Which free agent acquisitions will have the most fantasy football impact? There were a lot of eyes lighting up when New England signed Randy Moss and when Seattle signed Marshawn Lynch. What those two players did for their new teams was record breaking, literally. This is the type of impact I was looking for when building my fantasy relevant free agent list for 2017. The free agent acquisitions that have the potential to really bring smiles to their new cities and fantasy team managers. Please feel free to make a case (comment section) for any free agent acquisitions that didn't make my list.
Top 5 Free Agent Signings With Fantasy Impact
Eddie Lacey SEA - Nirvana and the Seahawks are best two things to come out of Seattle since the Space Needle. Well Shawn Kemp was pretty cool too. Eddie is a player that has all the tangibles to run wild for the Seahawks. At 5'11" 240(ish) Coach Carroll will find ways to get his new "beast" involved even if he has to share snaps with Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise. Rawls had trouble staying healthy last year, he missed half of the regular season, while Prosise is a better fit for the 3rd down work. Lacey needs to call Jenny Craig if he is to use his strengths to his advantage as he is closer to 260 than 240 this offseason. But I'm sure he will be ready by the time camp opens. Projecting 950 rushing yards 9 TDs adding 32 catches and 280 yards and 2 more TDs. His average draft position isn't really climbing.
- Brandin Cooks N.E. - Well that's it the Patriots just won the Superbowl...AGAIN! Tom Brady now has has a real complement to Julian Edelman. Danny Amondola had promise but unfortunately he is made of glass. Cooks isn't Randy Moss but he is an elite playmaker (the man is 23 years old) and isn't afraid to go over the middle. He has good hands and quick feet. Drew Brees hooked up with him 162 times the past 2 years and his rookie year he caught 53 balls in 10 games. So 80-100 catches is a given. The kitchen is open for this Cook(s) to prepare a feast of countable stats!
- Latavius Murray MIN - Goodbye Adrian Peterson and hello Murray. He isn't Peterson but offers an upgrade to Matt Asiata. Jerrick McKinnon is a great 3rd down back and will be on a lot of PPR draft cheatsheets. Murray took all 3 downs for the Raiders but looks primed to be the Vikings early down back. He hasn't reached his full potential since joining the NFL in 2014 and he does take a pretty big hit at offensive line (Raiders O-Line Ranked 5th, Vikings 25th in 2016) but with Mike Zimmers run 1st attitude this still could be a great fit for all involved. He has averaged 4 YPC the past 2 years and somehow scored 12 TDs on just 195 attempts last year. I'd be surprised to see that kind of freakish production with his new team but 10 TDs on 220 attempts is certainly attainable. He isn't a slouch catching the ball out of the back field (74 catches the last 2 years) and if McKinnon wasn't such a stud 3rd down back he could be in line for more stat stuffing numbers. Still confidently predicting 40 catches for 250 yards receiving, 1,175 yards on the ground with 250 attempts finding the end zone 12 total times for the new purple people eater.
- Alshon Jeffery PHI - The man with the frying pan hands lands in Philly. (say that 5 times fast) The Chip Kelly days are a thing of the past and new head coach Doug Pederson has the trust of the team and will have a better shot to lead them to success this year. What does this mean for Jeffery? Well I would say, for starters, I'd rather have an up and coming quarterback that will surely overthrow him now and then rather than having an often injured QB with a poor attitude on his way down, talent wise and age. Philly - 1 Chicago - 0. 2nd the advantage of having a guy like Jordan Matthews opposite him with definitely build on his targets and hopefully catches. Chicago gave him Cameron Meredith, a fine WR but without the explosiveness or upside of Matthews. Eagles - 2 Bears - 0. And finally the scheme. Jon Fox RUNS the show in Chicago. RUNS the show. He had RAN it for last year and will RUN it this year. Ok, point made. Philly wins again without having to add an argument. Pederson loves to run the rock as well, but I'd be surprised if he didn't utilize his big WRs and air it out more often than he did in 2016. They only threw the ball 25 yards or more 18 times, 2nd worst in the NFL. Things will be looking up for the Eagles in 2017 and up, up and away for Alshon. Boldly predicting 101 catches for 1,400 yards and 14 TDs. Carson Wentz will make our fantasy football quarterback sleeper list this year.
Brandon Marshall NY - This could end up being the best pickup of the off season. Marshall adds to a wide receiver corps already featuring Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr.. Marshall's big body and experience should get him plenty of looks in the red zone and will help as a chains mover. Eli now has quality options to throw to and will get a bump up on draft day himself because of it. I doubt he will get the 109 catches he did in 2015 but a repeat of the 14 TDs wouldn't surprise me at all.
Mid-Tier Free Agent Pick-ups Worth a Look
- Isaiah Crowell CLE - Wait he didn't get traded.. but he will benefit from the Browns free agent moves. The additions to their offensive line (JC Tretter and Joel Bitonio) will strengthen the running game as well as passing. Brock Oswieler is now at the helm in Cleveland and will have no problem dumping passes off to Crowell. Overall the lanes will be getting wider to run through and that could help him bust onto the RB2 scene.
- Dwayne Allen N.E. - Martellus Bennett is now Packing in Green Bay and Dwayne Allen is now the newest Patriot taking on the old Aaron Hernandez roll. Allen had a pretty good QB chucking him the rock in Indy but somehow never got to that elite T.E. status. He will get his shot playing opposite the often-injured Gronk as the Patriots #2 T.E. Even if Gronk plays a full year it will still benefit Allen because of the attention Gronk demands. Allen will get the opportunity to put up at the very least T.E. 2 numbers but I'd expect closer to backend T.E. 1 stats. He will be a nice pick in this years fantasy football draft.
- Jack Doyle IND - With Dwayne Allen leaving for N.E. that ensures Doyle as the number 1 option at tight end. He already overtook him as top dog on the depth chart but this leves no doubt in mind. He exploded for a few games last year and if that trend continues in 2017 he could amass as a true #1 without much competition. Doesn't hurt to have Luck on your side either.
- Dallas Cowboys Offense - The Offensive line took a bigger hit than Cheech and Chong, losing OG Ronald Leary to free agency and then Doug Free retired. I wouldn't expect the studs on the team to suffer too much since they are REALLY good! And I'm sure a draft pick to add beef to the line is in order. The story most interesting is the domestic violence allegation against Ezekiel Elliott that took place at a St. Patrick’s day parade. He must have been looking "everywhere" for that pot of DFS consistency.
- Ted Gin N.O. - Drew Brees can still chuck the pig skin downfield. Ted Gin has made his money running deep routes. Seems to me this could be exciting to watch! Brandin Cooks is wearing a Patriots jersey now so that leaves Gin to spread the field. He might not be an every week option because he doesn't catch a lot of balls but when he has a good game 2 TDs and well over 100 yards seems to be the norm. He is like a great power hitter in baseball, he will strikeout for a week straight then hit 6 homers in 4 games. A great guy to go "all or nothing" for you as a bye week filler or possibly a 3rd WR when he's hot.
- Pierre Garcon S.F. - Pierre would love to start a French connection with QB Brian Hoyer. Hoyer hasn't been as terrible as imagined the past few years. In 2014 he threw for over 3,000 yards then a year later threw 19 TDs in just 369 pass attempts. The Bears and Browns (his last 2 teams) are basically the same as the 49ers, meaning, not very good. A strong running game will help Hoyer this year...wait this is supposed to be about Garcon. Well he's a savvy veteran trying to build off last years pretty good numbers, 79 catches for 1041 yards and 3 TDs. He will be tops on the depth chart at wide receiver and could easily match last years totals. Stack in a couple more touchdowns and his fantasy relevance could be important in 12 team or larger leagues.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense - I bet Jameis Winston was smiling ear to ear to hear about DeSean Jackson coming to the bay area. He already has a legit WR 1 in Mike Evans and an up and coming tight end in Cameron Brate. This team has the chance to turn a lot of heads this season. If DeSean Jackson can take the top off the defense that will open up the middle of the field for Brate to do short yardage damage. Mike Evans can do both and will only excel with Jackson opposite of him. Everyone gets an uptick with Winston being the biggest beneficiary. He should be a part of your fantasy football draft strategy.
- Terrelle Pryor WAS - This isn't a juicy pick but interesting none the less. Cleveland let him walk and Washington let him in. He signed a 1 year deal worth 6 million dollars. Having Kirk Cousins (if he stays) throwing him the ball should help and he should pair nicely with other receiver Josh Doctson and tight end Jordan Reed. Pryor is set to add to last years totals; 77 grabs, 1,007 yards and 4 TDs. I always like a player in a contract year, even though they should play as hard as they can every year, he will have a little extra riding on his performance in 2017. Solid WR3 with a good chance to boom!