As we discussed in Part I, many players in the National Football League have changed teams in 2015 — and we’re not even three months into the year.
Sure, the player movement will slow down after the initial free agent frenzy, but while we can still keep track of the craziness, let’s take a look.
Keep in mind that if a player is re-signed to his current team (Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers, for example) he isn’t going to be included in this analysis. We also haven’t yet delved into the impact of this movement on the other players on the team.
Since the offseason still stretches out for many more months, we’ll get there.
But for now, let’s look at the players that will be wearing new jerseys this season.
Wide Receivers on the Move
For the quarterbacks and running backs that are on new teams, check out Part I here. Now, on to Part II —
Jeremy Maclin, WR, KC
After missing all of the 2013 season because of injury, Maclin came back in 2014 and had a career-best season. He had 85 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had Chip Kelly scheming to get him the ball. While his quarterback in Philadelphia wasn’t the best, it wasn’t the downgrade he’s facing with Alex Smith. Smith didn’t throw a single touchdown pass to a wide receiver in 2014. He doesn’t throw the ball downfield, where Maclin shines. It’s tough to see Maclin as higher than a WR3 for 2015.
Despite missing 2013 season, Jeremy Maclin has more receiving TDs the last 2 seasons (10) than Chiefs WR have last 2 seasons combined (9)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 9, 2015
Brandon Marshall, WR, NYJ
From Jay Cutler to Ryan Fitzpatrick. If Marshall can stay healthy, he will still be a high WR2, as Fitzpatrick still gave DeAndre Hopkins Fantasy relevance. However, Marshall will have to get his head in the game and learn a new offense. He’ll have Eric Decker on the field with him, which actually should help both receivers. Decker can play the slot and Marshall will be available for the deep ball. The question will be if Fitzpatrick can get Marshall the deep ball effectively.
Andre Johnson, WR, IND
Step aside Reggie Wayne, here comes Andre Johnson. While Johnson will be 34, he still has plenty of talent and will thrive as the No. 2 receiver for Indianapolis. With Andrew Luck at quarterback, expect Johnson to have one of the best seasons of his career. His career-best year was in 2012, with 112 receptions and 1,598 yards. He only had four touchdowns that year; expect that number to rise in 2015. I’m projecting 1,250 yards and eight touchdowns for Johnson. Optimistic? Perhaps, but I think Luck will thrive with a new weapon.
Torrey Smith, WR, SF
Smith had the most touchdowns of his career (11) in 2014, but the fewest yards (767) and tied for the fewest receptions (49). Smith will be back with Anquan Boldin, but he’ll also be with Colin Kaepernick. Smith is known for his ability to get downfield and be available for the deep ball. Kaepernick isn’t known for using that play and effectively getting the ball deep downfield. Can he do it? Sure, but is it likely? Not especially. Smith is a low WR3 in 2015.
Kenny Stills, WR, MIA
Ryan Tannehill must be thrilled. Getting Stills as a weapon will only help him – and Stills. Instead of being one of many mouths to feed, Stills now jumps into the No. 2 receiver role. He and Jarvis Landry will lead Miami’s wide receiving corps, and Stills has plenty of upside. Both receivers are quick with good hands. In 2014, Stills had 63 receptions for 931 yards and three touchdowns. He was boom-or-bust, with two games over 100 yards and five games with under 35 yards. However, his arrow is pointing up in 2015 with the Dolphins.
Mike Wallace, WR, MIN
Once Stills was signed, the writing was on the wall for Wallace. He’s signed with Minnesota, where he’ll fill in as the No. 2 receiver opposite Charles Johnson. However, with Teddy Bridgewater as the quarterback, it’s hard to recommend Wallace as a solid Fantasy option. He’s a low WR3 because the talent is there. At 29, he’s put together some solid seasons, eclipsing 1,000 yards twice and having double-digit touchdowns twice. He was done with Miami, and Miami was done with him. Perhaps a change will do him good in Minnesota … or he could fall off the radar a la Greg Jennings.
Tight End Value Dropping
Julius Thomas, TE, JAX
Shh … do you hear that? That crying sound? That’s the sound of dynasty owners, once hearing that he was going from Peyton Manning throwing him the ball to Blake Bortles. Bortles threw 11 touchdowns last year and Thomas scored 12. Somehow that math does not seem to add up to a promising year for Thomas. While he still will be a target for Bortles, no one can realistically expect his red zone production to be what it was in Denver. He drops from a clear-cut Top 3 tight end to barely making the TE1 list.
Julius Thomas (headed to Jaguars) caught 79% of his targets when split out wide the last 2 seasons, 2nd best percentage in the NFL.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 10, 2015
Jimmy Graham, TE, SEA
While he was playing injured in 2014, Graham still managed 10 touchdowns in an offense that preferred the pass to the run. However, the Saints are cleaning house as much as possible, and they shipped Graham off to Seattle. While this may be a great move for the Seahawks, it does hurt Graham’s Fantasy value as well. Russell Wilson leads a run-first offense. At the goal-line, he looks to either run it himself or hand off to Marshawn Lynch (let’s ignore the last play of the Super Bowl for now). Now, it is likely the Seahawks will game-plan to get Graham into the red zone offense, and he might end up being a big target for when Wilson gets into trouble in the pocket, but Graham goes from being a first- or second-round draft pick to someone that will get picked in the middle rounds.
Jordan Cameron, TE, MIA
Miami has worked hard this offseason to upgrade its pass-catchers. By adding Cameron, they now have good receivers and two solid tight ends. Cameron should be used as more of a pass-catching tight end, while Charles Clay (assuming he stays with the Dolphins) can be more of a blocking tight end. Cameron’s Fantasy value was tanking in Cleveland, so this is an upgrade. If he can stay healthy, he will be a TE1 for the season.
Torrey Smith Photo Credit: Beth Tenser
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