Tue Mar 5 10:03am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Le'Veon Bell will be hot item
Free agency is about to kick off in the NFL. It is always an exciting time of the year, especially for fantasy players. Players change teams, impacting the entire fantasy landscape. Some players land in good spots. Others land in spots that likely won’t help their fantasy value. We are going to take a look at some of the top free agents and discuss their best landing spots. These aren’t necessarily spots where they will likely sign, but where we hope they will sign from a fantasy perspective.
Nick Foles, QB. Talk is that Foles has already agreed to terms with the Jaguars, taking over as their starting quarterback. This isn’t a great spot from a fantasy perspective. The Jaguars don’t have a top passing game and are more of a run-first team. A better spot for Foles might be Washington or even Denver. These teams have better overall options in the passing game.
Le’Veon Bell, RB. Bell is the top offensive free agent on the market. He will be coveted by several teams. The Jets seem to be the front runner but his fantasy value might be best if he signs with the Texans. Houston has the best offense of the teams in need of a starting back. Bell would serve as a three-down back for an explosive Texans offense. HIs value would be really high with a move to Houston. The Jets wouldn’t be a bad spot for him, either, but his ceiling might be a little more limited in that offense.
Mark Ingram, RB. Ingram has been a mainstay in the Saints offense several seasons, but gets his chance to have more of a feature role with a new team. He has shared a lot of work in recent seasons. There are a lot of teams looking for running back help. A team that might make good sense for Ingram is the Eagles. This team hasn’t settled on a back in recent years. Ingram seems a good fit for the offense and could shine in a lead role for a rushing attack that can be very good.
Tevin Coleman, RB. Coleman might fly under the radar a little but this guy has big-time talent. He is an explosive back that can do well on three downs. He will be heavily sought after in free agency. The Jets might be a team that makes the most sense from a fantasy perspective, getting a chance to serve as a three-down back with the team. He could get a workout in that offense, providing a lot of total yardage potential for fantasy teams. The Texans also are intriguing but he could lose out on some carries in that offense with D’Onta Foreman probably a better inside runner than Coleman.
Golden Tate, WR. Tate didn’t exactly take off with the Eagles after his trade but still produced pretty well. He is getting older but is a top possession receiver that can still get the job done. He is the top free agent receiver on the market right now. An ideal landing spot for Tate would be the Patriots. We aren’t sure New England spends the money to get him, but his fantasy value would be high with a move to New England. Tate would be a great fit for the offense and rack up a ton of catches with the Patriots.
Adam Humphries, WR. The best spot for Humphries might be to just stay put, re-signing with the Bucs. He has been getting his targets in that offense as the No. 3 receiver and fills the role well. New head coach Bruce Arians should be a plus for the offense and passing game. Humphries should get plenty of targets if he were to stay with the Bucs.
Devin Funchess, WR. Funchess has not lived up to his potential with the Panthers. A change of scenery should do him some good. A nice landing spot for him to reach his potential is the Colts. The Colts are looking for a legit No. 2 receiver opposite T.Y. Hilton. Funchess could flourish in a more pass-friendly offense, getting to showcase his abilities.
Tyrell Williams, WR. Williams isn’t a game changer but a solid receiver that does a good job of stretching the field. He has shown the ability to start in past seasons with the Chargers, so it is not out of the question for Williams to start with his new team. And a team that seems to be a good fit for Williams is the Jets. New York needs to shore up their receiving corps and Williams would seem a good fit for this up and coming offense. The Jets might be the team to best showcase his talents.
Tyler Eifert, TE. Eifert can’t seem to stay healthy but when he is on the field, he produces. Eifert has a top skill set for the position and can be a difference maker in the passing game. There are a lot of teams that could use an upgrade at tight end, but the Saints seem the best option for Eifert. This s a team that has featured the tight end in the past and produced big fantasy numbers. Eifert could flourish in this offense.
Jared Cook, TE. Cook had a career season with the Raiders last year. He was an elite fantasy tight end for the first time in his career. So it seems logical that re-signing with the Raiders would be best for his fantasy value. A new team might not do him much good from a fantasy perspective. Cook would be best served staying put with the Raiders.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
New England Patriots wide receiver Demaryius Thomas will open training camp on the team's PUP list. This isn't that much of a surprise as the veteran receiver continues to rehab from a torn ACL suffered last season. But the situation could have fantasy consequences in a few weeks when the Patriots must make their first cuts. If Thomas cannot practice by then, the team may be forced to keep him on the PUP list. This would make the 31-year-old ineligible for the first six regular season games and further damage the value of a player on the back-end of a very productive career.
New England Patriots running back Sony Michel will begin training camp on the PUP list as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery. Michel will not be eligible to practice with the team and his return is up in the air at this time. The Patriots still have plenty of time to activate the second-year back before first cuts and the expectation is that he should be ready to open the season as their lead back. But players must miss six regular season games if they remain on the PUP list after first cutdowns. The hope is this is precautionary since Michel participated in the team's mandatory minicamp. It is too early to become worried about Michel's status but his situation will have to be monitored throughout training camp all the way up to fantasy drafts.
Houston Texans wide receiver Deandre Carter was placed on the active/PUP list for undisclosed reasons. Carter enters camp looking to lock down a role as Houston's fourth receiver, but he won't be able to practice until the team removes him from the list, which could put him behind in preparation for the upcoming season. Carter had 20 catches for 195 yards for Houston last year after joining the team in the middle of the year. He also spent time returning punts and kicks. Carter can be activated from the list at any time. With wide receiver Will Fuller's injury history, the fourth receiver job in Houston has the potential to produce fantasy points at some point during the season, though Carter shouldn't be drafted in any formats yet, and it's unclear how firm a hold he has on the job.
The Baltimore Ravens placed offensive guard Alex Lewis (shoulder) on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Sunday. He is still recovering from shoulder surgery performed in January. Lewis has started 18 games over the past two seasons, but he was unable to perform during the offseason program. OG Jermaine Elumunor has been working with the first-team offense in his absence. The offensive line is a concern for the fantasy outlooks of quarterback Lamar Jackson, the pass game and the running game, so keep a close eye on the blocking of the Ravens during training camp and into the preseason games.
Arizona Cardinals tight end Charles Clay (knee) is dealing with a knee issue and he was one of six players the team placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Sunday leading up to the open of training camp this week. Clay can be activated at any point, but he cannot do any on-field work until he is activated. He is challenging for a potential starting job, so he'll want to get on the field as soon as possible. The Arizona offense promises to be rather prolific under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, although with plenty of four- and five-receiver sets, it's uncertain how much the tight end will see of the field. Stay tuned.
The Arizona Cardinals placed defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (knee) on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Sunday. The team also placed linebacker Dante Booker (knee), OL Max Garcia (knee), LB Brooks Reed (hip) and CB Brandon Williams (back) on the PUP. In addition to those moves, they released OL William Holden and DL Immanuel Turner, while signing DL Sterling Bailey. PUP players are eligible to return any point during training camp, but cannot take part in on-field work until they're taking off the list. Nkemdiche and Garcia are each making their way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered during the 2018 season.
While it's unclear what led to him being placed on it, Houston Texans rookie tight end Kahale Warring will open training camp on the Active/Non-Football Injury list. What this essentially means is that Warring is dealing with some injury that wasn't sustained as part of his NFL duties and that he won't be available to practice at the start of training camp. As a rookie who plays a position where the Texans have a lot of depth, Warring may miss out on valuable early reps that could help him battle for snaps over second-year tight ends Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas. Warring is much more interesting as a dynasty prospect than a re-draft one at this stage.
The Houston Texans have placed wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on the active/PUP list. What this means is that Hopkins, who's been dealing with a shoulder injury, will be unable to practice with the team as long as he's on the list, but Hopkins can be activated from the list at any time. There should be no concern at this point about Hopkins' availability for Week 1, though it would be surprising if we see him at all in the preseason. Hopkins is a clear first round pick in all formats and is capable of finishing as the overall WR1 based on what he's shown in the past in this Houston offense.
Rumors that Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones might hold out have turned out to not be true, as Jones has reported to training camp. Jones and the team will continue to talk about a long-term extension for the wideout, but it doesn't look like there's any danger of Jones missing time or getting behind on his conditioning. He remains one of the top wide receivers in fantasy football and should be a first round pick in all formats.
Houston Texans tight end Jordan Thomas recently suggested that Houston will use a committee approach at tight end with Thomas, Jordan Akins, and rookie Kahale Warring, but Thomas is expected to be the leader of that committee and the player most likely to be a weapon in Houston's passing game. Thomas caught four touchdowns last season, but he saw his snap percentage fade as the season went along. Even if Thomas gets the most snaps, quarterback Deshaun Watson doesn't target tight ends at a rate that would make Thomas a sustainable fantasy starter.
Washington Redskins LB Josh Harvey-Clemons is expected to serve as the team's nickel linebacker this year, after bulking up in the offseason.
Washington Redskins LB Mason Foster is expected to be used as a starter at one of the team's inside linebacker spots, although it remains uncertain if he will appear in nickel sets.
Former Washington Redskins LB Preston Smith had attracted interest from the Indianapolis Colts during free agency before he ultimately signed with the Green Bay Packers.
Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (knee) is expected to be completely recovered from his torn anterior cruciate ligament in time to play against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
Fantasy Spin: Fuller missed the entirety of spring workouts and figures to be limited at best early in training camp, but he will be roughly 10 months removed from surgery by the time the Texans visit the Saints on Sept. 9. Of course, his biggest challenge will be staying on the field - something he has struggled to do as a pro. He's a high-end WR3 who owners need to have a backup plan for, as he has missed 17 of a possible 48 games in his three-year NFL career.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill could be traded early next season if a contract extension can't be worked out, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
Fantasy Spin: Hill should be headed for another year of WR1 production as one of the main weapons in Kansas City's high-powered offense, but his ceiling could change dramatically if he switches teams. The trade talk is just speculation for now, but it is one more reason to try to acquire Mecole Hardman in keeper formats.
Seattle Seahawks WR Jaron Brown will likely enter the 2019 season as a starter in three-receiver sets, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.
Seattle Seahawks WR Amara Darboh could 'steal a roster spot' if he can build on his performance from OTAs, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.
Seattle Seahawks WR David Moore will open the season as a top-three receiver, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.
Fantasy Spin: Tyler Lockett is likely to be the top target in the passing attack, but the pecking order is wide open from there. With Seattle looking to replace Doug Baldwin, Moore could be worth a flier as a WR5.
Houston Texans RB D'Onta Foreman's performance this year will be a 'season-long audition' to show he deserves to be the lead back in 2020, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
Fantasy Spin: Lamar Miller enters 2019 as the starter, but he is also in a contract year. Foreman is a high-end handcuff in redraft leagues for now, but his upside in keeper formats is enormous. By next season, he could be the featured back in a potent offense.
Houston Texans TE Jordan Akins said he is prepping to play a variety of positions this season. 'I would say slot receiver,' Akins said. 'Special teams as well, up-back, punt return as well as fullback.'