NFL Free Agency in a Nutshell – Part 2

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Welcome back football, oh how we’ve missed you! Speaking of missing things, our lives are busy, and you may have completely bypassed NFL free agency. Don’t worry, Dad Kingdom has you covered! If you’re late to the party, here’s Part 1 of our recap. Read on for Part 2 of 2015 NFL free agency in a nutshell.

A BIZARRE QUARTERBACK SWAP

In one of the most head-scratching off-season moves, the Eagles traded Nick Foles to the Rams for a hobbled Sam Bradford. It’s great for the Rams, they get a big break in the payroll department and a healthy quarterback at the same time. But, it makes no sense for the Eagles. At first, many thought the move was a precursor to the Eagles drafting Marcus Mariota, but that was bogus. Now, they have a quarterback that may not be able to start Week 1 (Bradford), leaving them with Mr. Butt Fumble (Mark Sanchez) and Tim Tebow (a man previously sitting at the analysts’ table). Chip Kelly has made other curious moves, and he is going to come out of this either looking like a genius or a complete moron.

ANDREW LUCK GETS LUCKY

The rich get richer, as they say. Reggie Wayne is fading, and we’re okay with that. He had a great career. Hakeem Nicks is gone, thankfully. TY Hilton is a dynamic receiver who might have his best years ahead of him. That much we already knew. Now, Andre Johnson is in the fold to show that he still has “it”, and to prove that his decline was caused by The Texans. I think he’ll have a good season, but he’s a bit overrated at WR17. Then there is a promising rookie, Phillip Dorsett, and incumbent upside-guy, Donte Moncrief. Add in Frank Gore and two good TEs, and Luck has 6 legitimate passing targets! With all of his talented teammates, new and old, I fully expect Andrew Luck to repeat as fantasy football’s #1 QB in 2015.

torrey smith
Torrey Smith speaks at a press conference on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)

CHANGE OF SCENERY FOR MANY MID-GRADE WIDEOUTS

Torrey Smith had a very slow start in 2014, but finally picked up the pace and finished inside the WR top 20. In 2015 he’ll be fortunate to finish as a fantasy WR3 with San Francisco. Therefore, I think he’s being over-drafted. The Niners are coming off a disappointing 8-8 season and now they’ve been plagued with an odd streak of retirements that has effected almost every position. Smith and Boldin will be a formidable duo, but touchdowns (and victories) will be few and far between.

Speaking of San Francisco, going to Oakland is a lateral move for Michael Crabtree. From one mediocre offense to another. But, I’m slightly more optimistic about the Raiders offense. (Did I really just compliment the Raiders?) With all the attention on stud rookie Amari Cooper, Crabtree’s current ADP of WR67 is actually a bit of a steal. I might actually target him as a WR to stash on my bench. Will he return to his 2012 form? Probably not, but at that price, the risk/reward is hard to pass up!

Jeremy Maclin really surprised me last season. After all his knee injuries, I was convinced that he was cooked. Boy was I wrong! Well, it’s somewhat of a moot point now, because he won’t repeat those stats with Kansas City. The Chiefs were pretty bad last year. None of their wideouts caught a single touchdown! Maclin will hopefully help them turn things around (anybody is an improvement over Dwayne Bowe), but he’ll be lucky to surpass 1,000 yards.

Back in Philly, super sophomore Jordan Matthews, former bench-warmer Josh Huff, and rookie Nelson Agholor are looking to show the world what they can do. This young bunch will be worth watching! I really like Matthews and Agholor at their current ADPs of WR19 and WR41 respectively.

Speaking of Dwayne Bowe… Haha! Who am I kidding? I can’t even take Dwayne Bowe seriously. But, the fact is, he’s one of the few warm-blooded receivers the Browns have since Josh Gordon is taking an extended leave of absence. So if you’re looking for a WR near the end of the draft that is guaranteed to at least get some targets, Bowe might be your man.

TIGHT END MUSICAL CHAIRS

The best fantasy tight end in all the land, Rob Gronkowski, is one of the few top tier TEs that actually stayed put. Much to the surprise of Drew Brees, the Saints traded Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks. In 2014, and even more so heading into 2015, the Saints are simply not the offensive powerhouse they once were. Their PPG rank has fallen from 1st (2011), to 2nd, to 4th, and to 9th (2014). Sure, Josh Hill will probably be a good TE, but you can’t replace someone of Graham’s caliber. I expect the Saints to fall farther in 2015. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson is primed for the best season of his young career. (Wilson and Luck will both be playing out of their minds to earn bank-breaking contracts.)

After two fairly productive years, the Dolphins have moved on from Charles Clay. He’s in Buffalo now, which is rarely an upgrade for any player. He’ll be a plug-n-play fantasy tight end for 2015. As previously mentioned, the Dolphins added Jordan Cameron, who at times has looked like an elite TE, but he’s left a lot to be desired in terms of durability. If you draft him, draft some depth as insurance.

One of the biggest TE free agents was Julius Thomas. The Jaguars basically gave him a blank check! Now, he’s the highest paid TE in football. Miami is a slight downgrade for Thomas, but a huge upgrade for the Jags’ offense. I’ll be paying close attention to Blake Bortles this off-season, and how fond he becomes of his new target. It also will be very interesting to see how Virgil Green does in Denver now that Thomas is gone. V.G. is definitely worth a late upside pick.

That’ll do it, folks! If you missed the initial goodness, check out Part 1 of Dad Kingdom’s NFL free agency recap.

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