NFL free agency has taken on a life of its own. In the first month, nearly ten elite players signed with new teams, and the shakeup is going to completely readjust how we approach the fantasy season. After a wild NFL Draft that sent Wideouts all over the place, and contracts/trades still looming, it’s worth addressing who’s gone where, and whether those moves are good or bad for fantasy owners. Here are the free agents, rookies, and major trades that sent players to new homes and their fantasy outlooks for the 2022-23 season.
Updated: May 1
Disclaimer: The players featured in the article don’t include all free-agency moves or drafted rookies. Preference was given to players that are projected to either be drafted, or would be considered serviceable replacements on a waiver wire in a standard ESPN scoring 10-team league. Unless noted otherwise, all data was taken from: Fantasydata.com
Deshaun Watson (Cleveland Browns)—Huge Increase–but proceed with caution
After years of chaos, one of the top fantasy scoring QBs is back for the Browns. Watson is a fantasy workhorse who was 5th in QB scoring when he last saw the field and averaged over 20 points per game. Immediately he gets the elite tag and many people are frothing at the bit to grab him at a cheap price for those who are afraid to take a risk. I’m in the latter camp.
-Consistent and proven QB
-May fall further on draft board
-Browns are run-heavy
While Watson is certainly a top ten player at his position, I’m not sure I draft him up there. The Browns are an extremely run-heavy offense that thrives on “chu-nting” teams to death—they were 2nd in rushing attempts last season so that alone adds a question mark to Watson’s success. Obviously, this is going to change with Watson under center and the new addition of Amari Cooper, but he also hasn’t played in two years. The true kicker is the potential suspensions that are still lingering—there are still 22 lawsuits pending against him. In the end, I think I’m passing on a returning QB with a run offense and I doubt Watson ever returns to the elite status he once had. Would I take a flier on him late in the draft, sure, but I’m not pinning him as a sleeper–I’ll spend more time looking for consistent mid-tier position players than grabbing a maybe, kind of could be potential stud QB.
Russell Wilson (Denver Broncos)—Slight decrease (from 2019 numbers)
Wilson was a model of consistency in Seattle. Disregard his injury status from last year and you have an average of 384 total fantasy points for the past five years. He’s elite, and while no one really expects him to dwindle in terms of performance, Denver will be a change of pace that may cause his average to take a hit.
-Better offensive line
-A not so Pete Caroll run-heavy game plan
-A better defense = less need to throw
The offensive line and desire from Hackett to throw the ball downfield is gold for Wilson. It’ll be the first time in a decade since he’ll be able to sit comfortably in the pocket. The deep ball game plan though can equal INTs, but it’s a small fear compared to what will likely be more yards and TDs. His receivers are a much bigger concern though—throwing the ball to the likes of DK Metcalf seems promising, or even to Lockett whom Wilson has an incredibly close connection, but Jeudy for the Broncos was a huge bust last year, scoring zero TDs in 10 games, and Courtland Sutton had 2 TDs on the year and scored double digit fantasy points only three times. Plus, they just lost Fant in the trade, so they are without a third option at the moment. Ideally, the Broncos try to create a supporting cast for Wilson by adding a new WR, but as of right now, my money is on him experiencing a small regression in fantasy numbers, but still, he’s a reliable QB1.
Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers) slight decrease
While Rodgers is still on the same team, the loss of Adams, and now Valdes-Scantling, changes his game tremendously. Adams was targeted 169 times last season, tied for 2nd most on the year. To compare, the next highest targets for the Packers was RB Aaron Jones with 65.
-Same team, same game plan
-losing WR1 & 2
-No #1 target
Despite the new additions in free agency and the drafting of Watson, no one is Devante Adams whom Rodgers force-fed last year—Adams scored 1/3 of Rodgers’ TDs, and 37% of his passing yards. So, assume a huge hit to Rodgers’ yards and TD total along with the Packers adjusting to a greater running game with Jones and Dillon. All of this pushes the former MVP closer to the bottom of the top 10 for QBs unless they land a top 10 WR.
Kenney Pickett (Pittsburgh Steelers) Rookie
Assuming Pickett gets the starting gig over Trubisky, he’ll likely garner QB2 numbers–though keep your expectations low for a rookie who likely won’t be handed keys to the kingdom right away.
Good receiving corps
Being a rookie isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s easy to assume Tomlin won’t send Pickett to throw bombs right away. He has a solid set of WRs in Johnson and Claypool, and a lot of pressure will come off of Pickett thanks to the steady running game with Najee Harris. With that said, assume Pickett is a QB2 with maybe some upside should he succeed early on.
Carson Wentz (Washington Commanders)—no change
Wentz’s move to the Commanders won’t change much in terms of fantasy production. He will lose a bit of offensive relief without Taylor running the ball but not much else.
-No more Jonathan Taylor
The Commanders will keep Wentz in the exact same role that led him to becoming QB15. What he loses in Jonathan Taylor he picks up in a better receiver Terry McLauren which may boost his numbers a tiny bit. But with more passing likely coming from the Commanders, it’s more chances for Wentz to make mistakes. It all evens out, Wentz stays in the middle of the QB pack or as a safety net when your starter is on a BYE.
Marcus Mariota (Atlanta Falcons)—large increase
Mariota comes out of his backup role and into the starting QB for the Falcons. It’ll be interesting to see how relevant he becomes without Ridley in the mix, but regardless, expect his numbers to jump.
-Lack of weapons
It’s awesome to see Mariota return to a starting role, but it comes at the expense of joining the Falcons whom are a struggling franchise. Without RIdley as a WR, they are doomed to throw short passes to Cordarelle Patterson (which isn’t a bad thing for Mariota) but it isn’t a recipe for big fantasy numbers. Consider Mariota a low end QB2 that may have some upside.
Mitchell Trubisky (Pittsburgh Steelers)—large increase
Same as Mariota, Trubisky lands a starting role on an offense that isn’t built for passers. With the help of Najee Harris though Trubisky has a chance to lead a balanced offense and improve his numbers.
Lack of Weapons
It’s the same setup as Mariota in Atlanta—Trubisky will have to work with a pedestrian receiving corps on an offense that will be run heavy thanks to Najee Harris running the ball. Regardless, his numbers will become relevant as a low end QB2, and look for the Steelers to add a few weapons to maybe bump his numbers up some more.
Matt Ryan (Indianapolis Colts)—slight increase
Despite the steady decline in Ryan’s numbers, the Colts promise the QB a much greater opportunity for success. With Taylor carrying the bulk of the offensive load and a much-improved receiving corps, Ryan should bump up as QB2 on the draft board.
-Taylor running the offense
Ryan is perfect for this Colts setup that plans to run through Taylor. So, despite what may be a dip in passing attempts Ryan will make up for it by throwing to Pittman Jr. who was WR 17 last year. He’ll definitely see an uptick in numbers just by being in a better offense that doesn’t rely entirely on his production. I put him in as a solid tier 2 QB option right next to Carson Wentz.
Devante Adams (Las Vegas Raiders)—slight increase
Adams joins up with old Fresno St. QB, Derek Carr in what is going to be a stellar reunion. Despite losing the MVP passer in Rogers, Carr is confident in throwing it deep, and Adams is going to thrive in the AFC west due to lack of coverage on him.
-Carr throws downfield
-0 elite corners in AFC West
-Derek Carr < Rogers
-Possible regression in red zone targets
A huge help for Adams will be the lack of notable corners in the AFC West. Profootballnetwork ranked the top 32 corners in the NFL from 2021 and only 1 was in the Raider’s division—Bryce Callahan ranked 19 for the Broncos. I’ll go ahead and assume whatever hit Adams may take from losing Rogers is washed by the lack of defense, so that only opens the door for Adams to dominate even more than he already does. Carr, when Ruggs was present, threw downfield with an average depth of 9.2 yards, so there’s no question the Raiders will try to stretch the field. Look for Adams to rack up more yards this season, and the only concern may be a potential loss in redzone targets to Waller. But even then, Adams remains elite and should be the first WR off the draft board.
Tyreek Hill (Miami Dolphins)—slight decrease
Hill’s numbers took quite a hit last year when he failed to produce the TDs he had in 2020. Unfortunately, the trade to the Dolphins is only going to make this worse. Hill in KC is a perfect QB match, an elusive Mahomes can throw a 50-yard bomb on the run with accuracy—I’m not sure I can say the same for Tua.
-The clear #1 weapon
-Multiple offensive weapons
Hill was targeted 159 times in KC and ended the year with 9 TDs, and those numbers will drop with Waddle, Parker, and Gesicki in the mix—especially since Waddle was targeted 140 times last year. Plus, with the addition of Edmonds and a coach that likes to throw to his backfield speedsters, Tua is going to pass the ball around to a plethora of weapons. Hill will obviously remain a WR1 since he’s a deep threat and clear #1 target, but the crowded receiving corps plus the regression in Quarterback will hurt his production. Look for him to post more like 8 fantasy points per game as opposed to the 10+ he’s used to producing.
A.J. Brown (Philadelphia Eagles) Slight Increase
Brown was at the end of his rookie contract, and after two fantastic seasons that earned him big money, the Titan’s opted to cash in a trade rather than pay up. His new home in Philly isn’t a bad switch for him, he gets a more pass-heavy offense and a dynamic QB in Jalen Hurts, his value won’t change much.
-Hurts throws more than Tannehill
-No Henry dominating offense
-DeVonta Smith may eat targets
Smith may eat into a bit of Brown’s target share, but the fact that the Eagles throw more often than the Titans immediately balances out. Plus Hurts under center means more opportunity for Brown to get the ball, and with the Eagles paying/extending him, it’s clear they want to make him their priority. Assume Brown continues his near 1,000 plus yard ways and maybe grabs a few more TDs to go with it.
Treylon Burks (Tennessee Titans) Rookie
Burks immediately becomes Tannehill’s top target with the Titans shipping Brown to the Eagles. Burks is new on the scene in an offense that is primarily run heavy, but he’ll still have value as the go-to receiver
-Not much competition
-Derrick Henry’s offense
Rookies status alone would keep Burks at the WR2 spot, and with Tannehill under center and the Titan’s offensive scheme it’s doubtful that changes. But he’s definitely a high end WR2 with a high ceiling. A mirror image of Brown, just cheaper, he can break tackles and would be a strong red-zone target when the aren’t force feeding Henry. He’s certainly worth a look based on targets and opportunities for TDs.
Marquise Brown (Arizona Cardinals) Big Increase
Brown joins the Cardinals as the clear replacement for Christian Kirk. With the recent news of Deandre Hopkins’ suspension, Brown is in line to take over as WR1 and his numbers are going to jump up immensely.
-Kyler Murray’s pass heavy
-WR1 with Hopkins out
-No more Jackson connection
Brown will be just fine in his new role, but may take a bit of time to develop the same rapport with Murray as he had with Jackson, but he is a dangerous deep threat that Murray will happily throw to–Murray is ranked in the top 5 for deep passing. Brown had 6 TDs last year and eclipsed just over 1,000 yards. While he’s in the lead for targets in games 1-6 you can expect him to match those numbers easily, and by the end of the season assume nearly double the TDs. He should definitely be drafted early with no one contesting him for targets.
Christian Watson (Green Bay Packers) Rookie
Green Bay traded up in the draft to grab Watson, the NDSU phenom who turned heads at the combine. He has the chance to make some noise with such a weak receiving corps in Green Bay, so he may be worth a look come fantasy draft day.
-Weak receiving corps
Aaron Rogers QB
Watson has a lot to prove coming from a weak college schedule. His athleticism is real–he ran a 4.36 fort time, and he’s big enough to separate from opposing defenders. The fact that Rogers now has Watkins, Lazard, Cobb and Watson means that the target share may be low for the rookie. Temper your expectations, he may be more of a WR3, but he certainly has a high ceiling with Rogers under center.
Drake London (Atlanta Falcons) Rookie
London jumps into a developing offense in Atlanta that just invested in a younger, more dynamic QB in Marcus Mariota. London is an absolute playmaker who will become a top target for the Falcons and could be a sleeper in fantasy.
London isn’t exactly in a perfect offensive environment, but that could bode well for a receiver of his caliber. At the very least you can expect him to be fed targets which sends him into the low WR1 to high WR2 range. He’s the number one receiver off the board for a reason so he’ll find a way to be efficient and effective with Mariota–he may be worth grabbing earlier than expected for upside alone.
Jahan Dotson (Washington Commanders) Rookie
Dotson lines up with Terry McLauren who will remain the WR1, and with an average QB in Wentz, it’s hard to promote drafting Dotson until the later rounds.
-McLauren eats targets
-Wentz is QB
This isn’t very pretty from a fantasy standpoint. McLauren will dominate the target share and it’s difficult to trust Wentz in any capacity. As such, keep Dotson off your draft board or maybe stash him on your bench–he’s a WR3 at best.
Garrett Wilson (NY Jets) Rookie
Wilson will have immediate impact in the Jet’s offense catching passes from Zach Wilson. However, a crowded receiving room makes things a bit tricky, and Wilson isn’t exactly a model of consistency just yet.
-Crowded WR room
While Wilson is an incredible athlete that could be fantasy relevant as a low WR2, he’s going to be hard to have faith in with so many passing options in the mix. The Jets have Berrios, Moore, and Davis all vying for targets, and even though the offense is dynamic enough to get Wilson the ball–I’m still not sold on Wilson. Keep expectations low despite his skills.
Chris Olave (NO Saints) Rookie
Keep Olave atop your draft board this year–he’ll be a stellar option for Winston should Thomas fall flat, and if Kamara should face suspension to start the year… watch out!
-Injuries/suspensions = targets
This pick may be a big risk reward, but I’m banking on the reward being high. As it stands, Michael Thomas is set to return, meaning Olave’s targets will be minimal at best. But if you expect Thomas to regress, as plenty people do, that could vault Olave into WR1 contention. And if the stars align perfectly for his fantasy value, Kamara could face suspension early in the year which would open the door for Olave to become a major weapon for the deep throwing Winston. I like the chances!
Jameson Williams (Detroit Lions) Rookie
Jameson lands in a very unfortunate spot. As a deep threat, he’ll be limited to a semi-crowded receiving corp and Jarred Goff who is not well-known for airing it out.
-Deep threat target
-Crowded WR room
-Goff as QB
As good as Williams is, Goff doesn’t throw it deep, and when he does he isn’t the most accurate. According to CBS Sports “Goff ranked 36th last year in adjusted completion rate on passes of 20-plus yards…” and with St. Brown and Hockenson in the mix for targets, Williams is only a WR3 with occasional boom upside.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Kansas City Chiefs)—strong increase
After living in the shadow of Adams, Valdes-Scantling (VS) will get a shot as WR1 in Kansas City. He’s an underrated receiver who suffered from lack of targets, an issue he hopes to clear up with Mahomes.
-No Adams = more targets
-Patrick Mahomes as QB
-Travis Kelce is clear #1
-Crowded Receiving Room
VS joins a pretty packed receiving room with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Travis Kelce, Josh Gordon and Mecole Hardman, but he figures to be the speedy deep threat. Despite the number of options for Mahomes, expect an uptick in targets for VS as he replaces Hill who saw 159 last season. I don’t see VS getting the bulk of that 159, but it’ll be a dramatic increase from the 55 targets VS saw in his 11 games last year in Green Bay. Mahomes has no problem taking shots downfield, and him spreading the ball around is a much better setup compared to Rogers’ dead eyes on Adams. Expect a big increase in targets, yards and TDs for VS, putting him in the top tier of WR2 category.
JuJu Smith Schuster (Kansas City Chiefs)—slight decrease
JuJu was expected to be a breakout candidate once Antonio Brown departed from the Steelers—unfortunately he never lived up to the hype as a reliable WR1. He’s averaged WR2 #s, but a shoulder injury last year forced him out for the majority of the season—so this will be a bounce back year both as a return from injury as well as an offense better suited to his game.
-Better passing game plan
Assume he reaches the numbers expected of him as a Steeler WR1 and you’ll likely be on par. Mahomes will certainly spread the ball around, but with Kelce and Valdes-Scantling as the 1-2, JuJu is likely headed for regression in targets despite the huge upgrade in quarterback. What’s saving him will likely be the occasional touchdown, but the targets and yards are going down—keep him in the low-tier WR2 category.
DeVante Parker (New England Patriots) slight decrease
Parker lands in Bill Belicheck’s offense which isn’t exactly a prime fantasy production environment these days. Without a ton of confidence in Mac Jones last season, the Patriots relied on the run game for the majority of the year, and obviously this hurts Parker’s outlook–but his upside comes with the possibility of taking over as WR1 next to Jakobi Meyers.
-More Confidence in Mac Jones
-Patriot’s run heavy offense
Parker likely becomes their deep threat and Jones passes just over 3 20+ yard balls a game (he’s ranked 15 for deep passes and 19th in deep ball completions). So despite the improvements Parker made last season in Miami, I’d be weary of grabbing him any higher than you’ve ever grabbed him on draft day.
Cedrick Wilson Jr. (Miami Dolphins) Slight Decrease
Wilson Jr.’s shift to Miami isn’t all that exciting, but he’s still worth monitoring despite the likely dip in target share.
-Starting slot receiver
-Crowded receiving room
Wilson Jr. jumped up his fantasy value after Michael Gallup was injured last season for the Cowboys–proving he’s a solid slot WR that notched 61 targets and 6 TDs. The move to Miami isn’t a bad one, but it may require an injury or two again for him to be as useful as he was in 2021. With Hill, Waddle, Edmonds, Gesicki all ahead of him for targets, Wilson may be in for a regression, but don’t lose sight of him should one of those guys go down.
Zay Jones (Jacksonville Jaguars) Slight Increase
Jones will be looked past most standard leagues, but he should definitely merit your attention after a strong finish to 2021 with the Raiders. His new home in Jacksonville is in complete transition, and we haven’t truly seen the capabilities of Trevor Lawrence, but Jones should still be worth a look as a potential bench player.
-Crowded receiving room
-Trevor Lawrence Question Marks
Zay Jones shouldn’t be a draftee in a typical league, but his production for the Raiders to finish last season turned a few heads. According to Fantasy Pros Jones finished the final 6 weeks of the season ranked 10th in yards. He earned the Raiders 25% target share and had the teams most air yards on the season. His downfall is his lack of scoring–only 1 TD in 2021, but he will certainly be flagged after such a hot finish to 2021 and for the fact that we have no idea what Doug Pedereson’s plan with Lawrence will be. As a QB developing coach, it would be ideal for Jones to snag a few more passes and hopefully find some pay dirt. Keep watch on his status on waivers, or stash him on your bench.
Sammy Watkins (Green Bay Packers)–Big Increase
Watkins has always been an up and down fantasy player–never really maintaining a reliable status, but that hasn’t prevented him from landing on rosters when owners are in a pinch. With a trip to Green Bay though, Watkins may have just moved into the starting role in fantasy leagues.
-Possible WR 1
-Rogers is QB
Watkins heads to a wide-open receiving room where he could become the potential WR1 next to Lazard. Watkins hasn’t been a major contributor on fantasy teams for the past four years (9 TDs, 2007 yds, 249 targets) but he’s typically a serviceable WR2-3. With the move to Green Bay he vaults into the high end WR2 mix with even a WR1 argument thanks to Rogers under center and few other options for him to pass to. The Packers will likely add a WR from the draft, but even with another addition Watkins is in for a big increase in targets, TDs, and yards next season.
Christian Kirk (Jacksonville Jaguars)—slight increase
Kirk inked a long-term deal with the Jags which figures to improve his numbers a bit. It’s not a perfect setup with a chaotic post-Urban Myer locker room, but new coach Doug Pederson hopes to right the ship—perhaps to the benefit of Kirk.
-Doug Pederson develops QBs
-Pedestrian career #s
No one is sure just how Kirk will be as a WR 1 since he hasn’t really thrived as a WR from a fantasy perspective throughout his career. He’s never been a top 25 WR, and most of the time he lives around the WR30-ish range, and Trevor Lawrence’s future is in question. Doug Pederson may be the cure for the mess that was Lawrence’s rookie season, so there’s a chance that Kirk becomes WR1 to a comeback year for the young QB—and if that’s the case, perhaps Kirk’s numbers improve. With too many question marks around his career stats and Lawrence’s outlook, I’m passing on him in the draft for someone more secure despite his potential WR1 status.
Amari Cooper (Cleveland Browns)—small increase
With the addition of Deshaun Watson, Cooper’s outlook improves, but not much. The question will be whether or not Watson gets suspended, and if Cooper can adjust to his clear WR1 role.
-Possible Deshaun Watson suspension
-Brown’s running attack
Let’s assume Watson returns to the same MVP caliber skills he had before he left—that makes Cooper a solid top 10 receiver. Unfortunately, there are too many question marks surrounding Cooper and his situation. Cooper himself has a track record of inconsistency—some days hauling in 200 yards and 3 TDs, the next catching 2 passes for 20 yards. Watson isn’t likely going to be much more impressive a QB as Prescott, so we assume it’ll just depend on how Cooper handles the #1 gig. He’ll certainly get more targets which is a bonus, but he’ll be hindered by the potential suspension of Watson and the running game the Browns have lived on for the past 3 years. The Browns offense begins with their running backs, so unless they are handing Watson keys to the kingdom in his return, I’d pass on Cooper for the likes of Jerry Jeudy or Valdes-Scantling—guys with more promising upside. Still, he’s QB1, but maybe the bottom portion of that tier.
DJ Chark (Detroit Lions)— small increase
The Jacksonville debacle last season and a brutal ankle injury left Chark owners in shambles. Chark was fantastic for his value in 2019 and 2020 so we know he’s capable of solid WR #s. In his new home with Goff under center he hopes to get back to form.
-#1 deep threat
-Returning from injury
Chark is supposed to be ready for training camp this year, and it may be worth watching how he performs. His ankle break early last season is a red flag in his return—he’s a big physical receiver so how he recovers in camp is certainly worth monitoring before you draft him as a WR1. He may come at a much better value, and could be worth taking a chance on, but I’d temper my expectations that he returns to his 2019 self. His numbers will definitely improve with the reliability of Goff, but be weary at what it could cost you—I have him as a decent WR2.
Allen Robinson (Los Angeles Rams)—slight increase
With the departure of Robert Woods, Robinson looks to improve upon what was a painful 2021 season. Stafford has no issues airing the ball out, and despite several receiving options, Robinson has plenty of upside with the Rams.
-Better team and QB
-Cooper Kupp is WR1
Robinson is in a better position to succeed with Stafford under center—that alone will improve his numbers. However, I’m not certain he’ll end up back to his Sophomore year in Jacksonville quite yet. Kupp is the ultimate WR1, so Robinson will have to compete for targets, but with Woods gone and OBJ not signing yet, he could wind up as WR2 on the Superbowl Championship team. His ceiling is much higher than his past 5 seasons so he may be worth taking a chance on if OBJ is out of the picture, especially since he may get passed on in the draft due to his past performance.
Jamison Crowder (Buffalo Bills)—big increase
Crowder winds up with the powerhouse Bills offense to replace departing Cole Beasley. This is nothing but upside as the veteran will work in a Josh Allen offense that will lead to more targets and TDs.
With the Jets looking to the future, they let Crowder go, which is telling of his value. However, he’s no scrub, and the Bills will find a way to utilize him. Consider him a low WR2 or high WR3 for PPR leagues simply because of Josh Allen, or he could be a sneaky waiver addition.
Russel Gage (Tampa Bay Bucaneers)—big increase
Gage proved himself to be a dependable WR after Ridley left the Falcons. He served the team well as WR 2, and now that he finds himself in a similar situation with Tom Brady, his numbers are destined to be great.
-Godwin is out
Gage is only going to play better with the Bucs. Brady has no problem spreading the ball around, so if Gage proves himself to be a reliable WR2 with Godwin still recovering from his ACL tear, Brady will target him all day. Mike Evans is the clear WR1 who will get the majority of TDs and targets, and Gronkowski could still sign and steal away even more opportunities from Gage. But even if those two are available, Gage’s numbers increase—his floor is certainly higher and his ceiling even more so. If Gronk doesn’t return, look for him to be in the top tier of the WR2 category.
John Metchie III (Houston Texans) Rookie
Metchie joins a desolate receiving corps behind Brandin Cooks and has the chance to jump into an impact role quickly. However, his QB is Davis Mills, so keep the expectations low.
-Davis Mills as QB
Metchie will have to battle Nico Collins for the WR2 spot, but there’s a good chance Metchie gets it. With that being said, his value stays around that WR2-3 tier while Cooks will still dominate the majority of targets. Metchie may not make my draft board, but I’d have no problem keeping him on my bench in case he shows signs of breaking out.
Wan’Dale Robinson (New York Giants) Rookie
This was a pretty unfortunate placement for Robinson who likely sees little in terms of targets unless the Giants make some major changes offensively.
New Coach and OC
Crowded receiving corps
Daniel Jones as QB
The Giants don’t even have Robinson listed in the top three of their WR depth chart–those go to Golliday, Shepard, and Toney. As such, it’s hard to believe the rookie will make any impact unless an injury were to occur, leave him off your fantasy team for now.
Tyquan Thorton (New England Patrios) Rookie
Thorton was a surprise pick for the Patriots who drafted him far above his grade. Not shocking for Belichick, but from a fantasy standpoint, Thorton’s outlook isn’t pretty.
-No one understand Belichik
-Crowded receiving room
-run heavy offense
Belichick may have some tricks up his sleeve for Thorton, but I’m not sure I’m interested in drafting him to find out. Thorton is listed as 4 on the WR depth chart behind Meyers, Parker, and Bourne, and with the Patriots running the ball the majority of the time (or sometimes for almost an entire game) I’ll keep Thorton off my draft board.
George Pickens (Pittsburgh Steelers) Rookie
Pickens is an intriguing pick down the road, but as a rookie he may just be a deep sleeper to keep an eye on.
-Crowded receiving corps
We think Trubisky makes way for Pickett, but either need to prove to fantasy owners that they are capable of helping their WRs score points. Pickens is considered WR3 on the depth chart, and he absolutely could break out once he’s given a solidified role in the offense, but with the QB situation in question it’ll be hard to bank on Pickens just yet. He’s maybe a WR3 with plenty of upside.
Alec Pierce (Indianapolis Colts) Rookie
Pierce heads into a position that presents a ton of upside. He’ll still be low on the WR chart, but with Matt Ryan now under center it’s clear the Colts want to throw.
-Could move into WR2
-Crowded WR room
Pierce is in a great spot to take WR 2 simply because Parris Campbell’s injury issues. Should Pierce head into that role, he all of a sudden has some WR3 value that could spike with Matt Ryan throwing the ball. The situation is worth watching, so I’ll keep him flagged on the waiver wires.
Skyy Moore (Kansas City Chiefs) Rookie
Moore winds up in the high powered Chiefs offense that is always great for a WR. However, with so many great options, it’ll be tough to bank on Moore as a reliable fantasy option.
-Crowded receiving room
Moore is only as good as his target share in this offense, and unfortunately he won’t get many. He’s behind Kelce, Juju, Hardman, and Valdes-Scantling, and that alone keeps Moore away from any draft board.
Chase Edmonds (Miami Dolphins)—small increase
Edmond’s arrival in Miami is a wild card in terms of fantasy production. There’s still Miles Gaskin on the roster, a new coach, and a plethora of passing weapons, so it’s hard to tell just how much of a role Edmonds will play.
-Mike McDaniel as coach
-Likely the #1 RB
-too many weapons
-competing for snaps
Edmonds thrived as a pass catching back behind James Connor last year, and new coach Mike McDaniels is a fan of throwing it to the backfield. Assuming that Edmonds gets #1RB duties, there’s a great chance he improves fantasy numbers in yards, receptions and TDs. He’s a great choice for PPR leagues, and we can figure he’ll grab more than the 2 TDs he did all last season. His problem will be the amount of weapons Tua has to throw to. But you can spin that as well—lots of weapons equals lots of opportunities for Edmonds to excel in a spread offense. Look for him to jump up into a legitimate RB2 range with the greater role in Miami.
Ronald Jones (Kansas City Chiefs)–slight increase
Jones landed a gig as a change of pace back for the Chiefs. While his fantasy owners were horribly disappointed with last year’s numbers, Jones is a capable goal line back that might be worth considering late in the draft.
-Goal line Vulture
-Clear role as COP back
-Too many weapons
-Not a feature back
Take Jones for what he’s worth, a goal line TD vulture, and you won’t be disappointed. It’s highly unlikely he turns back into the Jones of 2020, but owners may be less disappointed with a more defined role as #2 RB on the depth chart. Edwards-Hellaire figures to take the bulk of the snaps, but Jones will happily poach a few TDs if the Chiefs wind up close enough to the end zone. It may be wise to handcuff the two, but either way Jones will thrive as a late round addition in deep leagues or as a BYE week pickup.
James Cook (Buffalo Bills) Rookie
Cook heads to Buffalo and into a secondary role as a RB while he gets his feet wet in the NFL.
Pass heavy offense
With Allen under center, RBs min the Bill’s scheme tend to take a back seat. The Bills ranked near the median for both rushing attempts and yards last season, and with Singletary and Moss both in the mix for touches, I’m not banking on Cook making any big waves his rookie year.
Breece Hall (New York Jets) Rookie
Hall jumps into the RB1 role heading into New York, and despite the possibility of losing touches to Michael Carter, Hall may be worth taking a chance on with an ascending Jets offense.
Hall can make a quick impact in the Jets offense which ranks middle of the pack for rushing attempts last season. However, their 1,667 yards is a bit closer to the bottom, and Hall will be given the keys to improve that number. There’s a chance that Michael Carter and him split duties as the rookie gets his feet wet, but assume 2/3 of the touches are handed to Hall, making him an intriguing RB2.
Kenneth Walker III (Seattle Seahawks) Rookie
Walker finds himself in a very crowded running room in Seattle that clearly sees him as more of a future RB as opposed to a right now RB.
Walker doesn’t crack the top two in the RB depth chart with both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny in the mix, which suggests Pete Carrol is looking at Walker for the long-term. The former two could be gone next season, so this year may be for Walker to get acclimated, but he could also be a safety net while both Carson and Penny have had their share of injuries. Either way though, I’m not sure I draft Walker in fantasy, but I may take a chance on him if an injury presents a bigger role.
Raheem Mostert (Miami Dolphins) Slight Increase
Mostert hasn’t been near his 2019 self after injuries derailed his last two seasons. But a healthy version of him with his old coach in Miami could put him back into the serviceable pickup or RB2 category.
-Crowded RB Room
Mostert is on his way back from two seasons marred by injury, and unfortunately he heads into a crowded backfield with 3 solid RBs. On the plus side–he joins former coach Mike McDaniel who certainly wouldn’t mind a healthy Mostert sharing snaps (Mostert had 18TDs under McDaniel in 2019). Health alone moves Mostert up the draft, but because of the packed RB room he’s only a RB3 in my book.
C.J. Uzomah (New York Jets)—slight decrease
Uzomah left the Superbowl contending Bengals for the young and struggling Jets. His production depends on the success of his offense, and the Jets are not a place to thrive.
The only reason Uzomah may repeat his fantasy numbers is because he’s a big fish in a little pond. His 5TDs last season are tied with or better than any Jets WR in 2021. There’s a good chance he becomes the #1 or 2 weapon on offense as Wilson hopes to improve his numbers, so expect a decrease for Uzomah based on the downgrade in QB alone. He moves into the lower TE1 tier.
Evan Engram (Jacsonville Jaguars)—Slight Increase
Since his rookie year, Engram has failed to live up to the hype as an offensive weapon. The new home in Jacksonville may not be much of a change, but it could provide some greater upside.
-Few offensive weapons
Any addition to the Jags is going to be a question mark. Doug Pederson hopes to fix the mess left by Myer, but that doesn’t mean Engram will jump into the TE1 category. Lawrence could certainly use Engram as a weapon, and that alone provides the TE with some upside, but I expect him to continue to be a middle of the road TE that may grab 5 TDs on the year.
Austin Hooper (Tennessee Titans)—Slight Increase
Hooper has fallen off the map of relevance in his stint with the Browns, a reputation he hopes to change as the clear TE1 for Tennessee.
-Multiple passing weapons
-Derrick Henry’s Offense
Hooper will be limited by the Tennessee game plan that runs through Henry. It isn’t a pass heavy offense as it is, and they aren’t designed to utilize the TE as a passing threat. Though the fact that he’s no longer sharing snaps with the likes of Njoku, he immediately grabs some potential to return to his Falcon’s form.
Ricky Seals-Jones (New York Giants) Slight Increase
Seals-Jones’ move from the Commanders to the Giants gives him a big opportunity as TE1, a position he’s never truly been in. As the most experienced and productive TE in the Giants lineup, he hopes to become a weapon for Daniel Jones.
-Giants 31st ranked Offense
Seal-Jones isn’t often regarded as a must start TE, but he could absolutely jump into the TE2 discussion with his new home in New York. The starting gig is his, so this all depends on how Daniel Jones performs. He has zero problem throwing the ball, and Seals-Jones will be a big improvement at the position to target. So look for him to jump up into the TE2 ranks.
Gerald Everett (LA Chargers) Slight Increase
An unfortunate stint in Seattle without a truly healthy Wilson under center prevented Everett from making the noise he’s clearly capable of making. His new home in L.A. though will give him that chance, and you can expect him to produce.
-Justin Herbert is QB
-A lot of offensive weapons
Everett showed his athleticism and skill as a pass catcher after posting career highs in receptions (48) and TDs (4) last season. Had Wilson been healthy all season we can assume those numbers increase as well. Regardless, Everett heads to a great destination for production. Herbert ranked 2nd in pass attempts last season and 3rd in passing TDs–so Everett will only improve his fantasy value. He moves up into the low end TE1 discussion.