Player Stock Ticker
The Midseason Big Board is HERE! Share your thoughts now!    

Three Crucial Fantasy Takeaways From NFL Free Agency, Day Two

As always, Day One of NFL Free Agency was hectic and jam-packed with critical fantasy developments.  Nonetheless, Day Two proved even more insane, and, like the buddy who shows up with an eight ball right as Saturday night is drawing to a close, the football buzz was kept alive and well for us addicts. From Brandin Cooks’ trade to New England, to Martellus Bennett landing in Green Bay, find out the “must-know” fantasy story lines from a busy Friday.

1. I always wait on QBs… but 2017 Tom Brady could be the rare exception and throw 50+ TDs with Brandin Cooks now at his disposal. 

In case you’re new here and haven’t caught on to my abundant homerism, Tom Brady is God.  From being walked on a leash all day for a few minutes of fetch, to pretty much any other disturbing depth you could explore, my friends and I have all agreed: Tom could do whatever he pleases to us, and it’d be an honor.

Even with a recognition that he’s The Second Coming, Brady has never been on my fantasy roster; given the positional depth and opportunity cost, waiting on a quarterback has been my locked-in, non-negotiable approach. Until now.

See, Brady was already my 2017 QB1 (yes, above Rodgers) before this Cooks trade.  Even without Rob Gronkowski for much of last year, the GOAT was bombarding teams with TDs on a weekly basis, chucking 3+ scores in over half his contests; King 69’s return would have been enough to expect a monstrous 2017 for Brady. But with Cooks now added, Brady has new, game-changing level of speed and big-play ability at his disposal, one that this offense has lacked since Randy Moss. In case you forgot, Brady shattered records with his 50 TDs.

Especially with no apparent “big back” in sight, anything less than 45 TDs would be disappointing from Brady; this makes Jesus suddenly worth an early QB plunge, particularly if you have a knack for late round gems and can back-fill the skill positions. The weekly edge will be matched only by Rodgers, and Brady is shaping up to be “that guy” who carries all fantasy investors to the playoffs, regardless of who’s around him.

Meanwhile, Cooks is an instant WR1, while others drop…

Outside of Brady, Cooks should see a sturdy fantasy stock up as well.   Yes, the speedster enters a seemingly more-crowded receiving stable; yet, unlike in New Orleans, where he was losing #1 status to Michael Thomas, Cooks should be used as the Patriots alpha.  Bill Belichick, the smartest man alive, would NEVER have surrendered a first rounder without major plans to use Cooks, and he and Josh McDaniels will scheme up every possible route to maximize both Cooks’ deep-ball ability and incredible run-after-the-catch moves.  The Hooded one gushed over Cooks during their last meeting, a 2015 preseason contest, noting:

“I’m glad we don’t have to play him twice a year and he’s not in our division,” Belichick said, via The Times-Picayune. “He’s a really good player.”

Perhaps only Odell Beckham can rival Cooks’ ability to turn a simple eight yard crossing pattern into a 70-yard cribber; unsurprisingly, Cooks trails only OBJ in TDs of 30+ yards since 2014, when they both entered the league.  You can trust this uncanny skill will be maximized in this offense and with this quarterback. 100+ catches, 1,300+ yards, and 8+ TDs almost feels like a floor here.

Meanwhile, now the likely third-option on the target totem pole, Julian Edelman has to take a significant bump down. Indeed, he’ll still churn out plenty of 5-catch, 70 yard, useful days, and make for a high-floor, but unsexy WR3. But his shot at WR1 number is all but gone. Additionally, the sleeper shine of Malcolm Mitchell is not nearly as bright, and, now buried behind four or five others, he should be approached as a late-round flier in case of injuries. Gronkowski, who cannot be doubled and will see even more red-zone looks, should remain neutral, if not upgraded, by the deal.  And though this will be covered in far greater depth in another “Addition by Subtraction” piece, Thomas’ WR1 status is further cemented, and he’ll leap Dez Bryant as my WR6.

Now, pardon me, but I need to continue watching Cooks highlight tapes until my eyes bleed. Wet drops emoji, eggplant emoji, wet drops x 2.

2. Out of Cleveland purgatory and now with Kirk Cousins, Terrelle Pryor deserves top-15, high-end WR2 consideration 

Following the departures of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, Washington became the ULTIMATE landing spot for Terrelle Pryor.  In fact, this fit was so perfect, Pryor’s visit to the Redskins prompted…

Time to put my money where my fat mouth is, and I’ll gladly do so.  In five out of six seasons as a head coach or offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden’s WR1 has easily topped 1,000 yards.  Yes, three of those featured the elite A.J. Green, but, regardless, Gruden’s a creative play-caller who schemes to his team’s strengths, and loves taking to the air.

With Pryor, he’ll have plenty to plan around, including, but not limited to:

  • Size: A 6’5″, 230 pound frame
  • Speed: 4.38 second 40 yard dash
  • Leaping: thanks to a basketball background (ala Randy Moss and Antonio Gates), Pryor’s shown the ability to use his frame and go-up to grab a jump ball throughout his brief career.

Plus, in 2016, Pryor’s routes were clearly crisper, and this beast has matured well-beyond the simple deep-ball, “go-route” decoy many pegged him as.  Topping 1,000 yards in 15 games & in Cleveland with stalwarts like Cody Kessler slinging him the rock should be evidence enough: Pryor is made of bonafide, alpha WR1 material.

Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins,  fresh off nearly 5,000 passing yards, is as obvious and as massive of an upgrade as you can find.  Assuming these two develop a strong rapport, Pryor will have every chance to maximize his immense physical gifts and prove that he belongs among the league’s elite.  After signing a one-year, $8mil deal, he clearly intends to do just this, and I certainly want to be along for the fantasy ride.

3. After landing in Green Bay, Martellus Bennett instantly jumps into the top-seven fantasy tight ends

Leaving Tom Brady for any other signal caller is almost a guaranteed fantasy downgrade, especially for tight ends. Aaron Rodgers, however, provides the lone exception, especially considering the gaping hole the Packers have at tight end.

Bennett should absolutely flourish in Green Bay. True, tight end production has been quite inconsistent in Mike McCarthy’s offenses, but he’s also never had a weapon like The Black Unicorn at his disposal (all you Jermichael Finley garglers, quiet down).  As evidenced by the less-talented Jared Cook’s postseason run of 18 catches, 229 yards, and 2 TDs in a three games, Rodgers and McCarthy aren’t afraid to stretch seams when provided the talent. Consider Bennett the best they’ve had yet.

Surrounded by so many weapons and with a quarterback that’ll spread the wealth based on matchups, Bennett will have his disappearing acts. Still, his tremendous blocking ability will keep him active on all three downs, and really open up play action potential this offense hasn’t yet seen. Double-digit TDs are well-within reach, and Bennett has the set up for a career year. Just like with Pryor, this fantasy fit couldn’t be more perfect.

 

Though pass-catching free agent options are growing thin, plenty of running backs are still looking for new homes. Continue checking back for the Crucial Fantasy Takeaways as these dominoes keep falling, and stay tuned for our Addition by Subtraction + Fantasy Stock Profiles as we continue providing the most in-depth free agent coverage in the industry.  Be sure to like our Facebook Page, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up-to-date on all the movers and shakers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.