What 2018 NFL Free Agency Did to Your Dynasty Team

This offseason has been wild already and we haven’t even reached the NFL draft. Several top level wide receivers have changed teams and the quarterback landscape has changed dramatically as well. With those shifts, come shifts to the dynasty values of all our players. Here are some of the most notable moves and their fantasy impacts.

Sam Bradford to Arizona

The Cardinals may still look to draft a QB this spring and probably should. Bradford himself doesn’t catch my eye, but he gives me a little more confidence in Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson if you’re a win now team.

John Brown and Michael Crabtree to Baltimore

Baltimore has been a barren wasteland of WR talent for a while now, so Brown and Crabtree should have plenty of opportunity. Brown has always been held back by injuries but could find a nice home as a deep ball target for Joe Flacco. Crabtree should be the #1 option for Flacco. Both players likely get a slight boost from the move, but if I had to pick one Id rather buy low on Brown at his price than pay for Crabtree.

Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, and Taylor Gabriel to Chicago

Robinson was the most valuable dynasty asset to change teams this offseason and his change is for the better. Chicago will likely pepper ARob with targets all season long and he’ll now be playing in an offense designed by new head coach Matt Nagy and with a potential franchise QB in Mitchell Trubisky. All of that is a significant improvement from his situation in Jacksonville and I could now see Robinson going as high as WR9 in dynasty startups.

Burton, meanwhile, was handed a large contract after being the Eagles #2 tight end last season. The financial commitment to him, the lack of options in the Chicago offense, and Nagy make me reasonably confident in Burton. With the tight end position as weak as it is, Burton is a potential TE1 next season.

Gabriel isn’t likely to be very fantasy relevant, although he may be worth rostering in deeper leagues. The main reason I bring him up, however, is to point out that Cameron Meredith’s value has taken a hit. With Robinson, Burton, and Gabriel being brought in and talk that Chicago may draft a WR, Meredith is looking like a forgotten man in Chicago. He should still see the field, but I would drop him quite a few slots from the WR32 ranking I gave him last month.

Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde, and Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland

There’s a lot going on in Cleveland these days. Tyrod Taylor looks to be the Browns new starting QB, and Ive always been a fan of his so Im excited to see him work in a new offense with plenty of weapons. Unfortunately, the Browns are almost a guarantee to be bringing in a new QB of the future with a top 5 pick so Taylor’s time as the Browns QB will likely be short, and therefore makes him hard to invest in.

Hyde on the other hand received a decent commitment from the Browns with a $15 million contract over 5 years, with $8 million guaranteed. I can’t guarantee it, but I’d expect the Browns to pass on Saquon Barkley now making both Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson tolerable flex options next season.

Landry is the biggest name acquisition the Browns have made so far. I’ve never been a huge Landry fan thanks to his lack of explosive plays, but he does catch a LOT of passes. Cleveland is a little more crowded at WR than Miami, however, with Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman in town and I don’t think Landry is a dominant enough WR to demand WR1 looks. I think this move likely hurts him, but he should still be a very reliable WR2 and keep in mind that his contract is only a 1-year deal at this point so he may return to low-end WR1 status shortly. Coleman and Gordon also both lose some value with this acquisition even as the Browns offense should improve.

Allen Hurns to Dallas

Hurns signing with Dallas didn’t catch my eye until I heard rumors of the Cowboys moving on from Dez Bryant. Hurns is nothing special and #2 WRs in Dallas haven’t been great fantasy assets in recent years, but he’s worth rostering and keeping an eye on as Dallas continues to play around with its WR corps.

Case Keenum to Denver

If Keenum can play like he did last season, he should be a marked improvement for the Broncos. If that happens, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas could see late career resurgences. Both are still talented players, but injuries and poor QB play have depressed their value.

Jimmy Graham to Green Bay

The history of tight ends with Aaron Rodgers is surprisingly poor, yet every time I get suckered into thinking this is the year. But really – this might be the year, guys. Graham is definitely the most talented Green Bay tight end in a long time and Green Bay said good-bye to long time Rodgers target Jordy Nelson. I certainly don’t think Graham will return to his New Orleans levels of production, but he should continue to be a solid TE1.

Eric Ebron to Indianapolis

Jack Doyle was a surprisingly productive TE in Indy last season. Ebron isn’t anything special, but I think he’s a better option than Doyle, and Andrew Luck is set to return. The Ebron breakout doesn’t look like it will ever come, but owners may be willing to part with him cheaply after the Lions cut him.

Sammy Watkins Signs with Kansas City
Frank Gore and Albert Wilson to Miami

As incredible as Gore has been playing deep into his 30’s, the days of him being a productive fantasy player appear to be finally over. He should be playing second fiddle to Kenyan Drake (or potentially a rookie RB yet to be added).

Wilson, on the other hand, may be about to finally have his moment in the spotlight. Jarvis Landry leaving means 161 targets just became available in the Miami offense and Wilson seems like the obvious beneficiary (although DeVante Parker gets a boost as well). Wilson wont be anything special, but he should see enough targets on a Miami team that will have to throw the ball a lot to make him a solid bench option. At this point Wilson still appears to be flying under the radar so I would send out some offers for him (or pick him up) before your league mates catch on.

Kirk Cousins to Minnesota

One of the biggest stories of the offseason was the uncertainty revolving around Kirk Cousins and his potential free agent status. When the Redskins traded for Alex Smith, it became clear Cousins would in fact reach free agency, and the race was on for one of the best QBs to hit the open market in the last 15 years. Ultimately, the Vikings were the ones able to secure his services with an unprecedented fully guaranteed contract.

So what does this mean for fantasy? For Cousins himself – likely not much. Minnesota through 527 passes as a team last season. Washington threw 540. Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph are an excellent supporting cast for Cousins but he has had solid weapons during his time in Washington. Cousins has quietly been QB11, QB5, and QB7 the last three seasons respectively. Cousins has been extremely reliable even if he hasn’t been a flashy option and I expect that to continue in Minnesota with a strong supporting cast and similar pass attempt numbers. Case Keenum was solid last season, but Cousins will force more teams to worry about the passing game than last year and should provide a slight boost in value to the rest of the Minnesota offense.

Teddy Bridgewater, Isaiah Crowell, and Terrelle Pryor to New York

The Jets have been active in free agency on both sides of the ball, but their offensive additions have limited fantasy upside. Bridgewater joins what will be a crowded QB room with Josh McCown and the future #3 pick, Pryor joins a large group of middling and unproven WRs with potential (Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Chad Hansen, ArDarius Stewart), and Crowell may lose playing time to Bilal Powell. Pryor and Bridgewater are worth nothing more than a flier, but Crowell has some potential to be a flex option next season if the Jets actually commit to him as their lead back. Keep on eye on their draft, however to see if they add any more backs.

Jordy Nelson to Oakland

Nelson had fewer than 500 yards receiving last season so I don’t expect much production from him moving to a worse offense. Jon Gruden has had success with older receivers so he is worth a flier, but if you’re expecting him to be regular in your lineup I would look to bolster the position.

Jerrick McKinnon Signs with San Francisco       

I don’t think anybody saw Jerrick McKinnon signing a 4 year, $30 million contract when free agency started, but here we are. The fact that the contract came from Kyle Shanahan’s team and the amount that McKinnon signed for him have caused his value to skyrocket. McKinnon is athletic, did a solid job helping fill in for Dalvin Cook in Minnesota last season, is playing for an offensive guru known for making RBs productive, and is a highly athletic player who’s still only 25 years old (26 when the season starts). There’s a lot to like there and after not even appearing on my dynasty RB rankings a couple weeks ago, I would bump him all the way up to around RB15 in the “High Risk, High Reward” category.

Dion Lewis to Tennessee

Lewis contract with the Titans was another surprisingly big money contract handed out to a smaller pass catching RB. With Derrick Henry already in town and expected to break out next season, it will be interesting to see how the two fit into Tennessee’s backfield. For now Henry’s value takes a small hit, but they are both worth a roster spot.

Alex Smith and Paul Richardson to Washington

The move that seemed to kick off this crazy offseason was the Redskins surprise trade for Alex Smith. On the surface it makes sense. Kansas City wanted to make way for last year’s first round pick Pat Mahomes and Washington was able to replace the departing Cousins with a QB who threw for 4000 yards, a 26/5 TD/INT ratio, and led the league in passer rating last season. However, Smith will be 34 next season, and last year was an outlier for him. It was the first time he had more than 3502 yards in a season in his career. Smith will likely throw the ball more in Washington than he has most of his career, but a season like last year shouldn’t be expected again.

Paul Richardson was brought in to help improve the supporting cast and fill a Desean Jackson or Tyreek Hill role for Smith, but Richardson isn’t as good as either of them. Jordan Reed will be Smith’s new Kelce as long as he can stay healthy, and Jamison Crowder should be able to benefit from Smith’s underneath tendencies. I do worry a bit about Josh Doctson, however. Smith isn’t known to be a jump ball passer and that’s where Doctson tends to thrive. Not to mention there are a lot of players for Doctson to compete with for targets between Richardson, Reed, Crowder, Vernon Davis, and Chris Thompson. Richardson and Doctson both should be usable fantasy assets, but their upside is limited, just like Smith.

 

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Eric Braun

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I grew up a die hard Washington Redskins and Penn State football fan and began playing fantasy football in 2007. I've been addicted and learning as much as I can about my favorite hobby ever since.

2 thoughts on “What 2018 NFL Free Agency Did to Your Dynasty Team”

  1. Good read, Eric. I’m on the fence about Jordy. I think his numbers had more to do with Rodgers being out. Without Rodgers his yardage was less than half and he scored zero TD. But in the end, he’s going to an OAK team where Rodgers still won’t be his QB.

  2. Solid read, Well done Eric.
    Very helpful i actually missed a few of those signings..(Hockey Mode up here) ..
    Love some of the analysis especially on the Skins..

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