What’s up everyone! This past week in the NFL has been truly exciting with the Cleveland Browns wheeling and dealing like they are at a casino. With teams already making moves before the “official” transaction day on the 14th of March, its is imperative that you are keeping up to date on all trades and signings.
This article will feature numerous players that you should be watchful of for your fantasy leagues. Whether its keeper, dynasty, or standard redraft the offseason is what separates the champions from the chumps. An agenda item to keep in mind is with every free agent signing there are two teams affected along with multiple players. Do not forget where the player came from and don’t just assume production will carry over exactly the same!
Now let’s get into six players I feel you need to keep tabs on as the Free Agency Frenzy begins! For this list, I am solely looking at six players that I think will have fantasy impacts/value in 2018, some specifically being fantasy relevant based on what team they land with.
QB Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings
The prize of the free agency quarterback group has found a home (pending officially) in Minnesota. All quarterback-needy teams seemed to have been linked to him, but ultimately the Vikings won the prize. However all that glitters is not always gold. The real expectations for Cousins in 2018 will most certainly be more of his usual standard. Over the past three seasons Cousins has finished as the 8th, 5th, and 7th QB overall in fantasy football. Cousins will most likely retain at least a top 10 fantasy status in Minnesota, but how will the production of the offensive players be around him? For wide receivers, Cousins has not exactly produced big-time fantasy stars. In his three year starting career with the Redskins, no one receiver every finished better than WR27 (Pierre Garcon). Cousins spreads the ball a ton, to many different receivers along with his running backs and tight ends. So you may want to pump the brakes before you reach on Minnesota skill players. Dalvin Cook however I feel gets a huge boost from Cousins, because Cousins has had success throwing to running backs in the past.
QB Case Keenum – Denver Broncos
Denver is going aggressively for Kirk Cousins. Well, sometimes things do not go according to plan. It seems like in this situation, the Broncos see Keenum has a bridge QB, with their fifth overall pick destined to be a new signal-caller. In the meantime for 2018, Keenum will be the presumed starter. In 2017 Keenum, averaged 15.9 fantasy points per game, but did help wide receivers Adam Thielen (11) and Stefon Diggs (17) rank as top 20 wide receivers. He also aided Kyle Rudolph who finished as the TE6. Now pairing Keenum with Denver wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders; there should be improvement from more consistent quarterback play. Both these wide receivers will be values in drafts. Buy them low. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Thomas is going off as the WR24 and Emmanuel Sanders as the WR29. Another name to keep on the radar with Keeum at QB is second year TE Jake Butt from Michigan. The Broncos have been so desperate for talent at TE, that if Butt is healthy he could be a streaming TE in 2018.
QB Sam Bradford – Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals were decimated at the offensive line in 2017, and that stats showed it. 3.2 sacks allowed per game last year third most in the NFL. They need to make upgrades at the offensive line, or else Bradford will not survive past Week 5. Still despite his injury history if healthy, Bradford is better than any other QB on the Arizona roster. His signing bodes well for both RB David Johnson and WR Larry Fitzgerald. QB Carson Palmer has a resurgence late in his career in the desert, so who’s to say the same can’t happen for Bradford? Needless to say the Cardinals are aware of his injuries hence why they also signed QB Mike Glennon.
RB Dion Lewis – Tennessee Titans
Like many predicted, Lewis will now get to be the lightning to the Derrick Henry thunder. This is a great move by the Titans and a great situation for Lewis. He can thrive as the third-down back with the pass-catching duties. Definitely a player to keep tabs on for sure especially in PPR formats. Remember Lewis finished last season as the RB12 despite not having double digit carries until Week 6! A talented shifty player that just needs to have workload managed because he has struggled with injuries.
RB Isaiah Crowell – New York Jets
J.E.T.S! The newest member of Gang Green, Crowell will now be paired up with Bilal Powell in the New York backfield. Most likely in the role has the first and second down back, Crowell needed to get out of the funk in Cleveland. Being on a team that is losing 95% of the time does not allow you to establish the run a whole lot. As Full Press Coverage write Adam Melendez alludes to in his news piece on the Crowell signing, “He has been extremely durable throughout his career playing all 16 games for four seasons with the Browns.” The backfield does seem a bit crowded though so this is really a wait and see for fantasy. Powell and Elijah McGuire are still around as of right now. Considering Crowell has only finished in the top 15 in fantasy once in four years, you may be too optimistic to think he is anything more than RB2/3.
RB Johnathan Stewart– New York Giants
Entering his 11th season in the NFL, Stewart has signed with the New York Giants to put some consistency in their backfield. The Giants struggled mightily to run the football last year, so it is no surprise that they brought in another running back. According to Curtis Rawls, Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage this signing reunites him with offensive coordinator Mike Shula and general manager Dave Gettleman. Shula spent seven seasons with the Panthers as a quarterbacks coach (2011-12) and offensive coordinator (2013-17). Gettleman was the Panthers’ general manager from 2013-16. For fantasy, it is tough to really trust Stewart who has showed significant signs of slowing down. However, his competition for the starting role is between Orleans Darwka, Wayne Gallman, and Paul Perkins. Not exactly the cream of the crop.