8 NFL Players Whose Fantasy Value Is on the Line in Free Agency
With less than a week to go before the free-agency frenzy begins, several players will be taking their talents elsewhere and in the process affecting the fantasy value of plenty others on many levels.
The free-agency period could turn the fortunes around for not only the free agents themselves, but more so the players who may benefit from their departures. On the flip side, some players could see their value plummet due to some impending free-agent decisions.
Here is a list (counting down from eight to one) of eight players who could have their future fantasy value change once several prominent free agents start changing teams.
8. Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans
If there is any truth to the rumor from Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun Times that the Bears (and some other teams) are hot on the heels of Cook, then he could end up becoming a trendy tight end sleeper this summer.
Cook and the Titans are far apart in their negotiations and the 25-year-old could be best served by signing elsewhere. If he were to play in a more potent offense (or playing with the Bears and benefiting while teams double-cover Brandon Marshall), Cook could thrive in a new environment.
He could even crack the top 10 rankings for tight ends if he ends up in the right place.
7. Bilal Powell, New York Jets
It has been long rumored that Shonn Greene and the Jets are expected to part ways with Atlanta and Denver interested, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, and if that holds up then backup running back Bilal Powell could see a huge spike in value.
Powell did well when given ample chances this past season, averaging four yards per carry. The 2011 fourth-round pick surged toward the end of the season, scoring four touchdowns between Week 11 and Week 14.
The Jets will likely bring in other running backs to compete for the job, but Powell should get first crack and he could be in line for a breakout campaign in 2013.
6. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
If Welker tries to cash in elsewhere, the Patriots could lean toward making the underutilized Julian Edelman their next great possession receiver. When given the chance Edelman has done well, posting four games in double-digit fantasy points this past year.
We have seen how Tom Brady can turn any old receiver into a star and with the team not getting solid production from other receivers (namely Brandon Lloyd), Edelman could see a substantial shift in value if Welker does leave town.
If that were to happen, Edelman would be a sleeper you would have to keep an eye on this upcoming draft season.
5. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
A favorite sleeper of mine, Tannehill is poised to take the next step in his game this season and if the free agency period is any indication of things to come, Tannehill could have some shiny new weapons to work with.
The free agency period could be most beneficial to Tannehill, as the Dolphins are expected to spend some money this offseason. A couple of targets that the Dolphins are keying in on include Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings, with Wallace the preferred option according to NFL.com's Jeff Darlington.
With improved playmakers to throw to, Tannehill will be a popular sleeper on draft day.
4. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Another sleeper quarterback I like, Bradford could actually have his value negatively affected, as Danny Amendola could be headed out the door in St. Louis, with Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporting the two sides are far apart regarding what represents a fair price.
For Bradford to have any veritable value heading into the 2013 season, it would be most advantageous if Amendola is around catching his passes. Bradford has other weapons in Chris Givens, Brandon Gibson and Brian Quick, but Amendola is his main target.
If Amendola sticks around, then feel confident in taking Bradford late in drafts as a valuable backup with enormous upside.
3. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
With Mike Wallace not expected back in Pittsburgh, the value of Roethlisberger could drastically change without the services of his favorite deep threat.
The Steelers have solid, yet unspectacular receivers in Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders and they could only do so much. It will be interesting to see if the Steelers are buyers on the free-agent market, as they do need more playmakers on offense.
As it stands, Roethlisberger is just a low-end starter for fantasy purposes, but if Wallace leaves and the Steelers don’t upgrade at wide receiver, Big Ben could be an afterthought on draft day.
2. Lamar Miller/Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins
It appears that the Reggie Bush era is over in Miami, as he has given every indication he will leave South Beach—with Detroit being a possible landing spot according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
If that were to occur, the Dolphins will need a new workhorse in the backfield and they have two qualified replacement candidates in Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller.
Miller has the more upside and is the healthier option of the two. In limited carries (51) last year Miller averaged an impressive 4.9 yards per carry. Thomas, if healthy, has proved he could be a decent option too, but my bet is that Miller takes this opportunity and runs with it.
1. Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams
It is all but assured that Steven Jackson will void his contract and become a free agent next week, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. With that news, the fantasy value for Daryl Richardson increases tenfold.
When he got a chance to showcase himself last season Richardson thoroughly impressed. Richardson averaged a healthy 4.8 yards per carry on 98 attempts. While receiving no more than 15 carries in any one game, Richardson still ran for more than 50 yards four times.
Richardson could make for a low-end No. 2 running back or high-end No.3/flex play. The potential is limitless with Richardson. Also, don’t forget about Isaiah Pead as well, as he should also see a boost in carries.
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