Every offseason brings players changing teams like changing a baby's diaper. It happens a lot. All the time, actually. Trust me, I know first hand. Within those changes are a lot of big names that could change the landscape of things in their division and conference but also, as it pertains to us, fantasy football.
Both Julio Jones and Matthew Stafford were traded from teams they’ve played on for over ten seasons and Kenyon Drake and James Conner moved on for new opportunities, just to highlight a few. There are plenty more out there, and that’s what you have me for.
Matthew Stafford (Los Angeles Rams)
This was the biggest move of the offseason before Julio Jones was traded. It was very tough for Stafford the past few years in Detroit. He led his team to a 14-25-1 record and was seemingly battling through injury after injury and for the most part, playing through them. This is a refreshing move for Stafford as the Rams can be a very high caliber offense with Stafford under center. Under Sean McVay, the Rams have thrown for 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons and that was behind Jared Goff. Stafford has weapons everywhere he turns in LA and is entering the season as a QB1.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Washington Football Team)
We always talk about father time winning out 100% of the time, well, father time hasn’t caught up to 38-year old Ryan Fitzpatrick just yet. Before being replaced last year, Fitzpatrick looked sharp, averaging north of two touchdowns per game and he threw for a respectable 2,100 yards in just nine games, including seven starts. The Washington Football Team is one of nine teams who threw over 600 times last season and offensive coordinator Scott Turner is still in town. Four times in his career has Fitzpatrick thrown the ball over 500 times. I think 2021 makes it five. He’s a QB2 heading into the campaign.
Carson Wentz (Indianapolis Colts)
It was a dreadful 2020 campaign for Wentz. There is absolutely no denying that. His 57% completion percentage was the lowest of his career while his 14 interceptions were a career-high despite starting just 12 games. There were multiple factors into why Wentz played so poorly, one being a dreadful offensive line. Philly ranked 16th in pass blocking while Indianapolis ranked seventh according to PFF. Oh by the way, you may have heard the last time Wentz worked with Frank Reich he was an MVP candidate back in 2017. Wentz is primed for a big bounce back in 2021 in his new threads.
Sam Darnold (Carolina Panthers)
We saw glimpses during his tenure with the Jets of why he was taken third overall in the 2018 draft, but nothing sustainable. 2019 was his best season, but ran into health issues and couldn’t complete a full 16-game season. 2020 was a lost cause but hey, he’s moved on from Adam Gase. That’s a win in itself. Darnold will be now learning under Carolina offensive coordinator, Joe Brady, who was formerly the passing game coordinator at LSU, working with Joe Burrow, so he knows a thing or two about the position. The weapons he has in Carolina are leaps and bounds better than what the Jets ever put around him and that’s really why his stock in fantasy football is higher than it’s ever been. Darnold profiles as a low-end QB2 but is someone who has top-20 potential.
Jared Goff (Detroit Lions)
The Lions, well, they’re going to try really hard this year. The problem is that the trying they’re going to do isn’t going to matter all that much. They’re not very good. Jared Goff kinda isn’t good either, but the Lions are going to throw the ball A LOT because they’re going to be trailing A LOT. Goff is no stranger to throwing the ball a lot considering he has topped 550+ attempts for three consecutive seasons. In each of those campaigns, he’s been in the top ten in passing attempts. The problem is, in Detroit, he doesn’t have Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods. He has Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams as his one-two punch on the outside. It’s hard to imagine Goff as anything more than a fringe QB2 option strictly from a volume standpoint.
TyRod Taylor (Houston Texans)
Here’s the thing. As of today, Deshaun Watson is still a member of the Houston Texans. There have been many conflicting reports about his suspension but either way, he made it clear he doesn’t want to even play for the Texans any longer. Insert TyRod Taylor. The likely starter for Houston on Day 1. The Texans did take Stanford QB Davis Mills in the third round and Taylor hasn’t played more than 14 games since 2017. The soon-to-be 32-year old has never been a volume guy and has failed to toss more than 20 touchdowns in any season he’s played in. The threat with his legs has always been valuable, but Taylor is nothing more than a QB3 that likely hands the job over to Mills at some point this season.
Andy Dalton (Chicago Bears)
What does Andy Dalton have on Bears head coach Matt Nagy? Nagy has not wavered for a second that Dalton is the Bears starting QB this season despite taking Justin Fields in the first round of the 2021 draft. Dalton started nine games for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 and averaged a measly 228 yards per contest. The leash on Dalton won’t be very long considering Justin Fields is waiting in the wings. If you’re drafting Dalton in a best ball or SuperFlex formats, probably the only ones you’d take him in, you should consider taking Fields as well.
Mike Davis (Atlanta Falcons)
For the fifth time in six seasons, Mike Davis has a new home. This time he’s headed to Magic City! For the wings guys, get your head out of the gutter. Davis is the RB1 in Atlanta heading into the 2021 campaign and this is the first time he’s entered a campaign as THE three-down back without an injury taking place in front of him. In each season Davis has been thrust into a heavy workload, he’s put up 700+ scrimmage yards in each, including 1,015 last year in Carolina. Davis is a solid runner, but he is really good at catching passes out of the backfield. He caught 59-of-70 targets last season and 34-of-42 in ‘18. Davis is a borderline RB2 with no true competition behind him. Volume is king and Davis should see plenty of it.
Kenyan Drake (Las Vegas Raiders)
As solid of a fantasy producer that Kenyan Drake has been the past few seasons, his role will drastically change here in Las Vegas. The Raiders have relied on Josh Jacobs for 240+ carries in each of the first two seasons of his career and Jacobs is still only 23-years old. One area Drake will be better at in this Las Vegas offense is catching passes out of the backfield. Drake has two 50-catch seasons on his ledger and Jacobs has just 53 catches combined in his first two seasons as a pro. Will Drake see more attempts than Davontae Booker did in 2020? Sure, but he won’t come close to the 239 he saw last season barring a clean bill of health for Jacobs. He’s a RB3 at best
James Conner (Arizona Cardinals)
All we’ve heard all offseason was how bad the Steelers offensive line was and is and how bad Conner was, yet he averaged 4.3 YPC behind the 31st ranked run-blocking offensive line according to PFF. Kyler Murray does have a lot to do with this, but Arizona ran the ball the sixth-most in football in 2020 as well. Conner’s still only 26 years old and let’s face it, as bad as we want Chase Edmonds to be a bell cow, how well will his 5’9”, 210-pound frame hold up this season? Well enough to carry the ball 200+ times as Kenyan Drake did for Arizona? I suspect Conner has a big enough role to warrant RB3 love. Most will probably draft him closer to an RB4, but there’s plenty of room for more upside.
Tevin Coleman (New York Jets)
This is one of the more interesting names at the position that switched teams. Coleman is still only 28 years young and although 2020 was injury infested, it was never the best situation considering all of the running backs San Francisco had anyways. In 2021, that’s not the case with the Jets. Coleman is competing with rookie Michael Carter and former sixth-round pick of the Lions, Ty Johnson, who hasn’t rushed for 300 yards in either of his first two seasons in the NFL. Coleman’s ability to run between the tackles and catch passes out of the backfield gives him a leg up on his teammates to start the year. Coleman is also someone who knows how to get his team six. From 2016-’19, Coleman scored seven or more touchdowns in each season. Currently being ranked as an RB4 by many, if Coleman wins the job out of camp -- and stays healthy -- he could be one of the better values at a position that gets very bleak very quickly.
Jamaal Williams (Detroit Lions)
During his tenure in Green Bay, Williams was a great change-of-pace back behind Aaron Jones but was never quite good enough to be THE guy. The same thing is taking place in Detroit as that guy D’Andre Swift figures to be the every-down running back there. Williams, however, can still be impactful, especially in the passing game. He has caught 25+ passes in each of his four professional seasons and has topped 210 yards in the passing game as well. In fact, his scrimmage yard low for his career is 674. I know our resident hater Howard Bender calls him “Jamawful Williams”, but that might just be because Williams let him down in DFS once or twice. He’s not the worst running back to stash late in drafts.
Phillip Lindsay (Houston Texans)
The Texans running back room may seem crowded, but is it actually? Sure, David Johnson is around, but he’s 29 and has been able to play 16 games just twice during his six-year career. Mark Ingram is 31 and has nearly 1,600 carries to his name and Rex Burkhead is on the other side of 30 coming off major ACL surgery. Then there’s Philip Lindsay who’s going to be 27 come training camp has only played in the NFL for three years and has averaged 4.8 YPC over that span. He didn’t catch a lot of passes in 2020, but Denver only targeted running backs 72 times last year, the fourth-lowest mark in the league. When TyRod Taylor quarterbacked Buffalo from 2015-’17, LeSean McCoy saw 55+ targets each season, including 77 in ‘17. Lindsay, if any of these Houston running backs provide some upside.
Mark Ingram (Houston Texans)
We saw what Ingram has left in 2020. He’s on the back end of his career and who knows how many games he’ll even be active in Houston for. It’s a crowded room for a guy on the wrong side of 30 who showed serious YPC decline and an inability to be impactful in the passing game. If TyRod Taylor can’t dump the ball off to you when his receivers aren’t getting open, you aren’t going to be on the field much. Ingram is a fantasy afterthought at this point.
Malcolm Brown (Miami Dolphins)
The Dolphins shipped out nearly $2M of guaranteed money to sign Brown to be Myles Gaskins’ primary backup so if you were thinking he wasn’t going to have a role, think again. The 28-year old Brown saw a career-high in workload, touching the rock 124 times and turning that into 581 yards while also scoring five touchdowns. That’s where he hurts Myles Gaskin’s value a bit; the red zone. Brown has scored five times in each of the previous two seasons, ALL ten touchdowns have come within the red zone. He’s nothing more than a RB5, however, but he hurts Myles Gaskin’s value.
Carlos Hyde (Jacksonville Jaguars)
This backfield situation was muddied up during the draft when they took Travis Etienne at the end of the first round, but Hyde makes matters worse. Since departing from his full-time gig in San Francisco a few years back, Hyde has been a journeyman playing on four teams in three years. This will be his fifth in four years. He’s nothing more than a handcuff, which is how it was in Houston and Seattle. He ended up rushing for 1,000 yards in Houston and earned a start due to a Chris Carson injury in 2020. The same thing applies here in Jacksonville.
Julio Jones (Tennessee Titans)
As soon as it was made known that Jones wanted out of Atlanta, Tennessee was the first place people pegged as a landing spot for him. Sure enough, here we are. Julio Jones is a Titan. Corey Davis fell just 16 yards short last year or the Titans would have had two 1,000 yard receivers, which they’re poised to have in 2021 with both Jones and A.J. Brown. Although Jones is now 32 years old, he had missed just one game from 2018-2020 before last season and 2021 was a lost season from the jump for Atlanta as they blew big lead after big lead. Still, in just nine games, Jones notched 771 yards while averaging 15.1 yards per reception, his highest mark since 2017. Jones is a high-end WR2 with WR1 upside.
Kenny Golladay (New York Giants)
The Giants needed to make a splash at the wide receiver position and boy did they ever, acquiring the very talented Kenny Golladay to be the number one guy in this offense. His injury-plagued season in 2020 was just that. We saw what he brings to the table the two years prior in which he had 1,000+ receiving yards, including nearly 1,200 in ‘19. Golladay is a home run hitter. He’s averaged 16.8 yards per reception for his career but is also someone that can be relied upon in the red zone as ten of his 21 career scores have come within the ten-yard line.
Curtis Samuel (Washington Football Team)
Calling Samuel a Swiss army knife is disrespectful to Samuel. He’s great at everything he does. He not only caught 77 targets in 2020, plus he rushed the ball 41 times and averaged 4.9 YPC to boot. It’s surprising Carolina just… let him walk. In terms of fantasy value, Terry McLaurin is the top dog in this aerial attack, but Samuel is second. He’s also a factor on the ground, something Washington should find a way to incorporate weekly. We’ve seen Ryan Fitzpatrick, when given the keys to the car for an entire campaign, have two receivers reach 1,000 yards in the same season (Eric Decker & Brandon Marshall). I don’t think Samuel is that guy and is probably a WR3 at best, but we’ll see what can happen if Fitz puts it up somewhere around 550 pass attempts.
Corey Davis (New York Jets)
There have been a LOT of moving parts in New York this year as they’re going to likely have a new starting quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and likely two new faces on the offensive line. After a career year in 2020, the Jets took a shot at Davis and brought him into a WR room that has Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Keelan Cole, and rookie Elijah Moore. It’s hard to see him repeating last season’s production with a rookie QB under center and honestly, much more competition at the position he plays. He’s a WR4/5 heading into the year.
Marvin Jones Jr. (Jacksonville Jaguars)
In what started as a lost season in 2020, Jones finished with 752 yards and eight scores in the ten games he played from November on. He’s 31-years old and enters a wide receiver room with DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault and the Jaguars feature two elite pass-catching backs in James Robinson and Travis Etienne. The Jaguars, from a game script perspective, are going to be trailing quite a bit and forced to throw a lot. That bodes well for Jones who has seen 100 targets four times in his career. This could be number five if everything falls his way.
Will Fuller V (Miami Dolphins)
So while everyone else is playing 17 games this year, Fuller is preparing for a 16-game season considering he will still be suspended come Week 1 thanks to being popped for PED’s in 2020. The Dolphins didn’t mind all that much as they signed Fuller to a one-year deal. Health has always been enemy number one to Fuller but he was very healthy in 2020 and was absolutely electric while on the field. Despite playing just 11 games, he had career highs in receptions, yards, yards per catch, and touchdowns. As great as he was last year, his fantasy prospects are dependent on a quarterback that had the 28th-best adjusted completion percentage in football according to PFF. He’s a WR3 to start the campaign.
John Brown (Las Vegas Raiders)
We saw Nelson Agholor, a speedster that can stretch the field, have a ton of success in this Las Vegas offense, and get paaaaid by New England. In steps John Brown, a speedster who can stretch the field. Brown dealt with a season filled with injuries in 2020 and was only able to compete in nine games. He was in an elite passing offense but still averaged just 51 yards per game. Vegas was 20th in pass attempts last season and went ahead and added more depth at running back in Kenyan Drake. I don’t like Brown’s value outside of best ball this year.
Emmanuel Sanders (Buffalo Bills)
At one time, Sanders was an absolute volume machine. Now, he’s 34-years old and clearly slowing down. Sanders is one of four very viable Bills pass catchers and although it’s an elite passing offense, the last time we saw three legit fantasy receivers in one offense Brandon Stokley was the WR3 in the Colts offense behind Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Josh Allen is good, but he can’t make magic happen with the 34-year old Sanders. He’s a WR5.
A.J. Green (Arizona Cardinals)
Kyler Murray seems to think A.J. Green still has a lot left in the tank but what actual evidence is there to back that up? He had a career-low in yards, yards per receptions, yards per game, touchdowns, and first downs in 2020. Sure, Arizona is a high-powered offense, but DeAndre Hopkins occupies a LARGE target share and Christian Kirk isn’t too shabby either. Green can be decent, probably better than his last season in Cincy, but it feels as if his best days are behind him. There will always be someone in your league hoping those former stars will rekindle the magic they once had, however.
Breshad Perriman (Detroit Lions)
When he’s been able to stay healthy, Perriman has shown us that he's an NFL-caliber wide receiver. How much fantasy value he’ll have in this likely atrocious Lions offense remains to be seen, but he’s slated to be their number one target. At least of the wide receivers. T.J. Hockenson likely paces them in targets. Perriman is very good at getting downfield. He’s averaged 16.8 yards per reception or better in three straight campaigns. The Lions will lose a lot which means they’ll be trailing a lot in the second halves. Jared Goff could possibly throw 550+ times for a fourth straight season, only benefitting Perriman even more. He’s a WR5 with some upside.
Sammy Watkins (Baltimore Ravens)
Imagine going from one of the greatest passing offenses of all time to Baltimore? That’s not a knock on Lamar Jackson because he’s great, but he’s just not going to ever be Patrick Mahomes with his arm. Jackson beats you down with his legs, although he’s improved as a passer. Watkins has been such a boom-or-bust receiver the last four or five years. He can’t stay healthy and has random blowup games that mask all of his one-or-two-catch outings and pull us back in wanting more. It was hard enough getting Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown targets in the same game last year, but now Baltimore adds Rashod Bateman through the draft and signs Watkins? Watkins is a best ball only play add for me.
DeSean Jackson (Los Angeles Rams)
What does Jackson have left? He’s played eight games the past two seasons and hasn’t played a full season since 2013. 2013!! He’ll be 35 in December to boot. Sean McVay looooooves to throw the football, that’s for sure. Jared Goff’s passing attempts are well documented. Adding Matthew Stafford and his big arm would seemingly be a match made in heaven for Jackson’s ability to streak down field and catch deep balls, but can he still blow by defensive backs at 35? When you say best ball, the first name that pops into my head every time is DeSean Jackson.
Hunter Henry (New England Patriots)
Coming off a career-high 93-target season in 2020, Henry signed with the Patriots despite not knowing the situation at quarterback. All signs point to Cam Newton opening the season as QB1 and Mac Jones inevitably taking over at some point unless Newton can regain some of what he’s seemingly lost. It’s hard to trust Henry as a TE1 because of that fact. Not to mention the team ALSO signed Jonnu Smith, who’s a strong pass catcher in his own regard.
Jonnu Smith (New England Patriots)
Smith set all his career bests in 2020 as he broke out in targets, receptions, and touchdowns. When New England runs two tight end sets, our resident tight end whisperer, Andrew Cooper, has made it very clear that Smith is going to be doing a lot of blocking for NE. A lot more than Hunter Henry, too. He’s a low-end TE2 with touchdown scoring upside.
Gerald Everett (Seattle Seahawks)
Maybe it’s because Seattle hasn’t had a good tight end since Jimmy Graham, but it’s hard to love this position with Russell Wilson under center. He just doesn’t look their way often. Everett is very skilled and very athletic for the position. He’s a good pass catcher and that’s part of the reason he has seen 50+ targets for three straight seasons. Those targets were happening while he was in a timeshare, and mostly backing up Tyler Higbee. He’s the number one option in SEA which you have to like to some degree, but he’s still a low-end TE2 at the end of the day.
Dan Arnold (Carolina Panthers)
Ian Thomas ran A LOT of routes last season. That translated to essentially no fantasy production. A lot of that had to do with the play at quarterback and a lot had to do with all the mouths to feed. Well, Arnold is far more skilled as a pass-catcher than Ian Thomas is and Carolina also has a new quarterback in Sam Darnold. Arnold is a TE2 to start the year because there still are A LOT of mouths to feed before he gets to fill up his plate at dinner. Somewhere someone is making a Darnold to Arnold dad joke and I’m missing it.