/1
Super Bowl Odds: 150/1
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Key player additions

Isaiah Crowell
Charcandrick West
Thomas Rawls
Clive Walford
Terrelle Pryor

Key player losses

Matt Forte

Draft picks

Sam Darnold, QB
Nathan Shepherd, DT
Chris Herndon, TE
Parry Nickerson, CB
Folorunso Fatukasi, DL
Trenton Cannon, RB

DFS relevant players

Isaiah Crowell
Bilal Powell
Robby Anderson
Sam Darnold
Quincy Enunwa

Parting thoughts

Despite checking in with the lowest odds to win the Super Bowl, the Jets’ offense should be at least more exciting than that of the Bills. Isaiah Crowell enters a much more stable situation after playing for the dysfunctional Browns the past few years and is a potential draft-day steal with intriguing early-season DFS implications. Bilal Powell is still in the mix, however, and is a superior option in PPR formats with the potential to dominate second-half snaps if the Jets fall behind.

Robby Anderson has emerged as a downfield threat with GPP potential on a weekly basis. His chemistry with rookie Sam Darnold will determine just how valuable he’ll be in fantasy, and likely how effective this offense as a whole can be.

Big-bodied possession receiver Quincy Enunwa should remain a low-cost Cash play, although if Terrelle Pryor (ankle) proves healthy during the preseason he could take over that role as the short-yardage receiver for Gang Green.

Taking the Jets to win seven games still seems a stretch with the aforementioned tough non-conference schedule against the NFC North. The AFC South is notably tough to run upon (aside from the Colts), and there are still too many questions surrounding the Jets passing attack. Consider betting the “Over” in many of their games, but don’t necessarily expect the Jets to come out on top.


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Nate Weitzer Avatar
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Nate Weitzer

Nate Weitzer is a successful DFS player at DraftKings and FanDuel with numerous tournament wins in NBA and NFL contests. He's been writing about DFS for several years, specializing in NBA picks and advice while continuing to build his bankroll across the daily fantasy industry. When he's not playing DFS, Weitzer is often covering high school sports in the greater Boston area for outlets such as The Boston Globe, or playing basketball himself. Follow Nate on Twitter @Nweitzer7.

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