We're in the quiet before the storm with NFL free agency set to begin this weekend. We'll have reactions to all of the news as it comes in next week, here in the Fantasy Football Today Newsletter, on CBSSports.com and CBS Sports HQ, and in the Fantasy Football Today and Fantasy Football Today in 5 podcasts, so make sure you're subscribed in all the right places to get all the big moves covered from every angle.
I went through the biggest needs for every AFC team in Tuesday's newsletter, and you can head here to read that if you missed it, and now it's time for the NFC, which we discussed on the FFT pod Thursday. Not every one of these needs will be filled in free agency, of course, because the NFL Draft in April will be the next big opportunity for teams to reshape their rosters, and as anyone who had Justin Jefferson or Cam Akers on their roster late last season knows, incoming rookies can be some of the most valuable players in Fantasy.
And we're already starting to turn our attention to the draft, too, as the FFT team has released the first of our Draft Prospect Profiles series this week. If you've got rookie drafts coming up this offseason, you'll definitely need to check those out as part of your prep, but even re-draft players will benefit from getting to know the prospects, and we'll be covering every single Fantasy-relevant name with everything you need to know about them from now until the draft. As of Thursday afternoon, here are the incoming rookies we've profiled:
We'll have more in the coming weeks, including where they fit in the Dynasty landscape, and Heath Cummings is still here answering your Dynasty questions every week in his mailbag column. If you've got any questions about the draft, your Dynasty offseason strategies, or anything else, send them our way at FantasyFootball@CBSi.com to get an answer.
Now, get ready for the start of free agency with the biggest needs for every NFC team. The NFL landscape is about to be upended, and here's where we could see the biggest moves come from:
Biggest Need: NFC Teams
- Washington: QB -- Washington has a ton of cap space, which is good, because they only have Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen on the roster heading into free agency. Those two combined to complete 67.8% of their passes at 7.0 yards per attempt for five touchdowns and only one interception, but neither is likely to be the long-term answer here. Terry McLaurin has been a very good Fantasy wide receiver with some of the worst QB play in the league so far, so it's fun to think about what could happen if they got even decent QB play. Even someone like Ryan Fitzpatrick would be great for him.
- Giants: WR -- Offensive line is also a need for the Giants, but they really need to get Daniel Jones some weapons. That may not be enough to make him the answer at the position the Giants were hoping he could be, but it was obvious last season he needed more help from his pass catchers. The return of Saquon Barkley will help, but they could use someone like Kenny Golladay or Will Fuller to stretch the field.
- Cowboys: OL -- The Cowboys' biggest needs are on the defensive side of the ball, but we also saw last season that the offensive line, once the strength of the team, has regressed badly. Injuries played a significant part in 2020, and if they stay healthy as a unit, they should be pretty good once again, but they could definitely use some depth for when things inevitably go wrong.
- Eagles: WR -- I still have faith in Jalen Reagor, who never got going while dealing with a series of bad luck injuries starting in training camp. But this team could obviously use more weapons for Jalen Hurts in the passing game, especially with Zach Ertz still expected to be traded. Hurts is no sure thing to be the future of the franchise, but they owe it to him to put him in the best position possible to succeed, and that means getting guys who can make plays with the ball in their hands.
- Packers: WR -- We've been saying WR was the biggest need for the Packers for years, and they don't seem to agree. 2020 seems to have proven them right, but you can't ignore the lack of talent behind Davante Adams, who has earned nearly one-third of the team's targets over the last few years. He's one of the best WR in the league, but if something were to happen to him, it could derail this passing game, even with Aaron Rodgers still playing at a high level. The running back situation also needs to be resolved, with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams heading into free agency. A.J. Dillon looks ready to be the primary runner, but if either (or especially both) of Jones or Williams leaves, they'll need to find someone who can be a playmaker in the passing game.
- Bears: QB -- They tried to find an upgrade in the form of Nick Foles last offseason, but he couldn't even beat out Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job all season. The Bears seem likely to pursue a trade for one of the many quarterbacks available, and their cap situation makes it unlikely they'll be able to sign a significant upgrade. They could try to draft one at No. 20 in the first round, but Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace aren't exactly in the position to wait for a possible project. Allen Robinson has been more than good enough even without good QB play over the last few seasons, but it's clear the Bears aren't getting everything they can out of him, and that might not change in 2021 now that he's been franchise tagged.
- Vikings: OL -- Per Pro Football Focus, the Vikings had arguably the worst pair of guards in the league, especially when it came to pass blocking. Kirk Cousins was pressured on 38.6% of his dropbacks per PFF, the fourth-highest mark in the league, which makes his solid season even more impressive in context. The Vikings are never going to be a pass-heavy offense under their current leadership, and with Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and Irv Smith all expected to be drafted as starters, they'll need to continue to be very efficient to get the most out of them. Improved OL play will help.
- Lions: WR -- It wouldn't be a surprise if the Lions opted to target their QB of the future in the draft, but with Jared Goff here for at least the next few seasons, that isn't necessarily a hugely pressing concern right now. Wide receiver is with Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay heading into free agency. Their top options under contract at the position are Tyrell Williams and Quintez Cephus, so the situation is pretty dire. Goff can be good enough with the right help, and there's a big opportunity for a free agent or rookie to step in and be the No. 1 option in the passing game here.
- Saints: QB -- The Saints have talked about how they view Taysom Hill as a starter, and he'd be a top-10 Fantasy QB for me if he got that opportunity in 2021. They could also re-sign Jameis Winston, who would certainly give the passing game a much higher ceiling. However, Hill will be 31 in 2021 and has four career starts under his belt, so unless they do bring Winston back to start, they probably need to find a long-term answer here. I'm rooting for Winston to leave because I think both he and Hill could be viable starting options for Fantasy if he ends up in the right spot, but it would be better for Michael Thomas and (especially) Alvin Kamara if Winston were the Saints starter.
- Buccaneers: RB -- In truth, the Bucs don't really have any obvious needs on offense -- that's what tends to happen when you win a Super Bowl. Leonard Fournette is a free agent and Bruce Arians still doesn't trust Ronald Jones to be his sole primary option, so they'll likely bring someone in -- or just re-sign Fournette. The latter would be a worst-case scenario, because as we saw in 2020, the two are totally redundant, creating a zero-sum situation for Fantasy value. Adding a James White type would make more sense because that could allow Jones to remain a viable option while the new back would have independent value.
- Panthers: QB -- Running back and wide receiver are set, and Teddy Bridgewater is clearly fine. But, clearly, fine isn't good enough for this offense. Bridgewater left points on the field with D.J. Moore especially due to his struggles with the deep ball at times, and the Panthers are reportedly in the market for a serious upgrade. They've opened up a bunch of cap space and have tried to pry Deshaun Watson away from the Texans -- unsuccessfully, to date. Russell Wilson would be an ideal fit for this offense, and Winston could be a fascinating addition that could really unlock things for Moore.
- Falcons: RB -- They have little flexibility to make an impact addition anywhere, and this team has way too many holes to even consider taking a running back at No. 4 overall, so we're probably looking at either a cheap free agent or a Day 2 or later pick. In either case, that player would probably be able to step in as the starter immediately, and someone like Kenyan Drake or Chris Carson could be a very valuable Fantasy option as a three-down player in this offense.
- Seahawks: RB -- We'll see if the winter of Russell Wilson's discontent ultimately creates a need at QB, but with Chris Carson heading into free agency and Rashaad Penny a significant question mark, there's a need right now for a primary back. They should focus most of their efforts on improving the defense, but a mid-round back with some pass-catching chops or a cheap free agent could be useful.
- Rams: OL -- With the addition of Matthew Stafford and the emergence of Cam Akers, the skill positions here seem mostly set -- tight end is an exception, though they generally don't use them enough to make that a priority. The offensive line isn't a pressing 2021 need, but with 40-year-old Andre Whitworth at left tackle, they'll need an upgrade soon enough. Center Austin Blythe could leave as a free agent, potentially creating a need there. Unfortunately, the Rams have very little flexibility under the cap and don't pick until 57th overall in the draft, so their options are limited. The hope is the upgrade from Goff to Stafford helps propel the offense to a new level.
- Cardinals: WR -- Kyler Murray made the leap we were hoping to see as a Fantasy option in his second season, but from a real-world perspective, this passing game is still pretty mediocre. DeAndre Hopkins did his job as the No. 1 option, but Christian Kirk had fewer than half his receiving yards as the No. 2 receiver. They had to really force targets to Hopkins, and they could use a legitimate second threat, especially one who can stretch the field and introduce a new element to the offense, which still relies too much on short, quick-hitting passes. Murray had the eighth-lowest rate of passes more than 5 yards down field in 2020, and opening the offense up more would help him take another leap.
- 49ers: QB -- For a team that went 6-10 and ranked 21st in scoring, the 49ers really don't have any glaring holes on offense, and QB really isn't one. Jimmy Garoppolo is more than fine, and Kyle Shanahan's offense helps get the most out of him -- arguably the best after-the-catch group of skill players in the league helps, too. If the 49ers move forward with Garoppolo as the starter, this offense should hum right along, and an upgrade at the backup spot would help solidify things, too. But if they could come away from this offseason with a Wilson or Watson, they might be one of the three best offenses in football.