2010 NFL Free Agency Moves? A Fantasy Look And More.

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IMarch 5, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 18:  Running back Chester Taylor #29 of the Minnesota Vikings rushes the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during NFL action at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on October 18, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Ravens 33-31.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

While we prepare ourselves for a torrent of upcoming events, such as the start of the 2010 MLB season, March Madness, and even the end result of the NFL’s free agency, many of us who continue to read the short headlines are scratching our heads at the myriad of player reports coming out of the NFL.

Nobody puts baby in a corner.

Yes indeed, the collapse of collective bargaining has created quite a rift in the NFL, but what players are doing, and where they are going, is becoming more of a tsunami than some silly little wave.

Get your fantasy notebooks ready.

QB—A.J.Feeley —Aaron Wilson on Twitter is reporting that journeyman quarterback A.J. Feeley will visit the Rams and “is expected to sign with them,” according to a league source.

This poses an interesting situation for fantasy owners in the sense that Feeley can play football with his gigantic hands and ability to throw downfield, he just hasn’t had too many chances to really impress.

He knows Pat Schurmur’s offense from their days in Philly together, and considering Mark Bulger is damaged goods, he has a very good chance of becoming a starter and a possible sleeper for the upcoming 2010 NFL fantasy draft later this year.

TE—Brandon Manumaleuna— The Bears signed the beefy tight end to a glamorous five-year deal, acquiring who many consider the best blocking tight end in the game right now. Blocking tight ends are a crucial part of Mike Martz’s version of the west coast offense, which means nothing for his fantasy value.

What it does mean is all of you should not believe the hype that Greg Olsen’s role will diminish because of the new-style offense. In fact, it could get even better.

Yes, Martz does not traditionally run a west coast style that uses receiving tight ends a whole lot, but considering the crop of receivers currently in Chicago (minus Burleson, see below), and the athleticism of Olsen, and you’d be fool to think Olsen isn’t going to be a huge part.

RB/FB—Leonard Weaver— Weaver is now officially locked in for three years with the Birds, and that spells disaster for those who will face their ground game in many ways.

From a fantasy standpoint, it is widely believed that Weaver will be good for only 10 catches at the very best, but I don’t believe that for a second.

Any diehard Eagles fan will tell you that for Andy Reid to show that much interest in a FB is insanely rare, and furthermore, his ability to catch and run makes him an intriguing late-round consideration.

You just have to think, here, that Reid has something devious up his sleeve and Weaver could wind up being a very unexpected sleeper in 2010.

WR—Nate Burleson— Hold onto your helmets everyone, because the Lions are making a lot of waves this offseason, and signing Nate Burleson to a five-year deal is just one of many.

Last year, Burleson was a focal point of the Seahawks red zone attack, despite looking paltry everywhere else, and he did manage to put up 812 yards before getting derailed.

His new digs are in a dome, and he has Matthew Stafford at the helm, so his fantasy value should rise considerably.

RB—Chester Taylor— Taylor is being reported as paying a visit to the Chicago Bears, and he could even possibly sign with them sooner rather than later.

The reason for this being so important is not only Taylor’s potential rise in stock if this happens, but Matt Forte’s potential decline after a miserable 2009 campaign.

Let’s say Taylor does get signed. In the version of the west coast that Martz runs, the running back will have a ton of value in 2010.

His receivers will run tradition lateral routes trying to capitalize on one-on-one matchups downfield, so for teams playing press or zone against them, covering a speedy, bulky back like Taylor will be very difficult to do.

As a side note, with three lateral receivers downfield and three linebackers having to decide just who to cover—an intimidating back in the flats or help over the middle—the tight end should see a lot more real estate as a number one check down or short yardage threat. PPR anyone?

If he does sign with the Bears, he should be a serious high-end consideration early in your draft.

 As an update to this article some 30 minutes later—thank you Chicago—Chester Taylor is IN FACT a Chicago Bear! It is very safe to now make him a top priority in your RB rankings.

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