NFL Fantasy Football Free Agency Tracker 2023: Signings and trades winners and losers

What impact could Aaron Rodgers have on the New York Jets receivers if a trade goes through? What next for Ezekiel Elliott? Will Rashaad Penny feast in the Philadelphia Eagles offense? Will Darren Waller thrive in New York?

DJ Moore, Aaron Rodgers, Darren Waller - AP Photo/Getty
DJ Moore, Aaron Rodgers, Darren Waller – AP Photo/Getty

With NFL free agency in full swing, we look at the Fantasy Football winners and losers from some of the big deals so far…

Aaron Rodgers – a boost for Jets star WR

It is yet to be confirmed but it seems inevitable that the New York Jets will finalise a trade with Green Bay for Aaron Rodgers. The 39-year-old is sadly no longer in the QB1 conversation but will be a major boost for Garrett Wilson after he flashed enormous upside last season. With Rodgers, Wilson would have top-10 potential.

Green Bay will start the post-Rodgers era with Jordan Love. In truth, it is anybody’s guess as to how that will play out as such is Love’s limited sample size in the NFL. Christian Watson might be hard to trust even as a WR2 but Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon may benefit as the Packers lean on the run more.

Derek Carr – Olave a breakout candidate?

Another young receiver who will benefit from a quarterback upgrade is last year’s 11th overall pick Chris Olave, who broke through the 1,000-yard barrier in his rookie year catching passes from Andy Dalton. Derek Carr isn’t the sexiest name but he should be more consistent than Dalton and Olave will be the main beneficiary as a top-20 WR. Michael Thomas has also re-signed for another year and if he stays fit his presence will open up space for Olave.

Other QBs – trouble for Godwin/Evans?

The Las Vegas Raiders are replacing Carr with Jimmy Garoppolo, which might not light up the worlds of Davante Adams or Josh Jacobs. Terry McLaurin’s value will also remain unchanged after Washington signed Jacoby Brissett. But two receivers who have taken a hit are Chris Godwin and Michael Evans as they prepare to catch passes from Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask. Without Tom Brady neither can be trusted as true WR1s.

DJ Moore – Fields the real winner

DJ Moore (left) has left the Carolina Panthers for the Chicago Bears
DJ Moore (left) has left the Carolina Panthers for the Chicago Bears

DJ Moore has swapped one-run first offense for another and will remain outside of the top 20 WRs unless Chicago significantly pass more in 2023. The big winner in all of this is Justin Fields whose passing efficiency will improve to go along with his rushing upside.

Adam Thielen – a flex play?

Moore has been replaced by veteran Adam Thielen, who has signed a three-year deal with the Panthers. Carolina will likely look to add another WR as their roster is still thin, but Thielen will provide a reliable safety blanket for whichever rookie QB ends up in Charlotte. He will be the WR1 but, at 33 and coming off a down year, can he be any more than a WR3?

Brandin Cooks – Great news for Prescott

Another receiver on the move after a down year is Brandon Cooks, who is heading to Dallas to line up alongside Ceedee Lamb and Michael Gallup. Lamb is a stud and will dominate the target share leaving Cooks and Gallup to battle it out week-to-week which makes both volatile assets in 2023. Gallup struggled last year after he returned from injury so much will depend on how he looks in the pre-season. If all three WRs are fit and firing, then Dak Prescott could be in a for a big year.

JuJu Smith-Schuster – still a WR3?

The New England Patriots signed former fantasy darling JuJu Smith-Schuster to a three-year $33m contract. If the Pats don’t make another splash at WR, then JuJu should have a more consistent fantasy role but the lack of passing volume is hardly exciting. Expect JuJu to have a similar season to the now-departed Jakobi Meyers – a solid WR3.

Travis Kelce remains Patrick Mahomes’ number one target but keep an eye on camp reports on Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore as either may emerge as an intriguing WR3 option.

JuJu Smith-Schuster
JuJu Smith-Schuster

Jakobi Meyers – off the fantasy radar?

Speaking of Meyers, he has swapped New England for Las Vegas after signing a three-year, $33m deal. This is a great bit of business for the Raiders as Meyers is an underrated WR but he now has to compete with Adams and Hunter Renfrow for targets so his fantasy value has taken a hit.

Darren Waller – risk, reward option?

A bit of good news for Meyers believers is that Darren Waller has been traded to the New York Giants. Waller is coming off a disappointing 2022 but will be Daniel Jones’ number-one target and, should he stay fit, could provide great value in the middle rounds. Having only played 20 games over the last two seasons, Waller is a high-risk, high-reward option.

Ezekiel Elliott – an RB3 now?

Ezekiel Elliott’s time in Dallas is over and so is his status as a must-start running back. It remains to be seen where he lands but based on the last couple of seasons it will be hard to trust him as anything more than a third running back on your team. Tony Pollard remains in Dallas on a franchise tag and, depending on what the Cowboys do next, he could end up a top five option or remain a great RB2. Who Jerry Jones brings in will tell us a lot about how they – and we – view Pollard moving forward.

Jamaal Williams – flex with RB2 potential?

Another former fantasy round-one running back potentially on the decline is Alvin Kamara. There were question marks over his future anyway and the Saints signing Williams to a three-year deal moves him further down the draft board. Williams was last season’s touchdown leader and will make this backfield more of a true committee than Mark Ingram did. Should Kamara miss time then Williams would move into the low-end RB1 conversation, making him an intriguing mid-round target. If Kamara avoids a ban, he will reward anyone brave enough to draft him late on.

David Montgomery – Lions a fantasy headache

Montgomery has taken Williams’ role in Detroit and his $11m guaranteed tells us one thing: D’Andre Swift is not going to be a bellcow for the Lions. Swift burned drafters who took him in round two last year as he struggled with injuries and shared work with Williams, and his 2023 outlook looks equally frustrating with Montgomery in town. Montgomery loses value as well as he was a serviceable if unspectacular RB1 in Chicago. It will be interesting to see how this backfield plays out but for now both are RB2s.

One big winner from this trade is 2021 sixth-round pick Khalil Herbert who is the RB1 in Chicago, who have so far only brought in Travis Homer. That could change but right now Herbert is in the RB2 conversation.

Miles Sanders – volume-based RB1?

Miles Sanders swaps the Super Bowl runners-up for a team in a full-blown rebuild – but his fantasy stock is up. He is one of few notable offensive weapons on the Carolina Panthers roster at the minute and that means he should get the ball in his hand a lot. That kind of volume is golden in fantasy.

Rashaad Penny – new man in Philly

Sanders has been replaced in Philadelphia by injury-prone, former-first-round pick Penny. The Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in football and Penny has shown big-play ability in Seattle so this could be a rewarding fantasy match – if the 27-year-old can stay healthy. The Eagles also handed more work to Kenneth Gainwell in the playoffs and, of course, Jalen Hurts is a TD vulture. Nonetheless, Penny is an appealing option.

Josh Jacobs/Saquon Barkley – both top 10 workhorses?

Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley have been franchise tagged by the Raiders and Giants after impressive seasons and will be reliable options this season. Barkley was a risky pick last year after his injury struggles but a year-on he will be near the top of draft boards.

Devin Singletary – trouble for Pierce?

Former Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary is heading to Houston on a one-year deal which somewhat puts the breaks on the Damon Pierce hype. In his rookie year, Pierce proved great value in the middle rounds after rushing for 939 yards rushing and four touchdowns and he will still be the lead back in a committee. But the Texans may still look to bring in a talented running back in the draft.

The best of the rest in the RB market…

Singletary has been replaced by Damien Harris, who will provide the short-yardage power in the Bills backfield alongside the pass-catching prowess of James Cook and Nyheim Hines. James Robinson has signed with the Patriots which cements second-year running back Rhamondre Stevenson as the only back worth rostering in New England. Miami have re-signed Jeff Wilson Jr and Raheem Mostert which keeps both in flex territory. Alexander Mattison is staying in Minnesota on a two-year, $7m deal and remains a high-end handcuff to Dalvin Cook. Another high-end handcuff to keep an eye on is Samaje Perine who has signed a two-year, $7.5m deal with the Broncos and could step into a larger role if Javonte Williams suffers any setbacks on his return to injury.

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