Free Agency Winners and Losers: Wide Recievers

Signing, trading, and retaining players can help or hurt players early in the offseason. Dustin Ludke takes a look at the recievers who won and lost in the free agency period.

It seems that PPR and three receiver formats are becoming the norm in fantasy football. Finding the pass catchers who are poised to make a jump can be a major win for fantasy managers. Avoiding the ones who are trending downwards can be important bombs to avoid come draft time.

 

Losers

 

Davante Adams: Las Vegas Raiders

I will start by saying that in real life Davante Adams is a winner. He seemingly took less money to be on a lesser quality team in a tougher division to play with one of his best friends and college buddies in Derek Carr. For fantasy, I say Adams is a loser when it comes to the move. He leaves Aaron Rodgers who returned to the Packers. He goes from being really the only target on a high-powered passing offense to being the WR1 on a team that also has break-out star Hunter Renfrow and tight end Darren Waller. Over the past 3 seasons, Rodgers and Carr are about equal on passing attempts and Carr did best Rodgers by almost 100 attempts. It’s just more mouths to feed on the same number of attempts that Adams is used to seeing on his offense.

 

Christian Kirk: Jacksonville Jaguars

Christian Kirk was a hot name going into free agency. He signed with Jacksonville and looks to be one of the top options for second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The issue is that Kirk has never been a number one on a team and doesn’t really project to be one. He will be the lead dog on the Jags who have Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault. The Jags also brought in Zay Jones. They are loading up on weapons for Lawrence who has to make the jump after a dumpster fire of a first season. Kirk is coming off a career-high in receiving yards but has had a spotty career in terms of production. His stock would be a lot higher if he had landed on a team with a true number one to allow him to be more of the two.

 

Laviska Shenault: Jacksonville Jaguars

This was supposed to be the year that Laviska Shenault was going to ascend to stardom. He was going to mature into the number one weapon on the team and produce yards and touchdowns. However, the Jaguars and the new coaching staff didn’t seem to show that much faith in Shenault because they went out and signed Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. While neither of them project to be studs they do take away from the potential that Shenault had. On a team that had major struggles last season and a returning running back in Travis Etienne, there doesn’t seem to be enough offense to go around.

 

Darnell Mooney: Chicago Bears

Darnell Mooney had a solid second season even with the combo of Andy Dalton and Justin Fields throwing the ball. He will still have Fields throwing him the ball this season but he lost Allen Robinson on the other side of the field who helped draw coverage. Its now on Mooney to be the top receiver after the Bears failed to bring in any top wide receivers. They signed Byron Pringle and Equnimeous St-Brown but neither of them have ever finished in the top 50 in a season, although Pringle was close last season. Mooney needs to take the next step but it remains unclear if he can do that while drawing the focus of the opposing.

 

Juju Smith-Schuster: Kansas City Chiefs

Originally I had Juju Smith-Schuster as a winner. How could he not be when he joined a high powered offense on the Chiefs. What moved him to the loser section was the shocking trade of Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. The move puts the spotlight and top coverage clearly on Juju. He hasn’t shined well when he is the main focal point of the passing attack. Travis Kelce is still there but is getting up there in age and the signing of Marquez Valdez-Scantling doesn’t come close to replacing what Hill was in that offense.

 

Winners

 

Gabriel Davis: Buffalo Bills

Gabriel Davis had an awesome playoff run, putting him instantly on the fantasy hype train. There were talks that Buffalo could bring in a free agent wide receiver after letting Emmanuel Sanders go and cutting Cole Beasley. The Bills did sign Jamison Crowder but he doesn’t looks to be a threat to Davis’ role or targets. If Davis can carry his playoff production into 2021 then he will be a solid fantasy player in 2022.

 

Allen Robinson: Los Angles Rams

Allen Robinson was one of the top free-agent wide receivers available and found one of the top teams in the L.A. Rams. He joins a team where he can slide into the number two role across from Cooper Kupp. He gets a chance to be on a high powered offense that runs three wide receiver sets more then anyone else, and things just got better for Robinson as the Rams traded away Robert Woods to the Tennessee Titans. Woods was averaging just over 7.5 targets per game before his ACL injury. The Rams filled the hole Woods left by using Van Jefferson more and signing Odell Beckham Jr in 2021. Beckham is still unsigned and Jefferson should return to his number three role. Robinson was putting up 1000 yards and 6 touchdowns per year before his disastrous 2021 campaign and should rebound in a much better offense.

 

Russell Gage: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Russell Gage got out of Atlanta just in time. He signed with Tampa Bay and doesn’t have the pressure that others will have since he has Mike Evans and eventually Chris Godwin in the receiving room. He then got one of the best gifts a player can get when the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, un-retired and came back to the Bucs. Gage goes from Matt Ryan and a low powered offense to Tom Brady and one of the best offenses in the NFC if not the whole NFL.

 

Robert Woods: Tennessee Titans

Robert Woods got traded from the Rams to the Titans. He is a wide receiver turning 30 coming off an ACL tear. It was going to be a tough road back and it didn’t look great for him when the Rams signed Allen Robinson. The trade to the Titans gives him a fresh start. He will fill the role Julio Jones had last year, and Jones managed to get 48 targets in 10 games so there is plenty of upside for Woods. After A.J. Brown and Woods there is Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Marcus Johnson. Neither of them are a threat to Woods. Woods has plenty of upside if he can get back to health. The Titans perceived as a run-first team but Ryan Tannehill  had 531 attempts last season. If Woods can manage 15% of that he will be close to 80 targets.

 

 

Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire | Design by Michael Packard (@designsbypack on Twitter @ IG)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.