In theory, Dynasty values should not change as much as re-draft values this time of year. Dynasty is more of a long-term game, so talent is a larger piece of the equation and situation shouldn't matter quite as much. But it's been a very active early free agency period with some careers being resurrected while others are seemingly running out of steam.
A great example of that is taking place in New England. Cam Newton's Dynasty value fell off a cliff in 2020, largely due to his own poor play. A month ago there was a real question whether he'd ever start again in the NFL. While New England could still draft or sign competition for Newton, he's currently their best quarterback and he's surrounded by a lot more talent than he was last year. Newton's rushing production combined with the new faces in New England will be enough to move him back into my top-20 Dynasty quarterbacks. But all those additions are going to leave some Patriots out in the cold.
Julian Edelman, for one, may just be done contributing for Fantasy rosters. There were already questions about Edelman's recovery from his knee injury. The additions of Nelson Agholor, Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith and Kendrick Bourne don't exactly instill confidence in a full recovery for Edelman. It's also too many mouths to feed for an offense that attempted just 440 passes in 2020.
Smith and Henry are currently high-end No. 2 tight ends in Dynasty, which is a downgrade from where they were before joining the Patriots. Their value could bounce back a little if New England adds a true pocket passer, but each significantly hampers the other's upside. Yes, I remember Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. No, this is not that.
Finally, the addition of Agholor doesn't give me much hope for any of the Patriots' receivers. If Edelman retires it's possible Jakobi Meyers could repeat what he did in the second half of 2020, but N'Keal Harry's bust status seems to grow all the more certain.
Dynasty Fantasy football value isn't a zero-sum game, but like this situation, most of those below have some players rising at the expense of others.
Aaron Jones re-signs with the Packers
Among high-profile players, there has been no bigger winner than Aaron Jones. He's now locked into a lead role in a great offense through his prime. He should have three years of elite production remaining and the departure of Jamaal Williams could increase Jones' role in the passing game. He'll be the same age as Ezekiel Elliott at the start of the year and a year younger than Derrick Henry. I like Jones better than both in 2021 and beyond, he's a top seven Dynasty back for me now.
If Jones was the biggest winner, AJ Dillon was one of the biggest losers. A week ago there was a real hope Dillon could see 200-plus touches in his second year in the league. Now he looks to be locked into the secondary role, without the receiving work that helped Jamaal Williams be flex worthy. Because of his age and upside, Dillon remains a high-end No. 3 running back for me, but I'd now take any 2021 first-round pick for him, and I'd strongly consider an early 2021 second. Dillon now likely needs an injury to be a Fantasy starter in the next two seasons.
While Williams got out of Green Bay, he may have fared even worse than Dillon. He'll now share with D'Andre Swift in Detroit, and his contract indicates there was very little interest in his services outside of a backup role. I'm still trying to hold Williams until the season starts, but as long as Swift stays healthy Williams should be much less relevant than Dillon in the short term, and he's lost all of his long-term upside.
The WFT signs Ryan Fitzpatrick and Curtis Samuel
We're all winners with news that we'll get at least one more year of Fitzmagic. While he hasn't been guaranteed a starting role, Fitzpatrick currently projects as Washington's starter, which makes him relevant again in all leagues, some of which probably saw him already dropped. And with the addition of Curtis Samuel, he may just have enough weapons to be a streamer in a one-quarterback league.
While it's hard to get excited about a 36-year-old journeyman quarterback in Fantasy, Fitzpatrick has been pretty awesome when he's been allowed to play the past three seasons. He's played 90% of the snaps in 24 games over the past three years. His 16-game pace in those games is 4,633 passing yards, 31 TD and 17 INT with another 331 yards and five scores on the ground. That's better than a streamer; that's a top-10 quarterback.
Samuel is a more interesting addition. I wasn't sure he'd land a role with this type of target opportunity, so he moved up quite a bit, from a low-end No. 4 receiver to a low-end No. 3 with room to grow. It's not hard to see him earning 120 targets, even with Terry McLaurin there. Scott Turner has called very pass-heavy offenses, and there's very little legitimate competition for targets out wide. While Samuel is technically a winner, I wouldn't mind selling in this window if someone views him as more of a borderline No. 2 option.
The big loser here from a short-term perspective is JD McKissic. While I was hopeful he could be a solid flex this year, I'd be pretty happy to pick up a third- or fourth-round rookie pick for him now. We already expected Antonio Gibson's passing-game role to grow, and the addition of Fitzpatrick and Samuel signals even fewer short area targets available for McKissic.
This could be a problem for Logan Thomas as well, though he didn't have far to fall as a soon-to-be 30-year-old tight end with one good season on his resume.
Check out our breaking news episode of the Fantasy Football Today podcast to hear the reactions of Jamey Eisenberg and Heath Cummings to the big signings from Thursday. Listen below and subscribe at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts:
The Raiders sign Kenyan Drake
Not all moves have winners. Especially this one. While Josh Jacobs seems excited about a Bama backfield, Fantasy managers should not be. This move seems to remove any hope we had that Jacobs could become a 50-catch back, and it doesn't seem very likely he'll maintain his career 20.3 touches per game either. Considering the losses the Raiders have suffered on the offensive line, it could even drop Jacobs out of the top 15 backs in re-draft.
In Dynasty, I'm slightly more optimistic. Jacobs could still be a low-end No. 1 running back with good efficiency, and he'll still be just 23 years old at the start of the 2021 season. While he definitely fell in my Dynasty rankings, he's still a top-10 back in that format, which means he's a buy during this news cycle.
I wish I could be as optimistic about Drake. Drake will be 27 when the season starts, and it's fair to wonder if he's ever an NFL starting running back again. He's outside of my top 40 Dynasty backs and may be outside of the top 50 once the 2021 class is added in. While I'm buying low on Jacobs due to the reaction to this signing, I would take just about anything for Drake.
Other early winners
Other early losers
Marlon Mack: Mack is now locked into a handcuff job in Indianapolis, and it's difficult to see how he re-emerges as a Fantasy starter
Damien Williams: If you held on to the Williams lottery ticket this long, you might as well wait a few weeks. But he becomes a prime drop candidate once cuts are due in your Dynasty league.
Kenny Golladay:The reported offers Golladay is getting are not what you'd expect for a true No. 1 in his prime. To be clear, we don't yet know how Golladay will be valued, but it's not been a great start. If he lands in Cincinnati or New York, it will be hard to view Golladay as more than a boom-or-bust No. 2 receiver.
Mike Evans: With Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski back in Tampa, Evans' coming touchdown regression can no longer be hidden behind an increase in targets. He's also approaching the age where receivers take a hit in Dynasty value every year.