Wow once again it was a crazy start to the NFL free agency period on Thursday. The movement started days earlier and it picked up fast and furiously on the official opening day as many names got put on dotted lines.
Here are some quick takes from a fantasy perspective on some of Day 1’s biggest moves:
WR’s Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith sign with Eagles
The Eagles had one of the league’s most dismal wide receiver corps a year ago, but they worked quickly to amend the situation with Thursday’s signings of Jeffery and Smith. Jeffery turned down multi-year deal from the Vikings to ink the one-year offer here. Coming off a season when he missed seven games, including four games due to a suspension, Jeffery has plenty to prove. Still just 27, he has the potential to be a fantasy WR1 in 2017 and he plays for a big contract.
Smith will work in a nice WR2 that can stretch the field a bit with Jordan Matthews sliding into the slot. In PPR formats Matthews offers nice WR 3 upside, where Smith is mostly bench fodder. With this group and Zach Ertz’s emergence during the second half of 2016 at tight end, young signal caller Carson Wentz will see his stock soar in the coming months. This passing game is making major strides already this offseason.
WR Brandon Marshall signs with Giants
The 2016 season is one that Marshall would like to forget. He suffered a knee injury early in the year and the Jets’ offense quickly went off the rails with an assortment of isssues. The veteran only caught 59 of 125 targets for 788 yards and three touchdowns during his worst season as a pro. A fresh start with the Giants is a good thing. Still he’s going to turn 33 years old this month and playing opposite of Odell Beckham Jr., Marshall is going to be the second fiddle for the first time in his career. He still offers top-25 fantasy upside, but don’t reach for it.
ODB definitely benefits from his arrival as will Eli Manning. Manning is still not a guy that should be viewed as nothing more than a spot starter. Second-year wide receiver Sterling Shepard is the player whose value takes the biggest hit. Expect the Shepard to play mostly from the slot in his second year as a pro and to see a limited amount of targets.
WR DeSean Jackson signs with Bucs
Jackson gives a much-needed deep threat to the Bucs’ passing game. The quintessential boom-or-bust fantasy wideout will spread things out very nicely in the Tampa Bay offense. Jackson has led the NFL with an average of 17.7 yards per reception and a total of 112 receptions of 25 or more yards during his nine seasons as a pro. The 30-year-old led the NFL last year with 17.9 yards per reception while posting his fifth 1,000-yard campaign, and over the past three years he has averaged 73 yards per game and 17.3 yards per grab.
Jackson is still best suited as a WR3, but the real winner in his arrival will be Jameis Winston. As he enters his third year as a pro, look for Winston to finally crack fantasy QB1 status in 2017. The Bucs’ quarterback is the first player in league history to open his career with consecutive 4,000-yard passing seasons and expect a step up in the season ahead.
WR Pierre Garcon signs with 49ers
Garcon is reunited with Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. He caught 113 passes while the pair was together with the Redskins in 2013 when Shanahan called the plays for the Redskins. While it remains to be seen who will be throwing him the football, the veteran should see enough action in the team’s passing game to keep him fantasy relevant. Expect him to offer some nice value in this summer’s drafts. The veteran will definitely be useful in PPR leagues, but the fact he’s never topped six touchdowns in a season during nine seasons limits his potential.
RB Danny Woodhead signs with Ravens
When news first broke on the Ravens inking the 32-year old to a deal it was a bit of a head scratcher. Then it was announced that second-year running back Kenneth Dixon was suspended for the first four games due to PED’s and Woodhead’s signing suddenly made more sense. Admittedly, he’s a nice fit for the Ravens’ offense, but he is coming off a serious ACL injury that cost him a full season. In his last healthy year of action Woodhead led all running backs with 80 catches and 755 receiving yards.
QB Tyrod Taylor re-signs with Bills
Buffalo was able to do what was necessary to keep quarterback Tyrod Taylor in town. The Bills lost Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin at wide receiver though, leaving an already weak group of wide receivers even weaker. Taylor though still possesses nice fantasy value due to his dual-threat abilities. Given the QB market, it made sense for the Bills to keep Taylor in the fold. In 2016 he passed for 3,023 yards and 17 touchdowns and just six interceptions in 15 games. He also rushed 95 times for 580 yards and six TDs.
QB Mike Glennon signs with the Bears
The Glennon signing shouldn’t excite fantasy owners or Bears fans for that matter. Glennon hasn’t seen much action since Jameis Wintson’s arrival to the league and even when he was on the field he boasted a career sub-60 percent completion percentage and 6.4 yards per pass average. Best-case scenario he gives Chicago what Kyle Orton did his time with the team. While Glennon could become the team’s first-ever 4000-yard passer, he shouldn’t be on your fantasy team.
QB Brock Osweiler traded to Browns
It was actually a smart move by Cleveland as they got a second-round pick to boot. They are already trying to deal Osweiler and have the cap space to take the hit this year, even if they cut him. The move now gives the Browns now have eight picks in the first two rounds of the next two drafts, as well as the first pick in the third round this year, for a total of nine Top 65 picks in 2017 and 2018.
TE Dwayne Allen traded to Patriots
Allen has been mostly disappointing from a fantasy perspective and don’t expect that to change in New England behind Rob Gronkowski. It definitely signifies the end for Martellus Bennett in a Patriots’ uniform and also helps elevate Jack Doyle’s 2017 fantasy value.
Follow me on Twitter @DanClasgens for more free agent discussion.