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6 NFL Free Agency Winners & Losers

Mar 11, 2016

Any hope for T.J. Yeldon getting equal or more carries in 2016 has been crushed by the Chris Ivory signing

Any hope for T.J. Yeldon getting equal or more carries in 2016 has been crushed by the Chris Ivory signing

It’s barely 48 hours into NFL free agency and there have been plenty of moves that fantasy players should be aware of. Each season, players change teams and either their own values are impacted greatly or someone else’s value is affected by their arrival/departure.

In both cases, as fantasy drafts approach (only 5 months away!), we’ll surely want to monitor the draft stock of these players as it will definitely be different compared to past seasons.

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Q1. What player has seen his fantasy value increase the most as a result of free agency?

Lamar Miller (RB – HOU)
“On Thursday, Texans GM Rick Smith called Miller “a complete running back” with a “skillset that will allow our creative coaches to utilize him in a way that’s a threat to defenses.” I’m going to bet that the Texans will give Miller more than the 205 carries per year he averaged with Miami in 2014-15 … and he was already a top-10 back with that managed workload.”
John Halpin (Fox Sports)

Coby Fleener (TE – NO)
“There are just a few things that are virtually a lock when it comes to fantasy seasons – The Patriots slot receiver will score a ton of PPR points, the starting running back in Andy Reid’s offense will produce a lot of fantasy points, and the Saints tight end is going to be a TE1. Last year we were left guessing who the Saints tight end would be, but not this year. Coby Fleener will be inserted into the old Jimmy Graham role, and likely be fed around 120 targets. Considering no Drew Brees tight end has averaged less than 1.15 fantasy points per target over the last six years, consider Fleener a lock for TE1 production, and maybe top-five.”
Mike Tagliere (Pro Football Focus)

Ladarius Green (TE – PIT)
“Green found himself an intriguing home in Pittsburgh, where he will add a new dimension to a Steelers offense that looks unstoppable, at least on paper. The 25-year-old Green was never able to usurp Antonio Gates in San Diego, but with Heath Miller retired, he’ll see starter’s snaps at a position Ben Roethlisberger loves to target. The 6-6, 250-pound pass-catcher will wreak havoc down the seam, exploiting defenses focused on stopping Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, as well as Le’Veon Bell. If there’s one worry for fantasy owners, it’s that Green’s hype train is already barreling down the tracks, so expect to pay a high price for him come drafts in August.”
Justin Boone (theScore)

Dwayne Allen (TE – IND)
“There are three tight ends — Ladarius Green, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen — who have seen their value increase dramatically in free agency, but Allen’s value has probably increased the most. He started as a TE2/TE3 afterthought and is now a fringe TE1 with Fleener out of the way (Allen has averaged 4.3 catches for 53 yards on 6.5 targets with Fleener sidelined). Of course, injuries have been Allen’s bugaboo, but if he stays healthy, 800 yards and 10 touchdowns are well within reach. I’ll have Green and Fleener ranked higher heading into the 2016 season, but Allen should be a fairly cheap option in the later rounds given his injury history.”
John Paulsen (4for4.com)

Q2. What player has seen his fantasy value decrease the most as a result of free agency?

T.J. Yeldon (RB – JAC)
“At the moment, T.J. Yeldon is the biggest fantasy victim of the new league year, as the Jaguars brought in Chris Ivory to serve as his backfield buddy. Yeldon wasn’t overly impressive in his rookie season, but he was setting up to be a rare three-down back. Now, the pair is expected to split carries, with Ivory almost certainly handling goal-line duties. Fantasy owners who were intrigued by Yeldon can still grab him a few rounds later than they planned and can now hope the sophomore outplays or outlasts his injury-prone new running mate. ”
Justin Boone (theScore)

“T.J. Yeldon entered the offseason as the Jaguars’ unquestioned starter. He averaged 18.2 touches (and 15.2 carries) per game, but he’ll be hard-pressed to match that workload with the addition of Chris Ivory. GM Dave Caldwell said Thursday that the duo “will probably split carries,” and considering that the Jaguars running backs had 295 total carries (18.4 per game) last year, he’s likely to see his carries cut by a third. He was an upside RB2 prior to free agency, but now he’s a fantasy RB3/RB4 mired in a timeshare.”
John Paulsen (4for4.com)

“Many of us hoped T.J. Yeldon would take a step forward in 2016, perhaps as a solid fantasy RB2. Now he’ll share carries with Chris Ivory on a team that likes to throw the ball in the red zone. Pfffffft.”
John Halpin (Fox Sports)

Chris Ivory (RB – JAC)
“There are plenty of question marks surrounding the Jaguars running back situation, but Chris Ivory is simply not as talented as T.J. Yeldon. He has little juke to his game and cannot catch the ball very well out of the backfield; two things that today’s running backs need to do in order to stay on the field. He was purely a volume play with the Jets, but he won’t have that anymore. It would be shocking to see him finish as anything more than a flex option, just a year after he was a top-10 fantasy running back.”
Mike Tagliere (Pro Football Focus)

Thank you to the experts for providing their winners & losers in free agency. For more advice, be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and feel free to leave your comments below.

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