Free Agency Fantasy Football Impact

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FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on holding his helmet before the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

NFL free agency is over one week in the books. Yes, NFL teams are considered winners or losers of free agency. However, the biggest winner is always fantasy football. Several teams signed and traded players that moved the needle for 2020 NFL fantasy football draft boards. I’m going to look at the free agency fantasy football impact the top players made on your draft board? Get ready to adjust your rankings.

Free Agency Fantasy Football Impact

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After a scorching start to 2019, Brady and the New England Patriots limped to the finish line. Brady finished the 2019 NFL season as the number twelve fantasy quarterback. Now he inherits the numbers two, Chris Godwin, and thirteen, Mike Evans, receivers in PPR scoring (point per reception). Due to his rising stock, I think Brady will be overvalued in re-draft leagues. League owners will be drafting the Brady that once was and not the 43-year-old with diminishing arm talent. I won’t be shocked to see Brady’s average draft position be in the third round of leagues.

The Buccaneers passing game was already a heavily targeted commodity. Add to the fact that the NFC South is a passers paradise. With that being said, this could be the breakout season for O.J. Howard, we’ve been waiting for. While I think Brady can still be a QB1, I’ll temper expectations.

DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

This head-scratching trade has the fantasy world salivating over the Cardinals. Hopkins entered the 2019 NFL fantasy football season as a receiver touted with Michael Thomas and Julio Jones, as first-round value. He returned solid production ranking fifth overall in PPR scoring. Deshaun Watson‘s most reliable target got no less than 8 targets in any one game, he had a five-week stretch without a touchdown. Projecting his role in the Cardinals offense is not so certain.

Kyler Murray now has a legitimate number one wide receiver to go along with Christian Kirk and the venerable Larry Fitzgerald. This is where it gets interesting. We could count on the high target share for Hopkins in a Houston Texans offense that lacked weapons. If only Will Fuller could stay on the field? So how does this affect our fantasy football draft boards? This is still a Kliff Kingsbury offense which offers plenty of targets to go around. Expect a slight depression in overall targets, 150, to about 130. Although not a target for the first round, Hopkins is still a WR1 on my draft board.

Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos

At first glance, it’s as if Gordon went from one timeshare situation to another. The Broncos already have Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. However, Gordon isn’t one to settle for a timeshare role. After reporting back to the Los Angeles Chargers by week five, his fantasy value didn’t take off until week nine of the 2019 NFL season. Gordon rewarded patient fantasy football owners with an average of 16 PPR fantasy points to the season. So, what can we expect from Gordon looking forward to the 2020 NFL season? Expect more of the same.

Gordon has plenty of treads left on the tires at 26 years old. And, he offers plenty of value in both standard and PPR scoring leagues. His usage with the Chargers was solid averaging 15-20 rushes with three to five targets per game. His arrival, in Denver, is a definite downgrade to Phillip Lindsay whose value is squarely that of a third-down specialist. I’m targeting Gordon in the second round of drafts. He’s a steal if he slips the third round.

Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

Acquired via trade from the Minnesota Vikings, the Bills added another playmaker to Josh Allen‘s arsenal. In the grand scheme, how long until Diggs becomes malcontent with errant Allen passes? The Bills gave up a first-rounder in this year’s draft that is loaded with wide receiver talent. That isn’t to say they can’t add one later. However, fantasy-wise, what does this do to the value of the Bills playmakers?

John Brown saw 115 targets in 2019, and Diggs, 94 targets in the Vikings offense. We can flip those numbers for 2020 and rank Diggs as a solid WR2 and Brown to WR3. Devin Singletary becomes the main benefactor as defenses have to worry about the perimeter. Singletary is a solid RB2 and an attractive draft target employing zero running back draft strategy. I expect a slight down-tick in rushing from Allen, as the coaching staff tries to ensure his health and he matures as a passer.

Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers

This an underrated move by the Panthers. Fully healthy, Bridgewater finds himself an opportunity to be the man again. He’s landed in an excellent position surrounded by outstanding young weapons. Additionally, Bridgewater stays in the familiar territory being the NFC South. Can he be more than a game manager? That’s the question that fantasy owners will ask themselves when considering Bridgewater at the end of drafts.

Bridgewater was solid in his six starts, weeks two through seven, with the New Orleans Saints in 2019. Given his efficient effort, Bridgewater showed us a floor of seven fantasy points and a ceiling of 28 fantasy points. With that being said, Bridgewater’s presence should provide an uptick to the passing game and keep Christian McCaffrey firmly as one of the top overall fantasy performers. Consider Bridgewater a QB2 at this point with upside.

 

 

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