We have been covering all of the major free agent signings and trades that have gone down to open the new NFL season.
While the major signings are getting their own individual posts, I still want to put together some fantasy thoughts on the smaller, more ancillary moves that have gone down.
I will continue to add to this as more players sign with new organizations. For more information on these moves and the defensive, offensive line, and other NFL transactions going down over the start of the new season, check out our 2022 NFL Free Agency and Trade Analysis section and find fantasy breakdowns of the larger signings on the primary 2022 fantasy hub.
New England Patriots Acquire DeVante Parker
We knew that Parker was short-lived with the Dolphins after the team acquired Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson this offseason to go along with Jaylen Waddle.
Moving Parker in division to the Patriots, Miami was able to shed Parker’s salary while New England gets another need body in their receiving corps.
For fantasy, this is largely a “ho-hum” move. Parker has a much cleaner path to targets with the Patriots, but Parker still will be saddled in a low-volume passing attack attached to a passer that does not necessarily play into his strengths as an above the rim perimeter receiver.
Parker has ranked dead last (1.7 yards) and second-to-last (1.7 yards) in yards of separation per target the past two seasons.
As a rookie, Mac Jones carried a 15.4% aggressive throw rate (23rd).
Parker continues to carry a pulse on the WR3/WR4 line in this move and does provide Jones with a better downfield and red zone option.
Leonard Fournette stays in Tampa Bay
The Buccaneers retained a core component of their offense this offseason, signing Leonard Fournette to a three-year extension.
Fournette has been extremely productive for fantasy when given a true opportunity at any point in his career.
In 22 career games with Bucs in which he played just half of the team snaps, Fournette has averaged 17.6 touches for 89.2 yards per game with 4.7 receptions per game and 19 total touchdowns.
Tampa Bay went with a bit of a committee to open last offseason, but dominoes quickly fell in favor of Fournette becoming the lead back. From Week 4 on, Fournette averaged 20.6 PPR points per game through the end of the regular season. He scored 11 touchdowns in those 10 games played, with just one scoring week lower than RB16 and five in the top-10 scorers.
Only Jonathan Taylor (87) and Austin Ekeler (62) had more red zone opportunities than Fournette (55).
With the Bucs coming back nearly at full capacity this offseason, Fournette is a RB1 fantasy back for 2022 that likely won’t be fully priced up due to incomplete seasons the past two years.
Matt Ryan gets traded to the Colts
With the quarterback seats getting taken up, the Colts were the latest team to solidify the direction they are going in 2022, acquiring Matt Ryan from the Falcons.
Ryan will turn 37 this May and is coming off the worst fantasy season of his career, finishing as the QB30 in points per game (13.1). Even with the lack of production for counting fantasy stats, Ryan did have some strong areas of solid football play, especially when you factor in the context of his offensive situation throwing to a rookie tight end, losing Calvin Ridley, and playing behind an offensive line that ranked 26th in ESPN’s Pass Block Win Rate and was 31st in pass blocking grade per Pro Football Focus.
Despite those peripheral notes on his situation, Ryan was seventh in on target rate (78.9%) per Sports Info Solutions.
Ryan also played better than Carson Wentz, who was in a more optimal situation on a Colts team that was better than Atlanta in every capacity outside of quarterback play. Ryan posted an expected completion rate of 67.4%, was 1.8% above that expectation, and notched a 47.4% success rate passing. Wentz sported a 66.8% expected completion rate, was -2.0% below that mark, and posted a 46.9% success rate passing.
Ryan was pressured on 39.7% of his dropbacks (sixth) while he came out as the 12th highest graded passer from a clean pocket per Pro Football Focus while Wentz was 26th.
Although Ryan is stuck as a QB2 and streamer for fantasy purposes, this is an upgrade for Ryan while the Colts also were able to upgrade from where their quarterback situation was a year ago.
An upgrade at quarterback can be good for Michael Pittman, even if the Colts are still run through Jonathan Taylor.
Pittman more than doubled his rookie season production in 2021, catching 88-of-129 targets for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns. Pittman has alpha qualities with a physical archetype, but he also plays in a run-first climate and was the only pass catcher on his roster a year ago that warranted any consideration. Despite ranking ninth in target share (24.8%), Pittman was 18th in targets per game (7.6), having six or fewer targets in eight games. If Ryan can coax out more passing volume (Ryan also had just a 2.7% scramble rate compared to a 4.8% rate for Wentz), Pittman can squeeze out more volume in year three.
Of course, this also leaves the Falcons without a quarterback, and they have turned to adding Marcus Mariota, while selecting a rookie quarterback is still a real possibility.
Mariota has not started a game since 2019, but is more than familiar playing under Arthur Smith, although that did not end well in Tennessee. Mariota was ultimately benched during that 2019 season with Smith as the playcaller, but did start that season with a pair of top-six scoring weeks over the opening month of the season before things fell apart.
Mariota does have a QB1 scoring season on his resume, coming in 2016 when he posted 17.3 points per game. He also comes with rushing production, averaging 3.3 rushing points per start in his career. In his lone game with the Raiders receiving extended playing time with Derek Carr suffering an injury, Mariota was the QB9 (25.8 points) for fantasy, tacking on 41 yards and a rushing touchdown on the ground.
As long as Mariota remains the starter, he carries rushing potential as a streamer in the same fashion as Mitchell Trubisky, albeit Mariota has much more limitations to work with currently on this Atlanta roster.
The potential musical chairs on what we are expecting now to be an Atlanta team that is more or less is pushing its chips in down the line than in 2022, could deflate some of the steam for Kyle Pitts as a high-end tight end fantasy selection.
Mariota had no issues feeding tight ends Delanie Walker and Darren Waller (in one game getting extended run) on limited rosters, so as long as Mariota stays under center, Pitts still stands to command a large target share from a functional passer.
Pitts was the first rookie tight end to reach 1,000 yards receiving since Mike Ditka in 1961. He lined up all over the field, playing 286 snaps in the slot, 248 snaps inline, and another 237 snaps out wide. Pitts was second among all tight ends in route participation rate (80.6%), ninth in targets per game (6.5), and second in intended air yards (1,204).
That said, there was plenty of meat left on the bone as he closed the season as the TE11 in points per game. Pitts scored just one touchdown (-4.1 below expectation) on that usage.
There is next to nothing in the way for Pitts to accrue a significant target share, but any rookie coming in and potentially pushing Mariota as early as this year would lower his ceiling potential for the upcoming season.
Jameis Winston returns to the Saints
Another team ended their offseason speculation of direction under center as the Saints signed Jameis Winston to a two-year contract.
Winston was doing everything asked of him prior to tearing his ACL in Week 8. The Saints had a 5-2 record while he was averaging 8.2 yards per pass attempt with 14 touchdowns to just three interceptions.
Winston was actually the top quarterback in fantasy points per attempt (.601) while second in the NFL in EPA per play on his abbreviated sample.
Winston also was living off a completely unsustainable 8.7% touchdown rate, but with the Saints keeping Pete Carmichael in place and finally getting Michael Thomas back on the field, Winston is set back up as a QB2 option that can build off his solid start with the Saints in 2021.
Ab area of concern is Winston averaged 3.2 rushing points per game (15th), while rushing production accounted for 19.3% of his fantasy output (16th). Coming off the ACL, banking on any rushing production is compromised.
Winston also received a short-term deal worth $21 million, which could still leave the door open for Taysom Hill to lurk behind any struggles that occur, but Hill never actually threatened Winston under center with Winston healthy a year ago.
Michael Thomas is someone that I have viewed as undervalued this entire offseason.
Thomas has appeared in just seven games the past two seasons while missing all of 2021, leaving him as an out-of-sight, out-of-mind fantasy entity while he will be coming back to a team without Drew Brees or Sean Payton. But with Carmichael staying, Thomas still has a playcaller that understands where he excels.
Just 17.5% of Thomas’s career targets have come from passers other than Brees, but Thomas has remained a hyper-efficient target no matter who the quarterback has been. We have a 12-game sample of Thomas playing without Brees (or Brees missing significant time) over the course of his career and there as some pros and cons. The first and obvious pro is that Thomas remained a target magnet. Thomas received a gaudy 32.1% of the team targets with seven or more targets in every game but one (which also happened to be the infamous Kendall Hinton game).
Thomas had at least five receptions in 10 of those 12 weeks with eight or more grabs in eight games. The downside is he has scored just three touchdowns total in those games and has never been strong at creating his own touchdowns on raw athleticism. Of his 32 receiving scores, 20 have come from inside of the 10-yard line and 15 from five yards and in.
The days of Thomas being someone who pushes for the WR1 overall may have passed, but he can still be a viable source of opportunity with limited surrounding threats in his way to a gaudy target share.
If looking for a deeper dart, Deonte Harty (formerly Harris) had a strong connection with Winston. Winston and Harty connected on 12-of-16 targets (75%) for 236 yards (14.8 yards per target) with a 130.2 rating. Winston targeted Harty on 23.2% of his routes. While Harty is still a deep flyer, he carries end-of-best-ball-draft appeal for his ability to provide splash plays.
Robert Woods traded to the Titans
After acquiring Allen Robinson and the date approaching in which Robert Woods was set to his 2022 salary fully guaranteed, the Rams were rumored to be looking to move the veteran wide receiver. He found a home with the Titans for a sixth round pick, coming off the heels of Tennessee releasing Julio Jones last week.
Woods will turn 30 years old this April, coming off suffering an ACL injury in November after appearing in nine games. Prior to injury, Woods was a slow starter playing alongside the scorching hot run Cooper Kupp began on, which never slowed down. Woods opened the year up with just 15 catches for 172 yards through four games, but was finding his way with four top-20 scoring weeks over his final five games.
Woods still only managed to top 70 yards in two of his nine games. That raises the question on his dependence in being in the hyper-efficient Rams passing game and leaving for Tennessee. The Rams were the top passing offense in the league by expected points added (237.3) compared to the Titans ranking 18th (54.4). Rams also were an aggressive offense near the end zone with, ranking fourth in red zone passing rate (59.2%), while second in pass rate inside of the 10-yard line (58.4%), and first in pass rate inside of the 5-yard line (65.9%). 79.7% of the Rams offensive touchdowns in 2021 were passing touchdowns, the highest rate in the league.
Not just the gap in efficiency, but the Rams have also thrown 361 more passes than the Titans over the past three seasons.
Woods has been a player that has made a career of outproducing expectations, but hitting age 30, coming off a major injury, and trading a great passing game for a limited one where he will clearly be behind A.J. Brown, it is tough to see a lot of upside for Woods in his move to the Titans. Schematically, Woods is one of the best run blocking wide receivers in the NFL, if not the best, which was surely appealing to the Titans as a fit in their offense.
JuJu Smith-Schuster Joins Chiefs
A year after the Chiefs were one of the final teams close to signing JuJu Smith-Schuster last offseason, they land him on a one-year deal.
I went thoroughly in depth on Smith-Schuster last offseason so I won’t repeat all the same things in depth here, raising the questions on his career usage, personal production, and being caught in the stagnant Pittsburgh passing game as we tried to recapture the production that Smith-Schuster showcased early in his career.
2021 provided no further clarity on things potentially bouncing back as Smith-Schuster appeared in just five games due to a shoulder injury. Prior to injury, we were getting more of the 2020 version of JuJu as he was averaging just 8.6 yards per catch and a paltry 4.6 yards per target.
I have mentioned before that Smith-Schuster’s early career reminds me a lot like Randall Cobb, where we have been chasing that early-career ride, but now we can finally officially gain clarity on how much the Pittsburgh passing game impacted his decline.
Smith-Schuster will still only be 26 years old this November, leaving a passing game that regenerate downfield usage. His attachment to Patrick Mahomes and this offense will afford him much more space in the middle of the field, giving him more than enough enticement once again as an upside fantasy option on the WR3/WR4 line.
The Chiefs also have been looking for a third wheel in the offense behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Over the three seasons with Mahomes as the starter, the third-leading receiver has been Sammy Watkins (673 yards), and Mecole Hardman the past two seasons with 693 and 560 yards.
Kelce and Hill are still the players that dominate action in this offense. Over the time Mahomes has been under center, Hill and Kelce have combined to account for 44.1% of the team receptions, 48.8% of the receiving yardage, and 52.3% of the receiving touchdowns.
Rashaad Penny stays in Seattle
Seattle brought back Rashaad Penny on a one-year deal, stemming from a massive close to the 2021 season that finally showed the upside that got him selected in the first round back in 2018.
After being left for dead and on his very last legs with Seattle, Penny rushed 92 times for 671 yards (7.3 yards per carry) over the final five games of the season, posting 135 or more rushing yards in four of those games.
Elevated by the small sample, Penny produced a carry of 10 or more yards on 15.9% of his carries, which was third in the league. 61.3% of his rushing yardage came on those explosive runs, the highest rate in the league.
Penny did exploit a number of soft defenses over that stretch (Houston, Chicago, Arizona, and Detroit were all back half teams in explosive run rate allowed) but did so still in an impressive fashion that extended beyond just producing due to opponent. Penny had just 161 carries over his first three seasons in the league, so this could all be just Lucy holding the football for us, but he also did have a strong collegiate resume supported by draft capital to keep the lights on for the potential upside angle.
Things sound promising for Chris Carson’s return this season from a neck injury, but him remaining on the roster for the remainder of the offseason is still something in question. There also is still some risk that we do get a split between Penny and Carson if Carson survives the offseason, which would be tough to latch onto on a team that is still trying to fix their quarterback situation.
Penny also lacked any receiving production, catching six passes for 48 yards total. Any type of time share on an offense that can have limitations would have Penny and Carson in a similar set up as the top backs in New England, where he would be a rushing dependent RB2/FLEX that will need to find the end zone on a weekly level to access his ceiling.
Cordarrelle Patterson Returns to the Falcons
It took nine seasons, but an NFL team finally figured out to maximize Cordarrelle Patterson.
At age 30, Patterson set career-highs in just about every department, turning 205 touches into 1,166 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The only shade was the magic left the bottle down the finish line as Patterson scored 22.0 total fantasy points the final four weeks of the season. After catching five or more passes in six of the opening eight games of the season, Patterson had three or fewer catches in each of the final eight games of the year while posting 59 or fewer yards in each of his final five games played.
Patterson did pick up an ankle injury in Week 10, but then came back with 135 yards and two touchdowns on 18 touches when back on the field before his usage and performance declined.
Returning to the Falcons gives Patterson the most life as a RB2/FLEX with hopes we have larger upside showcased a year ago when given a large role in the offense, but we likely just seen the best fantasy season we are going to get from Patterson as the team once again should be looking to add a younger feature back to the roster in April.
Russell Gage joins rival Buccaneers
Wide receiver Russell Gage is coming off two productive seasons with the Falcons. After catching 72-of-109 targets for 786 yards for four touchdowns in 2020, Gage stepped up again this past season, securing 66-of-94 targets for 770 yards and another four scores.
Atlanta was pressed to lean on Gage after Calvin Ridley left the team, which let Gage blossom. After running 65.3% of his routes from the slot over his first three years in the league, Gage played outside on 50.4% of his routes in 2021.
He answered the call. Gage led the Falcons with 2.84 yards per route run against man coverage in 2021 per Pro Football Focus, a mark that was 11th in the league this past season.
The Buccaneers are more than familiar with Gage, who has caught 45-of-63 targets for 461 yards and two touchdowns against the Bucs in six games against Tampa Bay the past three years. Five of those six weeks, he was a top-30 fantasy scorer.
While Gage has been at his best needing to accrue a large dose of targets to absences on the roster, there are paths here for him to still make in impact for fantasy as the WR3 in Tampa.
Gage just turned 26 years old this past January. He joins a Tampa Bay offense led by Tom Brady, that has run the most passing plays (1,402) in the NFL over the past two seasons. This past season, Tampa Bay had 595 dropbacks with three or more wide receivers on the field, which was third in the league.
Gage also can get an early season bump with the timing of Chris Godwin’s injury. Godwin tore his ACL back on December 19th, placing his early-season availability in jeopardy. With the Bucs playing for a Super Bowl or bust, expect them to ensure Godwin is fully ready before forcing him onto the field.
Gage has solid WR2/WR3 value for early season production while full season WR3/FLEX appeal joining the Bucs.
Jets add veteran TE, C.J. Uzomah
C.J. Uzomah was 11th among all tight ends in route participation (73.1%) in 2021. He only managed to turn in three TE1 scoring weeks, but he also led all tight ends in scoring in two of those weeks. Uzomah also found more work to close the season, receiving at least 15% of the team targets in each of the seven games prior to being injured in the AFC Championship, turning in games of 6-64-1 and 7-71-0 in the postseason before that game.
That performance and finish landed him a three-year contract with the Jets, a team starved for tight end production. Jets’ tight ends combined for 50 catches for 534 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Uzomah was a fantasy TE2 in a strong Cincinnati offense, so there is no way to elevate him to starting status with the Jets.
Jaguars aren’t done: add Zay Jones
The Jaguars weren’t done adding pass catchers on the opening day of legal tampering, agreeing to terms with Zay Jones on a three-year contract.
The former second-round pick caught 47-of-70 targets for 546 yards and one touchdown in Las Vegas last season, getting a chance to play an extended role after the team removed Henry Ruggs from the roster. Jones secured 38-of-50 targets for 369 yards over the final seven weeks of the season.
For fantasy, Jones still only posted three WR3 or better scoring weeks over that span. He has 81 career appearances in the NFL, posting one 100-yard game, while scoring more than two touchdowns in just one of his first five years in the league. There is not much to bite into here for us on the gaming front, but his contract does muddy the pass-catching corps in Jacksonville even further.
Evan Engram also joins the Jaguars
Jacksonville was not done adding pass catchers on day one of the tampering period, also agreeing to terms with Evan Engram on a one-year deal.
After a promising start to Engram’s career, sledding in the New York offense has been tough as he is coming off career-lows with 3.1 receptions and 27.2 yards per game with a career-low 8.9 yards per catch and 5.6 yards per target.
After opening his career up with TE4, TE7, and TE7 seasons on a per game basis, Engram has been the TE20 and TE26 in points per game the past two seasons. After scoring six touchdowns as a rookie, Engram has not caught more than three touchdowns in a season since.
His usage has been a big mystery compared to his collegiate profile as he has not stretched the field since his rookie season. After a 9.0 averaged depth of target in 2017, Engram has carried a 5.5, 6.5, 7.4, and 6.1 yard aDOT since.
It was hard for anyone to produce anything in the Giants’ offense, but as mentioned above, this Jacksonville offense was a struggle in itself a year ago on levels equal to New York. Engram has a new lifeline, but still has to claw back to regain our trust as a TE1 or streamer we have faith in.
The Jaguars still have Dan Arnold on board, but both tight ends can find the field under Doug Pederson. In his past three seasons with the Eagles, those offenses ranked first or second in use of 12 personnel. Engram and Arnold are a far cry from Ertz and Goedert, but with Engram still turning 28 years old in September and gaining a fresh start, the former first-rounder has an added pulse on the depth of dynasty rosters. Trevor Lawrence targeted Jacksonville tight ends 109 times (18.7%) in 2021.
D.J. Chark takes “prove it” deal in Detroit
D.J. Chark was limited to just four games before an ankle injury cut his season short in 2021. Prior to injury, Chark had secured just 7-of-22 targets for 154 yards with a pair of scores, leaving us with more of a mystery on if we will ever see the front half of the 2019 season again.
Over his past 22 games played, Chark has averaged 3.7 catches for 48.7 yards per game, catching 55.0% of his targets. He has posted just five WR2 or better scoring weeks over that stretch.
We now have a larger sample of Chark being a volatile fantasy underperformer than the potential star that flashed to open his second season in the league, but quarterback play has been a thorn for Chark. Just 47.4% of his targets were deemed catchable in his small sample of 2021 after 63.0% in 2020 (113th among wideouts with 25 or more targets) and 65.8% in 2019 (81st).
Quarterback play could be another issue in Detroit paired with Jared Goff, especially where Chark has shown the best of his ability, which is downfield. On throws 15 yards or further downfield, Goff has ranked 35th (31.9%), 29th (38.4%), and 30th (39.0%) in completion rate over the past three seasons.
Chark still turns just 26 years old this September, making him a strong signing to take a swing on for Detroit. He could recapture the front of 2019 or at worst provide them with a field stretcher to free up Amon-Ra St. Brown, T.J. Hockenson, and D’Andre Swift to work underneath.
Cedrick Wilson heads to Dolphins
After 22 catches for 235 yards and two touchdowns, Wilson broke out last season, catching 45 passes for 602 yards and six touchdowns. Wilson averaged 9.9 yards per target (15th among wide receivers) while his 1.70 yards per route run ranks 41st at the position.
Wilson was hyper-efficient in the league’s highest scoring offense, so this could be an example of another overpay in the market, but with Wilson not making a large fantasy impact himself (he had just four weeks higher than WR40), he still will largely be off our radar as a WR4/WR5 in fantasy playing alongside Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker in a potentially lower-volume passing game under Mike McDaniel.
Where Wilson’s addition does make a fantasy impact is with Jaylen Waddle. Wilson ran 90% of his routes from the slot with Dallas last season. As a rookie, Jaylen Waddle ran 60.1% of his routes from the slot, where collected 62 receptions for 494 yards and four touchdowns.
As a byproduct of all of those slot routes paired with the Miami offensive line situation, Waddle averaged just 9.8 yards per catch with an average depth of target of 7.0 yards, managing just 12 targets all season 20 or further yards downfield. Getting the opportunity to play more outside and extend the field like he did in college, Waddle still has untapped upside after showing his reception-based floor as a rookie.
Christian Kirk signs with the Jaguars
Kirk’s up and down tenure with the Cardinals closed with him setting career-highs in receptions, (77) and yards (982), leading the team with 103 targets.
That turned into a big pay day for him from a team in which he posted a season-high 104 yards against back in Week 3, his lone 100-yard game of the season.
According to multiple reports, Kirk signed a four-year deal worth at least $72 million and a maximum value of $84 million.
What is Christian Kirk’s Fantasy Football Value?
Kirk has never fully materialized as a fantasy star, closing out as the WR53, WR32, WR55, and WR34 in points per game. He has produced five career WR1 scoring weeks with another 11 WR2 scoring weeks over his 56 career regular season games.
Kirk was never the best wide receiver on any of those Arizona teams, so if targets are earned by your best players, he stands to receive a bump in opportunity in Jacksonville, contending with Marvin Jones as his largest target threat currently on the roster.
This move alone will put Kirk on the WR2/WR3 line, with the probability that he is still a limited touchdown scorer.
Despite the uneven production for fantasy, Arizona did find a role for him in 2021 to maximize Kirk’s on-field value.
Kirk ran a career-high 77.9% of his routes from the slot, after rates of 29.9%, 42.2%, and 14.6% over his first three years in the league. in the slot, Kirk collected a 63-809-4 line after 59-599-3 from the slot prior. Kirk was not just a puddle jumper collecting shallow targets inside, posting an average depth of target of 11.8 yards downfield from the slot, which was sixth in the league.
Trevor Lawrence + Christian Kirk: Fantasy Impact
Kirk will look to have more success than Marvin Jones did in free agency a year ago, but is another addition to aid the development of Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence had lofty expectations built up for multiple seasons on an Andrew Luck level as a franchise savior, but the initial results are a strong reminder that the NFL can be humbling for anyone.
Lawrence had the most incompetent head coach in the league overseeing his initial development to derail things, but not much went right for him on the field. He ranked 35th out of 42 passers with 100 or more pass attempts in completion percentage (59.6%) while the only passers with a lower yards per attempt than Lawrence’s 6.1 Y/A were Tyler Huntley, Jacoby Brissett, Cam Newton, and Mike Glennon.
In year two under Doug Pederson, there is a low bar for improvement. Jacksonville is all in with giving Lawrence what they can, but this signing still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of landing Lawrence a future WR1. With DeAndre Hopkins sidelined last year, Kirk showed that he still has limitations when tasked with carrying a passing game.
All of Kirk’s peripheral metrics took a hit playing without Hopkins on the field as he averaged 1.68 yards per route, 11.9 yards per catch and caught one touchdown without Hopkins on the field compared to a 1.98 yards per route, 13.9 yards per catch, and four scores with Hopkins drawing attention.
How does Kirk’s Signing Impact other Receivers
If the Jaguars plan to play Kirk inside, that all blows out any flicker of a flame left for Laviska Shenault, who struggled when pressed outside a year ago. But it also opens potential for Rondale Moore taking a step forward in his second season in Arizona.
Moore did not do anything to alleviate the concerns we had for him transitioning to the NFL, even in an offense that was suited to get the most out of him.
He ended the year with 54 catches for 435 yards and one touchdown. After being a near the line of scrimmage receiver in college, Moore managed a laughable depth of target of just 1.2 yards as a rookie.
Just seven of his 64 targets came on throws over 10 yards downfield while 41 came at or behind the line scrimmage.
I am more than skeptical on Moore’s ceiling from a fantasy stance, but with Arizona losing Kirk and A.J. Green still in the wind, Moore still carries plenty of pedigree and draft capital to have increased usage in year two and find his way as a full-PPR contributor.
Mitchell Trubisky lands with the Steelers
The offseason campaign for Trubisky getting another starting job was strong, and it didn’t take long for him to find a spot, signing a two-year deal with the Steelers.
Following the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh entered the offseason with Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins in the cupboard, signaling that Trubisky will indeed have the runway to lead this offense.
In Chicago, Trubisky did log a QB11 scoring season on a per game basis (18.8 points), surrounding QB38, QB32, and QB26 seasons per game during his tenure with Bears.
Trubisky does come with rushing ability, something that offensive coordinator Matt Canada wants to have and could not with Roethlisberger. Only Tampa Bay had fewer dropbacks outside of the pocket than the Steelers in 2021.
Roethlisberger also used play action on just 18.5% of his dropbacks, 36th in the league, while Roethlisberger was fourth in the league in dropbacks using shotgun. We will see a different offense in Pittsburgh in 2021 using more movement pre-snap and utilizing Trubisky’s mobility.
For fantasy, Trubisky has averaged 3.0 rushing points per game as a starter while 21.3% of his career fantasy production has come directly from rushing.
Trubisky is still stuck as a QB2 and streamer for fantasy purposes, but he does have some mobility and has capable playmakers surrounding him in Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool.
We have always been able to pick our spots when streaming Trubisky. Against bottom-10 pass defenses, Trubisky has completed 67.5% of his passes for 8.0 yards per pass attempt compared to completing 61.6% of his passes for 5.8 Y/A otherwise.
Chase Edmonds inks deal with the Dolphins
With the addition on Mike McDaniel as head coach, we knew that revamping the running game in Miami would be a top priority.
The Dolphins were 23rd in the league in run rate (40.3%), 31st in yards per carry (3.5 YPC), and 30th in expected points added as a rushing offense (-45.5 EPA). Kicking off the potential changes, Miami added Edmonds on a two-year deal (worth up to $12.6M).
Edmonds has been highly efficient, averaging 5.7 yards per touch in each of the past three seasons. He has yet to show as strong of a fantasy ceiling outside of having a backfield to himself, however, something that has more of a pulse now, even though we should anticipate that Miami is not done adding to this backfield.
Edmonds played two games without James Conner in 2021, finishing as the RB6 (26.7 points) and RB26 (13.2 points). For his career, Edmonds has logged just five RB1 scoring weeks due to the fact that he has never logged enough money touches.
Edmonds has just nine career rushing touchdowns through four seasons, registering just six career carries inside of the 5-yard line, converting one for a touchdown.
Edmonds has carried the ball more than 12 times in just five career games. As a runner, Edmonds does find a strong scheme fit with what McDaniel is bringing to the offense.
This past year, Edmonds logged 68 zone runs for 394 yards (5.8 YPC) while also handling 59 RPO carries for 323 yards (5.5 YPC).
For fantasy, Edmonds still needs to survive the remainder of the offseason, but comes out of this move as a back-end RB2 floor play with upside for more ceiling should he survive the rest of the way without Miami adding a threat for early-down and goal line work.
The Dolphins also did add Raheem Mostert, who has familiarity with the scheme, but also will turn 30 this April having played just nine games over the past two seasons. Mostert presents a potential thorn for Edmonds, but Edmonds should be the bet to make between the two for fantasy.
James Conner stays in Arizona to lead backfield
After only landing a “prove it” deal last offseason for under $2 million, Conner cashed a three-year extension to stay in Arizona, worth up to $25.5 million, with $13.5M guaranteed.
That is starting running back cash. Conner is coming off posting 1,127 yards with 18 touchdowns (third in the league). He averaged a robust 26.0 points per game in six games with Chase Edmonds absent, registering five RB1 scoring weeks.
He also added pass-catching juice, averaging a career-high 10.1 yards per reception. When Conner was called upon with Edmonds out last year, we did see that he once again picked up some wear and tear, missing two games with ankle and heel injuries.
Conner still has yet to play a full season in the league, something Arizona will surely factor in by potentially adding a satellite back in this draft (there are plenty available on the back end of this class) or extending Eno Benjamin’s role, but Conner has a runway as a feature back with this deal.
He has now been a top-30 scorer per game in each of the past four seasons with two RB1 scoring seasons per game on his resume.
While injury stigma will be factored into his draft cost, when on the field Conner is a weekly RB1 option attached to an offense that was 10th in the NFL in scoring (25.6 points per game).