Free agency 2018 has been crazier than a backup Quarterback beating Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. With so many key players on the move, the fantasy landscape has ultimately undergone some serious renovations. Players have left for greener pastures, and if you are Kirk Cousins who is guaranteed $84 million dollars, you are ready for greener everything. While Cousins fortunes are astounding, that is not what we are here to talk about. Who are the fantasy risers and who are the fantasy fallers? That is the question we all care about.
Jerrick McKinnon – San Francisco 49ers
With the latest report from NBC Bay Area stating that McKinnon is walking into ‘The Freeman Role’ in Kyle Shanahan’s offence, fantasy owners should be salivating. The former Minnesota Viking got everything he wanted this off-season, and anybody who can get him on their roster will get everything they want, too.
The 26-year old running back is about to walk into the prime of his career in an offence with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm. McKinnon is a super athlete that should flourish as an explosive playmaker in San Francisco. Freeman was able to post RB1 numbers while being an undersized back in Shanahan’s offence, and the now fourth-highest paid tailback McKinnon should be no different. Expect him to be at least a top 15 back in fantasy.
Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings
Seeing Kirk Cousins in a Vikings uniform is going to take some time to adjust, but I’m sure Cousins to Thielen, Cousins to Diggs, and Cousins to Rudolph will take very little time to work out.
It is no question that the former Michigan State Spartan will be a welcomed addition to a Minnesota offence which posted major numbers in 2017. Last season the Vikings offence was able to sustain two top 20 wide receivers and a top 10 tight end. Cousins is no doubt a substantial upgrade from Case Keenum, and will flourish on an offence where he will have better weapons than Terrelle Pryor and Vernon Davis.
Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs
Sammy Watkins only caught 39 balls in 2017. Sammy Watkins will definitely not be catching 39 balls in 2018, no matter how crowded Kansas City’s offence may be.
The 24-year old receiver is walking into Kansas City and will be part of a 1A and 1B situation with Tyreek Hill. Watkins has been in the league for four-years, but it should be noted that the uber talented wideout is only one year older than Calvin Ridley who is a top wide receiver prospect for the upcoming 2018 draft. Watkins is still very young and has blazing speed that can truly be utilized with Patrick Mahomes’ cannon arm.
SammyTime is also a phenomenal touchdown threat from anywhere on the field. To put his TD prowess into perspective, he recorded 8 touchdowns despite his lowly reception totally, where Tyreek Hill scored 7 touchdowns on a much higher 75 receptions.
Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears
What came first, the chicken or the egg? That is the question a high calibre wide receiver must ask themselves as they prepare to walk into Chicago.
What I mean by that question is, were Mitchell Trubisky’s struggles a product of having no receivers? Or was his inability to perform well at a consistent level due to his lack of skill at the position the real issue? Trubisky was a high draft pick so he will get a pass from most, but let’s not forget that in 12 starts, he only topped 200 yards three-times. I know Allen Robinson has shown an ability to get the job done even with subpar play at QB, but learning a new offence with a Quarterback who has yet play at a high level could be worrisome, especially when coming back from a major injury.
Carlos Hyde – Cleveland Browns
Hyde was one of the more intriguing names to enter the free agent market at the running back position. There was hype and excitement surrounding him, and fantasy owners were wondering where he was going to go. All of that excitement was tossed to the side when the ex-49er inked with the Cleveland Browns.
The dynamic back is a strong presence on the field when healthy, but some of his strengths may be capsized with the Browns. The tailback walks into a locker room which still has Duke Johnson Jr. occupying a spot. Johnson’s breakout 2017 demands that he gets his fair share of snaps. With Hyde being such a strong pass-catcher, and Johnson operating at times exclusively in that role, the two should eat into each others receiving totals. Hyde should be the early down back, but his upside will be limited in PPR if ‘The Duke’ remains in Cleveland.
Michael Crabtree – Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore has been a cold, cruel, and unfriendly confine for any receiver who dare enter Joe Flacco’s chamber of the elite. The last time the Ravens had a wide receiver finish in the top 15 of PPR scoring was 2007, and that receiver was Derrick Mason. The top 3 receivers from that season you ask? Randy Moss, Reggie Wayne, and Terrell Owens. Also worth noting, Kyle Boller was quarterbacking the Ravens at the time.
Point in case, Joe Flacco does not turn people into top 15 fantasy options at wideout. While the receivers around him have not performed well, you’d have to imagine that at least one of ‘The Elite One’s’ weapons would have wound up as a WR1 in any capacity at some point in his career. Crabtree, who had a below average 2017 will be turning 31 near the dawn of the upcoming season. It seems Baltimore is simply adding to their trend of signing former star receivers after their best years. First Wallace, then Maclin, now Crabtree.