Best Fantasy Landing Spots For Top NFL Free Agents

Beginning Monday, March 7th, teams will be permitted to speak with unrestricted free agents and may begin contract negotiations. On March 9th at 3 PM CT, free agency officially begins and new contracts can be made official.

There seem to be more impact players on the defensive end this year, but playmakers are still to be had that can make a serious difference on your fantasy team…as long as they’re on the right NFL team.

As the free agency vastly approaches, lets take a look at some of the best destinations for the top free agents from a Fantasy Football perspective.

Jessica Kleinschmidt of FanDuel and I had a similar discussion weeks ago on The Piffcast. Click here to check it out. 

 

Running Back

Doug Martin

Hamster

Doug Martin tops the list for sought after offensive players this offseason. The 4-year vet and 2-time Pro Bowler went from injury prone running back to the league’s 2nd leading rusher last year. At the age of 27, Martin has some mileage on him but a few more years before the dreaded “wrong side of 30” tag that plagues most veteran running backs. Tampa Bay is in the Top 5 for available cap space this season, but Martin could be destined to run for a bigger market club and behind bigger offensive linemen.

Dallas 

In the last 2 seasons, the Cowboys proved they are a much better team when they can effectively run the ball and set up the pass after forcing opponents to load up the box. It would be in their best interest to sign a premiere back like Martin if they want to preserve Tony Romo for a full season too. With the same play-callers and top tier offensive line for the past few seasons, you can project similar production for Martin as DeMarco Murray’s in 2014. Maybe not Murray’s 392 carries from that season, but leading the league in rushing (1,845 yards) and rushing touchdowns (13) is very attractive.

New York (Jets)

The Jets were just one game away from making the playoffs and a big part of their success was the dependability of their running game. Chris Ivory provided the punch between the tackles and Bilal Powell was reliable as an easy target on passing downs. Neither are under contract but Martin’s skill set accounts for both their talents. Ivory put up the best numbers of his career in 2015 behind an O-Line manned by Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, even was a Pro Bowler. One would think Martin could perform even better and would be depended on even more with Brandon Marshall and Ryan Fitzpatrick not getting any younger.

 

Matt Forte

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

It’s weird knowing that we’ll be seeing Matt Forte in a different uniform this season. It makes sense for both sides though as the Bears are a team in transition, trying to get younger, and Forte deserves an immediate shot at a championship. Even at 30 years old, Forte is a proven dynamic back who can run, catch and block. Ideally, you would like to see him in an offense that succeeds throwing more and could share his touches.

New England

Something tells me Bill Belichick and Tom Brady would love to have a dependable running back between the 20’s, and that’s Forte’s specialty. The Patriots do have Dion Lewis under contract but he’s coming off a season ending injury and would benefit greatly from being a compliment to Forte, especially in the red zone. The Patriots are a fast paced team that are at their best when Brady is a rhythm passing and Forte is the best pass catching back on the market who can also block. He would be PPR machine again in New England.

Green Bay 

Speaking of teams that are better when they chuck it…

The Packers may be losing James Stars to free agency, so why not upgrade with someone with his skill x 10? This move would probably kill Bears fans, but Forte would be perfect in an offense with Aaron Rodgers. When firing on all cylinders, Rodgers shares the wealth between his receivers and his lead back and they are always in the red zone. The Packers are also much less trusting of Eddie Lacy these days, so Forte would certainly get #1 back touches. Sorry, Chicago. Still love you.

 

Lamar Miller

Lamar

Lamar Miller had a strange season last year. The Dolphins were 6-1 when they gave him 13 or more touches, but that means he was well underused in more than half a season’s worth of games. 19 touchdowns in the last 2 years and the ability to score from anywhere on the field, running and catching, would be pretty sexy to a team looking for a #1 quality back.

Houston

The Texans made the choice to move on from Arian Foster and I don’t think they are particularly sold on Alfred Blue. When Foster was healthy for a whole season playing for Bill O’Brien, he totaled 1,573 yards and 13 touchdowns. Picture Miller, younger and faster, in O’Brien’s scheme and attacking defenses that are already on their heels trying to defend DeAndre Hopkins. Then consider the defenses that the Texans face in their division (Colts, Jaguars, and Titans). I would like Miller in my lineup, if that were the case.

Miami

It sounds like the Dolphins are high on bringing Miller back and I don’t blame them, for the reasons I listed earlier. Miller would also probably like to play in Adam Gase’s system too. Knowshon Moreno, CJ Anderson, Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford all benefitted well with Gase utilizing play-action. If Gase is going to get Ryan Tannehill back on track, getting the ball to Miller will be more helpful than not.

Wide Receiver

Marvin Jones

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The better wide receivers these don’t often hit the open market anymore. When you look at the best in this class, it would appear that Marvin Jones tops the list. He was the #2 man to AJ Green for his entire tenure in Cincinnati but he showed that he could produce like a #1 when called upon, like the 10 touchdowns he scored in 2013. Now he has a chance to prove it and someone is going pay him to try…more than likely overpaid because the market will dictate it.

Los Angeles

The Rams are heading back to California with a very good defense and an elite running back. What they don’t have is a quarterback or a legit wide receiver. Marvin Jones would fit one of those needs and it’s hard to believe they won’t try to fill the other. Getting a shot as a #1 receiver would be huge for Jones’s value, especially when defenses are more focused on Todd Gurley.

Baltimore

It’s pretty common in the AFC North for players to flip to their rivals. The Ravens have Steve Smith Sr. for one more year and Kamar Aiken, but Jones would jump ahead of both on a depth chart and give Joe Flacco better target than he’s had since Anquan Boldin. Flacco’s never thrown 25+ touchdowns twice in his career, but somebody has to catch that deep ball of his. Jones has the talent to do it consistently.

Anquan Boldin

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He turns 36 in October but Anquan Boldin is still a badass. The reigning Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner is one of the best possession receivers in the game. He’s not the fastest anymore, but he is durable and would compliment any #1 or speedster perfectly.

Detroit

With Calvin Johnson retiring, the Lions need a reliable red zone target. Golden Tate performed well while Megatron dealt with injuries in the past, but Matthew Stafford needs someone who can pull double coverage away from him. Boldin is a savvy veteran who would bring experience to a thin position group and a lot of production with Stafford targeting him.

Atlanta

Like the Lions, the Falcons parted ways with one of their all-time great receivers. However, Roddy White wasn’t their top receiver anymore…Julio Jones is. Boldin would take advantage of all the attention Jones gets and would provide Matt Ryan with reliable target in the end zone. Hopefully Ryan can get the ball out of his own hand.

Quarterback

Brock Osweiler

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With Kirk Cousins signing his franchise tag, there aren’t many other sexy quarterbacks available. Brock Osweiler got a chance to showcase his skills and whatever he learned from backing up Peyton Manning this year seems to have attracted somebody though.

Denver

The reports out of Denver say the Broncos made Osweiler a 3-year extension offer, but he has yet to reach a deal with them. It might be in his best interest to stick with somewhere and a system he knows. It also doesn’t hurt having Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to throw to.

Houston

Of the teams that need a starting quarterback, the Texans have the best receiver. Heck, DeAndre Hopkins even made Brian Hoyer relevant again. If the Texans were to go out and sign any of the 3 running backs mentioned earlier, that would only add to Osweiler’s value as they are all key for a potent passing attack.

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NFL Week 11 Fantasy Mailbag

When you hear the phrase “down the stretch”, this is officially it. We’re all just a few weeks away from the Fantasy playoffs and every win really counts. Your lineup probably looks very different than it did to start the season, much like those of actual NFL rosters by Week 11. For instance, Peyton Manning…

It seems like yesterday when Peyton’s receivers were playing keep away with his record setting touchdown pass.

Peyton keepaway

Fast forward to last Sunday when Peyton threw more interceptions (4) than the number of yards he needed to break the all-time passing yards record (3). Next thing you know, he’s on the bench for Brock Osweiler, and Gary Kubiak says it only has to do with a plantar fascia issue and not based on merit. Politics and bad Broncos storylines aside, I’m glad I traded Peyton after Week 1 and picked up Cam Newton and Jay Cutler off waivers.

Cam Dance

 

Quick Hits

 

  • As one aforementioned AFC West quarterback seems to be riding off into the distance, a new one seems to have arrived in a big way. Derek Carr is coming off a streak of 3 straight 300+ yard performances and 10 touchdowns over that stretch. Not only is Carr a surefire Top 10 QB now, his Top 2 WRs become easy starts every week as well because of his maturation. Carr, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree get a plum matchup at Detroit against a defense that has given up big numbers against solid receiver duos like Keenan Allen/Stevie Johnson (21-248-1), Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders (15-179-1), and Larry Fitzgerald/John Brown (9-131-2).

Carr to Crabtree

  • Helping Kirk Cousins achieve his perfect 158.3 passer rating last week against the Saints was his tight end, Jordan Reed. Reed’s health has always been a hinderance for his production, but he’s currently as hot as anyone in the end zone. Over his last 3 games, Reed has scored 5 touchdowns. He’s also the 2nd highest targeted tight end in the end zone and is getting plenty more opportunities than any of the other Washington WRs. Reed takes on a Panthers defense this weekend that has allowed 3 touchdowns in their last 3 games.

 

  • I’ve learned my lesson on Lamar Miller. No matter how juicy the matchup looks for other running backs on my team, I can’t leave Miller on my bench. Even if he’s being limited in the run game (only 103 yards rushing in his last 3 games), he’s racking up the points receiving with 7 touchdowns through the air over his last 5 games.

 

Mail Time!

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Danny Amendola should not be left available in any league at this point. Before his injury, Julian Edelman was getting 10 targets per game from Tom Brady. Amendola had 11 just on Sunday. He’s filling in the Edelman role and has returner duties as well for more potential points.

Between Danny Woodhead or John Brown to drop, I would feel better letting go of Brown for the time being. You’ve had at least 3 weeks of no production in a row out of the guy. Jaron Brown was confusing viewers the other night getting more looks than John actually. I’m sure he’ll get back on track with Michael Floyd dealing with a hamstring injury, but Woodhead is much more valuable to the Chargers’ depleted offense than Brown is to the Cardinals.

 

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I know the bad version of Andy Dalton showed up again Monday night, but the guy was and probably still is an MVP candidate this season. With that said, Russell Wilson’s matchup against the 49ers at home is too good to ignore. The Niners are allowing 327 pass yards per game on the road. If Wilson doesn’t show up for you this week, you can drop his ass. Quote me on that one.

 

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Flex: At this point, I can’t sit either Cooper or Crabtree with the way Carr is throwing. And he’s going to light up the Lions secondary this weekend too. While the running back hipster in me wants you go with Danny Woodhead, the upside for Michael Crabtree is too great this weekend to pass up. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Chargers start running Melvin Gordon more to see what they have while they are out of the playoff race.

WR: Simply because Kamar Aiken is Joe Flacco’s only pass option, I like his chances for production over Donte Moncrief. TY Hilton will be closer to 100% this weekend and will garner more attention from Matt Hasselbeck. Moncrief also falls behind the tight ends for targets as they are Rob Chudzinski’s bread and butter for play calling.

 

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At least you’re in first place with a few weeks left in the regular season. If there are guys on your roster who are out for the season, you should already be working the waiver wire for the best available pickups. Let me know on Facebook or Twitter who’s in Free Agency for your league and we’ll patch up your lineup.

 

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The Broncos wide receivers probably got an upgrade with Manning going down. I anticipate Emmanuel Sanders’s possession game will be more helpful to Osweiler, especially this week against the Bears. Quietly, Kyle Fuller has played like one of the best cornerbacks in football recently and he’ll likely draw Demaryius Thomas. Go with old reliable Sanders over Jeremy Maclin, who hasn’t done much since Week 5.

 

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Flex: For the same reason I listed earlier, go with Aiken. While the Broncos will run more this weekend, the Bears are stout against the run. They’ve only allowed 3 touchdowns to running backs all season as well.

TE: If one person is doing well for the Packers during their current 3 game slide, it’s Richard Rodgers. He has 3 touchdowns in his last 2 games, 14 targets, 10 catches, and likely all of Aaron Rodgers’s attention in the red zone against a Vikings D that keeps WRs and RBs in check regularly.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 10.54.50 AMDude…Marshawn. And if Thomas Rawls is available, go handcuff him in case something absurd happens. But seriously…Marshawn.

Marshawn racoon

Have more lineup questions? Feel free to ask on both Facebook and Twitter! Also, don’t hesitate to post any questions for next week’s Mailbag. Good luck this weekend!