Fantasy Football Free Agency Fun

      March 12, 2014 @ 16:16:01 PDT


We are 24-plus hours into the madness that is NFL free agency, and some fantasy football landscaping has to be addressed. We have not seen too many significant moves yet, so be sure to come back for Part II as free agency continues to fill some empty cupboards. For now, enjoy these snap-judgment quarterback and running back assessments for the upcoming fantasy football draft season.

Quarterback

  • Josh McCown (Bears): McCown is headed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will not even have to battle Mike Glennon for the starting quarterback job. His fantasy value is minimal, but he is worth keeping an eye on since the Bucs have some talent on offense. McCown has low-end QB2 draftability, primarily because it is unknown how much of his renaissance was because of Marc Trestman's influence.
Michael Vick
Will Michael Vick start in 2014?
  • Matt Cassel (Vikings): While he re-signed before testing the market, Cassel warrants a fleeting mention here. He should vie for the starting job and, as usual, is likely to post fantasy-worthy numbers once or twice in 2014. Good luck figuring out which games those will be!
  • Chad Henne (Jaguars): See Matt Cassel. No, seriously, I might as well write the exact same profile for both players. Henne will have erratic spot-play worth in the upcoming season.
  • Michael Vick (Eagles): The veteran remains unsigned and is reportedly willing to take his sweet time deciding where to go. It appears the New York Jets are running ahead of the pack at this time for his services.

Running back

  • Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts): Re-signing with Indy doesn't improve Bradshaw's value. If anything, it may be even more muddled. He is coming off a neck injury, he has to contend with Trent Richardson and, presumably, Vick Ballard (knee). The former was a big investment for Indianapolis, and the latter is on track for a Week 1 return after ACL reconstruction. Where does that leave Bradshaw? He is nothing but a weak flier late on draft day.
  • Donald Brown (Colts): The veteran back resurrected his career last season and capitalized with a questionable $10.5 million payday over three years. That means Ronnie Brown will not return to the Chargers, and Donald Brown should fill his spot as the occasional spell back to Ryan Mathews when Danny Woodhead isn't being used. Frank Reich, the new offensive coordinator in San Diego, is a Ken Whisenhunt guy, so I don't expect much variance in philosophy. Brown could have sneaky value this fantasy draft season.
  • Toby Gerhart (Vikings): The Jacksonville Jaguars added Adrian Peterson's former backup and will give him an opportunity to start. He has little competition for touches if the Jags do not add anyone else, which is unlikely, but Gerhart should be in the mix for the lion's share of the work. For now, consider him an uninspiring RB3.
  • Rashad Jennings (Raiders): The G-Men added the veteran rusher and will use him in some combination with Peyton Hillis and possibly David Wilson (neck), although the latter is highly unlikely to be involved. I still think there is a decent chance New York adds another back, someone of the "lightning in a bottle" mold. Stay tuned before giving Jennings a certain value. He is probably no worse than a fourth fantasy back with RB2 upside.
  • Dexter McCluster (Chiefs): I'm going to call him a running back, because the word out of his new home is that the Tennessee Titans will use him similarly to how then-Chargers OC and now-Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt worked in Danny Woodhead. McCluster will be the draft season buzz guy for many prognosticators. I am not ready to go that far (again), but he has PPR appeal as a late-round flier.
  • Darren McFadden (Raiders): I really wanted to see McFadden sign elsewhere else to give him a fresh start, but he chose to take a one-year deal to return to the Raiders. There is just too much uncertainty to say what he is for fantasy purposes -- other than super risky -- since we don't even know to whom Oakland turn for help at quarterback. Always an injury liability, DMC should be in the RB3/4 territory but has the talent to be a top-five back, if he plays every game for the first time in his NFL career. He could be the steal of the draft or the object of your expletives.
Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints
PT may be overvalued
  • Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles (Saints): One has been given a two-year extension, while the other ostensibly is on his way out of town ... Sproles will be dealt to the highest bidder, and PT should see a modest uptick in targets because of this. Most of Sproles' targets came from being lined up as a receiver, however, so just how big of a jump will Thomas see? Sproles' value is dependent on where he ends up, whereas Thomas will be a third RB most weeks. There is just too much RB uncertainty (Khiry Robinson, Mark Ingram, Travaris Cadet) to invest heavily in the talented Thomas.
  • Joique Bell (Lions): Detroit committed two more years to the often underappreciated Bell. He will make more money in 2014 than Reggie Bush, so does that mean we'll see more of Bell? Possibly, and if so, it won't have much to do with the money. Bell is a viable third running back and has weekly flex-play prospects.
  • LeGarrette Blount (Patriots): I am starting to feel like Blount may re-sign with the Pats, but he is more likely to wait to see if he can land a reason deal on the open market. His 2014 location fully dictates his fantasy value.
  • Andre Brown (Giants): With New York signing Rashad Jennings (Raiders) and re-signing Peyton Hillis, I have a hard time envisioning a way Brown returns to the team. It looks like the Oakland Raiders could be the front runner for his services.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew (Jaguars): I am going to put my neck on the line and say MJD ends up a New York Jet when the dust settles. It is tough to dislike his effort, but there is not a whole lot left for fantasy purposes here. In the right situation, which probably isn't New York, I still couldn't consider him better than a third running back.
  • Knowshon Moreno (Broncos): Moreno may not be in any hurry to sign somewhere, but I'd be surprised if he came back to Denver. The Jaguars made sense before the Gerhart signing, so maybe Cleveland or Oakland will be in play.
  • Ben Tate (Texans): Speaking of Cleveland, Tate would be a great fit. I understand there is some mutual interest; don't be surprised if this one comes to fruition. Check back for a precise valuation once he finds a new home.
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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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