Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2019
A lot has happened over the NFL off-season. Here's a rundown of all the fantasy-relevant trades and free agency acquisitions that you need to know heading into 2019.
Odell Beckham Jr. - Cleveland Browns
Perhaps no other team has made the most of the off-season as the Browns. On paper, their offense looks incredible. Reality will be the true arbiter however. OBJ is very, very talented, and one could make an argument that the transition from Eli Manning to Baker Mayfield should be a plus. Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb should help keep defenses from consistently double-teaming Beckham, but it should not be assumed that Beckham will see the same 10.5 targets per game that he enjoyed in New York. There's also the fact that we don't really have much of a track record with Mayfield and Beckham can't seem to play a full 16-game season. At the end of the day, we'll take all of that and be excited when we see his name at the end of the first or right at the start of the second round in our drafts.
Nick Foles - Jacksonville Jaguars
The QB situation in Philly is settled and backup stud Nick Foles is on his way to Jacksonville. Expectations couldn't be higher for Foles. After leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl win in 2017 and a playoff appearance last year, he'll line up under center as the starter. For fantasy owners, he'll remain a backup QB as the Jaguars are a run-first team with limited weapons in the passing game.
Antonio Brown - Oakland Raiders
Brown is one of the most talented receivers that we've seen in years. He has six consecutive seasons with 100+ catches along with 1,400+ yards and 12+ touchdowns. The talent is not in question, but what we are questioning is the supporting cast. Ben Roethlisberger and Derek Carr are very different quarterbacks with very different offensives. As the only real talent in Oakland, expect to see a lot of attention doled out to Brown by opposing defenses. Combine that with the fact that Carr has never really held onto the ball as long as Big Ben to let the play develop and Brown is going to have to get open faster. For the first time in recent memory, Brown will not likely be drafted in the first round of drafts, which means that he's a target to look for when it's time to make your second pick.
Kareem Hunt - Cleveland Browns
The NFL has suspended Hunt for the first 8 games this season for his off-field issues. Cleveland has a bye in Week 7, so the earliest we'll see Hunt suit up and potentially play is Week 10. Hunt is as dynamic a player as they come, but he'll be sharing backfield duties with Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson. Look for Hunt to be perhaps the most popular late round pick in most league drafts.
Le'Veon Bell - New York Jets
Last year's Fantasy Bust of the Year should be plenty fresh as he sat out the entire season. This will be an interesting situation as he was arguably one of the best players in football when he last played often going either first or second in most fantasy drafts last year. He's a complete back who can damage you on the ground and through the air. The problem is that the Jets are not the Steelers. Sam Darnold has potential, but he's no Big Ben. There really isn't a true #1 stud receiver in New York that will force defenses to pay attention to like JuJu or AB. There's some risk here for major regression, but look for Bell to still go somewhere in the first round of your drafts this year.
Blake Bortles - Los Angeles Rams
After a undesirable 111-to-94 touchdown-to-turnover ratio, Blake Bortles leaves Jacksonville for the west coast. The reality here is that Bortles' fantasy relevance is incredibly low and he won't be a fantasy option unless Jared Goff misses time.
Ryan Fitzpatrick - Miami Dolphins
Ryan Fitzpatrick will compete for the starting job in Miami with Josh Rosen. Fitz started the 2018 season with three consecutive 400-yard, three-plus-score games with the Bucs. His fantasy value remains a question mark until we know who the Dolphins' starter will be.
Tevin Coleman - San Francisco 49ers
One of the best handcuffs in the league for the past few seasons gets an opportunity to step out of Devonte Freeman's shadow. The problem for Coleman is that there are a lot of productive mouths to feed in San Francisco. Matt Breida, Alf Morris, Jeff Wilson, Rhaeem Mostert, and most importantly Jerick McKinnon will all be vying for touches. Coleman will have a role here, but it's too early to say how much of a role we'll see.
Frank Gore - Buffalo Bills
After a fairly productive year with Miami in 2018, Gore will now have to compete for touches in Buffalo with T.J. Yeldon and rookie Devin Singletary to play behind starter LeSean McCoy. In order for Gore to become fantasy relevant, Shady McCoy will have to miss some time with an injury - a prospect that given his history and age could very well happen. Look for Gore as a nice waiver-wire pickup later this season.
Mark Ingram - Baltimore Ravens
Ingram will no longer have to compete for touches with Alvin Kamara and the Ravens are expected to be one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league. Those are great points in favor of Ingram; however, there's a new dynamic variable in his QB situation. Lamar Jackson is not Drew Brees and it will be interesting to see how efficient Ingram can be in that kind of offense. Based upon our consensus rankings, consider Ingram a low-end RB2 for your fantasy draft.
Danny Amendola - Detroit Lions
We anticipate Amendola to fill the slot role in Detroit this year. With Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay along with rookie TE TJ Hockenson garnering attention from Stafford, it's reasonable to expect similar production numbers out of Amendola with what we got from him last year in Miami. He's worth a late-round pick most deep PPR leagues.
Cole Beasley - Buffalo Bills
We expect Beasley to be the Bills' slot receiver this year lining up with fellow wideouts John Brown, Zay Jones, Robert Foster, and Tyler Kroft. Beasley never quite got the love in Dallas, but he should be a nice target for Josh Allen and has some fantasy value as a late-round pick in deeper leagues.
Randall Cobb - Dallas Cowboys
Speaking of Cole Beasley, the Cowboys went out and got Randall Cobb from the Packers to fill that spot. Dallas hasn't done much with their slot receivers and Cobb's recent production in Green Bay wouldn't suggest that changing anytime soon. Beasley has never seen 100 targets and has never seen the endzone more than 5 times in a season. Over the last four seasons, Cobb has missed 11 games, averaged 4 scores per year, and has put up 100+ yards receiving just three times. It'll be tough to click the Draft button on Cobb this year.
Cordarrelle Patterson - Chicago Bears
There's no doubt that Patterson is talented, but expectations have not been met by reality. Our expectations for Patterson in Chicago are low. There's simply too much talent around him to see him getting a viable number of touches to be fantasy-relevant. Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Riley Ridley are all talented receivers. Don't be surprised when you've completed your draft and Patterson remains on the board for waiver-wire pickup later in the year.
Golden Tate - New York Giants
Tate was a dominant presence in Detroit last year, and could do the same in New York with Beckham gone. OBJ was looking at 10 targets per game that will need to go somewhere. Whether that's to Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, or Evan Engram, it may be tough for Tate to see the kind of touches that he needs to have a fantasy impact. In early drafts, he's going as a WR3 in most 12-team leagues.
Demaryius Thomas - New England Patriots
It's no secret that Demaryius Thomas has been on a decline over the past two seasons. He's 31 years old and coming off his second torn Achilles. Even though he's joining one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL and signed a deal worth up to $6 million, Thomas has likely faded from fantasy relevance. He's not even guaranteed to be ready for the start of the season.
Joe Flacco - Denver Broncos
The QB situation in Denver has been a revolving door with Joe Flacco the latest to walk through it. The Broncos are hoping that Flacco might have one more good season left in him. He has some interesting targets in Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton and rookie Noah Fant along with veteran Emmanuel Sanders. The problem is that with an exception or two, Flacco has never really been a fantasy-relevant QB. He's thrown for more than 4,000 yards just once in his career and never finished as Top 10 fantasy QB...ever.
Jordan Howard - Philadelphia Eagles
Remember when we all got excited about Jay Ajayi moving to Philly...and remember how that worked out? The point here is that it's worth pausing for a moment before we get too excited. Howard was exceptional in Chicago cementing himself as a fantasy must-start each week. The reason we should pause is because he's not expected to get the same workload that he had in the Windy City. No running back has seen 200+ touches in Philly since Doug Pederson arrived and Howard needed 270+ touches each of his years in Chicago to get his production. Look for Howard near the start of the 6th round in most drafts.
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