Concannon: What this off-season means for your fantasy league
Jack Concannon | Tuesday, March 31, 2020
As the sports world remains at a standstill, we were given a slight reprieve by one of the most exciting NFL offseasons in recent history. There are a ton of major faces in new places on the offensive side of the ball, and this breakdown will give you an early primer for how those decisions are going to impact your fantasy team.
Tom Brady to the Buccaneers
Tom Brady hasn’t finished as a top ten fantasy quarterback in two seasons, and has done it just once in the last four campaigns. While teaming up with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin could sneak him back into fringe starter territory, he isn’t someone who deserves special consideration over the Matt Ryans and Matthew Staffords of the fantasy world.
While Tom Brady going to the Buccaneers was great for their franchise, it’s terrible for Evans and Godwin. The pair were incredible in 2019, both finishing in the top five in points at the position. This was largely thanks to Jameis Winston, whose interceptions forced the team to throw back into games and force-feed their receivers. Brady is going to take care of the ball, avoid deep shots and take a much more conservative hold of the offense. This is not the Brady that set records with Randy Moss. I’ll pass on Godwin and Evans as top eight wide receivers this year.
DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for David Johnson
DeAndre Hopkins is so good Kliff Kingsbury has no choice but to get him the ball. He’s so talented it’s not even worth questioning. He’ll be elite — draft him in the first round without hesitation like you always have.
David Johnson needed a new landing spot, and now he has a chance to relocate the form he had a few years ago as a rookie in Arizona. I wouldn’t take the risk. He just did not look like the same player last year, vastly outplayed by journeyman Kenyan Drake in his offense in terms of yards per carry, receptions per game, almost whatever stat you prefer to use. Let someone else take him on.
Melvin Gordon to the Broncos
Melvin Gordon’s holdout last season looked foolish at the time and it looks even worse now, getting himself less guaranteed money as an unrestricted free agent than what the Chargers reportedly offered him last season. He now enters a backfield that has the potential to turn into a mess. Philip Lindsay is there and solid as a pass-catcher, something Gordon struggles at. Royce Freeman is still on the roster and figures to be involved in a depth role. Melvin Gordon would be solid as a fantasy RB2, but his days of first-round workhorse potential are done.
Quite the contrary, it is Austin Ekeler time in Los Angeles. If your league gives you a full point for receptions, he is a top ten back, no questions asked. His production when Melvin Gordon was out was top three out of all running backs, and he still carved out a massive role in the passing game with Gordon in the lineup. The team will likely draft a running back to take carries in a complementary role, and don’t be afraid when they do. It is all systems go on Austin Ekeler as an RB1 in fantasy football for 2020.
Austin Hooper to the Browns
I don’t like this destination for Hooper. Baker Mayfield struggled to keep former first-round pick tight end David Njoku consistently involved in the passing game last year, and their offense in general was disappointing. However, they have a new coach and I doubt they made him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL to not get the football. He’s a solid second-tier option alongside Darren Waller, Zach Ertz, and Hunter Henry behind the clear top tier of Travis Kelce and George Kittle.
Stefon Diggs to the Bills
This is a great fit for the Bills, who have sorely needed a number one receiver for Josh Allen. For fantasy though, I’m not sure. Josh Allen completed nine of his twenty-eight deep pass attempts last season, and only attempted 461 passes overall. Diggs did a lot of his fantasy damage catching passes from Kirk Cousins, who was a surprisingly successful sixth in the NFL with a 59% catchable deep ball rate. Diggs will be the unquestioned number one in the offense, but I’d be wary ranking him any higher than WR20 based on Josh Allen’s tendencies.
Todd Gurley to the Falcons
Todd Gurley is headed to Atlanta, bringing with him a fraction of his old talent, his arthritic knee and expectations that he will no longer be able to shoulder a full workload. He’s a pass for me at almost any value.