Now that NFL free agency is upon us, here is where we’ll run through the fantasy football outlooks for trades, re-signings, midrange players and tag recipients.
This analysis will be updated as players sign/re-sign in free agency, so be sure to check back regularly.
Signed with new team or traded
WR Randall Cobb, Houston Texans: A day to digest the DeAndre Hopkins bombshell suggests the blueprint Dave Gettleman put forth in New York last year after the Odell Beckham Jr. trade appears to be the path we see from Houston. To help offset the loss, the Giants turned to veteran WR Golden Tate and relied on young, in-house talent to pick up the slack. Cobb brings a veteran presence and, despite being in the league for what seems like a generation, is only 29 years old through August. He could cobble together respectable season-long stats in PPR as a WR3 or flex but is unlikely to be a lineup fixture in any true sense.
TE Jason Witten, Las Vegas Raiders: Boooooorrrrring. The Raiders are bringing in Witten for two reasons: veteran leadership and blocking skills. He may sneak into the end zone a time or two, and there possibly will be games in which two tight ends are relevant, but the Raiders have a dangerous No. 1 in Darren Waller and a promising second-year option in Foster Moreau. Witten is undraftable in any traditional fantasy football situation.
QB Nick Foles, Chicago Bears: Jacksonville agreed to trade Foles to Chicago for a fourth-round pick on the final afternoon of legal tampering. We’ve seen Foles go on to play the savior role off of the pine more than once,. Yet, for as impressive as he was on those occasions, he has not once lived up to the billing as a full-time starter longer than 12 games, which was in 2013. He couldn’t regain his job for the rest of the year last season in Jacksonville when rookie Gardner Minshew outplayed him in every notable way. Mitchell Trubisky is at absolute best still a shaky work-in-progress, and Foles is there to push him to be better. But if Trubisky falters again, Chicago will turn to Foles. He knows Matt Nagy’s system well enough, short of a refresher on some of the verbiage. There is adequate talent around Foles, but the offensive line needs some work. Regardless of the relative positives, it will be a borderline miracle if he is better than fantasy football waiver wire fodder in 2020.
TE Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers: It’s tough to gauge how much of Ebron’s per-game (missed five) statistical decline in 2019 was a result of no Andrew Luck, but the reality is we have seen five of his six NFL seasons wind up as disappointments for fantasy purposes. Tight end Vance McDonald returns to the Steelers, and while Ebron improves the weaponry for Big Ben, the North Carolina product’s lone year with universal fantasy value relied on him scoring 13 times to get there. Be careful to not overvalue him, but there is upside for a similar season — moderate or even low volume resulting in a disproportionate number of touchdowns scored. He’s a fringe starting option in all formats.
WR Nelson Agholor, Las Vegas Raiders: Outside of one season, Agholor has dropped more passes than caught touchdowns in each of his NFL campaigns. The former first-round pick has struggled mightily since a breakthrough 2017 season and will get a chance to rebound in Sin City with his new team. The Raiders needed an intermediate complement to vertical threat Tyrell Williams and dynamic tight end Darren Waller, which the best version of Agholor could bring to the table. However, anyone banking on him being more than an occasional flex in fantasy may as well be asking for the sea to part.
RB Dion Lewis, New York Giants: The well-traveled Lewis moves on from Tennessee to back up Saquon Barkley in New York. The need for a better fill-in was obvious last year when Barkley missed a few games with an ankle sprain. Lewis is not draftable as anything but a late-round handcuff for Barkley or speculative snipe from a Barkley owner.
RB Peyton Barber, Washington Redskins: Somewhere between “yuck” and “gross” is where this one should rate for fantasy purposes. The Redskins have retained spry Adrian Peterson and have Derrius Guice returning from injury. Don’t forget Bryce Love (knee) is still in reserve. Chris Thompson is floating about free agency still, but he and Barber couldn’t be much different backs. Barber has a nose for the stripe and doesn’t offer any explosion to an offense that surely could use a dash of it out of the backfield. Where Barber will fit into any of that after inking a two-year, $3 million deal is anyone’s guess this early in the process, but there’s a chance he doesn’t even make the final roster with only $600k of that deal being guaranteed.
WR Phillip Dorsett, Seattle Seahawks: Does anyone need to see more of him to realize he is not a fantasy-relevant option? If so, the NFL is offering a free offer to “Game Pass” while the coronavirus keeps many people searching for things to do with the time. Barring some radical change in Dorsett’s ability to get open and catch the ball on the same play, he is going to flash a few deep plays and be dormant otherwise.
WR Breshad Perriman, New York Jets: In most situations, a team’s de facto WR1 is probably worthy of a standalone article (which will follow after the draft). Since we’re talking about a guy whose career has been one disappointment after another until a four-game stretch in 2019’s final moments, he hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt. While said run was impressive, it required injuries to Tampa Bay’s top wideouts in order for Perriman to even make a dent outside of two games in 2019. His third team in as many years likely isn’t done addressing the position this offseason. Perriman is a WR3 or flex flier until more is know about the supporting cast.
WR Devin Funchess, Green Bay Packers: Another one of those guys whose situation is intriguing, but it feels like more dominoes are yet to fall before all is said and done this summer. Funchess has size for perimeter work and contested catches in the red zone, but he has struggled to turn the corner to date. Indianapolis added him last year on a one-year, $10 million deal that wound up being like winning the lottery for the former Panther. Funchess broke his collarbone and played exactly one game in 2019. Funchess was a quasi-TE in college, and Matt LaFleur made good use of those types in Tennessee. That speculation aside, it appears to be second-year TE Jace Sternberger’s job to lose. Funchess is a late-round gamble until this situation is clearer.
QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans: A four-year, $118 million extension was signed on the eve of the tampering window, securing Tannehill’s role as the starting quarterback for the near future. He developed a rapport with 2019 rookie wideout A.J. Brown and has one of the best running games to keep defenses honest, provided Derrick Henry indeed signs his franchise tender and doesn’t pull a Le’Veon Bell. Tannehill is among the more intriguing back fantasy picks and will be chosen as a rotational starter by gamers willing to wait on the position.
QB Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings: There’s not a lot to say here since he wasn’t facing free agency, and Cousins’ 2020 situation doesn’t change by getting this extension (two years, $66 million). Stefon Diggs getting dealt is a far more important factor in Cousins’ valuation. Minnesota still has a dynamic backfield in the pass game, two talented tight ends, a borderline No. 1 in Adam Thielen, an up-and-coming weapon in Bisi Johnson, and there’s still time to build on these pieces. Cousins, for now, remains a top-tier backup with matchup utility, especially when it appears the Vikes may struggle to run the ball.
QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: Nothing here changes for Brees after agreeing to a two-year extension. Age and injury could be a little bit of an elevated concern relative to last year. The weapons remain, as does the offensive line, and the backfield brings balance. Brees is a midrange No. 1 fantasy option until we start to see inklings to the contrary.
WR Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys: Not much will change after the Cowboys franchise tagged Dak Prescott to lead the offense — one that will be coordinated by Kellen Moore after head coach Mike McCarthy retained him from the previous regime. Cooper and Prescott have visible chemistry on the field, and the duo is poised for another strong year. It better be if Dallas wants to get their money’s worth from Coop’s five-year, $100 million renewal. He’s a low-tier WR1 in standard fantasy and an awesome No. 2 in PPR, but the likelihood of drafting him as such typically will come from picking at or near the turn of Rounds 1 and 2.
TE Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys: A four-year, $22 million extension for the inexperienced Jarwin suggests he’s the front-runner for replacing Jason Witten. While the door may not be officially closed on the return of the veteran, most signs point to his run with Dallas being over one way or another. The loss of wide receiver Randall Cobb puts more pressure on someone else to step up, and Jarwin has a skill set that could lend help in fantasy football lineups. Legitimate sleeper potential is in the making here.
NEW — WR Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs: Borrowing from my own news post on the signing, here’s what was written in the “Huddle Up” fantasy tip section: It seemed like Robinson, 25, may have had a market elsewhere, but returning to the Chiefs on a one-year deal could position him for a better run at free agency in 2021. Robinson showed capable of being a capable fill-in for the Chiefs early in the year when Tyreek Hill was injured. A Week 2 explosion vs. the Oakland Raiders (6-172-2) accounted for 38 percent of his total receiving yardage on the year and half of Robinson’s touchdown production. The chances to flash will be there, but his fantasy football worth is zero without an injury to Hill or Sammy Watkins. It is still possible the latter is released due to carrying a $21 million cap hit, which would make Robinson a draftable option. Monitor how KC handles Watkins’ contract situation in the coming weeks.
QB Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: Prescott will not be able to negotiate with any team but the Cowboys, and the goal is to work out a long-term deal. The offensive system will remain the same as in 2019 with Kellen Moore coming back as the playcaller under new head coach Mike McCarthy. Dak is a top-five fantasy quarterback if Amari Cooper returns.
RB Derrick Henry: Tennessee Titans: Update: Henry signed his franchise tender April 2, meaning he will be the bell cow once again in Tennessee. There remains a chance he signs a long-term contract before the July 15 deadline, which would lift a distraction in any already troubling time. All things equal, short of losing his right tackle, life appears to be business as usual. RB1 all day long.
WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals: A rookie quarterback as Cincy’s 2020 starter is all but etched into stone, which is a likely detriment for Green. However, he remains the most gifted wideout in an offense that won’t be scared to throw it when needed, so he has that working for him. Expect WR2 stats as a ceiling, and the combo of age and injuries are conspiring against Green.
TE Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers: This one isn’t as cut and dried as some of the above inclusions, because we don’t know LA’s quarterback for Week 1 yet. Some signs say Tom Brady, others suggest a rookie or even Tyrod Taylor as a stopgap. On talent alone, Henry is a midrange No. 1 in fantasy, but other factors, like an undeniable injury risk and this being the first full year of playcalling responsibility for Shane Steichen, should give owners pause.
RB Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals: No more David Johnson, or his punitive salary, could lead to this transition tag be little more than formality before a long-term deal is reached. Drake exploded in this system late last year, and now the addition of WR DeAndre Hopkins has to get the juices flowing. Drake is risky, and now the Air Raid system may be fully deployed, which could force the former Miami Dolphin to be overly reliant on efficiency. Those concerns aside, don’t go overboard on draft day for a player whose career has largely been a disappointment, even if not entirely his fault. Give him the old RB2 treatment in all single-year formats.
QB Jameis Winston, free agent:
RB Chris Thompson, free agent:
RB Carlos Hyde, free agent:
RB DeAndre Washington, free agent:
RB Devonta Freeman, free agent:
RB Lamar Miller, free agent:
RB LeSean McCoy, free agent:
RB Theo Riddick, free agent:
RB Frank Gore, free agent:
TE Jordan Reed, free agent:
TE Delanie Walker, free agent: