Have you ever heard of the NFL contract phenomenon? The idea that a player is going to be motivated to have a monster statistical season because it is the last year of his contract and he wants to land a career-defining new contract in free agency. The theory is not the end all be all. There is no statistical proof that a player’s production increases in a contract year despite money being considered one of life’s great motivators.
How will this information benefit you? In fantasy football simply having an awareness of a player’s status is a critical part of building a roster especially in dynasty or keeper formats, but can also help you in redraft if you are weighing the pros and cons of similarly ranked players. An upcoming free agent joining a new team can have a significant impact on his future value. This is why this information matters before and after your fantasy draft.
This article will focus on two tight ends who are in great offensive situations who should be on your radar and they look to better position themselves for the 2019 NFL Free Agency period.
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Walker has finished each of the last four seasons as a top-eight fantasy tight end. He has averaged 7.4 targets, 4.9 receptions, and 58.2 receiving yards over that time frame posting positive receiving fantasy points over expectation.
Walker is not Travis Kelce or Rob Gronkowski, but a solid TE1 for fantasy players who prefer to draft the position late. He has averaged 12.8 fantasy points per game over the last 61. The 33-year old Walker is looking to land one more contract to take him through the end of his NFL career. New Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur could look to create mismatches for him. Walker still presents a matchup problem for opposing defenders with his strength and speed. LaFleur did an excellent job with the Rams last season of scheming a certain matchup and exploiting it. The Rams offense ranked first in points scored and 10th in passing yards last season. Walker will be in a great position to improve upon his three touchdown receptions last season. That was his lowest total since the 2012 season. It is difficult to fade Walker at his current average draft position or ADP.
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New York Jets
The Jets claimed Walford off waivers from the Raiders in April. The former 2015 third-round NFL Draft pick struggled during his time with the Raiders. Walford is looking to get his career back on track since he now has a non-guaranteed $1.907 million salary this season.
Walford finds himself in a position to replace Austin Seferian-Jenkins who was released by the Jets.
Could Walford exceed this production this season? Absolutely. His main competition heading into training camp is 2018 NFL Draft selection, Chris Herndon. Walford’s role is something to monitor closely during training camp later this month and the preseason games in August. He is a solid target as a TE2 with upside in deeper fantasy formats.
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Eric Moody is a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers Association) and writes exclusively about fantasy football. He has a lifelong passion for the game and played on the collegiate level as an offensive lineman. Eric also participated in Dan Hatman’s Scouting Academy in order to learn the process of player evaluation at an NFL level by using game film. When he provides fantasy football advice he prefers to “play the piano with both hands” using game film, analytics, and statistics to help you understand his perspective. Eric enjoys Netflix, listening to music, playing bass guitar, drinking coffee, and spending time with his family. He lives in Dallas, Texas