Every year, there are a multitude of players that are set to hit the free agent market a few months after the NFL season ends. While signing for the money is one reason, winning a championship could be another reason for signing with a certain team. Each player that changes teams also potentially changes their Fantasy value for the following year. Let’s take a look at some of the free agents coming up in March.
Kirk Cousins– Quarterback- Washington Redskins- Right now, Cousins has it all at his disposal. He’s not only coming off taking his team to the playoffs two straight years, he has the weapons around him to do so again. He averaged almost 24 Fantasy points per game in 2016, but may not be part of the Redskins in 2017, if he chooses to sign with another team. Some teams in need of a quarterback who might consider Cousins are the 49ers, the Jets, and the Browns just to name a few. Any of those teams could end up hurting his Fantasy value in the coming year because those teams do not have as many talented players around him to help him. Cousins currently has stud receivers in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson as well as a great tight end in Jordan Reed. Should Cousins choose to sign elsewhere in the offseason, his Fantasy value may take a significant hit.
Ryan Fitzpatrick– Quarterback- New York Jets- It’s hard to imagine a team wanting to sign a journeyman quarterback for more than one season but if a team is desperate enough for the position, they may pull the trigger. Fitzpatrick is coming off a terrible season that saw him average just 14 Fantasy points per game, his worst since 2009 with the Bills. His Fantasy value really can’t take much more of a hit at this point, but signing with another team may be what he needs to get his career back on track.
Brian Hoyer– Quarterback- Chicago Bears- It would probably be in the best interest of both the Bears and Hoyer if he were to stay put in Chicago. Jay Cutler has proven that he’s not the guy in Chicago for the foreseeable future. Hoyer already knows the playbook and had some good games that made him an adequate backup for both Fantasy and the Bears. He averaged almost 16 Fantasy points per game and has some pieces around him that could keep him on Fantasy radars in 2017. His value is most likely highest staying with the Bears.
Alshon Jeffery– Wide Receiver- Chicago Bears- Despite the down year for Jeffery, it’s hard to see the Bears letting him get away. It’s more than likely he stays where he is and has a bounce back season in 2017, improving on his average of less than eight Fantasy points per game.
Terrelle Pryor– Wide Receiver- Cleveland Browns- One would think if Pryor knew what was best for him, he’d sign with the first team that offered him a contract just to get away from the Browns. There are going to be plenty of suitors for Pryor’s services in March based on his numbers last season. He had over 1,000 yards receiving and four touchdowns while averaging more than eight Fantasy points per game. If he can play for a team that gets consistent play from the quarterback position, he could be a bigger threat in 2017.
DeSean Jackson– Wide Receiver- Washington Redskins- There was some talk that Jackson may want to play for the Eagles again, which would suit him just fine. The good thing about Jackson is he’s almost exclusively a deep threat, so knowing the system of a new team really isn’t an issue for him. If he returns to Philadelphia, Jackson would go from having Cousins throw to him to Carson Wentz. Either team would keep Jackson’s value pretty much the same as is for Fantasy purposes.
Pierre Garcon– Wide Receiver- Washington Redskins- Man, the Redskins could be fleeced to start the 2017 season if all these guys hit the market. Garcon had a respectable season last year with the Redskins, averaging almost eight Fantasy points per game while topping 1,000 yards for three touchdowns. One would think the Redskins make a push to keep either him or Jackson, but heading to a new team as their number one receiver may not be the best move for Garcon.
Kenny Britt– Wide Receiver- Los Angeles Rams- At this point in his career, Britt is nothing more than a complementary piece. He did top 1,000 yards last season and averaged almost nine Fantasy points per game, but he could’ve done that on any team really. It doesn’t matter where he ends up next year. His numbers will probably take a dip either way.
Anquan Boldin– Wide Receiver- Detroit Lions- After scoring eight touchdowns in his first season with the Lions, Fantasy owners can expect him to re-sign with the team, even if it’s just for another year. He came on strong towards the end of the season and finished with 95 targets. The Lions will likely make a push to keep him as a weapon for Matthew Stafford.
Michael Floyd– Wide Receiver- New England Patriots- Everyone knows the story with the Patriots at this point. If you want to stay with the team, you need to take less money, otherwise you will be shown the door. The Patriots could use a receiver like Floyd but the looming suspension may make teams think twice about signing him. He hasn’t done much since joining the team but a good showing in the Super Bowl could go a long way in towards determining what happens to him in the offseason as far as signing with the Patriots.
Vincent Jackson– Wide Receiver- Tampa Bay Buccaneers- With his numbers dipping for the last three years, it’s hard to think many teams will be all in on Jackson. He’s coming off a season in which he saw only 32 targets in the five games he played. With Mike Evans emerging as the number one for Tampa Bay the last two years, Jackson could find his way to another team before 2017 begins. The Patriots are a potential destination for him since Bill Belichick seems to get the most out of players that look to be done. Regardless of which team he ends up with, he probably won’t be more than a third receiver at best.
Le’Veon Bell– Running Back- Pittsburgh Steelers- Let’s be honest. Bell isn’t going anywhere. He’s staying put with the Steelers one way or the other. The Steelers become one-dimensional without him, and as good as DeAngelo Williams has been for them, he’s no Bell. Fantasy owners scan rest assured that the top running back in the league is staying in Pittsburgh.
LeGarrette Blount– Running Back- New England Patriots- Coming off a season in which Blount rushed for 18 touchdowns and averaged more than 14 Fantasy points per game in 2016, it’s safe to say the Patriots will want to keep him around. He’s a great change of pace from Dion Lewis and can really wear defenses down with his smash mouth style of football. While multiple teams may vie for his services, it’s difficult to see New England letting him go unless the money becomes too big of an issue.
Eddie Lacy– Running Back- Green Bay Packers- It’s safe to say 2016 was a wasted year for the former Alabama product. He played in just five games due to injury and is set to become a Free Agent in just two months. Lacy probably isn’t going anywhere but there is the issue of Ty Montgomery to take into consideration. Serving as the main running back for the second half of the season (and quite admirably), Lacy could be the odd man out if the money gets too high. However, Lacy will probably stay in Green Bay for at least one more contract.
Latavius Murray– Running Back- Oakland Raiders- After averaging almost 18 Fantasy points per game in 2016, Murray is set to hit the free agent market and may just do so. It would be wise for the Raiders to keep him with young quarterback Derek Carr, to reduce the pressure on the passing game. The Raiders made the playoffs for the first time in years, so keeping the young core together is a smart investment on their part. If Murray were to hit the open market, you can bet there will be plenty of teams interested in his services.
Matt Asiata– Running Back- Minnesota Vikings- No matter where Asiata ends up, he will be nothing more than a goal line vulture for Fantasy purposes. He’s doesn’t have the talent to be an every-down running back every week, and whichever team signs him will most likely use him as a short yardage back in their run game. The Vikings would then go with Adrian Peterson and Jerick McKinnon in their backfield. Asiata’s six touchdowns are something to look at but his seven Fantasy points per game probably won’t increase no matter where he lands.
DeAngelo Williams– Running Back- Pittsburgh Steelers- Fresh off a season in which he averaged more than 10 Fantasy points per game, Williams is set to be a free agent and the Steelers may want to take a long hard look at re-signing him. Bell has had a history of injuries since coming to the NFL and Williams hasn’t missed a beat when called upon. If he doesn’t re-sign with Pittsburgh, you better believe he will get paid from another team right away. He could end up finishing his career in Carolina, where he started originally.
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