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Tue Mar 26th 2024

Free Agent Frenzy - QBs and WRs

Last week, I shared my thoughts on the running backs and tight ends who changed teams via free agency and trades. This week, I'll share my thoughts on the quarterbacks and wide receivers who changed teams or signed deals with the same teams. I won't touch on everyone but will focus on the most dynasty-relevant players.


Quarterbacks

Kirk Cousins

  • The biggest deal of the offseason is Cousins's signing with the Falcons because it boosts the dynasty value of every player on the team. The Falcons' offensive weapons have been hampered by poor coaching and quarterback play the last two seasons, but now there's renewed hope that Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson will hit career highs with Cousins. There isn't a dynasty analyst out there who doesn't see this as a significant boost to these stud players. The offense will score more points and be more pass-oriented with Cousins and the Falcons' new coaching staff. Cousins will benefit from the depth added to the team with the signing and trading of Darnell Mooney as an outside speedster and Rondale Moore as a shifty guy in the slot. Cousins is perpetually underrated as a fantasy quarterback, but he'll likely finish as a top-12 scoring quarterback again in Atlanta.

Baker Mayfield

  • Mayfield capitalized on his bounceback year last season to re-sign with the Buccaneers. I like the move for Mayfield; it keeps his dynasty value steady. He was the 11th-highest-scoring quarterback last season, and he'll continue to score as a top 10-15 quarterback in the coming seasons, especially since the Buccaneers also re-signed Mike Evans. I'm concerned that he lost his offensive coordinator, Dave Canales, but I am sure he can keep the offense moving in whatever new system is installed. He's an excellent QB-2 in superflex leagues.

Sam Darnold

  • Darnold filled the vacancy on the Vikings after Counsins's signed with Atlanta. He's the starter today, which gave his dynasty value a quick rise, but it could easily fall back down again if the Vikings draft a quarterback next month. If they don't draft a quarterback, Darnold can be this year's Baker Mayfield and see his dynasty stock rise from the ashes. He has some of the best passing weapons in the league and a great offensive mind as his new head coach. I'm confident that Kevin O'Connell can make Darnold successful and consistently feed Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson. Josh Dobbs and Nick Mullens did last year, and Darnold is a big step up from them. Now we wait to see what they do in the NFL draft.

Russell Wilson and Justin Fields

  • The Steelers have the lowest amount of money allocated to the quarterback position in the league after signing Russell Wilson to a team-friendly deal and trading for Justin Fields. Russell's best days are far behind him, but he can help move the Steelers' run-heavy offense like he used to in Seattle. He'll need to prove it quickly, though, because now he has a backup that the fans will clamor for the first time he struggles. Wilson's dynasty value remains about the same as when the season ended last year. However, Fields' took a significant hit after his trading market was so weak that he did not land a starting role. He's arguably the best backup quarterback in the league. I wanted Fields to land in Pittsburgh but with a leading role. He'll still get the chance to start games this season, though. I am sure of that. The Steelers must see what he can do with the offense to decide to exercise the expensive option on his contract or sign him to a new deal. I can't imagine they won't let him start games this season.

Gardner Minshew

  • The Raiders signed Minshew to compete with Aidan O'Connell for a starting role. At the end of the season, I added O'Connell to a few of my rosters in one-quarterback leagues and hedged my bets in each of those leagues by adding Minshew to those rosters after this signing. I'm betting on O'Connell to win the starting role after his decent rookie season, but I could be wrong. He kept Davante Adams productive last season and was 5-4 as a starter after taking over in week nine. Minshew did the same with Michael Pittman last year and was 6-6 after taking over as the Colts' starter in week six. If it's close, the Raiders would be wise to develop their younger quarterback, but they are also a candidate to draft another quarterback in this year's draft.

Sam Howell

  • The Seahawks traded for Howell to back up Geno Smith and possibly become his heirapparent. Howell's fourth-year option is at the end of this season, which makes me think he will get some starts this year so that Seattle can see what he looks like in their new offense. Seattle has a new coaching staff, so there is no loyalty to Geno. There's still hope for Howell to become a starter again, though not as likely as Justin Fields.

Wide Receivers

Mike Evans

  • I'm thrilled that Evans re-signed with the Buccaneers and am very confident that he can continue his 1000-yard receiving streak with Baker Mayfield throwing him passes. Evans is the Derrick Henry of receivers. You expect the age cliff year after year but never see it. Father time is undefeated, but Evans will play out this two-year contract and help dynasty managers along the way. I was eager to see Trey Palmer step into a more significant role if Evans left, but now he's back to the WR-3 role again. I bet he's more involved in the offense in his second season.

Tee Higgins

  • The Bengals placed the franchise tag on Higgins, though there are rumors that he wants to be traded. Contrary to some analysts, I think Higgins' dynasty value is safer with the Bengals than as a WR-1 on another team. I prefer the security of knowing Joe Burrow is his quarterback and the history of top-24 finishes with Burrow. He could have landed in a worse situation with a bad quarterback and offense. I had hoped to see Andrei Iosivas have an opportunity for a more significant role if Higgins signed elsewhere. He still might see more action this season since the Bengals let Tyler Boyd go, though they did re-sign Trent Irwin, who is better suited for the slot role. I will hold onto Iosivas until I'm sure Higgins will not get traded.

Michael Pittman

  • Unlike Evans and Higgins, I wanted to see Pittman sign with a new team rather than re-sign with the Colts. He needs to play more games with Anthony Richardson to know if he can keep Pittman productive in fantasy. The Colts will run more with Richardson than they did last year with Minshew, and I know Richardson will steal touchdowns from Pittman. I haven't lowered Pittman's dynasty value since he signed a new contract, but I haven't moved it up either. I want to see more games with Anthony Richardson before firmly deciding what I think of Pittman's future dynasty value.

Jerry Jeudy

  • The Browns are holding out hope for Jeudy just like dynasty managers have for four years. I don't think Jeudy will improve on his mid-level fantasy production in Cleveland. He'll help the Browns more than he will help dynasty managers. Amari Cooper and David Njoku will be the team's top targets and best weapons. Jeudy's team change does not affect his dynasty value much, but it does sink Elijah Moore's value and make David Bell and Cedric Tillman dropable in most leagues. Cooper is getting older, but I don't foresee Jeudy or Moore becoming reliable WR-1 of the future for the Browns. They need to find one in the draft, free agency, or trade for a true WR-1, something Jeudy and Moore are not.

Keenan Allen

  • Allen was traded to Chicago to give Caleb Williams one more target after the Bears draft him at the 1.1. For the Bears and Williams, this is a great move, but it's not good for dynasty managers with Allen or D.J. Moore on their rosters. Allen will not get near the same number of targets that he's had in L.A., Moore now has a viable WR-2 to compete with, and both will have a rookie quarterback who, as good as he is, will take time to develop. C.J. Strouds are the exception, not the rule. Allen has been one of my all-time favorites and most rostered players, but I traded all but one share of him last year, and I'm glad I did.

Calvin Ridley

  • Ridley signed a big contract with the Titans, one of the strangest moves this offseason. I would much rather have seen him stay in Jacksonville. Will Levis has not proven enough to make me confident in his ability to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, and the new coaching staff did not draft him. He does chunk the ball downfield, though, so Tennessee wanted to add a speedster to their squad. Even at his age, Hopkins should see the most targets on the team and has a better frame for catching Levis's inaccurate passes. Strangely, this signing may help Treylon Burks. This addition makes his slot role more permanent. While he might be third on the team in targets, he'll be more productive from the slot than from outside. This move killed the lingering dynasty value of Kyle Phillips, who can now be dropped from all dynasty rosters. 

Marquise Brown

  • I love that Brown landed with the Chiefs, but I wish it were not a one-year deal. I boosted Brown's dynasty value up quite a bit after this signing, even though it might just be for a year. He can be far more productive in their speed role than Marques Valdez-Scantling was the last few seasons. He and Rashee Rice will be used in complementary ways, so Brown's presence does not hurt Rice. His signing with the Chiefs clearly indicates that they don't trust Skyy Moore or Kadarius Toney to become productive players. Both of their dynasty values continue to fall.

Mike Williams

  • Williams signed with the Jets to run opposite Garrett Wilson with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. I love the landing spot, but, as with Marquise Brown, it's a one-year deal. Every year with Aaron Rodgers should feel like a one-year deal from a fantasy perspective. At least he gets one year to be the team's big-bodied receiver. If he stays healthy, he should be second on the team in targets, equaling more targets than he would have had in the Chargers' new run-first offense. You'd think he could become the Jets' top red-zone target, but even though he's smaller, that role is Wilson's. Aaron Rodgers will have eyes for Wilson in the red zone as he did for Davante Adams. I was hopeful to see Xavier Gipson get more of a role in the offense this year. Williams's signing makes that unlikely, but I'm still holding on to Gipson in the leagues where I have him because he's young and has the slot role nailed down.

Gabriel Davis

  • I wouldn't have given Davis a dynasty boost, no matter where he landed, because of his proven history of inconsistency in fantasy. His signing with the Jaguars did not change my mind, even after I learned that Ridley had signed with the Titans. He'll have a starting role, but Christian Kirk is the most reliable receiver on the team. Ridley's departure opened the door for Zay Jones to continue as a starter after it looked like he may get squeezed out. Kirk and Evan Engram are reliable pass catchers for fantasy purposes. Even with these moves, Davis and Jones will be inconsistent.

Curtis Samuel

  • Samuel signed with the perfect team to keep his aging dynasty value afloat. The Bills' starting slot receiver has produced fantasy points in the past, especially in deep PPR leagues. I started Cole Beasley for years in deep leagues when Josh Allen peppered him with targets. The Bills have solid tight ends now, so that will limit Samuel's playtime to mostly passing downs, but I think he will contribute to the Bills and dynasty managers' offenses.

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