2018 Free Agency Frenzy!
The NFL off-season is off to a wild start first with Sequon Barkley setting the NFL combine on fire, then with all the trades and now the start of Free Agency which officially begins tomorrow (but we already know where the biggest names are going)!
We have seen more trades prior to the start of the NFL Free Agency then I can ever remember. A large amount of the trades we have seen have involved defensive players but we had some offensive pieces get moved that will shake up the fantasy landscape as we head into the 2018 season. Let’s take a look at all of the trades that have happened up to this point;
- Alex Smith traded to the Washington Redskins
- Jarvis Landry traded to the Cleveland Browns
- Tyrod Taylor traded to the Cleveland Browns
- Deshone Kizer traded to the Green Bay Packers
- Torrey Smith traded to the Carolina Panthers
- Marcus Peters traded to the L.A. Rams
- Alec Ogletree traded to the New Yok Giants
- Michael Bennett traded to the Philadelphia Eagles
- Damarious Randell traded to the Cleveland Browns
- Robert Quinn traded to the Miami Dolphins
- Danny Shelton traded to the New England Patriots
On top of all the notable trades mentioned above, as of today we have seen Matt Forte, Carson Palmer, David Harris, and Paul Posluszny announce their retirements and Jordy Nelson, Richard Sherman (Signed w/ 49ers), Frank Gore, Danny Woodhead, Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray, Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin, and Chris Ivory (Signed w/ Bills) all got released. The RB revolution is real and the changing of the guard at that position is happening across the league.
Each one of these moves has a major impact on how the free agent market unfolds, how NFL teams strategically approach the draft, and who you should be targeting in off-season moves in your Dynasty leagues. Let’s look at some of the big Free Agents who are ready to sign tomorrow if they haven’t already and the fantasy impact those signings will have.
*I’ll continue to update this list as news breaks on these Free Agents so make sure to continue coming back*
Kirk Cousins – Previous Team: Washington Redskins | New Team: Minnesota Vikings
Cousins won free agency! From what I have heard he has a fully guaranteed contract and was able to upgrade to the best WR duo in the league and a team who made it to the NFC Championship game. Cousin will have an immediate impact on the Vikings offensive pieces as he has finished top 10 in attempts (540 ’17, 606 ’16), deep ball attempts (69 ’17, 94 ’16) and passing yards (4,093 ’17, 4,915 ’16) in his last two seasons with the Redskins.
Drew Brees – Previous Team: New Orleans Saints | New Team: New Orleans Saints
Did you really think he was going anywhere? Nope, Brees looks to be on track to finish his career as a New Orleans Saint. Fire up Kamara, Thomas, Ingram, and Ginn!
Jimmy Garoppolo – Previous Team: San Francisco 49ers | New Team: San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy G isn’t going anywhere! He signed a long-term contract and the 49ers look to be trending up and to the right heading into 2018. With the QB position locked up, the Niners are an offensive you should be investing in this off-season. George Kittle, Marquise Goodwin, and Matt Breida are just a few names I would be targeting.
Case Keenum – Previous Team: Minnesota Vikings | New Team: Denver Broncos
Keenum is riding high after a remarkable 2017 season and is now in line to be the Denver Broncos starting QB. Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian couldn’t get the job done. Denver is taking a risk on a journeyman who is coming off his best season in the NFL. This move still would have me concerned with the fantasy values of Thomas and Sanders. The ADP will have to be right for me to want to invest in them in a redraft league and would not be going after either in Dynasty.
Sam Bradford – Previous Team: Minnesota Vikings | New Team: Arizona Cardinals
In week 1 Bradford looked amazing shredding the Saints “Improved” defense to the tune of 346 yards & 3 touchdowns but that was it. Bradford injured his knee during that game and only returned for one half versus the Bears where he looked awful. 2017 was a lost season and I still think Bradford is the best of the FA QB’s who is still available. His 2016 stats might be inflated now that we have seen how good that offense made Case Keenum look but Bradford is still extremely accurate (71.6 completion percentage in ’16 best in the NFL) and when he stays healthy can be one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL. Health is a major factor and what could scare off teams. Arizona will be a perfect landing spot for him and would continue to help aid in the fantasy values of David Johnson & Larry Fitzgerald.
Teddy Bridgewater – Previous Team: Minnesota Vikings | New Team: New York Jets
*3/16 UPDATE: Teddy two gloves has found a new home! I am always going to root for Teddy to succeed and it’s a feel-good story that he was able to sign on with another team. The Jets invested in Josh McCown for at least one more year which leaves the door ever so slightly opened that Bridgewater may be a starter in the league again. This move has zero fantasy impact for Teddy and with the current roster the Jets have and his position as back up I don’t see any reason to go after him in Dynasty.
Le’Veon Bell – Previous Team: Pittsburgh Steelers | New Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell threatened to retire if he was hit with the franchise tag again and the Steelers called his bluff and tagged him anyway. Bell has come out and said he will play on the tag just like he did last year. Every Bell owner can relax now.
Dion Lewis – Previous Team: New England Patriots | New Team: Tennessee Titans | Guess: Tennessee Titans
My guess here is a selfish one as I think Lewis would be awesome in that offense and would be the perfect change of pace back to Derrick Henry. Lewis proved he is durable and that he can be a workhorse back last year but I just don’t see the rest of the NFL believing he is that style of RB. I think the Patriots want to keep him but I don’t think they can offer him the most. His landing spot will have a tremendous impact on his ADP this season.
*3/16 UPDATE: I hit this nail squarely on the head! Great signing that looks to put both Henry & Lewis on the map for fantasy in 2018. I think Henry gets more RB touches (Obviously!) but Lewis battles for total touches. I know Lewis got starter money but I don’t think the Titans want to just move on from Henry and his only role is an early down & short yardage banger. In Dynasty if you own Henry I would dangle him out there and see what you can get for him. His value seems like it will only weaken as more clarity about this backfield leaks out. Lewis is a buy for me and someone who shouldn’t demand too much to acquire.
Carlos Hyde – Previous Team: San Francisco 49ers | New Team: Cleveland Browns | Guess: Oakland Raiders
@DaFantasyFather proposed this idea on last weeks podcast (click here to listen!) and I loved it! Hyde does feel like he would be a perfect fit in Oakland and it sounds like Marshawn Lynch might be on his way out. If the Raiders either release or trade Lynch before 3/16 the Raiders will save $5.9m+ & the move will have zero cap hit for 2018. This seems like a no-brainer and I think Hyde would fit perfectly with the Raiders zone blocking scheme and could help out in the passing game (56 rec in ’17). He is the best RB in the FA class after Bell IMO but the only thing that may not allow this move to happen is we just don’t know how much the Raiders value either Washington or Richard.
*3/16 UPDATE: Huh? Why? No! With Barkley waiting for you at 1 or even potentially 4 the Browns decided to look to a proven player in Carlos Hyde over the chosen one Saquon Barkley. At first, I was as puzzled as you were but I get the logic with this move. Hyde allows them to continue to utilize Duke Johnson Jr. a dynamic pass-catching back and build off the success they had with him last year while getting an improved between the tackles runner in Hyde. Also, they now have the freedom to trade one of their top 5 picks to acquire more draft picks and address RB later with less draft capital and less guaranteed money. In a draft class that is very deep at that position, it’s a smart move by the all of a sudden competitive looking Browns. Hyde’s Dynasty value doesn’t change much but Duke’s takes a little hit as Hyde has shown he can be a great receiver when his number is called.
DeMarco Murray – Previous Team: Tennessee Titans | New Team: | Guess: Indianapolis Colts
I thought DeMarco Murray screamed a New York Jet after Matt Forte announced his retirement but it looks like they have agreed to terms with Isiah Crowell. Murray was injured for most of last year but just two years ago had the 3rd most rushing yards in the NFL (1,287) & the 6th most total touchdowns (12). Murray who just turned 30 may have 1 or 2 two years left and shouldn’t cost too much. Indy should be in the market for an early-down workhorse similar to what they had with Frank Gore and Murray could fill that need. The only thing stopping the Colts is if they are planning on looking to fill that need in the draft.
Isiah Crowell – Previous Team: Cleveland Browns | New Team: New York Jets | Guess: New York Giants
Crowell along with Jay Ajayi (Had to throw that in there Young Man!) is one the biggest busts of 2017. Coming off a nearly 1k yard 7 TD season Crowell disappointed in Cleveland last year with only 2 TD’s and saw Duke Johnson Jr. eat heavily into his snap share. Still, Crowell was able to handle over 200 carries which would be more than anyone on the Giants roster currently. I am a fan of Orleans Darkwa but Crowell could add depth to the position and battle for the starting job. At only 25 Crowell still has a lot to give an NFL Franchise who is willing to make the investment.
*UPDATE Since I left to Shovel and came back in: New Team: New York Jets: Crowell is headed to the other New York team the Jets. As someone pointed out on Twitter it’s Chris Ivory 2.0 which perfectly sums it up. I thought DeMarco was a lock for that role but Crowell fits in just as well.
Jerick McKinnon – Previous Team: Minnesota Vikings | New Team: San Francisco 49ers | Guess: San Francisco 49ers
Please make this happen!!! Pretty please!! If anyone knows how to use highly skilled athletic freak out of the backfield it’s Kyle Shanahan. Mckinnon is a SPARQ-x freak (155.7 100th percentile) and with 4.41 wheels he can get to the edge something he showcased last season after Dalvin Cook went down with an ACL tear. McKinnon is a hyper-athletic satellite plus RB and the best one on the market. At only 25, McKinnon holds tremendous Dynasty value and could see major love in redraft depending on where he lands. The other landing spot I would love to see for McKinnon would be in New England especially if they let Burkhead & Lewis walk. They used Lewis in a workhorse role last year and could do the same with McKinnon.
*3/16 UPDATE YESSSSSSSS! My must-have draft crush of 2018 is official. It’s Jerick McKinnon! The ADP might get out of control but like Ty Montogomery last year, I love the upside that this move has for both Redraft & Dynasty. Outside of New England & New Orleans, the 49ers were the BEST landing spot to utilize McKinnon’s skill set. A lot can happen between now and the start of training camp so for now, it looks like McKinnon is the lead back for the 2018 season but if the 49ers bring in another RB via FA or use high draft capital on the position all my darkest fears will be realized!
Doug Martin – Previous Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers | New Team: Oakland Raiders
*3/16 UPDATE: Doug Martin has been granted another chance at least for one more year. The struggling running back was cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this off-season but was able to find life with the Oakland Raiders. Martin has a lot of baggage and even though he has two great years on his resume he is a major risk/reward player in all formats. To pile on top of his inconsistency is the fact that Oakland currently has two talented RB’s on its roster either of which could be the teams lead RB in 2018. Martin’s fantasy value is at an all-time low and with so much uncertainty and unknown it makes sense why.
Jonathan Stewart – Previous Team: Carolina Panthers | New Team: New York Giants
*3/16 UPDATE: Jonathan Stewart was cut by the Carolina Panthers but quickly got scooped up by the GMen. On a one year deal, Stewart is either a bridge to a drafted RB this year or is veteran depth if the Giants decide to go get Barkley with the #2 pick. Either way Stewart has never had a 1k yard season in his career and his 198 rushes were the fewest he has had since 2014. I see no value in Stewart in redraft or Dynasty at this time.
Danny Woodhead – Previous Team: Baltimore Ravens | New Team: Retired | Guess: Los Angeles Rams
*3/16 UPDATE: Danny Woodhead is 33! Jesus, I remember him on hard knocks and with the Patriots but couldn’t believe his age when I looked it up. Woodhead was released by the Ravens and is currently a free agent. I chose the Rams as a landing spot because they let Lance Dunbar walk and only have Justin Davis & Lenard Tillery as depth behind Todd Gurley. I don’t think Gurley needs a 3rd down change of pace back like Woodhead but the move would keep his fantasy value on life support especially in PPR. I don’t know if he will find much interest on the open market based on age and injury history but hope if he does it’s with a team who has an innovative offensive coordinator. New England & San Diego two old stomping grounds might also be where he ends up.
*3/25 UPDATE: Danny “that’s what she said” Woodhead formally announced his retirement from the NFL a day after I published my last update (3/17). Woodhead will go down in the fantasy football world as one of the best satellite backs to ever own but his departure opens the doors for Buck Allen and the all too forgotten Kenneth Dixon. Alex Collins has taken over the lead role in Baltimore but their RB depth chart will be an interesting one to follow during the summer.
Jarvis Landry – Previous Team: Miami Dolphins | New Team: Cleveland Browns
What can you say I love this move for the Browns salary aside. The Browns with the signing of TyGod & Landry now have an offense that can win them some football games and at least on paper look to be one of the better WR cores in the NFL. Landry is a target (161 ’17) and reception (112 ’17) monster and his arrival immediately impacts Josh Gordon and Corey Colemans redraft values. In dynasty with no long-term contract signed or being talked about you can’t hit the panic button on either player just yet but it will be interesting to see how Taylor spreads the ball around.
Sammy Watkins – Previous Team: Los Angeles Rams | New Team: Kansas City Chiefs
If you’re a fan of the Trophy Time Podcast and or read any of my work you know I am not a fan of Sammy Watkins but I can’t deny this move has me a little excited in the undercarriage. I know Sammy played for a progressive offense last year in LA but I don’t think anyone expected that level of offensive efficiency from Goff or Gurley after how disastrous 2016 was. For me, I love what Mahomes brings to the table as a deep ball passer and we all know that’s where Watkins excels. It also doesn’t help that on the other side of the field is the fastest player in the NFL so teams can’t just key in on Watkins or they will be burnt by Hill. Sammy welcome back on team Trotta! Maybe I’ll be seeing you come draft day even if you went to Clemson…GO NOLES!!
Allen Robinson – Previous Team: Jacksonville Jaguars | New Team: Chicago Bears
My favorite WR in this FA class Robinson’s 2017 campaign was cut short due to an ACL tear in week 1. The only good thing is that he will be more than ready for the opener in September and his new team the Bears is on the up! I love the move for the 2nd winner so far Mitch Trubisky! Trubisky will now have Allen Robinson, a healthy Cameron Meredith, a don’t breath on him or he will break Kevin White, Taylor Gabriel, Tarik Cohen, Adam Shaheen, and newly acquired Trey Burton to throw to. That is a tremendous upgrade and one that puts Trubisky in my crosshairs to get on the cheap before he Jared Goffs everyone in 2018.
Paul Richardson – Previous Team: Seattle Seahawks | New Team: Washington Redskins
Richardson is a player I have liked ever since he came into the NFL and I think the move to the Redskins fits very well with his skill set. At 6’0 and with 4.4 wheels Richardson provides the Redskins with much-needed speed on the outside to pair with Josh Doctson. I think Richardson’s value in Dynasty stays about the same because of the QB drop off from Wilson to Smith but I think the move increases his upside and creates a safer floor based on the offensive system he moves into.
Terrelle Pryor – Previous Team: Washington Redskins | New Team: New York Jets | Guess: Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks love project players and I could see him fitting in well with Pete Caroll who had to have at least written him a letter if not recruited him face to face back when Pete was at USC. Pryor is a physical freak who just wasn’t able to make it work in Washington the same way he had a season before in Cleveland with Josh McCown. Maybe McCown is just really good like he showed last year in New York but I would still take a chance if I was the Seahawks. We have seen how good Russell Wilson throws a deep ball and after losing Jimmy Graham he probably would love to get a tall wide receiver back on the team.
*3/25 UPDATE: In fantasy terms, this move is a head-scratcher considering the Seattle Seahawks showed serious interest. Seattle would have been a phenomenal landing spot for Pryor reasons I stated above but also for the fact that they had traded away Jevon Kearse and let Paul Richardson & Jimmy Graham go via free agency. That meant over 250 targets are unaccounted for in an offense that threw the ball 553 times (6th most in the NFL) and little competition on the depth chart. Only Baldwin & Lockett pose any real threat for targets at this time. The Jets have the previously mentioned Kearse (102 tgts, Robby Anderson (114 tgts), Bilal Powell (33 tgts), Elijah Mcquire (26 tgts), and returning this season a healthy Quincy Enunwa (105 Tgts ’16). The loss of ASJ to Jacksonville frees up 74 tgts but in an offense that only threw the ball 399 times (26th in the NFL), it doesn’t look like there will be enough looks to help Pryor’s fantasy value. On the surface, he looks like a boom or bust WR3 unless he is able to get ahead of either Enunwa, Kearse, or Anderson on the depth chart.
Jordy Nelson – Previous Team: Green Bay Packers | New Team: Oakland Raiders
*3/16 UPDATE: Jordy Nelson an Oakland Raider just doesn’t have the same ring to it does it. Nelson who was released by the Packers became one of the top FA wide receivers on the market but it didn’t take him long to have teams show interest and ultimately sign with the Oakland Raiders. Nelson who turns 33 the end of May is coming off an injury-plagued season and is two years removed from a complete ACL tear. The release of Crabtree helps boost Nelson’s fantasy value as his release vacates 101 targets (14 of which were in the RZ) and 8 TDs. No longer are the days of Jordy Nelson as a WR1 linked w/ Aaron Rodgers but I think he is still a WR2 with WR1 potential. He has more redraft value then Dynasty.
Michael Crabtree – Previous Team: Oakland Raiders | New Team: Baltimore Ravens
*3/16 UPDATE: Micahel Crabtree along with John Brown are two off-season acquisitions the Ravens made to help improve their wide receiving core. Crabtree who was mentioned above was released by Oakland but quickly signed with Baltimore today. Jeremy Maclin & Danny Woodhead releases open the door to 128 targets. I think Crabtree is once again a safe WR2 in all formats.
Donte Moncrief – Previous Team: Indianapolis Colts | New Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
*3/16 UPDATE: Donte Moncrief has never been able to live up to his measurables the same measurables that propelled him to a 115.5 SPARQ-x score 80th percentile. At 6’2 221, Moncrief has the size and speed to play on the outside in the NFL but for whatever reason, it just didn’t work out in Indy with Andrew Luck. I think the change of scenery will do Moncrief well and the offensive play calling style should help Moncrief see more one on one coverage as teams look to take away Fourtnette. Moncrief is a sneaky buy-low candidate in Dynasty at only 24 years old he has all the physical traits to be a WR2 with upside if given the snap & target share.
Danny Amendola – Previous Team: New England Patriots | New Team: Miami Dolphins
*3/16 UPDATE: Playoff Amendola is a god here in New England and he will go down as one of the great playoff Patriots of all time! In PPR this move gives Amendola’s fantasy value some life as the injury to Edelman did last year while in New England. The departure of Jarvis Landry freed up 161 targets and playing primarily the slot role, Amendola showed last year he is durable enough to be a starter. Outside of PPR leagues, Amendola has no fantasy value as his TD numbers have never been great (career high is 4).
Jimmy Graham – Previous Team: Seattle Seahawks | New Team: Green Bay Packers
Love this move for both parties! Rodgers has shown when given a big athletic TE he knows how to use them. Graham led all TE’s in RZ Targets (26) & EZ Targets (18) last season and also finished number one in touchdowns (10). Graham to Green Bay is a slam dunk.
Trey Burton – Previous Team: Philadelphia Eagles | New Team: Chicago Bears
This move is a little puzzling since the Bears used high draft capital last season in picking Adam Shaheen but Burton is a young (25) athletic TE who showed last season when given the opportunity he can produce at a high level. The Philly Special trigger man is now off to the Windy City but his fantasy value stays the same at least for now.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Previous Team: New York Jets | New Team: Jacksonville Jaguars | Guess: Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens could use a stud athletic TE and ASJ would be a perfect fit for them. One year removed from a well-documented substance abuse problem ASJ had a solid year for an overachieving Jets team. When Flacco had a healthy Dennis Pitta last he posted 86/729/2 back in ’16 & last year with Watson 61/522/4. You could easily see ASJ duplicating if not exceeding those numbers over a full 16 game season.
*3/16 UPDATE: ASJ didn’t end up Baltimore like I wanted but brings a much-needed boost of youth and athleticism to the Jaguars. Marcedes Lewis who was the Jags #1 TE in 2017 put up 24 catches on 48 targets and had 5 touchdowns. I don’t think ASJ see’s 74 targets again in 2018 but even with 50 to 60 targets, he should be able to be a more efficient player when his number is called then Lewis. I like ASJ in this offense as the running game allows for creative play calling at the goal line which led to multiple RZ touchdowns for Lewis last year alone.
Tyler Eifert – Previous Team: Cincinnati Bengals | New Team: Cincinnati Bengals | Guess: New York Jets
Out goes ASJ and in comes Tyler Eifert! A walking injury report Eifert is as talented a TE in the league when he can stay healthy but that is NEVER! Eifert has never played a full 16 game season and has only started in 2 games since 2016. This from Pro Football Rumors perfectly sums up Eifert’s injury history;
“Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert has missed 41 of 80 potential regular season games due to concussions, stingers, an elbow injury, a torn labrum, ankle surgery, disc repairs, and a knee issue.”
So basically he is going to be really fresh but also really rusty. With that long history of injuries, any team should be able to get him on a cheap team friendly deal. I would chase the upside if the price is right Dynasty. I am willing to take a risk on a player whose value is rock bottom and can only go up.
*3/16 UPDATE: Eifert isn’t going anywhere and instead signed a one year deal to stay in Cincy. When healthy Eifert has TE1 potential and he will be a perfect buy-low candidate in all formats.
Eric Ebron – Previous Team: Detroit Lions | New Team: Indianapolis Colts | Guess: Miami Dolphins
*3/16 UPDATE: The Dolphins have made head-scratching after head-scratching signing since free agency started. This move would help silence the critics and fill a need after the release of Orange Julius. Ebron who has 1st round athleticism (4.6 40 / 116.0 SPARQ-x) was never able to live up the 10th overall pick hype that he came into the NFL with. He did show flashes throughout his time in Detroit and at the end of last year, Ebron posted 21 rec / 219 yards / 2 TD’s over the last 4 weeks of the season. At only 25 Ebron would be a great signing for the Dolphins and could help boost his fantasy value depending on how they approach s the QB position in South Florida.
*3/25 UPDATE: Before we can break down Ebron’s fantasy value in an offense that already has Jack Doyle we must first know is Andrew Luck going to be the QB for the Indianapolis Colts in 2018? Luck excelled in 2 TE formations in the past back when Pep Hamilton was his OC and they had Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen in 2014. Luck posted 40 touchdowns that year and both Allen (50 tgts) & Fleener (92 tgts) had 8 TDs. With only T.Y. Hilton (109 tgts), Ryan Grant (65 tgts in WAS), & Jack Doyle (108 tgts) in the way of targets I like this move for Ebron especially when you see he went to a team that threw the ball 469 times with Jacoby Brissett under center! I think Ebron could be a great late round flyer at TE this year if Luck is back.
Thanks again for reading and while you are here don’t forget to check all our great off-season content and podcasts. They are just a click above away! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, follow me on Twitter & Facebook, and check out how you can enter into one of our listener leagues and even how you can have us as your personal fantasy consultants for the 2018 fantasy season by checking out our page on Patreon.com. Remember the dynasty season never ends and championships are won in the off-season!