Have you been paying attention this offseason? Quick, where will Rashard Mendenhall be running this year? How about Shonn Greene? Whose uniform will Greg Jennings be wearing? Who’s the new starting tight end in Tennessee? Who’s kicking in San Francisco?
Once again, the roster of fantasy-relevant players changing zip codes this season is extensive. I counted more than 60, and that doesn’t include guys like Michael Turner, Beanie Wells and Brandon Lloyd, who are still looking for work.
And while this year’s merry-go-round spun no more quickly than in recent years, the ride always ends the same: with precious few players boosting their fantasy stock in new jerseys.
Last year, only Peyton Manning (coming off a season lost to injury) and Brandon Marshall measurably improved their fortunes with new teams. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Vincent Jackson got modest bumps, and Danario Alexander
emerged in mid-season after the Chargers plucked him off the scrap heap. But that’s it, sports fans.
Meanwhile, following the historic trend, the list of team-swapping duds was exhaustive. Tim Tebow, Brandon Jacobs, Peyton Hillis and Laurent Robinson vanished from the fantasy landscape, and several other stars with great expectations mostly labored in vain.
So, as we survey the NFL’s continuously shifting landscape, we are justifiably pessimistic about most of the carpetbaggers’ prospects. Here’s a quick look at the most significant offseason moves of 2013, broken down by the projected impact on each player’s fantasy value.
MOVIN’ ON UP
– Look for improved production from these five.
, RB, Cardinals – There’s nowhere to go but up for Mendy after last year’s season of discontent. But is he the solution to Arizona's perennial rushing woes? Don’t bank on it.
, RB, Jets – He’ll get his shot to start for a team in desperate need of a reliable bell cow. The oft-injured former Saint has no competition to speak of, but will the Jets ever penetrate the red zone?
, WR, Patriots – Wes Welker Lite may be Tom Brady’s only reliable receiver when the season begins. Amendola will be featured on every (other) fantasy expert’s sleeper list; which means, by definition, he’s no sleeper.
, TE, Rams – The underachieving former Titan has developed an instant rapport with Sam Bradford in training camp. He’s worth a late-round flier.
, K, 49ers – The sure-footed former Brown will finally get a chance to mop up for a real offense.
COMIN’ BACK DOWN
– These players will be hard-pressed to match last year’s results.
Lions – He had a good run in Miami, but he’s joining a pass-first offense in Motown. I just can’t see Bush cracking the Top 20 this season.
, RB, Colts – He’ll begin his tenure in Indy nursing yet another foot injury. The old Bradshaw was more talented than Vick Ballard and Donald Brown put together, but injuries and shared carries may conspire against him.
, RB, Titans -- Instead of two-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust in the Jets offense, he'll now underachieve as Chris Johnson's backup.
, WR, Vikings – He walked out of Green Bay and, pfffttttt....just like that...his elite status is history.
WR, Seahawks – Hip surgery will cost him most, if not all, of his first season in Seattle.
, TE, Giants – He benefitted from the dearth of talent around him in Oakland; but he’ll be the third option, at best, in New York.
CALL IT A WASH
– For better or worse, these players should post comparable results to last season.
, QB, Cardinals – Arizona’s offensive line is a sieve, and he’s years past his prime. Even Larry Fitzgerald won’t be enough to salvage his fantasy value.
, QB, Chiefs – Little more than a fantasy backup as a 49er, Smith will be an afterthought in KC.
, QB, Raiders – Even if he wins the starting job, Flynn won’t be roster-worthy in most leagues.
, RB, Falcons – Now on the wrong side of 30, the hard-charging workhorse will celebrate more wins in Atlanta; but his second-tier status will likely hold steady.
, RB, Chargers – Moves from one crowded backfield to another.
Dolphins – His production slipped last year in Pittsburgh, and Ryan Tannehill is unlikely to propel him back to elite status.
, WR, Broncos – If only he could find a decent quarterback to get him the ball, Welker might make a name for himself.
, WR, 49ers – It’s been a while since Boldin has been an every-week fantasy starter; but he’ll still have his moments on the left coast.
, TE, Bears – He finally emerged in 2012 and Jay Cutler will welcome a reliable safety valve.
, TE, Dolphins – Mostly a bye-week fantasy starter as a Jet, he’ll retain that status in Miami.
, TE, Titans – Walker has upside now that he’s out of Vernon Davis' shadow; but his ceiling is low in Tennessee.
, K, Lions – Kicked to the curb after an erratic season in San Francisco, Akers will be roster-worthy again in Detroit.
, K, Giants – Should have more opportunities now that he’s in New York, but Brown is still far from elite.
, K, Buccaneers – With Connor Barth (ACL) sidelined for the season, Tynes will remain a borderline fantasy starter.
OFF THE RADAR – These players are likely to be written about only in the past tense from now on. QBs:
Jason Campbell (Browns), Matt Cassel (Vikings),
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Titans), Matt Hasselbeck (Colts), Kevin Kolb (Bills),
Colt McCoy (49ers)
LeGarrette Blount (Patriots), Mike Goodson (Jets), Peyton Hillis (Bucs), Felix Jones (Eagles), Willis McGahee (FA), Michael Turner (FA), Leon Washington (Patriots), Beanie Wells (FA)
Davone Bess (Browns), Austin Collie (49ers), Josh Cribbs (Raiders), Brandon Gibson (Dolphins), Devery Henderson (Redskins),
Darrius Heyward-Bey (Colts), Domenik Hixon (Panthers), Brandon Lloyd (FA), Laurent Robinson (FA), Kevin Walter (Titans), Titus Young (FA)
Anthony Fasano (Chiefs), Kellen Winslow, Jr. (Jets)
: Billy Cundiff (Jets), Shayne Graham (Browns)
Preseason Column Schedule
A look at the Rookie Class of 2013 and positional rankings posted
The Perfect Draft
Originally published on the blog Fantasy Fools