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Published: March 17, 2017 at 12:06 p.m.
Updated: March 17, 2017 at 12:15 p.m.

Veteran fantasy football winners and losers from free agency

The NFL's free agency frenzy doesn't just affect those fantasy players who are on the move for next season. There are also collateral scenarios that arise for teams that either acquired or lost talented assets. Here's a list of players who haven't changed teams this offseason, but will still experience a change in fantasy appeal for 2017.

20 Photos Total

  • Winner: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots 20

    Ben Liebenberg/NFL

    Winner: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

    How do you make Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time, even better? You give him Brandin Cooks and Dwayne Allen to go along with the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Dion Lewis and James White. Oh and let's not forget about Rex Burkhead. That's quite the offensive arsenal, huh? Brady could now get picked ahead of Aaron Rodgers in countless 2017 fantasy football drafts.

  • Loser: Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots 19

    Greg Trott/Associated Press

    Loser: Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

    You see all the players on that list in the Brady blurb? That's a lot of mouths to feed, and it figures to mean a decline in targets for Edelman. In fact, the veteran could see his targets drop from the 160 he saw last season down closer to 100. Remember, Gronkowski missed a huge chunk of the year ... and Cooks was still in New Orleans. There's a very good chance Edelman's value in standard and PPR formats is heading south.

  • Winner: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans 18

    Matt Patterson/Associated Press

    Winner: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

    Hopkins took an enormous (and unexpected) statistical downturn last season with Brock Osweiler under center, but the future is brighter now that the free-agent bust is no longer in the mix. Hopkins averaged just 56 yards with Osweiler under center, but that went up to 83 yards when B.O. was on the sidelines. Whether it's Tony Romo, Tom Savage or someone else, you have to like Hopkins' chances of getting back to form.

  • Loser: Kenneth Dixon, RB, Baltimore Ravens 17

    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Loser: Kenneth Dixon, RB, Baltimore Ravens

    Dixon's fall from fantasy grace was swift. First, the Ravens added Danny Woodhead to take over as their third-down and change-of-pace back. Then came the death blow ... Dixon was suspended four games for a violation of the league's PED policy. Those two events turned him from one of the biggest potential fantasy sleepers to a mid- to late-round stash. The Ravens might not be done adding backfield help, either.

  • Winner: LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills 16

    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    Winner: LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

    The Bills were able to retain quarterback Tyrod Taylor, which was a huge move for their entire offense. It also means McCoy will continue to benefit from his field general's skills as a runner, making it harder for opponents to defend the duo. Also, Buffalo added fullback Patrick DiMarco to help pave open lanes for Shady to run through. I'd be surprised if McCoy wasn't a top-eight overall pick in all 2017 drafts.

  • Loser: Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals 15

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Loser: Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

    Hill, who rushed for just 839 yards and finished 19th in fantasy points among backs last season, has seen his value tumble a bit with the loss of offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler. Whitworth earned All-Pro honors in two of the last three seasons, and Zeitler is now the highest-paid guard in pro football. Hill will remain in the RB2 mix, but losing two important pieces of his O-line will hurt.

  • Winner: Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers 14

    John Cordes/Associated Pres

    Winner: Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

    One of the best bargains in fantasy football last season, Gordon has established himself as a true featured back for the Chargers. That role won't be in question with the departure of Woodhead, whose presence in the offense capped Gordon's fantasy ceiling during his rookie campaign. The Bolts also signed tackle Russell Okung to their offensive line, and the return of Keenan Allen should open up the entire offense.

  • Loser: Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks 13

    Margaret Bowles/Associated Press

    Loser: Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks

    Rawls' fantasy value took a swift kick to the pills when the Seahawks added Eddie Lacy, as he went from a potential starter in their offensive attack to second or third on the depth chart. Seattle paid Lacy starter's money, and C.J. Prosise figures to be the third-down and change-of-pace back for coach Pete Carroll. Such a scenario leaves Rawls on the outside looking in when it comes to snaps, touches and fantasy production.

  • Winner: Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns 12

    Al Tielemans/Associated Press

    Winner: Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns

    Crowell, who scored more fantasy points than Lamar Miller, Todd Gurley and Matt Forte last season, sees an uptick in value with the addition of Zeitler and center JC Tretter. Paired with incumbents Joel Bitonio and Joe Thomas, the Browns now project to have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. That's nothing but good news for the Crow, who has a second-round tender on him and will be Cleveland's top runner.

  • Loser: Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants 11

    Al Tielemans/Associated Press

    Loser: Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants

    Shepard scored eight touchdowns during his rookie season, but he still finished just 37th in fantasy points among wide receivers. With Brandon Marshall now in the mix, Shepard's chances of building upon the 105 targets he received last year took a significant hit. Just one team (New Orleans Saints) had three wideouts top 100 targets in 2016, and the Giants don't have Drew Brees. With that said, Eli Manning is a big winner.

  • Winner: Paul Perkins, RB, New York Giants 10

    Evan Pinkus/Associated Press

    Winner: Paul Perkins, RB, New York Giants

    The Giants released Rashad Jennings earlier in the offseason, leaving the door wide open for Perkins to take over as the team's No. 1 running back. He saw an increase in snaps late in his rookie campaign, so we've already seen the start of this transition. As long as the G-Men don't add another impact runner as a free agent or in the draft, Perkins will become a very popular breakout candidate for fantasy owners.

  • Loser: Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings 9

    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Loser: Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings

    Talk of McKinnon's value rising surfaced when the Vikings parted ways with Adrian Peterson, but that chatter was calmed when the team added Latavius Murray. That points to a likely committee situation with Murray seeing the early-down and goal-line work while McKinnon slots in as a change-of-pace back. That sort of scenario will limit McKinnon's statistical ceiling and keeps him as a potential flex option at best.

  • Winner: Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8

    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Winner: Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    The Buccaneers were the lone team in the NFL without a single play of 50-plus yards last season. That problem has been solved with the addition of DeSean Jackson, who leads the NFL in plays of 50-plus yards (21) over the last five seasons. This is great news for Winston, who all of the sudden has a home-run hitter capable of making explosive plays in the pass attack. He'll move up the quarterback rankings.

  • Loser: Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals 7

    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Loser: Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

    According to Pro Football Focus, the Bengals offensive line ranked 15th in pass protection last season. Of course, that was before the team lost Whitworth and Zeitler during the free-agent period. That won't be good for Dalton, who will no doubt be hoping that the team can do some damage control in the upcoming NFL draft. For now, it's difficult to see Dalton's draft stock moving out of the No. 2 quarterback range.

  • Winner: Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles 6

    Al Tielemans/Associated Press

    Winner: Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

    Wentz had a hot start to his rookie campaign, but his numbers and value tanked as the season wore on. He does have a full year of NFL experience under his belt, however, and the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith give him two new weapons in the pass attack along with incumbents Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz. Wentz won't be a top-10 fantasy quarterback, but he will have some deep sleeper appeal in drafts.

  • Loser: Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles 5

    Peter Read Miller/Associated Press

    Loser: Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

    Matthews led the Eagles with 116 targets last season, which was 42 more than the next player on the roster (Dorial Green-Beckham). Still, he finished an awful 50th in fantasy points among wide receivers. There's a good chance his targets are going to tumble in a big way now that Jeffery and Smith are in the offensive mix. In other words, Matthews' stock is sinking quicker than the Titanic. He won't be worth much more than a late pick.

  • Winner: Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts 4

    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Winner: Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts

    Doyle, who scored five touchdowns last season, is now the favorite to start for the Colts next season after the trade that sent Allen to the New England Patriots. A red-zone threat who is also one of the better blocking tight ends in the league, Doyle should see increases in snap percentage and targets in 2017. Furthermore, we could be talking about him being a potential low No. 1 fantasy tight end in most 2017 drafts.

  • Loser: Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins 3

    John Middlebrook/Associated Press

    Loser: Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins

    Doctson could have been a big winner had the Redskins not added Terrelle Pryor, who figures to move into the top spot on the team's wideout depth chart. With Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis also in the offensive mix, Doctson could fall to the fourth-best option in the pass attack for Kirk Cousins. While he's still well worth a late choice, the excitement of a potential breakout season has slowed a bit.

  • Winner: Cameron Meredith/Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears 2

    Associated Press

    Winner: Cameron Meredith/Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears

    The loss of Jeffery means Meredith and White will battle for the top spot on the Bears wideout depth chart. Meredith led the team in targets a season ago, while White's proneness to injuries puts a bit of a damper on his overall stock despite a chance for more opportunities. Both players should be on your watch list regardless, as the new-look Bears will search for playmakers for new quarterback Mike Glennon.

  • Loser: Terrence Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys 1

    Peter Read Miller/Associated Press

    Loser: Terrence Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys

    Williams has had minimal fantasy value for the most part during his NFL career, and that won't change after he signed a deal to remain with the Cowboys. Instead of moving to a team that could allow him a bigger role, Williams will continue to pick up target scraps behind the likes of Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Cole Beasley. The veteran out of Baylor remains unlikely to have his name called in fantasy drafts.

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