Impacts from Free Agency / Trades
It is that time of the year again, blood is in the water and it is an absolute Free Agent feeding frenzy in the NFL. Teams are swarming to players and reeling them in left and right. It can be hard to keep track and stay up to date on all the news which is why Gridiron Experts is here to help. The following article is an in-depth look at the biggest storylines that’ll impact Fantasy Football Rankings in 2017 following the feeding frenzy that in NFL Free Agency.
Wide Receiver New York Giants
Brandon Marshall was traded from the New York Jets to their MetLife Stadium roommate the New York Giants. This is obviously a huge upgrade for Marshall and the Giants. Marshall will turn 33 this offseason and if anyone thinks he is done due to a poor 2016 season, then think again.
Last season Jets quarterbacks had 16 touchdowns to 25 interceptions. The Jets quarterback situation was a circus last year juggling three quarterbacks, so blaming Marshall for the quarterback struggles isn’t fair. What is fair is looking at Marshall’s numbers since 2007 and disregarding 2016. So from 2007-2015, he has had five 100 reception seasons and eight years of 1,000 yards receiving. Marshall has never played in under 13 games in a season in his entire NFL career. Marshall has only missed nine games in 11 seasons.
Marshall will be a reliable option for Fantasy owners again joining a Giants offense ranked 8th in passing a season ago.
Wide Receiver- San Fransisco 49ers
With Garcon headed to the 49ers, the move for Fantasy Football can either be looked at a glass half full or empty. The view half full is the last time Garcon played for Kyle Shanahan he led the NFL in receptions with 113. That year Garcon had 184 targets, 1,346 yards, and five touchdowns. The other option is to talk about how good Brian Hoyer was in 2016. Hoyer in the four games he started and finished had 1,318 yards, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
When looking at the glass half empty, you realize that Garcon put up those numbers in 2013 and hasn’t had more than 80 receptions in any season besides his 2013 campaign. Last and most important, the 49ers are not going to be even close to a Fantasy Football gold mine.
When it comes to Garcon, I am looking at this move glass half empty.
Alshon Jeffery & Torrey Smith
Wide Receivers- Philadelphia EaglesMight as well kill two birds with one stone here. See what I did there? Before people go crazy about these two players and their new roles in this Eagles offense, I say pump the breaks. The move helps the Eagles and quarterback Carson Wentz much more than boosting the stocks of Jeffery and Smith.
First, let’s start with Smith. He is a field stretcher which is something that the Eagles and Wentz desperately need in 2016. Last season Wentz air yards per attempt was 31st in the league. Also having a dependable receiver is something Wentz needs and Smith has only missed four games in his six-year career. Smith averages 91 targets a season and has a career catch rate of 49 percent. With average yards per catch of 17, his numbers should be around 45 catches for 765 yards.
Now with Jeffery, obviously if you read my 7 Fantasy Football Fools Gold Candidates For 2017 you will know how I feel about him. For the Eagles and Wentz though, Jeffery is a huge asset if he can stay healthy which is a huge if. Last season Wentz was 23rd in the league in red zone completion percentage at 49.5 percent. With a big bodied receiver like Jeffery, this will help a young Wentz in the red zone.
Stills is staying in Miami after having a career-high nine touchdowns in 2016. In his four-year career, he has a 59 percent catch rate and his career high of targets in a season is 85. When predicting player numbers for the upcoming season, touchdowns are the hardest stat to predict simply because of how easily they can fluctuate. Before his nine touchdown season he averaged only 3.6 touchdowns a year for his first three years. With the Dolphins addition of tight end Julius Thomas this will really hurt Still’s upside to score touchdowns. Want to know more about
Want to know more about Julius Thomas’s Fantasy Breakdown? Stills will be able to stretch out defenses helping the Dolphins offense but will leave fantasy owners disappointed in 2017.
Wide Receiver – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is one of my favorite NFL/ Fantasy Football moves made this offseason because it helps everyone. For starters, it helps out quarterback Jameis Winston who now has an elite vertical threat in Jackson. Jackson has the most 50-yard touchdowns since he entered the NFL. In his career, he has averaged 17.7 yards per reception which is great for Winston who has led the NFL in air yards the past two seasons.
Having a field stretcher will ultimately eliminate bracket coverage on Evans. Evans may not get as many targets as last season but it’s a quality over quantity situation. Last Jackson’s speed will prevent defenses from loading the box and shutting down the run game for the Buccaneers. This is a great move for the Buccaneers and fantasy owners in 2017.
Wide Receiver – New England Patriots
Before I begin with this trade, it is a great addition for the Patriots in real football terms, but for Fantasy Football Cooks’s stock has fallen. If you are wondering how his stock has fallen, please read my 7 Fantasy Football Fools Gold Candidates For 2017. After reading that do you see where I am coming from? If your answer is still no then maybe this will clear it up.
Even if the Patriots have an elite powered offense powered by quarterback Tom Brady, not even he can feed all the mouths in New England. Personally, I believe Cooks is the third option for Brady now. His first look will be Rob Gronkowski, then Julian Edelman and then Brandin Cooks. Brady has built a relationship with Gronk and Edelman which is why I believe he will target them more. In Brady’s entire career he has only two seasons where he has had three receivers over 100 targets, 2011 and 2014.
The odds are against Cooks to get the number of targets he was getting in New Orleans which will lead to fewer fantasy points in 2017.
Tight End – Green Bay Packers
Bennett is going to Green Bay to be the main tight end in an offense. The Packers haven’t had a clear-cut number one tight end since 2012 when Jermichael Finely played the role. In that year Finely had 88 targets. To be more recent, the last two years Packers tight ends have had 95 targets in 2016 and 90 targets in 2015. If we take the numbers from 2016,2015, and 2012 Packers tight ends average 91 targets a season.
When looking at Bennetts numbers I looked at the last five seasons since that’s when he was an actual factor in an offense. In those years he averaged 94 targets a season, a catch rate of 68 percent, 10.8 yards a reception and caught a touchdown every 12 catches. So projecting Bennett for the Packers average of 91 targets is very realistic which is exactly what I did when doing his projections. His numbers came out to 62 catches, 670 yards, and five touchdowns or good for tight end 10 in 2016.
Bennett will be a top 12 tight end in 2017 but I worry his draft stock will be too high with him joining Aaron Rodgers and a powerful Packers offense.
Tight End – Indianapolis Colts
Jack Doyle is staying with his hometown team while Dwayne Allen is on his way to New England. This means Doyle is the only tight end in town for the Colts right? Hold your horse’s partner. Remember this name, Eric Swoop, he is the real reason why the Colts opened the gates and set Allen free.
That being said Colts tight ends last year had 109 catches on 149 targets for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. That can now be split up between Swoop and Doyle. Luck has shown his love for tight ends since entering the NFL and I expect that to continue. Both Doyle and Swoop will be valued in drafts but Swoop has more sleeper upside.
Quarterback – Cleveland Browns
This has nothing to do with Osweiler and everything to do with DeAndre Hopkins, Lamar Miller and the rest of the Texans offense. Last season the Texans scored only 25 touchdowns and much of the blame is on the tall shoulders of Brock Osweiler. DeAndre Hopkins was my number one Fantasy Football Bust in 2016 because of Osweiler. That has nothing to do with this article but I just want to brag about it and if that advice helped you send me a high five to my twitter @mitchellrenz365.
Back to the Texans issues a season ago. Texans quarterbacks threw for 15 touchdowns last season which was 2nd worst in the NFL. They were one of only three teams to have more interceptions than touchdowns thrown, the other two were the Jets and Rams. Houston was dead last in the NFL in yards per attempt with 5.9 which allowed defenses to crowd the box and stop the run game thus limiting Miller’s upside. Also if teams know the quarterback can’t throw down the field this really limits a player like Hopkins upside who is not a run after the catch receiver.
Hopkins has never missed a game in his four-year career and is just one season removed from 111 receptions 1,521 yards and 11 TDs. So please don’t give up on Miller and Hopkins because they are top candidates to have major bounce back seasons.
Mitchell is working full-time as Senior Writer & On-Air Talent at Chat Sports in Dallas, TX. Mitchell is a Head Writer at Gridiron Experts and Co-Host of the Empire Fantasy Podcast. He also is a featured fantasy writer for the Fantasy Footballers and FantasyPros. Mitchell has a Ph.D. in Fantasy Football so give him a follow on Twitter @MitchellRenz365.