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NFL Free Agent Risers for Fantasy Football - Old Faces, New Places

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There is no way to describe the average NFL front office. Each franchise has its own set of rules, follows different parameters when evaluating players, and builds its roster in a very particular way. Even with a clear mindset, an organization's principles might be tweaked in order to accommodate players into the salary cap, for example, which makes decisions even harder to take and for us to understand in some cases.

No matter what, every offseason we see the same musical chairs game. As the title of this column says, old and known faces always move to new places, whether because they find no love in their last team anymore, or because they're truly coveted by every other team around the league and paid big bucks to go play for other franchise. This doesn't mean those changes are always good or bad, as each move is a case to study on its own with multiple potential ramifications.

For fantasy football purposes, it is easy to try and predict whether those moves fall on the "positive" or "negative" side of things. That is what I'll be writing about next, highlighting four players that didn't generate much noise during the 2021 season but that, after changing teams during the past few months, are poised to improve their fantasy football production in their new surroundings.

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QB Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons

Mariota was getting into free agency off a few seasons as a true backup QB. He was always going to win as long as he picked a place in which he could get a starting gig. And he, indeed, got to one in Atlanta after the Falcons traded veteran Matt Ryan away. Yes, Atlanta later drafted Desmond Ridder, but this doesn't feel like the situation in Pittsburgh in which Kenny Pickett could very well start the season manning the pocket over free-agent signee Mitch Trubisky. On top of everything, Mariota will have Kyle Pitts and rookie WR1 Drake London catching his passes. Nothing to complain about.


WR D.J. Chark, Detroit Lions

Good deal that Chark scored himself, even if it goes just for a season in Motown. The Lions are going nowhere, and although we're covering Free Agents in hindsight here with the draft already in the books, things are only looking even better for the receiver. Detroit only added one receiver to its corps, and although Jameson Williams might turn into the best of his class, there is still to be seen if he gest recovered in time to make any sort of impact in 2022.


RB Marlon Mack, Houston Texans

This is probably not the name you'll find highlighted in most places, but if we're talking about players becoming winners and risers during the past few months, then Mack has to feature here without a doubt. Houston's backfield was a mess last season, and a barren-of-talent-one this spring. Mack took advantage of that and, although he's been heavily injured of late, he projects to get RB1 reps in Texas next season with a couple of dubious players sharing the backfield with him: Rex Burkhead and rookie Dameon Pierce.


WR Allen Robinson II, Los Angeles Rams

The moment of truth has arrived for Robinson, who supposedly should excel getting thrown the ball by Matthew Stafford. We'll see. The ADP rise is obvious and understandable as LAR is moving on from Robert Woods and maybe Odell Beckham Jr. too. So it's Kupp as the WR1, Robinson as the WR2 these days. It's more than probable that A-Rob bounces back and recovers some of his value next year, but coming off an injury-riddled season in which he only had two games (barely) above 10 PPR points, I wouldn't advise chasing with a very expensive pick.


WR DeVante Parker, New England Patriots

A bonafide veteran that has never quite panned out, Parker will be doing it in colder New England after moving from Miami up north. The decision is looking better by the day, as the Pats stayed mostly put in the remainder of free agency and the draft adding only one rookie (Tyquan Thornton) to the roster and not really a one that will impact Parker's upside, as Thornton projects as the No. 5 receiver in the WR pecking order. Win-win for Parker and Mac Jones after his phenomenal rookie year.


TE Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans

This could have been much worse of a situation for Hooper, but with A.J. Brown traded to Philadelphia and coming off an injury and Robert Woods the only established receiver in Tennessee, things aren't looking that bad for Hooper after all.

While the Titans rush the ball often and also added rookie WR Treylon Burks to the fold, Hooper is the clear-cut go-to tight end of the squad entering 2022 and he should benefit from the Titans' play-scheming given what Jonnu Smith already proved to be doable as part of a similar offense under the same QB.

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