2018 Free Agency: Hater Edition

Last year, while everyone was in a tizzy over all of the free agent moves and off-season action, I was less than impressed, so I put my miserable, negative thoughts to paper in my 2017 Free Agency: Hater Edition article. I’ve decided to make this an annual event as it gives me an avenue to spew some venom and release some of my pent up misery into the cosmos. I’ll also steal my intro from last year to give a little context.

In general, by nature, I’m a pessimistic, negative, cynical person. Some see the glass as half full; I see it as half empty and full of urine and cigarette butts. I try to be aware of it and not let it affect my day-to-day life too much, but after the recent events during the current NFL free agent frenzy, I just couldn’t sit idly by any longer. The lovefest coming from fantasy football owners and football fans was making me sick. Many people saw positive moves for their respective teams, all I saw was franchise crushing errors that will take generations to repair. Without further ado, let’s delve into my madness.

Ryan Grant signs with the Ravens Indianapolis Colts for 1-year and 5-million dollars

In one of the shadiest, most despicable things I’ve ever seen, the Ravens signed Grant to a four-year, $29 million contract only to pull the offer after he mysteriously failed a physical seemingly moments after the Raiders cut ties with Michael Crabtree. I don’t hate the signing by the Colts, I hope Grant does well and gets a big payday next year, but there was no way I could write about hate and not take a small shot at the unscrupulous Ravens. To quote the Player Hater of the Year, Mr. Silky Johnson “I hope all the bad things in life happen to you, and to nobody else but you” and I’m officially the leading Raven hater on the planet going forward. Grant is the de facto #2 in Indy for the time being and is probably still irrelevant for fantasy with Andrew Luck (maybe) slinging him the ball.

Trey Burton signs with the Chicago Bears for 4-years and 32-millions dollars

One of the pending free agents I was particularly interested in this offseason was the former Eagles tight end. Part of that was due to my wish that he’d end up in New Orleans and slide right into the ole Jimmy Graham role and replicate that same levels of production. Instead, he inexplicably signs with the Bears. What happened to Adam Shaheen? The Bears’ front office that selected Shaheen is still in place, so I don’t think they’re done with him yet. So what’s the plan now? The new coaching staff comes from Kansas City so you may think Burton can be a Travis Kelce clone in The Windy City- but I think he and Shaheen just vulture targets from each other rending both no better than bye week fill-ins.

Jimmy Graham signs with the Green Bay Packers for 3-years and 30-million dollars

I’m plagiarizing myself as I wrote this about the Packers signing Martellus Bennett last year: “Who’s excited about this new weapon in Green Bay’s potent offense? Not me, yuck. The Packers don’t utilize the tight end enough for this to move the needle for me. Over the course of the last 9 years, since Aaron Rodgers has been the starting quarterback the average stat line for tight ends has been 42 catches for 466 yards and 3.8 touchdowns. Last year that would have ranked 24th and 23rd in standard and PPR scoring, respectively.  No thanks in real life or “fantasy.” Change 9-years to 10-years, as once again the Packers did nothing with their tight end last year. In the 10-year period that Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy have been at the helm in Green Bay, they’ve produced a top-10 fantasy tight end once.

Eric Ebron sign with the Indianapolis Colts for 2-years and 15-million dollars

Perennial disappointment Eric Ebron signs with the Colts in a move sure to get the fantasy community all worked up after he catches a pre-season touchdown. I recently discussed this move on my podcast. It kills any value Jack Doyle had heading in into 2018 and much like the aforementioned Burton-Shaheen combo in Chicago, They’ll probably end up vulturing enough production from each other to make them both essentially worthless for fantasy. Thanks for nothing again Eric Ebron.

Tyler Eifert re-signs with the Cincinnati Bengals for 1-year and 8-million dollars

As someone who has an unreasonably high amount of Tyler Kroft shares, I had big plans for all of my rosters when Tyler Eifert moved on. I own a few Shares of Eifert too, so the excitement of the possibility of ending up with two starting-caliber tight ends instead of an injury prone TE2 and his handcuff was appealing. Instead, the Bengals do the unthinkable and bring Eifert back crushing my Kroft shares. However, they think it wise to keep failing under Marvin Lewis’ watch, so there’s no telling why they chose to do anything they do. We’re looking at another year of fantasy owners over drafting Eifert who will inevitably be lost to injury again, leaving owners scrambling on waivers to grab Kroft.

Dion Lewis signs with the Tennessee Titans for 4-years and 20-million dollars

I don’t even know where to begin with this signing. The Titans released DeMarco Murray and the fantasy community was ready for Derrick Henry and all of his RB1 upside to be unleashed upon the world! Then a few weeks later, they sign Dion Lewis, and we all get the proverbial kick in the nuts. With Lewis & Henry forced to coexist, who knows what to make of this suddenly crowded backfield now. Henry is not going to be the RB1 we all were hoping for, and Lewis loses the value he had with New England. With one signing the Titans took a potential RB1 And RB2 and most likely turned them into an RB2 and RB3, respectively. There were hopes that Henry was going to be a legit all purpose 3-down back, but that dream is dead now. This signing knocks down both Henry and Lewis.

Sammy Watkins signs with the Kansas City Chiefs for 3-years and 49-million dollars

The best thing about the Kansas City offense in recent years has been possing the knowledge every year that only three players were going to be fantasy relevant each year. Last year those 3 were Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Kareem Hunt. The addition of Sammy Watkins is going to hurt one of them each and every week going forward. It will also hurt Watkins’ fantasy value too, as there is only one football to go around and there is no way they’ll be able to produce two WR1s, a TE1 and an RB1 for fantasy in 2018. Where we could once just plug and play their top 3 fantasy assets, we’ll now have to play the match-up game each week, good luck with that. Thanks for nothing Chiefs.

Ed Dickson signs with the Seattle Seahawks for 3-years and 14-million dollars

Ed Dickson will turn 31 years old this summer and has only averaged 22 receptions for 248 yards over the course of his 8-year career. Only twice has he pulled in more than 1 touchdown in a season, and one of those two times he caught 2. He’s played in 124 games over eight years and has only amassed 1985 receiving yards. For those of you without a calculator, he’s averaging 16 yards receiving per game.  The Seahawks outbid absolutely nobody for his services. He’ll probably begin the year as their starting tight end because Pete Carroll hates us all and can’t let us have our Nick Vannett dreams.

Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola both sign with the Miami Dolphins for 3-years and 24-million dollars & 2-years and 12-million dollars, respectively

When the ‘Fins sent Jarvis Landry packing, many thought Leonte Carroo might finally be given a chance to shine or DeVante Parker might finally get the targets to become a true WR1, or hell, maybe even Jakeem Grant would be fantasy relevant in 2018 after closing out 2017 strong. Whelp, nope to all those dreams. By bringing in both Amendola and Wilson, the waters are more muddied than ever before. Their entire stable of receivers is looking at WR2 ceilings on any given week and probably WR3 status at seasons end. Adam Gase is terrible, so are the Dolphins, enjoy spreading the ball around as you fight for the number one pick in next year’s draft, losers.

Jeremy Hill and Rex Burkhead both sign with the New England Patriots for 1-year and 1.5-million dollars & 3-years and 9.7-million dollars

As the Patriots allowed Dion Lewis to walk away, I thought we might see an expanded role for the recently re-signed Burkhead. I suppose we may still get to see that, but the signing of Hill has touchdown vulture all over it. You’d have to assume Mike Gillislee is out the door and to be honest, only a fool trusts a Pats running back for fantasy anyway outside of best ball formats. If you like gambling, you’ll love trying to pick between Burkhead, Hill and James White each week (and they’ll probably keep Gillislee anyway just to frustrate us even more).

To be fair, Hill has almost zero guaranteed money, so if he fails to impress in camp, the Patriots will probably release him at some point. Burkhead’s deal, on the other hand, will probably ensure that he is part of the Patriots plans for at least two more seasons. It’s hard to compile a list of things you hate for fantasy and not include some Patriots running backs.

We can expect a few minor shake-ups via free agency, and the draft as this offseason is in motion as we head towards NFL camps opening. Could some of these moves work out? Sure some probably will, but many of them are going to be complete failures. Don’t get caught up in all the coach speak or the Twitter lovefest that comes along with every trade or signing or draft pick. ESPN and the NFL Network are desperate for storylines and things to put a positive spin on. If you’re looking for a reality check, let me know on Twitter @dibari22, and I can find the dark lining to every silver cloud during this NFL offseason. When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade; give yourself a paper-cut and squeeze the lemon juice into it. Have a bad day, and sell Jimmy Graham while you still can.


Chicagoan living in Las Vegas. Fantasy Football writer & Director of In-Season Analysis for Dynasty Football Factory, blogger for USFantasy and contributor to TheFakeHockey. Member FSWA.

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