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Tracking 2015 Fantasy Football Player Movement: Part 1

With all of the players changing teams, we take a quick look at the quarterbacks and running backs that have switched teams and how that will affect their Fantasy value for the 2015 season.

Whoa. What a crazy couple of weeks it’s been in the NFL. I know, most of you are focused on your Fantasy Baseball drafts, but for those of us who live, love and breathe football year-round, this player movement is as exciting as it gets this time of year.

While some Fantasy owners may not realize some of this movement around the league until they start prepping for their drafts this summer, savvy Fantasy owners pay attention year-round.

If nothing else, if you are in a dynasty or keeper league, you want to follow the latest transactions because it may affect your team (or if you can still trade in the off-season, allow you to get a good deal).

To make it easier for you, we have a round-up (as of March 14, 2015) of the major transactions that have taken place in the NFL that will affect your Fantasy season.

We’ll go into more depth with these transactions and how they affect not only the player listed, but the others on the team as well as the off-season progresses, but here is the latest.

2015 Player Movement: Quarterbacks

Please keep in mind that this list will change as more players change teams. Please also note that I didn’t mention players that re-signed with their current team (Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks and Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens as two examples).

Sam Bradford, QB, Philadelphia

You’ll see the Eagles come up quite a bit in this article as they are restructuring their entire team. Bradford, who missed half of the 2013 season and all of the 2014 season with injuries is now going to compete with Mark Sanchez for the starting quarterback job in Philadelphia. He gets to work with Chip Kelly, which should help. It will be interesting to see how Kelly works his magic with Bradford and his new team. Don’t be surprised to find Bradford on many sleeper QB lists heading into the 2015 season.

Nick Foles, QB, St. Louis

Out with the old in St. Louis as they traded Bradford for Foles. Granted, Bradford couldn’t stay healthy, but is Foles truly a step up? Foles, in eight games, threw for 2,163 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2014 before fracturing his collarbone. Unfortunately for Foles, the wide receiver corps is not nearly as strong in St. Louis as it was in Philadelphia. With their top receiver, Brian Quick, currently injured, it’s hard to recommend Foles as a starting Fantasy option.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, N.Y. Jets

After bouncing around the past two years, Fitzpatrick is in New York. He hasn’t been able to garner the same success that he had in Buffalo (three seasons with over 3,000 passing yards and at least 23 touchdowns). However, with weapons at wide receiver, he may become a serviceable Fantasy option. Fitzpatrick isn’t someone that you’ll target heading into your draft, but as a back-up or in two-quarterback leagues, he should definitely be on your radar.

Running Back Roulette

LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo

The McCoy to Buffalo deal was analyzed in-depth here so I won’t go into more detail except that you should expect a lot of receptions from McCoy this year. In PPR leagues, he gets a boost.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Philadelphia

We heard the speculation that Murray would not return to Dallas, but we weren’t sure where he’d land. The winner is the Eagles. After getting rid of McCoy, they added Murray to be a between-the-tackles back. He won’t get nearly as many carries as he did in Dallas (see below), but he should still get the goal-line work. His durability has been questioned in the past, and running backs coming off a season with a large number of touches have typically decreased in productivity. He’s still a clear Top 5 running back, but don’t expect almost 400 carries again – for better or worse.

Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia

Perhaps Chip Kelly was concerned with Murray’s durability. Perhaps he wanted to prolong Murray’s career. Or perhaps he has a master plan that we just don’t know about yet. Either way, he also signed Mathews to join Murray and Darren Sproles in the running back rotation. All three backs should have multiple carries a game, which will eat into all of their Fantasy values. Mathews is a clear handcuff to Murray, as my personal opinion is Murray does not stay healthy enough to play all 16 games in 2015.

Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis

At 32 for the start of the season, Gore certainly is one of the older running backs in the league. Each year, we seem to look at Gore and think that he’s too old and won’t be successful. He’s played all 16 games the past four years. In his 10 years in the league, he’s had over 1,000 rushing yards in eight of those seasons (one of the years he missed the 1K mark was his rookie season). His receptions have been down in the past few years, but Indy won’t look for him to catch the ball. He’ll take over as the lead back in Indianapolis and has RB2 value.

C.J. Spiller, RB, New Orleans

With Pierre Thomas (among others) gone from New Orleans, Spiller is in. Perhaps the Saints missed the Darren Sproles-type role that hasn’t been filled and want Spiller to handle passing downs. Mark Ingram is back and Spiller and Ingram will carry the load for the Saints. Expect an arrangement similar to the Fred Jackson/Spiller split in Buffalo. In PPR leagues, Spiller is a low RB2. Ingram is flirting with RB1 value.

Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas

So Dallas got rid of Murray and got … McFadden? Seems like someone got the short end of that deal. In reality, it appears that McFadden will be a solid handcuff or change of pace back to a true RB1 that is yet to be named. Perhaps Adrian Peterson? Perhaps a rookie that would benefit from having a veteran back to learn from? It’s hard to say, but don’t count on McFadden of 2015 being McFadden of 2010 … I don’t care how good Dallas’ offensive line is.

Shane Vereen, RB, N.Y. Giants

Vereen goes from being part of a running back committee in New England… to being part of a running back committee in New York. With Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams already both on the roster, Vereen just adds to the mix. Jennings is the passing down back and will likely still be ahead of Vereen on the depth chart. Injuries are a problem for both Jennings and Vereen, but their joint presence on the roster caps the upside of any Giants running back.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh

Williams to Pittsburgh is only notable if you are a Le’Veon Bell owner. Williams will be the handcuff to own, but that’s it. He’s not going to have Fantasy value as long as Bell is healthy and playing. Sure, he may come in to give Bell a break. He may even steal a goal-line carry or two, but don’t bite on someone who lost playing time to Jonathan Stewart in 2014.

Reggie Bush, RB, San Francisco

Bush to San Francisco doesn’t say as much for Bush as it does for Carlos Hyde. Bush is an option in PPR leagues, but only because the running back market is so scarce. He isn’t someone that you’re going to target on draft day, and in standard leagues, he can be left alone. However, in PPR leagues, the 30-year-old may have some value.

We touch on the 2015 player movement of wide receivers and tight ends right here!

Frank Gore Photo Credit: David L. Gonzalez

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