It has been an explosive few days in the NFL. Cap space was plentiful entering 2019 free agency, and teams have shown off just how much they can spend in a major way. Additionally, there have been some wild trades taking the league by storm. It’s a great time to be a football fan.
And if you’re a fantasy player, there is a lot that needs to be re-calibrated as a result of all the moves. Let me help you get everything sorted out that has gone down thus far in the NFC.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs did not make a ton of acquisitions but are the clear winners from a fantasy perspective through addition by subtraction. Adam Humphries left to sign with the Titans, and DeSean Jackson was traded to the Eagles. This should make the targets in the offense more highly concentrated between the remaining players.
Chris Godwin has averaged 7.7 receptions for 73 yards in the six games Jackson missed in his two-year Bucs career. Expect Godwin to see the biggest uptick in volume. O.J. Howard also experienced a breakout in 2018 prior to being lost for the year due to injury. Both of these players should continue and expand on their success in 2018 with offensive-minded Bruce Arians running the show now in Tampa.
New York Giants
Selecting the Giants as the biggest loser was about as easy as choosing to breathe today. The team traded one of the biggest stars in the NFL to Cleveland on Tuesday, moving Odell Beckham Jr. for draft capital and safety Jabrill Peppers. The impact Beckham has had on the Giants cannot be understated. Here are some team splits since 2014, the year Beckham was drafted:
With Beckham: 22.6 points per game, 1.86 points per drive, 7.3 yards per pass attempt
Without Beckham: 18.5 points per game, 1.49 points per drive, 6.4 yards per pass attempt
The move obviously boosts the receiving volume of players such as Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, but with less scoring opportunities and tougher coverage sans-Beckham, it could still be a net-negative.
List of Top Impact Players
Tevin Coleman to SF — Coleman has 90 receptions the past three seasons, game-breaking speed and system familiarity with Kyle Shanahan from their time together in Atlanta. This could spell the end of Jerick McKinnon, who still is owed a maximum of $23.75 million over the next three seasons and missed all of 2018 with a knee injury. The Niners can take a $6 million cap hit and save the rest upon his release. If the team decides to keep him, another Coleman timeshare is likely. San Francisco should have an excellent offense with the return of Jimmy Garoppolo, making scoring opportunities plentiful in 2019. The oft-injured Matt Breida is the only other RB threatening for touches in the San Fran backfield.
Latavius Murray to NO — Murray’s average annual value on his new Saints contract ($3.6 million) is very similar to that of the departed Mark Ingram on his previous contract ($4 million), which indicates a similar role could be in the works. Ingram had averaged 13.4 rush attempts and 3.6 targets over the past two seasons when playing with Alvin Kamara, and it would be reasonable to start there when penciling in Murray’s 2019 workload. The Saints were also 47 percent run with Ingram active and just 36 percent run without him. New Orleans appears interested in maintaining its run-heavy approach to dominate time of possession and keep Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees fresh for a playoff run.
DeSean Jackson to PHI — The aforementioned Jackson trade lands the star WR back with his first team, and it comes at the right time. Philly desperately has needed a field-stretcher for the offense, and Jackson is still one of the best in the NFL. This is a loaded passing attack that already features Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz, with Nelson Agholor and Dallas Goedert still in tow. Personal volume for Jackson might not be great, but his impact on getting the other stars open should be tremendous.
Adrian Peterson stays with WAS — This was a bit of a surprise given Peterson will be entering his age-34 season and 2018 draft pick Derrius Guice should be fully healthy and ready to go at the start of camp after tearing his ACL. Peterson went for 1,000 yards in 2018 with the Redskins, his best season since 2015. It is doubtful he does that again given the return of Guice, but Peterson likely prevents a second-year breakout from the former LSU star. It is doubtful Peterson would come back if he wasn’t promised some share of the carries.
Golden Tate to NYG – The Giants shipped out Beckham, but will look to replace him in some capacity with Tate, who had four straight seasons of at least 90 receptions with Detroit. It is a bit of a strange fit, as both he and Shepard played over 50 percent of their 2018 snaps in the slot. Still, Tate will have a great chance to get back to the 90-reception mark on a Giants team sure to struggle and lacking depth. New York possesses no legitimate NFL options behind Tate and Shepard at WR.
List of Sleepers
Mike Davis to CHI — Davis fills the void expected to be vacated by Jordan Howard and likely does it at a much cheaper cost. At just two years and $6 million, there is no guarantee Davis will see the 270 touches Howard had in 2018, but he possesses that upside. Less Davis almost certainly would mean more work for Tarik Cohen, who had more than 1,000 total yards and eight touchdowns in 2018. More than 99 carries and 71 receptions would be very promising for his 2019 ceiling.
Danny Amendola and Jesse James to DET — The Lions made a pair of additions to the offense to help out Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. Amendola snagged 59 balls for 575 yards with the Dolphins in 2018 and figures to be Detroit’s primary slot receiver. He will not have nearly the role Golden Tate did playing that spot for the Lions, but if he can retain 12 to 15 percent of the targets, Amendola should be a nice PPR option.
James will look to spark a TE group that saw roughly 11 percent of the targets spread out evenly between three players. There was a clear void there in the offense after the release of Eric Ebron. James played in a loaded offense in Pittsburgh but had more than 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns in his final three seasons there.
Geronimo Allison stays with GB — He only played in five games in 2018 due to injury, but Allison put together a nice mini-season for himself. He caught 20 balls for 303 yards and two touchdowns. If you are someone who believes in extrapolation, that’s a 64/970/6 line over the course of 16 games. With Randall Cobb a free-agent and just a trio of second-year WRs in his way, Allison should open the season as the WR2 for Aaron Rodgers depending on what the Packers do in the 2019 NFL Draft. Especially with new head coach Matt LaFleur in town, there is a ton of upside in that position.