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Dynasty Risers/Fallers Post Free Agency

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Apr 6, 2020

Hayden Hurst gained tons of value moving from Baltimore to Atlanta

Now that the first big wave of free agency is over, it’s time to evaluate the biggest winners/losers from a dynasty perspective. There are many veterans who lost value during this time, but we’re not going to talk about the obvious ones like Devonta Freeman, who was cut. We kind of saw the writing on the wall with him.

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The players here may have gained/lost value by swapping teams, inherited new teammates who can steal production, or in some cases, nothing changed at all despite reports that there would be drastic changes.

RISERS

Hayden Hurst (TE – ATL)
He went from the No. 2 on a team that threw the ball 439 times last year, to the No. 1 tight end on a team that threw the ball 683 times. Count me in as someone who believes Hurst is more talented than Austin Hooper, who finished as the TE6 in the Falcons offense each of the last two years. While it may take him a little bit of time to get acclimated, he’s now a legitimate top-12 tight end in dynasty formats.

Darrell Henderson (RB – LAR)
Some will be wondering if Malcolm Brown gets the boost with Todd Gurley out of town, but Henderson is the one with the skillset that is more aligned with Gurley’s. We saw the offense struggle when the Rams tried to involve Brown in a timeshare because he wasn’t an option in the passing game. Henderson should take over as the primary running back in a valuable role with three years left on his rookie deal. The argument can be made that he’s a top-24 dynasty running back.

Jamison Crowder (WR – NJY)
The exit of Robby Anderson clears up nearly 100 targets in the Jets offense and it’s highly unlikely that newly-acquired Breshad Perriman comes close to that number, especially seeing he received just a one-year deal. This rise for Crowder may be short lived, though, as the Jets are likely to select a wide receiver at No. 11 in the upcoming NFL Draft. Still, Crowder will be the only one who has rapport with Sam Darnold.

Kyler Murray (QB – ARI)
I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest Murray fan, but you can’t deny the weapons they’re putting around him right now. He offers plenty of mobility to run or buy time, which allows him to find one of DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald, or Kenyan Drake, and that doesn’t even include the depth of Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler. Add in a subpar defense and you’ll have a fantasy superstar.

Devin Funchess (WR – GB)
It may not be a complete revival of his career, but his stock certainly went up after he signed with the Packers. Throughout his career, Funchess has played with Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, Derek Anderson, Taylor Heinicke, and Jacoby Brissett. No disrespect to those guys, but they’re not known as accurate quarterbacks. Funchess has been a red zone weapon over the course of his career and now has the quarterback with the highest QB to INT ratio throwing to him.

Dak Prescott (QB – DAL)
The fact that Amari Cooper re-signed with the Cowboys for five years meant everything to Prescott, as his career splits with/without Cooper suggest. He averaged just 214.9 yards and 1.36 touchdowns per game without Cooper but has averaged 294.8 yards and 1.76 touchdowns with Cooper. It’s only a matter of time before the Cowboys extend Prescott to a long-term deal. He’s a top-six quarterback in dynasty formats.

Ronald Jones (RB – TB)
He’s one of those players who gained value because of what didn’t happen. Many expected the Bucs to snag a running back in free agency, especially after they signed Tom Brady, but Bruce Arians seems content with Jones. While I do believe they add a running back in the draft, Jones’ stock is way up for now. When you add in Brady, the offense should move a lot smoother, as well as include more dump-off passes to the running backs.

FALLERS

Hakeem Butler (WR – ARI)
I was someone who didn’t want to give up on Butler after an injury-plagued rookie year that prevented him from getting on the field. Now, he has a different obstacle. Getting on the field even when healthy, as DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, and Christian Kirk will be staples, while Butler fights with Andy Isabella for snaps. If he doesn’t become at least somewhat relevant by the end of his second season, the odds of him succeeding drop immensely.

Royce Freeman (RB – DEN)
The acquisition of Melvin Gordon all but demolished Freeman’s dynasty stock. He went from someone who was being drafted like a mid-to-low-end RB3 to someone who you have to wonder if he should be rostered. There’s a real possibility that he’s traded, as the Broncos are clearly not interested in him seeing the field. He’s currently outside of my top 50 running backs in dynasty formats.

Curtis Samuel (WR – CAR)
Samuel struggled to stay on the field early in his career, and then when he did get on the field, he got tons of opportunity. He didn’t do much with that opportunity, and though it’s not all his fault, the new coaching staff felt the need to go out and snag Robby Anderson in free agency. With the way it looks right now, Samuel is the fourth option, at best, on this team. He’s fallen outside of my top 50 wide receivers in dynasty.

David Njoku (TE – CLE)
Perhaps one of the most surprising free agent signings was the first one. It was announced that Austin Hooper would sign with the Browns just a few hours into the legal tampering period, demolishing Njoku’s value. As of the time I’m writing this, Hooper is the highest paid tight end in the game. Njoku is clearly the No. 2 tight end on the team. This is likely to be a Kyle Rudolph/Irv Smith Jr. type situation, which means he’s likely going to fall south of 50 targets in 2020. If someone’s willing to trade him on the cheap, this may be a good time to acquire him, as it’s possible he gets traded.

John Brown (WR – BUF)
We kind of knew the Bills would be adding a wide receiver, though most suspected it would take place through the draft. Instead of a fresh receiver out of college who must go through a learning curve, the Bills acquired Stefon Diggs, a younger, better version of Brown. He just turned 30 years old and if the Bills decided to release him prior to the 2021 season, they’d incur just a $1.6 million cap hit.

Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN)
Most don’t realize that Cousins has been a top-12 quarterback in four of the last five seasons, including two top-six finishes. However, losing Stefon Diggs crushes his long-term value. It’s not just Diggs, either, as Adam Thielen is going to turn 30 years old in August and has back problems. Cousins is nothing more than a low-end QB2 in dynasty leagues.

Jameis Winston (QB – FA)
While this one is obvious, no one could’ve expected it to be this bad. Winston is left without a team, and while he should latch on with some team at some point, he’s likely going to be in a backup role. Because of that, he’s down into QB3 territory for dynasty leaguers.

Derrius Guice (RB – WAS)
If you own Guice and haven’t looked at the Redskins depth chart in a while, don’t. Spoiler: They picked up Adrian Peterson‘s option, and then went on to sign both J.D. McKissic and Peyton Barber. Their depth chart is now Peterson, Guice, Bryce Love (who they drafted at the top of the fourth-round in 2019), McKissic, and Barber. This is a mess for dynasty owners, as there’s clearly going to be a messy timeshare no matter who makes the roster.


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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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