2023 Free Agents for Fantasy

There are but a few and we can’t see any changing teams but we shall see.

Jacobs has been lights out with heavy usage. Raiders have $27M in cap next year in good shape. His market value projects at $12.4M.

Barkley has leveled off after a top 1st half. Giants have $51M in cap for 2023 and he projects at $12M.

Schultz has been a top 5 TE since back from injury and with Dak. He is not a star but those are few at TE. Dallas is tight with $2M in cap in 2023. His franchice tag would cost over $12M, They can free that or go a contract for little next year.
I expect they will keep him.

The link above is great for looking up any contract or cap info.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing!

My own view is what Yogi Berra used to say: “It ain’t over 'till it’s over.” It’s way too early to project anything until it actually happens. So much around the free agent market is just team representatives and player agents talking to the media, even while they share tea and sandwiches at a boardroom table.

It is hard for me to see any fantasy FA moving and there are only three or any importance.

1 Like

With free agents, sometimes it isn’t about the quality of the FA, but rather the landing spot. Take an average FA, have him sign with a playoff team, and suddenly he might have some value in the fantasy market. Then again, take a top FA, have him sign with a losing team, and watch his value cut in half.

This is why I don’t try to predict the FA market, because you don’t know what you’ll have until you have it.

If Dallas does not make noise in the playoffs it is possible they let Schultz go. They did add a couple TEs who have gotten playing time.

I picked up Irv Smith off IR. He will move on from Minny, has talent and is only 24.

I would beg to differ here (seems to be a theme today :sweat_smile: ).

Monitoring the FA situation obviously is relevant only for dynasty formats. But there, it is highly relevant. So relevant that, 2 years ago, I worked it into my magic Excel spreadsheet that spreads all that fairy dust across my fantasy leagues.

For players you currently hold, it’s extremely important to know about their contract situation. Players like Schultz and even Jacobs or Saquon are good sell candidates before the trade deadline (or “would have been”, for those leagues where the deadline passed already), if you can afford to lose them for the ROS.

They are at peak value now, but may lose value after the season, depending on how their contract situation will play out.

Even if they stay with their teams, it’s not likely they will gain any value. So now is the time to cash in on them, unless your team is a contender for the title.

And then there are players you don’t hold right now, that you can consider stashing on your dynasty teams before the waiver wire closes.

Those can be players who could replace your current starters next year. No luck here for Saquon owners, as the Giants will most certainly not use Matt Breida as their RB1 next year.

For Jacobs owners, they could consider stashing Zamir White, even though I would hold any bet that the Raiders either re-sign Jacobs, or draft another RB next year. But you can still drop White in that case. It’s not like it will cost anything to add him right now.

For Schultz owners (I am one myself), I would definitely recommend to stash rookie Jake Ferguson. He already flashed in Schultz’ absence, and if Schultz and the Cowboys will part ways, he could inherit the role. If he will become as valuable remains to be seen, but he’s as fine an offseason stash as they come in dynasty.

And of course, you can also stash these players if you don’t own their current starter. Jake Ferguson might be able to help your team next year, regardless of whether you own Dalton Schultz right now or not.

What indeed rarely works out is stashing players that will become free agents after the season, hoping that their situation will improve with a new team. I usually take that gamble only for QBs who might have a chance to earn a starter role somewhere next year.

Last year, Geno Smith, Mariota and Trubisky made good offseason stashes. Of course, there is no guarantee. Those who gambled on Drew Lock or Tyler Huntley have not been rewarded. But the Geno owners who added him while he was still available for free certainly are happy campers right now.

TL;DR: yes, the FA market is unpredictable. But so are injuries, coaching changes or sudden TD surges. We have to take our chances, and especially in dynasty, playing the FA market right should be a vital component of that.

1 Like

Sure, it’s a variable. But the problem with accounting for it is that it is just as likely to be a positive as a negative. A mediocre FA could just as easily end up in a great situation as a bad situation. So how do you value that?

You do realize that for every FA, there are 32 possible outcomes. How do you value that?

I would still rate past performance above huge variables like free agency, or even coaching changes.

As described above, my FA games works in this priority:

  1. Sell high on players with an expiring contract (sometimes even a year before, as other managers monitor that variable, too)
  2. Stash players with remaining contract years that are sitting behind a player with an expiring contract (think Rhamondre / Harris here, or White / Jacobs if you must)
  3. Stash players that will become FAs after the season and might become interesting next year

The 32-possible-outcomes scenario applies only to #3, and indeed, it is tricky, to say the least. I did gamble on RBs like Mike Davis or Wayne Gallman in the past, who played solidly when the starter they backed up got injured. None of them was ever able to extend his 15 minutes of fame in the next season, though.

The only player that comes to mind in recent years is Cordarrelle Patterson, whom I had considered stashing before the 2021 season, but didn’t because of his age. Bad call.

But you are right, this part of the game is a pure gamble, and you will lose it most of the time. So I only play it for QBs these days. Especially in SFLEX, which of the 32 potential landing spots it will be doesn’t really matter, as long as it offers a starter job. You got an extra starter on your bench = you’ve got trade capital in the pocket.

This is where I dip into the Deshaun Watson discussion. Granted, that was a “player approved trade”, but we all knew it was coming, much like free agency, so the comparison is apt.

Putting aside Watson’s controversies, he could have gone nearly anywhere, but chose Cleveland, because of the money. I will argue this could have been the worst decision of his life, even though I risk being proven wrong this season, maybe even this week. But here are my reasons why he was wrong:

  1. Cleveland has always been a run-first team under Stefanski. in fact, one of the NFL’s best running teams, with an offensive line built to make massive holes for even the slowest, dumbest RB’s to plow through. You think they will give this up to give Deshaun Watson a chance to shine?

  2. Look at the WR’s in Cleveland. Amari Cooper couldn’t make it in Dallas. In fact, Cooper has a nasty tendency to get lazy after his second season in a new place. Expect dropsies where there weren’t dropsies before. here are his third seasons:

Oakland (2017): 48 catches on 96 targets
Dallas (2021): 68 catches on 104 targets

Even this year, his first with Cleveland, he hasn’t been stellar: 57 catches on 93 targets. He’s 28, which isn’t terribly old in WR years, although WR’s who aren’t workout warriors tend to drop off faster than the more elite WR’s. Cooper was never really elite anyway. To his credit, he has been efficient with the catches he’s made, getting 20+ PPR points in 5 games this season. (By comparison, Justin Jefferson has done that 6 times this year, with 4 over 30+ points, whereas Cooper has only topped 30+ once.)

The other WR’s? David Bell, who hasn’t topped 6 PPR points yet this year, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, who has hit double digits 7 times in PPR. This isn’t a WR corps like the Jets have, just ready for the right QB to step in and lead them. This is a group of retreads, unproven rookies, and never-was’s.

Granted, this was with Jacoby Brissett, who has led them to a 4-7 record. But they have made the playoffs in previous seasons with Baker Mayfield, whom I would argue isn’t much better than Brissett.

  1. Admittedly, Watson has shown he can put up numbers with WR groups like this. But he never proved he can WIN with groups like this. In 2018 and 2019, he took the Texans to the playoffs…with DeAndre Hopkins. In 2020, with Brandin Cooks, the Texans went 4-12. Cooks is no Hopkins, and neither is Amari Cooper.

I think my point will eventually be proven: Watson chose poorly and went for the money grab. You can argue that Watson put up great fantasy numbers even in 2019 when Houston went 4-12: 4823 passing yards, 33 pass td’s, 7 picks, 444 rushing yards and 3 rush td’s. That’s elite QB play. But look at Houston’s lead RB that year: David Johnson, with 691 rushing yards and 6 td’s. I don’t expect to see that from Nick Chubb any time soon.

If you still don’t believe it’s possible for a QB to change teams and be worse off, I’ll point you to Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Matt Ryan, and Russell Wilson (although his might have been more from declining talent).

I’m not proposing to pay top dollar for an upcoming FA QB. But these QB stashes can often be found on waiver wires, even in SFLEX dynasties.

I claimed Mitch Trubisky before the waiver wire closed last season, with a $0 FAAB bid. Gave me a free QB3 for at least a few weeks, before he got benched and I cut him. I had hoped that he would last until week 8, when both my starters were on BYE. Didn’t happen. But then, again, it did cost me nothing.

Another owner claimed Mariota, and is starting him, as his other 2 QBs are Lance and Russ.

And I really like what our turnaround team did. Kid adopted a run-down team in 2021, and the only QB on the roster was Deshaun Watson.

He then claimed Jacoby Brissett, Geno Smith and Drew Lock off waivers, and thus turned zero QBs into 2 QBs. He also drafted Kenny Pickett and grabbed Flacco. And when Dak got injured, he also claimed Cooper Rush. And suddenly, a team that went into the season with zero QBs was swimming in QBs.

He’s at 4-8 now, with a team that, going into the season, screamed 0-14. Good things happen when you are active and take smart gambles.

I still have Gardner Minshew on my bench, and will keep him for one more offseason. He’ll be a free agent after this season, and I want to find out his landing spot before I will cut him. I don’t really expect him to find a starter job anywhere. But “backup behind a shaky starter” would be enough for me to keep him for another year.

1 Like

I’m not saying you should never hold a QB through free agency, or even that you should. Sometimes, you just have to look at the QB himself as to whether he is worthwhile. For example…

To me, Minshew is one of the most under-rated backups in the NFL. What you are doing with him, assuming you have the roster space to do it, is 100% on the money. I expect he’ll have a Kirk Cousins-like resurrection within the next year or two.

1 Like