Hunter Skoczylas Twitter: @HunterSkoczylas
Anything is possible during the offseason in the NFL as we have seen countless blockbuster trades these past few years so it is possible some fantasy players could play elsewhere for the 2020 season.
With free agency opening soon on March 18th, over 500 free agents will be hitting the market this offseason. Some big names to highlight are Derrick Henry, Amari Cooper, Dak Prescott, and Austin Hooper. Some fantasy players could get traded and some could sign with a new team.
Here are the top eight fantasy football players that could play for a different team this offseason—let’s check it out.
Although Gurley isn’t a free agent this offseason, it is still quite possible he could be traded away for more assets and picks for the Rams in the long run. The Los Angeles Rams traded for Jalen Ramsey midseason in 2019, so they are without a first-round pick for 2020.
Moving Gurley could result in a haul of picks and/or players that could help the Rams fight for the top spot in the NFC West next season. This could help take the load off Jared Goff as he threw nearly forty times a game in 2019.
Gurley didn’t have that wow factor season this past year only getting 188.4 fantasy points; however, in back to back seasons from 2017 to 2018, he amassed over 310 fantasy points. His value shouldn’t change too much whether he stays with the Rams or not. Sean McVay and the Rams had a lackluster season in 2019 going 9-7 compared to the 2018 season, where they finished 13-3 atop the NFC West. The Rams had an off-year, and so did Gurley.
Considering the immense number of picks they have stashed, the Miami Dolphins are a top runner for Todd Gurley if the Rams are willing to trade him. Miami has been in rebuild mode for what seems like forever at this point, but that means that they can afford to trade for a big name to strengthen the running game, which was led by Ryan Fitzpatrick—a quarterback, the guy that throws the ball—last season. Getting Gurley in that offense led by Brian Flores could be deadly.
David Johnson still has two years left on his contract, but it seems like Arizona might let the power running back walk or trade him away for more assets. Johnson had an amazing season in 2016 with over 1200 yards and 16 touchdowns all while averaging 4.2 yards per carry. But injuries have been a setback the past few seasons. For anyone who drafted Johnson in the first round this past fantasy season, you likely regretted it.
The Arizona Cardinals traded for Kenyan Drake about midway through the season from the Miami Dolphins, and in his first game, he exploded for over 100 yards and two touchdowns. Drake then went on to put up a four-touchdown night a few weeks later. Bad news for Johnson.
It seems like David Johnson isn’t going to be used in the offense as much this upcoming season, so the Cardinals should seriously consider trading away Johnson to get at least something in exchange for him. Although it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he was released since the Cardinals would receive 16.2 million dead cap hit.
Considering how well Johnson performed the past few seasons with injuries, he’s shown he’s got a little juice left in him. A possible landing spot for David Johnson is the Detroit Lions. The Lions have always seemed to struggle running the ball, but by signing David Johnson, it adds more options for Matt Patricia to work with overall in the backfield. It’d be interesting to see which Johnson—Kerryon or David—would get more red-zone or third-down snaps.
A big name that is a free agent this offseason is Melvin Gordon: Gordon’s value is still towards the top for fantasy running backs as he has yet to have a bad season during his five-year career. Gordon is explosive and plays with a lot of energy, which is something many teams look for in a running back.
Gordon sat out for the first four games of the season barring his contract extension, so he missed some time but didn’t have a terrible season by any means averaging 3.8 yards per carry and racking up over 600 rushing yards with eight touchdowns. The Chargers are not likely to resign Gordon considering they have Austin Ekeler, who has proved he is a threat in both the running and passing game.
There have been reports that Gordon would like to stay in L.A with the team for next season, but it is very likely he lands somewhere else. Melvin Gordon has exceeded expectations his last two seasons resulting in two Pro Bowl appearances and that can catch the eyes of teams.
Obviously the front runner would be the Miami Dolphins once again because they have so much cap space and can afford to offer Melvin Gordon a max contract; however, another potential landing spot could be the Chicago Bears. The Bears are in a deep hole when it comes to offensive performance, and adding an elite and explosive running back could be that push Matt Nagy’s looking for. The Bears averaged only 17.5 points per game in 2019, so pursuing Melvin Gordon could be the highlight of the offseason for Chicago.
Pretty weird to see Phillip Rivers’ name next to free agency instead of the Chargers, huh? Well, the Los Angeles Chargers and Rivers officially split tides as they have released him on January 27th. Rivers has always been a dependable option for high yardage games and decent touchdown numbers, but the Rivers era on the Chargers is over.
It will be interesting to see who wants to offer him a deal once free agency opens. Besides last year’s shaky season throwing 23 touchdowns paired with 20 interceptions, Rivers has been solid in fantasy football, putting up 250+ points the last three seasons in standard leagues excluding 2019. Don’t quit on him just yet.
Although Rivers is coming up on his 16th season, he’s got some left in the tank. It’s hard to imagine Rivers not starting somewhere next season. If a team with good receivers and a decent offensive line decides to take a stab at Rivers, he could thrive.
The last sentence you read said if a team with good receivers and a decent offensive line went for Rivers, he’d thrive, right? Well, that team is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Tampa Bay offense was run by Jameis Winston, Mr. Interception in 2019. They have more than enough potential on their offense—Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J Howard, and Ronald Jones—and with signing Rivers, the Bucs might finally stay goodbye to Jameis Winston and sign the safer and more vetted quarterback.
One of the biggest free agents this offseason would have to be the tight end that’s done nothing but performed for the Atlanta Falcons, Austin Hooper. Austin Hooper has been productive his first few seasons in the NFL. He is an option that seems to always get open, which makes his target share higher than others at his position, with 97 in 13 games in 2019.
We don’t know what Atlanta is going to do with Austin Hooper quite yet and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Falcons tried to avoid letting him drop into the market and potentially listen to trade offers for him. They could get a decent haul for Hooper from any teams that are looking for that George Kittle-type guy.
Tight ends aren’t the most important positions in fantasy, but overall, if you get the right guy, it works out in your favor at the end of the season. Hooper should put up good numbers regardless of the team, but without a top-level QB, it’s risky.
Austin Hooper seems to be a dependable option in the pass game and a team that could use a second dependable option can be the gamechanger. The team that most NFL fans hate other than their own fans is the New England Patriots. It would not be surprising to see Bill Belichick gun for this guy to be Tom Brady’s new version of Rob Gronkowski.
A.J Green has proved he is in elite company and can change a game single handedly when he’s hot. Green is a free agent this offseason and it wouldn’t be a shock if he’s wearing a different jersey next season… that is if he plays though. Green missed all of 2019 with an injury and half the season in 2018, so his health is a liability for fantasy.
A.J Green is talented and when healthy, is a force to be reckoned with. Since he sat out for all of 2019 and half of 2018, his most recent healthy season was in 2017, where he got more than 1000 yards and eight touchdowns totaling more than 150 fantasy points. That certainly should attract attention.
The Cincinnati Bengals have been the only team A.J Green has played for, so it will be a hard departing if Green does end up leaving the Queen City. It is possible that the Bengals franchise tag Green but there will be plenty of teams looking for Green to be their number one or two receiver this offseason.
One team that A.J Green would fit in would be the Green Bay Packers to build the depth of receivers for Aaron Rodgers. The Packers have Davante Adams, who is a clear number one receiver, but adding Green to the mix could pay off big time especially the mentorship. Rodgers develops unique chemistry with his receivers and it’s quite possible it’d be quick with him and Green.
Although the Dallas Cowboys traded away a first-round pick for Amari Cooper in 2018, he is still a free agent this offseason. He could easily be wearing a different jersey next season. Cooper’s fantasy value is near the top as he is dependable on getting a fair share of targets due to his ability to break away from defenders and get open.
With him hitting free agency, there’s a great possibility there will be teams in the double digits reaching out to sign Amari Cooper due to his pure talent. Cooper thrived for the most part when he was on the Raiders, but the hype for him to come to Dallas was huge for the fantasy football world. In 2019 with Dallas, Cooper had 79 catches, almost 1200 yards, and brought in eight touchdowns resulting in 167.5 fantasy points on the season in standard leagues.
Amari Cooper will still have a fair share of targets and catches if he does plan to sign somewhere else due to his talent. He’s a solid fantasy option each season and has tremendous upside, so going for him this year in your draft isn’t a bad idea. Out of all the NFL teams to offer Cooper a contract, who comes to mind? Hold that thought…
Daaaa Bills. Amari Cooper is a beast, plain and simple. The Buffalo Bills need to get that true number one receiver for their young quarterback Josh Allen. It is unlike Brandon Beane to offer a max contract when they must worry about their own guys and resigning first, but Cooper would fit in the Bills offense and likely put up great numbers.
Hunter Henry is very similar to Austin Hooper, as they are dependable receiving options for their respective teams. Henry deals with injuries a lot during the season, so that’s an issue when it comes to deciding if you want to draft him in your league; however, he puts up great numbers when he is playing on the field. The Chargers have a strong running game, but when it comes to the passing game, Henry was a prime factor.
Hunter Henry is a free agent this offseason, which opens the door to anyone looking for a strong force on offense. It isn’t clear yet if he will stay with the Chargers or not, especially with his quarterback already released. His name will certainly be called by multiple teams when free agency does open.
Hunter Henry’s issue is injuries and it’s hard to depend on a guy who gets hurt a lot, especially during fantasy football playoff time. If Henry takes care of himself and avoids any major injuries, he will be a top-notch option for your fantasy team. Expect a share of red-zone targets and touchdowns on pretty much any team if Henry stays healthy.
As surprising as this sounds, it makes this team no different than before at the tight end position. The Atlanta Falcons could be a front runner for Hunter Henry if Austin Hooper does go elsewhere. The Falcons have always had a reliable option at the tight end position, so if they aren’t willing to pay Hooper what he asks for, they could very well just sign Hunter Henry, and keep that position fortified. Hunter Henry would put up great numbers on the Falcons pass-heavy offense that features Julio Jones.