was successfully added to your cart.

Cart

The 2018 NFL league year began only a week or so ago, but the flurry of activity has been noteworthy for fantasy football purposes. Although there are no guarantees in fantasy football, here are five free agency moves that are sure to make an impact to their new teams and in relation, help fantasy owners gain more intel for the upcoming fantasy season.

Free Agency 2018: Five Great Fantasy Fits

Jimmy Graham, Tight End, Green Bay Packers

Formerly of the Seattle Seahawks, many pundits were predicting Graham would sign a contract with the New Orleans Saints and reunite with quarterback, Drew Brees. New Packers general manager, Brian Gutekunst, had other ideas and inked the former Pro Bowl tight end to a three-year, $30 million contract. 

Now I know what you’re thinking; the Packers have gone down this road with other free agent tight ends (Martellus Bennett, Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks). The difference is the Packers are getting a proven commodity in Graham, who posted his first double-digit touchdown season since 2014. The Packers will rely on Graham as a receiver, with the release of Jordy Nelson, and I believe he will flourish with Aaron Rodgers under center. I see Graham being a top-five tight end next season and leading the Packers in receiving touchdowns.

2018 Stat-Line Prediction
68/860/10 (Receptions/Yards/TDs)

Jerick McKinnon, Running Back, San Francisco 49ers

McKinnon signed a four-year, $30 million contract with San Francisco, and I think this is a very smart decision by him. Here is a guy, who is the same height and build as Kyle Shanahan’s former backfield star in Atlanta, Devonta Freeman. The only difference is that McKinnon is a bit faster and a better receiver.

What will make fantasy owners salivate is what Freeman was able to accomplish in his two years playing in Shanahan’s offense (double-digit touchdowns and +1500 scrimmage yards in both seasons). You can only imagine what McKinnon will be able to do in that same system. McKinnon will be accepting an invitation to the Pro Bowl for the first time, and he will be a good target in the later rounds of the fantasy draft and pay huge dividends for whoever drafts him.

2018 Stat-Line Prediction
205/870/7 Rushing (Attempts/Yards/TDs) and 65/510/5 Receiving (Receptions/Yards/TDs)

Trey Burton, Tight End, Chicago Bears

The Bears could use some weapons to help young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Bringing in a guy like Burton is just what an early-year quarterback can use to get more comfortable in an offense. Young quarterbacks like to rely on their tight ends as a safety net and of course, there have been many tight ends who had great seasons because of that. Cameron Brate, Jason Witten, and Zach Ertz have all had great seasons recently because of the young quarterback under center that was relying on them.

Burton, who was a backup tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles, is better known as one-half of the most memorable Super Bowl plays in history, “The Philly Special.” What many fantasy owners might not know is that even though he wasn’t used much in the offense, he is a gifted, versatile athlete who can bring a new element to the Chicago Bears offense because of his versatility. He has the build of a tight end, but can split out and run routes like a wide receiver, which should give new head coach Matt Nagy more options to get him involved. I see Burton having a breakout season as a starter and really helping Trubisky and the Bears offense bring more competition to the NFC North as well as the rest of the league. Great sleeper option for later in the draft.

2018 Stat-Line Prediction
62/720/6 (Receptions/Yards/TDs)

Kirk Cousins, Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings

The big fish in the free agent pool in 2018, Cousins landed one of the biggest deals in NFL history, signing a three-year, fully-guaranteed contract worth $84 million. Now some may question his value, but quarterback is an important position to lock down and the Vikings haven’t had one they could rely on every year since Daunte Culpepper in the early 2000’s and Fran Tarkenton in the early years of the franchise. 

Cousins is coming into a situation where he is the last piece of the Super Bowl puzzle. The Vikings knew that bringing in a stable quarterback can help them overcome that hurdle and hopefully get them to the Super Bowl in the 2018 season. Cousins will have better weapons both on the outside with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, and in the backfield with Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray. Cousins will come in and be a leader in the huddle and also bring this offense up to the level of their punishing defense. Look for Cousins to be in the mix for the fourth or fifth quarterback taken off the board this upcoming season.

2018 Stat-Line Prediction
385-560/4,275/32/9 (Completions-Attempts/Yards/TDs/INTs)

Josh Kline, Offensive Guard, Tennessee Titans

Why am I listing an offensive lineman as a key addition in a fantasy football article? Having a strong or weak offensive line affects your backfield. Re-signing Kline will impact the numbers for quarterback Marcus Mariota, running back Derrick Henry, and new running back Dion Lewis. According to Pro Football Focus, the Tennessee Titans had the fifth best offensive line last season. 

I look for the backfield to thrive with Kline being back at the right guard spot, which brings all five starters back into the fold for the Titans. This will help Mariota rebound from a down year, Henry proved he is worthy of being the number one back, and Lewis will add his rushing and receiving abilities to the offense.

2018 Stat-Line Prediction
Marcus Mariota: 285-455/3,430/27/10 (Completions-Attempts/Yards/TDs/INTs)
Derrick Henry: 270/1,170/10 rushing (Attempts/Yards/TDs) and 25/185/0 receiving (Receptions/Yards/TDs)
Dion Lewis: 155/560/4 rushing (Attempts/Yards/TDs) and 59/620/5 receiving (Receptions/Yards/TDs)

Amar Desai

Author Amar Desai

Have been a sports fan my whole life and football has been my sport of choice. Growing up in the Bay Area (San Jose), I have been a San Francisco 49ers since day one. Avid fantasy football player and just love learning, reading, and talking about football.

More posts by Amar Desai

Sports Al Dente 2019

%d bloggers like this: