Tue Mar 5 10:03am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Le'Veon Bell will be hot item
Free agency is about to kick off in the NFL. It is always an exciting time of the year, especially for fantasy players. Players change teams, impacting the entire fantasy landscape. Some players land in good spots. Others land in spots that likely won’t help their fantasy value. We are going to take a look at some of the top free agents and discuss their best landing spots. These aren’t necessarily spots where they will likely sign, but where we hope they will sign from a fantasy perspective.
Nick Foles, QB. Talk is that Foles has already agreed to terms with the Jaguars, taking over as their starting quarterback. This isn’t a great spot from a fantasy perspective. The Jaguars don’t have a top passing game and are more of a run-first team. A better spot for Foles might be Washington or even Denver. These teams have better overall options in the passing game.
Le’Veon Bell, RB. Bell is the top offensive free agent on the market. He will be coveted by several teams. The Jets seem to be the front runner but his fantasy value might be best if he signs with the Texans. Houston has the best offense of the teams in need of a starting back. Bell would serve as a three-down back for an explosive Texans offense. HIs value would be really high with a move to Houston. The Jets wouldn’t be a bad spot for him, either, but his ceiling might be a little more limited in that offense.
Mark Ingram, RB. Ingram has been a mainstay in the Saints offense several seasons, but gets his chance to have more of a feature role with a new team. He has shared a lot of work in recent seasons. There are a lot of teams looking for running back help. A team that might make good sense for Ingram is the Eagles. This team hasn’t settled on a back in recent years. Ingram seems a good fit for the offense and could shine in a lead role for a rushing attack that can be very good.
Tevin Coleman, RB. Coleman might fly under the radar a little but this guy has big-time talent. He is an explosive back that can do well on three downs. He will be heavily sought after in free agency. The Jets might be a team that makes the most sense from a fantasy perspective, getting a chance to serve as a three-down back with the team. He could get a workout in that offense, providing a lot of total yardage potential for fantasy teams. The Texans also are intriguing but he could lose out on some carries in that offense with D’Onta Foreman probably a better inside runner than Coleman.
Golden Tate, WR. Tate didn’t exactly take off with the Eagles after his trade but still produced pretty well. He is getting older but is a top possession receiver that can still get the job done. He is the top free agent receiver on the market right now. An ideal landing spot for Tate would be the Patriots. We aren’t sure New England spends the money to get him, but his fantasy value would be high with a move to New England. Tate would be a great fit for the offense and rack up a ton of catches with the Patriots.
Adam Humphries, WR. The best spot for Humphries might be to just stay put, re-signing with the Bucs. He has been getting his targets in that offense as the No. 3 receiver and fills the role well. New head coach Bruce Arians should be a plus for the offense and passing game. Humphries should get plenty of targets if he were to stay with the Bucs.
Devin Funchess, WR. Funchess has not lived up to his potential with the Panthers. A change of scenery should do him some good. A nice landing spot for him to reach his potential is the Colts. The Colts are looking for a legit No. 2 receiver opposite T.Y. Hilton. Funchess could flourish in a more pass-friendly offense, getting to showcase his abilities.
Tyrell Williams, WR. Williams isn’t a game changer but a solid receiver that does a good job of stretching the field. He has shown the ability to start in past seasons with the Chargers, so it is not out of the question for Williams to start with his new team. And a team that seems to be a good fit for Williams is the Jets. New York needs to shore up their receiving corps and Williams would seem a good fit for this up and coming offense. The Jets might be the team to best showcase his talents.
Tyler Eifert, TE. Eifert can’t seem to stay healthy but when he is on the field, he produces. Eifert has a top skill set for the position and can be a difference maker in the passing game. There are a lot of teams that could use an upgrade at tight end, but the Saints seem the best option for Eifert. This s a team that has featured the tight end in the past and produced big fantasy numbers. Eifert could flourish in this offense.
Jared Cook, TE. Cook had a career season with the Raiders last year. He was an elite fantasy tight end for the first time in his career. So it seems logical that re-signing with the Raiders would be best for his fantasy value. A new team might not do him much good from a fantasy perspective. Cook would be best served staying put with the Raiders.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
The New York Giants don't appear to be very interested in trading for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen if the Cardinals select Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick. The Giants are currently focused on players in this year's draft class, including a group of quarterbacks they could select with the No. 6 or No. 17 picks in the first round. However, it seems unlikely they'll take a QB at sixth overall. Rosen wasn't even the highest ranked QB on New York's draft board last year, and they are concerned with how his personality would fit in New York, according to a team source. The Giants also have no interest in trading either one of their first-round picks for Rosen, and they also aren't inclined to give up their second-round pick (37th overall). The Giants are looking for Eli Manning's successor under center despite countlessly backing Manning's abilities, but they don't feel pressured to take on Rosen if the price isn't to their liking. No matter what happens, it's unlikely that Rosen will have much redraft fantasy value in 2019.
Miami Dolphins running back Kalen Ballage, second on the depth chart behind Kenyan Drake, has an opportunity for a much bigger role in 2019. He said he "absolutely" is trying to grab the starting job and "it doesn't really matter who had the most playing time in the past. I'm ready to do my thing." Ballage only had 36 rookie carries, but he averaged 5.3 yards per tote. Drake averaged 4.5 yards on 120 carries in 2018 and caught 53 passes for 477 yards. He should remain the top back, but Ballage should have a bigger role, depending on who Miami takes in the draft. While Ballage will likely be the No. 2, he might have standalone fantasy value in deeper leagues depending on how the Dolphins use him.
Denver Broncos cornerback Kareem Jackson has seen most of his time at voluntary workouts this week at safety. "For the reason that theres more to learn at safety than there is at corner," said Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. "Hes played much more corner in his career, so I wanted him to get more work in this camp all of his work at the safety position, to feel comfortable there." The 31-year-old had a career-high 87 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, two interceptions and 17 passes defensed in his final season in Houston and should help improve Denver's secondary alongside Chris Harris Jr.
Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki said he now weighs 253 pounds, which is up 13 pounds from his rookie season. Gesicki was a disappointment in his first year in the NFL, catching only 22 passes on 32 targets for 202 yards and no touchdowns in a full season. He's still just 23 years old, though, and he could easily post better numbers in his second season on a Dolphins team that is in need of pass-catching options. The situation under center leaves a lot to be desired, however. Gesicki will be worth taking as a low-end TE2 with plenty of upside left.
Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen has been the subject of trade rumors with the team reportedly eyeing Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray with the No. 1-overall draft pick, broke his media silence recently during an interview with Sports Illustrated TV. 'I think when people talk about, like, you can't listen to criticism or don't ever read articles, you have to be aware of what's going on to a certain extent,' Rosen said in a short video clip of the segment posted on Twitter . 'So I definitely understand the situation. I mean it's annoying, but it is what it is. Football is a business, and I definitely respect the higher-ups and their decisions.'
MIami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker says he's happy the Dolphins retained him, saying he's fully healthy and ready for 'a fresh start.'
Fantasy Spin: Parker is coming off his worst season yet with 24 catches for 309 yards and a TD on 47 targets in 11 games and belongs off the main fantasy radar in the majority of leagues until he shows otherwise.
Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey said that running back Duke Johnson is "a member of this organization moving forward," and head coach Freddie Kitchens believes Johnson is a vital part of the offense. Johnson's trade request doesn't change anything, as of now. Cleveland would likely trade Johnson if they got the right offer, but it doesn't appear they're motivated to move him right now, especially with Kareem Hunt suspended for the first half of the season. The 25-year-old fell out of favor when Kitchens took over the offense last year and finished with a career-low 40 carries for 201 yards and no touchdowns on the ground. He also had a career-low 47 receptions for 429 yards and three scores. There could be a pass-catching role for Johnson behind Nick Chubb in the first half of the year if he stays in Cleveland, but fantasy owners probably won't take the bait.
Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (knee) is fully anticipated to be ready for the Texans' regular-season opener, according to general manager Brian Gaine. 'Everything is trending in the right direction,' Gaine said Thursday, April 19. 'Everything is looking good.'
Fantasy Spin: Fuller has produced 13 TDs in 31 games, but the question remains his health as he's missed a combined 17 games over his first three seasons. Value him as a low-end WR3 for the time being.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley said Thursday, April 18, he fails to understand the critics who said the Giants should've selected a quarterback over him in the 2018 NFL Draft. 'If a Rookie of the Year (award) doesn't sway that mindset I don't know what will,' Barkley said.
Fantasy Spin: The criticism certainly didn't come from Barkley's fantasy owners as the rookie dazzled to the tune of 2,028 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns last season. And even if the Giants somehow bypass on drafting a QB again this spring, Barkley is the leading candidate to be the first pick in fantasy drafts this summer.
The Dallas Cowboys are open to finding a backup behind running back Ezekiel Elliott with Rod Smith still on the free-agent market. Elliott has won the rushing title in two of his first three seasons and hasn't missed a game due to injury, but the Cowboys need better insurance behind him. Dallas wants to find a quality backup, but they aren't sure if that'll come in free agency or through the draft. As of right now, Darius Jackson and Jordan Chunn are the backups listed on the team's depth chart behind Elliott.
Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson drew praise Thursday, April 18, from general manager John Dorsey. 'I keep telling you all, Duke's a very talented player,' Dorsey said at a news conference. 'He's a member of this organization moving forward. He understands the role he's going to play within this offense.'
Fantasy Spin: After a career-low 87 touches last season, Johnson has asked to be traded, but there have been no takers for now, and Dorsey has no recourse but to talk him up. Expect a deal to get done, though -- perhaps on draft weekend -- and then we can access Johnson's fantasy outlook from there.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker is happy that the Dolphins trusted him enough to bring him back in 2019 and said "they have confidence in me again, have trust in me, have faith in me to sign me back again." Parker also said he's fully healthy this offseason. The 26-year-old was hurt to start last season and wound up finishing with a career-low 24 catches for just 309 yards and one touchdown in 11 games. While Parker has the talent, he continues to underwhelm for Miami and fantasy owners, and he's caught only two touchdowns in the last two seasons and nine total in his four years in the league. Even if he remains the No. 1 wideout in Miami in 2019, Parker's fantasy value is down in the dumps. And Miami's quarterback situation is also troubling.
Houston Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee is doing everything in his power to stay on the field in 2019. He has changed his offseason routine to focus more on stretching and eating healthier. Coutee was rarely on the field because of recurring hamstring issues in his rookie season, and he caught 28 passes for 287 yards and one touchdown in six regular season games. If he can stay on the field all year in 2019, Coutee has a very high fantasy ceiling as the slot man in Houston.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (knee) has resumed throwing and doing dropbacks as he recovers from a torn ACL early last season, and he's hoping to take part in seven-on-seven drills when organized team activities start next month. The ultimate goal is being fully cleared for training camp in late July. It's almost certain that Garoppolo will wear a brace on his knee this year, and he doesn't think it'll impact his mobility. The 27-year-old looks to have the tools to be a solid QB1, but he's also never played in more than six games in a season in his five years in the NFL, so fantasy owners need to be cognizant not to overspend on his talent.
Washington Redskins DE Matt Ioannidis signed a three-year, $21.75 million extension with the Redskins Thursday, April 18. He received $14 million guaranteed and $3 million in incentives.
Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly converted $9.05 million of his salary Thursday, April 18, into a signing bonus to create $7.24 million in salary cap space.
Chicago Bears RB Mike Davis is set to serve as the team's primary ball carrier during the 2019 season, in the opinion of the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs.
Fantasy Spin: With Jordan Howard gone and Tarik Cohen better suited as a situational player, Davis could be in line for a lot of touches after parlaying his 728-yard, five-touchdown season last year into a $6 million deal. If Biggs' projection holds up, Davis may offer some nice upside as a depth selection.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle said he suffered "fractured cartilage" in his ribs early in the game against the Raiders last year but played through it. San Fran played Oakland on Nov. 1, so that means Kittle played around half the season after suffering that injury. The second-year professional had a truly breakout season, catching 88 passes for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns for the Niners. With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo back healthy in 2019, the sky is the limit for Kittle. He'll likely be the third tight end off the board behind Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz in fantasy.
Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said that the team will pick up running back Ezekiel Elliott's fifth-year option. The 23-year-old has two 1,000-yard seasons in his three years in the NFL and ran 304 times for 1,434 yards and six touchdowns in his 15 games last year. He also caught a career-high 77 passes for an additional 567 yards and three scores. Elliott is one of the premier running backs in the NFL and should continue to be a high first-round pick in fantasy drafts this fall.
Denver Broncos CB Bryce Callahan (foot) was a limited participant during practice at the team's minicamp, while CB Isaac Yiadom (shoulder) went through team stretching and some individuals drills, but no team work. '(Callahan) could go in this camp, but we're just letting him do individual - I just want to give him a few more weeks to feel healthy,' head coach Vic Fangio said Tuesday, April 16.