Free agency in the NFL has slowed down but there were still some big signings with fantasy implications last week.
Seattle Seahawks Sign Eddie Lacy, RB
Lacy is a good running back but struggles with his weight have led to injuries and missed games the last two seasons. On the positive side Lacy is second to only Marshawn Lynch in yards after first contact with 2.15 since entering the league. He also averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2016 (8th) and 2.8 yards after contact (1st). He’s going to need to be that good again running behind a bad Seahawks offensive line. If he can stay healthy he could make for a great RB2 and be a tremendous value in fantasy drafts.
This signing is a big blow for Thomas Rawls. I really like Rawls, but either the Seahawks don’t or they have concerns over his ability to stay healthy. Either way Lacy will likely cut into his workload. C.J. Prosise should be unaffected as his skill set is completely different from Lacy and Rawls.
New England Patriots Sign Rex Burkhead, RB
Burkhead has only made one start in his NFL career but he looked great in it. In fact, he looked very good in his limited playing time after Jeremy Hill went down with an injury. Over the six games he played he averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Before you claim he was running behind a good offensive line realize that Hill and Gio Bernard averaged 3.8 yards per carry on the season. Unfortunately when it comes to the Patriots they have so many weapons you just never know how he will be utilized. It makes sense he would assume the LaGarrette Blount role which would instantly propel him into low end RB1 range but this is the Patriots. He’s currently RB41 which is well worth taking a flyer on. He brings a lot of risk but he also brings tons of upside.
Minnesota Vikings Sign Latavius Murray, RB
The Oakland Raiders had one of the best offensive lines last year, the Vikings had one of the worst. Add to that the fact that Murray is just an OK running back and it’s hard to get excited. Last year on 195 carries Murray had 8 runs of 15 yards of more. Meanwhile DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard combined for 14 such runs on just 170 total carries. Add to that the fact that Jerrik McKinnon looked better over the second half of the season and this seems like a 50/50 split at best. Murray is currently being drafted as RB25 and I think that is too high. I’d rather have McKinnon at RB47.
Oakland Raiders Sign Jared Cook, TE
Cook wanted more money than the Packers were willing to pay so they went out and signed Martellus Bennett. That left Cook a free agent and he landed in a potentially great spot. Sure, almost any quarterback is a drop off from Aaron Rodgers, but going to Derek Carr is not much of a downgrade. The downside is the Raiders just don’t throw to tight ends. Last year just 4.5% of targets went to tight ends. Whether that is because the team did not have a good tight end or if Carr just relies on his two wide receiver threats so much remains to be seen. Still this is a good fit for Cook if the Raiders start utilizing him and I have him as a high end TE2.
Dallas Cowboys Sign Darren McFadden, RB and Arizona Cardinals Sign Andre Ellington, RB
I put these signings together because they both have similar fantasy values. Both McFadden and Ellington are handcuffs that could assume RB1 value should either Ezekiel Elliott or David Johnson get hurt. McFadden would rank the higher of the two based on running behind a better offensive line but either would be weekly must starts given the opportunity. That means they are both late round draft picks in standard leagues.