We’re in the midst of Free Agency, a fun time when we get a lot of wild action that resets rosters for NFL teams and dynasty teams alike. Over the next two installments, I’ll be looking at those whose stock improved and those whose stock fell as a result of free agency. First up are risers and fallers who had their fortunes changed by who their team added, or didn’t add, in free agency.
Stock Up: Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
About: When Love was taken in the First Round of the 2020 NFL Draft by a team with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, most knew there wouldn’t be an instant return. Still, after three years in the NFL, those who have patiently held on to Love haven’t seen much return, as he’s only attempted 83 passes in those three seasons. Finally, that’s about to change. Rodgers announced last week he intends to play for the New York Jets, and while the trade isn’t complete, it signals it’s finally Love’s time in Green Bay. Now, the team still has questions, including a need for additional weapons. But those that have been holding Love, or picked him up as a lottery ticket, will finally see a return on investment.
Stock Down: Zach Wilson, New York Jets
About: In a corresponding move, Wilson takes a hit. Rodgers will be the starter, and while it appears Wilson will remain on the Jets roster, possibly for the next two years, his fantasy value is relatively low. (Remember the 83 pass attempts in three years for Love?) Wilson seems to have flamed out on and off the field in New York, and it’s fair to assume that his value as a fantasy starter is probably extinguished at this point. I don’t even see a reason to roster him. It’s a precipitous fall for a player that was a First-Round pick in Superflex rookie drafts just two years ago.
Stock Up: Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
About: A month ago, Mixon’s long-term future looked bleak. The terms of his contract made him seem a cut candidate, and his off-field issues seemed like they would seal the deal. In that span of time, we’ve learned Mixon won’t face changes, he wasn’t cut, and most of the big names in free agency have signed elsewhere. Meanwhile, Mixon remains on the Bengals’ roster, likely in a position to start once again. Mixon was RB10 in fantasy last season and seems poised for a similar workload in a good offense. Sometimes the best thing that can happen to a player’s value is when nothing happens in the off-season at all.
Stock Down: Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
About: He lands in this spot for three reasons. First, he’s facing off-field issues. His legal situation arising from an arrest during the Pro Bowl following the 2021 season will be adjudicated this off-season, meaning a likely suspension in 2023. Second, Kamara isn’t getting any younger. He’ll be 28 with more than 1,100 NFL carries by the time the season starts. Finally, the Saints added a key cog in the backfield. The Saints signed veteran Jamaal Williams—who had 17 touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards for the Lions in 2022. Williams figures to provide insurance but also take the tough rushing attempts and likely eat at Kamara’s goal-line work. All that has me seeing Kamara as a low-end RB2, a fall-off from the Top 12 option he’d been for several years.
Stock Up: K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings
About: Osborn took a jump as the off-season began when the Vikings released veteran receiver, Adam Thielen. Osborn had 110 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns over the past two seasons as the Vikings’ WR3. Now, he may be poised to take a step forward, which has some fantasy players excited. I’m less bullish. I don’t think the Vikings are don’t this off-season, and I think there’s a great chance the team drafts a receiver. Osborn could, again, find himself a WR3 role player. But, for the time being, his stock is rising. Use this as an opportunity to sell high.
Stock Down: Corey Davis, New York Jets
About: Davis signed a free agent deal three years ago and seemed poised to get a bigger role. It hasn’t played out that way. The Jets drafted Elijah Moore in 2021 and Garrett Wilson in 2022. Both have surpassed Davis on the Jets’ depth chart. Now, the team signed former Rodgers teammate Allen Lazard this off-season. All that leaves Davis headed into a contract season as, at best, the fourth receiver on the Jets. If you roster him hoping for week-to-week value, it’s time to look elsewhere. If the Jets land Odell Beckham, Jr., it’s possible Davis won’t even make the opening-day roster.
Stock Up: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
About: If there was any doubt, Kelce remains the TE1 in fantasy. He’s the best receiver on one of the best offenses in football, and it looks like, once again, the Chiefs will be piecing together the receiver room. Mecole Hardman and Juju Smith-Schuster, key cogs in the 2022 group, are free agents, with Smith-Schuster already signing elsewhere. That leaves a group led by Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, and Kadarius Toney in Kansas City. It’s Kelce’s team, and he remains the best bet at the tight end position in football.
Stock Down: Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
About: We have hopes for Kmet, who was viewed as the best tight end prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. Now, heading into his fourth season, it’s hard to see a clear path to consistent and meaningful targets. The Bears don’t have the most high-volume passing attack, and already this off-season, the team added receiver D.J. Moore and tight end Robert Tonyan. That goes along with Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney, who were already at receiver on the roster. Kmet had some boom moments but not enough consistency in 2022. It’s hard to see that changing, making him little more than a boom-or-bust TE2 option. If you can find a true believer, I’d make a trade.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.