It’s been a crazy first two days of NFL free agency. We’ve already seen a number of key signings that have major fantasy impact as well as a surprising number of trades. Let’s break down the biggest transactions and what they mean for your 2015 fantasy team:
LeSean McCoy traded to Bills
The blockbuster trade that sent McCoy to Buffalo and Kiko Alonso to Philadelphia will return Shady to top-5 fantasy back status. Helping in this effort will be newly-signed fullback, Jerome Felton, a 2012 Pro Bowler who paved the way for Adrian Peterson’s 2,097-yard campaign that same year in Minnesota.
Brandon Marshall traded to Jets
Marshall’s stock certainly takes a hit going to the Jets, no matter how bad Jay Cutler was last season. Marshall already had a down year, but now in New York, where his current quarterback options are Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick, rebounding to his 2013 form doesn’t seem likely.
Frank Gore signs with Colts
Gore’s value is greater with the Colts than it would have been had he stayed in San Francisco. Although he’ll certainly get less carries with Andrew Luck flinging the rock, that same rocket arm will deliver him more goal line opportunities. The Colts clearly wanted a punishing back in the offense, which is why they traded for Trent Richardson two years ago, but he just wasn’t any good at doing anything with a football. Gore is mid to low RB2 in 2015.
Andre Johnson signs with Colts
The Miami to Indy connection continued when Johnson signed on with the Colts as well. Another veteran well past his prime, Johnson will certainly be better off playing with Andrew Luck than he would have been with new Houston QB Brian Hoyer.
Julius Thomas signs with Jaguars
From Peyton Manning to Blake Bortles. Get that green, Thomas. Ultimately, though, the TE position is so inconsistent that Thomas probably maintains a top-5 spot.
Torrey Smith signs with 49ers
Following Anquan Boldin as the latest Raven-turned-9er won’t have an impact on Smith’s fantasy value. Kaepernick and Flacco are both big arm quarterbacks who make a living with bombs downfield, exactly where Smith makes his money. Make no mistake, though, Torrey Smith will still be as inconsistent as ever and will still be the boom-or-bust fantasy option he was in Baltimore. A low WR2 seems right for Smith.
Jeremy Maclin signs with Chiefs
You might say that Maclin pulled a Julius Thomas when he signed with the Chiefs, a team that didn’t have a single touchdown caught by a wide receiver in 2014. How is that even possible? In any case, with Jamaal Charles being awesome and Alex Smith and Andy Reid dinking and dunking down low all day, Maclin won’t come close to that 1,318 yards, 10 TD line he put up last season in Chip Kelly’s spread offense.
Patrick Willis retires
San Francisco’s defense could very well fall out of the top-10 in 2015. They managed to stay around the 7-8 range last season despite the absence of Willis, Navorro Bowman, and Aldon Smith for most of the season, but with Bowman’s health still in question and the potential retirement of Justin Smith as well, the 49ers might continue their fall from dominance.
Ndamukong Suh signs with Dolphins
The Dolphins move from a matchup-dependent top-15 defense to a top-10 defense.
Jimmy Graham traded to Seahawks
Overview: Huge boost to Russell Wilson, but a hit to Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham.
Wilson’s value: Seattle is still going to be a run-first team, but with the second best tight end now in the fold, Wilson’s production will certainly go up. Combined with his running production, he could easily be a top-5 quarterback this year, potentially taking Drew Brees’ spot.
Brees’ value: It’s impossible not to feel the loss of a guy like Graham who had become the focal point of the Saints offense over the past few years. The guy they got for him, center Max Unger, combined with the new Mark Ingram deal, leads me to believe the Saints might be trying to find more balance on offense as well, a move that would further diminish Brees’ fantasy value.
Graham’s value: While Russell Wilson is a great and still-improving quarterback, he’s no Drew Brees in terms of pure passing ability. This, coupled with a run-first offense, will lead to Jimmy Graham taking a hit in production in 2015.