Johnson is turning 34 this summer but can still play a big role in a good passing offense. He should have several suitors as free agency wears on. He'll leave behind DeAndre Hopkins, who finished as the #14 WR in both standard and PPR formats even though the Texans’ quarterbacks finished 17th in both touchdowns thrown and yards per attempt. Assuming the team gets similar play from the position in 2015, Hopkins should continue to produce solid to high-end WR2 numbers. His targets should increase with the team’s decision to release Johnson.
Update: Mallet signed a two-year, $7 million contract.
It looks like the Texans are going to move forward with Mallett and Brian Hoyer, who is also reportedly set to sign with the team (though it's not a done deal). In two games, Mallett completed 41 of 75 passes (54.7%) for 400 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions before tearing his pectoral muscle. He served as Tom Brady's understudy for three seasons so there is some optimism that he can turn into a quality NFL starter. He'll likely have to beat out Hoyer for the starting job.
Update: This deal is finalized.
The wild ride of subtraction and addition will apparently continue with the Philadelphia Eagles because receiver Jeremy Maclin plans to reunite with former coach Andy Reid on the Kansas City Chiefs once free agency officially begins on Tuesday, according to league sources.
The Chiefs will need to clear salary-cap space to sign Maclin, whose new contract would project in the range of what Randall Cobb received to stay with the Green Bay Packers at $10 million per year. It's possible Maclin could slightly exceed Cobb's salary when negotiations are finished. Unlike Cobb, who chose to remain with his team, the Green Bay Packers, Maclin is prepared to depart Philadelphia, coming off his best season, in which he had 85 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. Maclin played on a one-year, $5.25 million contract in 2014 after missing 2013 with an ACL injury.
Update: The deal is reportedly worth around $11 million per season.
Maclin was the #9 wide receiver in both standard and PPR formats last season. However, he did most of his damage in the first eight games (46-801-8, #2 WR) and faded from Week 10 on (40-528-2, #23 WR). His targets dropped from 10.5 per game in the first half of the season to just 7.5 T/G down the stretch, but this decrease basically coincided with Mark Sanchez taking over for Nick Foles at quarterback. If the report turns out to be true, he'll have Alex Smith as his quarterback and could hog targets alongside up-and-coming TE Travis Kelce. Reid is familiar with Maclin, so we would expect his transition to be a smooth one, though this appears to be a system downgrade.
For Smith to have remained with the Ravens, which several league sources reiterated has been an extremely unlikely scenario for weeks, he would have had to leave several million dollars on the table.
Although no deal has been finalized, sources indicated there's strong mutual interest between the former second-round draft pick and San Francisco. One source characterized the Smith situation as a "done deal with the 49ers," barring any unforeseen snags. Deals cannot become official until Tuesday at 4 p.m., when the league year and free agency signing period begins.
Smith acknowledged his pending departure Sunday night with a blog in which he thanked the Ravens for his four years in Baltimore.
Update: Smith signed a five-year, $40 million deal that includes $22 million guaranteed.
Smith got off to a slow start in 2014, posting just six catches for 85 yards in the first three games. Over the final 13 games of the season, he averaged 3.3 receptions for 52 yards and 0.85 touchdowns, which equates to #20 WR-type numbers in PPR formats. As it stands, he finished as the #29 WR in PPR and #19 in standard formats (thanks to the high touchdown rate), which is the fourth time he has finished in the top 23 (in standard formats) in his four-year career. He'll join a 49ers receiving corps that is likely losing Michael Crabtree and has a still-effective Anquan Boldin as a possession receiver. Smith will serve as a deep threat for QB Colin Kaepernick, though this move has to be considered a downgrade from an offensive/quarterback standpoint since the 49ers are typically run-heavy and Joe Flacco is pretty adept at putting touch on the deep ball. Throwing with touch is not one of Kaepernick's strengths.
Sunday, March 8, 2015, 7:16pm
Barring a breakdown in talks, Gore is expected to sign a three-year deal in which $7.5 million in the first two years is guaranteed.
Update: Gore signed a three-year, $12 million contract.
Gore's stock is suddenly back on the rise as he joins a potent offense that boasted the 7th-most rushing attempts in 2014 (4th in 2013). He has averaged 4.21 YPC over the past two seasons, but has 2,442 career carries and will turn 32 years old in May. His ADP is likely to settle in the 3rd or 4th round depending on what else the Eagles do at running back.
Update: It's five-year, $40 million deal that includes $26.5 million guaranteed.
It's said to be a five-year, $40 million contract that includes $26.5 million guaranteed. This looks like a system downgrade for McCoy, who ran much better later in the season once his offensive line started to get healthy. In Buffalo, new HC Rex Ryan and new OC Greg Roman (formerly of San Francisco) both have a history of running ball control, run-first teams, but the Bills have serious quarterback issues. Free agent C.J. Spiller isn't likely to re-sign and the acquisition of McCoy has to be a downgrade for Fred Jackson. As for McCoy, he's still a fantasy RB1, though he carries more risk since the Buffalo offense could struggle to score points. Given the way the Eagles like to run the ball, whoever emerges as the starter in Philadelphia will carry early round value.
The deal is worth $16 million over the four years, sources said.
Ingram confirmed that he is staying in New Orleans via Twitter on Saturday night.
Ingram averaged 19.6 touches for 85 yards and 0.69 TD per game in his 13-game season in 2014. He averaged 4.27 YPC last season after averaging 5.02 YPC in 2013. He benefited somewhat by injuries to Khiry Robinson, who could potentially eat into Ingram's 2015 workload, though the loss of Pierre Thomas may allow Ingram to have a larger role in the passing game. He averaged 2.8 catches in the five games that Thomas missed. He posted the #11 PPG in PPR formats (#8 in standard), and will be drafted as a high-end RB2 in 2015 fantasy drafts.
Cobb reportedly had 6-7 other offers today, per Ian Rapoport, but "turned down considerably more money" to sign with Green Bay. It's certainly the best spot for his fantasy value, playing in a familiar system with a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback. Cobb finished #8 in PPR formats and #6 in standard and has finished in the top 11 in PPR points per game over the past two seasons. In early drafts, he's the 12th WR off the board and is going in the early 3rd round. Don't be surprised if his ADP settles in the late 2nd by the time draft season is in full swing. This is great news for Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and the entire Packer offense.
Friday, March 6, 2015, 8:39pm
Miller had his contract terminated with the designation of "failed physical." Miller played in just three games last season before undergoing ankle surgery in late September. He was placed on injured reserve in November after complications slowed his recovery.
Lynch has finished in the top 6 in four straight seasons in both standard and PPR formats. With 2,272 career touches and a punishing running style, injuries are a concern. But even with all the back issues he has had, he hasn't missed a game in the last three seasons. With a new deal in place, his ADP should climb into the back half of the 1st round.
In his final three seasons with the Vikings, Harvin averaged 16.3 fantasy points (PPR) and was dangerous in both the passing game (averaging 5.6-64-.35) and the running game (2.4 carries for 14 yards and 0.10 TD). In 14 regular season games with the Seahawks and the Jets, Harvin has averaged just 50 total yards and 0.14 TD per game, resulting in 9.6 PPR fantasy points. He turns 27 this summer and still has elite speed for his position, so he should be a hot commodity in free agency despite his poor production in recent years. There are character concerns, but if he lands in the right situation, he will be a fantasy factor in 2015.
Injuries made it a frustrating year for Marshall owners. His biggest game (5-48-3) came on Sunday night in Week 2 when it looked like he wasn't going to play against the 49ers. Then, when everyone had him back in the lineup for Week 3, he posted one catch for six yards against the Jets. He finished as the #34 PPR receiver, but had the #21 PPG. If fully healthy, he'll be a solid starter, though it's a quarterback downgrade from Jay Cutler to Geno Smith (or whomever ends up starting for the Jets). New OC Chan Gailey did throw the ball 56.6% of the time in his three seasons running the Bills, so the Jets figure to pass it much more than they have in the last few seasons. Marshall's arrival could have a negative impact on Eric Decker's targets, but given the team's relative lack of playmakers and Gailey's positive impact on the pass offense, Decker's value should hold steady.
Jordan Reed is signed through 2016, so Paul's upside is limited as long as Reed stays healthy. Since Reed hasn't played more than 11 games in either of his two NFL seasons, his owners should keep Paul on speed dial. In best ball formats, the Reed/Paul combo scored 159 points in PPR formats, which equates to #11 TE-type numbers.