The NFL offseason is in full swing. Teams are wrapping up free agency and preparing for the draft next month. With plenty of shakeups in value over the last few weeks, fantasy football managers have followed each transaction closely.
Dynasty players may want to strike immediately before roles are settled this fall. Here is a look at seven players to acquire now that the majority of free agency moves are in the books.
Le’Veon Bell (RB – NYJ)
Bell sat out the entire season after again having the franchise tag placed on him by the Steelers. He got his wish of a long-term deal from the Jets this offseason, and fantasy managers should immediately have him near the top of their rankings.
Bell just turned 27 in February. He figures to be used as a playmaker all over the field for New York. Bell has produced over 1,800 yards three times in the last five years. Last season and 2015 — when injuries limited him to six games — were the only exceptions.
When Bell is healthy, he produces massive numbers. That trend should not change with the Jets, so fantasy managers should buy him with confidence in all leagues.
Tevin Coleman (RB – SF)
The 49ers added Coleman on a two-year deal worth $8.5 million this offseason. Coach Kyle Shanahan is familiar with Coleman from their time together in Atlanta, but San Francisco has a glut of running backs. That is precisely why fantasy managers should target Coleman now.
The competition is stiff with both Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida under contract next season. McKinnon missed last season with a torn ACL, and there’s no word yet on his recovery. Breida filled in admirably by producing 1,075 total yards on 180 touches.
All three backs have hovered near the 180-200 touch per season range during their careers. Coleman should have 200 touches waiting for him, and that means 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns for the newest 49er.
The backfield uncertainty could create a nice buying opportunity on both Coleman and McKinnon. If healthy, they are the two San Francisco backs fantasy managers want to own this year.
Mark Ingram (RB – BAL)
After eight seasons in New Orleans, Ingram departed for the Baltimore Ravens. It’s a massive win for his fantasy value. Gus Edwards led the Ravens in rushing last year with 718 yards in 11 games. The 23-year-old entered the season as an afterthought and is not a pass catcher (two receptions last season).
Enter Ingram, who has produced over 1,100 total yards in four of the last five seasons. Limited to 12 games in 2018 because of a suspension, he had played in every other game for three straight seasons.
His age (he turns 30 in December) is a bit of a concern, but expect Ingram to take over the lead back role in Baltimore. That means 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns if he can stay healthy all year. Take advantage of what looks like a down season on paper because of the suspension and buy Ingram.
Chris Godwin (WR – TB)
Godwin is coming off a bit of a breakout season, and the Bucs cleared the deck for him to take another step forward in 2019. Tampa Bay traded DeSean Jackson and let Adam Humphries walk in free agency. Both men had over 770 yards receiving last season as the team’s third and fourth weapons.
Godwin was number two with 59 catches for 842 yards last year. He also had seven touchdowns and saw the team’s third-most targets (95). The Bucs lost 179 targets between Jackson and Humphries.
Godwin, who turned 23 in February, is heading towards his first 1,000-yard season in the NFL. Add him now at a bit of a discount and enjoy the fruits.
John Brown (WR – BUF)
Brown has proven he can be a 1,000-yard receiver in 2015, when he produced 1,003 yards plus seven touchdowns for the Cardinals. He followed it up with two seasons of fewer than 530 yards before bouncing back a bit last season. He still only had 715 yards on 97 targets for the Ravens.
After signing with the Bills, Brown could have a few productive seasons left in him. He turns 29 in April but figures to see plenty of targets in Buffalo. Some fantasy managers will discard him, but expect at least 800 yards and five touchdowns in a healthy season.
Sterling Shepard (WR – NYG)
Shepard has played second fiddle to Odell Beckham Jr. the last three seasons. That will change after the Giants traded Beckham to Cleveland and signed Golden Tate as his replacement. News flash: Tate is not Beckham.
Tate is more of a slot receiver, but still a target monster who has been targeted over 110 times for five straight seasons. Tate is not a touchdown machine, though. He averages five per year over the last seven seasons.
That should mean a few more targets, especially in the red zone, for Shepard this season. The 26-year-old, who had 872 yards and four touchdowns last season, could be on pace for his first 900-yard campaign with six-plus touchdowns.
James Washington (WR – PIT)
Washington had just 217 yards receiving last season on 38 targets. The rookie disappointed, but the departure of Antonio Brown‘s whopping 168 targets should create plenty more opportunities for him and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
The second-round selection out of Oklahoma State could take a massive step forward this season. In a healthy year, I am predicting 700-plus yards and five touchdowns from Washington. Dynasty managers may still be willing to give him away on the cheap following an underwhelming debut. He could win you a few weeks next season, so buy with confidence.
Tyler Watts is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Tyler, follow him @tylerpwatts.