Fantasy Football 2014: Early Winners From Free Agency

By Adam Pfeifer
Pierre Thomas
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports


This is so fun. This is so fun. This is so fun.

Free Agent Frenzy is one of the most exciting times of the year. There is nothing like sitting in front of your computer, watching NFL Network, checking your phone a la Adam Schefter. It’s especially fun when you are also a fantasy writer/enthusiast such as myself.

So here we are, towards the end of the second day of free agency. There have been a ton of moves, but, of course, you only care about the ones that present fantasy relevance, right?

Yeah, I thought so.


Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints: No, he wasn’t a free agent, and no, he didn’t change teams. But Thomas will be benefiting from the expected release of running back, Darren Sproles. Thomas is already coming off a very nice season in which he posted a career-high in receptions (77), which also ranked 24th overall in all of football, which is very impressive. The Saints also got rid of fullback Jed Collins, who has been known to vulture some goal line work from time to time. Thomas will be the top dog in this backfield, and could catch 75-80 passes again. The darkhorse here is Khiry Robinson, a talented young back who has drawn comparisons to the great Curtis Martin. He showed flashes last season, and the Saints love to use multiple backs, and usually get the best out of them. In fact, during each of the past four years, a different Saint led the team in rushing, so it wouldn’t surprise me if 2014 was Robinson’s year. He’s one of my biggest sleepers for the upcoming season.

Golden Tate, Detroit Lions: I really, really don’t like Tate, but I can’t deny that his fantasy stock soars with the landing spot in pass-happy Detroit. Tate, who is not a number one receiver on an offense, was asked to play that role the last two seasons in Seattle. However, now, with Calvin Johnson drawing attention on the opposite side, Tate should see much easier success. No, Detroit no longer has pass-happy offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, but new coordinator Joe Lombardi spent seven seasons with one of the most high-powered passing offenses in football in New Orleans. So he knows about throwing the pigskin around. Tate isn’t the best wideout in football, by any means, but, according to PFF, Tate has dropped just five out of 149 catchable passes over the last three seasons, the lowest rate in football. He can play, and immediately slides into the top 35 among fantasy receivers based on opportunity and volume.

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants: Jennings was the best runner in Oakland last season, which isn’t saying much seeing as Darren McFadden doesn’t know how to stay on the football field. Despite starting only eight games last year, Jennings rushed for 733 yards and six scores, while also hauling in a respectable 36 balls. He’s a versatile back, and now that he’s with the Giants, he may very well enter the season at the top of the depth chart. David Wilson is coming off a serious neck injury, and has struggled with both ball security and pass protection. Andre Brown is still around, but after the team re-signed veteran Peyton Hillis, Brown’s days in New York could be numbered. Jennings, 29, has never been a true starting running back, either, so there isn’t much wear and tear to worry about. This is an offense that has ranked third and sixth in red zone scoring attempts per game during the two seasons prior to 2013’s disaster of a campaign. There should be some opportunity for Jennings to serve as a low-end RB2.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.


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