Well, we know where one superstar quarterback is going to be playing in 2021. There was never any real worry that the Cowboys wouldn't come to a long-term deal with Dak Prescott, but as long as he was un-signed, the possibility remained, and that left one of the best quarterbacks and one of the best offenses for a quarterback on the table.
But nobody was really rooting for Prescott to leave Dallas, and we're happy to see him return, as Heath Cummings wrote in his breakdown of the deal. This is too good a marriage of QB, receivers, and coaching to break up. Prescott passed for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns during a breakout 2019 in his first season with Kellen Moore as his offensive coordinator and then passed for 1,690 yards and nine touchdowns in his four full games in 2020 after they added CeeDee Lamb. This is a spot where an elite QB is matched with elite weapons and an aggressive, pass-happy coach, which is what we're always looking for.
We want to see a lot of player movement in the offseason because it's a chance for teams to get better, for talented players to get into better situations, and for others to get help. It doesn't always work like that, of course, and we've already had a few of our big free agency dreams dashed with the franchise tag deadline Tuesday. The following players were tagged:
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- Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin
- Bears WR Allen Robinson
- Jaguars OL Cam Robinson
- Panthers OL Taylor Moton
- Giants DL Leonard Williams
- Broncos DB Justin Simmons
- Jets DB Marcus Maye
- Saints DB Marcus Williams
Obviously, Godwin and Robinson are the two most relevant names for Fantasy, and frankly, I confess myself disappointed that they'll likely be returning to their previous teams. In Robinson's case, the reason why is obvious: The Bears have ranked 15th or lower in points over the last two seasons, and it's hard to see things getting much better unless they can find an upgrade on Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky. Robinson does get fed a huge target share in Chicago, so that should remain the case in 2021, but his ceiling is lower here than it would be if he had landed somewhere with more competent QB play.
Godwin, of course, has competent QB play in his corner. The problem is, while Tom Brady was excellent in 2020, he spread the ball around so much that it was hard for any one receiver to stand out. Mike Evans scored 13 touchdowns and still finished as just the No. 16 WR in points per game, while Godwin was 15th. There's nothing wrong with that, but Evans averaged 20.1 PPR points per game in the four Godwin played, compared to just 13.9 in the 12 with Godwin. Brady made the Tampa offense better, but he didn't focus targets to Godwin or Evans the same way Jameis Winston did, and the targets they did see were generally not thrown as far down the field. Both should be solid Fantasy options even if the Buccaneers opt to bring Antonio Brown back as well, but their ceiling would be higher if they separated. I've got Godwin and Evans ranked 19th and 20th at WR in my early projections, and as such, I probably won't end up drafting them.
Those are the only Fantasy relevant players who were tagged by the 4 p.m. deadline, which means the following players will hit free agency: Aaron Jones, Kenyan Drake, Chris Carson, Kenny Golladay, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller, Hunter Henry, and Jonnu Smith, among others. We'll start to get a sense of where those big names will end up beginning this weekend, and the Fantasy Football Today team will be right here to react to all of the news as it happens. For now, we wait, and while we wait, we're taking a look at the biggest needs for every NFL team.
On Tuesday's podcast, Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg went through the biggest need for every AFC team, and you can find my take on what every AFC team should be looking to prioritize, and how it might impact the Fantasy appeal of their incumbent players. We'll talk about the NFC team needs tomorrow, and Dave Richard will be here Friday to answer your questions heading into free agency. If you want Dave to answer your questions, email Chris.Towers@CBSInteractive.com and I'll send them his way.
Biggest Need: AFC Teams
- Bills: TE -- We'll see whether the Bills opt to re-sign tackle Daryl Williams, but that could be another position of need. If not, tight end is the only spot you can really pinpoint where an upgrade would really make an impact -- their running backs aren't special, but they used them so sparingly in 2020 that it's hardly a glaring need. Zack Moss and Devin Singletary are fine for what the BIlls need them to be, and I wouldn't want to see the Bills try to make the running backs more of a focal point. This offense will run through Josh Allen, and adding another playmaker in the middle of the field could help him sustain his breakout.
- Dolphins: WR -- The Dolphins could also use some offensive line help along the interior, but wide receiver looked like a bigger need in 2020. DeVante Parker is a solid playmaker when healthy, but they could use another option. With Mike Gesicki in the middle, that doesn't have to be someone who can stretch the field, necessarily, so someone like JuJu Smith-Schuster could be a solid addition to help Tua Tagovailoa develop. Or they could use one of their first-round picks on one of the stud WR in the draft. Either way, there's room for another WR to thrive in this offense if Tagovailoa takes a step forward. The Dolphins should be doing everything they can to make that happen.
- Patriots -- QB -- And wide receiver. And tight end. The cupboards are pretty bare here, though the line did play pretty well in 2020. Given the Patriots' lack of success with wide receivers in the draft, it's hard to get too excited about the prospects of them snagging someone with an early pick -- and they would likely have trouble succeeding with the in-house QB situation anyway. This offense looks like one of the least interesting for Fantasy purposes heading into 2021, and they're more than a few players away from changing that.
- Jets: QB -- Sam Darnold certainly hasn't looked like the answer thus far, though it's also fair to say he hasn't been put in a position where he could succeed anyway. I could be talked into a situation where the Jets offense takes a step forward without a big investment at QB, and one thing they've got going for them is a solid offensive line core that should make life easier for everyone with a better coaching staff in town. If they don't opt to add a new QB, they could use playmakers at every skill position, so there's no shortage of places they could improve. The good news is, it can't be worse than it was in 2020.
- Steelers: RB -- If you wanted to put "QB" here instead, I wouldn't argue -- Ben Roethlisberger looked well and truly washed up last season, ranking 33rd out of 37 qualifiers in PFF grade from a clean pocket. However, Roethlisberger is coming back for 2021, at least, which means running back is the most obvious place Fantasy players should want to see them improve. Benny Snell could be fine as the primary runner and Jaylen Samuels is a solid playmaker in the passing game, but Mike Tomlin has long preferred to have a true three-down option at the position, and there's plenty of potential for one to be very productive in this offense if they find the right option.
- Ravens: WR -- I like Marquise Brown quite a bit -- he's a breakout candidate for me for 2021 right now -- but the Ravens could certainly use another playmaker in the passing game. Look at what the addition of Stefon Diggs did for Josh Allen and imagine what someone who could consistently win one on one could do for Lamar Jackson. There might not be huge upside for whoever that WR might be, given the run-heavy approach Baltimore is always going to rely on, but it could help take Jackson and the offense as a whole to the next level.
- Browns: WR -- There really isn't a great answer for what the Browns need -- they've got great running backs and offensive line, a QB they aren't looking to upgrade from, and have big money invested at tight end and wide receiver. So this is more about WR being the biggest question mark for them. Specifically, what do they do with Odell Beckham Jr.? He and Baker Mayfield just haven't been able to get on the same page during their two seasons together, and they didn't exactly miss him. Do they opt to move on this offseason? If so, Rashard Higgins could be a sneaky sleeper for 2021.
- Bengals: OL -- They have their long-term answer at QB and RB, and Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins are good enough that WR isn't an obvious spot where they need an upgrade. But they desperately need to get better quickly along the line, which became abundantly clear as Joe Burrow was pressured on 32.2% of his dropbacks in 2020. They ranked 27th in pass-blocking efficiency, per PFF, and we already saw Burrow suffer a serious knee injury as a rookie. Protecting him is priority No. 1 for the organization.
- Titans: OL -- The Titans have spent a first-round pick on an offensive tackle twice in the last five drafts, and neither is on the roster after they sent 2020 pick Isaiah Wilson to the Dolphins for a seventh-round pick recently. The Titans ranked highly in run-blocking, per PFF, but they were one of the worst pass-blocking teams in the league. They also may need to replace Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis, both of whom are free agents this offseason, though given how heavily they rely on the run and the presence of A.J. Brown, they could probably make due if they lose just one of them.
- Colts: WR -- The Colts hope they found their long-term answer at quarterback in Carson Wentz, and if he doesn't improve from his poor 2020, it won't matter much what they put around him. This offense should revolve around the run game, but there's room for a true No. 1 WR to step up - they threw the ball 552 times despite ranking 10th in rush attempts. Michael Pittman could be that No. 1 WR, but we'd still like to see them add someone with a bit more speed to replace T.Y. Hilton.
- Texans: QB -- More specifically, they need to figure out whether they can convince Deshaun Watson to repair his relationship with the team and return. Or they need to trade him. Either way, nothing matters here until that situation is resolved, and so far, it seems like neither side is willing to blink. They've got needs all over the place on offense (and defense), but they can't really begin to address those until they know whether they've got a franchise QB or not. If Watson does return, wide receiver is an obvious need with Will Fuller a free agent -- though they somehow have the 10th-most amount of cap dedicated to the position for 2021 without him.
- Jaguars: QB -- This one should be solved about 10 minutes after the draft starts on April 29. Unless something totally unexpected happens, the Jaguars will be taking Trevor Lawrence with their No. 1 overall pick, and then it'll be all about putting the right pieces around him in Urban Meyer's offense. James Robinson looked more than good enough as a rookie, and D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault aren't lacking in talent, so a tight end addition might help round the offense out.
- Chiefs: OL -- They've got the best QB and TE in the league, and Tyreek Hill isn't far from the top spot at WR; they just invested a first-round pick in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, too. Despite all that talent, we saw in the Super Bowl, their thin offensive line got pushed around by Tampa's defensive front and made it nearly impossible for Patrick Mahomes to get going. Expect them to fortify the line this offseason.
- Raiders: OL -- The Raiders will probably spend the offseason investing in their defense, as they continue to search for a pass rush. The offense has seen heavy investment in recent years, so don't expect much turnover. It's all about trying to get more out of Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards in year two and hoping Josh Jacobs can stay healthy and emerge as the all-around stud they've been waiting for.
- Chargers: OL -- They might need a replacement for Hunter Henry if he walks in free agency, and it wouldn't be a surprise if they tried to add a second- or third-round wide receiver with Mike Williams expiring in 2021 and Keenan Allen heading into his age-29 season, but offensive line will probably be the primary focus for any offensive upgrades to help build around Justin Herbert.
- Broncos: QB -- We'll see if the organization agrees with my diagnosis because I could see this team absolutely explode in 2021 with an upgrade at QB. Drew Lock has talent, but he's been a bit of a mess so far in his career, and his erratic play makes it tough to trust the likes of Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Noah Fant to take the big leaps we'd love to see from them in 2021. Both GM George Paton and coach Vic Fangio have talked about wanting to bring in some competition for Lock, and I would love to see someone like Jameis Winston get a chance to play with these weapons.