Things have definitely slowed down in the NFL now that that new car smell as worn off of free agency and the top players have all been signed. Sure, there are some household names still left out in free agency limbo—most notably Adrian Peterson—but it’s clear these are players teams don’t feel a real rush to sign.
Last week I took at look at five players who saw their stock rise thanks to free agency so I figured it only fitting to do the exact opposite this week. Here are five players whose fantasy stock took a big hit because of free agency moves.
While the Red Rifle has never been mentioned among the fantasy football elite, he has been a nice fantasy option in recent years. He finished last year 13th in total scoring, averaging 16.3 points per game. Dalton still has weapons heading into 2017. The Bengals were able to retain free agent receiver Brandon LaFell—something they completely failed to do last year—and let’s not forget he still has pass catchers like A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert on the field. The issue comes to Dalton’s protection. The Bengals’ offensive line was ravaged in free agency, losing both starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard Kevin Zeitler. Not great for a quarterback that was sacked 41 times last year.
I was HUGE on Kenneth Dixon last year as a sleeper fantasy option. He did alright for a rookie, finishing top 50—literally number 50—in total points and 46 overall in PPR (points per reception) leagues. Sadly, his 2017 campaign is not off to a hot start as he’s already starting the first four games on the bench thanks to a suspension. But his fantasy stock takes an even larger hit with the Baltimore Ravens signing PPR legend and the OG shifty, gritty, white pass catching running back, Danny Woodhead. Woodhead is coming off an ACL injury but he’s a pro’s pro and instantly has more fantasy value than Dixon at the start of the new season.
Julian Edelman makes his money in PPR leagues. In standard leagues he averaged 8.3 PPG last season. In PPR: 14.4 PPG (good for 15th amongst WR). It’s clear Edelman’s fantasy value comes from being Tom Brady’s favorite target all over the field, just not in the endzone. Unfortunately for Edelman owners, the New England Patriots landed themselves a brand new shiny toy in Brandin Cooks who is a very similar player to Edelman. It’ll be interested to see what the Patriots’ offense looks like with all the weapons they have, but one things for sure: there are only so many targets to go around and Edelman won’t be seeing the same target rate he saw last year.
The running back position is notoriously fickle from year to year and Thomas Rawls can certainly attest to that. Rawls was thought by many to be the replacement to Lynch in both the Seattle Seahawks’ offense and on their fantasy teams. That has not panned out in the slightest and the Eddie Lacy signing only further hampers Rawls fantasy stock. Lacy could quickly return to fantasy relevance in Seattle’s offense and even if he doesn’t, just his mere presence will make drafting Rawls a very risky proposition.
Adrian Peterson & Jamaal Charles
Not too long ago, these two titans of fantasy running backs were the top of the top, possessing the ability carry your team almost single-handedly to a championship. I know because I experienced this first hand. Fast forward to Now and both backs are team-less and washed up in fantasy circles. It says a lot that the Oakland Raiders would rather coax Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and trade something to Seattle for his rights rather than sign either Peterson or Charles. I though Oakland would be a perfect landing spot for Peterson. Now I guess he’ll be a permanent fixture in Dan Hanzus’ GrayBeards.