It’s officially March Madness, NFL Style! On March 14th, we saw a two-day window open where teams could contact players. And we instantly saw fireworks with monumental contracts firing off left and right. We wanted to take a closer look at the free agency acquisitions that affect fantasy football the most, and what they mean for your best ball, redraft, and dynasty teams in the future! So without further adieu, here is the 2022 Fantasy Football Free Agency Impact Guide.
LAST UPDATED: 5/2/22
Traded to Denver
The first move that set the tone for this unpredictable offseason was the Russell Wilson trade. The Denver Broncos acquired Wilson for Drew Lock, Noah Fant, defensive tackle Shelby Harris, two first round picks, two second round picks, and a fifth-round pick. A major haul for a team that has been held back by quarterback play since Peyton Manning‘s final year in 2015. Since Manning’s last game, the following quarterbacks have started games for the Broncos: Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler, Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Drew Lock, Brandon Allen, Jeff Driskel, Brett Rypien, and Teddy Bridgewater. A who’s who of backup caliber NFL quarterbacks. And now they have acquired a top ten quarterback.
Mr. @Fantasy_Mansion & I have selected our subject for 2022’s organizational deep-dive podcast.
We’ll examine one team’s precipitous downfall brought on by its commitment to ideology > data and stone-age philosophy > progressive concepts. pic.twitter.com/xxNO3FlvnC
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) March 24, 2022
Wilson will obviously miss D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. But inheriting an offense with talented receivers, a promising young running back, and an athletic specimen at tight end will ease the pain of losing those gifted receivers. Even with the down year last year, Wilson remains firmly in the discussion as a top ten quarterback for fantasy. Obviously, this is a hit for the Seahawks players and a boost for Bronco offensive weapons. But more importantly, this reflects the massive shift in quarterback talent from the NFC to the AFC.
Traded to Seattle
Drew Lock was acquired in the Russell Wilson trade. As of this writing, there are no indications that they will be drafting a rookie quarterback. They have been linked to Baker Mayfield and Colin Kaepernick, but no move has been made yet. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find an upgrade over Lock. He has yet to truly show competent, consistent play since being drafted in the NFL. He appeared in six games while Teddy Bridgewater was injured and struggled to throw only two touchdowns. He’s finished as a top 12 fantasy QB five times over the past two seasons. For comparison, Wilson had seven top 12 finishes during his injury-shortened 2021 season. Seattle will miss Wilson, but now Coach Pete Carroll has a legitimate excuse to call even more run plays with a much less talented quarterback.
Traded to Cleveland
After a grand Jury in Texas declined to indict Deshaun Watson on sexual assault charges, it seemed as if it was the start of NFL teams scrambling to acquire the star QB. It had seemed that it was down to the Falcons and the Saints. Until the Cleveland Browns swooped in at the last moment and signed him to a gigantic new contract ($230 million guaranteed). They offered the Texans three first-round picks, a third-round pick, and a fourth-round pick. Perhaps the most terrifying thing for the Browns is the fact that the 22 Civil lawsuits remain open, . And the NFL is continuing its own investigation, so a suspension seems likely.
The #Browns did a Texas Two-Step this offseason, upgrading at QB and WR.
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) March 19, 2022
For the Texans, they can see if Davis Mills can be the future of the franchise and surround him with a strong supporting cast. For the Browns, this is a move showing that they are willing to do anything to win. Former Cleveland receivers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry have publicly expressed the desire to play with Watson. The Browns recently added journeyman backup Jacoby Brissett. So the job will be all his if a suspension or further legal action delays Watsons return to the field. Baker Mayfield has expressed his dislike of the whole situation, and will likely be traded or released soon.
2 years, $27 million, $14.25 guaranteed to Pittsburgh
Mitchell Trubisky had the big QB signing on day one of free agency, signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. With all apologies to the Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins truthers reading now, this is an obvious upgrade to the Steelers quarterback room. There is a possible chance we see a Tannehill-like resurgence. One where he can possibly put together competent games at quarterback; and possibly cobble together a respectable NFL career after being tethered to John Fox and Matt Nagy.
Najee Harris: RB5
Diontae Johnson: WR15
Pat Freiermuth: TE10
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) March 15, 2022
Trubisky’s tenure at Chicago was truly dreadful. But let’s not forget that outside of Allen Robinson, the most talented receivers he could throw to during his Bears tenure include Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Trey Burton, and a rookie Darnell Mooney. He is now stepping into an offense with Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Pat Freiermuth. After sitting in Buffalo for two seasons watching the staff turn Josh Allen into a QB1, perhaps a little magic rubbed off onto Trubisky. The highest ceiling outcome is Ryan Tannehill. The floor is that he is still Trubisky. Even then, he had a few big fantasy games while starting in Chicago. He is an ideal number two or number three quarterback on a Superflex roster.
2 years, $6.75 million guaranteed to Atlanta
Marcus Mariota was signed to the Atlanta Falcons where he is reunited with his former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who was on staff at Tennessee when Mariota was quarterback there. Mitchell Trubisky ranks slightly ahead of Mariota for the simple fact that his situation is vastly greater than Mariota’s in Atlanta.
Traded to Indianapolis
Among the moves made as a result of the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes was the fallout between Atlanta and Matt Ryan. Eventually the Falcons wised up, finally embracing the rebuild they’ve put off. They traded Ryan to the Colts for a 2022 third-round pick. They could’ve had Justin Fields or Mac Jones. But instead, they have Marcus Mariota throwing passes to their world class tight end Kyle Pitts. They could address quarterback in the draft. But this felt like a move that should have been made last season. For the Colts, it’s another year, another new starter at quarterback. Ryan provides a better arm and more consistent play than Carson Wentz, evidenced by his 7.8 (No. 8) Accuracy Rating. Wentz finished with a 7.2 (No. 31) Accuracy Rating. Hopefully for the Colts, they can actually groom a starter behind Ryan and provide the team a level of consistency.
Traded to Washington
After a dismal ending to the 2021 season, where Carson Wentz essentially wore out his welcome, he was traded to Washington with a 2022 second-round pick. Indianapolis received a 2022 third-round pick, 2022 second-round pick, and a 2023 third-round pick that escalates to a second-round selection if Wentz plays 70-percent of the snaps. Since Kirk Cousins left Washington, they have gone with an unsavory quarterback combination of Alex Smith, Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, and Taylor Heinicke. Yikes. Wentz, who absolutely struggled in a great situation last season, is an actual upgrade over those quarterbacks. Unfortunately, it’s more like upgrading an F minus into a C minus. He won’t fix the franchise. But he will be a step in the right direction. The Colts can use the extra 2022 draft picks to build around Matt Ryan and compete in a loaded AFC.
You only need two plays to sum up Carson Wentz, QB pic.twitter.com/YlpyCv9KGI
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) March 9, 2022
2 years, $11 million, $8.175 guaranteed to New York Giants
The Giants went out and signed Tyrod Taylor to back up current starter Daniel Jones. Last season, when Jones was out, we witnessed a clown show on offense. Jake Fromm and Mike Glennon held the offense back in such a way that the offense would rather call quarterback sneaks on third and long rather than run a conventional pass play. If Jones is unable to produce or stay healthy, Taylor’s mobility puts him in the QB3 discussion.
2 years, $28 million, $14 million guaranteed to New Orleans
The New Orleans Saints resigned Jameis Winston to a two-year deal. Normally a victim of turnovers, Winston did show some improvement. He had only three interceptions in seven games while learning the offense. Now he gets another chance in 2022. And this time Michael Thomas is returning to action. There is some uncertainty with Sean Payton retiring. But Winston falls in that QB2/QB3 range, and can be an asset for superflex teams in 2022.
2 years, $12.6 million, $6.1 million guaranteed to Miami
The Miami Dolphins broke the ice on the running back market, signing Chase Edmonds. Schematically, it has all the look of a smash selection. New head coach Mike McDaniel ran the Shanahan offense in San Francisco where a smaller, faster back can thrive. Edmonds has produced when given the opportunity to have an entire backfield to himself, with four career fantasy RB1 performances. Unfortunately, he has either shared time with Kenyan Drake or James Conner, so you don’t see monster numbers.
Even if Miami chooses to add another running back in the draft, we should have optimism about this landing spot because we get to see Edmonds run in a stretch zone running scheme. And Tua Tagovailoa will not take away carries at the rate Kyler Murray did. Speaking of Tua, we can certainly expect more check down passes to head Edmonds’ way. He loves the short, safe pass evidenced by his 2.2 (No. 30 among qualified quarterbacks) Deep Ball Attempts in 2021. Edmonds finished with 38 (No. 5) slot snaps among running backs. And his 13.8-percent (No. 8) Target Share proves he’s among the premier pass catching backs in the NFL. Edmonds remains a great RB to target in fantasy drafts.
3 years, $21 million, $13.5 million guaranteed to Arizona
Arizona was faced with a decision to choose between Chase Edmonds and James Conner, and electing to go with Conner. While the amount of money might be a questionable amount considering they are currently working diligently to find enough cap money to keep Kyler Murray, this is a fantastic signing in terms of fantasy football. Conner crushed expectations scoring 18 touchdowns in 2021, and averaging 17.2 (No. 7) Fantasy Points Per Game.
James Conner fantasy finishes in six games with Chase Edmonds out last season:
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) March 14, 2022
Now with only dynasty darling Eno Benjamin and Jonathan Ward competing for touches, we can safely project Conner to continue to control this backfield, and perhaps earn even more receiving work. The Cardinals have plenty of other needs on the team. Even if they happen to add one more running back to the mix, it will likely be a late round selection or another undrafted free agent. “The Terminator” will be primed and ready to duplicate his 2021 season all over again.
$940,000 guaranteed to Carolina
With the well-documented injury issues that Christian McCaffrey has, any best ball drafter will pay attention to his back up. Well, we saw last year that even when he was down, it was not the Chuba Hubbard show; he only broke a 60.0-percent Snap Share in two games last season. If a McCaffrey injury happens again, Foreman will outscore Hubbard. He nearly outrushed him and played in half as many games, and he appeared to be more explosive at times.
3 years, $21 million, $12 million guaranteed to Tampa Bay
When Tom Brady announced his return to football, this felt inevitable. And after a questionable visit to the New England Patriots (maybe Bill just wanted to know if Tom still talks about him?), the inevitability became reality as Fournette rejoined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Lombardi Lenny absolutely crushed in 2021, finishing as the RB 6 in fantasy football, and had ten total touchdowns. The Bucs did lose standout offensive linemen Ali Marpet (retirement) and Alex Cappa (Bengals), but have already worked to replace one of the holes at guard by trading for Shaq Mason, who actually blocked for Brady for five years in New England.
Fournette is walking back into his lead back role. At this time, there’s no Ronald Jones on the roster to threaten to take any snaps away. Being given the distinction as the starting running back in an elite offense, Fournette’s ADP should continue to climb. Barring injury, a productive season looks to be in the cards for the returning running back.
1 year, $5 million to Kansas City
The Kansas City Chiefs were not done, making one more move by signing Ronald Jones to a one-year deal. While they still have Clyde Edwards-Helaire under contract, they’re without both Jerick McKinnon and last year’s leading rusher Darrel Williams. While it does address a need, its hard to get excited about this one. Jones is much less versatile than Williams. Last year, Williams finished No. 8 among RBs in routes ran, while Jones finished No. 72 in the same metric. Even more damning to the pass catching narrative, Williams finished with a 9.0-percent (No. 33) Target Share. Rojo finished with a 1.9-percent mark.
If Kansas City can produce in the face of adversity without Tyreek Hill, and have a lead in most games, there’s an argument to be made that Jones can thrive here. Considering the talent they’ve lost on offense and defense, I don’t see them cruising to multiple wins unlike previous seasons. So I’ll probably view RoJo lower than consensus. As for Tampa Bay, it’s Lombardi Lenny time! And his handcuff Ke’Shawn Vaughn could have some appeal.
2 years, $10.5 million, $5 million guaranteed to Atlanta
Atlanta made it a point to re-sign 2021 team offensive MVP Cordarrelle Patterson to a two-year deal. At this time last year, the team made waves signing Mike Davis, but he was overtaken by Patterson last year. It will be incredibly difficult for Patterson to replicate his 2022 numbers with downgrades at quarterback and wide receiver. He still has pass-catching appeal, but I’m not sure it will be worth the pain of investing in this offense.
Who’s stopping this offense? 😤
QB: Marcus Mariota
RB: Cordarrelle Patterson
TE: Kyle Pitts
— Josh Larky ↗️ (@jlarkytweets) March 21, 2022
1 year, $6.5 million, $5.75 million guaranteed to Seattle
After an incredibly disappointing start to his NFL career, Rashaad Penny went on a face-melting pace late last season. He finished as a top five fantasy football running back three times in the last five weeks. Unfortunately for Penny, he returns to a team with Drew Lock as the quarterback rather than Russell Wilson. Also, he will continue to share the load with a returning Chris Carson. There’s an unsettling feeling with all of the Seahawks players in the post-Wilson era. But Penny is an ideal late draft pick in best ball. There’s an outside possibility he overtakes Carson as the lead back, and he continues to develop as a talented back.
1 year, $1,272,500, $377,500 guaranteed to Buffalo
Even after Devin Singletary came on strong at the end of 2021, it was still expected that Buffalo would attempt to address the running back position at one point during the offseason. Duke Johnson may not be the answer, but he is a step in the right direction. Duke is a clear pivot in terms of the style of player Buffalo has at running back. For example, he has a 11.04 (87th-percentile) Agility Score compared to Singletary’s 11.72 (17th-percentile) mark. The Buffalo offense is a powerhouse, and you want players on good offenses. While Buffalo will probably add another player to the backfield, this is just a signing to remember in June when constructing a best ball roster.
Look at this fooking studpic.twitter.com/Z1qQXXYbjD
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) March 21, 2022
1 year, $2.125 million, $1 million guaranteed to Miami
Miami has made plenty of noise this free agent period. It continued when they signed Raheem Mostert to a one-year deal. Over the past four seasons, Mostert has missed a combined 32 games due to injury. Most recently, a knee injury suffered during Week 1 of the 2021 season that sidelined him for the entire year. Now he follows his offensive coordinator to Miami, joining newly-signed Chase Edmonds and former starting back Myles Gaskin. This situation is shaping up to be a split backfield. But considering Mostert’s injury history, I would be willing to go after Edmonds. Gaskin isn’t out yet, but he just had his new head coach bring in two new running backs. So the writing is clearly on the walls for the young running back. Mostert is a great late round best ball draft pick, and hopefully he can remain healthy for 2022.
Re-signed with San Francisco
The Pride of Palestine, Texas has found his way back to the Shanahan backfield! It is incredibly important to remember that the 49ers offensive style exposes the running back to more injuries. And with Elijah Mitchell missing multiple games due to injuries including a concussion, Jeff Wilson could be a valuable late selection in a best ball format. I would not advocate for him to be drafted in redraft because I expect the 49ers to add depth to the backfield after losing Raheem Mostert to Miami.
Signed by Houston
Now that most of the big money free agents have signed, we’re starting to see smaller contracts. But there are still talented players available. One is Marlon Mack, who signed a two-year deal with Houston. With only Rex Burkhead, Dare Ogunbowale, and Royce Freeman available, RB was a clear need. And with needs at practically every position, the odds of them taking a back with draft capital seem unlikely. Mack has plenty of tread on the tires, only rushing 28 times while stuck behind Nyheim Hines and fantasy darling Jonathan Taylor. In the 2020 season, he was featured in only one game, where he tore his Achilles tendon. But before the injury, he had put together a decent resume with the Colts. And we have seen players such as D’Onta Foreman and Cam Akers return from this imposing injury and produce.
Let’s — and I cannot stress this enough — go.
— Ahaan Rungta (@AhaanRungta) April 1, 2022
I was given the opportunity to watch Houston’s last five games and observe the offensive personnel. This offense is not as bad as everyone will tell you. Pep Hamilton has done a commendable job with Davis Mills, who finished ranked as fantasy QB15 or higher in four of his final five starts. Unfortunately, the team did use a rotation in the backfield, so ‘bell cow’ is not an expected outcome. However, he can be a suitable depth piece for a fantasy team that needs a running back to use in a pinch between injuries and bye weeks.
Re-signed by Denver
The free agency market has been incredibly quiet over the past few days as teams are turning their attention to the NFL Draft. But just before the festivities begin, we got one more move with massive fantasy implications; Melvin Gordon re-signed with the Denver Broncos. Let’s first address the elephant in the room, Javonte Williams. Leading up to this signing, it seemed that the backfield was all Williams, which had fantasy managers and dynasty players thrilled at the chance of having a talented, young tailback operate as the bell-cow behind Russell Wilson. Now, his dynasty value takes a sizable hit with this news as he is back to sharing the backfield with Gordon.
Why we haven’t paid that first-round ADP on Javonte Williams so far.
Would love some early third exposure now. We will see if ADP cooperates. https://t.co/k6XtNwjkzB
— Dwain McFarland (@dwainmcfarland) April 27, 2022
Last year, they both had exactly 203 rushing attempts each, which is honestly incredible. Both averaged just over 12.0 Fantasy Points Per Game, but that was with the dreadful combination of Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. Now Wilson is calling the shots, so the fantasy points should be trending in a higher direction. I’d look to buy or hold Williams in dynasty right now; his price might never be lower than where it is right now. Gordon doesn’t have that same upside in dynasty, but can be an asset as a team’s RB3 in redraft or best ball. I like both players and wouldn’t shy away from either in 2022.
Traded to Philadelphia, signed to a four-year deal
Surely the trading would slow down once the draft kicked off and teams would be done shuffling wide receivers, right? RIGHT?! Well, we had two wide receivers change teams during the draft, and we’re going to start with A.J. Brown. Considered to be a top 10 dynasty wide receiver, he is leaving the Titans and joining the Eagles, playing alongside Jalen Hurts. For the Eagles, this is a tremendous upgrade to the offense. Instead of trotting out Jalen Reagor or Quez Watkins opposite Devonta Smith, they get a certified alpha wide receiver that defenses must account for. A.J. Brown finished top ten in Fantasy Points Per Route Run, and that production will only strengthen the Eagles passing game.
The wildest case with this offense is that in the event of Hurts not putting together a competent season, the team has enough draft capital to take a quarterback in the 2023 Draft. Great move by the Eagles. As for the Titans, they did the best possible move that they could do; they traded away Brown, got a third-round pick, and proceeded to select the wide receiver that has been comped to Brown the most from this class: Treylon Burks. Time will tell if he can fill the shoes of Brown, but for the moment, I must give the edge to the Eagles with the proven commodity.
Traded to Arizona
The other trade made during the first round of the NFL draft was where the Ravens traded away Marquise Brown to the Cardinals. Brown has been the WR 1 for the Ravens over the past few seasons, but now he gets to rejoin his former college teammate Kyler Murray. His blazing 4.32 (99th percentile) 40-yard dash time paired with DeAndre Hopkins, and this offense could make some real noise. Hopkins will still be the Alpha, and during Brown’s career, he has operated exclusively as the team’s number one receiver. If Brown slides in at the Z or the slot, we could see him operate against opposing teams’ number two corners or even slot corners, which bodes well for his production outlook for next season.
The team did resign A.J. Green, so we will likely see a rotation on the outside unless they want to move Brown into the inside, which leads me to my next point. I take no joy in reporting that the Rondale Moore Dynasty Experience has been dealt a massive hit and may not recover from this. If you are a truther for Moore, but were unable to acquire him, now is your time. Lastly, to put a bow on this article, we can safely declare 2022 is Rashod Bateman SZN. Bask in it!
Traded to Las Vegas
The Josh McDaniels era started off with a bang. Las Vegas acquired former Packer wide receiver Davante Adams in a trade. They sent over their 2022 first and second round draft picks to Green Bay. While the move was certainly a splash, it’s raised many questions for Green Bay. They have a veteran quarterback and appear to be in a “win-now” mode. However, reports have leaked that Aaron Rodgers was aware that Adams would likely never play again with the Packers due to his contract demands and their current salary cap configuration. The Packers are now down Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, leaving a gaping hole to address in the draft.
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) March 25, 2022
For Adams, it’s a murky situation that lacks upside. He has stated that it was a lifelong dream to play for the Raiders. And he is reunited with his collegiate teammate, Derek Carr. But Carr doesn’t have the arm talent that Rodgers does. Another issue he faces in Vegas is that instead of being the unquestioned alpha, he now has plenty of target competition; including Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller. I’d be completely surprised if Adams duplicates his numbers from his previous seasons top-five-finishing seasons. He can still produce and finish as a WR2 or better. But his upside is limited unlike the last few seasons. Draft or acquire at your own risk.
Traded to Miami
One unassuming morning, there was a brief notice in Twitter that the Chiefs might be looking to trade Tyreek Hill after they could not come to an agreement on a contract. There was some shock. But not many expected the trade to be completed only a few hours later where he would go to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for five draft picks: a first, second, and fourth round pick for the 2022 NFL Draft, plus a fourth and sixth round pick from the 2023 NFL Draft. I wish I liked this trade more for the Chiefs. They did get a lot of picks, but unfortunately the recent draft history by this regime is not great. As for the Dolphins, boy oh boy this is something!
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) March 23, 2022
This team lacked production from the wide receivers, and now the position is a strength. It’s incredibly hard to predict how this will shake out. But it’s safe to say Jaylen Waddle will not command 142 targets like he did in 2021. Tyreek is the new alpha in town. And you can see how the offensive coordinator who drew up handoffs for Deebo Samuel last year will have plenty of creativity in store for “Cheetah” in 2022. Also, this goes without saying, but this is it for Tua Tagovailoa. Can he finally put it all together? If he can, this offense will be fun to watch!
4 years, $84 million, $37 million guaranteed to Jacksonville
After a dreadful season in Duval where the Jaguars were forced to use former DB Jamal Agnew and 2016 first round draft bust Laquon Treadwell at wide receiver, it was the expectation that they would address the position in the offseason. Enter Christian Kirk, the former Arizona Cardinal who had set career highs in receptions and receiving yards in 2021.
7.9 billion people: Christian Kirk is overpaid!!
Me: Christian Kirk is exactly what the Jaguars needed
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) March 14, 2022
Kirk has consistently flashed talent when placed in the slot. But unfortunately, the Cardinals kept moving him to the outside and all around. There are already rumors of a possible Shenault trade, and Zay Jones was recently signed with the expectation that he would operate on the outside. Kirk had 406 (No. 13) slot snaps in 2021 compared to Jones’ 128 (No. 79), so hopefully the staff in Jacksonville understands the gifts that these players have and places them in the best position to succeed.
3 year, $24 million, $14 million guaranteed to Jacksonville
After the Christian Kirk deal, many wondered if Trent Baalke would try to keep a frugal mindset with the rest of the team needs still pressing. That would not be the case. Soon after signing Kirk, Jacksonville signed former Raider Zay Jones to a three-year deal worth up to $24 million. Jones has had an interesting career path. He started in Buffalo, but was tethered to below average passers in Tyrod Taylor and early-career Josh Allen. He went to Las Vegas and performed admirably when the team released Henry Ruggs, and claimed the open starting spot.
Jones finished the season ranked No. 14 among wide receivers in Target Separation. The contract numbers may be laughable, but he’s in an ideal situation. He’ll replace D.J. Chark and operate on the outside with Trevor Lawrence at quarterback. I would not expect face-melting numbers, but his 10.80 (92nd-percentile) Agility Score and 10.29 (93rd-percentile) Catch Radius can be a great fit in this offense with a promising young quarterback. He’s a late round dart throw for best ball rosters. And he’s a great fit for fantasy rosters that start three or more wide receivers and multiple flex positions.
1 year, $10 million, fully guaranteed to Detroit
This deal has the makings of a win-win for all parties involved, including the skill weapons playing alongside new Detroit receiver D.J. Chark. After a nasty ankle fracture cut his season short, he is betting on himself with a “prove-it” deal for one year. His skillset will allow him to line up outside the formation, clearing the way for T.J. Hockenson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and D’Andre Swift to run with possibly a little more freedom.
D.J. Chark signed with Detroit on a one-year, $10 million deal. Are the #Lions getting the 2019 version of Chark that had over 1000 yards and 8 touchdowns?🤔
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) March 16, 2022
However, it’s not all roses. His new quarterback, Jared Goff, rarely throws downfield. Last year, he averaged 2.9 (No. 27) Deep Ball Attempts per game, along with a 35.0-percent (No. 24) Deep Ball Completion Percentage. The receiver can’t be much of a deep threat if the QB doesn’t throw it deep! Still, the fit is great for a team that had Quintez Cephus and Kalif Raymond running routes from the outside in 2021. Perhaps Goff never had an open target to throw to downfield. Hopefully Chark can get through 2022 healthy and finish with strong enough numbers to be considered for a greater contract next offseason.
3 years, $30 million, $20 million guaranteed to Tampa Bay
After the seismic news of Tom Brady‘s football return, Tampa’s free agency activity finally got off to a late start. But they were able to get their returning quarterback a brand-new target to throw to by acquiring former divisional foe Russell Gage; a player who finished the 2021 season with a 71.0-percent (No. 15 among qualified wide receivers) Catch Rate and 2.19 (No. 13) Yards Per Route Run. Only two other receivers share that same distinction: Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp.
Russell Gage is joining Tom Brady’s squad👀
2.19 (No. 13) Yards Per Route Run
1.76 (No. 30) Target Separation
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) March 16, 2022
To add more fuel to the fire, Gage got a call from his new quarterback Tom Brady asking him to come join the Buccaneers! Gage did finish as a top ten fantasy wide receiver when he played against Tampa Bay in week 13, gathering eleven receptions on twelve targets for 130 receiving yards. Chris Godwin will be out at the beginning of the season while rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered late last season, and when he does come back, there will still be room for Gage with no Antonio Brown on the roster. He is poised to thrive in the offense and be a valuable piece on fantasy teams as a fantasy WR3 with plenty of upside.
3 years, $46.5 million, $30.7 million guaranteed to the Los Angeles Rams
The NFL is full of so many different personalities and stories that unfortunately we encounter tragedies. Nothing is more tragic than the list of quarterbacks Allen Robinson has spent his career with. Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, and a rookie Justin Fields. Yikes. Now that he’s with the Rams, he easily gets the best quarterback upgrade of his entire career with Matthew Stafford. Not only that, but he will line up in that high-powered Rams offense with Cooper Kupp in the slot and Cam Akers running out of the backfield.
The only source you can use to separate a WR from his surroundings is #ReceptionPerception.
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) March 17, 2022
Statistically speaking, the 2021 season for Robinson was a complete wash. The Bears went back to the stone age, operating a run-first, run-heavy approach. Robinson, as a result, only crested 100 Air Yards once all year. But he showed enough promise in previous years for us to believe that there is something left in the tank. Let’s hope Stafford stays healthy and can unleash Robinson; we could see even better results than his WR1 finish in Jacksonville.
1 year, $4 million guaranteed to Buffalo
The Buffalo Bills made a few moves with their slot receiver position before free agency. They released Cole Beasley and offered a two-year deal to speedster Isaiah McKenzie. But they were not done addressing the position when they signed former New York Jet Jamison Crowder. Since 2019, Crowder has ranked No. 15 or higher in total slot snaps among all wide receivers. And there are plenty of slot snaps to be taken with Beasley departing.
Over the last three years, Crowder has caught passes from Sam Darnold, Luke Falk, Zach Wilson, and Joe Flacco. Now he gets to be in an offense with Josh Allen targeting him. Two out of the three years he was with New York, he was the clubhouse leader in targets. But that will surely change. Instead of running routes with Robby Anderson and Corey Davis, he’ll line up with Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. This move was a win for all parties involved. And hopefully Crowder can contribute his talents to help this already potent offense become even more efficient.
1 year, $10,750,000 million, $3,250,000 million guaranteed to Kansas City
We can easily argue that this has been an incredibly unpredictable off season with big name quarterbacks moving teams and every all-star deciding to play in the AFC West. But one prediction that actually came true was the Chiefs acquiring former Steeler JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Chiefs desperately needed a third option behind Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Smith-Schuster is the perfect type of player to fit in the offense.
It’s hard to believe JuJu Smith is valued as the WR40+ in dynasty.
This is how Deebo Samuel and Cooper Kupp moved 20-30 dynasty spots in 2021.
Age 25 ✅
TWO 97+ Catch Seasons ✅
Monster YAC ✅
Free Agent ✅
🔥 Like, Comment and Subscribe! pic.twitter.com/OkUJ3d0iCt
— Nate Liss (@AnOutragedJew) February 3, 2022
It’s been a while, but in his first two seasons in the league with Pittsburgh, Smith-Schuster complemented another supremely talented offensive duo in Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. He finished No. 1 in the NFL in yards per target his in rookie year, following it up with finishing with a ranking of WR 9 his second year. Unfortunately, his last few years have been plagued with injuries and a cooked quarterback. But the situation has completely flipped for 2022 where we have a talented young receiver in an elite situation. Not to mention its an elite Tik Tok landing spot with Jackson Mahomes there.
Traded to Cleveland
The Cleveland Browns made a flashy acquisition when they traded away a fifth and seventh round pick to the Dallas Cowboys for Amari Cooper. At the time of the deal, people felt a complete range of emotions as to if it would be good or bad for Cooper’s fantasy stock. But after the Deshaun Watson trade, it morphed into a fantastic situation for Cooper. How big of an impact does he bring to this wide receiver group? Well, Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins, and Anthony Schwartz combined to score seven touchdowns. Amari Cooper scored eight touchdowns in sixteen games.
There’s a lot of funny money spent on WRs like Christian Kirk and Cedrick Wilson.
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) March 18, 2022
If Watson is able to play in 2022, Cooper could be looking at a career year in Cleveland. For the Cowboys, hey, at least they have Ezekiel Elliott under contract! Poor contracts and questionable roster construction are the reason for this deal. This should hopefully mean more CeeDee Lamb targets. But don’t be surprised if they take Treylon Burks if he is available to them in the first round. Jerry loves his Razorbacks!
3 year, $12.75 million guaranteed to Miami
The Former Dallas Cowboy has joined the Miami Dolphins receiving core, which desperately needed a jolt outside of Jaylen Waddle. In fact, Waddle and DeVante Parker were the only wide receivers on the roster (pre-Tyreek Hill trade) that finished the year with 250 or more receiving yards. The opportunity is there for Cedrick Wilson.
Traded to Tennessee
After releasing often-injured Julio Jones, the Titans made a trade to address the empty spot in the wide receiver room by trading away a 2023 sixth-round pick for Robert Woods. The Rams had recently acquired Allen Robinson, which gave them the flexibility to make this move. Woods goes to a nice spot where he should see plenty of snaps across from alpha A.J. Brown. But it’s not a great fantasy spot since he looks to have been targeted for his run blocking talents. Bobby Trees is one of the premier run blocking receivers in the NFL. And that meshes perfectly with the smashmouth style offense the Titans want to run. With him recovering from an ACL injury, and the new style of offense he will now be thrust into, all the writing’s on the wall for fantasy drafters to fade.
3 year, $30 million, $18 million guaranteed to Kansas City
After trading away Tyreek Hill, it was only a matter of time before the Chiefs addressed the wide receiver vacancy. They did just that by signing Marquez Valdes-Scantling to a three-year deal. While MVS is many things, he is not Hill. Still, it does help that he had the highest average target distance (ADOT) amongst all wide receivers in 2021. Which is a quality Patrick Mahomes will enjoy on gamedays. Unfortunately, he still lacks some polish. His 15.4-percent (No. 101) Contested Catch Rate was near-league bottom. The Chiefs are not yet done addressing the receiver position, and a draft day selection is likely to happen. Still this was a fine signing, and anytime you’re a fast receiver catching passes from Mahomes, you’re covered in upside.
Traded to New England
Bill Belichick and wide receivers: name a more toxic relationship. One of the more obvious team needs going into the offseason was finding a weapon for Mac Jones. Bill traded a third-round pick to the Dolphins in exchange for DeVante Parker and a fifth-round pick. The Dolphins will be just fine without Parker after recently acquiring super star receiver Tyreek Hill. Parker joins Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne as the top weapons with Nelson Agholor supporting the three. His career started in 2015 and was fantasy relevant in only one season, finishing with the 14th-most Fantasy Points Per Game in 2019. Outside of that year, he never got higher than WR39 in FPPG.
In 2019, DeVante Parker’s 1772 air yards and 28 deep targets both ranked top 5 among #NFL wide receivers.
It was his only season with 16+ games played.pic.twitter.com/DdHJhXn5ld
— Ahaan Rungta (@AhaanRungta) April 2, 2022
Jones could be the type of quarterback that allows Parker to flourish. But I wouldn’t expect a repeat of that 2019 season, which was also the only year where he was active and played in every game. The amount of talented wide receivers you can draft in the mid to late rounds offer higher ceilings. I’m all about chasing upside in those late rounds, so I won’t be drafting Parker much, if at all this year. Shortly after the deal, there were already rumors that N’Keal Harry would be released or traded away from the team. I know there’s got to be a USFL team out there that needs a stud blocking tight end.
1 year, $4 million guaranteed to Green Bay
The wide receiver position became a glaring need for the packers after trading away Davante Adams and losing Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency. They attempted to fill that hole by signing Sammy Watkins to a one-year deal. The acquisition provides a veteran presence in the room. But this team very clearly looks ready to add one more toy for Aaron Rodgers in the draft. I wouldn’t look to acquire Watkins in dynasty or redraft. Though you could make a case to take him at the tail end of a best ball draft if he becomes a go to receiver.
Wish it was 3 yrs ago so I could really get super excited about Sammy Watkins to GB but paying him $4M on a 1yr deal is better business than 3yrs $30mil KC gave MVS (tho they can make that basically a 1yr $8.5M deal if they wish). There are better options IMO but I’m with it. https://t.co/CoyPY7rYrS
— Shervon Fakhimi (@ShervonFakhimi) April 14, 2022
Last season in Baltimore, Watkins did very little. He eclipsed 65 yards only once and finished with only 27 receptions on 49 targets. But he operated behind Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, and occasionally Rashod Bateman. There is still some rearranging to do with the wide receiver depth chart with the team looking to add another receiver through the draft. Watkins will likely find himself in a similar situation where he is behind other players on the depth chart. Let’s hope the Lizard King can handle the frigid temperatures of Lambeau.
Returning to Arizona on a one-year deal
The Cardinals resigned veteran wide receiver A.J. Green to return to the team on a one-year deal. There isn’t much spin to add to this deal. He finished last season with Arizona as WR41 in fantasy football. That’s about where his range is looking for 2022. There has been some buzz with Arizona adding a receiver in the draft. Kliff Kingsbury has said publicly he plans to be more creative with Rondale Moore in 2022. While Green may have one or two pop-up games where he finishes a week as a top 24 wide receiver, there are so many other receivers with much more potential. The big question now in Arizona is if Kyler Murray will be the primary passer in 2022. Stay tuned!
3 year, $24 million dollar contract, fully guaranteed to the New York Jets
This was one of the smaller signings from the beginning of free agency, but boy did it send me down a rabbit hole. Did you know that since 2011, only two tight ends (Chris Herndon and Dustin Keller) finished a season with over 500 yards receiving? Between Tim Tebow, Jeff Cumberland, and even former second round draft pick Jace Amaro, the Jets have consistently struggled at having a producer at the position. Uzomah won’t be an elite option; however, he will be serviceable. And as we saw last season with Cincinnati, he can absolutely torch a secondary. In 2021, he completed three games as a top 12 fantasy TE; meanwhile the Jets had only one top 12 finish this season. And including last season, they’ve had four total TE1 finishes. This was a great selection by the Jets front office while they continue to turn around the maligned franchise.
1 year, $10 million – $9 million guaranteed to Jacksonville
After signing Christian Kirk to the largest contract of free agency, they made another splash. This time it was at tight end, signing Evan Engram to a one-year deal. After finishing his rookie year with over 700 yards receiving and six touchdowns, there was hope that he could be the next big hit at the position. Unfortunately, injuries and atrocious quarterback play have derailed us for experiencing it.
Now Engram moves to Jacksonville, and Doug Peterson has experience involving tight ends in the passing game. If you recall, he coached Zach Ertz over some of the most productive years of his career. Also, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that Trevor Lawrence is a better quarterback than Daniel Jones. Engram still has arguably the best metrics of any tight end in the league with his 4.42 (100th-percentile) 40 Yard Dash and 125.5 (88th-percentile) Burst Score. What if this is the year it all comes together for the athletic tight end?
2 year, $12 million, $8 million guaranteed to the Los Angeles Chargers
We witnessed a mass exodus of talent move to the AFC West division. But one under the radar signing was the Chargers signing former Seahawk Gerald Everett. He has incredible hands for a tight end, his 71.4 Contested Catch Conversion Rate only trailing T.J. Hockenson. The signing is also a quarterback upgrade. Everett spent his first three years in the league with Jared Goff throwing to him. Despite having Geno Smith and Russell Wilson with an injured throwing hand, he was still able to set career highs in receiving yards, receptions, and touchdowns. Now he gets to catch passes from gunslinger Justin Herbert. He may not finish among the top five fantasy tight ends. But it only takes a few extra touchdowns to finish in the top 10.
1 year, $3.195 million guaranteed to Buffalo
O.J. Howard was lured away from one high powered offense to another, joining Buffalo. It will be interesting to see if he can take playing time away from Dawson Knox and become a featured weapon on this loaded offense. The once-promising former first round pick has flashed at times. But he has yet to truly live up to his first-round selection.
Traded to Seattle
Another piece from the Russell Wilson trade, Noah Fant is now a Seahawk. There’s not too much to take from this move. He will likely continue to float around the low-end TE1/high-end TE2 range since he’ll be stuck with a below average passer for another year. And the wide receivers he is with will command more targets. He still boasts an incredible profile with a 132.6 (98th-percentile) Burst Score and 10.47 (99th percentile) Catch Radius. The talent is there, but the situation is holding him back from becoming an elite option. The last time the Seahawks had a tight end finish with enough fantasy points to be labeled a TE1 was in 2017 with Jimmy Graham. It might prove to be much more difficult to produce elite offensive statistics with Drew Lock at quarterback instead of Wilson.’
3 years, $20.25 million, $10 million guaranteed to the New York Jets
I remember the C.J. Uzomah victory parade like it was yesterday. After signing Uzomah to be the tight end, they threw big money at another capable tight end in Tyler Conklin. He finished 2021 with 326 (No. 8) yards after catch and 61 (No. 9) receptions. When Irv Smith went down, the Vikings went out and signed Chris Herndon. But Conklin took over the tight end role, and made himself a payday as a result. Moving forward, this looks like a tight end timeshare, and I wouldn’t touch either one. It will take an injury for one of these players to take over the role. The Vikings, who acquired former Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell to become their new head coach, also signed former LA Ram Johnny Mundt to fill Conklin’s roster spot. If you are reading this, please do not draft Johnny Mundt.
3 year, $31.65 million, $17.5 million guaranteed to Arizona
Zach Ertz was traded to Arizona during the 2021 season, and absolutely crushed. He finished with the third-most targets on the team and second-most receptions despite only playing 11 games. He was a priority for the team, and he was resigned early, before free agency started. Even with the team swap, he was able to learn and adjust on the fly with his new team, evidenced by his 19.3-percent (No. 7) Target Share. Ertz is a great tight end to use in all formats. And a big plus is that he is in a great situation being tethered to quarterback Kyler Murray.
1 year, 3.75 million, $1 million guaranteed to Green Bay
After trading away Davante Adams and the Chiefs claiming Marquez Valdes-Scantling, the Packers were against the wall to sign pass-catchers. Well, crisis averted. Robert Tonyan re-signed with the team on a one-year deal after tearing his ACL in Week 8 last season. With a 6-8 month timeline for recovery, he’ll be available for the Packers in time for the regular season. And there’s some sneaky value here. With the departure of two top weapons in the offense, there are plenty of targets to go around. If he stays healthy and fends off Marcedes Lewis and Josiah Deguara, there’s hope for one more top-15 TE finish.
1 year, $6 million guaranteed to Tennessee
After letting Jonnu Smith walk in free agency last year, the Titans employed a TE trio of Anthony Firkser, Geoff Swaim, and MyCole Pruitt. The results went about how we all imagined it. The group averaged 41.5 yards receiving per game, just shy of Noah Fant‘s 41.9 yards-per-game average. Now the Titans look to Austin Hooper to take control of the position. Hooper finished the year ranked as the TE24 in fantasy, but shared reps with David Njoku and Harrison Bryant. Now the position is all his, but a top 10 finish is unlikely. Especially considering he will continue to operate in a run heavy offense.
1 year, $3.5 million, $2 million guaranteed to Cincinnati
After losing C.J. Uzomah to the Jets, the Bengals signed Hayden Hurst to a one-year deal. Hurst has incredibly similar workout metrics to Uzomah, but is a year younger. He also carries the distinction of being a former first round pick. The Bengal offense flows through the wide receivers and the running back. So I would not plan on counting on much from Hurst, statistically speaking.
1 year, 1,187,500, $352,000 guaranteed to the New York Giants
After the Giants let Evan Engram go, the new regime signed Ricky Seals-Jones to fill the vacancy at tight end. RSJ filled in for Logan Thomas during 2021. And from Weeks 5-7, he finished among fantasy’s top scoring tight ends. I wont expect much from him in 2022. But he will be mentioned at some point in the season as a potential streaming candidate to use if you have no other options and he has an inviting matchup.
Didn’t see your favorite free agency signing? Don’t fret! I will be back with another article soon detailing more free agency signings, so stay tuned! You can also follow along the free agency signings with our up-to-date Free Agency Tracker, so be sure to check it out!