There is a lot going on in the NFL right now and player values are fluctuating left, right, and center. Here are a few players that have trended up and down in the last couple of weeks.
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The former first-overall pick now finds himself on his fourth team a little over a year after being thought of as the starter in Cleveland. After going from the Browns to a Panthers team in turmoil, then onto the Rams deep in the midst of a disastrous season, Mayfield now finds himself on the Buccanneers and according to reports will have the chance to earn the starters role if he can beat out Kyle Trask. Throughout Mayfield’s career he’s been at his best when protected by a good offensive line and in Tampa he should have that, along with arguably, the best wide receivers ever he’s played with.
If Ezekiel Elliott had not been cut, then we would have been relying on incredible efficiency in order for Tony Pollard to pay off in 2023 fantasy football. Now that Elliott has been let go, as long as the Cowboys don’t add anyone incredible (we’re talking about Bijan Robinson here) then Pollard should see a big increase in touches. In 2022 Pollard had 12 touchdowns, which was the fourth-most for a running back, he also created the highest fantasy points over expected and had the third most big runs. Pollard did all of this on 15.0 touches per game, fewer than Latavius Murray averaged. Elliott had 17.1 touches per game and with those gone, even if the Cowboys add some depth, Pollard should be a smash for 2023.
With Aaron Rodgers finally moving on from the Green Bay Packers their attention has turned to 2020 first-round pick, Jordan Love, who through three seasons in the NFL has 91 dropbacks which are fewer than Trey Lance for reference. Love is incredibly unproven at the NFL level but he seems to have the faith and trust of the coaching staff and has Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson to lean upon.
The Broncos are in a semi-rebuild this offseason as their new head coach, Sean Payton, looks to remake the offense in his image. Rumors continue to swirl that both Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton are on the trade block and that Denver would be willing to part with not just one, but both of the talented receivers. One player who isn’t on the block is Tim Patrick, who suffered a torn ACL in August and missed the whole season. The Broncos expect Patrick to be ready for the start of the season and repeatedly have stressed that he’s an important part of their plans.
The Lions bid farewell to Jamaal Williams, opting to not re-sign him and instead to sign David Montgomery to a more expensive contract. Jamaal Williams had 17 touchdowns in 2022 along with over 1,000 rushing yards but was 144th in rushing EPA and whilst a fun player wasn’t the most effective when not near the goal line. David Montgomery has been an inefficient player throughout his career, but not to the same level Williams was in 2022. Montgomery is a more elusive back who will benefit massively from being in an offense with more weapons and a better offensive line than he’s ever had.
The Broncos brought in Samaje Perine as a priority and it looks like a smart move with Javonte Williams reportedly set to miss anywhere between a few games to an entire season in 2023. During 2022 Perine looked better than fellow Bengal Joe Mixon at times with 4.2 yards per carry to Mixon’s 4.0 and 26 missed tackles to Mixon’s 33, but on 110 fewer attempts. If the Broncos are without Williams for an extended period then Perine can fill in on all three downs, a fact he showcased last year with 7.6 yards per reception to Mixon’s 7.3. The Broncos were a mess in 2022, but Sean Payton is setting them up to be a run-heavy team in 2023 with offensive line upgrades a key area of his focus.
The way this offseason has unfurled might not have won Aaron Rodgers many fans but it’s undeniable that if he goes to the Jets and is playing with Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, and Breece Hall that will be a significant upgrade. The signing of Allen Lazard was mocked due to the nature of Aaron Rodgers seemingly wanting to bring all of his friends along, but for a 39-year-old quarterback, changing teams for the first time in his career, it makes a lot of sense to bring along a security blanket.
Over the course of Alvin Kamara’s career, he has 49 rushing touchdowns, but only six of those have come in the last two seasons, with 2022 particularly disappointing in that regard, as Kamara had two all season. It was a frequent occurrence for Kamara to be subbed out around the ten-yard line in favor of the human Swiss Army knife, Taysom Hill. Now the Saints have added goal line specialist Jamaal Williams to the mix and Kamara is facing a potential suspension, there isn’t much of a silver lining to this cloud.
A few weeks ago the Washington coaches were telling anyone who would listen that they had plenty of faith in Sam Howell, but in the NFL actions always speak louder than words and the signing of Jacoby Brissett spoke volumes. Brissett kept the Browns more afloat than most people expected before the return of Deshaun Watson and was ninth among QBs in EPA per play, committing just six interceptions in eleven games. Ball security matters to old-school coaches like Ron Rivera, so don’t be surprised if we see plenty of Brissett in 2023.
Jimmy Garoppolo has had a good NFL career, benefiting greatly from surrounding talent and excellent coaching. Garoppolo’s familiarity with Josh McDaniels from their time in New England will be a big help to him as he adjusts to life with the Raiders but it might not be as smooth for Davante Adams. While Garoppolo was the Niners’ quarterback he could rely on Kyle Shanahan to scheme open receivers and then add huge amounts of yards after the catch to pad his boxscores. Adams has lived on his ability to win in situations that other receivers might not and it seems fair to think that Garoppolo might not always throw to him in those situations, being a slightly safer quarterback with his play. Even a slight drop-off in high-value targets could be sufficient for Adams to be a lot less useful in fantasy football.
It might seem controversial to put Elijah Moore in here, but the signing of Allen Lazard gives Moore an uphill struggle to stay on the field as often as we’d like for fantasy purposes. In 2022 when the Jets went to two wide receiver sets, Elijah Moore was frequently not a part of those packages and his three red zone catches highlight that wasn’t an area of the game where he was relied upon either. Lazard has been a red zone weapon for Aaron Rodgers over the previous couple of years and there is no denying Garrett Wilson’s prowess in the paint. There will be weeks where Moore can pay off in best ball, but in managed leagues, he looks set to be a headache for now.
As previously mentioned, actions often speak louder than words and when it comes to Trey Lance we only need to look at the signing of Sam Darnold to see what the Niners are thinking. Simply put, Darnold is much closer to Brock Purdy in his style of play, than he is to Trey Lance. Lance is going to have a chance to try and stake his claim to the job, but the Niners’ coaches are building this offense around a different type of quarterback, and his name rhymes with Smock Smurdy. At this point, sadly for Lance, his best hope might be finding a trade to another team.
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