Fantasy Football Free Agency Weekend Recap
Sunday started off with a bang, as the New York Jets signed former Giants Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress. The Plaxico over America tour was supposed to hit San Francisco, but playing for Rex Ryan and a title contender appealed to Burress and the 49ers and every other team chasing him was out of the race. He’ll take the place of Braylon Edwards. Edwards was New York’s leading receiver in 2010, but that was with Santonio Holmes missing four games. With Holmes expected to be Mark Sanchez’s number one target and guys like Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery in the mix, Burress won’t be anywhere close to a number one fantasy receiver.
Now that the Arizona Cardinals have landed a quarterback in Kevin Kolb, they are building up his supporting cast, inking a deal with former Ravens TE Todd Heap. Considering Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt played tight end during his career, it’s always been a little odd that Arizona hasn’t had much punch at the position since he took over as coach in 2007. Heap will change that. While tight end is an incredibly deep position this year, Heap has upside as a TE2.
The Green Bay Packers re-signed James Jones, which derailed the momentum for Jones and Jordy Nelson. Had Jones left Green Bay, Nelson would have been the clear number three target behind Jermichael Finley and Greg Jennings. And Jones could have been a solid #2 on a new team. Instead, their roles and the role of veteran Donald Driver remain the same, although the Packers will continue to ease Driver out. WR Randall Cobb likely wont see significant action in his rookie season.
Cedric Benson re-signed a one-year deal with Cincinnati. He’s a good fit there, as he’s been productive and the team doesn’t seem to care about his transgressions off the field. The Bengals should return to a run-heavy offense with Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco out of town. Expect RB Bernard Scott to be more involved than the 61 carries he received last season.
It was not a good week for the Minnesota Vikings. Although the team landed veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb, star receiver Sidney Rice fled for Seattle. And instead of signing someone who might add some spice, the Vikings nabbed former Falcon Michael Jenkins. Jenkins has long been touted as a good blocker, which is a friendly way of saying he’s not much of a receiver. McNabb’s undoubtedly happy to have Adrian Peterson on his side, but outside of Percy Harvin he doesn’t have much at receiver with Bernard Berrian penciled in as the number two. McNabb is no more than a fantasy backup, with Peterson and Harvin being the only Vikings worth starting on a weekly basis.
The Chicago Bears are set with Matt Forte as the main man in their backfield, but Chester Taylor struggled as a reserve last season and the Bears have had issues near the goal line. So, they signed former Dallas bruiser Marion Barber to a two-year deal. Consider Barber a handcuff to Forte and a fantasy backup, although he may have higher value in touchdown-only leagues.
Peyton Manning finally signed a new deal with the Colts. Anytime someone gets a 5-year, $90 million contract, it needs to be mentioned. Manning begins training camp on the PUP list as he’s recovering from neck surgery, but it’s pretty easy to envision him remaining one of fantasy football top’s quarterbacks. However, the recovery may cause him to start slower than usual.
Manning wasn’t the only Colt making contract news, as Indianapolis kept RB Joseph Addai in the fold with a new deal. Given that Donald Brown has been the kind of player that gives aspirin a headache, the Colts felt it was necessary to keep the steady Addai. Superstitious types need to know that Addai’s best seasons have been in odd-numbered years. In 2007, Addai had 15 touchdowns. In 2009, he had 13 and that was with the Colts tanking the final games of the season. Although rookie Delone Carter may end up as the team’s goal line runner, Addai ought to give fantasy owners decent bang for the buck once again as an RB2/RB3.
DT Cullen Jenkins became the latest big name to sign with the Eagles. He’s not as big of a name as Nmandi Asomugha, but he’ll play a big role on the defensive line.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to be cautious with RB Maurice Jones-Drew, as their star runner is coming back from knee surgery. He’s been limited so far in camp. It’s imperative to get Rashad Jennings as a handcuff.
The Dallas Cowboys have a double whammy of injuries in their backfield, as veteran Tashard Choice and rookie DeMarco Murray are both currently sidelined. Choice injured his left calf muscle and is expected to be out at least two weeks, while Murray arrived in San Antonio with an injured hamstring. He is not expected to play in the team’s first preseason game. Although Choice will be out longer, the injury situation is worse for Murray, as the Cowboys already know what Choice can do. It is hard to envision a scenario where Felix Jones isn’t the top Dallas back heading into the season.
There have been rumblings the New York Giants edition of Steve Smith will miss at least the first month of the season as he recovers from a knee injury. Mario Manningham is a very viable option on draft day and a solid value in the 6th or 7th round.
Talented but troubled Kenny Britt has missed two practices due to a hamstring injury. There are some who consider Britt so unstable they wouldn’t draft him under any circumstances. But if you are the type of owner that isn’t scared by trouble, an injury to Britt now might be a blessing if he can get healthy by September. Any injury or bad news involving Britt will cause his ADP to slide further.
Jeremy Maclin has been away from Eagles camp due to an illness. His absence isn’t a big deal at the moment. While fantasy owners should stay diligent regarding Maclin’s situation, there’s no reason to panic just yet.
Jacoby Ford showed flashes of being a dynamic playmaker in Oakland last season. He’s the one Raiders wide receiver who should interest fantasy owners, as it’s not a stretch to conclude he’ll be better than perennially injured Chaz Schilens, inconsistent Louis Murphy, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Unfortunately, Ford has suffered a broken hand and could be out a couple of weeks. It’s too early to drop him on your draft board, but keep an eye on the situation.
Mohamed Massaquoi showed up at Cleveland’s training camp with a walking cast on his left leg. Rookie Greg Little has gotten increased playing time as a result. Little is a medium-level sleeper given Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie haven’t done much in the past.
Ahmad Bradshaw is one of the most productive free agents left on the market. He’s been a good fit with the Giants, who may still be interested in keeping him. However, the Redskins and Bengals have also been mentioned as landing spots for the former Marshall speedster.
The Arizona Cardinals are said to be interested in signing wide receiver Braylon Edwards. We all know Edwards has issues, but he would solidify the offensive revival in Arizona. A trio of Edwards, Todd Heap, and Larry Fitzgerald would give Kevin Kolb plenty of upside.
Depending on what you read, Kyle Orton is going to remain in Denver all season or still be bound for Miami in the near future.
And Carolina had been rumored to be interested in Philadelphia cornerback Asante Samuel. Anything involving the Eagles is headline news these days.