The NFL free agency frenzy will start on March 9, which is why we wanted to showcase the top AFC free agents and trade candidates to watch.
Two of the top quarterback AFC free agents to watch are backups now. But with several teams in desperate need of a quarterback, they could turn into starters in 2017 Fantasy Football leagues. The AFC fee agents at the running back position that we’re watching are two veterans who are coming off of injury-plagued seasons.
For the wide receiver AFC free agents, one receiver just asked his team to cut him. Some Fantasy players think his best years are behind him, but he could be relevant once again if he signs with the right team. The other receiver wants to stay with his current team, even though it would make more sense for him to hit the open market.
Finally, there’s one tight end who could be in for a big payday. In 2016, this tight end hauled in seven touchdowns, which was the most of his career. He would still play for his current team, but he can make a lot more money in a new city.
Let’s get started with the quarterback AFC free agents to keep an eye for the 2017 Fantasy Football season.
2017 Fantasy Football: AFC Free Agents
Jimmy Garoppolo to the Cleveland Browns?
The New England Patriots are being coy about trading Jimmy Garoppolo. But with Tom Brady looking like he could play another four or five seasons, it makes sense to try and get a few draft picks for the former second-round pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Even with just two full games completed in the 2016 NFL season, the 25-year old quarterback did enough to impress quarterback-needy teams. In Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season against the Arizona Cardinals, Garoppolo completed 24-of- 33 passes. He recorded 264 passing yards and threw one touchdown.
Garoppolo followed that performance with 232 passing yards and three touchdown passes against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2.
But part of the reason teams aren’t racing out to try and sign Garoppolo is the asking price. It’s reportedly steep (a first-round pick and a second-round pick). But a team that needs a quarterback, like the Cleveland Browns, could be willing to pay the price.
That’s because Cleveland has two picks in Round 1 and two picks in Round 2. The brass wouldn’t be giving up as much as other teams to sign him. If he does sign with Cleveland, Garoppolo would have two promising receivers to work with in Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman. He would also have Duke Johnson as a solid pass-catching back.
The Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers are also reportedly interested in signing Garoppolo.
The next quarterback isn’t a free agent until 2018, but he’s also a backup who could become a starting quarterback in the 2017 Fantasy Football season…
Will the Bengals Trade A.J. McCarron?
The Cincinnati Bengals could trade backup quarterback A.J. McCarron if the right offer comes along.
In seven games in 2015, McCarron completed 79-of-119 passes, recorded 854 passing yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.
If the Browns can’t land Garoppolo, they could look to trade a draft pick for McCarron. Head coach Hue Jackson spent time with McCarron in Cincinnati as the offensive coordinator.
Other teams in need of a quarterback outside of Cleveland, San Francisco, and Chicago are the New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, and Houston Texans.
The next player was asked to be cut, and he got his wish…
Brandon Marshall a Perfect Match for the Baltimore Ravens?
The New York Jets cut Brandon Marshall on March 2, making him one of the top AFC free agents available.
Now, it’s true Marshall probably isn’t on a lot of radars right now. That’s because he went from a 109-1,502-14 stat line in 2015, to a 59-788-3 stat line in 2016.
But before completely dismissing him, let’s take a look at what happened in 2016.
The carousel of quarterbacks on the Jets last year only threw a total of 16 touchdown passes in 2016. So as long as Marshall gels with his new team and has a competent quarterback, it should be easy for him to improve his touchdown totals from last season.
And one landing spot that could return him to Fantasy relevancy is with the Baltimore Ravens.
Veteran receiver Steve Smith Sr. hauled in 14 touchdowns in three seasons with the Ravens, and he also posted a 1,000-yard season in 2014. Anquan Boldin also caught 14 touchdowns in three seasons with Baltimore.
While Joe Flacco has never thrown more than 27 touchdown passes in a season, he’s still a major upgrade from what Marshall had last season.
While Marshall is one of the best free agents on the market, the next receiver to watch had one of the most impressive 2016 seasons of any wide receiver.
Terrelle Pryor Wants to Stay in Cleveland
With five quarterbacks attempting at least 24 passes for Cleveland in 2016 and Terrelle Pryor’s first full NFL season as a wide receiver, it was amazing he posted a 77-1,007-4 stat line.
Right now, it seems most likely that Pryor is staying in Cleveland. He wants to, even though Cleveland finished with just a one-win season for 2016.
There isn’t much speculation on where Pryor could land outside of Cleveland. But some teams in need of wide receiver help are the Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee Titans, and the Buffalo Bills.
Outside of the two quarterbacks and wide receivers I mentioned, there are also two running back free agents to keep an eye on.
Jamaal Charles and the Philadelphia Eagles?
Jamaal Charles was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb 28. While he’s incredibly risky because of his age (30) and injury history, Charles could turn into a steal.
The team apparently most interested in Charles is the Philadelphia Eagles. Ryan Mathews isn’t a free agent until 2018, but the Eagles could save $4 million in cap space by releasing him.
Right now, Charles is a fourth-round pick on FantasyFootballCalculator.com. However, I still feel that’s too early to draft him considering he may be in a time share in Philadelphia.
Darren Sproles is still hanging around in Philadelphia, and he was an effective receiver last season with 52 catches, 427 receiving yards, and two touchdown receptions.
I wouldn’t consider drafting him until Round 6 at the earliest, depending on where he lands.
The other AFC free agent to watch is also an older back returning from injuries.
Will Danny Woodhead Stay with the Los Angeles Chargers?
Danny Woodhead is expected to re-sign with the Chargers. But the big question is about his workload…
Woodhead has always been a solid pass-catching back, and he was basically a receiver in 2015 with 81 receptions, 756 receiving yards, and six touchdown receptions.
But Melvin Gordon emerged as a capable dual-threat back in 2016. In 13 games, he rushed for 997 yards and scored 10 rushing touchdowns. He also posted a 41-419-2 stat line as a receiver.
While his workload will be limited if Gordon is still effective, you need to handcuff Woodhead if you’re willing to spend a first-round pick on Gordon in your 2017 Fantasy Football draft.
Martellus Bennett Too Pricey?
In terms of receptions and receiving yards, Martellus Bennett has had better seasons than he did in 2016 with the New England Patriots. But his seven touchdowns was the best of his career.
That could price him out of New England if he wants to take advantage of his success. The Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars are reportedly interested in signing Bennett.
That is it for the AFC Free Agents. Be on the lookout for a breakdown of the NFC Free Agents coming soon. We won’t stop there. As each player signs with their new team, we will discuss the Fantasy implications for the player that was traded, as well as the Fantasy implications for the other offensive players affected by the trade.
Finally, if you venture to the dark side and play Fantasy Baseball, check out our draft kit below.
What’s the best Fantasy Baseball draft tool ever created? Check out the details right here provided by David Gonos, where he discusses in great detail, the Draft Wizard and Draft Assistant. Voted the best Fantasy Baseball draft tool for 2017, the FantasyPros’ Draft Wizard is all you need for a successful draft, as well as in-season management, on your way to a championship.
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