Who improved their fantasy football value in NFL free agency 2018?
What’s next for Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, Kirk Cousins, Dion Lewis, Jordy Nelson, Sammy Watkins, and other key fantasy football names affected by free agency’s biggest moves?
Every NFL team is making moves as free agency hits a frenzied peak. Fantasy football feels a long ways away, but great dynasty league owners manage their team 12 months a year. There are still key names yet to sign in free agency and the draft is still to come, but that doesn’t mean we can’t already start thinking about this fall’s fantasy rankings.
Already players like Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, Jordy Nelson, Kirk Cousins, Dion Lewis, and Sammy Watkins will don new jerseys this fall. So with the biggest names in free agency signed, what can we expect from fantasy football situations around the NFL? Here’s what free agency has done for the fantasy values of key players on all 32 NFL teams …
The biggest Cardinals addition will just a healthy David Johnson back in the fold. But he’ll join a pretty different team with Sam Bradford at QB and a mostly new set of receivers around Larry Fitzgerald. The Cards are old and on the downswing. This could go south if Fitzgerald finally starts to show his age or if and when Bradford gets hurt and Mike Glennon has to step in. Not a team you want to have too many eggs in.
The Falcons look a lot like the Falcons you know, minus slot receiver Taylor Gabriel. Their fantasy value should hold steady as expected, and Mohamed Sanu looks like a solid value at his current 13th-round ADP as the clear WR2.
The Ravens remade their terrible receiving corps, signing Michael Crabtree and John Brown. Crabtree will have a high floor and target share in this offense and should weigh in as a high-end WR3 with potential for WR2 or even WR1 production if the TDs come. Brown should fill the Ravens deep threat role that hasn’t produced consistent fantasy numbers.
The Bills were left empty-handed after the quarterback carousel, with just A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman for now. They’re a likely candidate to draft a rookie and play him this season. That could imperil LeSean McCoy’s value, though it’s not like the Bills had a stellar offense around him last year either.
The Panthers said goodbye to Jonathan Stewart and now have only Fozzy Whitaker and Cameron Artis-Payne behind Christian McCaffrey. That should mean more rushing work in Norv Turner’s offense, and it makes the current RB13 a huge-upside proposition. It probably bumps Cam Newton’s value too, since there’s one less guy to eat up yardage and goal line opportunities. Newton is QB7 right now but has finished top-5 in three of four seasons.
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Chicago went out and got Mitchell Trubisky some weapons! Allen Robinson will lead the way, and Taylor Gabriel will see the field plenty out of the slot. The Bears also spent big on tight end Trey Burton. New coach Matt Nagy will pass early and often, and he likes to throw to his tight end. Burton could have top-10 upside, while ARob should be a solid WR2 with upside. Trubisky has some long shot Carson Wentz potential in this offense if he makes a leap. The Bears offense just got fantasy relevant in a hurry.
Not much to see here. The Bengals re-signed Tyler Eifert, who looks like a nice value with his current round-10 ADP for as long as he stays healthy.
Cleveland signed Tyrod Taylor, who should begin the season as the starter. He’ll be throwing to Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, and new Brown Jarvis Landry in a lot of 3-WR sets, but that should still spell a huge drop in Landry’s value from last year. Cleveland also added Carlos Hyde, so that Duke Johnson breakout may never come. The Browns have four top-35 picks, so this picture will likely change drastically. There’s a lot of talent now, but ranking three Browns (Hyde, Gordon, and Landry) inside the top-45 ADP makes all three overvalued until we know more for an offense that will likely be average at best and could turn over to a rookie QB at some point.
The Cowboys signed Allen Hurns, but he won’t be fantasy relevant unless they actually cut or trade Dez Bryant as rumored. Otherwise, status quo.
The Broncos spent big to bring in Case Keenum, so it’s him and Paxton Lynch at QB, plus maybe a high draft pick too. For now, that’s good news for Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who should see some stability. Thomas has great upside with a 5th-round ADP and a huge target share.
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The Lions added LeGarrette Blount to their mess of RB options. He probably won’t get a ton of carries but could get to double-digit TDs again in another good offense. He’ll need to, to be fantasy relevant in Detroit.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers moved on from Jordy Nelson and brought in stud veteran tight end Jimmy Graham. That’s great news for Davante Adams, who looks as good as any fantasy receiver at this point as Rodgers’ go-to guy. Graham will have huge upside as the second receiver on this team, and he’ll have a great chance at double-digit TDs with Rodgers throwing.
The Texans added Sammie Coates as receiver depth but otherwise held form. They just want to get Deshaun Watson healthy and ready to go.
The Colts added Ryan Grant, who could compete for the WR2 job with Donte Moncrief gone. They also added the always tantalizing Eric Ebron at tight end. Andrew Luck throws to his tight ends in the redzone more than anyone, but it’s extremely rare for an NFL team to have two fantasy-relevant tight ends, so that could muddy the value of both Ebron and Jack Doyle.
The Jags brought back Blake Bortles (yay?) and added Donte Moncrief and Austin Seferian-Jenkins to Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, and Keelan Cole. They also added stud guard Andrew Norwell to an O-line that’s far improved from two years ago. It’s anyone’s guess if any of the receivers will hold steady value, and none of them are currently being drafted in the first 10 rounds.
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Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs traded away Alex Smith and turned over the offense to Patrick Mahomes, and that makes their offense more volatile until we know more. They also spent big on Sammy Watkins. Watkins is way overdrafted with a 5th-round ADP. He probably won’t post consistent fantasy numbers but, like he did for the Rams, he’ll stretch the field and open things up for guys like Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce. With Watkins stretching vertically and Tyreek Hill stretching horizontally, this Chiefs offense could be really dangerous and really good. Mahomes is an interesting sleeper.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers continued to revamp their O-line with the addition of center Mike Pouncey, a perfect fit to help with the screen game and zone run scheme. That’s good news for Melvin Gordon. The rest of the offense held steady.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams said goodbye to Sammy Watkins but kept the rest of the offense intact. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are both at late 7th-round ADP right now, and Woods has some nice value there if that holds. Jared Goff is being drafted in the 6th round among the top-10 QBs and looks like an early candidate to be this year’s Derek Carr, overdrafted after a breakout year.
The Dolphins are going every which direction. They traded away Jarvis Landry but brought in Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola. They also added Frank Gore for no apparent reason. Is this team rebuilding or loading up? No one knows. For now, Amendola looks a tremendous value with a 14th-round ADP as a possible Landry replacement, and Kenyan Drake moves back to sleeper status as Gore’s presence drops his ADP.
The Vikings splashed a ton of cash on Kirk Cousins, and he should be worth every penny as one of the top free agent QBs ever available. Cousins is going in the 5th round and is probably overrated at that spot since he adds no running value. It’s better news for Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, both of whom look like values at their current 3rd- and 4th-round ADP.
New England Patriots
The Pats said goodbye to stalwarts Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola and brought in Jeremy Hill and Cordarelle Patterson. Patterson won’t have fantasy value, and Hill will be one of those guys that has three randomly good games and frustrates owners. Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee become intriguing fantasy sleepers with 9th- and 10th-round ADP, but who knows what Belichick will do? New England lost two offensive tackles and has an offense built around a guy that will be 41 when the season starts. It’s fair to be at least a little worried that this can’t just last forever.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints re-signed Drew Brees and bring back their dynamic offense ready to fire on all cylinders in 2018.
New York Giants
The Giants signed top offensive tackle Nate Solder and added Jonathan Stewart at RB. New York hasn’t had a fantasy relevant RB in years. The big news for now is all of the Odell Beckham trade rumors. If he goes, Sterling Shepard will see a huge rise in value from his current 8th-round ADP.
New York Jets
The Jets added a bunch of pieces, bringing in Isaiah Crowell to take the place of now-retired Matt Forte and giving Terrelle Pryor a chance to rehab his value at receiver. They also re-signed Josh McCown and added Teddy Bridgewater, and after trading up for the #3 pick, it looks like they’ll add a rookie QB, too. That’s a ton of volatility and might make the non-rhyming Powell-Crowell partnership frustrating for fantasy owners. Pryor is an intriguing stash, but it’s ludicrous that he’s being drafted a round ahead of breakout WR Robby Anderson in the 10th round.
The Raiders moved on from Michael Crabtree and brought in Jordy Nelson. Nelson isn’t as dynamic at this point of his career, and his value depended on his incredible rapport with Rodgers. He looks incredibly overvalued as a current top-30 pick. Instead this could be a stabilizing factor for Amari Cooper, a high-upside 4th-round pick. The Raiders also signed Doug Martin, who is holding a 7th-round ADP for some reason. Oakland’s biggest offseason move was hiring Jon Gruden, who appears to be signing guys that were good the last time he was relevant. There are a lot of red flags here.
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The champs signed Mike Wallace to fill the Torrey Smith role stretching the offense. He’ll catch an occasional deep ball but shouldn’t have much value.
No real changes in Pittsburgh, except that they haven’t actually signed LeVeon Bell yet. That should change soon enough.
The Seahawks lost Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson and didn’t do much to replace them, and there’s nothing new at RB. This offense is perilously thin around Russell Wilson, but perhaps they’ll add some pieces in the draft.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers continued to revamp their offense and started by splashing the cash on Jimmy Garoppolo. They also added the speedy Jerick McKinnon at RB and let Carlos Hyde walk, and they made some nice additions to their offensive line. We’ll know more about the 49ers as the season nears, but for now Garoppolo looks overdrafted in the 6th round just after Cam Newton. McKinnon, however, looks to have huge upside with an 8th-round ADP. Even if he ends up as the Tevin Coleman in this offense, he could match that value, and in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, there’s upside for way more.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No real change in Tampa outside of the team moving on from Doug Martin. Tampa could likely add a RB to the mix in the draft.
The Titans spent big on Dion Lewis, a frustrating sign for owners ready for Derrick Henry to finally break out. Henry’s 3rd-round ADP looks scary right now. Teams don’t spend $20 million on a RB to not use them, and Lewis is the far better receiver. Don’t be surprised if he ends up the better value.
Washington finally cut the cord on Cousins and traded for Alex Smith. Smith will be an afterthought on draft day, but he was a top-5 fantasy QB this year, and Cousins was top-5 each of the past two years. This Washington system produces numbers, and Smith looks like an awesome value. No Redskin is currently going in the first six rounds. That could make Jordan Reed a good gamble as the go-to receiver, and new signing Paul Richardson could have similar upside to Terrelle Pryor last year at a much more reasonable price.