Fantasy Football: 2016 Free Agency

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Many NFL teams will look to improve themselves through free agency this off-season. For fantasy football purposes, there are really only seven players who look poised to be a major factor in 2016. We’ll be breaking down the teams fantasy owners should be hoping they sign with. Any three teams that are mentioned as a new team for a player is not a prediction. Also, this excludes salary cap because payrolls will change so much in the coming months. This is just matching skill sets to team needs for fantasy.

 

Alshon Jeffery, WR- Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots

Jeffery is far and away the top of the class for wide receivers. Most NFL reporters seem to think Chicago will retain Jeffery, even if they use the franchise tag for 2016. This wouldn’t be bad news for owners. Jeffery and QB Jay Cutler have a comfort together. However, Jeffery could be an even more productive player in a different spot.

The Lions have a Calvin Johnson sized hole to fill in their receiving corps right now. Jeffery would slide in and immediately be a top 10 WR with QB Matthew Stafford. Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter got the best out of Stafford the back half of 2015, and Jeffery would be a pretty ideal replacement in Detroit. Jeffery, Stafford, WR Golden Tate and RBs Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick would be a formidable offense.

The dream scenario would be if New England was able to lure Jeffery away. The Patriots really lack a WR who can dominate outside the numbers. If QB Tom Brady had WRs Jeffery and Julian Edleman to go along with TE Rob Grownkoski, they could put up humongous numbers.

Kirk Cousins, QB- Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Texans

The best possible fit for Cousins on paper seems to be right where he’s at in Washington. His chemistry with TE Jordan Reed is other-worldly. Even though WR DeSean Jackson missed a large part of the year, Cousins was highly productive in 2015. With more support from RB Matt Jones, Cousins could be even better in 2016.

If for some reason Cousins does not come back to Washington, one team that desperately needs a quarterback is the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams. The Rams are short on reliable weapons in the passing game, but any chance they had was torpedoed by poor play from both Nick Foles and Case Keenum. The person who would be most excited for even an average QB is all world RB Todd Gurley.

The Houston Texans could also use a big upgrade at the QB position. The Texans won the AFC South division in 2015 and that was with four different QBs playing. There are holes all over this offense, especially with the potential departure of RB Arain Foster. WR DeAndre Hopkins could challenge for most productive WR in fantasy with a real QB. Cousins could be a solution for the Texans.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB- New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams

In what is a recurring theme, Fitzpatrick is best suited to stay in New York. With the tandem WRs Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, Fitzpatrick enjoyed his finest season in terms of passing yards and touchdowns. The Jets would be wise to hold onto Fitzpatrick, and he would be a perfectly fine second QB in a 2QB league.

Philadelphia will be looking for a fresh start after Chip Kelly was fired in 2015. QB Sam Bradford may not be back, and Fitzpatrick would be an able replacement. The Eagles have weapons in WRs Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, TE Zach Ertz, and most importantly RB DeMarco Murray. Fitzpatrick cannot be the driver of a great offense, but he can smartly distribute the ball and be a complimentary piece.

Fitzpatrick would also be a good fit for the Los Angeles Rams for the same reasons listed for Kirk Cousins.

Lamar Miller, RB- Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts

Miller would be an intriguing fit with new head coach Adam Gase. Miller is a highly skilled running back, and his usage has been puzzling through his career. Gase has the makings of a very good offense with QB Ryan Tannehill and WRs Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker. Miller could finally be the workhorse he should be in Miami if he decides to stay.

The Dallas Cowboys have a fantastic offensive line; this isn’t news. When RB Darren McFadden turns productive, the O-Line must be good. Miller is far more talented, and would be a huge upgrade. Dallas very much missed a star running back in 2015. After injuries to QB Tony Romo and WR Dez Bryant derailed the Cowboys last season. Owner Jerry Jones could be looking for a star back. Lamar Miller would fit that bill.

The Colts have been missing a vital piece of the offense for years: running back. They are the argument for valuing the position highly in terms of drafting and money spent. Due respect to RB Frank Gore, Miller would be the best running back in Indy in a very long time. QB Andrew Luck would welcome a legit RB to take some of the heat off the passing game.

Matt Forte, RB- Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans

Forte seems like he will be wearing a new uniform in 2016, and Baltimore is highly interesting. RB Justin Forsett may be a one year wonder, and the Ravens may not have seen enough from Javorius Allen to entrust him as a number one back. Forte and his receiving skills would be a great fit in offensive coordinator Marc Trestman’s offense. QB Joe Flacco would welcome a potential Hall of Famer to the fold.

The Saints signed RB C.J. Spiller only to see him be a disaster. Forte would be a fantastic fit in New Orleans, as head coach Sean Payton loves to involve his backs in the passing game. While RB Mark Ingram would remain a high end option, the tandem of Ingram and Forte could be a fantasy gold mine.

 

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