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2022 NFL Free Agency Takeaways: Zay Jones, C.J. Uzomah, Tevin Coleman (Fantasy Football)

2022 NFL Free Agency Takeaways: Zay Jones, C.J. Uzomah, Tevin Coleman (Fantasy Football)

Day 1 of 2022 NFL Free Agency was a whirlwind of action! In case you missed a minute, here is our recap of the first day of free agent frenzy.

We’re back bright and early for Day 2 adding a few names to the list. Andrew Erickson is here to share his fantasy football takeaways from deals involving Zay Jones, C.J. Uzomah, and Tevin Coleman.

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And don’t miss the rest of our takeaways from all of the recent news:

C.J. Uzomah to Sign with the Jets

C.J. Uzomah’s sprained MCL wasn’t severe enough to keep him out of Super Bowl 56, let alone influence his free agency status entering the 2022 offseason. The former Cincinnati Bengals tight end signed a three-year deal worth $24 million with the New York Jets.

Uzomah’s 78% route participation ranked fourth-highest among tight ends in 2021, but there’s no guarantee he sees the same usage with Gang Green. Only on occasion did last year’s tight ends like Tyler Kroft (free agent) and Ryan Griffin (under contract) ever see high-end usage, let alone turn out any worthwhile fantasy production.

Uzomah is an upgrade over two replaceable tight ends after his showcased decent fantasy production in 2021 — at least five targets in his last seven games before his injury — but it remains to be seen who, if anybody, can be reliable in a Zach Wilson-led passing attack.
His 13% target rate per route run — last among tight ends with at least 40 targets in 2021 — doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that Uzomah is the late-round tight end to targets in 2022.

Be more interested in who replaces Uzomah in Cincy. Every-down tight ends on the field that often in high-scoring environments will stumble into fantasy scoring. A newcomer should be viewed in high regard for fantasy football. It’s a highly coveted role primed to ooze fantasy points.

Zay Jones to Sign with the Jaguars

Zay Jones played better down the stretch than second-year receiver Bryan Edwards, which earned him a three-year $30 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jones averaged a 25% target share, 10.7 half-point fantasy points per game (27th) and 12.8 expected half-point fantasy points per game (18th) in the team’s final five games including playoffs.

He also led the team in total air yards (1,136).

The former Raider is bound to be overlooked in fantasy despite a strong 2021 finish, so consider me a buyer in the very late rounds and in dynasty. Jones will be a starter on the outside and inherit the wide receiver role previously occupied by Laquon Treadwell.

The former first-round pick finished the final six weeks of the fantasy season 10th in receiving yards with 381 – 64 per game.

Jones, like Treadwell, also finished the last five weeks top-10 in PFF receiving grade versus man coverage — further bolstering Jones’ case as a future playmaker on the boundary.

Tevin Coleman to Re-Sign with the Jets

Michael Carter was at his best in 2021 when Tevin Coleman missed time. From Weeks 7-9 with the veteran sidelined, Carter averaged 19 touches per game and a 66% snap share. Upon Coleman’s return from injury in Week 10, Carter averaged 14 touches per game and a 55% snap share in the games they played together.

The rookie’s overall receiving numbers are inflated because he had Mike “The Checkdown King” White at quarterback. Carter has yet to demand more than three targets in seven games with Zach Wilson under center. He owns three top-13 finishes with White, while his best finish with Wilson is RB17.

Nevertheless, the Jets running back usage suggests Carter will cede some work to Coleman in this backfield in 2022. The veteran might rear his ugly head more than anybody in fantasy would want to admit.

The Jets liked what they saw from Coleman a season ago because the 29-year old was efficient on a per touch basis in 2021. From Week 10 on, Coleman ranked fourth in PFF rushing grade (81.9) and eighth in yards after contact per attempt (3.71).

All in all, New York was always going to add somebody else to the backfield, but ultimately, Carter-stans would much rather have it be Coleman than an upcoming rookie or younger player.

This transaction shouldn’t move the needle too drastically on Carter heading into draft season. Reminds me slightly of the Lions signing Jamaal Williams last season, which did not hinder D’Andre Swift from being a massive fantasy contributor.

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And don’t miss the rest of our takeaways from all of the recent news:

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