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New Faces in New Places: Fantasy Fallout from This Offseason’s Free Agency

Photo by Martinez News-Gazette

Written by Cody Manning, @CodyTalksNFL

Every offseason, free agency, and the draft can bring a lot of change across the NFL, creating major implications in fantasy football. Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about the incoming rookies and where they belong on rosters. But there is also a crop of players that have changed teams, which affects not only their personal stock but the players around them as well. Here, I look at some signings that I believe could influence fantasy football for the upcoming season.

Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens signed Ingram to a 3-year, $15 million contract, so he could come in to be their lead back next to Lamar Jackson. His fantasy stock sees an increase in this move as he won’t be splitting time with the likes of Alvin Kamara. Plus, he is entering an offense that will be run-heavy, as the team has changed the offense to fully suit Jackson’s skill set. Ingram has RB1 potential in Baltimore as he should dominate most of the touches and will get those goal-line carries.

Besides making things a little easier on Jackson, the other impact is that he has made Gus Edwards un-rosterable for fantasy football. The addition of Ingram and drafting Justice Hill makes it difficult for him to get any carries. As someone that prefers to draft backs that should see plenty of opportunities, Ingram is looking like a great option for the 2019 season.

John Brown & Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills

The Bills made it a priority to get their franchise quarterback, Josh Allen, plenty of help to improve his growth this season. Some of those moves included bringing in Brown and Beasley in free agency. While I don’t see Brown or Beasley as an every week fantasy option, they have helped increased Allen’s fantasy stock. Brown will be more of a boom-or-bust option as he will be a deep threat in the offense but could have weeks where the scheme doesn’t work in his favor.

Beasley will be the slot receiver for Buffalo and could end up being the Bills receiver that shows the most consistency. They could prove to be rosterable in deeper leagues, but I wouldn’t actively try to select them when it comes draft time. The two provide value to Allen’s stock and he could be a late-round steal if he shows growth this season.

Frank Gore & TJ Yeldon, RB, Buffalo Bills

The Bills made some interesting moves with their backfield this offseason by signing Gore and Yeldon, plus drafting Devin Singletary. LeSean McCoy’s fantasy stock has taken a major hit so I would be very worried if I selected the veteran back. Don’t buy into McCoy just because he has a name. The team could end up taking a running back by committee approach this season which means I plan on staying away from having any Buffalo back on my roster in 2019.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

The biggest and most shocking move was the trade of OBJ to the Browns. This has not only changed the landscape of the league and Cleveland; it has a major impact for all fantasy relevant players involved. Odell’s biggest concern will still be his health, but his fantasy stock still sees an increase because of the better quarterback play. Baker Mayfield will be able to deliver the ball to him more accurately which should result in more of those big plays we see from Beckham.

Mayfield’s stock also sees an increase as he is getting an elite receiver. But that also opens things up for the likes of Jarvis Landry and David Njoku which will even help enhance Mayfield’s stats. Landry should show more consistency this year as he won’t be the main threat which should allow him to dominate the slot. Njoku will see more passing lanes open for him but he will be more of a boom-or-bust option for the tight end position as there is plenty of mouths to feed in this offense.

Regardless, fantasy points are oozing a lot of potential in Cleveland. Which I am trying to still wrap my head around as the Browns continue their rise from the shallow depths of the NFL.

Devin Funchess, WR, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts needed a big-body receiver that could give Andrew Luck another target in the passing attack and they addressed that by signing Funchess. Funchess’ fantasy stock received a small bump as he went from undraftable to being worth a swing as you round out your roster. As a reminder, Eric Ebron was in a similar situation and we saw how that turned out. This biggest winner though is Luck as he enters the season surrounded by even more talent which could result in one of his best seasons. Time will tell.

Carlos Hyde, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs signed Hyde to a one-year deal which doesn’t mean much, but he has an opportunity to carve out a role within the offense. KC seems committed to Damien Williams as their lead back and he showed he has the capability of taking on that role. Hyde hasn’t made an impact on Williams stock, but I believe his current ADP (#30 for 0.5 PPR) is overvalued. His injury history could provide an avenue for Hyde to cut into his carries. Plus, Hyde could be a more effective goal-line back compared to Williams which would result in Hyde being a touchdown vulture. I am not buying into Williams as a reliable fantasy option.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins & Ben Watson, TE, New England Patriots

There is just no simple way to replace Rob Gronkowski, but the Pat's first attempt was by going out and signing two veteran tight ends. Ben Watson is suspended for the first four games of the season so that opens a big opportunity for Seferian-Jenkins. Tom Brady has shown in the past that he will feed his tight end if the chemistry is there If Seferian-Jenkins can find a connection with Brady then he could be a playable option this year. New England could explore other options so I am not saying draft Seferian-Jenkins, but if he enters the season as that only viable option, then he could be worth a late-round swing in drafts.

Jared Cook, TE, New Orleans Saints

Cook was one of the few bright spots for the fantasy tight end position last year. He is in a favorable position in New Orleans as he will be playing with Drew Brees and could establish himself as the second option in the passing attack behind Michael Thomas. Cook should be a TE1 this season and should see plenty of opportunities within the Saints offense. Brees’ fantasy stock also sees a small bump as he gets another threat in the passing attack. If these two can get in sync, then Cook could help a team go for a deep playoff run.

Golden Tate, WR, New York Giants

After trading away OBJ, the Giants signed Tate to a 4-year, $37.5 million contract to come to New York to help replace his production. Tate’s stock takes a hit as he is entering an offense that has an aging Eli Manning and will more than likely be leaning on Saquon Barkley to move the chains as much as possible. The one thing that does favor Tate is that he is more effective in shallow to intermediate routes, which Manning can still throw to. I can see him being a WR3 as he will see plenty of targets and could be the #1 guy in the Giants passing attack.

Le’Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets

It has been a long time since we have seen Bell on a football field. The Jets took a chance on him after he sat out the 2018 season and they are hoping they get the player we saw in 2017, if not, a better version. We know Bell isn’t holding out, so barring in past hurt feelings, he should still be considered as one of the best fantasy backs for the upcoming season. He should be the focal point of their offense and make life easier on Sam Darnold.

Bell should dominate the touches and return to his RB1 status among the fantasy community. He also helps boost the fantasy stock of Darnold. While Darnold shouldn’t be drafted, if Bell is himself, and the offense can click, then Darnold could become a streamable option.

Antonio Brown & Tyrell Williams, WR, Oakland Raiders

The Raiders’ passing attack will look completely different this season and a big part of that includes the big trade for Antonio Brown. While Brown’s character has taken a major hit this offseason, he is still one of the best receivers in the league. He should see plenty of opportunities within Gruden’s offense to put up the numbers he consistently does every season. I do have my worries if he will mesh with Derek Carr, but he should return to his WR1 status as he will be the #1 option in their offense.

Oakland also went out and signed Williams, who gives them a solid option across from Brown. He will be a boom-or-bust option for fantasy this season, but his signing with Brown does help increase Carr’s stock. He could provide a team a quality backup option or at least be streamable if he is clicking with his receivers. This offense will either provide plenty of fantasy value or blow up in their face, which will result in a lot of “I told you so” on Twitter.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

After leaving Philadelphia in 2014, Jackson has found himself back with the organization that drafted him. Jackson provides the Eagles his deep threat ability that he still possesses after all these years. He should be viewed as a WR3 with boom-or-bust potential. He will have his weeks where he goes off, but he is also battling with a lot of players to get targets every week. The big winner is Carson Wentz.

If Wentz can return to his 2017 form and develop chemistry with Jackson while utilizing all his weapons within the offense, then he can be an every week starter in 2019. Jackson also offers big-play potential which can help enhance Wentz’s stats this season. Wentz’s stock will be low due to his injury but could provide a big return on your investment if you can land him in the later rounds of the draft.

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