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NFL Free Agency Fantasy Football Outlooks and Fallouts


Saqoun Barkley, Kirk Cousins, and Derrick Henry

The NFL offseason has seen some significant shifts and signings that are already shaping the landscape for fantasy football enthusiasts. Let's take a closer look at some of the key moves and their potential impacts on fantasy outlooks and fallouts.


Kirk Cousins Signs with the Falcons


Fantasy Outlook

Kirk Cousins, known for his ability to produce high-end fantasy assets, has now signed with the Atlanta Falcons, instantly increasing scoring opportunities for the team. Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson have the potential of being uncorked in what should be an efficient offense. Last year that group of skill players had to deal with the likes of Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke who according to playerprofiler, were 42nd (Ridder) and 52nd (Heinicke) in catchable passes thrown. Meanwhile, Cousins ranked 3rd. Just one of the many metrics that Cousins is a superior upgrade for this group. 


The familiarity of the offensive scheme he'll be running adds another layer of confidence in his potential. Cousins hasn't finished worse than QB12 since 2020 on a fantasy points per game average. Assuming he is able to return week 1 from the achilles injury, this group should allow Cousins to continue that streak making him a potential re-draft value. 


Fantasy Fallout

On the flip side, the Vikings signing Sam Darnold signals possible short term instability at quarterback, which could impact players like Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson. The Vikings will likely be in on one of the rookie QBs coming out in this year's draft. That could mean a best case scenario of a rookie QB to maintain their fantasy value, or worst case the ghost man himself Darnold to overcome. 


Justin Jefferson may be the only safe one in the wake of losing Cousins as he was able to obtain 44 targets over 4 games without him. Not to mention a WR3 finish in those last 4 games of the season. However, Jordan Addison was hardly able to muster 5 targets a game with Jefferson and without Cousins in those games. T.J. Hockenson will have his own health concerns due to his ACL in addition. 



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Saquon Barkley's Move to Eagles and Giants' Signing of Devin Singletary


Fantasy Outlook

Saquon Barkley's move to the Philadelphia Eagles presents an intriguing fantasy scenario. Despite potential challenges like a different offensive line setup and play-caller, Barkley's skill set suggests he could still thrive in this new environment. 


The question I will have is what is his scoring opportunity?


Even without Jason Kelce, I'm sure the Eagles will not abandon their bread and butter tush push. This play led to Jalen Hurts scoring 14 of his 15 rushing touchdowns inside the opponents 10 yard line last season. For Barkley to reach his potential value he Will need a few of those looks sent his way. The season before brings some hope. Hurts had 10 of his 11 rushing touchdowns scored at the goaline and Miles Sanders was still able to reach 13 rushing touchdowns in his own right. The loss of Kelce and upgrade at RB to Barkley provides a logical pathway for a more healthy push to handoff ratio.


Barkley was the RB9 last season in .5 PPR leagues despite dealing with a 32nd ranked offensive line and a 30th scoring offense. An environment upgrade such as this should solidify Barkley as an elite RB1 candidate for at least one more season. 


Fantasy Fallout

 To begin the process of replacing Barkley, Daboll turned to a familiar face in Devin Singletary. Singletary had his best year yet with the Texans finishing as the RB12 from weeks 9-18 as the starter. 


With all the significant RB free agents already signed, the only way the Giants could add anyone of significance would be through the draft. Then add in the fact this is one of the weakest RB NFL draft classes and the many other priority needs of the Giants. It stands to reason Singletary could very well be the workhorse back heading to 2024. 


Tony Pollard signs with the Titans


Fantasy Outlook

Tony Pollard silenced his critics by proving he could survive a 17 game season as the lead back. 


He just created all new ones with his dip in efficiency.


Pollard had 59 more carries this past year to fall 2 rushing yards short of his career high in 2022 (22:1007; 23:1005).  Dropping his yards per carry from 5.2 to 4.2. We saw dips in his yards per touch, 4.2 from 5.9, and 4.3 yards per target from 6.7. His 1.8% touchdown rate from within his opponents 10 yard line was the real crusher being inefficient by the endzone. 


Fantasy Fallout

Pollard's contract of $8 million annual average essentially guarantees he will be the lead back out the gate. Hindering any potential breakout that Tyjae Spears may have once been believed to have had. 

With similar skillsets, it will come down to the overall workload share percentage rather than being able to zero in on specific roles to determine fantasy point projections. Spears averaged 10 opportunities a game last season. This signing likely maintains that as his number for this season too. Making him a boom or bust flex option at best. 


Josh Jacobs Signs with the Packers


Fantasy Outlook 

Josh Jacobs had a down year in 2023 across the board. He was the RB18 in fantasy points per game after having been the RB3 the year before. In 2022 we saw tremendous efficiency from 5.1 yards per touch to sinking in 2023 to 4.2. He was a beast after contact in  2022 with 2.4 yards after contact per carry to 1.5 in 2023. His broken tackles per carry were significantly reduced from, 11 carries per broken tackle to 23.5.


It's worth keeping in mind  as he joins his new team, that he reported late and unmotivated amidst last year's contract dispute. It shouldn't be under sold either the improvement in overall offense Jacobs gets to join in Green Bay from his Vegas predecessor. 


Fantasy Fallout

Zamir White and Alexander Mattison top the Raiders new depth chart.


In White's 4 games as a starter he had a 4.73 yards per carry average with a little over 3 targets per game. A decent mark given his skillset. White was the RB8 overall in .5 PPR leagues as a starter weeks 15-18. 


Alexander Mattison recently signed to offer the team depth. This could be construed as a positive for the idea that Zamir White will be given the opportunity this year. Mattison proved that he is not efficient enough to be a long term starter. His skillset is similar to White suggesting he will be more of a backup rather than a hindrance as a committee back. This signing also sets the Raiders up to not feel pressure to address the position with significant draft capital.


Zamir White very well may get his opportunity to be the lead back, and a value in fantasy leagues this season. 


Derrick Henry's Move to Ravens


Fantasy Outlook

He had his worst supporting cast last year since 2019 that led to his low 2 yards before contact per carry since then. 


The rest of his efficiency was solid. He had 4.2 yards per carry, 4.5 yards per touch, 12 carries per broken tackle, all suggesting there is plenty in the tank in a better situation.


Fantasy Fallout

Gus Edwards goes to Chargers.


Under Greg Roman, Edwards averaged about 10 opportunities per game. Making his real fantasy value only that of a disruptor. Capping the volume and ceiling of more talented fantasy RBs. 

Given his familiarity with the offense, and the fact that his RB mate will likely be a rookie, this stands to continue.



D'Andre Swift signs with the Bears


Fantasy Outlook 

Swift had his career high in carries and rushing yards (229 and 1049) last season. A career low in targets though at 49. This led him to finish as RB24 on a .5 PPR league fantasy points average. 


The heavier workload did lead to a dip in efficiency, but Swift was still very good across the board. He still scored 4.6 yard per carry, 4.4 yards per target, and 4.7 yards per touch. All that to say this is a productive and efficient back despite some of the negativity he had received in his career in Detroit. 


The Bears have been aggressive this off-season in trying to vastly improve their offensive capabilities in anticipation of selecting Caleb Williams in the upcoming NFL draft. As long as Shane Waldron doesn't completely crap the bed, this should be a fairly friendly fantasy offense. 


Fantasy Fallout

Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson roles become questionable.


Swift walked away with the 2nd most guaranteed money amongst the RBs in free agency. Whoever the no.2, they will be the handcuff rather than a viable flex play.


Shane Waldron had the history last year of riding Ken Walker while bringing in Zach Charbonnet in passing situations. The difference being Walker is a poor pass blocker and not known for a high end receiving skill set. D'Andre Swift arrives with an all-around skillset. He's not a RB that will get 350 plus opportunities, but the no.2 in this offense will not likely have a specific role week to week other than overall load management. 


Roschon Johnson having a stronger all-around skillset would likely appeal to Waldron who favored those types of backs as his depth from his days in Seattle (DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer, etc).



Aaron Jones Signs with the Vikings


Fantasy Outlook

Aaron Jones's health concerns at age 29 are balanced by his potential productivity when fit. From weeks 16 on, including the playoffs, Jones scored 14 or more fantasy points in each game. The Vikings under O'Connell, are as good a landing spot as any for Aaron Jones to continue to get his opportunities needed to be a high-end RB2. 


Fantasy Fallout

Ty Chandler will likely be reduced to a valuable handcuff to Jones this season. His skillset is not an offset to Jones the way AJ Dillon was in Green Bay. So I wouldn't expect the splits to be determined by situation, rather by general volume management. Chandler was efficient in his opportunities last year with a 4.5 yards per carry average, 6.4 yards per target, and 5 yards per touch. In the 4 games he started, weeks 15-18, he was RB16. 



Jerry Jeudy's Trade and Marvin Mims' Opportunity


Fantasy Outlook

Jerry Jeudy's trade and potential role in a stacked offense adds an interesting layer to fantasy considerations, especially with DeShaun Watson as a speculative sleeper once again. 


Jeudy's fantasy value remains realistically limited despite the much needed change in scenery. He has never finished higher than WR20. Durability has been a major problem as he has not played through a single full season. Amari Cooper, David Njoku, and Elijah Moore's presence will not open the door to a high ceiling target share for Jeudy. Sprinkle in unpredictable QB play and Jeudy remains no more than a WR3 at best.



Fantasy Fallout

Marvin Mims should step in as the starter across from Courtland Sutton with Jeudy's departure. Sean Payton admitted during the combine that it was on him and his staff that Mims did not receive more opportunities a year ago. Rather than him not performing in practice. 

He is an explosive WR who should be a weapon after the catch in a west coast system such as this. 

The major question still to be answered is who the starting QB will be? As of right now it's Jarret Stidham on the roster. That should change in the upcoming draft. With that mystery though, now could be a good time to buy low on the promising young player with a pathway of becoming the team's no.1 option.


Justin Fields traded to Steelers


Fantasy Outlook

Justin Fields faces a challenging QB battle with Russell Wilson for the Steelers. Certain to be one of the most highlighted battles this upcoming training camp season. As of now the feeling is Wilson will get first crack. It is worth pointing out what made Wilson tantalizing over the years has been his deep ball prowess. That aspect has taken a hit over the past couple years including only ranking 27th in deep ball accuracy in 2023. His pairing with Arthur Smith may not be as compatible as some would assume either. Russell Wilson was towards the bottom of play action accuracy ranking 27th and he doesn't pull the trigger often over the middle of the field. If performance throwing the football is close it would make more sense for the Steelers to go with the higher upside in Fields. 


Despite some passing deficiencies (22nd in true completion pct, 32nd in clean pocket completion pct, 22nd y/pa, 20th in true passer rating,and 31st in redzone accuracy rating), Fields' rushing abilities have made him a QB12 or higher. Arthur Smith's history with mobile QBs adds to Fields' appeal if he can win the job. 


Fantasy Fallout

 Seals the deal that the Bears will take Caleb Williams. This isn't the old Bears teams with no offensive playmakers. Players like Keenan Allen, DJ Moore, Cole Kmet, and D'Andre Swift could boost Williams' fantasy relevance in his first year. 



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Keenan Allen traded to the Bears


Keenan Allen, while consistently successful, might face challenges in a new offensive setup with a rookie QB and increased competition for targets. 


It would be unreasonable to expect Allen at 32 to be able to repeat his best fantasy season as WR5 on a fantasy points per game average (Half PPR). Coming from an offense where he had been averaging nearly 10 targets per game since 2017. Less volume with a rookie QB and significant weapons around him will likely lead to regression in this area. 


Fantasy managers should adjust expectations, considering Allen as a low-end WR2 at most in drafts. 


Fantasy Fallout

The Chargers' current wide receiver situation with Josh Palmer and Quentin Johnston, coupled with a historically run-heavy coaching staff, raises concerns about Justin Herbert's fantasy outlook as a top-tier QB. Herbert had been averaging nearly 39 pass attempts per game with elite weapons surrounding him. Even then Herbert only manage 1 top 3 performance in 2021. All other years Herbert has been no higher than the QB8 ranging back to QB15.


 While Palmer is a fine NFL starter and Johnston is a developing young player, neither are close to Allen's and Mike Williams' caliber. Greg Roman made comments about Justin Herbert using his legs more, but he is not the dual threat of Lamar Jackson or Colin Kaepernick of Roman's past. There seems to be too many obstacles to lock in Herbert as a QB12 next season.


Calvin Ridley signs with the Titans


Fantasy Outlook

In his return to the NFL Calvin Ridley disappointed his ADP of a mid-level WR2 with a WR26th fantasy points per game performance. Littered with boom or bust performances throughout the year, Ridley displayed some red flags relative to his perceived value. 


He struggled to get open, ranking 84th amongst WRs in target separation, 59th in route win rate, and 48th in yards per route run. It may be prudent to only view Ridley as a complementary WR, and therefore valued more realistically as a low-end WR2/ high-end WR3.


He will share targets with DeAndre Hopkins who was similar to Ridley, in a worse offense. Hopkins was 89th in target separation, 58th in route win rate, but significantly better in yards per route run ranking 18th.


New coaching staff in Brian Callahan will have a more pass heavy approach than the Titans displayed last year. So there should be more volume to go around, but its not clearcut who the preferred pass target would be. In particular when you take into consideration Hopkins already having a previous rapport with Levis. With this assessment being so close I'd rather draft the WR who falls the most between the two.


Fantasy Fallout

The addition of Gabe Davis to the Jaguars could potentially lower Davis' fantasy relevance even further. Davis was the clear cut 3rd target on the pass heavy Bills with 7 touchdowns and still finished as WR50 in fantasy points per game. Now it's questionable if he would even be that high on the pecking order with his new team. An offense sporting Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, Zay Jones, and Travis Etienne. It's possible Davis is 3rd or 5th on his own team. Outside of best-ball, Gabe Davis is simply a reminder of what could have been on your rosters. 


Marquise Hollywood Brown signs with the Chiefs


Hollywood's name has been more exciting than his actual fantasy production. Only one 1,000 yd season. Only 2 seasons where he managed to stay healthy. Career high of 8 touchdowns in a single season. Signals a WR who should be treated as a flier due to his skillset rather than a fantasy regular in your lineups.


Now some of his misfortune was out of hia control. Brown was held hostage with WR illiterate offensive systems and bad QB play. Still not all of it has been excusable. He hasn't been better than 86th in route win rate the past two years and his target separation last season was 58th. A little too average for someone with the reputation of playmaking speed.


His best opportunity to rebound has arrived joining Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. Leaving room for one more chance to get excited about his potential. 


Fantasy Fallout

Meanwhile, Marquise Brown signing with the Chiefs vacates a 22% target share on the Cardinals. Assuming this move solidifies the Cardinals selecting Marvin Harrison Jr 4th overall, volume could be waiting for an immediate fantasy surge. The lack of weapons should continue to allow Trey McBride to demand a large target share in his own right (29% from weeks 8-18 last year).



Mike Williams signs with Jets


Fantasy Outlook

Transitioning from the role of WR2 to Keenan Allen to now WR2 to Garrett Wilson, Mike Williams may not see a significant increase in target opportunities. In fact, he has never topped more than 20% team target share in his career. His injury history, particularly highlighted by limited games played last season, poses a further challenge when evaluating Williams' ADP. 


Outside of the 2021 season, finishing as WR14, Williams has only finished inside the top 24 once. He is an example of another player who simply has not lived up to his potential. His move to the Jets does not place him in a better situation. Williams should be considered a boom or bust WR4.


As the off-season progresses and teams finalize their strategies, the impact of these player movements and acquisitions will continue to shape the fantasy football landscape. Fantasy managers should stay tuned for further developments to adjust their strategies accordingly.




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1 Comment


Amazing work Mr. Mader!!! this might be some of THE most in depth analysis I have seen to date!!!


😯

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