Day 2 of free agency is in the books, and we should start to see even more movement beginning Wednesday. That's when teams are officially allowed to sign players, and hopefully we start to see a bit more movement, especially on the wide receiver front.
The biggest names left on the offensive side of the ball are all wide receivers, and while we've heard some rumblings around the likes of Kenny Golladay -- the Giants and Dolphins are in -- and Curtis Samuel -- Washington is making a push -- we're still waiting for those dominoes to fall.
That should happen soon enough, but there's been plenty to analyze just over the past two days, even if most of it has come from the Patriots, who shocked the world by adding Hunter Henry on Tuesday, just hours after coming to an agreement with Jonnu Smith. They've remade their receiving corps almost overnight, and they may not be done yet. Dave Richard broke down the Henry signing and what it means for the Patriots offense here, and you can read some of my thoughts on the situation here. Jamey Eisenberg also broke down Ryan Fitzpatrick's signing with Washington, a move that could help this offense really take off.
I've got the rest of the news and rumors from around the NFL here in today's newsletter, along with the biggest rankings risers and fallers from the first two days of free agency. We'll see plenty more moves shortly, but here's where things stand as of Wednesday morning.
News and notes
- Marvin Jones to the Jaguars -- I don't expect Jones to be the No. 1 receiver for the Jaguars, but I think he might be 1b to DJ Chark's 1a, with Laviska Shenault more like a 2a than a 3. Which means … well, it might be a mess. And, . And, while Trevor Lawrence should be very good eventually, rookie quarterbacks not named Justin Herbert usually struggle to produce league-average efficiency, even very good ones. Which is all to say, I think this passing game may be a bit of a mess for 2021, and I don't plan on targeting anyone here.
- Jamaal Williams to the Lions -- At first glance, you might think this is bad news for D'Andre Swift, but it doesn't really worry me. It's not like I had Swift projected for 100% of the Lions carries, or anything -- prior to the Williams signing, I had him getting 58% of their carries and 12% of their targets. Williams will play a bigger role in the passing game than Kerryon Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Ty Johnson did, most likely, but given the (expected) losses of Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, there may be room for both of them to succeed. Even with Williams added to the RB room, I didn't move Swift down.
- Andy Dalton to the Bears -- Well, that's gotta be disappointing for Bears fans, who have had visions of Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson scrambling in their heads. Of course, this move doesn't preclude the Bears from taking a big swing, but it may suggest that they aren't optimistic about their chances. Dalton is competent at best, but luckily for Allen Robinson, he is unlikely to represent any kind of downgrade from Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. Robinson is likely still looking at 150 subpar targets, something he's very used to at this point in his career. Robinson should remain a top-12 WR, but unless the Bears can find a real upgrade, it's still hard to get excited about this offense.
- John Brown to the Raiders -- Brown agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.75 million, with another $1.75 million in incentives, which is ... a shockingly small amount. Which makes it hard to understand why the Bills didn't bring him back. Maybe he didn't want to return, preferring a spot like Las Vegas where he could conceivably be the No. 1 WR? He'll be behind Darren Waller in the hierarchy either way, and Oakland hasn't been a great place for wide receivers in the Jon Gruden-era, with Jordy Nelson's 88 targets in 2018 representing the largest number anyone has seen. Maybe Brown changes that, but more likely, he's a distant second in targets to Waller and is just a bench depth option for Fantasy.
- Emmanuel Sanders to the Bills -- And there's the Brown replacement in Buffalo. Except, at this point in their careers, Brown is probably better than Sanders, who had 726 yards in 14 games, just turned 34, and and hasn't averaged more than 51.9 yards per game since 2018. Can he help the Bills offense? Sure. But even in a high-powered passing attack like this one, don't expect him to have much Fantasy appeal. The biggest impact here is the risk that it blocks Gabriel Davis from having the opportunity to break out, which would be sad.
- John Ross to the Giants -- The Giants need receiving help, and after signing Ross … the Giants need receiving help. It's fair to wonder if they can get more out of Ross than the Bengals could, and Ross was actually on pace for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns in 2019. He's been a pretty big disappointment so far, but Ross could be worth a look as a late-round flier in deep leagues. Still, he doesn't move the needle much for Daniel Jones or this offense as a whole.
- The Chiefs re-signed Darrel Williams and released Damien Williams -- Consider this a vote of confidence for Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who didn't make a huge impact as a rookie first-rounder. Damien Williams has been the most productive back for the Chiefs since Kareem Hunt's release, and was the only potential threat to Edwards-Helaire on the roster. He should once again be the lead back in 2021, and I wouldn't be surprised if he took a big step forward in Year 2. Remember, CEH was playing with a truncated offseason and limited training camp. There's still plenty to get excited about here.
- Malcolm Brown to the Dolphins -- While this isn't great news for Myles Gaskin, this isn't the kind of addition that really moves the needle. Brown's best trait is probably reliability, and that's what got him so much work with the Rams last season. But he's also just a guy, and while I would expect him to have a role for Miami, Gaskin should remain the lead back and I've still got him as a top-30 back with potential to be a solid No. 2.
- Zach Ertz has permission to seek a trade -- The Eagles still have to find a deal they are willing to take, but this shows that they are at least willing to work with Ertz to find him a new home. You should bet on Ertz being elsewhere in 2021, which is good news for Dallas Goedert -- I would have him as my No. 5 TE with Ertz out of the picture. Though, of course, if Ertz ends up in the right spot, he could be in that mix too, because I'm not ready to write him off just yet. We'll wait to see how this all shakes out.
SportsLine's optimal bracket beat almost 90% of CBS Sports Bracket Challenge players over the past two years. This year, it is calling for more upsets. A few of notes in the South Region:
- No. 14 Colgate takes down No. 3 Arkansas in the first round.
- No. 10 Virginia Tech beats No. 7 Florida.
- No. 9 Wisconsin pulls the slight upset over No. 8 North Carolina.
After simulating the tournament 10,000 times, the model's bracket also has identified one region where the No. 2 seed wins and the Nos. 10 and 13 seeds pull off stunners in the first round. Plus, you should join the Fantasy Football Today bracket challenge group to put your skills to the test for a chance to win a spot in the FFT listeners' league for the 2021 season.
- Cam Newton: QB12 -- Too aggressive? Maybe. But I like what the additions of Smith and Henry mean for Newton -- if not for them, as you'll see -- and I have him as QB12 with just 3,350 passing yards and 22 touchdowns. That's how valuable Newton's rushing ability is, especially given his dominance near the goal-line.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire: RB9 -- Apparently I'm the CEH guy now? He was RB18 before I updated the projections for the Chiefs, but he only gained around 16 PPR points in this jump -- the gap between CEH and RB8, Derrick Henry, is larger than the gap between CEH and RB18, Nick Chubb, in my projections. That means it probably isn't worth reaching on anyone in that tier, but if CEH falls in drafts, I'll be glad to take him.
- Terry McLaurin: WR8 -- McLaurin has very little competition for targets, though that could change if Washington adds a free agent WR, as has been rumored. Still, I think it's more likely those targets would come from the other WR -- or even from J.D. McKissic, who probably won't see quite as elevated a target share without dump-off king Alex Smith under center -- and McLaurin should especially benefit from Ryan Fitzpatrick's aggressive playing style. This could be a match made in heaven.
- A.J. Brown: WR9 -- Brown should see an even higher target share with Davis and Smith gone, though it's fair to wonder whether he might have at least some trouble with the added defensive attention he'll likely see. I believe in the talent too much to worry much about that.
- Corey Davis: WR28 -- I actually have Davis projected for the 23rd-most receiving yards in the league, but I worry about him finding the end zone. If I'm low on his touchdown projection (six), he could pretty easily be a No. 2 Fantasy WR, and I may be more optimistic about him depending on whether the Jets are able to make a QB upgrade this offseason. Either way, I expect this offense to be much better than last year's.
- Dallas Goedert: TE5 -- As I said earlier, this is kind of a preliminary ranking, one I won't lock in until Ertz is officially out of the picture, but I think it highlights Goedert's upside. I don't think he's a superstar in waiting, or anything -- Goedert isn't a Travis Kelce or George Kittle-level athlete, and his production as a secondary option has been more good than great -- but he should have a sizable role and will fill it well. Dreams of an Ertz-esque outcome are probably being too optimistic, given that the Eagles will likely be a pretty run-heavy team with Jalen Hurts at QB, but he should be the No. 1 option in the passing game.
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- Ryan Tannehill: QB16 -- Given the relatively low pass volume in this offense, Tannehill has to be one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league to be a viable Fantasy starter, and it's harder to see that happening with his receiving corps gutted. Brown is an incredible No. 1, a true alpha who makes his quarterback's job easier by both making tough contested catches and making big plays after the catch. However, he's kind of the only game in town right now, and the Titans don't have a ton of flexibility to make any additions.
- James Robinson: RB14 -- I still like Robinson quite a bit, but the addition of Carlos Hyde did knock him down just a little bit in my rankings. It's not that I expect Hyde to be a huge part of Jacksonville's offense, but Robinson had 71.2% of Jacksonville's carries last season in only 14 games, and that pace is unlikely to keep up with a veteran backup the coaching staff trusts. Robinson is still a borderline No. 1 RB, and it's possible I'm underrating him right now, but this does change his outlook just a little.
- DJ Chark: WR44 -- Is this too pessimistic? Perhaps. But I'm not convinced Jacksonville's offense is going to take some huge step forward, and I'm not convinced Chark is going to be the team's go-to receiver. He was excellent in 2019, but didn't really stand out from the Keelan Coles and Chris Conleys of the world last season. As bench depth, he'll be a fine addition to any team, but I'd guess he's going to be drafted more like a No. 3 WR, and I won't want any part of that.
- Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith: TE9 and TE12 -- I have Henry ranked a bit higher than Smith, just because he has more of a track record of being an offensive focal point than Smith, but I expect these two will be the Patriots primary receivers in 2021. Unfortunately, it is likely to remain a low-volume passing offense, and neither is likely to be as good together as they would have been separately. Both could be top-five tight ends, but it's hard to expect that from them when they are sharing the same (likely lackluster) offense.
From the rumor mill
- The Seahawks are interested in Leonard Fournette -- The Patriots have also been linked to Fournette, though the Seahawks would be a much better fit. Assuming they keep Russell Wilson and the offense doesn't take a nosedive off a cliff. The Seahawks want to run the ball, and we saw Chris Carson be a borderline No. 1 RB in recent years in this offense. Fournette is a similar player, with perhaps a bit less skill in the passing game, and he would probably be a No. 2 Fantasy RB if this came to pass. And back in Tampa, Ronald Jones would be in that No. 2 RB discussion, even if they made another addition to the RB room.
- The Buccaneers are interested in James White -- Especially if that addition is someone like White, who would be a much more natural fit alongside Jones than Fournette ever was. While Fournette and Jones' skillsets largely overlapped, Jones and White would complement each other well. Sure, it would probably mean a limited workload for Jones in the passing game, but that should be the expectation at this point. White being the primary complement to Jones would likely mean Jones could be in line for up to 250 carries, and he's been an effective runner the past two seasons, so I'd project him for over 1,000 yards and a half-dozen or more touchdowns. And you know Tom Brady would be happy to see White back there in passing situations with him.
- The Buccaneers are trying to re-sign Antonio Brown -- The Buccaneers really want to get the band back together, but this one would not make me happy. I'm already squeamish about the Fantasy value of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and Brown was on a 100-target pace in the 11 games he played. I wouldn't have Evans and Godwin ranked inside my top 20 at the position if Brown returned.
- Anthony Miller on the trade block --There have been flashes for Miller, but he's mostly failed to make an impact in his three seasons and seemed to be surpassed by Darnell Mooney in the receiving hierarchy last season. Maybe a change of scenery will do him good, but Miller is likely to be an afterthought wherever he lands. He'll have to prove himself before I buy in.