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Same Faces, New Places

Armando is sharing a list of players who are in new teams and what fantasy owners can expect from them this season.

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Armando Marsal
Fantasy Writer
@Armando_fbguru

Players find new homes every season. This off-season was no different with many players packing their bags and moving on to new cities.  Sometimes the change is for the better, but sometimes it can be worrisome for fantasy owners. Below you’ll see some of the players who took their talents to a new team and the impact it could have on their fantasy season.

Quarterbacks

Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

McCown started for the Bears in five games last year. He statistically had his best season of his career. In his five starts he averaged 309 yards per game and threw 12 touchdowns. This season he will be given the opportunity to start for the Bucs. The Bucs offense has plenty of weapons and it may intrigue fantasy owners to draft McCown. However, there are a couple of things to take into consideration. First, he was playing for head coach Marc Trestman, who is an offensive minded coach and genius. Second, the offensive line in the Bears is better than the Bucs. Lastly, McCown has been in the league since 2002 and hasn’t been able to be as successful in multiple opportunities. He started 13 games for the Cardinals in 2004 and threw for 2,511 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Keep in mind that he was throwing the ball to Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. The move to the Bucs may seem like somewhat of a lateral one, but I’d temper my expectations.

Matt Schaub, Oakland Raiders

The Texans decided to part ways with Schaub after a 2013 season that was just terrible. This year he is expected to start for the Raiders. He is no longer the quarterback he once was and a rejuvenation is unlikely in Oakland. His yards per attempt have fallen, his turnover rate has gone up, he’s thrown fewer touchdowns per start, and he no longer has Andre Johnson. The Raiders drafted QB Derek Carr in the second round of this year’s NFL draft, and if Schaub struggles early on, it’s very feasible that we will see the Raiders make a change at quarterback. His prime days are behind him at this point in his career and whether it was in Houston or Oakland, it’s tough to trust him as a fantasy option.

Other notable QB’s:

Michael Vick, New York Jets- Looking to serve as a mentor and backup to Geno Smith. Could eventually get a start, but not worth taking on draft day.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans- Will start for the Texans and has the weapons to succeed, but inconsistency is a concern. He can be a late round option in two QB formats as a backup.

Running Backs

Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns

I’ve always been one to say that if Tate had an opportunity to start for a team he’d be a solid back. In the Texans he served four years, primarily as Arian Foster’s backup. At times when given the opportunity, Tate showed flashes of a really good running back. He now is expected to be the featured back in Cleveland where he will be running behind a good offensive line. The main concern with him is durability. If he can manage to stay healthy, it’s possible that he can be one of this year’s steals. Another concern is rookie running back Terrence West, who has been creating quite a buzz this preseason. If he can remain healthy, I’d be a happy fantasy owner with Tate as my No. 2 back this season. This move helps Tate’s fantasy value.

Knowshon Moreno, Miami Dolphins

Before the 2013 season, Knowshon Moreno was given the nickname "Knowshow." That quickly came to an end when Moreno set careers high in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, catches, and receiving yards. This season, he is a Miami Dolphin and will try to prove that last season wasn’t a stroke of luck. This season he will not have one of the top o-lines in the league or have Peyton Manning as his QB. Lastly he’s been having knee issues that have kept him away from practice during camp and the preseason. This move hurts Moreno’s fantasy value.

Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars

Gerhart is going from backing up Adrian Peterson to starting for the Jaguars this season. While in Minnesota, he didn’t get many opportunities to start, but was known as a hard runner that rarely fumbled the ball. He lacks speed, but makes up for it with his power and versatility. Opportunity is not a concern for Gerhart this season, as he’s expected to be the team’s workhorse. If given the minimum amount of carries that we’d expect (240) and considering his career yards per carry average, Gerhart can finish with a little over 1,100 yards. The team change definitely gives his fantasy value a big positive boost.

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants

Jennings has been one of the more trendy backs this off-season/preseason. He is coming off of a good season where he ran for 733 yards on 163 carries, six touchdowns, 292 receiving yards, and 36 catches (all career bests). He only started eight games, but scored more than 10 fantasy points in six games. He is not the starting back for the Giants. The team drafted rookie Andre Williams who is expected to snag some goal-line carries, while Jennings is expected to carry the load.  The main concern with Jennings is staying healthy. He’s battled injuries for most of his career. The change of scenery helps Jennings simply because he’s on a better team and will be the main back to start the season.

Other Notable RB’s:

Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles – Heads to Philly to an up-tempo offense where he fits right in. Should produce solid numbers in PPR formats.

Chris Johnson, New York Jets – He will be playing for a team that will rely heavily on the run. Look for him to be a serviceable option with some big games on random Sundays.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland Raiders – He is the favorite to start in Oakland, but Darren McFadden is still in the picture. If McFadden can stay healthy, he will be taking carries away from MJD. At this point in his career, MJD is more of a bye-week filler.

Dexter McCluster, Tennessee Titans – The Titans are planning to use him much like the Chargers used Danny Woodhead last season. McCluster has yet to prove himself as a runner, but in PPR formats, he can be a solid option during bye-weeks. This move helps his value a bit.

Wide Receivers

DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins

After a career year, he was cut by the Eagles due to issues with the head coach. Jackson caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards, and nine touchdowns in 2013. This year he’ll be playing for the former division rival, the Redskins. He will play alongside Pierre Garcon. Jackson’s value takes a minor hit because he is no longer the No. 1 option. Fantasy owners can still consider him a low-end No. 2 wide receiver with upside, but it’ll be hard to duplicate last year’s performance.

Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos

If someone on this list hit gin, it’s Sanders. He landed in a great situation. He is expected to replace Eric Decker that had 135 targets last season. Sanders is a fast and quick receiver. Catching passes from Peyton Manning this season definitely boosts his value. Last season, Sanders caught 67 passes for 740 yards and six touchdowns (all career highs). This season, he is in a position to set careers high once again.

Eric Decker, New York Jets

He is going from catching passes from one of the best quarterbacks of all time, to catching passes from a second year quarterback. Decker heads to the east coast this off-season and will be a Jet. He has posted 85+ catches and double digit touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. That includes career highs in receptions (87) and yards (1,288). Last season the Jets leading receiver had three touchdowns. Decker didn’t do as well when Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow were under center in Denver. His value definitely takes a big blow, and he is no longer a reliable option. It could be a very up and down season for Decker.

Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

Tate will go from a run heavy offense to one of the most pass heavy offenses in the NFL. Not to mention, he gets an upgrade at quarterback. He has yet to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season or double digit touchdowns. In 2013, he caught 64 passes for 898 yards and five touchdowns. He set career highs in receptions and yards. The Lions have been searching for the right receiver to play alongside Calvin Johnson, and now, Tate will have the opportunity to do so. His fantasy value without a doubt increases on his new team. This could very well be the season that Tate goes over 1,000 receiving yards.

Other Notable WR’s:

Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens – He will no longer be the No. 1 receiver on his team and is getting up there in age. His prime is behind him. Consider him a reserve receiver heading into the season.

Hakeem Nicks, Indianapolis Colts – He’s coming off a scoreless season and is hoping to change that in his new offense. Health is an issue, but if he can remain healthy, he can surprise owners. I’d still tread carefully and not over draft Nicks.

Jericho Cotchery, Carolina Panthers – He set a career high in touchdowns, but that was about it. He’s only posted one 1,000+ season in his 10 year career. The Panthers are thin at receiver position, so Cotchery is in a good situation. However, fantasy owners should only be taking Cotchery as a reserve receiver who will possibly see a lot of targets.

Stevie Johnson, San Francisco 49ers – From the east coast to the west coast. He went from three consecutive 1,000+ yards seasons, to a 597 yards performance in 2013. It’s true that he missed four games, but when he did play, he still wasn’t as productive as in past seasons. Johnson will no longer be the No. 1 receiver for his team. He is now likely the third or fourth option on offense. His value takes a hit for the worse.

James Jones, Oakland Raiders – He goes from catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, to catching passes from Matt Schaub. Jones is battling for the No. 1 receiver spot, but even with that, his value takes a hit.

Mike Williams, Buffalo Bills – Last season he was put on the shelf after week six with an injury. Prior to last season, Williams averaged 64.3 catches, 910.3 yards, and 7.7 touchdowns per season. He will reunite with head coach Doug Marrone, but is the third receiver on the depth charts. His value takes a minor dip.