Shining Bright in New Scenery

Just like Motley Crue, I consider myself a dreamer. I often think about the best and worst-case scenarios. The latest topic occupying my thoughts is where some of this year’s free-agents could land and how changes to current rosters could affect the existing players on those rosters. Dynasty football is about constant change. You need to speculate and project to stay one step ahead of your competition. These players should be on your target list with the hope that some of these scenarios come to pass. One move often begets another, and the following players could become, return, or maintain their stud dynasty status with a change of scenery or changes to the set pieces in their scenery.

Quarterback: Kirk Cousins

Cousins should be able to end up wherever he would like this offseason. My preference would be Cleveland. With a ton of cap room, the Browns could easily sign Cousins to a multi-year deal if they were so inclined. Cousins does have other options, but none as plum as what the Brown’s can provide. The Browns already roster Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, and David Njoku. They can afford to add any free agent they choose via free agency.

If the Browns were to sign Cousins, they wouldn’t necessarily be forced to expend any draft capital on the QB position and instead could use one of their top four overall picks in the upcoming draft on Saquon Barkley. They could fill out their wide receivers with any or all of their three second-round picks. Knowing that Hue Jackson is surrendering play-calling duties to newly hired OC Todd Haley, the mind reels with the possibilities of Cousins with all those shiny young weapons.

Running back: Jay Ajayi

Ajayi needs just one or two things to move into (low) RB1 status again in 2018. The expected departure of LeGarrette Blount is a good start. Darren Sproles is also going to need to move on. It’d be nice if Doug Pederson would give Ajayi something approaching 20 touches a game in 2018, but that may be wishful thinking. In seven games with the Eagles in 2017, Ajayi averaged just 11.42 touches per game but did score 10.12 fantasy points per game, not bad for at all for such a light workload. Assuming Ajayi can near 15-18 touches a game next season, he could have himself an impressive season.

Running back Jerick McKinnon 

I would love to see McKinnon in New York with the Giants. Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen are both free agents and not very good at the whole running back thing. Paul Perkins is not a free agent, but akin to Vereen and Darkwa, is bad at being a running back. McKinnon would walk into the perfect situation to play all three downs in NYC, assuming they don’t draft a running back early in the draft. The Giants have a terrible defense, giving up the 5th-most points scored per game in 2017, which would allow McKinnon to utilize his best skill, pass catching, due to the Giants being in catch-up mode. Indianapolis wouldn’t be a bad landing spot either, again assuming the Colts don’t draft a running back early.

Running back: Derrick Henry

I’ve had a man-crush on Henry forever now. Last offseason I asked him to be my Valentine (he never replied). Regardless of my spurned advances, I still love Henry and just need DeMarco Murray to move on so that he can finally take over the full-time role in Tennesee. Henry was the better running back by far in 2017, but Mike Mularkey refused to give him the starting role. Once Mularkey was fired, all Henry owners rejoiced in the knowledge that Henry will now finally be given the opportunity to prove us all right in our steadfast belief in him.

Wide receiver: Carlos Henderson

Say for whatever reason Kirk Cousins decides that he would rather sign a long-term deal in Denver than with another team that boasts better offensive talent. John Elway is pretty persuasive from the stories I’ve heard. The Broncos have between $24-$28 million in cap space, so signing Cousins and their draft picks would take some cap tap dancing. One way to free up cash would be to cut Emmanuel Sanders who is coming off a disappointing 2017 season. Releasing Sanders would provide the Broncos with an additional $5.6 million in cap space.

Cody Latimer is a restricted free agent and re-signing him is not something Denver is likely to do based on his lack of production. This would leave Carlos Henderson, a 3rd round draft pick in 2017, in prime position to step into the WR2 role in Denver. Henderson had quite a bit of buzz last season before his season-ending injury in September. Henderson was just arrested for a marijuana DUI a couple of weeks back, so buyer beware on him, but that arrest could also help to depress his value even further. Henderson is the type of player who you ship off a late 2nd round rookie pick to obtain and hope it pays you back in spades.

Wide receiver: Sammy Watkins

If I had my druthers Watkins would move on to another roster where he’d receive the WR1 targets/respect he deserves. Sammy Watkins is head and shoulders better than Bob Woods and Cooper Kupp, and if Sean McVay or Jared Goff can’t realize that, then Watkins is better off somewhere else. For reasons beyond comprehension both Kupp (94 targets) and Woods(85 targets) out-targeted Watkins (70 targets) in 2017, Woods doing so in 2 fewer games played. Watkins was good enough for 7th at the WR position with 2.09 fantasy points per target in 2017. Woods checked in at 15th with 1.93 fantasy points per target while Kupp lagged far behind in 21st with 1.88 fantasy points per target.

If Watkins does stay in L.A., we can only hope McVay will smarten up and ensure that Goff targets the best WR on his team commiserate to how the mediocre Kupp was targeted in 2017. I’m hoping that Watkins spurns the Rams and lands in Chicago where he could be Mitchell Trubisky’s #1 target. Failing that, I could live with him ending up in San Francisco, Arizona or wherever Kirk Cousins lands (unless he signs with Cleveland). Good luck to Woods and Gurley owners when Watkins leaves town. Let’s see how well Woods produces each week without a legitimate #1 WR occupying the best coverage every week. After finishing just 49th in the league with .3 ypc in 2017 against stacked boxes, it’ll be interesting to see how Gurley does in 2018 when defenses stack the box every play with no wide receivers of worth to concern themselves with.

Tight end: Trey Burton

When Zach Ertz has played over the last three seasons, Burton has been an afterthought. When Ertz has been unable to go Burton is a TE1, as confirmed by the RotoViz game splits App.

Burton is an unrestricted free agent after the Eagles win the SuperBowl on Sunday. As long as Burton signs on a roster without a top 12 tight end, he’ll be a TE1 in 2018.

This list of players wasn’t exhaustive by any means. Share with me any players you think will see a turn of fortune this offseason. You can find me on the Twitter @DFF_Shane. Wait there’s more!! You can listen to me co-host the @DynastyTradesHQ podcast as well!

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