Potential Fantasy Football Impact For 7 Players With New Teams in 2014
With each offseason move made prior to NFL teams lining up for the first practice of training camp, there was plenty at stake with regard to fantasy football implications. Will players adjust to their new team quickly? Is their new situation going to help or hurt their production in comparison to last year? The list can go on and on. Here are seven players starting 2014 with new teams and how it could affect their fantasy value.
1. DeSean Jackson: WR, Washington Redskins (FanDuel Price: $6,700)
Under Chip Kelly’s high-powered offense, Jackson had a career year. He caught 82 passes for 1,332 yards, which were both personal bests for a single season. The nine touchdowns he caught tied his biggest output since 2009. It would’ve been more of the same in 2014, until Philadelphia released him. The Redskins scooped him up quickly, and rightfully so. It’s not often a receiver of this caliber becomes available entering his age-28 season.
Jackson remains the top deep threat in D.C., but won’t be putting up those 2013 numbers with Robert Griffin III as his quarterback and in a completely different offensive scheme. He’ll still be a productive receiver — especially when Washington wants to get vertical. His 905 yards and eight receiving touchdowns on vertical players ranked fifth and tied for first in the NFL last season, respectively. It just won’t happen as often with a new team around him and the uncertainty surrounding RGIII during a less than stellar preseason.
2. Darren Sproles: RB, Philadelphia Eagles (FanDuel Price: $5,900)
LeSean McCoy will get virtually all touches in the backfield this season, whether it’s a run or pass play. That won’t hinder how the Eagles use Sproles much, especially since he lined up as a wide receiver 40 percent of the time with the Saints last season. He had a down year in 2013, with his 220 rushing yards the lowest since 2007, but still caught 71 passes for 604 yards.
The best place for Sproles to go outside of staying in New Orleans was probably Philadelphia. He’s starting to slow down on the field entering his age-31 season, but will get plenty of targets while lining up as a wide receiver. Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Jordan Matthews could use as much depth as possible behind them. Sproles’ days as an 8-10 TD threat may be over, but he’s still capable of 60-plus receptions given the offense he’s on.
3. Eric Decker: WR, New York Jets (FanDuel Price: $6,400)
Decker turned a career season into a big long-term deal to be the No. 1 receiver for the Jets. His 87 receptions and 1,288 yards were both personal bests, while the 11 touchdown receptions were second-most for him in a single season. He wasn’t on top of Denver’s depth chart, but Peyton Manning still targeted him 136 times. There are a lot of unknowns for Decker in New York, but one guarantee is he’ll get plenty of targets.
He’s the best receiver the Jets have, and quarterback Geno Smith should lean on him as much as possible. Since he’s the best offensive weapon the team has, that also means opposing defenses will be focusing on him. Decker could be a good value pick later in drafts, but don’t expect him to come near the numbers he put up in his final two years with Denver.
4. Toby Gerhart: RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (FanDuel Price: $6,100)
Gerhart waited patiently to get a chance to show his potential with the Vikings in Minnesota. Adrian Peterson never allowed that to happen. He finally gets his chance to be a starter with the Jaguars. Prior to 2014, the most carries he’s ever gotten in a season is 109. That’s going to drastically change in Jacksonville, expecting to be their workhorse in the backfield.
His fantasy value is higher than ever because of the touches he’ll get, not necessarily because he’s expected to break out and have a huge year. He’s spent most of his NFL career on the fantasy waiver wire thanks to lack of usage, but will be in some starting lineups, and is a good option for your flex.
5. Golden Tate: WR, Detroit Lions (FanDuel Price: $5,000)
Since entering the league in 2010, Tate’s production increased with the Seahawks. That culminated in 2013 during their Super Bowl run, leading the team with 64 receptions and 898 yards, including five touchdowns. He moves on from a team with a run-first philosophy to the Lions, who like to throw the ball. The only issue with regard to his 2014 production is how Matthew Stafford will use him with Calvin Johnson.
Tate is worthy to draft in the later rounds and should have an impact throughout the season. What exactly that impact will be is yet to be determined. He’ll likely get as much, if not more, opportunities with targets thanks to the nature of Detroit’s offensive philosophy.
6. Knowshon Moreno: RB, Miami Dolphins (FanDuel Price: $6,100)
Moreno broke out in 2013 as a top fantasy running back. He rushed for 1,038 yards and caught 60 passes for 548 yards and 13 total touchdowns — all career-highs. Instead of sticking around in a well-oiled machine such as the Denver offense, he left for Miami. The weather is nicer, but the offense has many more question marks.
In addition to having knee problems throughout training camp and preseason, his performance hasn’t been up to par. He was a pleasant surprise last season, but won’t be approaching those numbers again, especially if Lamar Miller continues handcuffing him.
7. Emmanuel Sanders: WR Denver Broncos (FanDuel Price: $6,400)
Sanders had a decent year with the Steelers in 2013, grabbing 67 passes for 740 yards and six touchdowns. The Broncos acquired im soften the blow of losing Decker to the Jets. There are 136 targets needing to be redistributed amongst the current receivers, and Sanders will have a chance to get a lot of those. A thigh injury kept him out of Denver’s second preseason game, but he’s practicing again and his performance Saturday against the Texans — if he plays — will tell fantasy owners what kind of impact he’ll have this season.
He’s currently listed as the starting receiver opposite of Demaryius Thomas, but the emergence of Cody Latimer could also handcuff his production.