Fantasy Football: Free Agency Winners and Losers
Just as it does every year, free agency started off with a bang, but things have quieted down over the last few weeks as the dust has finally settled. Big time players including Sammy Watkins, Jerick McKinnon, and Allen Robinson all found new homes in different cities. How will this landing spot affect these players, among others? And how will players on new teams affect their current teammates as well as their previous teammates? Andy, Mike, and Jason each picked their biggest Free Agency Winners and Losers on Episode #535. If you haven’t had the chance to listen yet, click here!
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears
Trubisky probably had the biggest upgrade to his receiving core of any quarterback in the league. He now has a stud WR1 in Allen Robinson, something Chicago lacked on last year’s team. In addition, they add a very exciting breakout TE candidate in Trey Burton (a.k.a Trey Boo Boo). When Zach Ertz was out last season due to injury, Burton was an extremely productive and could serve as Trubisky’s security blanket in the short to intermediate passing game. The Bears also added Taylor Gabriel, a player who is capable of making big plays after the catch. These new weapons, combined with a new creative offensive-minded coach in Matt Nagy, make Trubisky a big-time winner in Free Agency.
Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers
As the Footballers say, “Follow the Money.” McKinnon got paid in Free Agency to be a starting RB, signing a brand new 4 year, $30 million contract with the 49ers. He joins one of the best offensive minds in football in Kyle Shanahan, who has produced a top 15 fantasy RB five of the last six years. McKinnon should be given all the opportunity in the world to prove he can be a three-down RB, and he could be Shanahan’s new Devonta Freeman.
Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots
One of the best things about Burkhead’s Free Agency landing spot is that it didn’t change. He’s staying put with the New England Patriots after signing a 3-year contract worth $9.75 million. The Patriots lost Dion Lewis to the Tennessee Titans in Free Agency and brought in very little competition, only signing Jeremy Hill to a 1 year “prove it” deal. This should open up even more of an opportunity for Burkhead to increase his workload compared to 2017. Last season, when Burkhead had at least 10 touches, he averaged 17.18 fantasy points per game in 0.5 PPR leagues. He could be a late round steal for owners in 2018.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Allen Hurns, Dallas Cowboys
Danny Amendola, Miami Dolphins
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
Nick Vannett, Seattle Seahawks
Luke Willson, Detroit Lions
Carlos Hyde, Cleveland Browns
Hyde goes from one of the most exciting up and coming offenses in San Francisco to the Cleveland Browns. He takes the place of Isaiah Crowell, who was a major disappointment last season. Hyde’s upside in the receiving game will be severely limited by Duke Johnson, who finished as an RB1 in PPR leagues last season with 74 receptions. As it stands today, Hyde is the #1 on the Browns’ depth chart, but with 12 draft picks in the NFL Draft, Cleveland will most certainly add at least one running back, and if that back is Saquon Barkley, Carlos Hyde’s value will plummet.
Jordy Nelson, Oakland Raiders
The argument for Nelson being a loser in Free Agency is easy when you look at his quarterback situation. Nelson goes from Aaron Rodgers, who helped make him the #1 WR in fantasy football in 2016, to Derek Carr. Since 2011, Aaron Rodgers has averaged 38 TD per year (on a 16 game pace). On the flip side, Derek Carr has only averaged 29 TD per year over the course of his career (excluding his rookie season). His upside will be limited in Oakland, where he won’t have the TD volume to make him the WR1 we are accustomed to seeing in Green Bay over the course of his career.
The Jacksonville Jaguars Pass Catchers
After losing Allen Robinson to the Bears in Free Agency, the Jaguars’ pass-catching core consists of Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. It’s very unclear how this offense will look in 2018 and who will emerge as the #1 option in the passing game, making this an offense that figures to be unpredictable on a week to week basis. In addition, the Jags figure to lean heavily on Leonard Fournette once again in the run game, making this a low volume passing offense with too many mouths to feed. It’s hard to see a situation where the pass catchers in Jacksonville return value on their draft price.