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Top Ten Free Agent Wide Receivers for 2014

By: — February 24, 2014 @ 11:00 pm
Filed under: Free Agents

Updated: March 7th, 2014 @ 9:00 AM

Eric Decker

Decker may want to get paid, but the best fit for him is in Denver.

1. Eric Decker (DEN) – Decker is coming off a huge season for the AFC Champ Broncos and is looking at a lucrative multi-year deal. However, he won’t get No. 1 WR money because he’s a much better secondary option than a stud wideout. He’s a big body who can create space and haul in big catches, but the best fit for him is still in Denver. He might sign with the rival Colts – who like the Ravens and Patriots are in need of experienced receivers, but teams will likely remember that he was shut down Seattle’s defense in the Super Bowl.

The Best Fit: Broncos, Colts, Ravens, Patriots

UPDATE: He’s still looking at a deal just under that of a bona fide WR1 and with the confirmation from GM John Elway that he’ll likely hit the open market, there’s been increasing interest from the Colts.

2. Jeremy Maclin (PHI) – The Eagles would love to bring back both Maclin and Riley Cooper, though it will be difficult to pull that off. The Chiefs’ while a bit cash-strapped themselves, are likely to be able to afford one of the guys hitting the open market and Maclin makes the most sense as he flourished in Andy Reid’s offense in the past and won’t cost a ridiculous amount of money. Maclin is coming off a July 2013 ACL injury and there’s still a chance he stays in Philly — he said as much a couple weeks ago to the Philadelphia Inquirer — but Kansas City seems like the best fit.

The Best Fit: Chiefs, Eagles, Packers

UPDATE: SIGNED. The Eagles and Maclin agreed to a one-year, $5.5 million contract with a max value of $6 million, keeping the talented young receiver with one of the most potent offenses in football. Other teams may have been wary about signing Maclin to a big deal after last season’s major injury, so this is a good fit.

3. Anquan Boldin (SF) – I expected Boldin to sign another one-year deal with a contender – but based on ongoing talks between him and the 49ers, it appears they’ll figure out an extension similar to the three-year deal Reggie Wayne signed with the Colts in 2012 ($17.5 million). Boldin is 33 and surely wants another ring, and the 49ers still have a team capable of pulling it off. He probably won’t be the standout fantasy factor he was in the past, but he’s still a capable of big games and hot streaks.

The Best Fit: 49ers, Ravens, Colts

UPDATE: SIGNED. Boldin got a two-year deal with the 49ers reportedly worth $12 million – about what we expected. Now, the Niners have to deal with Colin Kaepernick.

4. Hakeem Nicks (NYG) – Nicks recently signed with Jay Z’s sports agency firm, so he’ll probably go get paid and find his way out of New York. There’s still some question as to why Nicks couldn’t get it done last season (56-896-0 was a truly disappointing fantasy line), though it’s possible it had to do with coaching. With the Giants’ receiving corps featuring so many young and talented options, Nicks feels like the odd man out. The Patriots have a history of rejuvenating disgruntled players so New England could definitely be a landing spot. but there will be competition for such an accomplished receiver (155-2,244-18 TDs in 2010-11).

The Best Fit: Patriots, Colts, Chiefs

UPDATE: The Ravens have popped up on the rumor mill for Nicks as they have a ton of cap space and need another wideout. He could sign a one-year deal similar to Maclin’s, if only because there are questions about his long-term durability/effectiveness.

5. Golden Tate (SEA) – While Tate has said he’d like to stay with Seattle, the receiving corps is too crowded for the Seahawks to make signing him a priority. And WR/PR guys who combine playmaking ability with consistency – like Tate – make GMs salivate. If the Colts miss out on Decker, they’ll make a play for Tate, although the Chiefs and Jets (who desperately need offensive playmakers) will be knocking on his door.

The Best Fit: Colts, Chiefs, Jets

UPDATE: With Sidney Rice now gone, the Seahawks need to keep Tate, and they’ve announced as much in anticipation of a possible offer prior to the March 11 date. He could still hit the open market, but the fit in Seattle is good.

6. James Jones (GB) – Jones is the wild card of the free agent market and it’s likely his days in Green Bay are over. He’s not really needed there and although Aaron Rodgers has lobbied for him to stay, agent Frank Bauer doesn’t think GM Ted Thompson really wants him back. This has nothing to do with Jones’ play – which has been solid if not superb for the Packers over the past few seasons. His TD production plummeted to just 3 in 2013 (he had 14 TDs in 2012) and it’s likely that he’ll command a big deal if he skips town – maybe a tick below what Nicks would make since he’s a few years older but has considerably less wear and baggage. It’s anybody’s guess where he lands, though it’s clear he’ll be used as a red zone target and as a No. 2/3 WR.

The Best Fit: Panthers, Dolphins, Colts

UPDATE: The New York Giants are reportedly in the mix for Jones, who could make a viable red zone target and worthy replacement for Nicks, who is all but gone. The Giants can’t afford to make a huge splash, so signing Jones to a one-year deal is a distinct possibility.

7. Riley Cooper (PHI) – Cooper broke out in a big way in 2013 (47-835-8 on 83 targets), and while he might be able to land a big contract by leaving Philly, I think he fits in great with Nick Foles and the current Eagles offense. The Eagles don’t ask much of Cooper and that’s a good thing, because he’s not that physically gifted a receiver. If he does leave town, I’m almost positive it’ll be to sign an abnormally large contract with the Jets – because that’s something they would do. If teams don’t overspend, he could end up a pawn on Bill Belichick’s chess board.

The Best Fit: Eagles, Jets, Patriots

UPDATE: SIGNED. Cooper inked a five-year, $25 million deal that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense considering the Eagles had leverage in this situation. But, Cooper will get a fat paycheck and resume No. 3 WR duties with Maclin healthy and back to business.

8. Julian Edelman (NE) – Speaking of Belichick, he’s a shrewd guy, which means he’s not going to show his hand and fawn all over Edelman who bailed Tom Brady and the Patriots out on multiple occasions last season. But, Edelman has yet to hear from his team in regard to a new contract. The best fit for Edelman, who had 105 receptions for 1,056 yards and six TDs (151 targets!!) last season, is clearly New England. But if things so sour in negotiations he could make sense in any of the aforementioned cities.

The Best Fit: Patriots, Jets, Colts

UPDATE: The Texans have emerged as a candidate to land Edelman, who just started discussions with the Pats. It’s entirely possible the New England will add Emmanuel Sanders or another upside-laden receiver into the fray as a No. 1 – and make do with Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson and company out of the No. 2 and slot.

9. Emmanuel Sanders (PIT) – I apologize if I can’t stop talking about the Patriots, but they really wanted Sanders last offseason and even signed him to an offer sheet before the Steelers matched it. Sanders has amassed 161 catches for 2,030 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons with Pittsburgh and he’s full of promise without much downside. He’s fast with good hands and will likely court offers from the Pats, Colts and Chiefs.

The Best Fit: Patriots, Colts, Chiefs

UPDATE: Sanders is probably staying somewhere in the AFC, as both the Patriots and Jets have expressed an interest in adding him. Heading to New England would probably be best for his fantasy value.

10. Andre Roberts (ARI) – Roberts and the Cards haven’t engaged in contract talks yet which means he might be taking off for greener pastures – especially since GM Steve Keim has made a point of saying the Cards have offers on the table for a few other players. The truth is that Roberts doesn’t really add another dimension to the Cards’ offense, but he could be a valuable additional to a few other teams. If Sanders leaves Pittsburgh, the Steelers might want to add Roberts to complement Antonio Brown. The Panthers and Cowboys might also be looking for a steady veteran like Roberts to play a minor role.

The Best Fit: Steelers, Panthers, Cowboys

UPDATE: There’s no news from Arizona regarding resigning Roberts, so I’m betting he skips town in search of a sweeter deal and a better QB.

Honorable mention: Kenny Britt, Danario Alexander, Jacoby Jones, Dexter McCluster, Brandon LaFell

Top Ten Free Agent Running Backs for 2014

By: — February 20, 2014 @ 2:57 pm
Filed under: Free Agents

1. Knowshon Moreno (DEN) – The Broncos know that Moreno will transform his excellent 2013 campaign into a big payday in 2014, and they have the depth at RB to let him go without much of a fight. He finished 2013 with 1,586 total yards (including 548 receiving yards on 60 receptions) and 13 TDs. He’s a complete back and could find a home in Indianapolis or Tennessee if he doesn’t get a new deal in Denver.

The Best Fit: Colts, Broncos, Titans

Ben Tate

Ben Tate will land a starting gig in 2014 but it won’t be in Houston.

2. Ben Tate (HOU) – It’s highly unlikely that the Texans will spend the money necessary to keep Tate slogging through limited use in a backup role, where Arian Foster rules the roost and other fresh talent has been emerging. The Browns are in hot pursuit of Tate, according to ESPN, although that report came out before Gary Kubiak (considered for the OC position) headed to Baltimore to run the Ravens offense. Still, the Browns need an all-purpose back with upside, and Tate makes sense in Cleveland as well as Baltimore – where both Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce have shown glaring inconsistencies.

The Best Fit: Browns, Ravens, Colts

3. Darren McFadden (OAK) – If McFadden re-signs with the Raiders, it won’t be good for his fantasy value. He’s 26 years old and coming off yet another injury-plagued season, so a fresh start in a new environment could mean another chance at success. Unfortunately, Run-DMC will probably ask for way too much money and end up as a late addition in training camp for a non-contender. In a perfect world, he’d go to the Colts and compete for a starting spot in a potent offense, but there’s just no telling where he’ll land.

The Best Fit: Colts, Cardinals, Raiders

4. Andre Brown (NYG) – Both Brown and the Giants are on amicable terms heading into 2014 and could reach a deal to keep the talented back in New Jersey. Brown’s injury issues aren’t that big of a concern and he’s been effective as a lead back when called upon the past two seasons. There’s a chance he signs a lucrative deal elsewhere, but the smart money is on a reunion with the Mara family and another season playing for the Giants.

The Best Fit: Giants, Steelers, Bucs

5. Rashad Jennings (OAK) – If the Raiders don’t bring back McFadden, they’d be smart to sign Jennings to a one- or two-year deal. The 28-year-old (he’ll be 29 in March) played well last season in 15 games and doesn’t have a lot of wear on his body after spending several seasons as Maurice Jones-Drew’s backup in Jacksonville.

The Best Fit: Raiders, Colts, Cowboys

6. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) – The Jags seem uninterested in signing MJD, who’s nearly 29 with an odometer that just keeps flipping. He looked worn out last season playing behind a bad offensive line and doesn’t have a shot at a long-term contract on the open market. When somebody signs him, it’ll be an incentive-laden deal that won’t exceed a couple seasons – an offer that makes sense for a team like the Cards, who could use a pass-catching back with experience to transition into the Andre Ellington era.

The Best Fit: Cardinals, Packers, Browns

7. Rashard Mendenhall (ARI) – The once-effective Mendenhall was unimpressive in 2013, rushing for just 687 yards on 217 carries (3.2 YPC) and making little impact in the passing game. In his defense, he’s a grinder, not much of a receiving threat and was best when deployed near the goal line (8 rushing TDs). That’s the kind of job he’ll assume again, either for the Cards or for another team desperate for red zone upside from a big body.

The Best Fit: Bucs, Jaguars, Giants

8. Donald Brown (IND) – Brown may have spent his last day in Indy, where he’s never really gotten the vote of confidence needed to make his mark. He’s still an explosive back with upside in the passing game, but he has to be unhappy with the Colts constant search for a lead back. While the Colts should probably offer him a contract as insurance against the enduring flop that Trent Richardson has become, it’s hard to say if the two sides can come together.

The Best Fit: Colts, Packers, Steelers

9. LeGarrette Blount (NE) – The Pats got a lot out of Blount last season, when the former Buc rejuvenated his career and took over lead back duties after Stevan Ridley fumbled away the job. The Pats will probably offer Blount a couple million bucks for a one-year deal to stick around, which makes sense for both sides. If not, I could see the Dolphins or Jags making a run at him.

The Best Fit: Patriots, Dolphins, Jaguars

10. James Starks (GB) – The Packers have expressed an interest in bringing Starks back after the 27-year-old back had his best season (5.5 yards per carry), albeit with limited touches. Starks has had injury issues but was once a postseason hero for the Packers. If he doesn’t come back to Green Bay, he’d fit in well with the Giants and the Vikings – who will need a capable backup for Adrian Peterson if Toby Gerhart leaves for greener pastures.

The Best Fit: Packers, Giants, Vikings

Honorable mention: Ahmad Bradshaw, Toby Gerhart, Jonathan Dwyer

Top Five Free Agent Tight Ends for 2014

By: — February 17, 2014 @ 9:16 am
Filed under: Free Agents

1. Jimmy Graham (NO) – It’s unlikely that the Saints will let Graham walk in 2014, and we’re probably looking at a landmark contract for a TE – if that’s what we’re still calling him (apparently Drew Brees still is). Recently, Graham – easily the best fantasy TE in the league over the past couple of seasons – brushed off questions about if he should qualify as a TE or WR in contract negotiations. He did express a desire that the Saints not slap him with the franchise tag, a designation that could be applied as soon as today. Even if there’s a serious breakdown and a volatile contract dispute occurs, it’s almost outside the realm of possibility that Graham spends 2014 anywhere but New Orleans.

The Best Fit: Saints, Packers, Steelers

Dennis Pitta

The Ravens have made signing Pitta a top priority.

2. Dennis Pitta (BAL) – The Ravens absolutely love Pitta, who missed 12 games last season following a hip dislocation. Pitta is already best friends with franchise QB Joe Flacco and the tight end’s sharp intermediate routes complement the big-play ability of Torrey Smith. Just last week, it was revealed that Gary Kubiak, the Ravens new OC, has big plans for Pitta in his offense – one that made relevant fantasy contributor out of several TEs in Houston, including Owen Daniels, Joel Dreessen, James Casey and free agent Garrett Graham. GM Ozzie Newsome said re-signing Pitta is a top priority and if a deal cannot be reached, he’s a prime candidate for a franchise tag. The Falcons and Dolphins will make every attempt to woo Pitta if he can’t reach a deal in Baltimore.

The Best Fit: Ravens, Falcons, Dolphins

3. Brandon Pettigrew (DET) – Pettigrew will draw interest from plenty of teams looking for a balanced TE with experience, even if the 28-year-old has underperformed relevant to expectations during his career. According to Pro Football Focus, he played 925 out of 1,158 snaps for the Lions offense last season as the team emphasized Pettigrew’s run-blocking ability and utilized the other skill positions and featured Joseph Fauria near the goal line. While new Lions OC Joe Lombardi seems high on Pettigrew’s fit in the offense as a well-rounded blocker/receiver, I think he’d also do well joining the Falcons, where they need to fill a gaping hole at TE in the wake of HOFer Tony Gonzalez’s retirement.

The Best Fit: Falcons, Lions, Steelers, Packers

4. Jermichael Finley (GB) – Finley had neck fusion surgery this off-season after a scary mid-season injury that put his career in considerable jeopardy. His doctor, neurosurgeon Joseph Maroon (who actually works for the Steelers) believes Finley will make a full recovery within the next 4-8 weeks, although he’s already running routes and catching footballs. The Packers are unlikely to re-sign the veteran TE, who’s still only 26 and was having a solid season in 2013 before bruising his spinal cord in Week 6. The Seahawks could be a player in the courtship of such a talented offensive weapon, and while the Giants have been mentioned as a possible landing spot, they probably don’t have the cap space to land a guy like Finley. Also in the mix are the Jets, who have a glaring need to fill at TE.

The Best Fit: Seahawks, Steelers, Jets

5. Garrett Graham (HOU) – Graham’s career year in 2013 could mean decent money on the free agent market, but he’s not enough of a household name at 32 to make a big splash. The Texans would be wise to offer him a relatively low-cost deal and bring him back – he was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season. Another team that could use the services of a TE is the Giants – who might not be able to land a high-profile FA but will be in the mix for a value buy. The G-Men might also be interested in the services of Fred Davis, who’s eager to get targets and reestablish himself as an offensive contributor in the NFL.

The Best Fit: Texans, Giants, Dolphins

Honorable mention: Brandon Myers, Fred Davis

Top Five Free Agent Quarterbacks for 2014

By: — February 13, 2014 @ 10:21 am
Filed under: Free Agents

Michael Vick

With so many teams looking for a QB, Vick will land a starting gig in 2014.

1. Michael Vick (PHI) – Vick is very much still in the conversation as a relevant fantasy asset and effective NFL QB, and the next couple seasons could be productive ones if he lands with the right team. It makes little sense for Vick to resign with the Eagles, since they’ve clearly moved on to the dynamic Nick Foles. That leaves us with a handful of teams still looking for something more than a stopgap. The Browns stand out as a team without much identity outside of Josh Gordon and his freakish abilities, and since there’s already a massive overhaul going on, I like the fit – defensive-minded head coach (Mike Pettine) and all. That’s not to say the Vikings (who also have a new coach in Mike Zimmer) couldn’t use a talented QB to compliment some outstanding skill players.

The Best Fit: Browns, Vikings, Jaguars

2. Josh McCown (CHI) – What a difference a year makes. All but written off before 2013 as a journeyman QB with mediocre arm strength, McCown threw 13 TDs in five starts and won thrice – filling the gap for the Bears while Jay Cutler got healthy. He’s 34 and possibly looking at a multi-year contract with a team desperate for a viable starter. Immediately, the Raiders come to mind – as he could rejuvenate his career a la Rich Gannon in Oakland, a city and organization desperate for a QB with some tangible experience and leadership ability. The Texans could also use McCown’s services as they attempt to close the door on the Matt Schaub Era and forget their disastrous 2013 campaign.

The Best Fit: Raiders, Texans, Jaguars

3. Matt Cassel (MIN) – Things just didn’t work out last season for Cassel in Minnesota, and he’s opted out of his contract (and $3.7 million in 2014) in search of greener pastures and a bigger payday. But is anybody really interested? While it makes little sense for Cassel to resign with the Vikings, it’s still a possibility. And while there aren’t many exciting options in the free agent pool, Cassel has experience and two 10-5 seasons as a starter (New England in 2008, Kansas City in 2010) to his credit. The Raiders, Browns, Texans and Jaguars will all be giving him a call.

The Best Fit: Texans, Vikings, Jaguars

4. Josh Freeman (MIN) – Did I have Josh McCown going to the Raiders? Hold up. This guy would fit right into the dysfunction of Oaktown and the team has already expressed an interest. The Raiders tried to sign Freeman last season after the Bucs released him and offensive coordinator Greg Olsen is apparently a big fan. The Raiders have also indicated they’re not likely to go for a QB in the draft, so Freeman and McCown are probably the top two options available. And while nobody wants to go to the Jaguars, they’re going to have to sign somebody.

The Best Fit: Raiders, Jaguars, Browns

5. Kellen Clemens (STL) – While I’m not pointing any fingers, I tend to think the Jets definitely gave up on Clemens too quickly – a mistake that may have cost them a few wins over the past several seasons. He’s not going to command a big contract in free agency, but he’s a capable stopgap who shows off a decent arm at times. Unfortunately, the Rams season was already in the toilet last year when Sam Bradford went down so the team didn’t ask much of Clemens, who finished with 1,673 passing yards, 8 TDs and 7 INTs over 10 games (nine starts). He’s probably going to end up back in St. Louis holding a clipboard, but there’s a shot he finds a starting gig somewhere else – like Houston or another stint in New Jersey.

The Best Fit: Rams, Texans, Jets

Honorable mention: Matt Flynn, Chad Henne

Top Five Fantasy Free Agents: Wide Receivers

By: — February 26, 2013 @ 9:21 am
Filed under: Free Agents
Mike Wallace

Wallace’s contract issues may have affected his play last season.

1. Mike Wallace (PIT) – Wallace is a proven deep threat with world-class speed, and he’s best when paired with a steady possession receiver. Last season, he struggled to get in sync within the Steelers offense after a lengthy preseason holdout. He contributed a few big plays, but for the most part was a major fantasy disappointment. So far, negotiations with the Steelers have been frosty at best, and the early word is that the Dolphins have made Wallace (who would command roughly $10-12 million per season in a long-term deal) their top priority this offseason. Wallace would be a low-end WR1 or top WR2 if signed by the Dolphins.

The Best Fit: Dolphins, Bengals, Chiefs

2. Dwayne Bowe (KC) – Like Wallace, Bowe totes some baggage when it comes to work ethic and character, though his athletic ability is nearly unparalleled, even among the league’s elite receivers. At his best, Bowe is a premier red zone threat, but the past few signal callers in Kansas City have been highly dubious options without the chops to take full advantage of his skills. Ideally, Bowe would sign a short-term deal for a team with a Top 15 quarterback, allowing fantasy owners to capitalize on his upside.

The Best Fit: Chiefs, Vikings, Chargers

3. Greg Jennings (GB) – Jennings could have commanded a huge payday this offseason had his previous two seasons not been marred by nagging injuries that forced him to miss 11 games. He’s 30 years old and won’t get the $14 million per year he’s reportedly demanding, but there are teams that will throw him a multi-year deal—the Vikings being one of them. Jennings could once again be a Top 10 fantasy WR, but that all hinges on his staying healthy and clicking with whatever new offense he ends up in.

The Best Fit: Vikings, Broncos, Bengals

4. Wes Welker (NE) – Welker’s racked up 672 catches for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns in his last six seasons with the Patriots, and he turned down a two-year, $16 million offer from New England last offseason. While the Pats aren’t planning on slapping the franchise tag on Welker, there’s still a chance he could get signed before he leaves for free agency and a potentially monster contract with the Bears, Chargers or Broncos—the three teams most mentioned in conjunction with the veteran slot receiver. Welker will be 32 on May 1 and still has plenty of productive seasons left, but NFL GMs—as well as fantasy owners—should be concerned that his standout numbers were partly a product of his amazing rapport with Tom Brady.

The Best Fit: Bears, Chargers, Patriots

5. Danny Amendola (STL) – If you thought Jennings had a hard time staying healthy, then I humbly offer up the sad tale of Danny Amendola, who’s missed 20 games over the past two seasons. Amendola is a PPR maven and solid possession receiver who’s right at home in St. Louis despite a rough road. The Rams will likely scoop him up for the hometown rate on a multi-year deal, but if he hits the open market, there’s a good possibility a team will spring for a large one-year contract. If Welker escapes New England, Amendola makes sense as a replacement.

The Best Fit: Rams, Patriots, Broncos

Top Five Fantasy Free Agents: Running Backs

By: — February 21, 2013 @ 12:50 pm
Filed under: Free Agents
Steven Jackson

Jackson will void the final year of his contract and test the market.

1. Steven Jackson (STL) – Jackson has a player option for 2013 but has said he wants to test the free agent waters. The St. Louis brass claim they want him back in uniform, but the $7 million they owe him for next season might be better spent to relieve cap space before the NFL Draft. Jackson has a lot of mileage on his 29-year-old body, and he’s one of the more battle-tested free agents available (Cedric Benson and Brandon Jacobs are two more who didn’t quite make this list). It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Jackson comes back to the Rams, but whatever happens, it’s hard to see him reversing his statistical descent. He’s best avoided in fantasy drafts until the younger, more dynamic backs are off the board.

The Best Fit: Broncos, Falcons, Rams

2. Reggie Bush (MIA) – While Bush isn’t a workhorse back, he brings a healthy dose of experience and explosiveness as a free agent addition to just about any team. As a pass catcher, Bush is nearly unrivaled, and he’s still capable of spectacular touchdown scampers. The team that corrals Bush will likely have to throw big money at the veteran scatback. There’s a good chance Miami just bites the bullet and does it themselves, but the Lions make sense for obvious reasons—Jahvid Best is done and the team, in desperation, tried out several journeymen at feature back in 2012. Bush is still a solid No. 2 fantasy RB if he lands in the right situation.

The Best Fit: Lions, Packers, Jets

3. Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG) – The Giants recently cut Bradshaw to clear $2.75 million in cap space, signifying their confidence in 2012 draft pick David Wilson, who showed glimpses of brilliance last season but struggled with ball protection. Bradshaw has his own baggage, including a pair of brittle ankles that could always turn into multiple spans of unavailability. The 26-year-old veteran is still a solid playmaker with plenty of upside, but the pass-first team that takes a shot on him probably won’t be using him for much more than 12–15 touches per game, limiting his fantasy value.

The Best Fit: Packers, Falcons, Cards

4. Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) – Mendenhall found himself in the Steelers doghouse last season after spending the first few weeks on the PUP list recovering from a 2011 ACL tear. His first game back (Week 5 against Philly) was a nice little revelation (13 carries for 68 yards and 3-33-1 receiving), but he quickly lost luster after battling with coaches and eventually not showing up for a game. There are a handful of teams that could use a punishing back like Mendenhall, but don’t except a long-term deal until the 25-year-old, former 1000-yard rusher proves he can still handle a full season of touches.

The Best Fit: Bengals, Rams, Chargers

5. Shonn Greene (NYJ) – The much-embattled Greene will probably be moving on from the Jets, who haven’t been happy with his performance and will look to a committee spearheaded by Bilal Powell and change-of-pace back Joe McKnight. In 2011, Greene ran for 1,054 yards and six touchdowns (4.2 YPC), but he’s been a disappointment as a workhorse back. He’s still a capable fantasy option because he’s a grinder and makes perfect sense as a goal-line back—he just doesn’t break off too many big runs. In a perfect world, he’d find himself as the short-yardage back to complement Jamaal Charles in Kansas City or with another organization that could use a sturdy plodder.

The Best Fit: Chiefs, Bengals, Raiders

Top Five Fantasy Free Agent Tight Ends

By: — February 15, 2013 @ 4:04 pm
Filed under: Free Agents
Jared Cook

Do the Titans value Cook? We’ll know by March 4th as he’s a candidate for the franchise tag.

1. Jared Cook (TEN) – Aside from the turmoil he encountered in Tennessee when he believed he wasn’t being used enough, there’s not much to dissuade GMs from taking a shot at this athletic physical specimen. Cook has excellent hands and speed and a knack for stretching the field. He’s also a solid red zone target with capable blocking skills. He could easily be a 60-850-10 sort of tight end and a Top 5 fantasy TE in the right system. There are several potential landing spots for Cook, but I think his days in Nashville are done. And if certain teams are willing to spend the money, Cook could be in line for a monster 2013.

The Best Fit: Seahawks, Rams, Raiders

2. Fred Davis (WAS) – Not too long ago, there was a lot to get excited about concerning Davis, a rising star with oodles of upside. But after getting hit with the franchise tag in 2012 and then tearing his left Achilles in October, it looked like his future in Washington was over. Still, there are rumors that signing Davis, one of the top targets of 2013, is still on the Redskins to-do list. It’s rare for a player coming off a major injury to land a multi-year deal, but if anybody is going to take a long-term risk with Davis, it’s probably Dan Snyder. If not, Davis will get looks from a host of other teams but probably not anything in the way of a three- or four-year deal. If he’s back with the ‘Skins in 2013 and healthy to start the season, he’s a mid-round steal in redraft leagues.

The Best Fit: Redskins, Giants, Jets

3. Dustin Keller (NYJ) – Keller barely saw the field last year after struggling with a myriad of injuries and failing to establish a rapport with Mark Sanchez once he was healthy enough to play. The veteran isn’t quite as old as his body, and he’s never reached his full potential as a steady target or meaningful red zone contributor. I doubt he’ll get a huge payday, but the gradually increasing numbers over the first few seasons of his career (improvement that was stymied in 2012) could be a huge selling point for his agent. When he’s not battling nagging ankle and hamstring injuries, Keller is an every-down tight end with plenty of upside, and in a perfect world, he’d be a Top 10 fantasy TE. But a robust tight end market could mean he gets lost in the shuffle and ends up on a squad without a viable quarterback or plan to effectively insert him in the offense.

The Best Fit: Browns, Rams, Bears

4. Martellus Bennett (NYG) – Like Davis, Bennett has a good chance of re-signing with his current team, as he flourished in the Giants offense after years of toiling away in relative obscurity behind Jason Witten in Dallas. Bennett’s gotten some flak for dropping passes in the past, but he made sense as a tall, lanky red zone threat for Big Blue in 2012, hauling in 55-626-5 despite little preseason fanfare. Plenty of teams will be in the market for Bennett, who emerged as a viable fantasy TE and could be in line for a big payday after the one-year, 2.5 million contract he signed with the Giants last season. For many GMs, that kind of production for such a modest contract will pique their interest.

The Best Fit: Giants, Bucs, Cards

5. Brandon Myers (OAK) – Myers was one of the lone bright spots for the Raiders in 2013, catching 79 passes for 806 yards and four touchdowns. He’ll be a highly coveted free agent despite limited abilities and being taken in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL draft. Some of Myers’ emergence has been attributed to the work that former Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders put in with him, readying the young tight end for a feature role in Greg Knapp’s offense. Because the grass is always greener for the Raiders organization, there’s not much of a chance they bite the bullet and pay out Myers in 2013, even if that’s the best move. Myers will likely get a multi-year deal from one of several suitors, and he’ll be hard-pressed to repeat his numbers from last season.

The Best Fit: Falcons, Giants, Bucs

Top Five Fantasy Free Agent Quarterbacks

By: — February 12, 2013 @ 10:47 am
Filed under: Free Agents

It’s slim pickins on the free agent quarterback front…

Joe Flacco

The Ravens won’t let Flacco leave.

1. Joe Flacco (BAL) – The only big-name franchise quarterback who’s now a free agent per se is Flacco, and he’s coming off an impressive Super Bowl win that silenced many of his critics. There’s not much of a chance the Ravens let him walk after he led them to the Promised Land, but stranger things have happened. Contract negotiations might get a little testy, as the 27-year-old signal caller is rumored to be seeking $20 million per year. The Ravens are probably willing to cough up about $16–17M a season. Flacco’s recent success (and subsequent confidence boost) should spike his fantasy value, especially if he remains in Baltimore, but a desperate organization could still swoop in and provide a monster offer.

The Best Fit: Ravens, Chiefs, Browns

2. Matt Moore (MIA) – What a difference a year makes. Before the 2012 Draft, the good money was on Moore forging a career path in Miami, where he’d played moderately well under center (his best year was 2011,when he threw for 2,497-16-9) and showed he belonged as an NFL quarterback. Now, the future in South Beach is Ryan Tannehill, who had mixed results as a rookie but appears to be developing in line with the Dolphins’ expectations. Moore has good size (6-3, 216) and can make just about all the throws, but with teams having so much success in the draft, he probably won’t get a starting gig and won’t get a huge payday. Fantasywise, he’s nothing more than a late-round lottery pick in super-deep dynasty leagues.

The Best Fit: Cards, Raiders, Jets

3. Jason Campbell (CHI) – Campbell will likely end up carrying a clipboard to start the 2013 season, but he’s not without upside. For a few years, the strong-armed quarterback toiled away in Washington but never emerged as a significant contributor on the NFL stage or in the annals of fantasy. Fortunately for Campbell, he’s only 31 years old and still commands respect from NFL scouts intrigued by his prototypical body and measurable abilities. For teams seeking a quality backup with the wherewithal to stand in for their starter, the former Redskin, Raider and Bear will be an attractive option.

The Best Fit: Texans, Vikings, Jets

4. Tarvaris Jackson (BUF) – Jackson hasn’t been a fantasy superstar, but he’s won a few games in his career and is capable of handling the rigors of the NFL pace. With teams looking for Kaepernick-like diamonds in the rough they can polish and insert should their starting quarterbacks not work out, Jackson will get extended looks and could find a scheme in which he flourishes. Like Vick, Jackson doesn’t have the elite chops to manage a game with incisive audible protection, but his mobility within the pocket and relatively conservative approach serves him well. If he can shake some of his old habits of taking too many sacks and not getting the ball downfield enough, there’s an outside chance he could have a fantasy impact in 2013 and beyond.

The Best Fit: Jets, Cards, Chiefs

5. David Garrard (MIA) – While there’s some chatter about Drew Stanton following Bruce Arians to Arizona, Garrard could be a solid veteran presence on a Cards team that desperately needs some. After beginning the 2012 preseason as the front-runner for the starting gig in Miami, Garrard injured his knee but now remains an eye-catching option for several organizations dealing with quarterback woes. Garrard won’t be a 30-touchdown stud, but there’s definitely some upside should he land a spot atop somebody’s depth chart in 2013. The Jets will probably add another quarterback to the crowded, confused mix they already own, and it’s a fair assumption that a non-threatening but capable veteran with the athleticism and smarts of Garrard could push Mark Sanchez and be a positive influence.

The Best Fit: Cards, Jets, Chiefs

Honorable Mention: Brady Quinn, Matt Leinart, Derek Anderson

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