Mon Mar 29th 2021
Free Agency Losers
Last week I wrote free agency winners - teams that improved their players' dynasty value during free agency. This week I will write about free agency losers. The teams I list as losers may have improved their teams in free agency, but the moves they made hurt the dynasty value of players on their teams, which is what Dynasty Freeks care about the most.
- The Lions signed Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman while letting Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones go. Williams and Perriman's dynasty stock deserves a slight rise since they appear to be Goff's only proven wide receiver targets, but they only rise in value because their value was at rock bottom. Williams and Perriman are on the waiver wire in many of my leagues but are not worth rostering. That said, the Lions are sure to draft a wide receiver early in the NFL draft who will quickly become the team's best wide receiver. The Lions tight end, T.J. Hockenson, is likely to be the team's leading pass catcher alongside whoever they select in the first or second round of the draft. Detroit is in full rebuild mode, so this will be one of the worst NFL teams next year with a low-scoring offense. The new coaching staff would like to run the ball more than most teams, but Jamaal Williams's addition in free agency made the backfield even muddier, depressing the dynasty value and breakout hopes for D'Andre Swift. Williams is a very proven and reliable running back and will eat into Swift's time in the backfield, crushing the hopes of dynasty managers who thought Swift would rule this backfield. The addition of Williams plunges Kerryon Johnson's dynasty value to its lowest point yet. The only thing that could revive Johnson's dynasty value at this point would be for the Lions to cut or trade him. T.J. Hockenson is the only Lions player whose dynasty stock stayed steady amidst these two weeks of free agency.
- The Patriots went wild in free agency, bringing in eighteen players already, included the two best tight ends in the market, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. The Patriots plan to run 12 personnel a lot next season, which will be fun to watch but will be of little benefit to dynasty managers. Smith and Henry will be on the field a lot together. Henry is a better inline tight end, while Smith will be better as a move tight end. If the Patriots can bring back the short but glorious days of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, perhaps Henry and Smith can see their dynasty value soar, but I don't believe that will be the case, and I moved Smith and Henry down in my dynasty rankings since I think they will eat into each others time and opportunities. New England also signed Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne while they're rumored to be shopping N'Keal Harry. Agholor's dynasty value was finally on the rise after a breakout season in Las Vegas last year, but his move to New England caused his value to fall again. Cam Newton is not the right quarterback to help Agholor continue to do what he did best last year - go deep. The addition of four pass-catchers in New England muddies the field. It's too unclear who, if anyone, will become Cam's primary target. I want nothing to do with this offense except for Damian Harris, who I continue to believe is better than Sony Michel. Increased 12 personnel formations could lead to a stronger focus on the running game, allowing Harris to build upon his compelling sophomore season.
- First-year coach, Urban Meyer, was very busy during free agency as well, signing 15 players so far. Jacksonville made some quality moves to increase their depth as a team, but dynasty managers do not welcome increased depth. They added Marvin Jones, Jamaal Agnew, and Philip Dorsett to their wide receiver depth chart that's eager to catch Trevor Lawrence's passes, who they will draft with the first pick in the NFL draft. I doubt Agnew and Dorsett will see much playing time, but Marvin Jones certainly will cut into the opportunities for D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault; the two players dynasty managers were most excited about coming into this new season. Jacksonville will install a new offense this year and hired Darrell Bevell to be their offensive coordinator. Bevell coached Jones and Agnew in Detroit and knew both could grasp the new offense quickly while Chark and Shenault will have a learning curve. I believe Jones, Chark, and Shenault will start in 11 personnel sets with Shenault in the slot. What I am unsure of is who Lawrence will target the most. Before free agency, I liked that the passing game looked to be more narrow, with Shenault and Chark leading the way, but Jones adds quality competition for targets. I did not move Shenault or Chark down in my dynasty rankings too much after Jones signed with Jacksonville since they are much younger and will have more years to grow with Lawrence, but I was discouraged to see that they now have competition. James Robinson was the most traded player in all of my leagues last year because managers did not know whether to buy-in to an undrafted free agent on a team with a new coaching staff. Jacksonville brought in a little competition for Robinson when they signed Carlos Hyde, a reliable back-up capable of cutting into the incredibly high snap counts Robinson enjoyed last year. I did not dock Robinson's dynasty ranking too much because of this move, but it does affect his value a bit. Overall, Jacksonville did not kill their players' dynasty value, but they certainly did not increase them.
- The Raiders dealt dynasty managers perhaps the most severe blow in free agency this year when they signed Kenyan Drake to a two-year contract and Theo Riddick to a one-year contract. It's like they don't believe Josh Jacobs can be an every-down back and don't trust him in the passing game, which is one of the things he did best in college. Jacob's dynasty value took a significant hit last week. The Raiders lost offensive linemen in free agency and traded their center to Arizona, causing their offensive line to suffer after being a strength of their team last year. The Raiders also added John Brown to fill the hole left behind when Nelson Agholor signed with New England. Dynasty managers wanted that hole to be filled by increased playing time and targets to their sophomore wide receivers, Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards. Brown's signing dampens that hope. Ruggs established a role in the offense last year, while Edwards' injuries prevented him from carving out a role for himself. I was excited to see Edwards get more opportunities this year because he was one of my favorite wide receivers in last year's class. He'll still get his chance, but he'll have more competition with Brown on the team. Besides all that, Darren Waller is the team's top target. The Raiders' free agency moves confused NFL fans and infuriated dynasty managers.
- Houston's been one of the worst run organizations in the NFL, and they didn't help their team or dynasty managers with what they did in free agency. They added 24 players; 17 of them signed one-year contracts. They're applying a band-aid approach to a gaping wound, and it's hard to watch. They added Tyrod Taylor to either back-up Deshaun Watson or become the starter if Watson is traded or suspended. Taylor is a capable quarterback, but he has never caused the players around him to perform above their expectations. The questions at quarterback in Houston alone are enough to decrease every Houston player's dynasty value, especially the pass catchers. Then Houston added Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay to the backfield to back-up David Johnson. Both are quality backs who have had recent seasons being a starter on their NFL teams and dynasty teams. These transactions were incredibly saddening for Lindsay's managers, who still has plenty of years of production ahead of him and could have contributed more in a two-man backfield than a three-man backfield. I believe Johnson will get the first crack in Houston and be the best back for dynasty teams, but his diminishing dynasty value continues to creep down since he's often injured and now has capable backs to spell him and keep him more injury-free. Houston added some under-the-radar wide receivers, too, in Chris Conley and Andrew Roberts. Both add a bit off competition for targets with the aging Randall Cobb and unproven Keke Coutee. Brandin Cooks will be the leading target on the team for sure, but Taylor's targets are not the same as Watson's targets. Only Watson can make this team's players viable in fantasy, but at this rate, he's likely not to play for Houston next year.
- Miami's addition of Will Fuller may have helped Tua Tagovailoa's dynasty outlook, but it called to question the dynasty value of the Miami Wide receivers, especially since Miami is likely to draft a round one or two wide receiver in this loaded wide receiver class. DeVante Parker is sure to keep his starting role on the team, but Preston Williams will now be fighting for a position on the team even though he could be better than Parker if given the opportunity. Williams's injuries the last two seasons prevented him from showing how much potential he has; enough to allow Miami to focus their draft picks on other positions. He has the talent to do it, but they've yet to see it for an entire season, and it appears he has lost his chance. Fuller's deal is only for one year, Williams is on the last year of his contract, and Parker is signed through 2023. If Miami drafts a wide receiver, it could be Williams and Fuller's last year with the team, or one of them could prove enough to earn a new contract with the team. Miami also added a solid professional running back in Malcolm Brown. Ourlads already has Brown second on the depth chart behind Miles Gaskin and ahead of Salvon Ahmed, who both played exceptionally well last year, though, like Brown, did not have high draft capital. Miami is also likely to draft a running back in the NFL draft, causing all of the running backs on their roster currently to plummet in dynasty value. Brown's signing did not move the dynasty value of Gaskin and Ahmed. I believe Ahmed is a better back and has greater dynasty value than Brown. The NFL draft will really shake up the dynasty value of the running backs and wide receivers in Miami.
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