It is the middle of the offseason, so who is really thinking about fantasy football? Everyone who wins their league. And I guess also the people who finished in the bottom of the standings and want to have a good year.
So, with the busiest time of free agency in the rearview as well as the draft, the time is here to look at where players stand in terms of fantasy value.
Have any quarterbacks signed large, fully guaranteed contracts this offseason? Kirk Cousins has, and the move has interesting fantasy implications. Minnesota features a better wide receiver group than Washington, but the Vikings offense is more balanced. Running back Dalvin Cook looked sharp early last season before injury and is set to come back in the same role. The No. 6 quarterback last year, another top 10 performance is a solid bet.
The quarterback move that will fly under the radar is Tyrod Taylor moving to Cleveland. I have Taylor beating out first overall pick Baker Mayfield for the starting spot, at least to start the season. The Bills had exactly zero wide receivers last year and Taylor still finished as the No. 16 quarterback. Now with a group that contains Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman, there are options in Cleveland. Taylor could be a sneaky QB2 steal late in a fantasy draft.
Sit down kiddos, it is time for a story. In the league I play in, one guy has taken a rookie running back in the first three rounds the last two years. Those two running backs were Ezekiel Elliot and Leonard Fournette, both not bad picks. I am guessing this year he will take Saquon Barkley. The Giants only have Jonathan Stewart as another option in the backfield, so the athletic Barkley will get a lot of touches. There aren’t a lot of downsides for Barkley, though a questionable O-line is the biggest. Barkley still rates as an RB1.
A move to San Francisco will do a mile of good for Jerick McKinnon. Good hands coupled with good running ability make him an excellent complement for Jimmy Garoppolo. Head coach Kyle Shanahan likes his receiving backs, and McKinnon fits the system well. In PPR leagues, McKinnon should be taken early.
After the draft, there is still no idea how the Seattle Seahawks’ backfield will shake out. Last season’s final depth chart included names Mike Davis, Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise. Seattle then added Rashaad Penny in the first round to make it more of a mess. Penny could come out of camp with the starting job, but Seattle’s backs have been terrible fantasy wise for the last two years, and next year will be no different.
There is only one player in the NFL to register 10-plus touchdowns in each of the last two years. That player is Davante Adams. With Jordy Nelson shipped out to Oakland, Adams is the clear No. 1 receiver in Green Bay now. With Aaron Rodgers healthy again, Adams’ production will be high once again.
Of receivers with eight-plus touchdowns in each of the last three years, there are two: Antonio Brown and Michael Crabtree. Crabtree moved to Baltimore this offseason and will be the main man. Now, moving from Derek Carr to Joe Flacco is a downgrade, but there is no competition for Crabtree on the Ravens. There is also the feeling the “elite” Flacco will be on a short leash with Robert Griffin III and first-round pick Lamar Jackson waiting in the wings.
At the face of it, Jimmy Graham’s move to Green Bay is fantasy gold. He finished as last year’s tight end No. 4 on a Seattle team that was horribly inconsistent. Now paired with Rodgers, Graham could be money in fantasy. But rewind 12 months and similar feelings were held when Martellus Bennett joined the Pack. That said, Bennett is not as good of a tight end as Graham, but he was coming off a great year in New England. What followed was a mess, and Bennett was ultimately cut after dealing with an injury. But he wasn’t as productive as most thought when he was healthy. Green Bay doesn’t look to tight ends often as of late, but Graham’s arrival coupled with Nelson’s departure may change that. Graham will be overvalued come draft time but could be a good steal for a mid-season trade.