RotoExperts: Your Fantasy Football Offseason Update
While there aren’t nearly as many free agents being signed, there is still some movement in the National Football League. Players are still changing teams, improving (or hurting) the fantasy value of other players. Let’s take a look at some others that have recently signed with new teams to see if there is any fantasy value to be found:
Kevin Kolb, QB, BUF
Well after Ryan Fitzpatrick left Buffalo, there was a definite need for a quarterback. The Bills decided on… Kevin Kolb. While he was less than impressive in both Philadelphia and Arizona, he now gets a shot in Buffalo. It’s likely that the Bills are looking at him to get them through the next couple seasons and they’ll look for a true franchise quarterback in the meantime. Kolb has never thrown for more than 2,000 yards or double-digit touchdowns. He’s also never played in more than nine games a season. He’ll be 29 for the 2013 season, but just because he’s still on the young side doesn’t mean that he’s worth drafting. For fantasy purposes, leave Kolb alone on draft day. Buffalo doesn’t have a receiver nearly as talented as Larry Fitzgerald, and Fitz only made Kolb look better than he was. Expect C.J. Spiller to get plenty of dump passes – and plenty of coverage when defenses force Kolb to beat them through the air.
Carson Palmer, QB, ARI
So who’s the next quarterback in Arizona? None other than Oakland’s failed experiment, Carson Palmer. The Cardinals apparently still believe that Palmer has something left in the tank. At 33, the concern with Palmer was his arm strength and velocity. He is an improvement over the quarterback roulette that occurred in Arizona last year, but that’s not saying much. Larry Fitzgerald does make his quarterback look better than he is, so expect that from Palmer as well. Andre Roberts is emerging and having Rashard Mendenhall as the No. 1 running back helps as well. Bruce Arians is known for having a pass-first offense as well, so all of these are factors in Palmer’s favor. It is possible that he may end up as a QB2, but he is a risk on draft day – even in the later rounds.
Matt Flynn, QB, OAK
While Flynn may have looked promising in Aaron Rodgers’ shadow, he lost his chance at being a starting quarterback to rookie Russell Wilson. Once Seattle realized what they had in Wilson, they let Flynn go. Oakland, desperate for something to spark their offense, took a chance on him. Don’t expect much from Flynn here. Oakland is devoid of high draft picks and they need something to keep them from being an embarrassment in 2013. Flynn is simply their solution to that. The receiving corps is decent, but without a solid arm, the receivers will struggle. Darren McFadden is still going to attempt to put a full season together, but the team as a whole needs more work than a backup-turned-starting quarterback. Leave Flynn – and most of Oakland’s offense – alone on draft day.
Shonn Greene, RB, TEN
Should Chris Johnson owners be concerned with the addition of Greene? In a word: no. It is possible that Greene may be the goal-line back, but only look for him to be in the game to give Johnson a break. He’ll do some short yardage work, but Johnson is the primary back in Tennessee and Greene isn’t going to change that. fantasy owners (and Jets fans) know what it’s like to own and watch Greene play. It’s frustrating and it isn’t pretty. Sure, he’ll have a game with three touchdowns… but he’ll also have games with only 10 yards. Johnson owners may want to grab Greene as a handcuff, but that’s the only place he should be owned. He’s not going to compete for the starting job, and unless something happens to Johnson, he shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, IND
It appears Indianapolis wants to see what Heyward-Bey can do in their offense. Reggie Wayne is still the No. 1 wideout in their offense. After a successful rookie season, T.Y. Hilton should have earned his spot starting on the other side of Wayne. Behind Hilton was LaVon Brazill, who started to come into his own toward the end of the season in 2012. However, DHB may be a better fit than Brazill. Or, at least, he may have more experience to lead the youngsters and an aging Wayne. With Andrew Luck at the helm (as opposed to Carson Palmer), DHB should post better numbers than he did in Oakland. He has yet to exceed 1,000 receiving yards (he had 975 in 2011). He’s had four touchdowns in each of the last two seasons. As the third wideout in Indianapolis, he should still put up WR4 numbers with potential to be a WR3 or better. He’ll have to prove himself, but it is a possibility that he could end up surpassing Hilton on the depth chart.
Domenik Hixon, WR, CAR
Apparently Carolina learned that they need someone besides Steve Smith for Cam Newton to throw the ball to. With only Louis Murphy and Brandon LaFell on the depth chart, another receiver was a necessity. Hixon, formerly of the New York Giants, is 28, but just started looking like a decent NFL wideout last year before he tore his ACL. In 13 games, he did only have 567 yards and two touchdowns. However, he may end up with kickoff or punt return duties, which would help in leagues that reward return yardage. If he can stay healthy, he should surpass Murphy on the depth chart. Odds are that he could surpass LaFell as well. Greg Olsen is still a factor in the passing game, so there aren’t a ton of passes to go around. However, watch to see how the playing time will be shared between Hixon and LaFell to see who gets more snaps. If it’s Hixon, he could be a low-end WR3.