Fantasy football free agent outlook

By now most of the pieces have fallen into place in the puzzle that is NFL free agency. While Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Jay Cutler have yet to find new homes, there have been quite a few moves that will affect the upcoming fantasy football season. Here’s a look at 15 of the biggest names, where they ended up and what kind of impact their new situations will have on fantasy football.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles—If you have any faith in Jeffery’s ability to stay healthy, this is the situation you want him to be in. Though he’s with a new team, he signed a one-year deal which automatically puts him in a contract year. He should be the No. 1 WR on the team, unless Jordan Matthews shows improvement. He’s a mid-level to high end WR2 with a second-year quarterback at the helm in Philly.

Alshon Jeffery #17 of the Chicago Bears walks across the field after another Bears turnover in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on December 18, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Brandon Marshall, WR, Giants—Either this will turn out to be a major shot in the arm for an offense that is already pretty good, or Marshall’s interest in life outside football becomes even more apparent. He made sure he stayed in New York, which allows him to keep hosting Inside the NFL during the season. He called himself the No. 2, alongside Sterling Shepard, behind Odell Beckham Jr. Check out his ADP before you waste a WR2 spot on him. Do not reach for him.

Terrelle Pryor, WR, Redskins—It’s unclear whether or not he’ll be able to reproduce the numbers he put up in Cleveland. Josh Doctson should be healthy this season and Jamison Crowder is likely to be the No. 1 receiver on the team. Pryor is a unique talent and could end up recording similar numbers to last season, but there are a lot of mouths to feed in Washington especially if Jordan Reed can stay healthy.

Eddie Lacy, RB, Seahawks—You may not want to touch him with a ten-foot pole after last season. But that means he might be available on the cheap. I don’t think you can expect to take him as a No. 1 or No. 2 running back on your team with Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise in Seattle. He’s going five RB spots after Thomas Rawls in some early mock drafts. If he slips to the sixth round, go ahead and give him a shot.

Kemal Ishmael #36 of the Atlanta Falcons defends against Eddie Lacy #27 of the Green Bay Packers in the second half at Lambeau Field on December 8, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

DeSean Jackson, WR, Buccaneers—If he can be himself for at least three quarters of the season, it will be a big help for Mike Evans owners. Evans had a monster season and that was with Adam Humphries being the second-most effective wideout. Jackson will be good for WR1 numbers in a handful of games but most likely a good flex option for most of the season.

Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings—His situation in Oakland has been really good for the past few years but he hasn’t been more than solid. He enters a much tougher situation in Minnesota so we’ll get a clearer picture of what kind of running back he really is. He’s going late in the third round in mock drafts, but even that is too early for me.

Martellus Bennett, TE, Packers—It always seems to be about potential with Bennett. He has a lot of it, but will this be the set of circumstances that will help him truly break out? If I had to choose, I’d say yes. Aaron Rodgers all but catches the ball for tight ends. He is going as early as the fourth round and as late as the 14th. Don’t pay too much, but if you get him late it could be a nice surprise.

Martellus Bennett #88 of the New England Patriots celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the first half at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Kenny Britt, WR, Browns—He has the talent and the size to put up solid WR2 numbers. He might put up numbers comparable to Pryor’s from 2016, but getting him early would be a risk.

Jared Cook, TE, Raiders—The playoff hero for Green Bay will try to add some firepower to a solid receiving corps. With Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree putting up nearly equal numbers on the outside, Cook could make some hay in the middle of the field.

Pierre Garcon, WR, 49ers—He’s reunited with his old coordinator from Washington in head coach Kyle Shanahan. The last time the two worked together, Garcon put up career numbers (113 receptions, 1,346 yards) with the Redskins in 2013. He should be the clear No. 1 in San Francisco and could do a lot worse than Brian Hoyer at quarterback.

Danny Woodhead, RB, Ravens—The versatile veteran puts a dent in the hopes people have for Kenneth Dixon. Woodhead will be a good dump off option and third down back for Baltimore.

Shaun Draughn, RB, Giants—This move is more about the impact it will have on Paul Perkins. The Giants signing Draughn seems to be a sign that they are happy with the backfield they have in place, meaning Perkins will have the best shot to be the 1st and 2nd down back.

Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots—Something tells me he may end up getting the ball in goal line situations. Dion Lewis and James White are threats to catch the ball out of the backfield so I would be surprised if Burkhead is anything more than a bye-week desperation play.

Brian Cushing #56 of the Houston Texans tackles Rex Burkhead #33 of the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Brian Hoyer, QB, 49ers—He regains some fantasy relevance as the likely starter for the 49ers. He has some pieces to work with in Garcon and Carlos Hyde.

Mike Glennon, QB, Bears—Much like Hoyer, he may end up being serviceable in a pinch as a starter in Chicago.

Fantasy football impact: NFL combine top performers

The NFL combine wrapped up over the weekend and there were results that you should definitely take note of as fantasy football owners.

NFL rookies have recently made big splashes when it comes to fantasy football production. Ezekiel Elliott, Jordan Howard and Tyreek Hill all come to mind when thinking back on 2016. Elliott and Howard were 1-2 in rushing yards last season while Hill, despite getting very little playing time, ended up in the top-15 of wide receiver fantasy production.

NFL combine results can give us a clue as to who has the talent, if not the fanfare, to possibly make an impact early in their careers.

Let’s take a look at the fastest rookies at the combine first.

John Ross, a wide receiver out of Washington, broke Chris Johnson’s record (4.24 seconds) in the 40-yard dash, finishing in 4.22.

Ross previously recovered from a torn ACL two years ago. He’s expected to be the third wideout taken in the draft. His speed makes him an interesting fantasy prospect, but he’s not just a speed demon. He can get open and if he ends up with a team that knows how to utilize him, he could pay off for owners willing to draft him.

The second-fastest skill player at the combine was Curtis Samuel, a player who can line up in multiple positions but can be considered a project as a wide receiver. As they say, however, you can’t teach speed. If he ends up going to a team with a bonafide offensive guru calling plays, he could end up contributing early. Don’t use a high pick on him no matter where he goes, but remember his speed later in your draft.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 04: Wide receiver Curtis Samuel of Ohio State runs after catching a pass during day four of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 4, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Wide receiver Curtis Samuel of Ohio State runs after catching a pass during day four of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 4, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The fastest running back at the combine was T.J. Logan out of North Carolina. His 4.37 was more than a tenth of a second faster than Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a better prospect than those running backs, but you can’t forget about him when you get to later rounds of the draft.

Another name you should remember is tight end Evan Engram. He finished his 40 in 4.42, faster than a lot of wideouts, and is an athletic option that can catch passes in all areas of the field. His biggest weaknesses are in technique, things that can be corrected with proper guidance. He could start early and that means he could be a steal in late rounds as your backup tight end.

Josh Malone also posted a great time at the combine. The receiver’s 4.40 time can make some forget that he was a late bloomer in terms of production in college. He had one good season, his junior year, before declaring for the 2017 draft. He’s got good size and his route running is better than average for a receiver as big as he is. He’s another one to look for late in your draft when you’ve got your WR1 and WR2 already set.

One more receiver worth mentioning is Taywan Taylor, the receiver out of Western Kentucky who didn’t blaze an amazing time in the 40 (4.50), but posted the top time in the three-cone drill alongside McCaffrey. He’ll play in the slot most likely and he’ll have opportunities to break open plays, utilizing his quickness. Again, no need to reach on a player like him, but remember his potential after you’ve got your starters in place.

Trevor Knight, Joshua Dobbs and Patrick Mahomes put up interesting numbers in the 40 and the three-cone drill over the weekend. Of all the positions going through timing drills at the combine, however, you learn the least about quarterbacks based off those results. So much more is involved in finding a signal caller that will excel at the next level. Base your rankings of rookie QBs on their body of work instead of combine times.