The new league year for the NFL officially started a week ago, and we’ve seen a frenzy of big signings over the past 10 days. While the big moves are starting to slow to a trickle, teams are still filling holes and there is still a list of players waiting to find their 2021 landing spot. In this edition of the Free Agent Frenzy, I’ll look at both those groups in terms of fantasy-relevant players or positions.
The Atlanta Falcons are cash-strapped, but also looking for someone to carry the load in the run game. Todd Gurley was the main back in 2020, but he’s a free agent that remains unsigned. The Falcons had just Ito Smith, Qadree Ollison and Tony Brooks-James on the roster at running back. But this week, the team signed free agent Mike Davis to a two-year, $5.5 million deal.
Davis is a journeyman who’s played six NFL seasons for four teams. He’s had successful stints with the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears and most recently the Carolina Panthers. With Christian McCaffrey out, Davis started 12 games, running for 642 yards and six TDs. He also added 59 receptions for 373 yards and two TDs. Running back is a position the Falcons could well attack in the draft, but Davis jumps to the top of the heap. If he gets a lead position, he holds RB2 value.
In other running back news, the Patriots re-signed James White to a one-year, $2.5 million deal. White reportedly drew interest from several teams, including the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but re-signed with the team he’s played for his entire seven-year career. Since joining the Patriots in 2014, White has 369 receptions for 3,184 yards and 25 TDs. He’s also rushed for 1,240 yards and 10 TDs. In a primary role in the backfield, White holds RB2 upside, but is more of an RB3 at this point.
In Tennessee, after losing Corey Davis to the Jets and Jonnu Smith to the Patriots, the Titans signed former Rams’ receiver Josh Reynolds to a one-year deal. In four years with the Rams, Reynolds posted 113 receptions for 1,450 yards and nine TDs. In 2020, he saw a career high 81 targets, turning it into 52 receptions for 618 yards and two TDs. He figures to compete for a starting spot opposite A.J. Brown.
Finally, the Eagles made a move to bulk up their quarterback group, signing veteran Joe Flacco to a one-year, $4 million deal. Earlier in the off-season the Eagles traded Carson Wentz to the Colts, leaving second-year man Jalen Hurts as the projected starter. The Eagles may address the position in the draft, but the signing of Flacco appears to be an insurance policy. After a solid 11 years in Baltimore, which included a Super Bowl title, Flacco has bounced around, playing with the Denver Broncos in 2019 and New York Jets in 2020. He’s started 12 games the past two seasons, going 2-10 in that stretch.
The signing is a boost for Hurts, who remains on track to be the Eagles’ starting quarterback. Hurts was 1-3 in four starts with the Eagles as a rookie, throwing for 1,061 yards and six TDs with four INTs. He also added 354 yards rushing and three TDs. Hurts has QB2 potential.
Best Remaining Free Agents
- Leonard Fournette: The former First-Round draft pick was a key contributor to the Buccaneers success in 2020. He remains unsigned, though it’s thought the Buccaneers would like him to return. In the right situation, he has RB1 potential.
- James Conner: Conner played four years for the Pittsburgh Steelers, rushing for 2,302 yards and 22 TDs. He was a force for the Steelers in 2018 as he replaced Le’Veon Bell, but injuries and inconsistency limited his time as the starter in 2019 and 2020. Conner is a veteran that can compete and have a fantasy impact in the right location.
- Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley: These two veterans were once the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked players in Dynasty, but both have struggled the past two seasons. Bell was a non-factor in fantasy with the Jets and Chiefs in 2020, while Gurley has struggled with injuries. Both figure to eventually sign somewhere (Gurley is still only 26), but their best fantasy production days are behind them.
- Sammy Watkins: Watkins has played for three teams in seven seasons since being taken No. 4 overall in the 2014 draft. The past three seasons he’s been with the Chiefs, opposite Tyreek Hill. Watkins has 321 receptions for 4,665 yards and 33 TDs in his seven seasons and figures to be a veteran weapon opposite a No.1 option in the right passing game.
- Antonio Brown: Brown is a lightening rod off the field but can still be a productive player on the field. In 2020, he hooked on with the Buccaneers for the back half of the season and caught 45 passes for 483 yards and four TDs. The Buccaneers are rumored to want to bring Brown back, if they can, but otherwise he could be a veteran weapon for a contending offense.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.