7 NFL Free Agents That Could Benefit From A Change of Scenery
Dynasty Football Impact: 2018 NFL Free Agency
It’s early, but the 2018 Dynasty Football season is quickly approaching. Many hardcore fans are already ranking rookies, which seems a bit much as we still have to wait for the NFL combine. Personally, I like to see how NFL teams approach free agency before beginning to try to draw up a Mock Draft, but with a long NFL offseason upon us, what’s the fun in waiting. The following are some key dates to keep in mind along with 7 NFL Free Agents that I feel could have a boost in dynasty leagues in 2018 if they can find the perfect landing spot.
- Feb. 20: First day for teams to use franchise or transition tag.
- Feb. 27-March 5: NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis.
- March 6: Deadline (4 p.m.) for teams to use franchise or transition tag.
- March 12-14: Teams can negotiate with pending free agents on other teams. Contracts cannot be formally executed until 4 p.m. on March 14.
- March 14: Free agency, trading period, and 2018 league year begin at 4 p.m.
- April 2: Teams that hired a new head coach can begin offseason workouts.
- April 16: Teams with a returning head coach can begin offseason workouts.
- April 20: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
- April 26-28: NFL Draft, Arlington, Texas.
Running Back | Age: 25
Jerick McKinnon is a SPARQ score freak. He possesses excellent speed, lower-body explosiveness, and upper-body strength, unlike most running backs. He is truly unique and has arguably been underutilized as a Viking. I think the perception of McKinnon, especially in the fantasy football community, is that he is a solid change of pace RB and nothing more. This offseason could be huge for Dynasty stock owners as a great landing spot for McKinnon could emerge a new RB2 type threat in the league. PlayerProfiler.com has McKinnon’s comparable to LaDainian Tomlinson, however, I see more as a Devonta Freeman type threat. McKinnon has excellent hands and could target a team that not only gives him his carries but allows him to remain on the field to catch passes.
Dynasty Impact: McKinnon is very much a “buy” player for me right now. I think unless he chooses money over his landing spot you should be safe in the fact he will pick a team that will allow him to flourish. If I had to make a bold prediction, I would choose the Seattle Seahawks for where he signs. Eddie Lacy will be gone (UFA) and Thomas Rawls and Mike Davis are restricted free agents. The team needs someone who can be used in a number of ways including catching passes. I think Jerick McKinnon would be an ideal fit for the Hawks.
Running Back | Age: 25
Isaiah Crowell will be seeking a fresh start in free agency as he looks to be one of the top running backs to hit the open market. Spending four seasons in Cleveland with respectable numbers and only 25-years of age, Crowell should have his pick of a number of teams to choose from. Teams that look to target such a talent could be those who have a large number of needs with a limited supply of draft picks or a team with a surplus of cap space.
The Colts ($79 Million in cap space), Bucs ($63M) and Lions ($47M) are three teams I could see possibly targeting Crowell. The Colts need to get younger and despite having the 3rd overall pick in the 2018 Draft, may feel locking up Crowell in the spring gives them one less thing to focus on at the NFL Draft. The Buc’s and Lions seem motivated to clear out their backfield unloading players that just haven’t worked out over the past few seasons.
Dynasty Impact: Crowell’s price tag could be a bargain leading up to the start of NFL Free agency, but it will no doubt skyrocket with a great landing place if he signs with a team that looks to actually feed him the ball. One could argue Crowell is a low-risk buy-low candidate with a high ceiling for the time being.
Isaiah Crowell Career Stats
Wide Receiver | Age: 25
Latimer has made zero impact in Denver, and will likely sign with a team that can give him a shot at salvaging his pro career. Bogged down by injuries, buried on a depth chart with Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas and forced to try and make plays with sub-par quarterbacks is a recipe for failure. Luckily, Latimer is still young and gets a chance to pick his new home, ideally with a QB that can help make him relevant.
It’s easy to forget, but back in 2014 in front of representatives from 19 NFL teams, Latimer, who was never known for his sheer speed, ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, complementing that with a 39″ vertical jump. I understand something should have come from his four years in Denver, but I’m looking at this from an opportunity situation.
Dynasty Impact: Call me crazy, but Cody Latimer seems like the perfect under the radar, cheap pick-up for the New England Patriots. Julian Edelman is 31 and coming off an injury and Danny Amendola is a free agent and will want to get paid after having a productive 2017 season. Latimer is a Dynasty throw-in player you can add to a trade that could have massive upside if he lands a great roster.
Running Back | Age: 25
With the exception of last season, Jeremy Hill has had a fairly productive career on paper. 30 touchdowns between 2014 and 2016 is impressive. Unforunturly, his fumbles and lack of vision on the field has been haunting him by the critics in Cinncinati and in the fantasy football community. Hill, a part-time player in 2017 to begin with, had his role reduced in Week 3, and by Week 7, Hill decided it was in his best interest to have ankle surgery to get ready for free agency.
Dynasty Impact: Much like Cody Latimer, I feel Jeremy Hill couldn’t be cheaper in Dynasty right now. He is only 25-years old and could make an impact if landing on the right team. Hill is another low-risk player that I feel could benefit from a change of scenery.
Wide Receiver | Age: 30
Before signing with the Tenessee Titans, Eric Decker was one of the best red zone targets in the NFL. Decker had 41 touchdowns between the years 2012 and 2015. During that four-year stretch, Decker averaged 1,085 yards and 81.5 catches per season.
So what happened?
Some would argue that Decker isn’t the same player after needing hip surgery in 2016, whereas others point the finger at 2017 Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie. Age could also be a factor, but we’re seeing more and more players play well into their thirties and dominate the league. Personally, I think life as a Titan just wasn’t meant to be. His rapport with Marcus Mariota should have been better, but rather force the issue I’d like to see Decker change jersey colors. In the right offense, Decker could become fantasy relevant again.
Dynasty Impact: Another wide receiver no one is thinking about this spring, but a great landing spot could create value in deeper leagues with a heavy flex or just an investment player you buy low and sell high mid-season.
Quarterback | Age: 25
Why does it feel like Bridgewater is so much older than he really is? Maybe it’s due to the fact he’s been on the shelf for the past two years. Bridgewater has only played two seasons in the NFL and has never thrown for more than 14 touchdowns in one season.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Vikings approach their off-season quarterback conundrum. Realistically, you would assume the team sticks with what’s worked the best, which is Case Keenum under center. Sam Bradford’s bloated contract of $18M a year is disgusting compared to the value of what they were getting in paying Keenum ($2M) and Bridgewater ($1.7M). I fully expect Bradford to be gone with the goal of bringing Keenum and Bridgewater back for the 2018 season. However, Teddy Bridgewater may want to test the open market before committing to the Vikings in a backup role with a promise of an opportunity to win the job with an impressive training camp.
Bridgewater may be better off on another team in a different type of offense. I know most fantasy owners have already written him off, but at only 25 years of age, there is a chance he can turn things around.
Tight End | Age 26
We featured an article on Trey Burton leading up to the Super Bowl which I recommend you check out. Burton, of course, was the player who threw the pass to Nick Foles on 4th down right before the half at Super Bowl Lii. However, it’s not his arm strength teams are going to be after, it’s his versatility. Burton, who attended the University of Florida as a quarterback, eventually settled into being a receiver. Burton (6’3, 235 lbs) is an all-around athlete that has been buried on the Eagles depth chart only making rare appearances filling in for Zach Ertz.
Dynasty Impact: Burton could be one of the best bargains in free agency and a gem in dynasty. I like the Texans to target Burton this offseason, his value would shoot for the moon playing in an offense with DeShaun Watson and Nuk.
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