Free agency has come and gone, and as always, there are major shake-ups that have major dynasty implications. We will look at some of the transactions with the largest consequences and forecast what they mean for fantasy football in 2020 and beyond.
Tom Brady to Tampa Bay
Possibly the biggest football shake-up since Peyton Manning went to Denver, this transaction may have the biggest fantasy implications as well.
Stock up: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans. O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate
Jameis Winston was by no means bad as far as pure passing stats are concerned, but he certainly was not good. While I do not expect Brady to surpass Winston’s yards or touchdowns, I do expect more consistency in the passing game week to week, which will make the top options of this passing attack more reliable. Chris Godwin gets the biggest bump because of his work in the slot, while the others get slight bumps. Some have said this is a downgrade for Mike Evans because of Brady not exactly having the best deep-ball acumen, but I think Evans will still be a red zone monster.
Stock down: Patriots offense
While I expect Bill Belichick to have some master plan to make up for Tom Brady’s exit, the truth is that for now, every piece on the Patriots offense is even less valuable than before. The next month or so will be fascinating to see what the Patriots do to stay competitive, if they plan on being competitive, that is.
Stefon Diggs to Buffalo Bills
While it was not particularly shocking that Stefon Diggs was traded, it was mildly shocking that he was traded to Buffalo. While I do not expect this transaction to have major effects, there are a few implications worth discussing.
Stock up: Josh Allen, John Brown, Olabisi Johnson
Similar to what DeAndre Hopkins does for Arizona, Diggs does for Allen and John Brown. Diggs is probably the best route runner in the entire league, and will demand a lot of attention from opposing defenses while giving Allen by far his best target to date.
Olabisi Johnson performed well when Adam Thielen went down last year. Now, unless Minnesota drafts a receiver early, Johnson will have an expanded role in Minnesota’s offense.
Stock down: Kirk Cousins
Losing your best receiver without replacement is always going to hurt your value, ‘nuff said. (I considered putting Stefon Diggs in this space as well, but I do not consider the leap from Minnesota to Buffalo to be much of a downgrade, if at all.)
Philip Rivers to Indianapolis
The other big QB shake-up happened when Rivers signed with the Colts. Rivers’ rapport with Frank Reich makes this an interesting transaction for fantasy purposes.
Stock up: Philip Rivers, T.Y. Hilton
Rivers goes from having one of the worst pass-blocking units in the league to having one of the best. While it is worth questioning how much Rivers has left in the tank, it will be difficult for him to perform much worse than last year in his new situation.
Jacoby Brissett was by no means horrible for the Colts last year, but I still believe Rivers to be an improvement over him. Philip Rivers has always had a great deep ball, and T.Y. Hilton thrives on the deep ball. That should be a recipe for improvement in 2020.
Stock down: Chargers’ passing attack
Unless Los Angeles grabs one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, it will be tough sledding for the Chargers’ passing attack with Tyrod Taylor at the helm. This includes Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and yes, even Austin Ekeler. Buyer beware.
David Johnson – DeAndre Hopkins Trade
The most shocking trade of the offseason by far, this transaction shakes things up in Houston and Arizona.
Stock up: David Johnson, Kyler Murray, Christian Kirk
While Houston’s offensive line is not great, it is certainly better than Arizona’s, which should give David Johnson some much needed breathing space. His health is always a concern, but if healthy, this situation is an upgrade for him.
Both Kyler Murray and Christian Kirk get upgrades in Arizona’s offense. Kyler Murray gets one of the best, if not the best receiver in the entire league, which will help him be more consistent from week to week. Christian Kirk now has the advantage of Hopkins drawing doubles on almost every snap, leaving him to a cushy #2 role for which his skillset is probably more suited.
Stock down: DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson
Kyler Murray had a pretty good rookie season, and is looking like he will be a good quarterback in this league, but at this point, he is no Deshaun Watson. Hopkins gets a decent downgrade due to being in a less dynamic offense.
On the other side of the coin, Watson no longer has his sure-handed #1 receiver. Given the fact that Will Fuller or Keke Coutee cannot seem to stay healthy, it is worth pondering how much Watson will suffer next year. Given his talent, I suspect he will make do, but it will certainly be much more difficult.
While there are many other transactions we could talk about, such as Todd Gurley to the Falcons, the Titans resigning Tannehill and Henry, the Browns shoring up their offensive line, and much more, these transactions are the ones I believe will have the biggest fantasy implications in 2020. The beauty is that we are far from done, with free agents like Jadeveon Clowney, Cam Newton, and Jameis Winston still looking for homes, we could still have some major ripple effects across the league.