Free Agent Landing Spots

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 jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Kirk Cousins Jun 2 4:30pm ET

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins had a 9:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio on deep passes in 2019 and the highest passer rating (121.5) on such throws among NFL.com's Nick Shook's top-10 best deep passers last season. But his deep shots weren't nearly as risky as other QBs, as Cousins attempted deep shots into tight windows just 20.4 percent of the time and his receivers were open on 25.9 percent of his deep pass attempts with an average target separation of 2.2 yards. Cousins did this while being pressured on 31.5 percent of his deep attempts, but his probability for success was high to begin with. But losing Stefon Diggs, his No. 1 deep threat, will surely put a dent in these numbers in 2020. It's why Cousins' fantasy upside won't be as high this year while remaining in a run-first offense.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Fitzpatrick Jun 2 4:30pm ET

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team in rushing last season, but he was also surprisingly effective taking shots deep down the field. The grizzled veteran wasn't afraid to throw the ball downfield, even if the coverage was tight, as 56.6 percent of his 53 deep pass attempts were into tight windows. Fitzpatrick had a 6:2 touchdown-to-interception rate on deep passes and helped the Dolphins pull out some improbable wins during their rebuild. His QB rating on deep passes was a nice 100.8. The 37-year-old defied expectations last year and could be the Week 1 starter in 2020 if Miami feels rookie Tua Tagovailoa isn't quite ready, but he's just keeping the seat warm for the future of the franchise.

From RotoBaller

Deshaun Watson Jun 2 4:20pm ET

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson enjoyed throwing the ball deep in 2019, attempting a deep pass on 14 percent of his throws last year, the fifth-highest mark among signal-callers. With receiver Will Fuller V on the field, Watson attempted a deep pass on 17 percent of his throws since 2017, as opposed to 11 percent with Fuller on the sidelines. The QB has completed 43.2 percent of his deep throws with Fuller on the field since 2017, as opposed to 34.3 percent without him. Watson had an average air-yards mark of 30 last season and only had Fuller for 11 games. But with All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins now in Arizona, many expect Watson's efficiency to fall. The good news is that he can still be a very solid QB1 because of his ability to scramble and make plays with his legs. But Watson's QB1 stock will take a hit without Hopkins picking up the slack.

From RotoBaller

Kyler Murray Jun 2 1:30pm ET

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray benefitted from open receivers deep down the field in his rookie season and also had a very low pressure rate (13.1 percent) on his deep attempts, but it was his own dual-threat ability to use his legs as a rusher that afforded him the chance to excel deep down the field through the air. Defenses were forced to respect his ability to run for first downs, which allowed Murray to sit back and read defenses. He often exited the pocket when connecting deep down the field. Having All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins will only make Murray more successful in what could be a breakout sophomore season. In Kliff Kingsbury's creative and explosive spread offense, Murray has high-end QB1 upside already.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Jun 2 1:20pm ET

Despite having a down year in 2019 overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was actually the fourth-best deep passer, per Next Gen Stats. He had seven touchdowns and only two interceptions on deep balls with Julian Edelman as his top target. Brady was pressured often (40.7 percent) and was throwing to receivers that were often covered deep down the field. The 42-year-old had a completion percentage of 38.9 on deep passes and an expected completion percentage of 31.4 on those throws. Brady is getting older and might not have the same arm strength, but he suddenly has the best receiving duo in the league and can still pass for a QB1, albeit a low-end one without a ton of upside.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Jun 2 1:10pm ET

San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams blocked for nine different quarterbacks in the last decade with the Redskins, but he thinks quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is among the best he's played with heading into the 2020 season. "I think Jimmy G is awesome," Williams said. "I think he has proven that he's a quarterback that you can win with. In this league, it's just hard to find," Williams said. Jimmy G did help lead the Niners to the Super Bowl last year, but he remains more of a game manager in Kyle Shanahan's run-heavy offense. He rarely challenges defenses deep down the field and has a low fantasy ceiling as a low-end QB2.

From RotoBaller

Raheem Mostert Jun 2 1:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert could land a contract extension before tight end George Kittle does, in the opinion of The Athletic's Matt Barrows. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne is another player that could be looking at an extension in the near future. Mostert stepped up down the stretch and in the postseason for the Niners and became their lead back, but San Fran's backfield remains crowded even after they traded Matt Breida to the Dolphins. In a backfield that could change weekly based on the hot hand, Mostert will be fighting for touches with Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon (if healthy), making him more of a high-end RB3/flex in most leagues.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Jun 2 12:50pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' expected completion rate on deep passes is higher than most QBs in the league because of his speedy weapons, namely receiver Tyreek Hill, whose 18 touchdowns on deep targets since 2016 is second-most in the NFL behind Antonio Brown. Mahomes had a 30.3 percent rate of targets considered to be open on deep passes, which was the highest in the league. He was 7-for-11 on deep passes for 257 yards and four TDs in Week 2 against the Raiders, with his receivers being open on 27.3 percent of those 11 deep attempts. Mahomes leads the NFL with 25 deep-pass touchdowns since 2018, and although his receivers have made it easier on him, he's still an elite athlete with an elite arm. His 2019 season wasn't as good as his 2018 MVP campaign, but we still wouldn't blame you if you took him as the top QB1 over Lamar Jackson this year.

From RotoBaller

Boston Scott Jun 2 12:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott is expected to compete for an offensive role in training camp instead of just competing for a roster spot. Miles Sanders will be the team's lead back in 2020, but even if the team adds a veteran backup, Scott is expected to compete for a role in Philly. The coaching staff truly believes that Scott's production down the stretch last year when Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles were injured wasn't a fluke. The 25-year-old finished with 61 carries for 245 yards (4.0 yards per carry) and five touchdowns on the ground, adding 24 receptions for 204 yards through the air. Scott should have late-round appeal in deep PPR leagues, especially if the Eagles don't add another running back before the season.

From RotoBaller

Russell Wilson Jun 2 12:20pm ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been one of the best deep passers in the NFL since 2016. He threw 32 TD passes on deep throws from 2016 to 2018 and had 1.5 yards of target separation on deep passes last season, which was the lowest in the NFL. Wilson makes a habit of extended plays outside the pocket and finding his receivers deep down the field, mainly Tyler Lockett. Seattle's wideouts had 32 deep receptions in 2019, also the most in the league. Wilson led all quarterbacks with nine DIMES (30-plus air yards and a tight window resulting in a completion). If the Seahawks let Wilson throw the ball more with Lockett and D.K. Metcalf at his disposal, he should be able to finish as a top-five fantasy QB in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Jun 2 12:00pm ET

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott tops NFL.com's Nick Shook's list of the top-10 deep passers from the 2019 season. Prescott relied mostly on wide receiver Amari Cooper, who was efficient on deep targets by catching 12 passes for 386 yards and two touchdowns on passes 20-plus yards downfield. Prescott had a completion percentage of 44.4 percent and an expected completion percentage of 31 percent on deep throws, with a TD-to-interception ratio of 6:2 and a passer rating of 109.7. Now that rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb is in the mix, he has some of the best surrounding offensive weapons in the league. Prescott had a career year in 2019 despite not making the playoffs and could be even better in 2020. He's coming off the board as the No. 3 fantasy QB behind Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes.

From RotoBaller

Marlon Mack Jun 2 9:53am ET

Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack has inherent respect as the starter, according to head coach Frank Reich. 'I see it as a 1-1 (punch),' Reich said, referring to Mack and second-round pick RB Jonathan Taylor. 'The way the league has gone and the way roleplaying has been elevated in our league, it's made it prominent. We used to say in San Diego that when we had Danny Woodhead. He was not our starter, he was our 'role-playing' starter. He played such a significant role. He had 80 catches in a year. You look at a guy like Nyheim Hines. We talk about Marlon and Jonathan, but what about Nyheim? He's such a good third-down back that he'll play a prominent (role). In some ways, (Hines) is a starter. He's a role-playing starter.'

Fantasy Spin: It sounds to be a true committee in Indy with Mack holding RB2 status in fantasy and Nyheim Hines an RB3 in PPR. Taylor could play a larger role, but he'll open draft season as an RB4 or RB5 handcuff.

From TheHuddle

Patrick Mahomes Jun 2 9:20am ET

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and other members of the team's offense have been conducting informal workouts. This is not welcome news for those who have been unable to practice as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially since the Chiefs have already displayed one of the most potent offenses in the league over the last few years. After finishing 2018 as the league's top fantasy producer at the quarterback position, the 24-year-old was relegated to 14 games last season after dislocating his knee cap during the Thursday night encounter with the Broncos while also seeing statistical regression across the board throughout the year. However, with some extra reps added in before the start of the regular season, the former MVP may be on track for another stellar season.

From RotoBaller

Emmanuel Sanders Jun 1 11:40pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders posted a plus-7.2 percent catch-rate difference last year with the Broncos and 49ers and broke 850 receiving yards while fighting through press coverage on almost 30 percent of all routes run. He was also targeted in a tight window 20.6 percent of the time while covering an average of 23.5 yards per route run. In total, the veteran ran 481 routes and covered 11,303.5 yards while catching passes from Joe Flacco and Jimmy Garoppolo. The 33-year-old is getting up there in age, but he remains incredible efficient and has a great opportunity in New Orleans with Drew Brees now throwing him passes. Even though he doesn't score often, Sanders is an undervalued pass-catcher that could put up WR3 numbers in his new home.

From RotoBaller

Miles Sanders Jun 1 11:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders has his sights set on being named the MVP in 2020 while also maintaining confidence that he can serve as an effective three-down back for the team. Despite splitting time with Jordan Howard and Boston Scott last season, the sophomore back still finished with a respectable 818 yards and three rushing touchdowns off of 179 attempts. He also added 50 receptions for 509 yards and three additional trips to the end zone. With Howard no longer in the mix, the 2019 second-round pick has a chance to thrive as both a runner and a pass-catcher, making him a desirable selection in all formats, especially in PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Brown Jun 1 11:40pm ET

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown had an excellent rookie season and beat defenders with his combination of size and strength. Quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota had a combined passer rating of 127.6 when targeting Brown in 2019. Brown faced pressure at the line of scrimmage 38.3 percent of the time but still had 52 catches for over 1,000 yards receiving. Cornerbacks blanketed the young wideout on 33.3 percent of all of his targets, and he was open on just 25 percent of his targets. Brown finished strong to help fantasy owners get to the promised land, but don't overvalue him as a WR1 because of his strong first season. The soon-to-be 23-year-old should be a force in this league for years to come, but he had just 84 targets and remains in a run-first offense.

From RotoBaller

Vinny Curry Jun 1 11:33pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles DE Vinny Curry pressured the quarterback on 15.9 percent of his pass rushes in 2019, tying Cameron Jordan for the third-highest mark among defensive linemen with at least 100 pass rushes.

From TheHuddle

George Kittle Jun 1 11:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle had just 5.7 air yards per target in 2019, as the 49ers looked to get him the ball early and often to utilize his yards-after-the-catch skills. He racked up 641 (60.9 percent) of his 1,053 receiving yards after the catch. Kittle's average yards-per-catch mark of 12.4 was better than Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas. He had a catch rate of 79.4 percent and an expected catch rate of 71.8 percent. It's no secret that Kittle and Travis Kelce are the top two fantasy tight ends in the league, with both of them likely to come off fantasy boards in the middle of the second round.

From RotoBaller

Shelby Harris Jun 1 11:23pm ET

Denver Broncos DL Shelby Harris deflected five passes and broke up nine passes in all during the 2019 season. Both marks were the most among defensive linemen.

From TheHuddle

Kenny Golladay Jun 1 11:20pm ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay is projected to place third in the league in receiving yards in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus, finishing behind only Julio Jones and Michael Thomas. Golladay finished as the third-best wideout in standard formats in 2019 by compiling 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns off of 65 receptions. He was also one of the league's most opposing deep threats, averaging 13.6 YBC/R and doing so despite the prolonged absence of Matthew Stafford, who missed eight games with a back injury. With the longtime signal-caller seemingly back at full-strength, the third-place projection may be more accurate than not in 2020, with the potential for a top-two finish for the 26-year-old also a realistic possibility.

From RotoBaller