Murray, Thomas among top fantasy free agents

The NFL Scouting Combine is over and done, so the league will now turn the page to the next (and most fun in my opinion) part of the offseason ... free agency. That's right my friends, some of our fantasy football heroes will begin to change teams on March 10. And when I use the word "heroes," I mean it.

The list of impending free agents includes four wide receivers who finished in the top 10 in fantasy points last season. It also includes the overall top-scoring fantasy running back, not to mention two other runners with top-10 potential. Oh, and let's not forget about one of the three-best fantasy tight ends over the last two NFL campaigns.

It's going to be interesting to say the least.

So without further ado, let's take a look at the top 30 "fantasy" players who will be looking for a big payday with their current team or a new squad in the next few weeks.

Top 10

1. DeMarco Murray, running back: Murray was the top runner in fantasy football last season, but he also had 392 regular-season carries and well over 400 total touches including the postseason. His best fantasy fit would be to remain with the Cowboys, but there's no guarantee. If Dallas passes on Murray, signing with a team like the Indianapolis Colts would keep his value from falling off a cliff.

2. Dez Bryant, wide receiver: Bryant is the most attractive free agent among wideouts, but he's not likely to make it to the open market since he'll be franchised by the Cowboys if a new contract can't be agreed upon. He has scored more touchdowns (41) than any other wideout in the league over the last three seasons, and he's a lock to be drafted no later than the second round in 2015 re-drafts.

3. Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver: Much like Bryant, there's little chance Thomas won't be coming back to his current team in 2015. If the two sides can't come to terms on a new deal, then the star wide receiver will end up being tagged and enter a second consecutive contract season. Even if Peyton Manning declines, Thomas is still a good bet to remain among the elite players at his position in 2015.

4. Randall Cobb, wide receiver: Cobb finished in the top six in fantasy points among wideouts last year, and remaining with the Packers is his best bet to remain one of the premier players at the position. However, a move to another team such as the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs or Oakland Raiders would dent his stock. This is an offseason situation that fantasy owners need to monitor.

5. Julius Thomas, tight end: One of the three best fantasy tight ends, Thomas has scored a combined 24 touchdowns in the last two seasons. Here's the problem, though ... he's missed his share of games due to injuries. He's also not expected to return to Denver, which would hurt his value. A move to the Atlanta Falcons is appealing, but going to the Browns or Jacksonville Jaguars isn't as attractive.

6. Mark Ingram, running back: Ingram is coming off a breakout season and likely to command a hefty contract, so the Saints could decide to pass and move on with Khiry Robinson as their top runner. The Cowboys would be the best fantasy fit for Ingram, assuming Murray is allowed to walk as a free agent. Ingram would also retain value with the Colts, while a move to the Raiders would be detrimental.

7. Jeremy Maclin, wide receiver: Maclin was one of the top comeback players from last season, as he returned from a reconstructed knee to finish among the 10 best wideouts in fantasy football. There is a very good chance that he'll remain with the Eagles, whether it's under the terms of a new contract or with the franchise tag. In that scenario, Maclin will remain a highly-valuable wideout in drafts.

8. Justin Forsett, running back: Arguably the top waiver-wire pickup in 2014 fantasy leagues, Forsett helped countless owners reach their championship aspirations. Staying in Baltimore as their No. 1 running back would be the best for his fantasy value next season, as he would instantly become a top-30 overall pick. If Forsett went to another team (Atlanta has interest), his stock would likely tumble.

9. Ryan Mathews, running back: Mathews has been an enigma at the pro level, as his talent is unmistakable. However, his proneness to injuries has made him into a real risk-reward player. He would be best served to remain with the Chargers, where he would at least be a solid bet to retain the top spot on the depth chart. Regardless, he'll be hard to trust as more than a low-end No. 2 fantasy runner.

10. Jordan Cameron, tight end: Cameron was a bust for all intents and purposes last season, but he'll have some leverage because the tight end position is thin these days. He'll likely be seen as a "Plan B" for tight-end needy teams with cap space that aren't able to recruit the top prize at the position (Thomas). Wherever he lands, Cameron will be a borderline No. 1 fantasy tight end for 2015.


11. C.J. Spiller, running back: The Bills want Spiller back, but he might be better served as a member of the New York Jets where he would be reunited with their new offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey.
12. Torrey Smith, wide receiver: I'd like to see Smith remain in Baltimore, where the presence of new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman would turn his value upward for owners in re-drafts.
13. Michael Crabtree, wide receiver: Crabtree's best chance for fantasy value is to remain in San Francisco, but the bloom's off his rose after what was a hugely disappointing 2014 campaign.
14. Frank Gore, running back: The Niners might want Gore back, but can the team put Carlos Hyde on the backburner for another year? Where Gore lands could have major fantasy implications.
15. Shane Vereen, running back: Reports suggest Vereen wants around $5 million a year ... that's a demand the Patriots won't meet. Look for him to be a Darren Sproles-type back on a new team.
16. Stevan Ridley, running back: Ridley could remain with the Patriots on a one-year "prove it" contract as he returns from a torn ACL, but his stock is in need of a reconstructive procedure. 17. Ray Rice, running back: Does Rice have too much stink on him for another NFL team to take a chance? I wouldn't expect much even if he does land a chance to play for a new team in 2015.
18. Ahmad Bradshaw, running back: Bradshaw was solid when he was on the field, but he ended yet another season on injured reserve. Entering his age-29 season, Bradshaw comes with much risk.
19. Kenny Britt, wide receiver: Britt is expected to remain with the Rams, though he could be allowed to test the free-agent market. There isn't a lot of upside (if any) with this veteran.
20. Hakeem Nicks, wide receiver: Nicks didn't do much to increase his stock in 2014, so don't be surprised if he remains with the Colts as a No. 3 wideout behind T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief.


21. Darren McFadden, running back: McFadden is a bad bet to find a starting job anywhere in the league for 2015.
22. Chris Johnson, running back: Johnson's best days are clearly in the rearview mirror. He'll be an NFL backup.
23. Mark Sanchez, quarterback: The NFL is loaded with quarterback-needy teams. Could Sanchez compete to start?
24. Cecil Shorts, wide receiver: Cleveland is an attractive landing spot for Shorts, if he leaves the Jaguars.
25. Knowshon Moreno, running back: Moreno is unlikely to return to Miami and is coming off a major knee injury.
26. Wes Welker, wide receiver: Welker looked slow last season, and his concussion issues remain a huge factor.
27. Ben Tate, running back: Any fantasy potential Tate might have had last season was buried in Cleveland.
28. Reggie Wayne, wide receiver: Wayne was an all-time fantasy great, but he could retire at the age of 36.
29. Charles Clay, tight end: Clay is a good bet to remain in Miami, but he won't have a lot of fantasy appeal.
30. Jermaine Gresham, tight end: The Bengals have Tyler Eifert waiting in the wings, so Gresham is expendable.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to **@Michael_Fabiano** or send a question via **Facebook**!

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