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The Grass IS Greener - Free Agent Fantasy Risers


The NFL Free Agency period is one of the most exciting times of the year for NFL fans. Outside of the NFL Draft, there really isn't a lot to be excited about as an NFL fan.

If you're a dynasty football fan, this is an extremely fun time of year. 2019 was no exception when it comes to NFL Free Agency, and there are plenty of new homes for some very high-profiled fantasy football players.

In this piece, we'll break down the biggest winners and risers from a fantasy perspective now that all the major moves have been made. The players are ordered by tiers, with the top tier representing the biggest increase in value, not necessarily in order of best to worst player.

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Tier 1 - Mark Ingram (RB, BAL)

The first and most obvious free agent move that has changed for the better, is Mark Ingram landing with the Ravens. FantasyPros current ADP has Ingram as the 45th player off the board and RB25 overall. In recent years, he's been a nice under the radar fantasy option, but now that he looks to take on the lead role in that offense, he's seen a significant bump in value.

Gus Edwards started in just six games in 2018, and led the team with 718 yards on 137 carries, good for 5.24 YPC. This offensive line is solid and did well enough to let Edwards run with excellent production. Ingram finds himself in a position where he is far and away the one fantasy player with an increase in value for 2019.

 

Tier 2 - Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE)

The next player on this list is Odell Beckham Jr. of the Cleveland Browns. Being in a new situation with Baker Mayfield and a Browns offense that looks to be extremely dangerous is a nice increase for Beckham. He'd be in Tier 1 with Ingram, had he not already been drafted so high in fantasy drafts in recent years. Beckham is an elite talent and is arguably one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

For redraft leagues, you'll need to pay up for Beckham as he's currently the fifth overall player off the board and WR5. From a dynasty standpoint, Beckham has already been viewed as an elite option, but landing with Mayfield makes him extremely appealing from a long-term perspective.

 

Tier 3 - Tevin Coleman (RB, SF)

Heading into free agency, Tevin Coleman was one of the most popular names at the running back position behind Bell. Landing back with Kyle Shanahan is definitely ideal for fantasy purposes and his value moving forward. Coleman is someone who I've liked a lot as a prospect and has had his ups and downs for fantasy. If it weren't for Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida, I'd love this landing spot for Coleman's fantasy value. I still believe he has a great deal of upside if San Francisco commits to him, but that backfield is shaping up to be a mess.

 

Devin Funchess (WR, IND)

Devin Funchess landing with the Indianapolis Colts was one of the more underwhelming signings in free agency. Andrew Luck is back and that pass-happy offense is definitely a bit of an upgrade for Funchess coming from Carolina. Prior to the NFL Draft, Funchess was someone I liked a lot. The Colts drafting Paris Campbell put a bit of a damper on the Funchess hype for me. Campbell is explosive and very fast, with a lot of upside for fantasy purposes. Funchess definitely gets a slight bump for me, but the majority of his production is going to be in the red zone and not someone thriving off of volume.

 

Carlos Hyde (RB, KC)

Carlos Hyde comes into a very interesting situation with the Chiefs, who are now without their former star running back, Kareem Hunt. Many fantasy football owners are investing in Damien Williams, who stepped into a very nice role last year as the starter in an Andy Reid offense. Williams looked good when he was asked to step in, but I don't believe he is the long-term answer. Hyde turns 28 in September and is entering his sixth season in the NFL. Compared to his fantasy value in Cleveland and Jacksonville, this landing spot could have some sneaky upside for Hyde.

 

DeSean Jackson (WR, PHI)

One of the more underrated signings for fantasy purposes is DeSean Jackson and his reunion with the Philadelphia Eagles. Jackson has shown us in Tampa Bay that he still has the speed and upside for fantasy purposes. The main reason that he's fairly low on this list is due to his typical boom/bust potential. Even if you're a big fan of the Eagles or of Jackson, it's hard to deny that he just won't see the consistent volume. While I do like the landing spot, at the end of the day, Jackson will be tough to rely on week in and week out.

 

Honorable Mention - Le'Veon Bell (RB, NYJ)

The whole LeVeon Bell holdout situation finally came to an end after he landed with the Jets. It's clear that his plan of holding out for more money didn't exactly work out, but what I'm most concerned about is his fantasy value. As of now, Bell is going as the RB7 off the board and eighth overall according to FantasyPros current ADP. Personally, I'm not sold on investing a first-round pick in Bell in redraft leagues. I'd consider him with a late first-rounder, but the situation is not nearly the same as it was when he was a Steeler.

 

Antonio Brown (WR, OAK)

The other major piece of the late Pittsburgh Steelers electric offense also has a new home, after the Oakland Raiders went after Antonio Brown. The Steelers have been a ridiculous team for fantasy purposes in recent years. Brown is arguably the best wide receiver in the game, and anytime someone of his status finds a new team, it's huge news. All of the drama surrounding Brown has died down and now we are left with one big question. When should Brown be drafted this year for fantasy football?

After leaving the Steelers, there is no doubt in my mind that Brown's fantasy value is taking a hit. Whether you want to chalk his production up to that offense as a whole, or just Brown being the elite wide receiver he is, his new situation in Oakland is a complete 180 from what it was in Pittsburgh. The Raiders offense totaled 3,751 passing yards in 2018 which was good for 18th in the NFL, while the Steelers were second in the league with 5,008 passing yards, only behind Tampa Bay who had 5,125. There is no doubt that Brown has elite upside, but landing in Oakland gives him a significant knock in his fantasy value. As the sixth wide receiver off the board and the 17th player overall, it is apparent that the fantasy community agrees this new landing spot is not as good as it was in Pittsburgh.

 

Randall Cobb (WR, DAL)

Veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb has spent his entire career in Green Bay, and enters his ninth season in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. The days of Cobb being a nice PPR option are gone, and the new landing spot is not an upgrade. When you lose Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback, there's arguably no other quarterback that you'd rather have for fantasy purposes.

Heading into 2019, Cobb offers interesting late-round upside as someone who can run the slot now that Cole Beasley is in Buffalo. Amari Cooper is the WR1 who will demand a great deal of attention. The biggest factor that Cobb has against him is his own health. Staying on the field will be the biggest obstacle for him. Similar to in Green Bay, he'll have interesting PPR upside, but this situation is either the same or slightly worse thanks to his new quarterback, Dak Prescott.

 

Jared Cook (TE, NO)

After breaking out in the fantasy football scene in 2018 with the Oakland Raiders, Jared Cook gets sent to New Orleans. Cook had his best season of his career where he put up 896 yards and six touchdowns. This was partly due to the trading away of Amari Cooper and the lack of offensive weapons for the Raiders.

Ever since Jimmy Graham left New Orleans, fantasy owners have been curious to find the next tight end that Drew Brees would be targeting. For a short period of time, it looked like Coby Fleener could be that guy, but that fizzled out quick. Cook is entering his 11th season in the NFL, and turned 32 in April. There is a good chance that Cook could come in and put up potential TE1 numbers again in 2019, but from a long term standpoint, he isn't someone I'm looking at investing in for dynasty leagues.

 

Adam Humphries (WR, TEN)

Prior to signing with the Tennessee Titans, Adam Humphries was looking like someone that would be a nice value in 2019 for fantasy purposes. In Tampa Bay, he was slowly coming along as someone with a nice relationship with his quarterback and a nice PPR option. Landing in Tennessee takes Humphries completely off my radar for fantasy purposes. Marcus Mariota and the Titans passing offense has struggled in recent years and has been more of a run-first team. Corey Davis and rookie A.J. Brown look to take on the biggest roles in that passing offense and are far and away better prospects than Humphries.

 

Golden Tate (WR, NYG)

The last player on this list is veteran wide receiver Golden Tate. Tate has been a YAC stud and someone with really nice upside from a fantasy perspective, especially in PPR leagues. His value saw a major drop when he was traded mid-season to the Eagles, and he fell off the fantasy football map pretty hard. The Giants offense has some extra targets to go around as Beckham is now in Cleveland. Tate has a chance to have some of that PPR upside that he had in Detroit, but landing with Eli Manning or rookie Daniel Jones, this is far from ideal for Tate and his fantasy value.

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