Musical Chairs: Free Agents & Trades Part 1 (DFF Dynasty Degenerates)

A busy offseason for offensive players moving to new places has the @DFF_Degenerates looking at some of Dynasty football’s favorite wide receiver commodities. Let’s talk about how things could shake-out for these fantasy football gypsies… wherever they may roam.

After all the player movement, who has the best seats at the fantasy table?

  • Jordan Matthews to the Patriots

  • Allen Robinson to the Bears

  • Brandin Cooks to the Rams

  • Sammy Watkins to the Chiefs

Several of these players are on their third teams. Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond… call them what you will: Fantasy championships will be won and lost with these polarizing players.

Jordan Matthews to the Patriots

@DFF_Madman: Matthews is a good risk to take. Julian Edelman will be 32-years old to kick-off the 2018 NFL season. He’s coming off a repaired ACL and is not likely to replicate his past fantasy point production. This could be Edelman’s last season as a contributing factor in New England. Cutting him next season saves the Patriots $3m with only $1.6m dead money for 2019. Edelman is certainly on the down-cycle of his career either way. His age and hard-nosed playing style are just as likely to cause him to miss playing time than lead the team’s WRs in fantasy points. Don’t rest your Dynasty WR lineup on Edelman’s laurels.

Danny Amendola is gone. Brandin Cooks is gone. So, there are over 250 available targets to go around to ensure viability. Ultimately, Matthews should become no worse than the third-leading target behind Gronk and Hogan, and second-leading WR on this team in PPR points (possibly exceeding the production of Hogan). It may not happen in the first half of 2018, but it will happen and Matthews will be a highly sought after PPR asset. Sometimes you need to be ahead of the curve in fantasy, rather than simply settling for the status quo. Take advantage now before the status quo changes in New England.

There are plenty of people who play fantasy football who are readily able to rattle off stats and tell you all the reasons they aren’t going after JMatt. But in this game, to get an edge, you must think ahead. You have to find opportunities to gain value on your roster. You don’t have to wait 3-years for JMatt to develop. He already has. You don’t have to extrapolate his stats to postulate that he can have 900-yard seasons with 8 TDs. He’s done that… twice. You don’t need to hope that he can become the slot receiver in New England. He’s already been that guy on two NFL teams. Compared with what may be a poor harvest year in the rookie crop of WRs, JMatt is low-hanging fruit. Get some.

Pro Football Focus Is Good MoJo!

@DFF_Walk: It didn’t take New England long to fill the empty seat in their WR room after the Cooks trade. Jordan Matthews provides Brady with yet another reliable short to intermediate type target to keep the offense on schedule. He was limited to a one-year deal likely due to his recent rash of injuries. Matthews will be looking to rehab his value so that he can cash in as a free agent again in 2019. He has WR3 upside in 2018. His Dynasty value must be down though, since teams like the Cardinals opted to give Brice Butler a multi-year deal over Matthews.

@dibari22: The departures of Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola leaves 252 targets up for grabs. Will Jordan Matthews ever live up to the all hype team dreams that some in the fantasy community have bestowed upon him in the past? Time will tell, but it sure is looking like he’ll be given every opportunity to succeed with the Pats.

@ChristipherBean: JMATT IS CATCHING PASSES FROM TOM BRADY!!!  Jordan Matthews usage through his career has been very similar to Julian Edelman – and he’s been more effective. The best part is that unlike Sanchez, Bradford, and yes even Wentz, Tom Brady is actually GOOD at working the short to mid-range of the field. So, a WR better than Edelman is now catching passes from a QB who is better at throwing them? Count me in!

@amazehayes_: So, I am a JMatt truther and believer. He is a very talented receiver who was never utilized well in Philadelphia. Then, he went to the wide receiver hell-hole that is Buffalo. Now, in New England, he’s on a team that hasn’t had a fantasy WR1 since Wes Welker in 2012. Furthermore, the top-5 PPR finishers under Brady since 2010 have been Walker (2011), Welker (2012), Julian Edelman (2016), Edelman (2013), and Brandin Cooks (2017). You will notice that one of those players is still on the Patriots’ roster. Unless Edelman is cut (which I don’t see happening), I fail to see how JMatt makes a major fantasy impact in 2018 or 2019.

Some suggest that JMatt can replace Cooks, but they are two completely different players – and I think Chris Hogan is much more suited for a Cooks replacement role. Others suggest that Edelman can be pushed to the outside with JMatt in the slot, but that is a poor utilization of Edelman. The two can coexist in the slot together as Edelman and Danny Amendola did, but that comes at the expense of Matthews as it did to Amendola. In fact, Edelman performed better when Amendola was on the field. To me, this move was simply the most Belichick thing that could have happened: more weapons for Brady, but less predictability weekly for defenses – and unfortunately, also for fantasy owners.

Brandin Cooks to the Rams

@DFF_Walk: Cooks has always been too boom or bust for my liking so I have exactly zero shares of him in Dynasty. I don’t foresee that getting any better in L.A. where he likely slides into that limited-volume Sammy Watkins role. It should be great for the Rams offense in real life, but for our Dynasty purposes, his STOCK IS DOWN!

New England Patriots’ Brandin Cooks, left, is stopped by Philadelphia Eagles’ Rodney McLeod during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

@dibari22: How often do two teams move on from a “top” wide receiver two years in a row? Something is going on with Cooks. I don’t know what yet, but maybe it’s a locker room issue? I’m not sold on him and the more NFL teams keep distancing themselves from him, I’ll be doing the same.

@DFF_Madman: I’m not a Cooks fan. I own him in one league. He’s a small, big-play WR and not a game-changer or a target hog. While you may expect him to finish as a fringe WR1 or high-end WR2 in fantasy points, you can’t count on him from week-to-week. His cost is also high with little value to be found in Dynasty leagues. I’m not sure he will do any better than Sammy Watkins in Los Angeles. Jared Goff already has a favorite target in the form of the better-than-you-think Robert Woods. I see the forest for the trees. The team may be different, but I’m still not buying Cooks.

@amazehayes_: Since it’s too lazy to compare Cooks to 2016 Sammy Watkins, I took to Twitter to compare Cooks to the speed receiver in a Sean McVay offense (Watkins last year and DeSean Jackson from the Redskins). Essentially, it’s not good for fantasy. Yes, DJack posted two 1000-yard seasons in Washington, but he was mostly inconsistent (as Cooks also is) and his best PPR finish was barely a top-24 receiver. I don’t see how it will be any different for Cooks in LA. Sure, he is a much better deep-ball threat than Watkins, but now we’re relying on a long touchdown for him to get fantasy points? No thank you.

Allen Robinson to the Bears

@DFF_JamesH: I really like this move. I’m a big fan of Allen Robinson, he is the perfect guy to support a young QB in Mitch Trubisky. The Bears offense is suddenly starting to look pretty good.

@DFF_Walk: I couldn’t envision a better landing spot for Robinson. He finds himself as the focal point in a Matt Nagy led offense with what should be an upgrade at QB in Mitchell Trubisky. A healthy Allen Robinson should return Top 12 WR value in Dynasty in the coming years. The time to buy was pre-Free Agency.

@dibari22: During his 4-year career, Allen Robinson has had one good year, 1-year lost to injury, and 2-years of blah production. I don’t understand all the hype around a guy who has let you down 75% of the time. Now, sprinkle in a 2nd-year, unproven QB, learning his 2nd system in 2-years after only starting 13-games in college, and you tell me why there are any expectations of him being better than a low-end WR2?

@amazehayes_: ALLLLL ABBBOOOOAARRRDDDDD! The ARob train is leaving the station and I am quickly hopping onboard. The entire Bears’ team is going to be so different than last year, and Robinson will be a big part of that change. Under new head coach Matt Nagy, I am super excited to see a modern-day offense in Chicago with the young talent they have on offense, on top of the young talent they have on the opposite side of the ball. I would not be surprised to see the Bears fighting for a six-seed in December and everyone talking about ARob being a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year. If this offense resembles anything like the Chiefs offense looked like last year, how does Robinson not finish as a fantasy WR1 in 2018?

@DFF_Madman: I’m excited about the Bears’ offense in general, with the hire of HC Matt Nagy and more importantly, OC Mark Helfrich. This offense has all the makings of an explosive PPR machine: up-tempo with lots of chunk plays! Trubisky can be a consistent fantasy contributor week-to-week in this scheme. He needs a WR1, and while Robinson seems like more of a WR2 possession receiver, he can be the number 1 guy for Trubisky. He is big-time for fantasy production in the long-ball game, on passes of 20-yards plus (shown below per PFF).

This is green lights all around. Even if you’re not a Robinson truther, his situation is improved over his time in the Jags offense and you’ve got to be excited about that.

Sammy Watkins to the Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Sammy Watkins, right, scores past Houston Texans strong safety Marcus Gilchrist during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

@amazehayes_: I didn’t like him in Buffalo. I didn’t like him in L.A. Now, I don’t like him in Kansas City. Unless we predict a significant decrease in target share for both Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, Watkins will not get the targets to support a relevant fantasy receiver. He’s never been on my radar before because I have always viewed his price as more dependent on age and potential than actual production and nothing will change with this move to Kansas City.

@DFF_Walk: I’m an unapologetic Sammy Watkins truther. He was hamstrung during his time in Buffalo due to injuries and offensive ineptitude. In 2017 he was traded to the Rams late in the preseason which left him precious little time to acclimate to a new offense, yet he still posted a respectable 39-593-8 on only 70 targets. This Chiefs offense hasn’t been known for supporting multiple wide receivers given the involvement of Travis Kelce and now Kareem Hunt in the passing game. I fully expect their defense to take a step back this year. Couple that with the infusion of gunslinger Patrick Mahomes under center and we could see our fair share of shootouts over the next few years. Watkins and fellow running mate Tyreek Hill can get deep on anyone and I fully expect them to give defenses fits in the immediate future. Watkins should return WR2 value in 2018 with the chance for more in future years. He’s a WR1 based on talent alone.

@dibari22: I already wrote about Watkins here as a another move I don’t love. The KC system feeds three players, always has, always will. With Watkins getting mixed in with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt, one of them is going to vanish each week. Instead of counting on fantasy consistency each week, we’re throwing darts on a week-to-week basis trying to figure out what players will take a step back on offense. Yuck.

@DFF_Madman: Watkins really is an enigma. Such a great player with immense potential, he had a respectable 2017 season for the Rams, per PFF.

On paper, you’d think he could be more like DeAndre Hopkins, but things just haven’t worked out. As Dibari and others so wisely pointed out above, there isn’t a lot of optimism about Watkins being more than he has been. Unless he and Patrick Mahomes forge a bond, Watkins may be a great addition to the Chiefs football team, but probably not so much for your fantasy team.

So, that’s the Skinny… Post

Wow! Sammy Watkins, Brandin Cooks, and Jordan Matthews should probably just rent their homes. Maybe Watkins could crash at Mahomes’ house; just keep the suitcases packed. These are modern day NFL gypsies. Cooks and Watkins are generating a lot of dialogue about their prospects in fantasy football. They’ve been “driving all night, but… end up in the same old place.”

We hope this compilation helps you in your quest for Dynasty Football greatness.

This has been another collaboration from the underground Dynasty football congregation known as @DFF_Degenerates.


Co-Host @DynastyTradesHQ / Senior Editor, Writer & Analyst @DFF_Dynasty / Member @FSWA / "Building Dynasties One Player At a Time" #2QB #Superflex #Devy #Cleveland #Buckeyes

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