By Geoff Freamo
With the 2014 offseason almost behind us, it’s a good time to look at fantasy relevant players who have taken up new addresses. These moves can drastically alter the fantasy value of each player. Greg Jennings was consistently a low-end WR1 during his time in Green Bay, but his stock plummeted when he joined the Vikings last season. Others have gone on to blossom with new teams. With that in mind, here are the key movers for this season.
Josh McCown (TB) – Coming off of an impressive season in Chicago, McCown has reunited with former coach Lovie Smith. Every indication is that he will win the starting job over incumbent Mike Glennon. Tampa also has provided some impressive weapons to work with this season with Vincent Jackson pairing with rookies Mike Evans and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. There’s Top 10 potential, but McCown needs to show he can do it for a full season.
Michael Vick (NYJ) – After being replaced mid-season by Nick Foles, Vick has joined the Jets in what is expected to be the backup role behind Geno Smith. He has a chance to take the starting job, as well as produce, but whether he can remain healthy is up in the air (isn’t it always?).
Ryan Fitzpatrick (HOU) – Fitzpatrick comes into a situation in Houston that has the potential to return him to fantasy relevance. Provided that the Andre Johnson situation works out and they keep him around, they should field a credible offense. Remember, this team is only a year removed from being legitimate Super Bowl contenders. As long as Fitzpatrick avoids the killer mistakes that plagued the team last season, he should provide solid QB2 numbers.
Matt Schaub (OAK) – The outlook for Schaub isn’t very good, to say the least. After his well-documented struggles, he comes to an organization that has been a virtual graveyard for QB’s. Early word is that rookie Derek Carr has a legitimate shot to take his job. It’s unlikely we’ll be seeing much from him.
Mark Sanchez (PHI) – Sanchez has to be feeling pretty good about his new landing spot. Chip Kelly’s offense has been productive everywhere he’s taken it. Starter Nick Foles only has one good season under his belt, and Sanchez still has the tools that made him the 5th overall selection, as well as a wealth of experience, with 3 trips to the conference championship. He should be able to beat out Matt Barkley for the backup job, and could easily find himself at the helm of one of the league’s best offenses.
Other QB movement – T.J. Yates (ATL), Joe Webb (CAR), Jimmy Clausen (CHI), Rex Grossman (CLE), Vince Young (CLE), Tyler Thigpen (CLE), Brandon Weeden (DAL), Caleb Hanie (DAL), Dan Orlovsky (DET), Trent Edwards (OAK), Kellen Clemens (SD), Blaine Gabbert (SF), Josh Johnson (SF), Colt McCoy (WAS)
Ben Tate (CLE) – After sharing the load with Arian Foster in Houston, Tate now has the opportunity to be the lead dog for the Browns. While somewhat injury prone, he has proven his toughness by playing through cracked ribs for most of last season. Still, expectations should be lowered based on the uncertainty around the QB position.
Darren Sproles (PHI) - Sproles finds himself in a new place after three very effective seasons in New Orleans. Chip Kelly will find ways to get the ball into his hands, and as a result Sproles should continue to post solid numbers, especially in PPR leagues.
Chris Johnson (NYJ) – CJ?K gets a new start with the Jets, and he should have an opportunity to show his stuff. The problem? Johnson has been a streaky runner for the last couple of seasons, and has been tentative when it comes to hitting the hole. That was playing behind what is usually a very solid OL in Tennessee. If he has more receptions this year, his numbers could still be solid, but we’re likely never going to see the old CJ2K again.
Maurice Jones-Drew (OAK) – The former Jaguar, and fantasy poster-boy, the Oakland native joins his hometown club to form an interesting committee with long-time Raider Darren McFadden. MJD is going to be the lead back given his pass protection ability, as well as McFadden’s durability issues. Look for him to have a very solid season in a ball-control offense that will rely on him heavily.
Knowshon Moreno (MIA) – After showing very little in recent seasons, Moreno had a major breakout in the Broncos’ record-setting offense. Unfortunately for him, he is now in Miami. Ryan Tannehill won’t be able to keep defenses guessing like Peyton Manning, so the holes won’t be quite as large. To top things off, Moreno underwent knee surgery and will miss the start of training camp. He was already going to be in a battle with Lamar Miller, and this just sets him further behind.
Toby Gerhart (JAC) – Gerhart gets to come out from the shadow of All-Day (Adrian Peterson) and be the lead back for the Jags. He’s gone on record as saying he wants to be Jacksonville’s version of “Beast Mode.” A former Heisman finalist, Gerhart was a second-round pick out of Stanford. He was able to produce when given the opportunity in Minnesota. He should handle the bulk of the carries and be productive. The only downside is the Jag’s woeful offensive line, which will probably limit his ceiling.
Rashad Jennings (NYG) – Here’s another guy who’s looking to prove himself in a feature back role. Jennings will be the every down back for the G-Men who will be running a more explosive offense this season. With an improved line blocking for him as well, look for him to break out.
Other RB movement - Jonathan Dwyer (ARI), Justin Forsett (BAL), Shaun Draughn (CHI), Andre Brown (HOU), Joe McKnight (KC), Daryl Richardson (NYJ), LaGarrette Blount (PIT)
Steve Smith (BAL) – Smith joins the Ravens after spending the first 12 years of his career in Carolina. He should replace much of what Anquan Boldin brought to the team. A solid possession receiver out of the slot, who can win battles for the ball despite his size.
Mike Williams (BUF) – Williams will have a shot at being the Bills No. 1 this year after being acquired via trade. While rookie Sammy Watkins will be relied on heavily, Williams’ experience and size will make him a favorite for E.J Manuel.
Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) – He should slide seamlessly into the No. 2 spot for the Broncos. Expect career numbers for him in this offense, with his speed and YAC abilities being showcased often.
Golden Tate (DET) – The sure-handed Tate will have a big season playing alongside Calvin Johnson. He will get lots of clean looks and live up to the hype.
Hakeem Nicks (IND) – Nicks will try to bounce back from a down season in New York. He is still one of the tougher receivers in the game and will have Andrew Luck throwing to him. Expect good things here.
Eric Decker (NYJ) – Decker left Mile-High to join the Jets and their questionable offense. While he will produce, it won’t be anywhere near his recent production.
James Jones (OAK) – Another WR who left greener pastures. Matt Schaub is no Aaron Rodgers, nor is Derek Carr. Like Decker, Jones will get his, but his TD heavy scoring will take a big hit.
Kenny Britt (STL) – Britt had his best seasons under Jeff Fischer when they were together in Tennessee. As long as he’s healthy and Fischer can keep him in line, expect a very solid season from this talented receiver.
DeSean Jackson (WAS) – Coming off a big season, Jackson was surprisingly cut by the Eagles. After latching on with the rival Redskins, expect his numbers to drop off. He still has the ability to break one, but will be behind Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed in targets.
Other WR movement – Ted Ginn Jr. (ARI), Devin Hester (ATL), Ramses Barden (BUF), Jerricho Cotchery (CAR), Tiquan Underwood (CAR), Jason Avant (CAR), Josh Morgan (CHI), Andrew Hawkins (CLE), Nate Burleson (CLE), Miles Austin (CLE), LaRon Byrd (DAL), Mike Thomas (HOU), Tandon Doss (JAC), Damian Williams (MIA), Brandon LaFell (NE), Trindon Holiday (NYG), Mario Manningham (NYG), Jacoby Ford (NYJ), Greg Little (OAK), Darius Heyward-Bey (PIT), Lance Moore (PIT), Brandon Lloyd (SF), Louis Murphy (TB), Lavelle Hawkins (TB), Dexter McCluster (TEN), Brian Robiskie (TEN)
Owen Daniels (BAL) – Long-time Texan slides in as the teams second TE. Not fantasy worthy.
Ed Dickson (CAR) - Similar to Daniels, Dickson will continue to be the No. 2 behind Greg Olsen.
Brandon Myers (TB) – Has shown the ability to make plays in the past, but opportunities will be limited.
Other TE movement—John Carlson (ARI), Kellen Davis (NYG)