The 2017 football season almost is here, and owners have a lot to think about.
This NFL offseason has been the one of busiest in recent memory. Some of the best players in the league are with new teams, and there could be more moves yet to come. But getting a fresh start doesn’t ensure a given player — or their fantasy owners — will reap the benefits.
With that in mind, let’s take a look a which players saw their stocks rise and/or fall after joining new teams:
Brandin Cooks, WR, New England Patriots (former team: New Orleans Saints)
We realize Patriots receivers are difficult to trust, as quarterback Tom Brady spreads the ball around better than anyone in the league. But Cooks simply is too talented not to draft in the early rounds. In addition to his electrifying athleticism, Cooks has the ability to go deep and stretch the defense, while also running the intermediate routes that the Patriots love to employ. Furthermore, his chemistry with Brady only should improve as we go deeper into the season.
Terrelle Pryor Sr., WR, Washington Redskins (former team: Cleveland Browns)
Pryor cemented himself as a legitimate top-tier receiver last season, surpassing 1,000 yards receiving and showcasing true big-play ability — and that was on the Browns. Now, Pryor is with a far better team and a far better QB in Kirk Cousins. The Redskins love the deep ball, and so does Pryor. He should be available in the middle rounds, but ultimately could have higher value.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Green Bay Packers (former team: New England Patriots)
Life is good for Bennett, as he moves from possibly the greatest QB of all time to perhaps the best right now in Aaron Rodgers. Sure, he carries some injury risk, but Bennett demonstrated last year that he’s able to play through pain and still put up good numbers. Provided he stays on the field and gels with Rodgers, he could be one of the top tight ends in fantasy.
Jay Cutler, QB, Miami Dolphins (former team: Chicago Bears)
Being a great NFL quarterback and a great fantasy quarterback aren’t always mutually exclusive. No, Cutler isn’t one the best quarterbacks in the league, and he admittedly isn’t one of the most physically fit. But his relationship with Dolphins head coach and “quarterback guru” Adam Gase is legit, and even Cutler’s biggest detractors must admit he has talent. He also has an above average receiving corps and a talented tight end in Julius Thomas. And hey, he gets to play the New York Jets twice.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (former team: Chicago Bears)
Jeffery was a solid fantasy receiver during his years in Chicago, but we expect him to be even better this season. Sure, he’s been a bit injury prone, and it feels like he’s been around forever. But Jeffery still is just 27 years old, and should be energized by finally leaving a Bears squad that’s going nowhere fast. He’s not the only toy QB Carson Wentz has to play with, but he’s easily the shiniest.
Adrian Peterson, RB, New Orleans Saints (former team: Minnesota Vikings)
Peterson’s stock already has been in decline, and we don’t think a change of scenery will make things better. Not only is Peterson in a dreaded running back timeshare with Mark Ingram, but he also doesn’t figure to factor much in the passing game, which is essential if a Saints back is going to have value. He’ll probably have a few impressive games, but we can’t justify taking him as your first running back.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Seattle Seahawks (former team: Green Bay Packers)
Even if Lacy’s well-documented weight issues are a thing of the past, we don’t think his inconsistent play is. Lacy has the ability to be a true game-changing force, but he also is known to disappear, particularly in passing situations. Ultimately, though, it’s the Seahawks’ porous offensive line that truly limits his ceiling.
Latavius Murray, RB, Minnesota Vikings (former team: Oakland Raiders)
Murray could be a fine backup option for fantasy owners, but it’s extremely unlikely he winds up delivering RB1 numbers. Upon signing with the Vikings, he seemed destined to carry early-down and goal-line duties. But Minnesota drafted RB Dalvin Cook in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and it stands to reason that the 21-year-old will eat into Murray’s workload and possibly take over as the Vikings’ No. 1 back.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (former team: New England Patriots)
Even if Blount stayed with the Patriots, there’s simply no way he was going to replicate the numbers he put up last season. His 18 rushing touchdowns were tops in the AFC, and his 1,161 rushing yards were the most he’s ever had. But Blount is 30 years old, and he’s with an Eagles team that really don’t feel like a good fit. He’s never been much of a force in the passing game, something Philadelphia loves as much as any team in the league. He still could put up decent touchdown numbers, but Blount is a low-ceiling RB2.
Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Giants (former team: New York Jets)
Nobody’s suggesting Marshall should have stayed with the Jets, but from a fantasy perspective, he might’ve been better off. The mere presence of Odell Beckham Jr. drastically limits Marshall’s ceiling, and he could battle for targets with Sterling Sheppard. People might look at the star power of Marshall and quarterback Eli Manning and think it’s a match made in heaven — after all, this is fantasy football we’re talking about. But Marshall’s days as a target hog and fantasy stud are long gone.
Thumbnail photo via Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports Images
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