Fantasy  

 

Rampant player movement has altered fantasy values

Over the last two weeks, the NFL has been a virtual fantasy football league with players changing teams and uniforms at a fast and furious pace. In an effort to get you updated on all the big moves and how they'll affect your fantasy football draft, here's our look at the big-name players who will have new addresses in 2011.

Kevin Kolb, QB, Cardinals: The Cardinals' new starter has the advantage of a superstar wideout in Larry Fitzgerald and a pass-catching tight end in Todd Heap. While he won't develop into a No. 1 fantasy quarterback, Kolb clearly has upside and is worth a look in the middle to late rounds as a legitimate No. 2. He'll also have value as a matchup-based starter in the NFC West.

Donovan McNabb, QB, Vikings: He isn't going to return to his salad days in Philadelphia, but his stock does rise with the Vikings. The unquestioned starter for coach Leslie Frazier, McNabb has strong offensive weapons like Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin around him. The veteran has late-round appeal as a No. 2 fantasy quarterback and occasional matchup-based starter.

Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Titans: Much like McNabb, Hasselbeck's best statistical seasons are in the rearview mirror. But that doesn't mean the veteran can't still be a nice matchup-based fantasy starter. His presence in the offense is also good news for breakout candidate Kenny Britt and deep fantasy sleeper Jared Cook.

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins: The fantasy value of Bush, who has missed 16 games over the last three years, benefits from the move to Miami. He'll be playing on grass and has only rookie Daniel Thomas to split touches with. With that said, Thomas is clearly the Dolphins runner to target in seasonal leagues. Bush, who has added value in PPR leagues, should be considered a No. 4 fantasy back in standard formats.

Tim Hightower, RB, Redskins: It looks like Hightower will open the season behind Ryan Torain, but he's still destined to see plenty of work on third downs and in passing situations. When you also consider how brittle Torain has been -- he's already hurt his hand in camp -- Hightower has a good chance of expanding his role and is worth a late-round look with added value in PPR leagues.

Ronnie Brown, RB, Eagles: Once considered one of the better running backs in fantasy football, Brown is now on the downside of his career and will serve as a veteran backup to incumbent starter LeSean McCoy. In fact, Brown is now an extremely attractive handcuff for owners who land McCoy in the first round.

Darren Sproles, RB, Saints: He will fit right into the role Bush left behind. A tremendous pass catcher who can also be an asset as a return man, Sproles has late-round appeal in standard formats. If you're in a league that rewards points for either receptions or return yardage and touchdowns, however, Sproles would be worth as much as a middle-round selection.

Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos: McGahee's stock has taken a nosedive since his days in Buffalo, and a move to Denver won't do much to improve it. While he will serve as a short-yardage and potential goal-line back for coach John Fox, McGahee is more valuable as a handcuff for Knowshon Moreno owners. Moreno will continue to start and should develop into a nice No. 2 fantasy runner.

Cadillac Williams, RB, Rams: Williams has seen his numbers and fantasy stock plummet in recent seasons. Now with the Rams, he'll ride behind Steven Jackson and serve as a backup along with Jerious Norwood. While he does have deep-league value as a fantasy handcuff for Jackson, Williams' stock is quite limited overall.

Marion Barber, RB, Bears: Barber has seen his stock sink like the Titanic over the last two years, and it's not likely to be resurrected. If he can beat out Chester Taylor on the Bears' depth chart (which looks likely), MB3 should serve as a nice short-yardage and potential goal-line back behind Matt Forte. Barber would also be a viable late-round handcuff for owners who land Forte in the earlier rounds.

Sidney Rice, WR, Seahawks: Rice is talented, but there are major questions about him now that he's in the Great Northwest. The last three big-name receivers to go to Seattle (Nate Burleson, Deion Branch, T.J. Houshmandzadeh) all failed to produce good numbers, and Rice has yet to be reliable without Brett Favre. He's averaged just 2.9 receptions in 20 career games where Favre wasn't under center.

Chad Ochocinco, WR, Patriots: At best, Ochocinco was a mediocre fantasy wideout the last three seasons. But his stock is on the rise now that he's a member of the Patriots. He won't be Randy Moss, but Ochocinco is once again a threat to be a 1,000-yard receiver playing with Tom Brady. I'd target the outspoken veteran in the middle to late rounds as a potential No. 3 fantasy option.

Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Rams: He turned into waiver-wire fodder in a lot of leagues last season, but his stock is back on the rise as a member of the Rams. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is going to throw the football a ton, and Sims-Walker looks like the favorite to be the top option for Sam Bradford. Sims-Walker won't turn into Brandon Lloyd, but he is clearly now on the radar as a fantasy sleeper.

Braylon Edwards, WR, 49ers: Outside of his breakout season with the Browns in 2007, Edwards has been a mediocre fantasy option. But he could start the season as the 49ers' No. 1 wideout if Michael Crabtree's foot injury remains a concern. But even in a best-case scenario, Edwards still shouldn't be seen as more than a potential No. 4 fantasy option on draft day.

Plaxico Burress, WR, Jets: Burress hasn't played in an NFL game since 2008, so he'll have rust coming out of the gate. He couldn't have landed in a better spot, though, as a starting position opposite Santonio Holmes is imminent. The veteran won't re-emerge into one of the top fantasy wideouts, but he can be a viable No. 4 option. Burress will be worth a look in the middle to late rounds.

Steve Breaston, WR, Chiefs: A former 1,000-yard receiver in Arizona, Breaston has been mostly mediocre from a statistical perspective over the last two seasons. That isn't likely to change in Kansas City, where he'll serve as the second receiving option behind Dwayne Bowe. While he does have some late-round value as a fantasy reserve, it's hard to project Breaston to make a strong fantasy impact this season.

Roy Williams, WR, Bears: A complete bust during his three years in Dallas, Williams' value is on the rise after signing with the Bears. He'll be reunited with coordinator Mike Martz, who led the Lions offense in 2006 when Williams had 82 catches and 1,130 yards. While he won't duplicate those strong totals, Williams is back on the fantasy radar as a potential No. 4 fantasy wideout.

Zach Miller, TE, Seahawks: A one-time potential draft bargain with the Raiders, Miller's fantasy stock has dropped after signing with the Seahawks. With Sidney Rice and Mike Williams in the mix, Miller figures to be no better than the second or third receiving option. The presence of Tarvaris Jackson being under center doesn't help his fantasy appeal. Overall, Miller is now a high-end fantasy reserve.

Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers: Olsen's statistical upside could be a bit limited with Jeremy Shockey also in the mix, but he's still a more attractive option for fantasy owners now that he's escaped Martz's tight-end killing offense. With Cam Newton or Jimmy Clausen under center, Olsen should see plenty of targets as a security blanket in the middle of the field. He's someone to consider in the late rounds as a No. 2 tight end.

Todd Heap, TE, Cardinals Once a top-five fantasy tight end, Heap's stock has fallen sharply over the last four years. The move to Arizona is a positive one, as he'll be one of the top options for Kolb. But to expect Heap to re-emerge into an elite option isn't realistic. Instead, he should be drafted as a late-round fantasy reserve.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question for Michael on anything fantasy football related? Send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com or tweet it at Michael_Fabiano!

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15