NFL Free Agency Winners/Losers (2020 Fantasy Football)
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Now that the dust has settled on the free-agent frenzy, NFL teams and fantasy analysts alike have shifted their focus to the draft. But what a frenzy it was. March consisted of impact signings and trades galore that rocked the fantasy world. Superstars like DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, Tom Brady, and Melvin Gordon are just a few of the marquee names that will have new homes in the 2020 season.
Let’s look back at the fantasy implications of these moves and examine the winners and losers from a fantasy perspective.
Tom Brady (QB – TB)
This offseason’s biggest winner is the GOAT himself. Brady now gets to throw passes to two mega-studs in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, which is a monumental upgrade from Julian Edelman and the rotating cast of characters the Patriots trotted out last year. Bruce Arians runs a vertically minded offense and will encourage Brady to push the football downfield, where Godwin and Evans torment defensive backs. Brady is currently underpriced at QB18 and will probably be cheap to acquire all offseason, considering he is going to be 43 years old at the start of the season. Scoop him up with confidence.
Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC)
Fantasy owners rejoiced when the Chargers gave Ekeler the big bucks and committed to him as their lead running back. Ekeler is a dynamic player in the mold of Christian McCaffrey, dominant as both a runner and receiver. He exploded onto the scene last season and finished as the RB4 in PPR scoring. Ekeler is going to be a fantasy stud once again in 2020, regardless of who is at quarterback for the Chargers.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR – NO)
Sanders figures to be a polarizing player for fantasy because the market is typically bearish on 33-year-old wide receivers. Further, he was largely a fantasy disappointment during his tenure with the 49ers. I am unfazed and will happily gobble Sanders up all offseason at his current WR43 price tag. Remember what happened the last time Sanders played a game at the Superdome? He busted out a 9-157-1 receiving line. Now he gets to catch passes from Drew Brees on an explosive offense with plenty of targets to go around, especially considering Michael Thomas could use a helping hand. Giddy up!
Will Fuller (WR – HOU)
I’ll save the Texans-bashing for another day, but there is no doubt that Will Fuller now has an incredible fantasy situation. He is slated to be the alpha receiver on an offense quarterbacked by the beastly Deshaun Watson. As always, Fuller’s biggest knock is his health with nagging soft-tissue injuries. However, the risk vs. reward with Fuller just exploded into a new stratosphere. If Fuller can stay healthy in 2020, he could legitimately be a top-10 receiver in fantasy as the lead man in Houston. Previously, the reward with Fuller was always capped as second fiddle to a target hog in DeAndre Hopkins. Fuller is the perfect mid-round pick for upside-chasing fantasy owners.
Robby Anderson (WR – CAR)
I have been a Robby Anderson truther all offseason, and his signing with the Panthers stings me to my core. He stunningly managed to find a worse landing spot than his previous home with the Jets. While Anderson is now on a much better offense, targets are going to be very difficult to come by, considering he will be sharing the field with Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Ian Thomas. Additionally, the Panthers decided to sign Teddy “checkdown” Bridgewater, whose pathetic 6.1-yard average depth of throw was the lowest in the entire NFL last season. Not great for the outlook of a deep-ball specialist like Anderson.
Melvin Gordon (RB – DEN)
I still cannot believe that the Broncos signed Melvin Gordon for two years at a total of $16 million. The sizeable dollar amount and brief contract length suggest that the Broncos are committing to Gordon as their lead back, which ensures he will also cost a pretty penny in fantasy. I will not be paying a third or fourth-round price tag for Melvin Gordon, especially since he is joining a backfield that already consists of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Denver’s backfield screams timeshare, and it’s likely to be a weekly game of whack-a-mole all season. I would rather pay down for Lindsay’s depressed price than overpay for Gordon’s inflated tag. Contextualize Gordon’s 2020 prospects with the fact that he is likely to lead a running back committee on a middling offense helmed by Drew Lock. Hard pass.
Austin Hooper (TE – CLE)
I am very wary of Hooper’s 2020 fantasy outlook at his current TE8 price tag. He joins a Cleveland offense with a lot of mouths to feed in Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and David Njoku. How much fantasy meat will be left on the bone for Hooper? His breakout last season occurred largely because of a career-high 97 targets. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s five tight ends combined for a total of 68 targets last season. I prefer Higbee, Goedert, Fant, and Hockenson at their cheaper price tags.
John Brown (WR – BUF)
Buffalo’s acquisition of Stefon Diggs lodges a huge dent into Brown’s fantasy outlook for 2020. Brown was Josh Allen‘s favorite target last season and led the Bills with a career-high 115 targets. That is not happening with Diggs in town. Brown should still be a viable deep threat and will have an integral role in this offense, but his days as a steady weekly contributor are over. Brown was low-key one of the most consistent wide receivers in the entire league – he had at least 50 receiving yards or a touchdown in 14 of 16 games last season. Brown is too expensive at his current WR34 price tag.
Jarad Evans is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jarad, follow him on Twitter @jarad_evans.