The first official day of NFL free agency did not disappoint. Many teams made big splashes and familiar names will be in unfamiliar jerseys in 2017. Let’s take a look at the fantasy implications of Thursday’s moves.
Cleveland Browns Sign Kenny Britt, WR, Resign Joel Bitonio, G, Sign Kevin Zeitler, G and Trade for Brock Osweiler, QB and Houston’s 2nd Round Pick
Other than not franchising Terelle Pryor, I have liked most of the moves the Browns have made. Let’s start with the move that shook free agency and that is the “trade” they pulled off. This is not your daddy’s Browns. Houston wanted to rid themselves of Osweiler so badly that they GAVE Cleveland a second round pick just to take his ungodly contract. This makes sense for the Browns as they had tons of cap room and will now have 11 picks in the next 2 drafts. Reports have even surfaced that they are now shopping him for a 3rd round pick. What a heist.
As for Osweiler he is unlikely to see a snap for the Browns so he is pretty much undraftable at this point. I doubt many people were looking to draft him anyways but this should certainly disuade everyone. As for the Houston offense it’s looking more likely they will be bringing in Tony Romo. If that happens both DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller will get big boosts. Even if it ends up being Tom Savage or another QB both should still see a boost.
Kenny Britt is not an adequate replacement for Pryor. I like Britt and he did well with terrible quarterback play, but Pryor is younger and better. From a fantasy perspective Britt had a good year for the Rams with terrible QB play and I’d expect the same with the Browns. His value pretty much remains the same to me.
Lastly the Browns added two of the games best guards which will be a big boost to Isaiah Crowell. Crowell had success last year finishing as RB5, RB38, RB3, RB14, RB15, RB10 and RB12 when he got at least 15 touches. With a bolstered offensive line he could be a high end RB2. He is currently being drafted as RB22 and I expect that will rise.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sign DeSean Jackson, WR and Resign Jacquizz Rogers, RB
I really like what the Buccaneers have done in free agency so far. By bringing in Jackson they added a deep threat this offense really needed. I don’t think this signing elevates Jackson much if at all, he already had a good quarterback throwing him the ball. This will be a big boost for Jameis Winston, however. Winston will have plenty of weapons now and could make a leap in his third season. He’s in the QB1 discussion for sure.
I like Rogers the question is how durable can he be? When he plays he’s looked great but he’s small and one has to wonder if he can take the weekly pounding. Still unless the Bucs sign another running back he should be a weekly RB2.
Philadelphia Eagles Sign Alshon Jeffrey, WR and Torrey Smith, WR
Here’s a fun fact: after signing Torrey Smith early this morning the Eagles had 3 of the 5 worst graded wide receivers from 2016. Luckily they were able to land Jeffrey later in the day. I still believe in Jeffrey but I view him more as a high end WR2 rather than a WR1. Smith, on the other hand, is not very good. Apart from being the 3rd worst graded receiver last season he also dropped 16 of his 64 catchable passes. Yikes. He’s a late round flyer only.
Carson Wentz will get a big boost from having a big bodied receiver to throw too. I don’t have him in the QB1 range but he should be in the high end QB2 discussion.
Jacksonville Jaguars Sign A.J. Bouye, CB and Calais Campbell, DE
The Jaguars defense got a big boost today and will be a sneaky draft day defense. They were already showing signs late in the season in 2016 as they held opponents to 2 or fewer touchdowns in 7 of their last 9 games. Since 2008 Campbell has 392 pressures, only JJ Watt and Geno Atkins have more during that time. Bouye was an absolute stud for Houston last year and was the only corner with 10 or more pass breakups and less than 10 yards per catch allowed. The Jags are being drafted as DEF19 so you can bet I will have a lot of exposure in my MFL10s.
Los Angeles Rams Sign Andrew Whitworth, OL and Robert Woods, WR
Todd Gurley truthers unite! I liked Gurley before but I like him even more now. Whitworth was one of the best run blockers in the NFL creating 1.81 yards before contact for the Cincinnati running backs. The player he is replacing, Greg Robinson, created 0.71 yards. We know Gurley is going to get the work and now he may have the holes to run through.
I don’t see this signing doing much for Woods. He wasn’t fantasy relevant before and having Jared Goff throwing you the ball won’t increase your production.
New Orleans Saints Sign Tedd Ginn, WR
Bringing Ginn to New Orleans only makes sense if the team truly is ready to move on from Brandon Cooks. If Ginn becomes the deep threat for Drew Brees he will get a big boost and could move into low end WR2 range with big time upside. He’s currently being drafted as WR88 in MFL10s, n0w is the time to start grabbing him.
Baltimore Ravens Picked Up Contract Option For Mike Wallace, WR and Kenneth Dixon, RB Suspended 4 Games For PEDs
Many, myself included, had hoped this would be the year Breshad Pertiman got his shot. With the team bringing back Wallace and signing Danny Woodhead there just doesn’t seem to be enough targets to go around. Wallace should continue to be a boom/bust option in the late rounds.
The big news out of Baltimore was Kenneth Dixon being suspended the first four games of the season by the NFL for failing a PED test. Dixon had a lot of hype early in the off-season but with the signing of Woodhead and now a suspension his stock will surely fall.
Miami Dolphins Sign Julius Thomas, TE
Many are excited that Thomas will reunite with Adam Gase who was his OC back in his successful Denver days. It can’t be forgotten that he also had Peyton Manning throwing him the ball. I’m not quite sold on Thomas and there are a lot of mouths to feed in Miami. I have him in the TE2 range.
Chicago Bears Sign Mike Glennon, QB, and Release Jay Cutler, QB
Glennon actually isn’t that bad the problem is the weapons he has around him. The Bears just don’t have a lot of talent and Glennon isn’t good enough to elevate that talent. He is a low end QB2 unless the Bears really improve around him. As for Cutler it sounds like the Jets might be his only option. If he signs he’ll do Cutler stuff and will be nothing more than a QB2 who will have the occasional big fantasy game.
There are still a lot of big name free agents out there especially running backs. Tomorrow should be another frenzy so come back to get all the latest moves and analysis.