The 2012 NFL offseason was loaded with major transactions that involved some of the biggest names in fantasy football. How will these players perform with their new teams? Here's our look at the 15 most prominent players to switch uniforms and how their fantasy draft value will change.
Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos: I know, Manning is 36 and coming off multiple neck surgeries. But do you really think he's going to see a drastic decline in statistical success? With talented receivers around him like Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Jacob Tamme, Manning should post another season with 4,000-plus yards and around 30 touchdowns. He's well worth a middle-round selection as a No. 1 fantasy quarterback. In fact, Manning could come off the board in the fourth or fifth round of 10- and 12-team leagues.
Matt Flynn, QB, Seahawks: Flynn showed flashes of brilliance in his limited time on the field with the Packers, and now he'll get a chance to see a prominent role in Seattle. Assuming he beats out Tarvaris Jackson and rookie Russell Wilson for the starting job in training camp, Flynn will be worth a late-round look in fantasy leagues. Just keep in mind that he'll be playing in a far less dynamic offense with downgraded weapons in the pass attack compared to Green Bay. Don't expect Flynn to have a breakout season.
Tim Tebow, QB, Jets: A surefire No. 1 fantasy quarterback last season, Tebow's value took a death blow when he was traded to the Jets. At least, it's a death blow until Mark Sanchez struggles and the New York media and fans call for Tebow to take over as the starter. Until (or if) he's the main man under center, it will be tough to trust Tebow in a prominent fantasy role if he's seeing only a limited number of snaps. Assuming Sanchez opens the year atop the depth chart, Tebow won't even be draftable in fantasy.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals: The Law Firm saw his numbers fall across the board last season compared to his 2010 totals, but a move to Cincinnati should move him back up in the stat sheets. The projected starter for coach Marvin Lewis, Green-Ellis should see 200-225 carries out of the backfield and plenty of goal-line work as well. The one spector here is the presence of Bernard Scott, who could turn this into a full-blown committee. That makes BGE more of a flex option in fantasy leagues.
Michael Bush, RB, Bears: A top-10 fantasy running back in 2011, Bush took his talents to the Windy City where he'll back up Matt Forte. With Forte under contract and no longer a threat to hold out, Bush is now more of a handcuff for fantasy owners who land the Tulane product. However, he can also turn into a decent option for those in touchdown-based leagues because of his expected role as a goal-line back. Regardless, Bush isn't someone to target until the middle to late rounds as a No. 4 runner or Forte handcuff.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Chiefs: Hillis endured the wrath of the dreaded Madden cover curse last season, posting disappointing totals compared to his breakout campaign of 2010. Now in Kansas City, he figures to see plenty of work alongside Jamaal Charles. In fact, Charles expects Hillis to play a similar role to Thomas Jones circa 2010. That season, Jones led the Chiefs in carries with 245 but it was Charles who was the better fantasy runner. Hillis should be drafted in the middle to late rounds.
Mike Tolbert, RB, Panthers: I can't think of a worse place for Tolbert to be than Carolina, at least from a fantasy perspective. A nice contributor for owners over the last two years, Tolbert now figures to see more time at fullback with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart in the backfield. He could see some goal-line work, which would obviously hurt Williams, Stewart and Cam Newton, but Tolbert isn't going to see enough burn to have much value in fantasy leagues. He'll be waiver-wire fodder in most formats.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears: If Tolbert went to the worst place possible, Marshall went to the best -- at least from a realistic standpoint. The offseason trade that sent him from Miami to Chicago put a nice fire under his value, as Marshall will be re-united with Jay Cutler. Remember, Marshall posted his best fantasy seasons in Denver while Cutler was throwing him the football. So forget about what he did or didn't do in two years with the Dolphins, Marshall is back to being a No. 1 fantasy receiver in 2012.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers: Once considered a No. 1 fantasy wideout, Jackson's stock fell a bit when he signed with the Buccaneers this past offseason. While Josh Freeman is a good quarterback with upside, he is a downgrade from Jackson's previous field general, Philip Rivers. The Bucs are also going to run the ball quite a bit under coach Greg Schiano, so Jackson's opportunities could be a bit more limited with his new team. I'd feel much more comfortable drafting him as a No. 2 or 3 fantasy wideout this season.
Brandon Lloyd, WR, Patriots: Despite the glut of wideouts on the roster, Lloyd couldn't have landed in a better spot than New England. More to the point, his reunion with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will turn him into a potential draft-day bargain. Remember, Lloyd led all receivers in fantasy points under McDaniels while the two were together in Denver. No one will argue that Wes Welker is the more valuable receiver, but Lloyd could push for 1,000-plus yards and 10 touchdowns with Tom Brady under center.
Robert Meachem, WR, Chargers: Meachem was considered a fantasy sleeper several times as a member of the Saints, but he never really met expectations. In fact, you could argue that he's been a bust to this point in his NFL career. However, a move to San Diego does make him, yes, a potential sleeper once again. As the No. 1 wideout in the offense for Rivers, Meachem should see more targets in a single season than he ever did in New Orleans. Consider him a borderline No. 3 fantasy wideout with some statistical upside.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins: Garcon might have finished in the top 25 among fantasy wide receivers last season, but he was also one of the least consistent players at his position. Now in Washington, he should develop into one of the top options in the pass attack for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Still, expecting him to make a huge statistical leap is tough -- especially now that's he'll be facing No. 1 cornerbacks on a regular basis. If you do draft Garcon, do it as more of a No. 3 fantasy wideout.
Laurent Robinson, WR, Jaguars: One of the best waiver-wire pickups of the 2011 season, Robinson came out of nowhere to score 11 touchdowns as the third wideout in Dallas. Unfortunately, he won't have Tony Romo throwing him the football in Jacksonville. Nor will he have Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten drawing the attention of opposing defenses. With that said, fantasy owners need to temper their expectations for Robinson in drafts. If you select him, it should be as a reserve in the late rounds.
Randy Moss, WR, 49ers: The last time we saw Moss on a football field, he was floundering with the Titans after struggling with the Vikings. Now in San Francisco, Moss joins a crowded corps of wide receivers that includes Michael Crabtree, newly signed Mario Manningham and tight end Vernon Davis. At age 35 and past his prime, it would be a surprise to see Moss rekindle the sort of statistical success that made him such a fantasy star earlier in his career. In fact, he's worth no more than a late flier.
Jacob Tamme, TE, Broncos: Tamme was all but invisible in the stat sheets last season, but a move to Denver has him back on the fantasy radar. In his last season with Manning under center in Indianapolis (2010), Tamme averaged close to seven receptions over his final 10 games and emerged into a solid No. 1 tight end for fantasy leaguers. While he will lose some targets to Joel Dreessen, it's still hard not to like what Tamme brings to the table in the Mile High City. Don't be shocked if he's a top draft bargain.