This has been one of the most exciting NFL free agency years in recent memory. With the plethora of movement around the league, Ck Williams is here to answer the question you’ve all been asking: How does this affect me fantasy-wise? Below is a breakdown of the major movers this offseason. Keep these notes in mind if you’re in early drafts or if you’re in a dynasty league and considering making a trade for one of these players.
Alshon Jeffery (WR), Chicago Bears to the Philadelphia Eagles
Look, I’m a huge Eagles fan. Except I’m not one of those angry Philly fans because I live in Los Angeles and it actually is always sunny in Los Angeles. I was really hoping we wouldn’t blow big money on Alshon and we kind of didn’t. He’s on a one year prove-it deal with 9.5 million guaranteed and 4.5 million in incentives. Apparently, the rest of the NFL didn’t think the best receiver in free agency was worth more than 10 million a year on a long term deal so that’s a bit concerning, but hey I’m a positive guy so let’s roll with it.
Jeffery broke out his sophomore and junior years (2013 & 2014) with back-to-back 1000-yard seasons before being derailed by injuries the last two years. He also got hit with a PED suspension conveniently while I was fighting for a playoff spot with him as my WR2. I’m just not feeling it, but he can catch a well-thrown ball so that already makes him a big upgrade over the other Eagles receivers. He’ll be cruising as a low-end WR1 during the season and should help the Eagles actually score in the red zone. I’d be pretty excited to draft him as my second or third starting receiver assuming he doesn’t miss half of training camp and some preseason games with a pulled hamstring (not a guarantee). He might be a strong value pick considering most people will be writing him off after two mediocre seasons and anybody who drafted him the last two years probably learned their lesson except me. I’ll try anything three times. FLY EAGLES FLY!
Brandin Cooks (WR), New Orleans Saints to the New England Patriots
I think what the average fantasy player doesn’t realize is that Brandin Cooks turns 24 in September and already has 3 injury-free seasons under his belt with back-to-back 1,000-yard years. He’s only going to continue to develop as a receiver. I feel like his value is taking a decent hit here considering Tom Brady doesn’t throw it as often as Drew Brees does every single game. Not to mention there’s Edelman, Gronk, Mitchell, Hogan, White, and Lewis who all catch the ball too. I can’t see Cooks being much more than a WR2 this following season.
DeSean Jackson (WR), Washington Redskins to the Tampa Bay Bucaneers
It’s hard to believe Jackson has been in the league 10 years and turns 31 this year. Famous Jameis loves to throw it deep so sign me on up. Mike Evans could only handle so many targets these past two seasons and Jackson should help free him up from those double and triple team bracket coverages he was seeing so much. It’s easy to see Jackson as a strong flex play any given week if he can stay healthy.
Terrelle Pryor (WR), Clevland Browns to the Washington Redskins
There’s something to be said for someone who almost put up a 1,000 yard season for the Browns. With Garcon and Jackson gone, Pryor should step right into a starting role and be a solid WR2 for the upcoming season. The real player to target here is slot receiver Jamison Crowder, who continues to improve and quietly had a really good fantasy year. Crowder will be the most experienced receiver on the team and should be another sneaky high-upside WR2. Josh Doctson was a first round pick last year, but was injured for most of the year. Crowder and Pryor figure to be target hogs while Doctson gets his feet underneath him.
Brandon Marshall (WR), New York Jets to the New York Giants
Brandon Marshall has turned in 1000-yard seasons during 8 of his 11 years in the league. Every time we think he’s done, he proves to be the big-bodied possession receiver quarterbacks love. Marshall should be facing single coverage for the first time since his rookie year with OBJ and Sterling Shepard lining up next to him. Marshall is definitely a great target for the guy who blows most of his auction budget on David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell in the first 5 minutes.
Eddie Lacy (RB), Green Bay Packers to the Seattle Seahawks
If you didn’t know, Eddie Lacy loves “China food”. Not sure how that will work out because the Seahawks expect him to be playing at 240 pounds and have contract clauses to make sure he doesn’t float around that 260 number. Lacy turned down the same money from the Packers and Vikings so something must have clicked with the coaching staff. I can’t really see much value in the Seahawks backfield, as it will probably be a constant rotation of Lacy/Rawls/Prosise stealing value from one another. The real news here is the Packers are in the market for a running back and this year’s draft is pretty deep for the position. I’m all in if the Packers take a running back who doesn’t look like a lineman.
Martellus Bennett (TE), New England Patriots to the Green Bay Packers
The Packers usually stay away from making big splashes in free agency because they believe in developing and paying their own draft picks so it’s a bit of a surprise to see them pay Bennett. Bennett had a decent enough season under the Patriot regime so I believe he can make it work with Rodgers and the Pack. I don’t believe in drafting the Tight End position early so it’s nice to have another late round high-upside target.