2018 Dynasty Football RankingsDynasty Football

NFL Free Agency Impact: Early Reactions (Part 1)

In Part 1 of the Free Agency reactions, we take a look at Wide Receivers and some Quarterbacks that have found new homes this off-season. In Part 2 we will take a look at the rest of the largest dynasty impact movers.

Allen Robinson, AGE: 24 (8/24/93), WR, Chicago Bears

Analysis by: Matt Mesisca

BEAR IN MIND

While some of the rumored landing spots (San Francisco and Green Bay) might have been better landing spots, there are arguably more targets available in Chicago. Targets are the name of the game in fantasy and this is an upgrade from Jacksonville. Since Robinson entered the league, he ranks within the top 20 wide receivers in yards per game, yards per reception, and touchdowns (despite starting just 41 out of 64 games over that time span). Robinson attributed Matt Nagy to a large portion of his decision in choosing Chicago. Nagy is the former Offensive Coordinator (and previously Quarterbacks coach) for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs offense took a big step under Nagy, finishing 6th in the NFL in scoring, 5th in total yards, 1st in turnovers, and 7th in passing yards. The passing yards is a good sign, because it was the first time the Chiefs passing offense finished in the top half of the league since 2005. Robinson thought this would be a solid landing spot for him to flourish and we agree.

RED ZONE VOID IN JACKSONVILLE

In 2016, Allen Robinson was 12th in the NFL in Red Zone targets (19). Last year, Marcedes Lewis led the team with 11 targets in the Red Zone. Allen Hurns has been an outlet in the past, but he looks like he could very well be a cut. Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook see a boost in value/targets but with the addition of Donte Moncrief, the re-signing of Marqise Lee (more on him later), Blake Bortles remaining at QB, and the run heavy offensive play calling, the floor is very low and the ceiling is capped for the youngsters Cole and Westbrook. 

 

Embed from Getty Images

Jarvis Landry, AGE: 25 (11/28/92),WR, Cleveland Browns

Analysis by: Matthew Bruening

BROWNS WHEELING AND DEALING

In possibly the biggest shock move of the 2018 free agency, the Cleveland Browns traded for Jarvis Landry. The Browns gave up a 2018 4th and 2019 7th for Landry. While the Browns want to sign him to a long term deal it seems Landry is poised to wait and see how he fits into that offense, before committing long term to Cleveland. Landry has caught 400 passes in his 4 years in Miami and now brings that efficiency to a brand new offense. While in 2014 and 2016 he caught less than 100 balls he made up for it in 2015 and 2017 catching over 110 both years. 2017 was also his best year in receiving touchdowns catching nine. While many people are down on this move for Landry I think he’s primed to succeed. Having Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman on the outside he should dominate the slot. Landry could be hurt some by Duke Johnson Jr. since a lot of his targets come from the short passing game as well. Landry all offseason has wanted to go to a team that values him and it looks like Cleveland will pay him if he decides to stay.

A NEW WEAPON IN THE SLOT

Tyrod Taylor who is the new quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, has never had a weapon like Landry. Landry dominates close to and even behind the line of scrimmage. He gives Tyrod a legitimate threat to gain yards with a simple dump off pass. Landry has sure hands dropping 7 of 119 passes giving him a drop rate of 5.88 ranking 35th in the NFL last year per pro football focus. Landry has topped a 80+ PFF grade all four years of his career. Landry should be able to dominate in this offense and likely will be the number two threat behind Gordon, he is a WR1 or top tier WR2 for me.

 

Embed from Getty Images

Sammy Watkins, AGE: 24 (6/14/93), WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Analysis by: Matt Mesisca

THE CHIEF OF POLARIZATION

There may be no other wide receiver more disagreed upon and debated in dynasty than Sammy Watkins. After signing a three-year deal worth up to $48M. The contract says enough about the Chiefs confidence ($30M fully guaranteed) that he has the ability, and expectation, to become their top wideout. Tyreek Hill is an excellent game changing receiver however works best moving around the field giving defenses fits. Watkins is better built as a true top WR outside. Much of the debate about Watkins always brings up his lower body injury history. Since entering the league, only 23 WR have started more games than Watkins. For some player comparisons over that time frame, lets do a blind comp:

 GamesRec. TDY/RTargetsCatch %Dynasty ADPAge
Player A512515.93460.555WR2224
Player B522514.314530.547WR1928
Player C612216.335290.565WR2028

So what stands out here? The catch % is very close for all three, but the targets are vastly different. Despite this target difference, Player A scored 25 TDs over this time span. On 183 less targets Sammy Watkins (Player A), scored three more touchdowns than T.Y. Hilton (Player C). Player B, Alshon Jeffery, finds himself with the highest ADP of the three thanks to the best quarterback situation in Carson Wentz. Since this ADP data has not adjusted to this signing, it may be too early for criticism, but this is a mistake. You would not have found me taking Alshon or T.Y. ahead of Watkins in dynasty startups prior to the move, and you certainly will not now. 60% of wide receiver peak seasons fall between the ages of 25 and 29. Sammy Watkins is just now entering his peak window while Jeffery and Hilton are leaving it. I am still on team Sammy and can not wait to see what he does in this powerful Chiefs offense.

MAHOMIES

The Chiefs in signing Watkins are giving Patrick Mahomes every possible opportunity to succeed. In 2QB/Superflex leagues I have him ahead of guys like Matt Ryan and Jared Goff. I also wouldn’t be upset at someone in a rebuild preferring him to Drew Brees or, dare I say, Tom Brady. Mahomes is their guy, and with the surrounding cast he has the potential to move into star territory as the guy in KC.

 

Embed from Getty Images

Paul Richardson, AGE: 25 (4/13/92),WR, Washington Redskins

Analysis by: Matthew Bruening

REDSKINS FIND SPEED FROM SEATTLE

Paul Richardson is one of the most intriguing free agents this year. He’s had some great moments in Seattle but their volatile offense has really only produced one wide receiver in Doug Baldwin. 2017 was his breakout year going 44/703/6. Richardson has shown he is a true deep threat, but injuries and inconsistencies have slowed him in Seattle and helped him out the door. A former second round pick, he will now likely be the second wide receiver playing opposite Josh Doctson. Getting a chance to start every week was a huge factor for Richardson and should get his chances in what will be a completely changed offense going into 2018.

NEW OFFENSE, NEW RICHARDSON?

The Washington Redskins will have a new quarterback in Alex Smith and a new wideout in Paul Richardson. Last year Richardson ranked 18th in deep passing yards with 300, amongst all qualified wide receivers per PFF. Catching the deep ball is Richardson’s game. This could help balance the Redksins and Doctson is more of a jump ball and red zone threat. However, there are many mouths to feed in Washington with Crowder, Thompson, Reed and Doctson. While Alex smith has the moniker of not throwing the ball deep, Smith finished as the number one deep passer last season, with 1,344 yards with an adjusted completion percentage of 56.5, per PFF. If Smith can replicate that again in 2018, Richardson should have another huge year. If Smith can continue that success Richardson should rise up dynasty boards, he is an upside wr2 for me.

 

Embed from Getty Images

Marqise Lee, AGE: 26 (11/25/91),WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Analysis by: Matthew Bruening

THE NEW BIG CAT ON THE BLOCK

Marqise lee is doing what we all hoped when it was decided Robinson wasn’t returning to Jacksonville, which was stay and become the number one target. He is singing with the Jags for a four year deal. Lee has been trending up the past two years, while he’s still struggled with injury he’s had two solid seasons his best year being in 2016 where he posted a stat line 63/851/3. Lee will be somewhat miscast as the number one in Jacksonville but hacking Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook alongside him should help. While he’ll likely be the best option on the Jags they will likely be a running team once again, so temper expectations that he’ll be the new Allen Robinson.

“LEEDING” A NEW JAGS OFFENSE

Lee was asked to step up and lead the offense in 2018 when Allen Robinson went down in game one. He finished the year 56/702/3 with a catch rate of 58.3% 12.54 YPR per PFF. He missed the final two games due to an ankle injury which is his biggest concern. As his first two season were dreadful due to hamstring injuries plaguing him throughout those years. He finished the year averaging 10.4 points a game in ppr. Lee will be leaned on to help convert first downs and if Blake Bortles can play like he did in the playoffs he stock could rise. However, as stated earlier the Jags with signing another good offensive lineman they will continue to run the rock. So they likely won’t be pass happy, I envision Lee is an upside WR2 for now.

 

Embed from Getty Images

Kirk Cousins, AGE: 29 (8/19/88),QB, Minnesota Vikings

Analysis by: Matthew Bruening

FROM SPARTAN TO VIKING

Kirk cousins can I borrow a couple bucks? Cousins has signed what is possibly a historic deal in getting a fully guaranteed contract. The worst kept secret has been made final, and looks to be changing the landscape in the NFC. Cousins has finished his last three seasons has a top 10 quarterback in fantasy, and has now been given a bevy of weapons. Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, and Dalvin Cook have now all been upgraded along with Cousins. Cousins while has been known to turn the ball over at times is still the best Qb Minnesota has had in years. He has also played in every game since he’s been installed as starter, another glaring hole the Vikings have had the past few seasons. While some will knock Cousins for “not winning” the big game, he has produced every year and been consistent. Which realistically if you look at his weapons and poor offensive line in Washington is actually quite remarkable.

JOHN DeFILIPPO, YOU LIKE THAT?

DeFilippo may be considered the best offensive coordinator that Cousins has worked with. He turned Carson Wentz into a MVP candidate. After he went down he played to Nick Foles strengths which helped lead him to a Super Bowl MVP. Cousins may not be Carson Wentz but is definitely considered better than Nick Foles, DeFilippo should be able to tailor the offense around his skills. It will help having the weapons he’ll have as well. Cousins is constantly underrated by many, but with DeFilippo and the multiple weapons he has he could easily jump into the top 5 quarterbacks starting this year.

 

Embed from Getty Images

Tyrod Taylor, AGE: 28 (08/03/89),QB, Cleveland Browns

Analysis by: Matthew Bruening

TYROD EXTENDS THE PLAY

Tyrod Taylor will be the latest to add his name to the illustrious list of Cleveland Browns starting quarterbacks. The Browns acquired Taylor from the Buffalo Bills for the 65th pick in this years draft. Taylor looks poised to be the starter at least for this year. While the Browns will likely draft a quarterback in the draft, all signs point to them sitting and learning behind Tyrod. He finished the year 263-of-420 passing for 2,799 yards 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Tyrod is the perfect bridge quarterback for the Browns as he’s good enough to help them win now with a brand new offense, but also has the football knowledge to teach any rookie drafted by the Browns.

JUST A BRIDGE?

Tyrod Taylor has been knocked in his career for not being a good quarterback. However, he’s one of the most efficient passers in the game and does everything he can to avoid turnovers which is always good for an offense. That however comes with a downside, he doesn’t take many shots and has been known to be afraid to pull the trigger. Taylor has thrown just 16 interceptions in his career as a starter, Kizer threw 28 last year alone. Tyrod fits Hue Jackson’s offense though and should thrive as he’ll have a great target in the slot in Landry, and Coleman who now being the number two will likely run short crossing routes with Landry. He’ll also have a great deep threat in Gordon at the X receiver. Tyrod has consistently finished in the top 16 at QB, that won’t change going to the Browns. I don’t see much of an increase in his stock but he’ll likely continue to be successful.

The Author

Matt Mesisca

Matt Mesisca

1 Comment

  1. […] examines the free agent moves that will have serious fantasy […]

Previous post

Prospects in Dynasty Startup Drafts

Next post

The Dynasty Guru's Triple Play: Kansas City Royals!