Free Agent Frenzy fantasy football fallout

The NFL season never ends, it just takes different forms. We're now fully into the next step on the treadmill with teams being able to franchise tag players and start negotiating deals with free agents. We'll update this page with the big, fantasy-relevant deals as they happen. Keep refreshing. It's not like you're going anywhere for awhile.

The Big Moves

You'll have to pardon me while I catch my breath. Like ... what? Just moments after the Texans announced that they were trading for running back David Johnson, they announce that star receiver DeAndre Hopkins was going back the other way. Now that I'm slowly getting my bearings, this has major ripples.

First, it raises the potential value for Will Fuller, Keke Coutee, and the remaining pass-catchers in Houston. That, of course, presumes that those players stay healthy which hasn't always been their M.O. It would ostensibly have a negative impact on Deshaun Watson. You can't lose a receiver that talented and expect things to get better. The upside is that Watson's running ability shouldn't tank his overall production.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals have become the new offense that everyone will want a piece of. The already-out-of-control Kyler Murray Hype Train just had a several truckloads of coal thrown on the fire. You'll have to reach into the early rounds if you're going to draft him in 2020. This will have a mild suppressing effect on the number of targets Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald will see this year but overall, this offense just got a lot more potent. -- Marcas Grant

It's official. TB is going to TB. We didn't have to wait too long into the start of free agency for the biggest name on the board to make his decision. Tom Brady is leaving New England and joining the Buccaneers on a two-year deal, marking the end of one of professional sports' most remarkable eras. Click here for more analysis. -- MG

The Rams released star running back Todd Gurley on Thursday, rather than pay him an additional $10.5 million of his contract. By Friday morning, he had found a new home with the Atlanta Falcons, signing a one-year, $5 million deal and returning to the state where he starred in college for the Georgia Bulldogs. Click here for more analysis. -- MG

With all due respect to Tom Brady, this was the biggest quarterback name set to hit the markt this year. But as expected, Dak Prescott won't be leaving the Metroplex. Dak was the QB2 last season after having the most productive season of his career while leading one of the NFL's most prolific offenses.

What would significantly impact Prescott's fantasy future would be whether or not the Cowboys are able to keep Amari Cooper. The two have gone together like chicken and waffles since Dallas traded for the talented wide receiver in 2018. With Cooper, Prescott could be a top five fantasy quarterback drafted. Without? Well ... we'll see. -- MG

Jerry Jones was adamant that he'd keep his two big offensive pieces in town and he did just that. After beginning the day by locking up Dak Prescott on a franchise tag, the Cowboys ended it by agreeing to a five-year deal with Amari Cooper. Since joining Dallas midway through the 2018 season, Cooper has racked up 132 receptions for 1,914 yards and 14 touchdowns (25 games). In 2019, Dallas was one of the league's most productive offenses and now has its big three pieces locked up for a run in 2020. As for Cooper, his peaks are in line with the game's elites. The downside is a lack of consistency. That volatility should push his draft value into the second round but he's a solid WR1 candidate. -- MG

There was never any doubt about this one. Brees said if he was going to return for his 20th season that it would be with New Orleans. The Saints were always adamant that they wanted Brees back if the veteran was willing to return. So for the moment, things stay status quo in the Big Easy. Expect Michael Thomas to be a top five pick in most leagues. Even Alvin Kamara should remain in the first round despite frustrating managers for much of last season. -- MG

This was one of the bigger names to keep an eye on during this period, though the expectation was mostly that the Titans would be silly to let Tannehill walk. The veteran quarterback enjoyed a resurgence last season, posting the best numbers of his career and helping lead the Titans to the AFC Championship game.

After taking over as the starter, Tannehill averaged 22.5 fantasy points per game -- fourth-best during that stretch -- by being incredibly efficient. The obvious concern for fantasy folk is that he'll have a hard time duplicating a season where he far surpassed his best marks in completion percentage and touchdown percentage while throwing the fewest picks of his career. The upside is that Tannehill is the type of quarterback that's becoming popular in fantasy football, namely one that can run. No, he won't be confused with Lamar Jackson -- or even Josh Allen -- but you mighta once heard that Tannehill was a wide receiver in college. He can scramble effectively when he needs to and it could keep his fantasy production fairly steady. -- MG

The Titans are keeping the band together. After signing Tannehill to an extension, Tennessee made sure that El Tractorcito wouldn't be pulling a big workload anywhere else. Henry finished last season as the NFL's rushing champion and helped plenty of people to fantasy titles with his strong finish to the season. With everything staying status quo in Music City, Henry will enter the conversation as a top five fantasy back in 2020. Now if only we could get him to start catching passes. -- MG

The Second Shift

After a bit of a wait, Robby Anderson is off the board. The former Jets speedster will fly south to Carolina where he joins his former college coach Matt Rhule with the Panthers. It's a bit of a curious signing for fantasy purposes. Anderson's best asset is his long speed, though he never blossomed into the complete lid-lifter the Jets hoped he could be. Now he's paired with Teddy Bridgewater, who's not exactly know for chucking the ball deep. This feels like a mismatch that won't make a lot of fantasy enthusiasts happy. Anderson should be downgraded on most boards. -- MG

It feels like just about everyone nailed this one. Philip Rivers and the Colts were linked together ever since it was known that the longtime Charger would wear the lightning bolt no more. Now he reunites with former Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich in Indianapolis. The upside for Rivers is that he'll be able to work behind a much better offensive line than he's experienced over the last few years in San Diego/Los Angeles. But if the lack of arm strength and turnover-proneness we saw near the end of last season don't improve, it won't matter much. The least we can hope for is that Rivers can re-inject some life into T.Y. Hilton. -- MG

Melvin Gordon is leaving the Chargers but he's staying in the division after coming to terms on a two-year deal with the rival Denver Broncos. It's likely a better move for the Broncos than for fantasy enthusiasts. Denver gets a quality running back still in his prime years to pair in their backfield with Phillip Lindsay. For the rest of us, though, it means another heavy running back rotation that severely diminishes the value of both players. Gordon is likely to top out as an RB2 this season with Lindsay on the low-end of the RB2 scale. As for Royce Freeman, well ... it might be a wrap in Denver. -- MG

Bengals place franchise tag on WR A.J. Green

This move was kind of expected. Much in the same way we came to expect weekly tweets last year that asked, "is this the week A.J. Green is going to be playing?" The answer to the latter question was no, as the team eventually placed him on IR at the very end of the year. But Green has continued to figure into the Bengals' plans for the future. And that future could be incredibly bright as the team is expected to select quarterback Joe Burrow with the first-overall selection in April's draft. Green would be part of an offense that is brimming with talent, including receivers Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate and a talented stable of running backs. Green could end up being a great value in fantasy drafts this summer. -- Adam Rank

Bill O'Brien, look away!

Apparently Stefon Diggs' cryptic social media posts actually added up to something. The Vikings traded the talented wide receiver to the Buffalo Bills for a four-pack of draft picks. Diggs gets his wish to get out of Minnesota and Buffalo gets another weapon for developing quarterback Josh Allen. Look for Diggs' value as a WR2 to stay right around the same but adding another dynamic pass-catcher to the Buffalo offense will add fuel to a growing Allen fire. Oh, and let's not forget about John Brown, whose fantasy numbers were resurrected last season. Having Diggs line up on the opposite side should only make things a little easier for Smokey. The Bills offense could be a nice option for fantasy managers seeking value in drafts in 2020. -- MG

After waiting for him to serve an eight-game suspension, the Browns threw Kareem Hunt into heavy rotation last season, much to the chagrin of Nick Chubb's fantasy managers. Cleveland apparently liked what it saw from Hunt because the team placed a second-round tender on him. That means if he signs with any other team, the Browns would get a second-round pick in return. For us fake football types, it means that Chubb's value is capped because he's not likely to see the same level of targets he would have without Hunt in tow. As for Hunt, he'll have value as a pass-catching back but his overall production would be much more exciting if he wasn't part of a rotation. Then again, The Meg would have been more exciting if it was, y'know ... good. -- MG

Cardinals place transition tag on Kenyan Drake

The transition tag will allow the Cardinals to match any offer Drake receives from other clubs, but the Birds will not receive any compensation if they do not match the offer. But this shows the Cardinals are serious about Drake, and why not? Drake is the latest in a long (LONG) line of players who have flourished post-Adam Gase and Miami. Even though it seemed like kind of a head-scratcher that the Cardinals would even trade for him. But Drake rushed for 643 yards (5.2 yards per carry) with eight touchdowns in his eight games in Arizona. Included in that total is his debut against the 49ers when he rushed for 110 yards with a touchdown and added 52 receiving yards for nearly 30 fantasy points. (And most of you had him on the bench, but we won't talk about that.) Drake will be ranked in the Top 10 at the position if he remains with the Cardinals. -- AR

Last year was a miserable one for David Johnson. He battled injuries and was pushed to the background once Kenyan Drake was traded to Arizona. After the Cardinals used the transition tag on Drake, it seemed like a matter of time before DJ was considered expendable. Enter the Texans, who are expected to take on all of Johnson's salary in addition to whatever they're giving up in the deal. On one level, it makes sense for a team struggling to find consistency in the backfield -- IF Johnson is healthy. He adds a dual-threat option to complement Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. There's a gleam when it comes to DJ's fantasy value, though I'd avoid overdrafting him. -- MG

This might be the first mild surprise of early free-agency tampering, but the Browns have locked in tight end Austin Hooper, the most-coveted player at his position. A lot of teams were expected to be players for Hooper, including the Green Bay Packers. But the Browns have landed him. The Browns currently have Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, David Njoku and now Hooper. I would expect Hooper to still be one of the most-sought after tight ends in fantasy football, even with all of those options. He did pretty well with a loaded Falcons squad last year.

And I wouldn't expect the Browns to move on from Njoku, either. New coach Kevin Stefanski used a lot of two-tight end and two-running back sets as offensive coordinator of the Vikings and that figures to be the case with the Browns. Minnesota also ranked last in 11-personnel last year (three-receiver sets). Although Njoku's fantasy value takes a huge hit. -- AR

Earlier on Tuesday, the Panthers made it known that they were looking to trade quarterback Cam Newton. Several hours later, Carolina had already lined up Newton's replacement by agreeing to terms with former Saints backup Teddy Bridgewater. Last season, Bridgewater filled in admirably for five games while Drew Brees was out with a thumb injury. The biggest winners in this scenario are obviously Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore. That Moore was able to finish inside the top 20 while dealing with the combination of Kyle Allen and Will Grier should be reason to be bullish on the young pass-catcher in 2020. Having a quarterback who can get the ball downfield could eat into some of Christian McCaffrey's targets but he's still worth being considered as the 1.01 in most formats. As for Teddy B himself, it's hard to see him heavily drafted outside of two-QB or superflex formats but could have some streaming appeal. -- MG

One of the remaining free agent tight ends is off the board. The Steelers and Eric Ebron agreed on a two-year contract, ending the veteran's short stay in Indianapolis. After a career year in 2018, Ebron came crashing back to fantasy Earth in 2019. A move to Pittsburgh could reinvigorate his production, especially with Ben Roethlisberger back at the helm. With Big Ben leading the way two seasons ago, Pittsburgh's main tight ends (Vance McDonald and Jesse James) saw a combined 121 targets and posted more than 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. Ebron won't replicate his breakout season from a couple of years ago, but he should be far more productive than he was last year. -- MG

The Next Level

It appears the Vikings have zeroed in on their replacement for Stefon Diggs, agreeing to terms with former Titans wideout Tajae Sharpe. Tennessee spent a fifth-round pick on Sharpe in 2016 with the hope of developing him. That never really came with Sharpe's most productive season being his rookie campaign in which he posted a 41/522/2 on 83 targets. A move to Minnesota could mean an increase of targets but it's hard to imagine Sharpe fully absorbing Diggs' role without some competition from Bisi Johnson. -- MG

A red-hot end to the 2019 season has helped Breshad Perriman line up a new gig for 2020. The journeyman receiver is now on his fourth team in four seasons after agreeing to a one-year deal with the Jets. In the final three games last season, Perriman posted a combined 17/349/4 with both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin injured, accounting for more than 54 percent of his yardage total for the year. Now he goes to an offense that couldn't get out of its own way last year and is still looking for a No. 1 receiver. There's not much here to get excited about.

After seven injury-plagued seasons in Cincinnati, Tyler Eifert is looking for greener pastures in Jacksonville. The veteran tight end is expected to join the Jaguars with a two-year contract. Eifert's breakout season was in 2015 when he caught 13 touchdown passes. He has just 11 scoring receptions for the rest of his career. The encouraging news is that in 2019, Eifert appeared in 16 games for the first time. The bad news is his on-field impact was minimal. Perhaps better quarterback play can improve that, though we can debate how much of an upgrade Gardner Minshew is over Andy Dalton. Either way, it's hard to imagine the veteran as anything more than a TE2 this season. -- MG

Phillip Dorsett is the latest Patriot to leave Foxborough. The speedy receiver is heading west to join a Seahawks receiving corps that is increasingly loading up on jet-setters. Last season, Dorsett was second on the club in targets among wide receivers. That was the good news. The bad news is that he saw just 54 targets and failed to post even 400 receiving yards. Ideally, this signals an intention from the Seahawks to throw the football more in 2020. Otherwise, there might not be enough volume for Dorsett to make a fantasy impact. -- MG

The Falcons didn't wait long to replace the departed Austin Hooper. Atlanta worked out a deal with the Baltimore Ravens to bring in tight end Hayden Hurst for what is essentially a second round pick. That gets Hurst out of the shadow of Mark Andrews, who dominated a large share of the Ravens targets. Now he'll play in a Falcons offense that should provide him plenty of opportunity. -- MG

The Browns addressed one of their biggest offensive needs as they agreed to terms with Jack Conklin. He's a young (entering his age-26 season) tackle who already has one All-Pro nod on his resume and will be an anchor for the Browns offensive line. But can we have some real talk here? With Austin Hooper and Conklin, the biggest winner of the day might be Baker Mayfield. And I know, we tried to anoint Baker last offseason, but these moves are going to be huge for the third-year quarterback who no doubt burned fantasy enthusiasts last year. I would even suggest that those of you who don't get to overdraft Kyler Murray this summer, should take a look at Baker. I understand your aversion, but he will be worth the risk. -- AR

There could be a quarterback competition brewing in Las Vegas after the Raiders agreed to a deal with former Titans signal-caller Marcus Mariota. Mariota lost his gig midway through last season to Ryan Tannehill, making it all but certain that Tennessee would move on from the former No. 2 overall pick. Coming out of Oregon, Mariota was a favorite of current Raiders general manager Mike Mayock. At the same time, head coach Jon Gruden has never seemed particularly sold on Derek Carr as the team's future. There could be a camp battle brewing, though neither player is likely to get fantasy enthusiasts particularly fired up. -- MG

It's a meeting of former Monday Night Football color analysts. Jon Gruden will have the chance to coach Jason Witten after the veteran tight end agreed to join the Raiders. Last season, Witten finished as the TE11 -- though was more a product of the state of the position than any kind of lights-out production. After Darren Waller's breakout 2019 season, it's hard to see Witten having much of a role in the offense and looks to be mostly a veteran presence in the locker room. This is the way of Gruden. -- MG

After helping the 49ers to a Super Bowl run, Emmanuel Sanders is heading to New Orleans in search of greener pastures. The move helps the Saints fill a void at wide receiver. Yes, Michael Thomas is still there but New Orleans was in need of another playmaking wideout. After Thomas, the receiver with the most targets was Ted Ginn with 56. Last season, Sanders was a vital part o the Niners offense even if his fantasy production didn't always show it. In New Orleans, he should see a healthy number of targets and should have some value as a depth receiver on most fantasy rosters.

Nelson Agholor is getting a little closer to home by signing a deal to join the Raiders in Las Vegas. The former USC standout never truly flourished with the Eagles and got more attention last season for ending up as a meme than anything he did on the field. Don't expect the change of scenery to do much for people playing fake football. The Raiders need wide receiver help but a middling slot receiver with questionable hands doesn't seem to be the best option to kickstart this passing game.

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