Fantasy Football Free Agents and Trade Candidates
Best Fantasy Fits for NFL Free Agents and Trade Block Players
There are plenty of big-name players to be had via free agency or trade this NFL offseason. The QB and TE cupboard are pretty bare, but there are some spicy names in the RB and WR class this year. Nick Foles is trying to get paid. Le’Veon Bell is finally free. Tevin Coleman could be done in Atlanta. The Bears are looking for an upgrade on Jordan Howard. AB is on the block and now the Bengals are ending the John Ross experiment after just 2 years. Here at FFS, we will keep you updated all offseason with updates on free agent signings and what kind of impact it has from a fantasy perspective. Let’s get started.
The QB free agent crop leaves a lot to be desired. However, there are a couple of QB’s that could be traded or released. A couple could have immediate impacts with a new home. Joe Flacco has already been traded to Denver, which doesn’t really move the needle there for me fantasy wise. I don’t think it matters if it is Keenum or Flacco at the helm this year. I don’t have much interest there outside of the running game and Cortland Sutton. Following are my best fits at the QB position.
Teddy Bridgewater – Washington Redskins
Rumors have Washington “tanking for Tua” so they may just start Colt McCoy all year long. There have been recent rumors of them pursuing Rosen as well. However, if they don’t invest the draft capital on Rosen and make a push to sign Bridgewater on the cheap and try to compete, he would come in and start immediately. With Derrius Guice returning he will at least have a run game. The WR’s in Washington are also sort of sketchy.
Jamison Crowder is a free agent and would be a big loss unless they sign a FA WR or draft a stud in April. Like Jacksonville, the Redskins have some WR’s with potential, but will likely lack consistency. We are still waiting for Josh Doctson to live up to the hype. Paul Richardson signed a big FA deal in 2018. Maurice Harris and Trey Quinn showed some flashes. All in all, this is another QB to avoid for fantasy unless they show potential early in the season or you are in a 2 QB or SF league.
Nick Foles – Jacksonville Jaguars
Nick Foles is being heavily linked to the Jaguars and has been all offseason. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of contract he gets. Many teams now are taking the approach of drafting a young QB and having that cheap contract. Fortunately for Foles, the Jags are built to “win now”. They have a stud RB in Leonard Fournette. I don’t have much interest in Foles himself, but there is some upside to guys like DeDe Westbrook, D.J. Chark, and Keelan Cole. Using the splits tool on FFS, we see that Westbrook actually projects out to be a top 25 WR.
John DeFilippo was recently named OC in Duval. There isn’t much history on DeFilippo, but he managed a QB11 finish for Kirk Cousins last year in Minnesota. Cousins managed a whopping 606 pass attempts last year. Look for Foles to head south and look for them to throw often. DeFilippo was also the QB coach in Philadelphia so he has familiarity with Foles as well as some Doug Pederson in his coaching background. I still don’t see Foles as fantasy viable unless it’s for a 2 QB or Super Flex league.
Josh Rosen – New England Patriots
I think the best-case scenario for Josh Rosen is a trade to the New England Patriots. He is being rumored to the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. Rosen may not be an immediate fantasy asset in Foxborough, but he would be destined to fail in either Miami or the District while they “rebuild” their respective franchises. Jay Gruden could potentially get something out of him with their quality offensive line, but I think the Pats represent the best landing spot for him.
Rosen has had to deal with instability at the OC position as I spoke about here. Taking a year or two to learn behind Tom Brady would be an ideal career path for him. He is still a blue-chip QB and was saddled behind a horrible offensive line last year. When Chad Williams has 46 targets in 10 games, you have roster construction issues. Rosen would build on his confidence and we have all seen what the best coach in NFL history can do with pretty boy QBs that have California ties.
Tyrod Taylor – Baltimore Ravens
A reunion could be in the cards for the Ravens and Taylor. RGIII is a free agent and they may feel more comfortable with a quality backup such as Tyrod with the amount of running Lamar Jackson does. If Jackson were to miss a few games in 2019, a serviceable backup like Taylor could fill the void. The offense wouldn’t have to change much with Taylor engineering drives for them. He would be nothing more than a streaming option or handcuff to Jackson if he lands in Baltimore.
The running back market is quite a bit more interesting than the QB market. We have some big-name pieces potentially changing homes. The biggest name is obviously Le’Veon Bell. The fits for fantasy may not be a fit for teams with cap money. I like the idea of some of these players improving their fantasy status by landing in schematic fits for their game type.
Jay Ajayi – Baltimore Ravens
I think a change of scenery could benefit Jay Ajayi yet again. Even though he only played in four games for the Philadelphia Eagles this year, he has been stuck in a committee there. He has proven that when healthy and given carries he can be a 1,000-yard rusher. While in Miami in 2016, Ajayi averaged a robust 4.9 YPC and scored 8 TD’s while amassing 1272 rushing yards. He is no slouch in the passing game either, catching 50 balls his Junior year at Boise State.
With the release of Alex Collins, the Ravens suddenly have a bit of a need at the position and with their run-heavy offense, I think Ajayi would be a nice piece to pair with Gus Edwards. I like Edwards, but he is still yet to prove he can hold up for a 16-game season. Gus “the Bus” didn’t see any real work until Week 11. The offensive line in Baltimore also ranked in the top 10 last year according to PFF.
CJ Anderson – Los Angeles Rams
Anderson would be wise to contemplate a reunion in Los Angeles. They probably value him more than any other team in the NFL and with the news that Gurley has arthritis in his surgically repaired knee, the Rams are going to want a nice insurance policy. Anderson did very well on a point per opportunity basis if we use the Opportunity Ratio tool on the newly designed FFS website.
Le’Veon Bell – Philadelphia Eagles
Jay Ajayi is a free agent and I expect the Eagles to pursue bigger names to fill their need and end the nightmarish committee they have employed the past few years. I think Le’Veon Bell is a perfect fit here. Doug Pederson is an Andy Reid disciple and is equally creative. Imagine Bell in a Brian Westbrook type role in this offense only he is probably a better runner than Westbrook was. When we look at some of the points Reid has gotten out of his RB1, you can see where my excitement stems from at the thought of Bell being a major piece in this offense.
Golden Tate is a free agent. Pederson could decide to let him walk and line up Bell in three or four wide formations and put Josh Adams/Corey Clement/Wendell Smallwood in the backfield. I like Bell in an up-tempo offense that averaged only 2.2 plays less than the Pittsburgh Steelers last year and actually averaged more 1.7 plays per game more than Andy Reid did in Kansas City. Bell is a stud regardless of the landing spot, but I feel this one is the best matching up team needs with FAs. The biggest challenge will be the Eagles finding money as they are almost dead last in available cap space entering 2019.
Tevin Coleman – New York Jets
This one scares me a little bit because of Adam Gase’s propensity to hate good running backs. He shipped Jay Ajayi to Philly after a couple of 200-yard rushing performances and then wildly misused Kenyan Drake last year giving him only 10.5 touches per game. Due to injuries and a timeshare with Devonta Freeman, Coleman has very little mileage on his tires. In his four-year NFL career, he only has 620 touches in 56 career games. In those touches, he averages 5.4 YPT with 29 TD’s. The Jets have the cap room to afford Coleman (or Bell for that matter, but I hate the Bell fit for fantasy).
Another big concern with the Jets besides Gase is the poor offensive line play in the Meadowlands last year. They ranked in the bottom third of the league in this category. Fortunately, according to Over the Cap, the Jets have the second highest available cap space behind just the Colts. Maybe they spend big and fix the offense.
Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
Many Ingram owners probably think Ingram should explore the market and see what other gigs he can land as a premier RB in the NFL. The numbers show us that even in an off 2018, his splits with and without Kamara are almost identical.
Ingram still managed 7 TD’s in the 12 games he played in 2018. Let’s not forget he was still RB6 in 2017 when he and Kamara played a full season together. In fact, Ingram has been a top 15 RB every year except for 2018 when he was still RB28 despite missing four games due to suspension. I think the fit is right here and the early talks have been positive between the two sides. Ingram is due for a major bounce back season next year if he plays all 16 games.
Adrian Peterson – Washington Redskins
Similar to Ingram in New Orleans, I think an AP reunion in Washington makes sense. Derrius Guice is coming back from an ACL tear last year. Even if fully healthy, it would make sense to limit his touches his first season back from a major injury. Peterson showed he can still be productive, and the Redskins have an awesome offensive line when healthy. I think it’s a win-win for both sides. I would draft Peterson in deeper leagues or as a handcuff to Guice if you were an owner and concerned about reaggravating the injury.
We have a couple of big-name WR’s up for trade with AB and John Ross being available for trade. There are also some solid FA acquisitions that could impact new teams as well. John Ross is sort of a one trick pony in my book and is only listed here because of where he was drafted. I won’t cover a “best fit” for him because I’m not sure there is one. I suppose Buffalo with Josh Allen’s big arm, but there is someone else I like as a better fit there.
Antonio Brown – Oakland Raiders
AB wants the ball. Oakland has no other WR’s to throw to. Oakland has tons of cap room and the draft capital to make the move. With Pittsburgh struggling to drum up first-round value for AB, wouldn’t it be something if they flipped the 27th pick they got for Amari Cooper for him? I don’t think anyone would be laughing at Chucky then as he would essentially have traded Amari Cooper for AB straight up.
Regardless of where Brown lands, he should be in for his usual allotment of targets. I just worry about the QB position where he lands. Carr doesn’t inspire confidence but has shown in the past he can be productive. You don’t need any graphs or stats to show how good he is. If you are reading this, you already know that.
Jamison Crowder – Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson needs weapons. A move across the beltway could equal big-time targets for Crowder. Greg Roman got the best years out of Colin Kaepernick while OC in San Francisco. Anquan Boldin, while bigger than Crowder, thrived in that offense catching 85 and 83 balls in 2013 and 2014. Crowder has shown the ability to take a big hit going over the middle through the years. I like Crowder as a sneaky candidate for over 100 targets if he were to make this move unless the Ravens address the WR position in the draft as well.
Devin Funchess – New England Patriots
New England has 12 total picks in the 2019 NFL draft so they may address the WR position that way. They need a big WR though and Funchess fits the bill here. He never really clicked with Cam Newton, but I think has the skill set to thrive in New England. He is 6’4”, 225 pounds and is still just 24 years old. The Patriots are in fair shape cap wise and he probably wouldn’t cost a ton.
The only WR’s signed of note on the Patriots roster are Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon. Everyone else is a FA or a special teams/taxi squad piece. They may choose to address the position in the draft and in FA. Funchess would interest me in this landing sport from a fantasy perspective. He wouldn’t be a stud by any stretch but could certainly pull WR2 value here.
Adam Humphries -Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions could really benefit from someone to attack the middle of the field. If we use charts from Next Gen Stats, we see that during one of Humphries best weeks, he ran a majority of his routes in Stafford’s hot spot.
Humphries salary demands are a bit high right now, but the Lions do have the cap space to afford him. With 9 picks in April, they may choose to attach the WR spot in the draft with someone like Andy Isabella from UMASS as well.
Golden Tate – Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck is in desperate need of a veteran slot receiver. Enter Golden Tate. Pairing Tate with T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron on the field at the same time is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Add in Marlon Mack and Jack Doyle as well and you have some serious firepower all of the sudden. The offensive line is one of the best in the league and would give Tate time to work his way open across the field. From the fantasy side of things, it’s about as good of a spot as you could hope for. Andrew Luck threw the ball 639 times in 2018 opening up plenty of targets for Golden Tate.
Tyrell Williams – Buffalo Bills
After a pretty solid 2016 season in San Diego, Tyrell Williams may be up for relocating. Tyrell “the gazelle” is a deep threat and Josh Allen has a cannon for an arm. I think it would be a match made in fantasy heaven. Josh Allen’s leading WR last year was Zay Jones with 56 catches on 102 targets. Williams has averaged over 15 YPC his entire career. The only Buffalo Bill with a higher average YPC was Kelvin Benjamin at 15.4 but that was on only 23 catches.
Williams ability to get deep paired with Allen’s arm could be just the combo they are looking for in Western New York. He’s not a WR1 for an NFL team or a fantasy team, but he would be an intriguing option there with Allen being able to cut through the harsh winds of New Era Field. Williams runs a 4.43 40 which is plenty of enough speed to give him the separation he needs.
Fortunately for NFL teams, the draft is chock full of potential stud Tight Ends because the Free Agent class leaves a ton to be desired. There are two names that could shuffle the landscape of the fantasy TE in 2019. One should certainly consider drafting one of the “big three” TE early in fantasy. Give Taylor’s (@LgndOfChaw) article a read here and decide for yourself.
Jared Cook – Jacksonville Jaguars
If Nick Foles does indeed end up in Jacksonville, they are going to need to upgrade the TE position for him. The draft class is deep this year so they may go that route with one of their 8 picks. Jared Cook would be an option. They will have to clear some cap space but with Bortles expected to be cut, they should be in better shape. Cook was a monster on a bad offense in 2018 catching 68 balls for 896 yards and 6 TDs. The TE is heavily involved in the offense that is projected to be run in Jacksonville under DeFilippo if he models it at all after Pederson or Reid.
The TE1 (Ertz) saw 156 targets. If Cook can even get two-thirds of that he is looking at 100 targets again. With the TE position as thin as it is from a fantasy perspective, he’s certainly a viable option in all leagues.
Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals owe Tyler Eifert a one year “prove it” deal laden with incentives. He’s been struck with bad luck most of his career but is absolutely a TE1 when on the field. Eifert actually has a better Point Per Opportunity than Zach Ertz in almost every year they have been in the league.
The biggest difference is Ertz’s ability to stay on the field. Even with a deep TE class, I think there will be a market for Eifert. His landing spot should be monitored, and he can be added as bench depth at the back end of drafts.