This year, it seems free agency has reached new heights. Let’s talk about the Fantasy implications from each free agent move.
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Kirk Cousins to Vikings
Dr. Roto: We knew the Vikings wanted Cousins via free agency and they got their man–for a mere $84 million! Is Cousins worth it? I think so. He’s in the prime of his career and he’s shown that he can make all the passes needed to be a top flight winning QB in the league. Now with Diggs, Thielen, Rudolph, Cook, etc the Vikings road to the Super Bowl looks paved with the addition of Cousins. Grade: A
Case Keenum to Broncos
DOC: Keenum is not flashy, but he’s very intelligent and will know the Broncos’ entire offense before training camp begins. Moreover, Keenum’s greatness is his ability to work within the system and avoid mistakes. I still expect GM John Elway to go after another QB in the draft, but the Broncos can ride with Keenum for the next year or two and make a playoff run. Grade: B
Drew Brees stays with Saints
DOC: There was no way that the Saints were going to let this future Hall of Famer leave via free agency. Brees didn’t have to do as much last year with the presence of Kamara and Ingram but he still can make the plays when needed. Brees is no longer a top five Fantasy QB, but he still can be a QB1 in Fantasy leagues in 2018. Grade: A
Sam Bradford to Cardinals
DOC: When the Cardinals realized early on that they were not going to get Cousins, they needed to pivot quickly and sign a QB who could help them make the playoffs. Bradford is a wildly talented QB who simply cannot stay healthy. I see this move as a stop gap for the Cardinals who will probably need to groom another QB at some point soon to take the reigns. If healthy Bradford can make the Cardinals into a playoff contender and keep Larry Fitzgerald happy, but I don’t see much more than that. Grade: C+
DOC: Signing Glennon was a very cagey move for the Cardinals as they know Sam Bradford’s injury history is so checkered that they had to have another option if (when) the inevitable injury occurs. Glennon has NFL experience and can play well in spots. So long as he’s only needed for a few weeks, he should be fine. Grade: B (not because of his ability but because it was a genius move by the Cardinals to be ready for the Bradford injury).
Josh McCown re-signs with the Jets
Teddy Bridgewater to Jets
DOC: This free agency move by the Jets is comparable to the Cardinals move in signing Glennon. McCown has been injured numerous times in the past and by signing Teddy B, the Jets are giving themselves a chance to compete just in case of a McCown injury. The upside here is that Teddy B IS a good player and might be able to show the Jets coaching staff that he is worthy of a long term contract. If this happens, this move could be a STEAL for the Jets. Grade: B (for now, but possible A in the future)
A.J. McCarron to Bills
Matt De Lima: McCarron really doesn’t feel like Mr. Right. He feels like Mr. Right Now. With that in mind, if Buffalo opts to use him as their regular starter, then I think this offense stays about the same. They’re going to want to run it, first and foremost. The cause of concern is whether some of the pieces around McCarron will be able to do much for him (Kelvin Benjamin, Charles Clay, etc.)
Tyrod Taylor traded to Cleveland
Adam Ronis: Taylor was productive in Buffalo despite a lack of weapons. Much of his value comes from him running. He moves to a team with a good offensive line, a dynamic receiver in Josh Gordon, a reliable slot receiver with Jarvis Landry, along with Corey Coleman, Duke Johnson and David Njoku. Taylor is set up for success, but the Browns are likely drafting a quarterback with one of their Top 4 picks, so Taylor will need to win right away in order to play most of the season.
Jimmy Garoppolo re-signs with 49ers
AR: He signed a five-year, $137.5 million contract after appearing in six games for the 49ers, including five starts. He looked good and with a full off-season in the offense under Kyle Shanahan, the arrow is pointing up. Marquise Goodwin was re-signed, Pierre Garcon will be healthy, George Kittle enters his second season and Jerick McKinnon was signed.
Christian Hackenberg acquired by Raiders for 2019 conditional seventh-round pick
CHILDS: Over three seasons at Penn State, Hackenberg completed 56.1 percent of his passes for 8457 yards with 48 TDs and 31 Ints. His completion rate declined in each season in the college, which isn’t a great sign for his development long-term in the NFL. With no clear answer at QB headed into the draft in 2016, the New York Jets invested in Hackenberg with their second-round pick. He has NFL size (6’4′ and 223 lbs.) and arm strength with solid quickness and speed. Christian shows the ability to read defenses pre-snap with the skill set to make all NFL throws. His biggest liability is his accuracy. Hackenberg needs to improve his mechanics while improving his ability to move within the pocket to limit the damage in sacks and turnovers. He will need time to develop, which puts him in line to be a long-term backup now that he’s backing up Derek Carr in Oakland.
Cody Kessler moves on from Browns to Packers
CHILDS: Cody lacks an impact arm while offering some upside as a game manager. Cody plays more not to lose rather than seizing the moment with impact throws in tight coverage. His accuracy plays well within the pocket with a solid feel for the pass rush. When forced to run, his game loses value leading to minimal big plays and declining success. In his first season in the league, Kessler went 0-8 in nine games played. He completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,380 yards with six TDs and two Ints. Cody was sacked 21 times in 195 attempts (9.7 percent of the time). As expected, he had no value as a runner (11/18). Last year the Browns only had him on the field for 23 pass attempts, which led to 126 passing yards and no TDs and one Int. Kessler is the top backup QB for Jacksonville in 2018.
Robert Griffin III returns to the NFL as a member of the Baltimore Ravens
AR: Griffin is unlikely to stick with the Ravens, who have Joe Flacco as the starting quarterback and then drafted the quarterback of the future in Lamar Jackson. Griffin was splitting second-team reps with Jackson at OTAs. Griffin sat out last season after dealing with injuries in 2016. There’s no need to draft RG3.
Blaine Gabbert signs with Titans
MATT BRANDON: Tennessee dumped both of their backup QBs – Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden. Gabbert signed to take over the reserve role behind Marcus Mariota. Gabbert is a former first-round draft pick (2011), but he’s struggled to earn a starting job over the last five seasons. Absolutely no value behind. Merely a veteran NFL backup.
Tom Savage to the Saints
MB: Savage was simply brought in as the backup to Drew Brees, barring anthing should happen to him. He has no Fantasy value whatsoever.
Drew Stanton signs with Cleveland Browns
Matt Barkley moves from Cardinals to Bengals
Matt Cassel becomes Matthew Stafford’s backup in Detroit
Chad Henne to backup Patrick Mahomes with the Chiefs
Kevin Hogan moves on from Cleveland, joins Washington
DeShone Kizer will learn behind Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers
Geno Smith signs with Chargers
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Doug Martin to Raiders
MD: Martin didn’t get much going last season in Tampa. Then again, neither did anyone else really. Arriving via free agency to Oakland is a shot in the arm to Martin’s Fantasy value and should be considered a handcuff to go along with whichever rookie RB they end up drafting (calling it now).
Isaiah Crowell to Jets
DOC: I really like this move for the Jets. Crowell was never held in high regard in Cleveland, but if given 20+ carries a game, I think he can shine in the right offense. The Jets coaching staff does not want to give RB Bilal Powell more than 12-15 touches, so Crowell should get most of the work on 1st and 2nd down. Look for Crowell to get more than 1000 rushing yards this season. Grade A-
Dion Lewis to Titans
DOC: The Titans seem to have a pipeline coming from New England as they signed both Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler to big contracts. While I like Lewis a lot, I am really frustrated by this move from a Fantasy sense. I was hoping that Derrick Henry would be the bell cow RB for the Titans, but I am not sure that is possible with Lewis there. Lewis is a terrific receiver and is much better at the goal line that people realize. Lewis passed on the chance to be a starter elsewhere (Colts?) to sign with the Titans as I am sure he think that the team is equipped to make a Super Bowl run. While that is true, I think that Henry and Lewis together will be a far better tandem in real life football, than in Fantasy Football. Grade: A (for real life); C (for Fantasy)
Jonathan Stewart to Giants
DOC: I am a bit puzzled by this signing, except for the fact that the Giants new GM is the former GM from Carolina and he is familiar with Stewart. If the Giants select Saquon Barkley with the 2nd overall pick in the draft I will change my minds about Stewart as he can be a good mentor to Barkley as well as provide the Giants with 5-8 carries a game to give Barkley a breather. If the Giants pass on Barkley and make Stewart their RB1, then I think this could be a disaster waiting to happen. Grade: Incomplete
Carlos Hyde to Browns
DOC: I know that Hyde is from Ohio and played at Ohio State, but is signing him really worth not taking Saquon Barkley? I think the Browns are going to end up regretting this move long term. That said, Hyde should pair nicely with Duke Johnson and provide the Browns with the best run game that they have had in years. Grade: B-
Le’Veon Bell franchise tagged by Steelers
Rex Burkhead re-signs with Patriots
Frank Gore to the Dolphins
LeGarrette Blount to Lions
DOC: The Lions have struggled with their goal line running for years. Blount may not get more than 50-80 carries all season, but HC Matt Patricia knows Blount well and will trust him to find the end zone from inside the 5-yard line.
Jeremy Hill signs with Pats
DOC: I am not sure what the Patriots were thinking here, but if anyone can get the last mileage out of a used jalopy like Jeremy Hill, it’s Bill Belichick.
Damien Williams to the Chiefs
DOC: Williams is the perfect backup to Kareem Hunt. He can run, catch, block, and start (if needed). The Dolphins coaching staff really loved this guy; I am surprised they let him go.
Chris Ivory to the Bills
C.J. Anderson signs with the Carolina Panthers
It’s not surprising the Panthers added a veteran back to take on the early downs. Some might have been hoping for Christian McCaffrey to take on more carries, but he’s still a huge asset in the passing game and still a borderline RB1 in PPR formats. Anderson will take on the Jonathan Stewart role from last season. Stewart had 198 carries and eight receptions. Anderson is better than Stewart, but he’s going to be touchdown dependent since he won’t catch many passes and he’s in the RB4 range.
Kerwynn Williams to Kansas City Chiefs
MB: Williams is nothing more than the fourth-most talented running back in Andy Reid’s run-heavy offensive scheme. Unless Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware and Damien Williams all got injured, Kerwynn is not even close to being worthy of a Fantasy Football roster spot.
Tavon Austin moves from WR to RB and will play for the Cowboys in 2018
DOC: It seems like just a few years ago we watched Austin sign a mega deal on Hard Knocks with the Rams. However, once Jeff Fisher’s regime left town, Sean McVay realized how limited Austin was and shipped him out of town to Dallas in the off-season. Austin could not have landed in a better spot. OC Scott Linehan will use him in various ways (slot, outside, reverses, etc) to get him in the open field. Austin also has value as a punt returner. If all goes well for Austin, I would expect him to be a WR5 in Fantasy with an outside chance for 40 catches for 600+ yards in a perfect scenario.
Thomas Rawls to the Jets
DOC: Rawls signed with the Jets in the off-season and for the life of me, I cannot figure out where he is going to get playing time. The team already has two pass-catching running backs in Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire and signed Isaiah Crowell from the Browns in the off-season. I don’t see the Jets keeping four RBs, so unless Rawls looks great in training camp he might be the odd man out. Don’t be shocked to see Rawls traded for a late round pick at some point during the preseason if another team has a desperate need for RB depth.
Derrick Coleman signs with Cardinals
Jalston Fowler joins Seahawks
Matt Jones to the Eagles
Terrence McGee to the Falcons
Jamize Olawale to the Cowboys
Brandon Radcliff to Miami
Keith Smith to Oakland
Jordy Nelson to Raiders
MD: Didn’t see Nelson getting cut coming in the first place. I think this is a significant blow to his Fantasy value. Free agency isn’t usually kind to soon-to-be 33 year old wide receivers and it isn’t in this instance. Amari Cooper is the #1, so that does take some pressure off Jordy and truthfully, I think he needs it. I think Green Bay saw the writing on the wall and acted accordingly to cut their losses.
Allen Robinson signs with Bears
Adam Ronis: The Bears clearly needed help at wide receiver via free agency with one of the worst receiving corps and land a good one. If Robinson is healthy coming off a torn ACL, he’s a good fit for the Bears and will be the top target in the offense. Robinson had 80 catches for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015 and fell to 73 catches for 883 yards and six touchdowns in 2016. Robinson had 1,400 yards with Blake Bortles at quarterback. That says a lot. Coach Matt Nagy did a good with the Chiefs offense, and Mitchell Trubisky can throw the deep ball. Robinson will get volume, and this is good for him, making him a WR2.
Sammy Watkins signs with Chiefs
AR: While Watkins didn’t put up great stats with the Rams, he helped open the offense. Watkins came to the Rams right before the season and didn’t have much time to work in the offense. He scored eight touchdowns, but only had 39 catches. This does more for the Chiefs’ than it does for Fantasy. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are going to get most of the target share, and Kareem Hunt will be involved in the passing game. Patrick Mahomes does have a big arm, and that will benefit Watkins, but he also has a history of injuries. Watkins is a WR3 and a better play in best-ball formats.
Marqise Lee sticking with Jaguars
AR: Lee has to vie with Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, recently signed Donte Moncrief and Allen Hurns, who will likely be gone. Lee has averaged almost seven targets per game over the last two seasons and could improve on that slightly. Lee has durability concerns, staying healthy for 16 games one time in four seasons. Lee is at best a WR4 in a crowded wide receiver situation.
Donte Moncrief signs Jacksonville
AR: Moncrief has the talent to produce, but there’s a lot of competition for targets. Moncrief has missed 11 games over the last two seasons. Moncrief is only 24 is worth a late-round pick.
Paul Richardson signs with the Redskins
AR: The numbers don’t tell the story for Richardson, who is very talented. It’s not an ideal spot for his Fantasy value. Jamison Crowder will get a lot of targets, and Josh Doctson is very talented despite a disappointing season last year, and there’s Jordan Reed if he can stay healthy. Richardson is 25 with 4.4 speed, so he’s worth a late-round pick.
Albert Wilson signs with Dolphins
AR: The Dolphins traded Jarvis Landry to the Browns and replaced him with Wilson via free agency, who has excellent hands and can make things happen after the catch. They still have Kenny Stills, and DeVante Parker still has potential.
Danny Amendola signs with the Dolphins
AR: It’s odd that they signed Amendola after adding Wilson. Amendola is 32 and has a hard time staying healthy and has several receivers in front of him. He’s only worth a shot in the final rounds of deep PPR formats.
John Brown signs with Ravens
MD: Staying on the field is the problem, not the talent. Long gone are the days of his seemingly untapped potential as the Cards No. 2 guy. Now, we have to worry about whether he can actually play football at this level.
Taylor Gabriel signs with Chicago
AR: After not doing much with the Browns, Gabriel was solid with the Falcons. He’s not going to get enough volume to be Fantasy relevant.
Jarvis Landry traded to the Browns
DOC: Once again, the Dolphins made a huge blunder by trading Landry. Landry is an outstanding possession receiver who always runs the right route and is the perfect safety net for any QB. Although the Browns have Coleman and Gordon on the outside, they have no one who can challenge defenses over the middle of the field. Landry should be able to exploit mismatches against poor slot defenders.
Michael Crabtree to the Ravens
DOC: This move came out of nowhere, but it might have benefitted both the Ravens and Crabtree. Baltimore has lacked a true #1 WR for quite some time and Crabtree will fit perfectly right into that spot. Baltimore does not throw that much so I do expect Crabtree’s receiving yards to go down, but he still should have around 8-9 TDs.
Allen Hurns signs with Cowboys
DOC: Hurns often got overlooked in Jacksonville because he wasn’t the tallest or fastest receiver on the team. However, he is a sure-handed, crisp route runner which is something that Dallas has sorely lacked for the past few seasons. Dallas is still primarily a run-first offense, but Hurns is a big goal line target and should be able to make an impact in his first year with the team.
Brandin Cooks traded from Patriots to Rams
DOC: Brandin Cooks to the Rams caught the NFL (and Fantasy world) by surprise Tuesday afternoon. The acquisition of Cooks gives Los Angeles a speed threat on the outside to replace the departed Sammy Watkins. Cooks should fit in nicely with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, giving Jared Goff three solid receivers to work with. The good thing about Cooks is that he is not necessarily a player who thrives on multiple targets per game. If Sean McVay can design a few plays a game for him, that might be enough for him to make a solid impact. The Rams now need to figure out how to sign Cooks to a long-term deal. Otherwise, they gave up a first round pick for a year rental. As for the Patriots, while they will miss Cooks a bit, I am not sure that he ever truly got along well enough with Tom Brady to make him a focal point of the team’s offense. Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan are Brady’s main guys, and I think the team wants to see how Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson perform in training camp. As for Cooks’ Fantasy value, he drops from a second round pick to a fourth or fifth rounder this season.
AR: The addition of Cooks to the Rams makes them a better football team, as Cooks can play inside or outside and replaces Sammy Watkins. Cooks has great speed and the defense has to account for him. It helps Jared Goff and gives the Rams a potent offense. Robert Woods had 85 targets in 12 games, Cooper Kupp had 94 targets in 15 games and Todd Gurley had 87 targets in 15 games. Watkins had 70 targets in 15 games. It’s an offense that will spread out the football and while the Rams use a lot of three-wide sets, Cooks won’t be as good in Fantasy has he has been the last few seasons.
Shawn Childs: Don’t be fooled by the 2017 stats in New England or the success of Robert Woods in 2017. The new pecking order in the Rams’ passing offense is Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, then Robert Woods. Cooks gives LA a two-way threat at WR where his speed can beat a team deep or turn a short slant or screen play into a long score. The Rams coaching staff is dynamic and a stud RB can only help Brandin make plenty of big plays. Look for him to be undervalued in drafts in 2018 while Kupp works the short areas of the field behind Cooks on the deep routes to get easy catches. Cooper will be the top scoring WR, but his upside in catches does take a hit with a third wheel added to the equation. Woods will still have chances to make plays while seeing single coverage on most plays, but his overall skill set isn’t strong enough to command a lead role in this offense at WR.
Terrelle Pryor to the Jets
CHILDS: Pryor had a tough time finding his way the Redskins’ offense in 2017. The move to the Jets should work in his favor while expecting to take over at the WR2. New York doesn’t have a great offense or stellar QB, so I would start his floor at the season produced by Jermaine Kearse (65/801/5)while understanding should offer more upside. Possible value WR thanks to the Jets expected to trail in many games.
Mike Wallace signs with Eagles
CHILDS: I’m intrigued by Mike Wallace moving to the Eagles. Philly has an attacking style on offense, but they do have plenty of depth at the receiving positions to compete for targets. Wallace will be a deep threat plus add scoring value at the goal line. His role in 2018 will be a work in progress while one injury may pave the way to another 1000 yards season. For now, I’d think of him a possible upside WR5 on a Fantasy team.
Jaron Brown heads to Seattle
CHILDS: Brown isn’t a player I can count over the long haul as a Fantasy owner. He may hit on a couple of scoring player with a decent game or two, but the Seahawks will be trying to find a better option in the 2018 NFL draft to take over as their WR3.
Jeremy Kerley to the Bills
MB: The former New York Jet has absolutely no Fantasy value due to the crowded wide receiver corps and the question marks at the quarterback position.
Jordan Matthews signs with the New England Patriots
CHILDS: The Patriots picked up Matthews for a short contract in the offseason due to injury concerns. Jordan played well in his rookie season (67/872/8) with follow through in 2015 (85/997/8). He played through a left knee issue in 2016 leading to a pair of missed games and a step back in production (73/804/3). Last year his season started with a chest injury after an August trade to the Bills. A thumb issue that required in early October led to only one missed game, but it affected him for the rest of the year. His left knee injury flared up in November leading to surgery in mid-December. 2017 was a lost season (25/282/1). I like that he finally had his knee cleaned up, and I expect him to regain his previous form. Matthews played in the slot at Philly, which won’t be the case in New England with Julian Edelman on the field. His size (6’3′) will create a scoring edge at the goal line. There’s a nice player here when healthy. I’ll set my floor at 60/750/7 while looking to draft him as a WR5 in 2018 unless Jordan is receiving glowing training camp reports.
Willie Snead heads to Baltimore
CHILDS: Snead looked to be on the rise after two strong seasons (69/984/3 and 72/895/4) with the Saints while receiving 205 combined targets over 30 games. His 2017 season started with a three-game suspension followed up by a hamstring issue. Willie failed to make an impact any game last year leading to only eight catches for 92 yards on 16 targets. This season he’ll try to rebuild his career with the Ravens. Enough talent to emerge as the number two WR with Baltimore if John Brown can’t stay healthy. For now, only a 50-catch opportunity with minimal upside in TDs.
Ryan Grant signs with Indianapolis Colts
CHILDS: As the third/fourth option in the Redskins’ passing game in 2017, Grant caught 45 of 65 passes for 573 yards and four TDs. His best success came in Week 11 (3/59/1), Week 13 (5/76/1), and Week 16 (4/85). Ryan has been in the NFL for four seasons while never securing a starting job. In his last two seasons at Tulane, Grant caught 153 passes for 2,188 yards and 15 TDs. Worth a late flier as someone emerge at WR in the Colts’ offense.
Tavarres King joins Vikings
MB: King showed glimpses of hope with the G-Men last season (mostly because fellow wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall suffered season-ending injuries. Not to mention, Sterling Shepard missed a handful games. King was one of the only healthy receivers Eli Manning could target last season. With Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph on the field, King most likely won’t see much playing time in Minnesota.
Cameron Meredith heads to the Saints
CHILDS: Meredith at a good 2016 without much help at quarterback. In 14 games, he had 66 catches for 888 yards with four touchdowns. He missed last season with a torn ACL and MCL, but is expected to be ready for training camp and might be ready for minicamp. The Bears didn’t match the offer from the Saints and let Meredith go. The role will be different with the Saints with Michael Thomas as the lead receiver and the running backs soaking up a lot of targets. The Saints weren’t the high-passing offense they have been recently. Drew Brees attempted 673 passes in 2016 and 537 last season. The running game was upgraded with the addition of Alvin Kamara and the Saints have always been pass-heavy to the running backs. Meredith is unlikely to see consistent volume if the script is similar to last season. That will keep the price down and Meredith won’t cost much as a WR4/5 and if things break right for him, he could be a nice value.
Deonte Thompson joins Dallas Cowboys
DOC: Thompson bounced around in 2017 playing 11 games for the Bills before playing his last 5 with the Bears. The Bears chose not to resign him, so Thompson signed with the Cowboys. With Dez Bryant gone and Terrance Williams on thin ice with the law and the NFL, there is a chance that Thompson could emerge as one of Dak Prescott’s trusted receivers. However, with Dallas committed to running the ball, I am not sure that Thompson can eclipse last years 38 catches and 555 receiving yards. Thompson does get a small boost in leagues that offer points for return yardage as Ryan Switzer’s trade opens the door for Thompson to be the Cowboys’ kick returner.
Brice Butler signs with Cardinals
DOC: In his time in the NFL, Butler has proven to be a solid WR4 or WR5, but he generally has not given Fantasy owners too much to smile about. Last year with the Cowboys saw him with have the most receiving yards (317) and TDs (3) in his career, but Dallas did not step up in the off-season to offer him a deal to remain with the team. Now with Arizona, Butler once again finds himself as the WR4 (at best). With Larry Fitzgerald a fixture on the outside and second round pick Christian Kirk manning the slot, Butler will have to beat out J.J. Nelson and Chad Williams if he wants more playing time. Fantasy owners should watch this battle in training camp closely as Butler could get 600+ yards and 5-6 TDs if given enough playing time.
Brandon Marshall to the Seahawks
Martavis Bryant traded from Steelers to Raiders
AR: Bryant needed a scenery change. He has the ideal size and speed and in a contract year. He’s behind Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson right now, but Nelson is 33 and had a difficult time gaining separation last season. Bryant is worth a shot in the middle rounds.
Torrey Smith leaves Eagles for Panthers
AR: Smith hasn’t been relevant in Fantasy the last three seasons. There won’t be enough targets for Smith this season either. Don’t draft him.
Cordarrelle Patterson joins the Patriots
Cody Latimer signs with G-Men
Jeff Janis headed to Cleveland
K.J. Brent signs with Colts
Marlon Brown signs with Raiders
Marquis Bundy joins New York Giants
Michael Campanaro to the Titans
Kaelin Clay joins Buffalo
Sammie Coates adds to Houston Texans’ WR corps
Reggie Davis signs with Falcons
Bennie Fowler joins Chicago Bears
Cobi Hamilton to the Arizona Cardinals
Dwayne Harris joins the Oakland Raiders
Bug Howard to the Bucs
Josh Huff signs with Saints
Charles Johnson to the Jets
Marcus Johnson signs with Seattle
Jamaal Jones to Carolina
Jake Kumerow signs with Packers
Lance Lenoir to the Cowboys
Jordan Leslie to the Broncos
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Jimmy Graham to the Packers
AR: The Packers were in need of a tight end via free agency and signed Graham to a three-year contract. The Packers also released Jordy Nelson, who was a favorite of Aaron Rodgers in the red zone. Graham should see a lot of those targets. Graham only averaged 5.5 yards per target last season, but he scored ten touchdowns and the NFL inside targets inside the ten-yard line. His target share will decline a bit, but he will score touchdowns. Graham will be in the upper half of the TE1 discussion.
Trey Burton to the Bears
AR: Burton was impressive whenever he filled in for Zach Ertz. This is a boost for Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense and a hit to tight end Adam Shaheen. The Bears are a pass-first offense on the rise. Burton could be the third or fourth most targeted option in the offense. Burton is a high TE2 with the upside for more.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins to Jaguars
MD: Yawn. ASJ has been underperforming compared to expectations since his days at the University of Washington. He’ll have his moments and he could one year put together a dozen red zone TDs with ease, but don’t expect too much. He’ll be somewhere around a TE9 to TE15 for most of his career.
Tyler Eifert re-signs with Bengals
CHILDS: Eifert has talent, but health continues to crush his draftable value. A return to Cinci can’t be a bad thing, but Tyler now has to prove to Fantasy owner that his 2015 season (65/615/13) was a fluke. I like him much better as an upside TE2 in the Fantasy market, which means his draft value has to fall to round 12 or later in 2018. A quiet summer will lead to a more favorable price point.
Eric Ebron signs with Colts
CHILDS: The Lions lost confidence in Ebron over the last couple of seasons after seeing him drop multiple scoring catches. A change of scenery will do him good especially if Andrew Luck is healthy. Eric is blocked by Jack Doyle, which put him into a split role at best out of the gate. Doyle catches the ball well forcing Ebron to work his way to more chances with improvement on the field. I’d view him more of a handcuff to Doyle for now. If Indy doesn’t improve their WR2 option, the second TE in their system will have value in some games in 2018.
CHILDS: From a Fantasy perspective, the addition of Willson and Toililo won’t add any Fantasy value. Both players have complementary skills. I expect them to split time with each offering value at the goal line when they get lost in coverage by the opposing team.
Ed Dickson signs with Seahawks
MB: Dickson stepped in last season for stud TE Greg Olsen who missed nine games of the NFL season. Dickson sits atop Seattle’s TE depth chart and will have some streaming value so long as he can keep the starting job. In 2017, Dickson caught 30 passes for 437 yards (14.6 yards per catch) and a touchdown. It was his second-best season since his second season with the Baltimore Ravens. Dickson doesn’t have starting appeal but he could be a decent backup or bye-week fill-in.
Virgil Green to the Chargers
AR: The Chargers suffered a huge blow with Hunter Henry tearing his ACL. That moved Green to the top of the depth chart for now. There’s a chance the Chargers bring back Antonio Gates or sign a veteran. Green turns 30 in August and has been used mostly as a blocking tight end. His best season came in 2016 with Denver when he caught 22 passes for 237 yards with a touchdown. He’s a TE3 for now pending what the Chargers do.
Ben Watson to the Saints
DOC: Even though he will be 37 years old when the season begins, Watson might have found the Fountain of Youth this off-season when he signed with the Saints. Drew Brees is a Hall of Fame QB who loves to look for his tight end in the red zone. With Mark Ingram out for the first few weeks, look for Watson to start out strong. I can see him being an ideal TE2 this season (think 45-50 catches for 500-600 yards and 6 TDs) with an outside chance at being a TE1 by season’s end.
Gavin Escobar heads to Miami
Marcedes Lewis signs with Green Bay
Niles Paul joins ASJ in Jacksonville
Richard Rodgers heads to Philadelphia
Clive Walford signs with Jets
Derek Carrier signs with Raiders
Darren Fells joins Browns
Bucky Hodges joins New York Jets
Troy Niklas heads to New England
Logan Paulsen signs with Falcons
TOP REMAINING FANTASY FRIENDLY FREE AGENTS
- WR Dez Bryant
- RB DeMarco Murray
- WR Jeremy Maclin
- WR Eric Decker
- RB Adrian Peterson
- WR Dontrelle Inman
- TE Julius Thomas
- TE Antonio Gates
- TE Coby Fleener
- RB Alfred Morris
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