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. Today I look at risers and fallers who changed teams.
Stock Up: Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
About: Baker had a rollercoaster 2022 season. His original team, the Browns, brought in Deshaun Watson and paid him a market-changing contract. That made Baker expendable, so he was traded to the Carolina Panthers. It seemed to be a chance to re-make himself, and yet it didn’t work out. He went 1-5 as the Panthers’ starter, throwing for just 1,313 yards, six touchdowns, and six interceptions. That put him on the bench, and eventually, he was released. He signed with the Rams, a team in need of a boost. While Baker only went 1-3 in starts for the Rams, he looked a lot better. That was enough for him to earn another shot at redemption. It’s just a one-year deal, and he’s in the shadow of Tom Brady, but he’s got a good set of weapons in Tampa Bay. I think Baker has QB2 potential, a big swing from where he was just a few months ago. He’s certainly a player worth taking a flier on for the 2023 season.
Stock Down: Jimmy Garoppolo, Las Vegas Raiders
About: Jimmy signed one of the bigger free agent deals early in the process, reuniting with former Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels. Jimmy has also proven himself a winner, going 38-17 in six years for the 49ers. His deal was reported as three years, but in the final accounting, it’s more like a one-year deal with two years’ worth of options. That’s not incredible security for a player that has struggled with injuries. He’s also stepping into a much less certain situation with the Raiders. There is talent on the roster, but fans will be expecting results, especially after the Raiders moved on from franchise quarterback Derek Carr, seemingly blaming him for their inability to return to the playoffs. That’s a tough situation, and I don’t know that Jimmy is the answer. I have lowered him in my Dynasty rankings, and if you can find the right deal, I’d move Jimmy before the season takes off.
Stock Up: David Montgomery, Detroit Lions
About: All three of the running backs taken atop the 2019 draft hit the market this off-season, with only Josh Jacobs returning to the team that drafted him. Montgomery, at times, looked like the most productive of the top backs from the class. In four years in Chicago, he had at least 800 yards rushing each season, tallying 3,609 yards and 26 touchdowns. In free agency, he signed a three-year deal with the Lions. Last season, Jamaal Williams rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns. Now, Montgomery seemingly steps into that role as the hammer while D’Andre Swift is the big-play option. This feels like a perfect spot for Montgomery, giving him goal-line opportunities and solidifying a steady low-end RB2 value. That is a step up from the uncertainty when he entered the market.
Stock Down: Devin Singletary, Houston Texans
About: Singletary is a player who has had flashes over his four years in Buffalo. It just never seemed like he was given a consistent workload. Moving into free agency, it was fair to wonder if he’d land in a place where he can shine. Instead, he got a one-year deal with the Texans. It’s not a terrible spot, and Singletary could certainly improve his stock there, but it doesn’t feel like a great landing spot. He goes from a championship contender to a re-building offense with a restructured receiving corps and likely a rookie quarterback. He’ll also be competing for touches with second-year back Dameon Pierce, who had 939 yards rushing in 13 games in 2022. Singletary is little more than an RB4 now and might not even be that high, especially with the possibility the Texans could add another rusher in the draft.
Stock Up: Juju Smith-Schuster, New England Patriots
About: After two seasons of taking one-year deals, Juju landed a three-year deal from the Patriots this off-season. Stability is great; even better is being on a team desperate for weapons. He instantly becomes the best receiver on the roster, which should lead to a steady workload. Does that mean he’s got exceptional value? No. But it does lock him in as a steady WR3 for me, giving him weekly starting value, given the roster construction of most leagues. That’s a solid return for a player who entered the off-season with an uncertain future.
Stock Down: Jakobi Myers, Las Vegas Raiders
About: While it might seem like I’m hating on the Raiders here, that’s not totally the case. I just don’t believe in the moves the team is making this off-season. Myers goes from being the top option on his former team to a muddled situation in Las Vegas. While it’s not a bad NFL move, I have misgivings about his potential volume for fantasy. The Raiders have a powerful rushing attack led by Jacobs, who got the Franchise Tag. They also have a clear No. 1 receiver and target hog in Davante Adams. Myers is a great complimentary option, likely mixing in with Hunter Renfrow to give the Raiders a solid top three in their receiving corps. In terms of fantasy, it’s hard to gauge his weekly value. He drifts to the lower end of the Top 50 for me with this move, making him a less steady weekly fantasy value.
Stock Up: Darren Waller, New York Giants
About: Waller has struggled with injuries and consistent targets the past two seasons, but the potential is there. He had back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020 when he was the focus of the Raiders’ pass offense. In New York, with an unproven wide receiver group at best, he becomes the best weapon in Daniel Jones’ arsenal. That’s a great position to be in, helping Waller solidify his spot as a Top 12 option at a difficult position.
Stock Down: Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
About: Last off-season, Schultz was coming off a career year and earned the Franchise Tag from the Dallas Cowboys. He couldn’t get a long-term deal done. Now, coming off a down year that saw him miss games due to injury, he’s landed just a one-year deal with the Texans. Similar to how I felt about Singletary’s deal, it’s a risk for Schultz. He’s a great passing option at tight end, but it’s unclear how the Texans’ passing game will develop in the midst of a rebuild. And Schultz lacks the security of a long-term deal, meaning for dynasty, his production in 2023 and beyond is very much up in the air. I’ve dropped him out of my Top 12 and am looking for a more reliable option, perhaps moving Schultz for a second-or-third round pick to get a future prospect.
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.