NFC East review

DALLAS COWBOYS

Head Coach:Wade Phillips (48-42 overall record)
Offensive schedule vs.: Pass -- 12th hardest; Run -- 10th easiest

The most notable offseason news in Dallas surrounded the departure of Bill Parcells and addition of Wade Phillips, who will take over as the full-time head coach of his third NFL team. Phillips and owner Jerry Jones showed great faith in Tony Romo when the team passed on Brady Quinn in the draft, and he'll be a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy quarterback in most formats.

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He should benefit from the addition of monster OT Leonard Davis and rookie OT James Marten, who will improve the effectiveness of offensive line. Dallas also added veteran quarterback Brad Johnson to replace the retired Drew Bledsoe, but he'll have no real value unless Romo suffers an ailment.

COWBOYS TOP FIVE FANTASY PLAYERS

  1. Terrell Owens
    1. Marion Barber
    2. Julius Jones
    3. Tony Romo
    4. Jason Witten

Julius Jones seems motivated to produce under Phillips and should remain the starter out of the backfield, but he won't be considered more than a No. 3 fantasy runner due to the presence of touchdown-machine Marion Barber. In fact, Barber, who scored 16 times last season, will be the first Cowboys runner selected in most drafts even though he's behind Jones on Dallas' depth chart.

The new offensive attack under coordinator Jason Garrett will have more of an aggressive look, which is terrific news for the value of Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn and Jason Witten. Owens, who is now 100 percent after offseason finger surgeries, should remain a solid No. 1 fantasy wideout. Garrett also plans to use Witten as more of a vertical threat, so the talented tight end could be a terrific bargain and underrated in drafts -- he scored only one touchdown last season.

Phillips' presence will have a profound affect on the value of the Cowboys defense, which added FS Ken Hamlin and rookie DE Anthony Spencer to a unit that includes incumbent starters such as LB Greg Ellis, CB Terence Newman, DE Marcus Spears, LB DeMarcus Ware and SS Roy Williams. In fact, this unit will no doubt be one of the first 10 defenses selected in most drafts.

NEW YORK GIANTS

Head Coach:Tom Coughlin (97-89 overall record)
Offensive schedule vs.: Pass -- 8th easiest; Run -- 16th hardest

Tiki Barber's retirement will open the door for Brandon Jacobs to take a more featured role in the offense for head coach Tom Coughlin, so the Southern Illinois product will be a popular sleeper candidate and is worth a third- to fourth-round selection. He will lose some carries to Reuben Droughns, but Jacobs should see more of the work and is the better option for owners.

GIANTS TOP FIVE FANTASY PLAYERS

  1. Brandon Jacobs
    1. Plaxico Burress
    2. Jeremy Shockey
    3. Eli Manning
    4. Reuben Droughns

Eli Manning will be a bit underrated in drafts because of his inconsistent level of production last season, but he should still be considered a high-end No. 2 fantasy quarterback with the skills to be a true starter in all formats. Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer, who is on track to return from an injured knee in time for the regular season, will be the top two wide receivers on the depth chart.

There will be a competition for the No. 3 wideout between Sinorice Moss and rookie Steve Smith, but neither will be worth more than a late-round flier seasonal drafts. The loss of Jay Feely (Dolphins) led to the trade for Lawrence Tynes, who will lose value as a fantasy starter in the Meadowlands.

The Giants defense will have a new look after the departure of veteran LBs LaVar Arrington and Carlos Emmons and CB Frank Walker (Packers), not to mention the addition of talented rookies CB Aaron Ross, DT Jay Alford and LB Zak DeOssie. This unit still has some value due to the presence of incumbents DEs Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora and LBs Antonio Pierce and Mathias Kiwanuka, but it still won't be much more than a No. 2 fantasy defense in most drafts.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Head Coach:Andy Reid (88-54 overall record)
Offensive schedule vs.: Pass -- 7th easiest; Run -- 12th hardest

The Eagles expect to have their team leader, Donovan McNabb, back from an injured knee in time for the start of training camp, and that's positive news in terms of his stock in the world of fantasy football. While he has been prone to injuries in recent seasons, McNabb's potential to produce monster numbers will make it difficult for owners to overlook him in the third or fourth rounds. A.J. Feeley will take over the second spot on the depth chart after the loss of free agent Jeff Garcia (Buccaneers), while rookie Kevin Kolb will sit in the third position next season.

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EAGLES TOP FIVE FANTASY PLAYERS

  1. Brian Westbrook
    1. Donovan McNabb
    2. Reggie Brown
    3. Kevin Curtis
    4. L.J. Smith

Correll Buckhalter remained with the team and will continue to serve as the immediate backup for Brian Westbrook, who will be a first-round selection in most drafts. Rookie Tony Hunt could see some short-yardage and goal-line work, but his stock is minimal at this time.

Donté Stallworth's departure to New England will mean a more prominent role for Reggie Brown, who should be an attractive No. 2 fantasy receiver. Kevin Curtis will start for head coach Andy Reid but is still more of a No. 3 or 4 fantasy wideout with his new team. Hank Baskett, who showed some flashes of potential last season, and veteran Greg Lewis will battle for the third spot on the depth chart.

The addition of LB Takeo Spikes, DT Ian Scott, DT Montae Reagor and rookies DE Victor Abiamiri, LB Stewart Bradley and FS C.J. Gaddis will no doubt add to the value of an Eagles defense that lost SS Michael Lewis (49ers) but still includes incumbent starters like DEs Jevon Kearse and Darren Howard, LB Jeremiah Trotter, CBs Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown and FS Brian Dawkins. Look for the Eagles defense to be a viable No. 1 fantasy defense in most formats.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

Head Coach:Joe Gibbs (162-93 overall record)
Offensive schedule vs.: Pass -- 5th easiest; Run -- 4th hardest

The Redskins will enter their first full season with Jason Campbell at the helm of the offense. A viable sleeper candidate, Campbell has been impressive in offseason camps and will be worth a late-round choice as a No. 2 or 3 fantasy quarterback.

There is some concern about Clinton Portis, who has had hand and shoulder surgeries, but he will remain the starter. He has a lot of carries for a 25-year-old back, and the chance he will lose at least some work to Ladell Betts seems to have increased. In fact, Portis should now be seen as more of a high-end No. 2 fantasy runner rather than the elite featured back he has been throughout his career.

REDSKINS TOP FIVE FANTASY PLAYERS

  1. Clinton Portis
    1. Santana Moss
    2. Chris Cooley
    3. Ladell Betts
    4. Jason Campbell

The release of John Hall creates a chance for Shaun Suisham to come in and become the team's top kicker. He did show some flashes of potential last season, but Suisham should still be seen as more of a No. 2 fantasy kicker.

The Redskins experienced some serious alterations on defense, none more significant than the addition of LB London Fletcher and rookie SS LaRon Landry, who will join FS Sean Taylor to create what will be one of the NFL's most formidable pair of safeties. The team also added veterans such as CBs David Macklin and Fred Smoot, who will make his second stint in our nation's capital. While there is some apparent talent under the watch of coordinator Gregg Williams, the Redskins defense is still more of a No. 2 fantasy unit in drafts.

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