Changing Scenery: NFC Edition (2019 Fantasy Football)
The NFC doesn’t have as many high-impact scenery changes as its AFC counterpart, but there are still plenty of interesting acquisitions to discuss for fantasy football purposes.
Latavius Murray (RB – NO) is trending up after moving to New Orleans while Golden Tate (WR – NYG) and Tevin Coleman (RB – SF) have less fantasy optimism attached to their new homes. Will Jared Cook (TE – NO) improve upon a breakout 2018 campaign within a better offense this time around? Should DeSean Jackson (WR – PHI) merit fantasy consideration upon returning to Philadelphia?
We’ll cover those situations while looking at other offseason transactions of fantasy-relevant players in the NFC.
Case Keenum (QB – WAS) via Denver
Washington drafted QB Dwayne Haskins, but there’s a good chance the rookie will take some time to develop. If that’s the case (no pun intended), Keenum will serve as a placeholder signal caller for the Redskins in 2019. Obviously we’ll need to assess this situation throughout the preseason, but Keenum seems like the sensible choice to take snaps for Washington this season. After a mediocre campaign in Denver last season, Keenum doesn’t have a ton of fantasy upside while throwing to an underwhelming crew of pass catchers. He’s a fringe QB2 at best, and I’d advise taking a wait-and-see approach here.
Latavius Murray (RB – NO) via Minnesota
Mark Ingram is now with the Ravens, and New Orleans picked up Murray to help fill the void. That move is certainly noteworthy for potential fantasy backers. After all, the Saints have been a great rushing team over the past two seasons, and they should continue to see favorable game flow for their tandem of running backs to keep producing. Expect Murray to check in with a substantial role of 15 or so weekly touches, akin to Ingram’s workload that included short yardage situations. Murray is a solid RB2 choice as a result.
Tevin Coleman (RB – SF) via Atlanta
This move certainly made headlines, albeit for all the wrong reasons…at least from a fantasy football perspective. The San Francisco running back situation is clear as mud after adding Coleman to an existing committee approach. The 49ers will look to spread touches between Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida, and Coleman. Unless an injury or two crops up, you’re going to be guessing on whoever has the upper hand. There’s a good chance they all get an underwhelming amount of carries while siphoning opportunities from each other. The depth is a good thing for this San Francisco offense, but it’s not favorable for fantasy football.
WIDE RECEIVER/TIGHT END
Golden Tate (WR – NYG) via Philadelphia/Detroit
Tate will be suiting up for the Giants this season, which is his third team in a year. Odell Beckham Jr. is out of town, so there are plenty of targets for him to soak up. However, we don’t really know how Tate will mesh alongside Sterling Shepard, who primarily manned the slot position for New York. Will Tate split snaps with him or move out to the perimeter? Neither proposition is ideal for fantasy upside, leading me to take a cautious approach with the 30-year-old as a WR3 or WR4.
Jared Cook (TE – NO) via Oakland
Do we like Cook in New Orleans? Sure, he’s coming off a bounce-back season with 68 receptions, 896 yards, and six touchdowns in Oakland, but a good chunk of that came from being one of the few reliable targets on a team that trailed early and often. While Cook has a better quarterback (Drew Brees) throwing him the ball, there’s also plenty of competition for targets with the Saints. Cook was unable to produce alongside Aaron Rodgers in 2016, so don’t get too excited about this move. He’s a TE1 due to a lack of depth at the position, but he’s more of a fallback option than anything in my opinion.
Take notice that Jordan Howard (RB – PHI) was traded from the Bears to the Eagles this offseason. Before you get too excited, remember that Philadelphia loves to enact a running back by committee approach, and they drafted Miles Sanders in the second round. Throw in Darren Sproles, and this seems like a messy situation for Howard to see reliable touches.
C.J. Anderson (RB – DET) was a hero down the stretch for the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams, but he doesn’t have a clear path to touches after joining Detroit this offseason. Anderson will split carries with Kerryon Johnson, who is the running back of the future for the Lions. Needless to say, an injury to Johnson is the only way Anderson would see a consistent role to act on in fantasy leagues.
Okay, so Howard is no longer with the Bears, and Mike Davis (RB – CHI) came over from Seattle to absorb his role. However, Chicago drafted all-around RB David Montgomery in the third round, so Davis seems like more of a depth acquisition than anything. Unless there’s an injury to Montgomery or Tarik Cohen, Davis is out of fantasy consideration.
DeSean Jackson (WR – PHI) is back with the Eagles after spending three seasons in Washington and two years in Tampa Bay. You already know the deal with him as a boom-or-bust deep threat who will be difficult to bank on each and every week. He’s still worthy of a bench spot in standard fantasy leagues while serving as a bye week filler. However, you may want to take a chance on younger receivers with similar ADP, as Jackson’s upside seems capped as a speed receiver who will turn 33 this season.