Fantasy Football: 5 Players Free Agency Affected the Most
With the majority of free agency in the books, NFL teams begin to look towards the NFL Draft in April. However, NFL fans have their own in only a few short months: their fantasy football draft.
Some teams are very active in free agency, others are not. But all players are affected, from a football sense and more importantly a fantasy perspective. More backfield committees are formed (sigh) and deep wide receiver groups are formed.
All players’ values have changed, but here are five who have changed the most, for better or for worse.
Wes Welker, New England Patriots, Wide Receiver
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This drop is just the start of Wes Welker's fantasy demise. Recently, Welker has been a reception monster, using his speed and quick feet (sorry, couldn't resist) to haul in 100 reception seasons.
However, Welker just received some stiff competition in the form of Brandon Lloyd, who recently signed with the Pats.
Now Lloyd alone wouldn't be able to threaten Welker's productivity, but the continued development of exceptional tight ends, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, and the return of Deion Branch leaves the Patriots with a very full receiver corps.
The issue is that in this new Patriots offence there are many mouths to feed and only one ball.
Tom Brady has a decision to make.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers, Running Back
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Fantasy owners are wondering why Jonathan Stewart is smiling so much. He must be unaware the Carolina Panthers just signed Mike Tolbert for the next four years.
Not only is Tolbert the touchdown vulture of all touchdown vultures, which must worry starter DeAngelo Williams, he is a pretty solid player himself.
Now having three good running backs can be very beneficial to teams, just not when your fantasy team needs consistent production from one of them. The backfield committee is almost equivalent to a fantasy death sentence, and while he and Williams had it worked out for a while, it seems Tolbert is the albatross.
Both will now be looking over their shoulders inside the red zone as Tolbert will be waiting on the sideline to run in for the goal line and steal all the glory, and the fantasy points! The worst part is that we're still unsure how the Panthers plan to use Tolbert, which makes it that much harder to figure out the value of Stewart.
If Tolbert is given consistent carries, he may send Stewart to the bench, and off of fantasy rosters worldwide.
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Quarterback
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Why is Josh Freeman so happy right now? For the same reason his fantasy owners next year should be: the Buccaneers finally spent money.
They signed arguably the best offensive linemen in Carl Nicks, who should help create one of the better guard parings in the league with Davin Joseph. Additionally, this move allowed the Bucs to cut Jeff Faine and shift Jeremy Zuttah over to center, further solidifying their offensive line.
In case you didn't know, offensive linemen are a quarterback's second best friend.
Their best friend? Wide receivers.
Their biggest signing this offseason was Vincent Jackson, who was arguably the best available. Sure they may have overpaid, but Freeman doesn't mind. Along with Jackson, he Bucs now have a formidable receiver corps with Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn and Kellen Winslow at tight end.
With all these new toys, Freeman is poised for a big year, a really big year.
Tim Tebow, New York Jets, Quarterback
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While some players have seen their fantasy value skyrocket this offseason, others have sen their value completely tank. Unfortunately for Tim Tebow, he is one of the others.
When the Denver Broncos signed Peyton Manning it was the beginning of the end for Tebow's value. Quickly afterwards, he was shipped to the Jets for minimal return and his value has quickly diminished.
At the beginning of the offseason, Tebow was seen as a middle-round quarterback who could score points with his arms and legs. He was also very consistent in his point-scoring, never that much, but always enough to justify starting him the next week.
Now Tebow is a backup who will only enter the game in a wildcat capacity, which doesn't warrant a draft pick or a roster spot. Tebow's only hope is that starter Mark Sanchez struggles and he is given a chance to be the starter.
Don't underestimate Tebow's value on a 1-4 team. He proved us wrong last year, and there's no reason he won't do it again.
Except for Sanchez. He's holding him back a little.
Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, Denver Broncos, Wide Receivers
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It wouldn't surprise me if the only people smiling as much as John Elway was when Peyton Manning signed in Denver was Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. In their own right, both are pretty solid receivers; however, both had little fantasy value last year with Tebow running the offence.
Times have changed in Denver and Manning is now in charge. The option is out, as is any true running game and a calculated, precise passing game is on its way. That means more catches, more receiving yards and more receiving touchdowns.
But Manning has to throw to someone right?
That's where Thomas and Decker come in, Denver's top two receivers. With Manning in the fold expect to see their numbers surpass their career highs. By far.
Sure they might not be the second coming of Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, but they hold their own as a pair.
If you saw what Manning did with Blair White, you know the sky's the limit for these two, so don't be shocked if one comes in the top ten in fantasy points amongst receivers.