Fantasy Football

Fantasy Impact From Top Free Agent Movers

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Top Free Agent Movers of 2024

The National Football League has a legal tampering period every year. The tradition started before the 2013 NFL regular season. The legal tampering period’s (started March 11th at midnight and ended on March 13th at 3:59 pm EST) goal is for teams to establish agreements/deals that can be made official when the period is over. After the period ends teams can then officially sign their desired player to the team on the agreed terms. The legal tampering period ended on March 13th at 4:00 pm EST which began the 2024 NFL season. Here are my top free-agent signings of the 2024 NFL season.

Quarterbacks

Kirk Cousins

Fantasy Stock: 📈

Cousins 2023 campaign was unfortunately cut short due to a torn achillies tendon in week 8 against the Green Bay Packers. He, like the fans, knew was probably the end of his career as a Minnesota Viking. On March 13, it was announced that the Atlanta Falcons signed Kirk Cousins to a four-year $180 million contract. Cousins will be surrounded by promising second-year running back Bijan Robinson, Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and newly signed talents Rondale Moore and Darnell Mooney. Cousins also has the luxury of having an elite offensive line which was ranked #4 by PFF in their final 2023 offensive line rankings. They finished with an 87.4 pass-blocking efficiency, the second-highest in the National Football League. If Cousins can stay healthy, he has the potential to accumulate top 12, top 10 fantasy football numbers at the Quarterback position. He’ll start as a backup on your roster, but he might make his way to your starting lineup. In fantasy football, Cousins’ ADP in redraft PPR leagues is 122, and his dynasty start-up league’s ADP is 141.

Russell Wilson/Justin Fields (QB Competition)

Fantasy Stock: 📉

The quarterback debacle in Pittsburgh has officially begun. As the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Russell Wilson on March 15th to a year-year deal worth $1.21 million, head coach Mike Tomlin announced that Wilson would be the team’s starting quarterback come opening day. Or will he? That is the real question. There have been wild reports surfacing that Wilson might not even make roster cuts this offseason. I do not believe that to be accurate. The more likely scenario is that Justin Fields who was acquired by the Pittsburgh Steelers who sent over a sixth-round that could turn into a fourth-round pick in a trade with Chicago will become the starter at some point during the 2024 regular season. The real question to be asked is how we prepare for this in our fantasy and dynasty start-up leagues. The answer is simple as we have these variables. The first variable is that both quarterbacks are in a run-first offense so passing is not a priority now. The second variable, draft whoever the starting quarterback is as your backup quarterback on your roster. The third variable is that Justin Fields is in his fourth-year in the league and has longevity barring injury. You’re not going to be giving up the farm for either of these players so draft them later on in your redraft league, but I would keep an eye out on Fields in dynasty start-up leagues or even later on in the later rounds of keeper league drafts.

Running Backs

Derrick Henry

Fantasy Stock: 📈

King Henry agreed to sign with the Baltimore Ravens on March 12th to a two-year, $16 million contract. Henry is still performing at a high level as he came off of another 1,000-plus rushing yard season. Last season, he posted 1,167 rushing yards on 280 attempts, averaging 4.2 yards per carry, scoring 12 touchdowns, and most importantly he played in all seventeen games. In fantasy PPR leagues he totaled 246.66 points during the 2023 season resulting in being ranked as the eighth-best running back. He has shown his durability and longevity throughout his career and has consistently performed well over the years. I like this move as it takes the pressure off quarterback Lamar Jackson who has usually had to rush the ball himself most of the time as Baltimore’s running backs can’t seem to stay healthy. Specifically, J.K. Dobbins had the potential to become a star but fizzled out due to injuries. The Ravens love to run the ball first which in turn makes Henry an extremely attractive option in fantasy leagues. Fantasy Pros has Henry’s ADP as 58 in redraft leagues, which in my opinion is too low. I understand that he is already thirty years old and past his “expiration date”, but I still see him performing at a high level posting RB1 numbers for fantasy managers’ next season. As for dynasty start-up leagues, his ADP is 80 and he will probably be drafted in the later rounds again due to his age, not his talent. Even with this information, if I can draft Henry at his appropriate ADP or even a little sooner, I am going to do so.

Josh Jacobs

Fantasy Stock: 📈

Last Tuesday, I opened my NFL feed to find out that the Green Bay Packers were signing Josh Jacobs to a four-year $48 million deal to join the squad. I was stunned and elated at the same time as we finally landed a top free agent, something the organization has not actively achieved in past years. Unfortunately, there is always a trade-off in which Aaron Jones decided it was time for him to step away from the team and not re-sign. Instead, he took his talents to NFC North rival the Minnesota Vikings on a pay cut. Remember, the Vikings signed him for less than what the Packers were willing to pay him. For me, I think it was personal. Either way, I’m extremely excited for Jacobs to step on the field as a Packer for the first time. Last season in a “down year”, Jacobs rushed for 805 yards on 233 carries, averaging 3.5 yards per carry, and scoring 6 touchdowns in thirteen games. In fantasy football PPR leagues he posted 181.1 points and finished as RB28. Jacobs is known as a pure bruising running back, so he is not valuable as a receiver. His efficiency in the running game is enough to offset this. The Packers have plenty of receiving threats and possibly will be picking up another this offseason. Jacobs has the potential to become a top fifteen at his floor and a top ten back at his ceiling. Fantasy Pros has Jacobs’ ADP at 42 in redraft PPR leagues and at 44 in dynasty start-up leagues.

Saquon Barkley

Fantasy Stock: 📈

Who would’ve known we would be sitting here today talking about Mr. Barkley joining one of the New York Giants NFC East or should I say NFC “least” rivals the Philadelphia Eagles. This stems back to last season when the Giants organization decided to pay quarterback Daniel Jones, which turned out to be a disaster instead of the star running back. On March 13, Barkley agreed to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles to a three-year $37.75 million deal, to which Barkley emphasized the guaranteed money ($26 million at signing) was the most important to him. His explanation was to ensure financial security for his future if he unexpectedly got injured and it cost him his career. In 2023, Barkley also had a “down year” rushing for 962 yards on 247 carries, averaging 3.9 yards per carry, and scoring 6 touchdowns in fourteen games. He is also useful in the receiving game as he recorded 280 yards on 41 receptions and scored 4 touchdowns. In fantasy PPR leagues, he finished as the RB13 scoring 223.2 points. My only fear I have with him joining the Eagles is that like the Giants with Jones, Hurts will take away his touchdowns at or near the goal line. Let’s just hope the Eagles abandon the quarterback sneak at the goal line and hand it off to the veteran running back. Overall, Barkley should have a solid year now posting over 1,000-plus rushing yards behind a top-five offensive line which he lacked in New York. In redraft leagues, his ADP is 20 and his ADP in dynasty start-up leagues is 26, and he should end up as a top-12 running back in fantasy football.

Wide Receivers

Keenan Allen

Fantasy Stock: 📈

To my surprise, Allen was traded from the Los Angeles Chargers to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a fourth-round pick. Allen, known as one of the best route runners in the league is coming off a brilliant season in which he recorded 108 receptions for 1,243 yards, averaging 11.5 yards per reception, and scoring 7 touchdowns in thirteen games. In fantasy PPR leagues he finished as the WR8 posting 278.86 points. I could only imagine what his numbers would have looked like if he stayed healthy the entire season. Future first-overall pick former USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams finds himself in a great situation in Chicago after they purposely went out and got him weapons for when he enters the league. Again, the only thing that stops Allen from helping fantasy managers utilize his full potential is his injury history. He never seems to stay healthy for an entire season. The last time he played in all regular season games was in 2021. For the past two years, he has been limited to ten (2022) and thirteen (2023) games. Hopefully, he will play in all seventeen games during the 2024 season. Allen’s ADP in redraft PPR leagues is 37 and in dynasty start-up leagues his ADP is 88. I feel comfortable drafting him at his ADP in both formats as when he is on the field, he dominates and has the potential to become a top-10 receiver once again in fantasy football.

Mike Williams

Fantasy Stock: 📉

Williams was already slated to become a free agent before the purge of the Los Angeles Chargers initiated by new head coach Jim Harbaugh began. On March 19th, Williams signed a one-year deal worth up to $15 million with the New York Jets. Unfortunately, his year was cut short due to a torn ACL suffered in week 3 of the 2023 season. Like fellow former Charger Keenan Allen, Williams has had multiple injuries throughout his career, limiting his potential as an elite receiver. On the bright side, returning quarterback Aaron Rodgers who also suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the 2023 season will be accompanying the newly acquired receiver. Before his injury, Williams accumulated 249 yards on 19 receptions and scored 1 touchdown. Hopefully, he will begin where he left off with his new team and become a staple in the offense. Fantasy Pros has Williams’ ADP in redraft PPR leagues at 89 and his ADP in dynasty start-up leagues at 143. His draft appeal is somewhat iffy due to his injury history, but if you get him at his ADP or slightly later, then definitely draft him and stash him on your bench. He comes into the New York Jets offense as the WR2 behind Garrett Wilson who will be Rodgers’ primary target so keep that in mind.

Calvin Ridley

Fantasy Stock: 📉

Ridley is coming off a 1,000-plus receiving yard season where he finished as the WR18 posting 229.9 fantasy points in PPR leagues. On March 13th, Ridley agreed to sign with the Tennessee Titans on a four-year $92 million deal, in which his priority was money and comfort. I’m not a fan of the signing as I feel this is not beneficial for his career or fantasy football players. I feel that Ridley’s fantasy production will most likely slip as Tennessee’s offensive production is not as effective as it should be. In 2023, the Titans averaged 58.9 offensive plays per game which was the second lowest in the league, 26.1 rushing attempts per game, (ranked 21st), and 29.0 passing attempts per game (ranked 32nd) with only 180.4 passing yards per game (ranked 29th). Fantasy Pros has Ridley’s ADP in redraft PPR leagues at 60 and his dynasty start-up ADP at 87. In my opinion, I would avoid drafting Ridley altogether in fantasy football leagues during the 2024 draft season.

Honorable Mentions

Player Position Age Team Contract ADP Redraft PPR ADP Dynasty Start-Up
Gardner Minshew QB 27 Las Vegas Raiders Two-years, $25 million 339 300
D’Andre Swift RB 25 Chicago Bears Three-years, $24 million 80 57
Joe Mixon RB 27 Houston Texans Three-years, $27 million 57 79
Tony Pollard RB 26 Tennessee Titans Three-years, $21 million 72 63
Austin Ekeler RB 28 Washington Commanders Two-years, $8.34 million 86 102
Darnell Mooney WR 26 Atlanta Falcons Three-years, $39 million 153 184
Gabriel Davis WR 24 Jacksonville Jaguars Three-years, $39 million 108 123
Curtis Samuel WR 27 Buffalo Bills Three-years, $24 million 130 186
Mike Gesicki TE 28 Cincinnati Bengals One-year, $2.5 million 303 282

 

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