With the NFL calendar rolling over to the 2017 league year and free agency officially underway, here’s a look at the winners and losers after one day of activity.
QB Carson Wentz – Wentz started the day with a slot receiver more suited as a team’s second best weapon than as his number one option. With the addition of Alshon Jeffery, the Eagles now have a legitimate number 1 receiver, who, when healthy, doesn’t drop passes, gets yards after the catch, scores touchdowns and is a red-zone threat.
QB Jameis Winston – Last season Winston threw for over 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns with a receiving corps that consisted of Mike Evans and…yeah, that’s about it. Although Cameron Brate was an effective red zone target what Winston really needed was a deep threat. Averaging 17.7 yards per reception in his career Desean Jackson is a deep threat, to say the least. Winston now has arguably the #1 WR in fantasy football in Mike Evans, league leader for 2016 in yards per reception (Desean Jackson) and the 3rd leading scorer inside the red zone (Cameron Brate). Truly an embarrassment of riches.
WR Alshon Jeffery – Jeffery easily becomes the Eagles’ #1 red-zone threat based on his size, athleticism, and the lack of competition for targets in the red zone. Targets are the most important thing in fantasy football, and Jeffery will be peppered with them as the WR1 on an offense that loves to throw the ball a lot.
WR Jordan Matthews – Matthews is going to benefit from playing with another receiver that actually belongs on an NFL roster. With the addition of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, Matthews should see looser coverages to run his short and intermediate routes.
WR Kenny Britt – Unless Brock Osweiler murders Cody Kessler and/or any other Browns quarterback on the roster Kenny Britt has upgraded his stock just by getting far away from Jared Goff as possible. With the Rams, Britt was the only receiver a defense needed to account for, and he still finished with over 1,000 receiving yards last season. Now Britt will share the field with Corey Coleman and can seamlessly slide into the WR2 role that he’s more suited for.
WR Sammy Watkins – Tyrod Taylor re-signing with the Bills is one of those moves that might not seem earth shattering at first blush, but upon further review, I feel it’s huge for Watkins. Think about the alternatives that could have ended up in Buffalo: Mike Glennon, Jay Cutler, Nick Foles; that would have been disastrous for Watkins. Additionally, the Bills let Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin leave via free agency and have not been linked to any free agent wide receivers of note. The less than impressive pairing accounted 144 targets last season, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see most of those targets get directed Watkins’ way.
WR Jamison Crowder/Josh Doctson – As a fan of both of these young Washington receivers the departures of Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson from our nation’s capital is exactly what I hoped for. Garcon and Jackson leave behind the 214 targets they received in 2016, if you include the soon-to-be-leaving Andre Roberts as well, that total balloons to 239 targets. So far so good for this young tandem. Here’s hoping Terrelle Pryor doesn’t sign in Washington and destroy my fantasy dreams for both these players.
WR Breshad Perriman – Even though Baltimore re-upped with Mike Wallace they haven’t been attached to any other wide receivers on the free agency market. This would appear to bolster my belief Perriman will be the primary receiving threat in Baltimore in 2017.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham – I was keeping the hope alive all through his terrible 2016 season. However, this may be a wrap. DGB went from being the #2 WR, by default more than anything, to most probably being a gameday inactive most weeks(assuming he’s even on a roster in September).
RB Kenneth Dixon – Not to overstate Dixon’s situation but this is how NFL careers flame out right in front of your eyes. A late 4th round NFL draft pick gets popped for PED’s and is suspended the first four weeks of the 2017 season. Already unable to wrestle the starting role away from Terrance West in 2016 now Dixon will have to contend with not only West but Danny Woodhead as well. Woodhead is a surprisingly effective runner and a sublime pass catcher. Dixon may not have a role to return to when his drug suspension ends.
WR Leonte Carroo – Caroo is a favorite of many a dynasty football player. The path to his relevance seemed to widen when it was believed Kenny Stills would leave the Dolphins for a huge, if undeserved, payday. Welp, Stills re-upped with the Dolphins for 4 more seasons on Wednesday and now Caroo’s path to playing time is completely blocked. I’m not a dynasty football historian, but I’ll venture a guess that no 4th string WR has ever been fantasy relevant. With Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills ahead of him on the depth chart, Caroo may never actually become a thing. Caroo’s only hope at this point is an injury to one of the three primary receivers of the Dolphins.
WR Laquon Treadwell – This hurts me deeply, I can’t pretend that it doesn’t. I own Treadwell in more leagues than I’d like to admit. A couple of developments cast a pall on any hopes I have for a Treadwell breakout in 2017. New developments mind you, not the old ones, namely the 1 reception for 15 yards for the 2016 season. No, no, completely new reasons to fret. Adam Thielen was tagged with a 2nd round tender to kick my worries up a notch to begin the week, and then on Thursday, the Vikings were in hot pursuit of Alshon Jeffery prior to the Eagles signing him. Taken individually, perhaps you can talk yourself out of the belief that Treadwell is a bust, but taken in totality all signs point to Treadwell being a wasted pick.
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