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.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Allen Hurns (ankle) will not take part in organized team activities. Also sitting out are defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (shoulder), wide receiver Tavon Austin and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (pelvis). Hurns, 27, was a disappointment in his first year in Dallas, catching only 20 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games. With Randall Cobb now in the fold alongside Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, Hurns is even less appealing in deep fantasy leagues.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaron Brown was working with the first team in organized team activities alongside Tyler Lockett, with rookie D.K. Metcalf mostly with the second-team offense. Metcalf also tried his hand returning some punts, but he didn't look so good. The 29-year-old Brown had 14 receptions for 166 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in his first full season with Seattle last year. There's opportunity with Doug Baldwin retiring, but Lockett and Metcalf are expected to be the top two wideouts, while Brown will have to battle with David Moore, Malik Turner, Amara Darboh and several rookies. Brown might be a waiver wire addition early in the year in deeper leagues if he wins a starting job and produces early on.
Oakland Raiders undrafted rookie wide receiver Keelan Doss has impressed head coach Jon Gruden so far in organized team activities. He has the size, ball skills and awareness to make an impact for the Raiders. "I think he's smart. He's athletic and he's got size and I think he's going to be able to compete on special teams, as well. Plus he's from Alameda, so we had to get Doss," Gruden said. Doss finished his career at UC Davis with 321 catches for 4,069 yards and 28 touchdowns, and the 6-foot-2, 211-pound wideout knows how to get open. Still, he has a ways to go to even make the final roster out of training camp.
Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said that running back Leonard Fournette will be a big part of the team's offense in 2019. "Im going to call it what it is: Hes going to be a major reason where our offense goes. Im not going to sugarcoat that. Leonard Fournette needs to be a big part of this offense," DeFilippo said. Fournette was a bust last year, missing eight games last season with injuries and one to a suspension. He finished with 439 yards rushing and five touchdowns after rushing for 1,040 yards and five scores as a rookie. The 24-year-old still has a lot of upside in a run-first offense with a better quarterback at the helm in Nick Foles, but he'll be a risk/reward low-end RB1 because of the fact he's only played in 21 games in his first two seasons in the NFL.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker was excellent in red-zone drills at organized team activities this week, catching multiple passes. The new coaching staff and receivers coach Karl Dorrell are trying to use positive reinforcement with Parker, who has responded well to the approach. The 26-year-old is being given a second chance under the new coaching staff after struggling with injuries, drops and just poor overall play after being the 14th overall pick in the 2015 draft. Parker had only 24 receptions for 309 yards and a touchdown in 11 games last year and hasn't gone over 57 catches or four touchdowns in any season in his four years. Most fantasy owners will continue to write him off, but he could be worth a late-round flier if he continues to look good in 2019.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been better than quarterback Josh Rosen at organized team activities this week, according to a player that didn't want to speak publicly. However, Rosen has played well and Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions at practice on Tuesday. Rosen is doing his best work in the middle of the field and had good red-zone numbers with Arizona in his rookie season, but he also has remained inconsistent in practices. Miami has an open competition at QB this summer, but Rosen should win the job and start in Week 1. A change of scenery should be good news for him, but he'll be nothing more than a low-end QB2 that needs to prove himself.
Pittsburgh Steelers running backs James Conner and Jaylen Samuels were lined up together in the backfield during Day 2 of organized team activities this week, which is a different look for their offense. Samuels had 256 rushing yards on 56 carries in his rookie season and added 199 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 26 catches as a converted tight end. Conner, who had 215 carries for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground last year, will see the bulk of the backfield touches and will be highly coveted in fantasy drafts with Le'Veon Bell out of the picture now. Samuels won't be a bad handcuff at all.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee), who tore his ACL in Week 10 last year, is on the mend and is on track for the start of the regular season. Im taking it day-by-day, Kupp said this week. Its just about attacking this week, attacking the day as best as I possibly can. And I feel good about where Im at. He has taken part in walkthrough 11-on-11 drills during the week but otherwise has been on the sidelines with trainers. Kupp will gradually expand what he can do leading up to training camp. The 25-year-old was only able to play in eight games because of his injury last year, but he remains one of quarterback Jared Goff's favorite targets. Kupp had 62 receptions for 869 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season and scored six times in eight games last season.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods continues to develop his chemistry with quarterback Jared Goff during organized team activities. Goff has targeted Woods a whopping 215 times over the last two seasons, and the two connected a number of times in 7-on-7 drills at practice this week. Woods is focused on picking up yards after the catch this offseason. The 27-year-old broke out for career highs across the board in catches (86), targets (130), receiving yards (1,219) and touchdowns (six) in his second year in LA in 2018. It helped that Cooper Kupp (knee) wasn't around for half the season, but Woods should continue to do damage in this offense moving forward.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who came out of retirement after a year in the Monday Night Football broadcast booth, has impressed his teammates so far this offseason. Witten looks great and appears to be stronger and faster than he was in 2017, when he had 63 catches for 560 yards and five touchdowns. He played in all 16 games from 2004-17, but the Cowboys want to play it smart with the veteran and limit his snaps by keeping him out of a third of organized team activity practices and into training camp. The 37-year-old is expected to share time with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz in 2019, so he's unlikely to be a TE1 for fantasy purposes. I guess the trick is to take a year off because hes definitely gotten better, stronger and faster, quarterback Dak Prescott said. He hasnt lost a step.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas can become a free agent after this season, while defensive end Cameron Jordan can become a free agent in 2021. Thomas and Jordan, who are both attending organized team activities, are two of the most underpaid stars at their positions in the NFL. Thomas, 26, will make only $1.15 million in the final year of his rookie deal after averaging 107 catches, 1,262 yards and eight touchdowns per season in his first three years. His 321 catches are the most in history by a receiver in his first three seasons. Thomas could become the first receiver to average $20 million per year. Neither Thomas nor Jordan plan on holding out, and Jordan said he wants to be a "Saints lifer." Jordan's average salary ranks 22nd among 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 outside linebackers, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Oakland Raiders WR Tyrell Williams has impressed with his speed and route-running so far in OTAs.
Fantasy Spin: Williams' season-high for targets (119) came in 2016 with the Chargers, and he'll be doing good if he can come close to that this season playing opposite Antonio Brown. Value Williams as a WR5.
Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is unlikely to face any league discipline over his involvement in a May 19 incident at a Las Vegas music festival, in the opinion of team owner Jerry Jones.
Fantasy Spin: Of course, Jones was certain Elliott wouldn't be suspended for domestic-violence allegations in 2016, but he wound up serving a six-game ban late in 2017 after a circus-like litany of appeals and court rulings. This latest incident, though -- involving a shoving match with a event security officer -- isn't nearly as troubling and until further notice, Elliott should be one of the top handful of RBs off the board at the top of fantasy drafts.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington trained harder this offseason and is down 15 pounds from the 223 to 225 pounds he played at in his rookie season. Washington finished 2018 with two 60-plus yard performances in the final three weeks, but his 42.1 percent catch rate (16 receptions on 38 targets) was the worst among Steelers wideouts with at least 10 catches. "I feel like I know more of the plays. ... I feel I'm quicker off the ball," Washington said. "I'm able to run with everybody." Donte Moncrief might have the inside track on the No. 2 job behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, with Eli Rogers in the slot. However, Washington can make some noise as well with Antonio Brown no longer around. Keep an eye on him in deeper leagues.
Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette is being counted on to have a big season in 2019. 'We're really looking forward to Leonard having a big year,' offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said this week, via the team's official website. 'I'm going to call it what it is: He's going to be a major reason where our offense goes. I'm not going to sugarcoat that. Leonard Fournette needs to be a big part of this offense. The harder he works -- which he is right now -- that's going to be not only good for our offense, but good for our team.'
Fantasy Spin: Fournette's numbers were down markedly across the board last season as he played in only eight games due to injuries and suspension. However, we've seen what he can do when in the lineup (1,342 total yards, 10 TDs as a rookie) and that's why he will be drafted as a high-end RB2 this summer.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson wasn't happy with how he performed in organized team activities this week. He has been trying to develop as a passer this offseason after completing only 58.2 percent of his passes as a rookie, including 159.1 yards passing per game as a starter. Jackson showed more velocity on his passes on Thursday, but he was still inconsistent. "It's been crazy. It's been everywhere," Jackson said of his throws. "I feel like my hand is a little too high on the football and that makes the ball go out of whack a lot." Baltimore is also installing a new offense under coordinator Greg Roman, so it's going to take Jackson a bit longer to learn the new system. While he should be able to improve his arm in Year 2, Jackson is primarily a running QB in a run-first offense. He'll have QB1 upside but should be taken as a backup with upside in fantasy drafts.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton traveled to Florida to train with Tony Villani of XPE Sports ahead of the team's offseason program, and he's now working with former NFL wideout Anquan Boldin on his route-running techniques. Sutton focused on being more explosive with the ball in his hands while working with Villani. The 23-year-old will be leaned on more heavily heading into his second year, especially if Emmanuel Sanders is slow to recover from his Achilles injury. He'll be a popular target in 2019 drafts after catching 42 passes for 704 yards and four touchdowns in his rookie season with Case Keenum throwing him passes.
New England Patriots RB Sony Michel didn't participate in the team's OTA workouts Thursday, May 23, and one team beat writer says it's possible that the team is limiting Michel's offseason workload.
Fantasy Spin: Michel matched his 13-game regular-season TD total (six) in three playoff games as he enjoyed a strong postseason. Despite the addition of third-round RB Damien Harris, Michel should be drafted as a solid RB2.
Free-agent CB Adam Jones (Broncos) announced his retirement Friday, May 23, posting a video to his Instagram account saying that 'it's official that I'm done with the NFL.'
Updating previous reports, free-agent DT Gerald McCoy (Buccaneers) has received interest from 10 teams, and he has received offers as high as $11 million per year.