Free agency started off with a surprising trade, and several other moves have stood out to me as being of fantasy football importance for the 2012 season.
Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
I'll get the Marshall deal out of the way first, as it may be the most significant. I think it is a good acquisition for the Bears, but don't count on Marshall being the savior for this offense. They still need a lot of help, and I fully expect Chicago to make a first-round wide receiver selection (Kendall Wright) at this point in time.
Marshall is a low-end No. 1 in deep PPR leagues, but I would not have trepidation drafting him as anything more than a No. 2. His off-the-field concerns weigh too greatly on my mind to be comfortable investing heavily in him.
From wearing No. 17 to helping No. 17
Robert Meachem, San Diego Chargers
I love this signing, but Meachem MUST improve his hands to live up to his potential. He has speed to burn and enough size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) to play the physical style Norv Turner prefers out of his vertical passing attack.
Meachem is a low-end No. 3 or ideal fourth fantasy receiver only because San Diego spreads the ball so effectively. I think the addition of Le'Ron McClain to replace Mike Tolbert bolsters my theory of the Chargers' commitment to the ground game in 2012.
Le'Ron McClain, San Diego Chargers
This is a pretty good match, as the Chargers needed to replace Mike Tolbert, and McClain was champing at the bit for more carries. Tolbert carried the rock 121 times and caught 54 balls in 2011. I expect those numbers to come down some for McClain, who isn't as natural of a receiver as his predecessor. In an ideal world, I believe the coaching staff wants Ryan Mathews to tote the ball at least 250 times, if not closer to 280.
McClain is an intriguing No. 4 or fifth back in point-per-reception setups. His value in touchdown-only leagues may be that of a sleeper No. 3 back.
Martellus Bennett, New York Giants
Bennett intrigues me like no other, especially if the Giants indeed lose Mario Manningham. The former Dallas Cowboy is athletic and possesses a unique skill set for a big man, but he has had troubles with focus as well as inconsistent play in his career. Perhaps Tom Coughlin can get the most out of him. Consider Bennett as a flier No. 2 tight end late in deep drafts.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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