Identifying the Key Offseason Moves in the offseason can help determine how valuable the players will be in the upcoming season.
Keeping track of all the NFL players that change teams from year to year can be tricky. A lot of moves can fly under the radar, leaving Fantasy players in the lurch when NFL players in different scenarios breakout.
In the 2016 offseason, the Tennessee Titans signed running back DeMarco Murray. In 2015 Murray played for the Philadelphia Eagles where he had a down year. It was believed that Murray was going to have to fight for carries with Derrick Henry. However, Murray took the job from day one and never looked back.
Murray had the fifth best Fantasy season for running backs and wasn’t being drafted until rounds 4-6.
Moves like this happen every year and if caught ahead of time these moves can help you win your league. Let’s get to the 2017 Key Offseason Moves.
2017 Key Offseason Moves
The New York Giants sign Brandon Marshall
The Jets were a mess last year so it wasn’t a surprise that Brandon Marshall had a down year in 2016. Marshall failed to post 1,000 yards for just the third time in his career. I envision Marshall, now with the New York Giants, to have a bounce- back year.
All the spotlight from opposing defenses will be on the Giants star wider receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and how to take him out of the game. This bodes well for Marshall as he will not have to face as many double teams. The Giants also have budding star wide receiver Sterling Shepard who burst onto the scene as a rookie last year.
Oh yeah, and there’s the guy throwing all these receivers the ball. His name is Eli Manning, ever heard of him? Manning is probably the best quarterback Marshall has ever played with, and Manning won’t have a problem spreading the ball around. Marshall will especially help in the red zone as a big body and target for Manning.
Marshall to the Giants means Fantasy goodness and an embarrassment of riches for the New York Giants. Look for a bounce back Fantasy year from Brandon Marshall in 2017.
Cleveland bolsters its offensive line
A team adding a couple offensive linemen doesn’t sound like important news, but when it’s the Cleveland Browns it’s like the sky is falling. Cleveland’s quarterbacks took a beating game after game so the Browns did something about it.
Cleveland added JC Tretter (C), formerly of the Green Bay Packers. They also added Kevin Zeitler (G) from their rival Cincinnati Bengals. So, the new interior of the Browns line looks like this: Joel Bitonio (LG), Tretter (C), and Zeitler (RG).
The interior of the Browns revamped offensive line is impressive. Let’s not forget that the Browns have a pro-bowl tackle in Joe Thomas returning as well. The offensive line in Cleveland has the potential to be an absolute monster.
This has two main effects on the team. The first is that defenses won’t be able to get to Cleveland’s quarterbacks as often as last season. Increased time to throw means more targets for receivers Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman.
The second effect is how the line will bolster the running game. The Browns have an exceptional running back in Isaiah Crowell. Crowell had a successful season in 2016 where he was only 48 yards shy of topping 1,000. The addition of these interior linemen will help open holes in between the tackles, where Crowell does his best running.
Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith head to Philadelphia
Carson Wentz really didn’t have anyone to throw the ball to in 2016. It was Zach Ertz, Jordan Matthews, and Darren Sproles. It was evident the Eagles were going to have to do something to improve the talent of its pass catchers for 2017.
The Eagles went receiver shopping and came back with a pretty impressive haul. Alshon Jeffery gives the Eagles a bona fide number one receiver who can go up and get the ball. Wentz to Jeffery is something we may hear a lot of if Jeffery can stay healthy in 2017.
The other receiver the Eagles signed is Torrey Smith. Smith is a speedy receiver who will be able to spread the field for Wentz and beat outside coverage with his speed. Smith isn’t a big receiver but what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed.
The combination of Jeffery and Smith on the outside with Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz patrolling the middle gives Wentz multiple pass-catching options.
Bringing these players in makes me a lot more comfortable drafting Carson Wentz for 2017.
The Baltimore Ravens add two new pass catchers
Steve Smith retired, Dennis Pitta re-injured his hip, Kamar Aiken went to the Colts, and Kyle Juszczyk went to the 49ers.
That’s four players who would’ve had a huge effect on the Ravens offense who are not with the team for 2017. Enter Danny Woodhead and Jeremy Maclin.
Woodhead is a tremendous pass catcher out of the backfield who can take swing passes 10-15 yards and turn them into first downs. Joe Flacco loves to throw to his running backs and having a dynamic weapon such as Woodhead will help the team move the sticks.
The Ravens receiver depth chart before signing Maclin was primarily made up of Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman. Wallace and Perriman are primarily speed guys and neither can make the tough contested catches needed to convert first downs.
The acquisition of Maclin gives Joe Flacco a reliable target. Maclin can make the tough catches needed to convert and be a go-to guy. Maclin will be able to run routes over the middle of the field while Perriman and Wallace stretch the field.
I still think the Ravens will go out and try to get another pass catcher, but these two players will be immensely helpful to Flacco as players who will keep the offense moving in the right direction in 2017.
Each offseason teams make moves they deem important to their success for the next season. These key offseason moves will help the teams improve for the upcoming season. Identifying the changes made helps Fantasy players chose the right new faces in new places for the upcoming season. The players listed will have a huge impact on the new teams they have joined for the 2017 season.