Fantasy Football Free Agency Wrap Up

Fantasy Football Free Agency Wrap Up

Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Free Agency Wrap Up


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NFL Free Agency is in full swing and TWSN has you covered on the fantasy football implications of all the biggest free agent moves to date. Some big names are already on the move, which will not only affect their own fantasy value, but the players around them as well. Thanks for reading and be sure to follow TWSN on Twitter for the latest NFL Free Agency news.


Aaron Rodgers (Almost) Traded to the New York Jets

It appears inevitable, nonetheless, Aaron Rodgers has yet to be officially traded to the New York Jets. Rodgers is also coming off his worst season to date, stemming from back-to-back MVP performances. He will look to bounce back after finishing as a top 10 fantasy football quarterback every year of his career prior to 2023.

A talented Jets offense will give him the ability to do that, but expectations should be tempered. Rodgers’ offenses in Green Bay have finished in the bottom three in pace of play each of the last three seasons, and his pass attempts have decreased too. He offers no rushing upside either, which will keep him out of the top-tier fantasy quarterbacks. 

As a result, Rodgers will likely operate as a low-end QB1, although it’s what he does for the rest of the offense that should get fantasy managers excited. The unit should be much improved, which will increase the total number of plays and scoring opportunities. Garrett Wilson is firmly in WR1 territory, and Breece Hall immediately slots in a similar role Aaron Jones held. He may take a while to return to full-strength following an ACL injury, but a solid second half of 2023 could be in store. 


New Orleans Saints Sign Quarterback Derek Carr

While some fantasy analysts were excited about this move, I am a bit more lukewarm. Derek Carr hasn’t produced multiple consistent fantasy options since 2016 with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. This doesn’t bode well for New Orleans Saints receivers Chris Olave and Michael Thomas. Thomas has struggled with injuries, but has still been a significant part of the offense when he has been on the field.

Olave could struggle to return to top 15 wide receiver fantasy value as long as Thomas remains healthy. Unfortunately, at this point, it seems more like when, not if Thomas will get hurt again. If this comes to fruition, Olave would be a borderline WR1 as the clear top option in the offense after a great rookie season. 

As far as Derek Carr’s fantasy value is concerned, he remains a low end QB2 for fantasy football in 2023. He hasn’t finished better than 16th in fantasy points per game for a quarterback since 2016, and has over 25 touchdown passes just once over that span as well. There’s no doubt that Thomas and Olave will be the best receiving tandem he’s had since then, though. Unfortunately, Thomas has significant injury concerns, and Alvin Kamara is at risk of being suspended as well. 


New York Jets Sign Allen Lazard

Allen Lazard’s signing won’t have that much of an effect on Garrett Wilson, it may dampen the outlook on Elijah Moore, though. They will likely be battling it out for targets, although Rodgers made it clear he wanted Lazard. Chemistry is important for Rodgers, which may give him a leg up in the competition. They will both be boom or bust WR4s in fantasy football drafts due to the uncertainty. 


New Orleans Saints Re-sign Tight End Juwan Johnson

Although Johnson finished as the TE15 in PPR fantasy football leagues in 2022, that is slightly misleading. He went through a seven-game stretch where he scored seven touchdowns, which was the bulk of his production. In his other nine performances, he never finished higher than the TE19 in scoring. Add on a new quarterback and the return of Michael Thomas, and fantasy managers are left with a boom or bust TE2.


Tight End Darren Waller Traded to the New York Giants

Darren Waller has struggled to stay healthy the last two seasons, missing 13 games over that time span. When he has been healthy he has seen his target share and route participation decrease in the last two seasons as well, though. A change of scenery could be exactly what Waller needs, and he will immediately slate in as the top option for Daniel Jones.

Despite being an incredible athlete, his play between 2019 and 2020 likely won’t be repeated. After finishing with 17.4 fantasy points per game in 2020, he’s recorded 12.1 or less each season since. This places him in a similar tier as Dallas Goedert and George Kittle because of the target volume, and he slates in as my TE7 in my early rankings. The concern of injury and a new offense will place him just behind the top tier tight ends. 


Washington Commanders Sign Jacoby Brissett

Jacoby Brissett hasn’t been productive for fantasy purposes, but he did post the eighth best QBR in the NFL last season. Despite reports the Commanders were planning on starting Sam Howell, it appears they at least want to bring in competition. Neither of them will be starting options even in superflex leagues. Given his experience though, Brissett should likely be the favorite to be the starter. 


Las Vegas Raiders Sign Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t have to move very far and will be suiting up in the silver and black in 2023. Although he has done nothing but win when he has been on the field, that hasn’t translated to fantasy football success. Even when he was healthy in 2019 and 2021, he failed to produce more than middling QB2 numbers.

The 49ers had one of the most talented offenses in the NFL as well, so it’s hard to see that changing in Las Vegas. Garoppolo has also suffered significant injuries in three of the last five seasons. He should be a fringe starter in superflex formats, but the upside is limited even if he can stay on the field. 


Philadelphia Eagles Sign Running Back Rashaad Penny

The Philadelphia Eagles have brought in running back Rashaad Penny in what will likely be a committee with Kenneth Gainwell. Despite his talent, this will be a backfield fantasy managers will want to avoid. Jalen Hurts had 11 rushing attempts a game himself last season, and the Eagles still have AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith on the outside. There will only be so much opportunity for the running backs in this offense, and they will be splitting the work.

Penny obviously has significant injury issues as well. In each of the last four seasons he has missed significant time, nonetheless, people will remember that amazing stretch through the fantasy playoffs in 2021. Penny is an intriguing option due to his talent and being in a great offense, but he’s still just a late round flier.


Las Vegas Raiders Signed Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers

Jakobi Meyers was signed by the Las Vegas Raiders and will slot in as the second wide receiver in the offense behind Davante Adams. His fantasy football projections look much better after the Darren Waller trade, too. However, he doesn’t possess a lot of upside. He was a WR3 in New England the last two years, and he is headed to another low volume passing offense.

Josh Jacobs figures to get a heavy workload, and Jimmy Garoppolo has attempted less than 30 pass attempts per game in each of the last two seasons. Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk even battled their fair share of inconsistency with him as their quarterback. As a result, Meyers will continue to be a WR3, who will be subject to quiet performances.

Davante Adams will once again be a locked in WR1, although we saw Adams have some frustrating games last year. Despite being heavily targeted, he finished outside the top 20 fantasy receivers nine times. Those drafting him will likely see these boom and bust performances again in 2023. 


New York Giants Sign Parris Campbell

The signing is slightly curious, as the Giants didn’t appear in need of another slot receiver. Regardless, Campbell is an athletic playmaker who is coming off his best season to date. After struggling with injuries from 2019 through 2021, he played in all 17 games last year. That led to 63 receptions for 623 yards and three touchdowns.

The offense was a disaster too, nonetheless, Campbell had some impressive fantasy performances. He should immediately challenge incumbents Isaiah Hodgins and Richie James for target volume. The Giants will likely want to continue adding at wide receiver though through trade or the NFL Draft. Campbell will likely be left on waivers in most fantasy leagues, but he is certainly someone to monitor in the early season. 


Detroit Lions Sign Running Back David Montgomery

There is a violin playing for D’Andre Swift’s fantasy managers today. Despite all our hopes, the Lions appear intent on making this a committee backfield. David Montgomery signed a relatively large deal for a running back, too, suggesting he is in line for a significant workload. Swift has received over 15 rushing attempts just four times in his career, and that won’t change in 2023. 

He will be reliant on the passing game again, where he has been among the top 10 running backs in target share over the last three seasons. Swift has been a productive fantasy player in this role; however, it has been inconsistent. He has also missed significant playing time in each of his first three seasons due to injury. As a result, Swift is a mid-tier RB2 due to that and volume concerns. 

Montgomery will slot right into the Jamaal Williams role as the early down back in the offense. A similar fantasy football performance though should not be expected. Williams scored a miraculous 17 touchdowns on fairly poor efficiency most of the year. Montgomery won’t be as lucky, which will make him a borderline top 30 running back. 


Denver Broncos Sign Running Back Samaje Perine

Samaje Perine will have sneaky value in 2023 while Javonte Williams is still recovering from an ACL injury. It remains to be seen if he will be available in week one, regardless, returning to full strength will likely take him time. As we saw with JK Dobbins last season, this process could even take over a year. 

Perine is also coming off a very strong season and out-snapped Joe Mixon in two of the three Cincinnati Bengals playoff games. His 5.1 yards per touch and role as a receiving back were impressive as well. Sean Payton has a history of using his running backs heavily, and Perine could have flex appeal in fantasy football leagues.


Carolina Panthers Sign Running Back Miles Sanders

Miles Sanders finished as a top 24 running back nine times in his first 13 games of the season last year. In each of these performances, he was a substantial part of the offense, playing more than 50% of the snaps. From that point on, in seven games (including playoffs), he had below a 40% snap count five times. Sanders averaged 6.79 points per game over that span and was outperformed by Gainwell in the playoffs.

Sanders has been very productive when he’s gotten the opportunity to play. Unfortunately, injuries and coaching decisions have gotten in the way of him realizing his potential. The Panthers actually might be a fantastic landing spot in this regard. His biggest competition is Chuba Hubbard, and he will be playing with a rookie quarterback. 

Sanders could be leaned on heavily, and we saw productive performances from Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman last season. As long as the Panthers don’t add anyone else through the draft or free agency, Sanders should be an RB3 in fantasy drafts this offseason. This is a value for a player who could get a lot of touches in an offense that doesn’t have a lot of talent at the skill positions.


Miami Dolphins Sign Quarterback Mike White

If the Miami Dolphins are getting a deal on the car, they might as well spend extra money on the insurance. Tua Tagovailoa is the clear starter; however, there are significant concerns about his ability to stay healthy for a full NFL season. In that offense, Mike White would have top 15 fantasy football upside if he were to take over at any point. 


New Orleans Saints Restructure Wide Receiver Michael Thomas’ Contract 

Amid much speculation, Michael Thomas will return to New Orleans in 2023. He will be looking to bounce back after three injury plagued seasons. After finishing as the WR1 in fantasy football in 2019, Thomas has just 609 receiving yards since. Staying healthy has been the biggest concern, but he has expressed displeasure with the Saints organization as well.

At this point, it will be very hard to trust Thomas to stay healthy for a full season at 30 years old. Regardless, he is a significant part of the offense when available, receiving over eight targets in five of his last seven games. He will certainly be a value if he manages to play, but that isn’t my biggest takeaway.

My biggest concern is the fantasy value of Chris Olave when Thomas is healthy. Derek Carr has struggled to produce multiple fantasy relevant receivers, and Alvin Kamara will be back in the fold as well. Olave will struggle to live up to his top 15 WR ADP when all of the Saints’ skill players are healthy. 


New England Patriots Sign Wide Receiver JuJu-Smith Schuster

JuJu Smith-Schuster had a bounce back 2023 campaign with the Kansas City Chiefs, catching 78 passes for 933 receiving yards. Nonetheless, this still led to inconsistent fantasy football production. Smith-Schuster only finished as a top 30 fantasy receiver five times, making it hard to know when to start him.

The Kansas City offense was wide open after Travis Kelce too, which should have led to plenty of opportunities. Smith-Schuster is a very good possession receiver, but his athleticism limits his ability to gain separation from defenders. Furthermore, if he wasn’t able to be a consistent fantasy producer in the best offense in the league, that won’t change with Mac Jones. As a result, Smith-Schuster will be a low-upside WR4 in my early fantasy football rankings. 


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sign Quarterback Baker Mayfield

The unknown is fun to think about; however, Kyle Trask has spent time playing behind Blaine Gabbert. This is likely Baker Mayfield’s job to lose, and that isn’t good for the fantasy value of Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. This will be a limited passing offense, and Evans especially could be boom and bust. Godwin will likely settle in as a low WR2 in my early rankings, and Evans a few spots after. Mayfield will only have value in superflex leagues, but he could be a low-end starter with talented pass catchers.

The signing is great for Rachaad White, though. They will want to be a run-heavy team, and Rachaad White is a talented pass catcher too. It should be noted that the Buccaneers are rumored to have a strong interest in Ezekiel Elliot after his release from the Dallas Cowboys, though.


New Orleans Saints Sign Running Back Jamaal Williams

There are a lot of similarities between Alvin Kamara and D’Andre Swift, so this is a fitting role for Jamaal Williams. Even if Kamara plays the entire season, Williams should still get plenty of rushing attempts and opportunities at the goal line. There is a chance Kamara is suspended as well from a police report in 2022. If that were to happen, Williams would be a top 20 running back until he returned.


Carolina Panthers Sign Tight End Hayden Hurst

While there is a chance Hayden Hurst could operate as the safety blanket for a rookie quarterback, he won’t have much fantasy football value. He’s only finished as a top 10 fantasy football tight end once in his career, nonetheless, there is plenty of opportunity. With DJ Moore gone, the Panthers don’t have a lot of options at receiver. However, Hurst can be left on waivers until we see what kind of role he will have. 


Minnesota Vikings Re-Sign Running Back Alexander Mattison

Alexander Mattison was brought back to Minnesota on a modest two-year contract. What makes this interesting is the status of Dalvin Cook. He counts over $14 million against the cap in 2023 and could be released with just over a $6 million cap hit. Mattison has had success before when Cook has dealt with injuries too. He’s an RB4 for now, who could rise into the top 24 running back ranks with the departure of Cook.


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