*As the NFL's free agency period begins, we'll be keeping track of all of the fantasy relevant moves. Keep checking back to see where some of the biggest fantasy stars land and what it means for their 2015 outlook. *
Bernard Pierce (Jaguars): One day after being released by the Baltimore Ravens following a DUI arrest, Pierce has found a new home down south with the Jaguars. Pierce, who was one of the most ineffective runners in the NFL last season, will join a crowded backfield with Toby Gerhart, Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson that is likely to frustrate fantasy owners to no end. Stay away from Pierce in fantasy drafts this fall.
Travaris Cadet (Patriots): Former Saints running back Travaris Cadet will now be catching passes from Tom Brady instead of Drew Brees. Cadet will likely fill the void left by Shane Vereen, but don't expect him to mirror Vereen's production. Cadet joins a crowded backfield and will likely be a rotational, frustrating fantasy player at best.
Trent Richardson (Raiders):Trent Richardson has found his next chance in the NFL, and it's with the Oakland Raiders. There's little to like about this situation from a fantasy standpoint, as Richardson showed no signs that he could produce last season. He'll be behind Latavius Murray and Roy Helu in the Oakland offense, and isn't worth wasting a fantasy draft pick on unless either of the two backs ahead of him suffers a significant injury in the rest of the offseason.
Reggie Bush (49ers): The 49ers might have lost Frank Gore, but they've added Reggie Bush to complement Carlos Hyde. Bush agreed to terms with the 49ers over the weekend, and will likely be third-down role player in Geep Chryst's new offense. Bush will have late-round value, but Hyde is still the back to own in fantasy from San Francisco.
DeAngelo Williams (Steelers): The Steelers have now found a body to backup Le'Veon Bell, and that body's name is DeAngelo Williams. While with the Panthers last season, the former fantasy star looked like a shell of his former self, lacking explosiveness and decisiveness in getting through the line of scrimmage. This won't damage Bell's value in the least, but Williams could be a sneaky name to pick up off waivers or take a super-late flier on in the event that Bell is suspended for a few games to start the season (as many expect he will be).
C.J. Spiller (Saints): A lot is happening in New Orleans this offseason ... including an offensive makeover. With the departure of Jimmy Graham (via trade to the Seahawks) and Kenny Stills (via trade to the Dolphins), and the additions of Max Unger (Graham trade) and Spiller (free agency) it appears the days of Drew Brees slinging the rock 600 times a season are coming to a close. Spiller will pair with Mark Ingram to likely form a potent thunder-lightning one-two punch out of the backfield. Spiller's arrival certainly dings Ingram's value a bit, but he'll likely fill the role vacated by Pierre Thomas, and Ingram performed just fine with Thomas in the fold last season. Spiller will have more value in PPR formats, but otherwise will be best suited as an RB3-4 to fill in on byes and at the flex in standard formats.
Darren McFadden (Cowboys): So, Run DMC is getting a change of scenery with the Dallas Cowboys. We're going to go ahead and say this loud and clear right now: DARREN McFADDEN IS NOT DeMARCO MURRAY. There. Whew. Just because the offensive line is a group of road-graders doesn't mean McFadden will be an instant success. Plus, the team will likely add another veteran or (more likely) draft a running back in the first few rounds. McFadden's two year contract is only worth a potential $5.85 million, and it's likely heavily incentive-based. McFadden has averaged 3.3 yards per carry over the last three years. Don't buy into this soon to be derailed hype train yet again.
DeMarco Murray (Eagles): Murray is a virtual lock to the lead the Eagles backfield in touches next season, and playing in coach Chip Kelly's running-back friendly system makes him attractive. ... With all of this being said, I agree that putting Murray into Kelly's system seems like fantasy football gold ... and it might be for awhile. Just keep in mind that last season's massive workload could some back to haunt him. Read more...
Justin Forsett (Ravens): One of the few free agents to stay in the same place, Forsett should be a much more popular draft option in 2015 than he was in 2014. Then again, considering Forsett drew zero interest from fantasy enthusiasts last summer. With very little backfield compeition, Forsett should once again be a workhorse back for the Ravens. With a chance to be the undisputed starter from Week 1, look for the Cal product to be drafted as a low-end RB1 this season.
Frank Gore (Colts): Gore, who is entering his age-32 season, will join the Indianapolis Colts (and not the Philadelphia Eagles) and becomes the new starter for coach Chuck Pagano. Despite his extended age and over 2,400 regular-season carries (including the third-most in the NFL since 2011), Gore has remained a productive fantasy runner. He has rushed for over 1,100 yards in each of his last four seasons, and has maintained a respectable 4.35 yards-per-attempt average in that time. Read more ....
Matt Asiata (Vikings): Touchdown-vulture extraordinaire Matt Asiata is returning to the Vikings. His fantasy value -- and that of Jerick McKinnon -- will ultimately hinge on the future of Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, which is still cloudy at best. If Peterson departs, both Asiata and McKinnon take a hit as they're likely to split touches, with McKinnon doing the dirty work between the 20s (or 10s, even), with Asiata getting the goal-line work. Another RBBC on the horizon ... just what we all wanted.
Shane Vereen (Giants): Vereen proved himself a very versatile option while with the New England Patriots and he could certainly fill that role with Big Blue. The move could put a dent in some of Rashad Jennings' touches as Vereen is likely to be the team's third-down, pass-catching back. Nonetheless, look for Jennings to remain as a No. 2 fantasy running back option, but Vereen becomes a strong handcuff selection in the middle rounds.
Mark Ingram (Saints): At the age of 25 and with minimal wear and tear at the NFL level, Ingram will be in a position to post No. 1 running back totals in 2015. He's now locked into the second- or third-round radar as a high-end second back with the potential to push his status as one of the top fantasy players at his position. Read more...
Marshawn Lynch (Seahawks): I'm overlooking the red flags and will select Lynch with confidence in the first round of 2015 drafts. I'm also going to use the eye test in how I project Lynch next season, because he didn't look like a running back who is on the verge of falling off a statistical cliff. Read more...
Dwayne Bowe (Browns): The Browns offseason strategy of signing ineffective wide receivers from other teams continues to work, as they've now nabbed Bowe and Brian Hartline to help either Josh McCown or Johnny Manziel under center. Neither option should move the needle in fantasy, but Bowe might merit a flier in the very late rounds as a WR5 if you have the roster space.
Steve Johnson (Chargers): Johnson had flirted with joining the New England Patriots, but it looks like he's decided to stay in the Golden State, as it's reported he'll sign with the San Diego Chargers. This is good news for Johnson and Philip Rivers, as the Baron of the Bolo will be the best quarterback Johnson has ever played with. At only 28 years old and with barely over 330 career receptions to his name, Johnson likely still has something left in the tank. He'll be an extremely cheap WR3 or WR4 in 2015 who has the talent and opportunity to well out-perform his draft status.
Cecil Shorts (Texans): The Texans were in need of wide receivers this offseason, even more so after the release of Andre Johnson. They found help on Monday in former Jaguar Cecil Shorts III. Shorts performed well with the Jags despite highly inconsistent quarterback play. He'll have a chance to excel for Houston alongside DeAndre Hopkins and another potential draft pick or signee. He'll be on the WR3-WR4 radar for now.
Mike Wallace (Vikings): We were wondering what was in store for Wallace after the Dolphins traded for Kenny Stills. Now we know -- a trip to Minnesota to play with Teddy Bridgewater. The move (as we mentioned below) is more of a boon for the value of Stills and Jarvis Landry in Miami than for Wallace in Minnesota. Wallace's arrival will help Bridgewater, who now has a crowded arsenal of talented pass-catchers to get the ball too, including Charles Johnson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, Jarius Wright and Kyle Rudolph. This could mean that one of those wideouts (cough Jennings cough) winds up on the outside looking in. It's also not exactly a vote of confidence for Patterson, who broke countless fantasy hearts last season. Right now, Wallace lands in Minnesota on the WR3 radar, with Johnson being the first Norsemen wide receiver who should be taken on draft day.
Percy Harvin (Bills): The latest stop on Percy Harvin's tour through the NFL will be Buffalo, as he'll join Rex Ryan and the Bills on a one-year deal. Harvin will join a young, talented wide receiver corps of Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, as well as fellow new addition LeSean McCoy. The Bills suddenly boast an impressive group of skill players, but the big question will be who is getting them the football. Right now, that'll either be EJ Manuel or Matt Cassel -- neither of which is that appealing from a fantasy perspective. If offensive coordinator Chan Gailey can find some creative ways to get Harvin the football in space (despite his protests) he could potentially land on the WR3 radar. Until then, his name value outweighs his fantasy value at this time.
Kenny Stills (Dolphins): Well, the house-cleaning in the Bayou continues, as the Saints have traded deep-threat speedster Kenny Stills to the Dolphins. Stills value sinks in Miami ... for now. He was coming on late last season for New Orleans, and was going to be a nice sleeper name in redrafts this fall. However, being the third or fourth option in Miami (behind Mike Wallace, Jarvis Landry and Jordan Cameron) isn't going to work too well for Stills, unless of course his arrival is the beginning of the end for Wallace. The team had been rumored to be seeking a trade for the over-paid, hot-headed receiver prior to free agency, and with Stills being younger and boasting a similar skill set, it doesn't make sense for Miami to pay both of them. Stills' value in 2015 will be directly tied to what happens to Wallace in the coming months. Stay tuned.
Andre Johnson (Colts): Indianapolis beefed up its already solid receiving corps by adding the veteran Johnson. While it's big news for the Colts overall, fantasy enthusiasts shouldn't get too worked up over the addition. Certainly, Johnson is a better fantasy option than Hakeem Nicks was in 2014, but he'll be behind T.Y. Hilton on the depth chart and could battle with Donte Moncrief for targets -- and that's before you factor in any passes going to Dwayne Allen or Coby Fleener. Nonetheless, it's better to be a third option working with Andrew Luck than a second option with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Randall Cobb (Packers): With a superstar quarterback in Aaron Rodgers throwing him the football and playing in an offense that has plenty of firepower, Cobb is going to be right back in the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver conversation in 2015 drafts. In fact, he's not likely to make it past the second and third rounds in standard scoring leagues. Read more...
Torrey Smith (49ers): After suffering a slew of defections, the 49ers make an addition by signing Smith away from the Ravens. By landing in the Bay Area, Smith is reunited with former Ravens teammate Anquan Boldin but is now part of an offense that had problems throwing the ball last season. His ceiling the past two years in Baltimore was that of a WR2 in most fantasy formats. It's hard to imagine it getting much better in a 49ers offense that doesn't have a true identity at the moment.
Harry Douglas (Titans): After spending the past couple of seasons as a nice reserve option for the Falcons, Douglas moves to Tennesee where he could become the team's slot receiving choice in 2015. That means he could see more snaps this season, which would be great news ... if only the Titans had a quarterback. At best, Douglas was a WR4/5 option. Now, he'll find himself coming off the waiver wire.
Christian Ponder (Raiders):Derek Carr has a new backup, as the Oakland Raiders have signed free-agent quarterback Christian Ponder. Ponder has no value in fantasy football next year unless Carr is stricken with a serious injury. In fact, we're kind of surprised we're even wasting time writing about him. Carry on.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Jets): Fitzpatrick will be suiting up with his sixth NFL franchise in 2015 after being traded to the New York Jets from the Houston Texans for a late-round draft pick. It's a fine fit for Fitzpatrick football-wise, as he'll be reuniting with former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. Fantasy-wise, Fitz will have minimal value to start as it's assumed he'll be backing up Geno Smith. If Geno falters (again), Fitz-magic could have some value in deeper leagues as a QB2.
Nick Foles (Rams): Well, as was rumored for some time, the Rams and Eagles have agreed to a trade, swapping Sam Bradford for Nick Foles and draft picks (Eagles get a fifth round pick, the Rams get a fourth and conditional second-round pick in 2016 -- if Bradford is the Eagles starter). For Foles, he'll likely land as the starter, but might have to fend off Austin Davis in the preseason, which shouldn't hard. He'll have a nice crop of skill position players to work with (more than he would have after the exodus in Philly), including Tre Mason, Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt. After a disappointing 2013 campaign that was marred with broken collarbone, look for Foles to slide in as a mid-range QB2 for fantasy this season until we see something tangible on tape.
Sam Bradford (Eagles): The opposite end of the Foles-Bradford trade puts the former No. 1 overall pick in a new setting with a savvy head coach and offensive play-caller in Chip Kelly. To be honest, it's just the situation Bradford needed to potentially revive a career that has been rittled with injuries year after year -- if he stays in Philly (more on this in a moment). Back in 2013, he threw for 2-plus touchdowns in four of his first seven starts before succumbing to a season-ending injury, which happened again in 2014. There's still a chance the Eagles could more Bradford prior to the 2015 NFL Draft, however, so keep an eye on that. It'll be fascinating to watch where Bradford goes, and if Kelly can untap Bradford's potential if he remains in Philly. Plus, can Bradford stay healthy? Like Foles, Bradford will still be a QB2 heading into 2015, but he's a name worth keeping an eye on if he stays in St. Louis, as Kelly's offense even made Mark Sanchez a viable starter for parts of last season.
Tony Moeaki (Falcons): Many fantasy enthusiasts had Moeaki as a name to watch after his impressive rookie season where he caught 47 passes for over 556 yards with three touchdowns. Unfortunately, injuries forced him to bounce around the league for the next four years, with his most recent landing spot being the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have Levine Toilolo still, but he hasn't exactly broke out yet in what should remain a high-flying pass attack. Once again, Moeaki might represent a name to circle on draft day in the very late rounds as a potential deep sleeper candidate.
Charles Clay (Bills): It took a while, but the Bills finally got their man at tight end when the Dolphins didn't match their offer to free agent Charles Clay. Clay is a talented player, but the move to Buffalo damages his fantasy potential a bit, as he moves to an offense without a true quarterback that is already loaded with skill position players (LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin, Robert Woods). The tight end position is incredibly thin to begin with, and Clay will probably end up on the fringe of the TE1 tier as a result. Just don't end up over-drafting him given his name value.
Scott Chandler (Patriots): The tight end position is getting crowded in New England after the team agreed to terms with free agent Scott Chandler, formerly of the Buffalo Bills. Chandler will join the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Timothy Wright and Michael Hoomanawanui, which equates to a fantasy wasteland after Gronk. Unless one of the aforementioned names gets cut or traded, Chandler will offer little fantasy value in 2015.
Jordan Cameron (Dolphins): It makes total sense why Jordan Cameron jilted the Cleveland Browns and signed with the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night. He'll now represent one of the top passing targets for a bright young quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, as opposed to constantly wondering a) who his quarterback is or b) whether or not they can actually get him the ball. Charles Clay was targeted an average of 96 times per year from 2013 to 2014, but if Cameron can stay healthy we'd expect him to exceed those totals. Cameron slots in as a low-end TE1 for now, but definitely has upside in the Dolphins offense. He'll offer really nice mid- to late-round value.
Jimmy Graham (traded to Seahawks):Graham becomes the unquestioned No. 1 target in a pass attack that lacks an elite option. But can he duplicate the sort of numbers he recorded as a member of the Saints? He's finished no worse than third in fantasy points among tight ends in each of the last three years, including first-place finishes in 2012 and 2013. In that time, he's scored a combined 35 touchdowns. Of course, that was also in an offense that threw the football a ton. Read more...
Owen Daniels (Broncos): It's not a big surprise to see Daniels reunite with Gary Kubiak in Denver -- especially after the departure of Julius Thomas. While the veteran tight end can't be expected to put up Thomas-like numbers, he'll certainly see a boost in targets and productivity thanks to an upgrade at quarterback from Joe Flacco to Peyton Manning. The biggest concern will be how often Daniels is asked to split snaps with Virgil Green. The latter is certainly more of a blocking tight end, but he could seen the occasional opportunity in Denver's wide open offense.
Julius Thomas (Jaguars): Not to be even more of a "Negative Nancy," but there's nothing to like about Thomas' landing spot from a fantasy standpoint. In fact, I'm moving him from the No. 3 tight end spot (behind Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham) to No. 7 behind the likes of Greg Olsen, Travis Kelce, Antonio Gates and Martellus Bennett. That puts him into the middle- to late-round conversation, but I wouldn't be optimistic about his production curve in 2015. Read more...