Free Agency

Free Agency Thoughts: AFC South

Let’s take a quick look at the off season moves so far for the AFC South and how they may impact some of your favorite fantasy plays for each squad in the division.

HOUSTON TEXANS ——————–

The Texans re-signed Bill O’Brien to a 4 year extension after a decent season, that was marred by injuries, and have not made a lot of offensive moves that are going to effect fantasy gamers so far, but they have been quite busy on the defensive side of the ball in Free Agency.

On the offensive side of things so far they signed Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb to back up Deshaun Watson, and I am literally praying to any and all of the Gods/gods that Watson does not get hurt. They also added perennial underachiever of his athleticism, Sammie Coates to their WR corps. Ironically both Sammie and Will Fuller are fast guys with so/so hands. Before I get attacked by fantasy and Texans fans everywhere, I like Fuller’s ability to catch the ball way more than Coates, but this is a signing that I guess makes sense if I am looking at Coates as insurance in case Fuller struggles with health issues again. Hopkins should have almost no problem finishing as a top 3 WR again this season, but if you miss out on him in the 1st, I like Braxton Miller to take a step up in this passing game in 2018. As for the TE situation, Stephen Anderson gets a big boost with the retirement news of C.J. Fiedorowicz. I would love to see Houston grab a guy in the draft too, like Mark Andrews, who was a red zone machine for Baker Mayfield, while recording a touchdown in every 5.09 catches throughout his college career.

Houston has made some offensive line moves too grabbing C/G Zach Fulton, OT Seantrel Henderson and G Senio Kelemete. This should be an upgrade for the running game in 2018. I am curious to see if Houston moves on from Lamaar Miller, but based on his salary it seems unlikely. I expect we see a good dose of both Miller and Foreman next year, with Miller getting more work early as Foreman comes back from his injury and getting mixed in more as the season goes on. Bill O’Brien could also look to add another back late in the draft this April. If I am in a dynasty league, I am looking to buy Foreman after week 1 if Miller gets a large percentage of the carries.

The big signing so far was S Tyrann Mathieu. The Texans have revamped this secondary, adding the Honey Bagger to S Corey Moore, CB Aaron Colvin, CB Jonathan Joseph, and CB Johnson Bademosi. After losing AJ Boye to Jacksonville in FA last year, this is what Houston needed. With a healthy JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney attacking at the line, this secondary could eat in 2018.

Re-signed;

– P Shane Lechler to a one-year, $2 million contract. Re-signed

– S Corey Moore to a one-year, $630,000 contract.

– OLB Ufomba Kamalu to a one-year, $630,000 contract.

– WR Bruce Ellington to a one-year, $1.25 million contract.

– CB Johnathan Joseph to a two-year, $10 million contract.

– DE Angelo Blackson to a one-year, $1.24 million contract.

– ILB Brian Peters to a one-year, $705,000 contract.

– ILB Ben Heeney to a one-year, $705,000 contract.

Released;

– ILB Brian Cushing.

– TE C.J. Fiedorowicz announced his retirement.

Acquired;

– CB Aaron Colvin to a four-year, $34 million contract.

–  OT Seantrel Henderson to a one-year, $4 million contract.

– C/G Zach Fulton to a four-year, $28 million contract.

– OG Senio Kelemete to a three-year, $12 million contract.

– DB Tyrann Mathieu to a one-year, $7 million contract.

– CB Johnson Bademosi to a two-year, $6.25 million contract.

– WR Sammie Coates off waivers from the Browns

– QB Brandon Weeden to a one-year, $790,000 contract.

 

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS ——————–

What can you even say about the Colts at this point? What an odd off season they have had so far. Between saying good bye to Chuck Pagano, and hello to Josh McDaniels….and then immediately saying good bye to Josh McDaniels and then hello to Frank Reich. And all of that is before we start to get into the cryptic Illuminati code of what is really going on with Andrew luck’s shoulder.

Indy did sign former top 10 pick TE Eric Ebron after he was jettisoned from Detroit to pair along side TE Jack Doyle. Ebron is such a conundrum, as he has all the talent in the world, and I want to believe that he could have a role in this offense, but why would Detroit cut bait with a guy they drafted while Odell Beckham was still on the board? Personally, I am passing on Ebron, he just has that DeVante Parker feel of always about to break out, while never actually breaking out. And now I think he is going to rain on Jack Doyle owner’s parades as well. In redraft I may look Ebron or Doyle’s way late, but, real talk,  I’d much rather have a George Kittle or Austin Seferian Jenkins. For dynasty, if an owner is selling cheap, I may give it one last chance. I wish him well and I am a sucker for happy endings, so I would love to see him, or even DeVante Parker for that matter, finally break out. But the worst part of all of this….Erik Swoope never had a chance.

Now, in preparing for the draft, I think, assuming Luck is going to be back this season, it was a smart move to move down from #3. Let the QB’s go and use those extra picks to start replenishing this roster with talent, something it is sorely in short supply of currently. If Luck is back, I think this offense returns to form, Hilton will return to WR1 territory, but who will be the guy to own opposite him, Indy signed Ryan Grant, after the Raves debacle, I discussed in the AFC North breakdown. They still have Chester Rodgers as well, that many are calling for a solid sleeper pick. I feel like they still need to make a move at this position though, weather they draft a guy or go after someone still available, like an Eric Decker or Jeremy Maclin.

I also still like Marlon Mack, I can’t imagine they don’t add someone in the draft also to go along with him, but if they don’t then its wheels up for Mack and, dear lord, even possibly for Christine Michael. Dear Jim Irsay, please draft someone.

 Re-signed;

–  K Adam Vinatieri to a one-year, $3.625 million contract.

– CB Pierre Desir to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

– OG Jack Mewhort to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

– RB Christine Michael to a one-year, $790,000 contract.

– LS Luke Rhodes to a one-year, $630,000

– TE Erik Swoope to a one-year, $555,000 contract.

– G/T Jeremy Vujnovich to a one-year, $630,000 contract.

Released;

-DT Johnathan Hankins

Acquired;

– DE Denico Autry to a three-year, $17.8 million contract.

– Acquired the Nos. 6, 37, and 49 overall picks in the 2018 draft and a 2019 second-round pick from the Jets in exchange for the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft.

– TE Eric Ebron to a two-year, $13.5 million contract.

– WR Ryan Grant to a one-year, $5 million contract.

– G/C Matt Slauson to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

 

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS——————–

Jacksonville seems content to continue to let the defensive and the run game be the driving factors in their success. And that’s not a terrible idea, if you look at the history of the NFL, but I feel like the offensive side of the ball is going to keep this team coming up just short of football glory.

Blake Bortles, I almost feel bad for the guy, he has had a rookie season, a fantastic season, a not so fantastic season, and a lost season with Allen Robinson. He has played…well though for fantasy purposes. If you were streaming him late last year or even in 2016, you were not doing so terrible to be honest. This has to be it though, I like the way the contract was structured and the Jags can get out from Bortles as early as next year without too much damage. Now…. if they bring in Lamar Jackson to sit a season, and then take the reigns of this squad in 2019, oh man I am gonna be all over the Jacksonville bandwagon.

I also liked the Austin Seferian-Jenkins signing for Jacksonville. I don’t see a situation where his yardage totals increase but he is a boon for Bortles in the red zone for sure. Arob had 21 red zone targets in 2015 and 19 in 2016. While Fournette will see his share of end zone work, don’t be surprised if ASJ commands around 15-18 red zone targets himself with 7-10 TDs this season. Where he is going in drafts makes him a serviceable TE in most fantasy leagues if you grab a guy or two late.

The reason I like ASJ also is I feel like he will have a defined role in the passing game and I have a hard time saying that for any of the WRs on the roster. Jacksonville watched Robinson walk, while re-signing Marquise Lee and bringing in Donte Moncrief, to pair with youngsters Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole. I’m higher on Lee than probably most, the positive is he’s seen over 95 targets the past two years but the downside is, he’s only turned those into 119 total catches and 6 touchdowns. For where Lee is going in drafts I think he is a value as a high end WR3 for fantasy. I also like Cole and Westbrook later in drafts as high upside darts. This team is going to have to be able to move the ball through the air at times in the 2018 season, if they want to succeed.

Re-signed;

–  TE Ben Koyack to a one-year, $630,000 contract.

– WR Marqise Lee to a four-year, $34 million contract.

– DE Lerentee McCray to a two-year, $5.5 million contract.

– RB Corey Grant to a one-year, $2.914 million contract.

Released;

–  WR Arrelious Benn

– TE Mychal Rivera.

– RB Chris Ivory

-WR Larry Pinkard.

– LB Paul Posluszny announced his retirement.

­- WR Allen Hurns

– TE Marcedes Lewis.

Acquired;

– QB Blake Bortles to a two-year, $34.947 million extension through 2020.

– LG Andrew Norwell to a five-year, $66.5 million contract

– WR Donte Moncrief to a one-year, $9.6 million contract

– TE Niles Paul to a two-year contract.

– DB Don Carey to a two-year, $2.495 million contract

– S Cody Davis to a two-year, $5 million contract.

– CB D.J. Hayden to a three-year, $19 million contract.

– TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins to a two-year, $10 million contract.

– Acquired QB Cody Kessler from the Browns in exchange for a conditional 2019 seventh-round pick.

 

TENNESSEE TITANS——————–

Possibly the Titans biggest move was not on the field, but inside the offices, letting Mike Mularkey go, after a 9-7 season with a post season run and bringing in Mike Vrabel as the head coach and adding a new OC Matt LaFleur. LaFluer is the big news here for me fantasy wise as he clearly understands the importance of being able to move the ball, something Tennessee failed to do well last season, finishing 23rd in passing yards (3191 yards) and 23rd in overall total yards gained (5024  yards) in 2017. With Davis getting healthy, heading into his 2nd year, and coming off a great post season, I love him to take a step forward this coming year. Don’t forget about perennial WR2 Rishard Matthews though. Matthews will return fantasy value where you will get him in drafts as he has was Mariota’s top receiver in 2016 and only 12 yards behind Delanie Walker in 2017. He will still be a part of this passing attack.

Now with that said Tennessee has made some big off season moves on the field as well, after leting DeMarco Murray walk, they added both RB Dion Lewis and CB Malcolm Butler from New England. Lewis creates a fantastic 1 – 2 punch with Derrick Henry, slotting into a role similar to what he had in NE, but he won’t be asked to carry the ball 15-20 times a game, allowing him to hopefully stay healthy for the whole season. This is not an optimal fantasy situation, but it is a stellar one for real life football. This is not about to be ground breaking analysis but, in PPR’s you probably want Lewis and in standard, give me all the Henry shares.

With not making any other big moves on the offensive side of the ball I like the Titans to get much better on defense through the draft this year. They may grab a young WR to develop in the mid rounds to pair with Davis and Taywan Taylor after Matthews moves on. In dynasty I am absolutely still stashing Taylor and Jonnu Smith. These guys will get some run in 2018 and will look to make a much larger jump in the offense in 2019 with a still young Mariota. While everyone is still over the move for the #5 pick in 2017 NFL Draft, Corey Davis, buy these two for cheaper now!

Re-signed;

– CB Demontre Hurst to a one-year, $705,000 contract.

– K Ryan Succop to a five-year, $20 million contract.

– RG Josh Kline to a four-year, $26 million contract.

– DL DaQuan Jones to a three-year, $21 million contract.

– DE David King to a one-year, $790,000 contract.

– LG Quinton Spain to a one-year, $1.907 million contract.

Released;

– RB DeMarco Murray.

– S Da’Norris Searcy

– QB Matt Cassel

– WR Eric Weems

– DT Karl Klug

– DT Sylvester Williams

Aquired;

– CB Malcolm Butler to a five-year, $61.25 million contract.

– RB Dion Lewis to a four-year, $19.8 million contract

– G/T Kevin Pamphile to a one-year, $1.4 million contract.

– QB Blaine Gabbert to a one-year contract.

– ILB Will Compton to a one-year contract.

 

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