by Ray Kuhn
The time is here. The moves have happened, the draft is over and minicamps have begun. Players will not be officially reporting to training camps for almost another two months, but that shouldn’t mean anything to you. For fantasy owners, preparations should be beginning now as before you know it your draft will be here.
Before your preparations begin in earnest, a little recap is in order. Let’s take a look at what is new for the 2013 season. Here are some player moves from the offseason along with their potential fantasy impact:
Greg Jennings, WR, Leaves Green Bay to sign with Minnesota. Jennings leaves the comfort of Aaron Rodgers for the untested and inexperienced Christian Ponder. In Green Bay Jennings did not have Adrian Peterson, but he also had a much more prolific offense. The departure of Jennings should allow James Jones and Randall Cobb to see an increase in targets and value. With the stable of weapons at his disposal Rodgers shouldn’t miss Jennings too much, while the wide receiver will likely see a slight decrease to his value now that he is catching passes from Ponder.
Percy Harvin, WR, Traded from Minnesota to Seattle. Jennings was acquired to help make up for the loss of Harvin, but from Minnesota’s perspective it would have been better if they had both receivers. Harvin should see a nice increase to his value as he is now joining a complete offense. Russell Wilson certainly came into his own last season and now he has another weapon to work with.
Wes Welker, WR, Leaves New England to sign with Denver. As if Peyton Manning was not good enough, now he gets another weapon to work with. A receiver like Welker is a perfect match for Manning. From a fantasy perspective neither player was in an adverse situation so I would not expect much change in their overall value. Granted there were some issues for Welker last year with lack of targets, but his overall outlook should remain unchanged. Out of anyone, Eric Decker might see a slight decrease in targets but he is still worthy of being started each week.
Danny Amendola, WR, Leaves St. Louis to sign with New England. Amendola is now the new Welker. It seems simple enough, but are things really ever simple with the Patriots? You can expect that Tom Brady will be looking his way a lot, and he can see his value increase now that he is in New England. However, the biggest problem for Amendola lately has been staying healthy and that concern does not leave him now that he is on a better team.
Anquan Boldin, WR, Traded from Baltimore to San Francisco. When the trade was made, it appeared that the 49ers were just improving their team. Now that Michael Crabtree appears to be out for the season, the addition of Boldin just takes on that much more importance. Boldin gives Colin Kaepernick a big veteran downfield target as he looks to improve on his success last season. Jacoby Jones figures to have a bigger role in Baltimore as they look to make up for the loss of Boldin.
Reggie Bush, RB, Leaves Miami to sign with Detroit. Bush is certainly a talented running back, but he just needs to stay healthy. Over the last few years he has been more consistent as far as staying on the field and it has made him a more valuable fantasy player. Bush is just the type of back that will succeed in Detroit’s high powered offense on the turf. The need is there at running back and the role is suited to Bush. Especially in PPR leagues, Bush is a running back to watch this year.
Steven Jackson, RB, Leaves St. Louis to sign with Atlanta. I’m not sure this will have much of a fantasy impact on Jackson. At this point he is not the rushing threat he used to be, but he is still a short yardage threat. Jason Snelling is still around and Jacquizz Rodgers figures to have a bigger role as a third down back and in passing situations. The bigger impact here is on the Rams backfield situation, or lack thereof. With Jackson’s departure all that remains in the St. Louis is the untested Daryl Richardson and Isiah Pead. Both running backs do have potential and will be popular sleeper picks. This is a situation that bears watching in training camp.
Jared Cook, TE, Leaves Tennessee to sign with St. Louis. Cook is going into an offense where he will be a top threat on a team that does not have much offensive firepower. However, try not to get too excited about him because he still has some unfulfilled potential and is not a big play threat. I would keep an eye on him in PPR formats as a low end TE1. Certainly one more weapon can’t hurt Sam Bradford, but it’s still not enough. Letting Cook depart meant that the Titans imported Delanie Walker to replace him, and he might end up having the better season.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Leaves NY Giants to sign with Chicago. Bennett surprised people with a successful year last season in New York. Of course part of his success can be attributed to having Eli Manning as his quarterback, but this was also the first time Bennett had a starting role. Again, I don’t think his value will skyrocket much from last year, but he should become a favorite safety valve for Jay Cutler. To replace Bennett, the Giants brought in Brandon Myers who will benefit from having Manning throw to him.
Mike Wallace, WR, Leaves Pittsburgh to sign with Miami. As he enters his second year, Ryan Tannehill now has a nice shiny big play threat in Wallace. As opposed to in Pittsburgh where Wallace was battling Antonio Brown for targets, Wallace is now the man in Miami. Tannehill has a big arm and will certainly make use of his new weapon. Wallace should see an increase to his value as he is the true number one receiver. Emmanuel Sanders should also see an increase to his value. Sanders had flashes last season, but his production was sporadic since he was behind Wallace and Brown for targets. From a fantasy perspective, this is a perfect move as it increases the value of two wide receivers and a quarterback.
Carson Palmer, QB, Acquired by Arizona from Oakland. Unlike last season, no marquee quarterbacks changed addresses this offseason. While the Raiders might have overpaid for Palmer, he could have some value to the Cardinals. I’m not sure that this makes Palmer fantasy worthy as an every week starter, but it certainly helps the value of Larry Fitzgerald. For the first time in a while, Fitzgerald now has a legitimate quarterback to get him the ball.
Matt Flynn, QB, Acquired by Oakland from Seattle. The Seahawks thought that Flynn was going to be their starter last year, but thanks to the emergence of Russell Wilson he was not needed. Flynn now takes Palmer’s old job in Oakland and his fantasy value is still unchanged. He has not really played much, so he is still an unknown quantity and the Raiders in general are a scary team from a fantasy perspective. Flynn belongs on your radar, but I’m not sure much more than that.
Alex Smith, QB, Acquired by Kansas City from San Francisco. Smith wasn’t exactly a terrible quarterback for the 49ers, but he was not great either. The Chiefs are a decent team from a fantasy perspective, but Smith is still nothing more than a borderline bye week fill in. Although I would keep an eye on him in Andy Reid’s offense, I don’t think he will put up prolific numbers.
What other moves do you think will have an impact on your 2013 fantasy season? This was just a taste, as all of these players and their outlooks will discussed in further detail as the offseason continues. Welcome back to football season.