Have you been keeping a close eye on NFL free agency? It’s okay, you can say “no”. Maybe you’ve been distracted by the NBA MVP race and the playoffs. Can’t blame you there. Maybe you’ve been coaching your son’s little league team. Admirable. Or, maybe you’ve been besieged by an onslaught of weddings and co-ed baby showers. If it’s the latter, I’m truly sorry. But, don’t worry. I’m here to help you! Read on for 2015 NFL free agency in a nutshell. The good the bad and the ugly.
SEVERAL BIG NAME RUNNING BACKS ON THE MOVE
Lots to talk about here! LeSean McCoy got traded to Buffalo where he suffers a slight downgrade in terms of offense potency. But, he won’t have that pesky Darren Sproles stealing PPR value from him anymore. In your draft, wait for him until the top of the second round. The Cowboys foolishly let DeMarco Murray sign with the Eagles (filling the void left by McCoy). The Eagles also acquired Ryan Mathews from San Diego. He’ll likely be the backup to Murray, but if the Eagles are smart they’ll split carries and keep both of these running backs fresh and hopefully injury-free. Of course, splitting carries is obviously not good for fantasy value. So, adjust your draft rankings accordingly!
The Colts have decided to see how much Frank Gore has left in the tank. Heck, anyone is better than Trent Richardson, even this sweet old war veteran would be a backfield improvement! I doubt Gore will be the first 1,000 yard rusher for Indy since Joseph Addai in 2007, but I’ll gladly take him as my RB2. He is a good pass catcher (342 career receptions), and I can easily see him catching some of those goal line swing passes that Bradshaw caught last year (6 rec TDs in 2014 for Bradshaw). A combined 1200/10 is very possible for the ageless Frank Gore.
Finally, three backs looking for a fresh start. C.J Spiller was disappointing for Buffalo in his first few NFL seasons and now he goes to the Saints where he hopes to replicate the previous success of scat backs like Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles. Of note, the Saints just resigned Mark Ingram, so what little fantasy value Spiller has is strictly PPR based. Shane Vereen relocating to New York doesn’t seem like a big move, but it could pay dividends for both Vereen and the Giants. He’ll be a nice compliment to Rashad Jennings, and he could play a lot if Jennings has trouble staying on the field like he did in 2014. I’m hesitant to even mention Darren McFadden as an interesting free agent, but the truth is he has a reasonable shot at playing behind a very a good offensive line in Dallas. However, I’d rather bet on Joseph Randle. Heck, for my money, I’d prefer to take a late-round flyer on Ryan Williams with a chance to start for the Cowboys over McFadden.
THE JETS FINALLY HAVE A GOOD RECEIVING CORPS
Heading into the 2015, the Jets have more offensive weapons than any season in recent memory. Brandon Marshall may be past his prime, but he’s still a good #1 WR. Eric Decker is now #2, which is a more natural position where he can excel. Then they drafted speedster Devin Smith out of Ohio State. I would still consider the Jets a “running team” with Chris Ivory and newcomer Zac Stacy, among others. So, I’m not drafting any Jets WR in the first few rounds of my draft, but I will certainly be looking for them in the middle rounds. Geno Smith, or whomever takes the reigns, has no excuses. They have the parts in place to put up points on the scoreboard.
RYAN TANNEHILL GOT A FAT CONTRACT AND NEW RECEIVERS
While Tannehill didn’t change teams, a few of his receivers did! Mike Wallace got a major downgrade in terms of climate, from Miami Beach to Minnesota. But, I expect him to still be a top 25 WR, for the sixth year in a row. Bridgewater will be looking his direction pretty often. You can feel comfortable drafting Wallace as a low-end WR2. The Dolphins replaced him with Kenny Stills (from New Orleans) and first-round rookie Devante Parker. They also added uber-talented but often-injured TE Jordan Cameron (from Cleveland). However, the Miami receiver with the most fantasy value is sophomore Jarvis Landry, a surprising PPR darling during his rookie season. If the new guys can get up to speed and start clicking with their QB, this offense could really purr and Tannehill could be a HUGE value at his current draft position (ADP: QB13 and 93rd overall). A jump from QB10 (2014) to QB8 or even QB6 seems entirely possible.
For more juicy morsels of information, check out Part 2 of Dad Kingdom’s NFL free agency recap.