By the time you're reading this, we hope the Aaron Rodgers saga is finally over. He said Wednesday on the first day of the NFL new year that he intends to join the Jets, but no trade has taken place yet with the Packers.
Rodgers, DeAndre Hopkins and Brandin Cooks are expected to change teams via trade at some point this offseason. And we still have some prominent free agents on the market, including Odell Beckham Jr., Dalton Schultz, Mike Gesicki and D.J. Chark. But for the most part, a lot of the major moves have already happened, and now it's time to spin it forward.
With that in mind, here are my five winners and five losers of the NFL offseason to date. The NFL Draft will likely impact these players as well, but here are some players who have seen their Fantasy value change as a result of these recent transactions.
The Bears quarterback not only got the assurance that he's staying in Chicago as the starter, but he also got a legit receiver in D.J. Moore when Carolina traded up to get the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Along with Moore, the Bears got a slew of draft picks, including No. 9 and No. 61 overall in 2023, and Chicago can continue to invest in weapons and offensive line help to support Fields. We saw Fields thrive in 2022 when he passed for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and run for 1,143 yards and eight scores. He averaged 21.1 Fantasy points per game, but he did that with a receiving corps that was among the worst in the NFL. The addition of Moore changes that, and Fields has top-three upside as a Fantasy quarterback. For now, he's my No. 5 quarterback behind Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts and Joe Burrow, but I love the outlook for Fields heading into this season with Moore on his side.
It's been a good few weeks for Pollard, and he could emerge as a top-tier Fantasy running back this season. Pollard was given the franchise tag by the Cowboys, which guarantees him $10.1 million for 2023, and he could still get a long-term deal. Dallas might be more motivated to invest in Pollard after releasing Ezekiel Eliott, which puts Pollard in position to be the No. 1 running back. Mike McCarthy said at the NFL Combine he wants to put more emphasis on running the ball this season, and the Cowboys were able to retain standout offensive lineman Tyron Smith. Now, Dallas can still add another running back of prominence this offseason, most likely in the NFL Draft, which is why we're only cautiously optimistic for Pollard as of now. But if a high-profile rookie or veteran isn't brought in, Pollard could be a star worth drafting in Round 2 in all leagues. He played two games without Elliott in 2022, and he scored 54 PPR points in those outings. For the season, he averaged 15.8 PPR points per game, and that was with Elliott still in the mix. Pollard should be fine for Week 1 after hurting his ankle in the playoff loss to San Francisco, and the arrow is pointing to the moon for Pollard right now.
Things are trending up for White, who should open the season as the No. 1 running back in Tampa Bay. Leonard Fournette was released, and so far the only competition for White is newly acquired Chase Edmonds and Ke'Shawn Vaughn. The offense in Tampa Bay should regress with Tom Brady retired and Baker Mayfield now the expected starter at quarterback, but White is still going to get plenty of volume. And the Buccaneers will be more run heavy now with the change at quarterback, as well as new offensive coordinator Dave Canales calling plays. You should treat White as a borderline No. 2 running back in all leagues, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 5. He had plenty of positive moments as a rookie in 2022 while sharing touches with Fournette. White was one of 11 running backs with at least 50 catches (50 for 290 yards and two touchdowns on 58 targets), and he finished the season with 129 carries for 481 yards and one touchdown. He took over as the lead running back in Tampa Bay in Week 10, and he closed the season with at least 12 total touches in six of his final eight games. Over that span, he had five games with at least 10 PPR points and three games with at least 14 PPR points.
The Raiders traded Waller to the Giants for a third-round pick, and Waller could be the No. 1 pass catcher for Daniel Jones. The Giants also added Parris Campbell to their receiving corps on Thursday and may not be done, but Waller should still be in better standing with the Giants than he was with the Raiders. And he has the chance to be a top-five Fantasy tight end once again. First and foremost, he has to stay healthy, and the 30-year-old has been limited to 20 games over the past two seasons. That's not good. But what is good is Waller's production when healthy, and he averaged 12.1 PPR points per game in 2021. This was after he averaged 13.8 PPR points in 2019 and 17.4 PPR points in 2020. In 2022, he shared the field with Davante Adams, and Waller dropped to 9.0 PPR points. But he still averaged 13.9 yards per catch, and the Giants will love his ability to make explosive plays. And coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka should feature Waller since both have extensive experience with tight ends in their history. Waller's health and age might scare you off, but he should be a target hog in New York. For me, I'm drafting Waller as a top-five tight end behind Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, T.J. Hockenson and Dallas Goedert as early as Round 6.
We'll see what the Chiefs do with their receiving corps in the NFL Draft and the rest of this offseason, but things continue to trend in the right direction for Toney and Skyy Moore. JuJu Smith-Schuster left Kansas City as a free agent to New England, and Mecole Hardman so far remains unsigned. Hardman could return to the Chiefs, but I'm not sure that limits the upside for Toney and Moore. Andy Reid said at the NFL Combine that more is expected of both young receivers. "Both of them will probably have bigger roles," Reid said. "Both of them are very talented." Toney has the higher ceiling, and he could be a difference maker for Fantasy managers if he can stay healthy. He didn't do much with the Chiefs after a midseason trade from the Giants with only 17 targets in seven games, but he can change a game on one play. He caught a touchdown in Super Bowl LVII against the Eagles and had a 65-yard punt return. Moore also scored in the Super Bowl but had just 22 catches for 250 yards and no touchdowns on 33 targets in his rookie campaign. If the Chiefs top trio of receivers is Toney, Moore and Marquez Valdes-Scantling then I'll be investing heavily in Toney and Moore. Toney is someone to target as early as Round 7, and Moore is a great pick in Round 10.
Other winners of note: Khalil Herbert, Rashaad Penny, Samaje Perine, Alexander Mattison and K.J. Osborn
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There are several reasons to fade Kamara this year, most notably the potential suspension he might receive at some point during the season after being charged with battery for an incident in Las Vegas during Pro Bowl weekend in February 2022. But the addition of Jamaal Williams, who signed a three-year, $12 million contract, is another downgrade for Kamara this year. Kamara should remain the lead running back for the Saints and definitely work in the passing game ahead of Williams. But Williams just led the NFL with 17 rushing touchdowns, and he also had 262 carries for 1,066 yards. And he could be a factor in the passing game after he averaged 30 receptions a season in four years with the Packers to start his career. Derek Carr should help the offense as a whole for the Saints, but Kamara might be trending in the wrong direction in his career. The 27-year-old averaged a career-low 13.2 PPR points per game in 2022, and he only scored two rushing touchdowns. It's hard to expect a significant spike in rushing touchdowns with Williams now in New Orleans, and let's not forget Taysom Hill is still there as well. The earliest I would draft Kamara is Round 5, and any suspension will clearly continue to lower his value.
At the NFL Combine, Dan Campbell said he didn't anticipate giving Swift a big workload this season with the hope of keeping him healthy. Campbell's words were seemingly put into action when the Lions signed David Montgomery to a three-year, $18 million deal. Now, it's not like the Lions don't like Swift, and Campbell called him "a very talented player" and "an explosive athlete." But Swift has struggled to stay healthy in his career, and he missed three games with ankle and shoulder injuries in 2022. Swift is entering a contract year, which will hopefully motivate him for a big season. But the addition of Montgomery makes it hard to envision a breakout campaign for Swift if everyone is healthy. Montgomery should be an upgrade from a talent perspective over Jamaal Williams, who just led the NFL with 17 rushing touchdowns and added 262 carries for 1,066 yards. And Montgomery could impact Swift's role in the passing game since Montgomery had 34 receptions in 2022. I'm still planning to draft Swift as a low-end No. 2 running back/flex in Round 5. Despite his injuries and limited playing time -- he played more than 50 percent of the snaps just five times all year in 2022 -- he still had at least 12 PPR points in eight of 14 games. He's still capable of making a big impact, even in a limited role.
This isn't so much about Wilson and Mostert. Returning to Miami might have been their best option in free agency to get prominent touches. Wilson signed a two-year deal worth up to $8.2 million, and Mostert signed for two years at $5.6 million. The reason I listed them here is because I was hoping the Dolphins would upgrade their backfield. Whether it was going after a free agent or drafting a high-profile rookie, that seems unlikely at this point. Now, we get the headache of trying to figure out the best Miami running back on a weekly basis. I'm going to lean toward Wilson slightly ahead of Mostert. When both were healthy after Wilson joined the Dolphins in Week 9, Wilson played more snaps than Mostert in five of seven contests. He's also younger (27) than Mostert (30), but neither one will have a significant edge coming into the season. Most likely, you're looking at Wilson and Mostert as flex options, and Round 7 is the earliest you should consider either one.
Godwin and Evans were going to lose Fantasy value once Tom Brady announced his retirement in February. But the addition of Baker Mayfield, who signed a one-year contract with a maximum value of $8.5 million, could be disastrous for the dynamic receiver duo. Mayfield will compete with Kyle Trask for the starting quarterback job in Tampa Bay (for now), and it's unrealistic for Godwin and Evans to both remain dominant. For starters, the Buccaneers aren't going to throw the ball as much as they did with Brady, who had consecutive seasons of more than 700 pass attempts. Less volume means less production, and the quality of targets from Mayfield/Trask could potentially be worse than it was from Brady. I have more confidence in Godwin than I do Evans, and I still have Godwin ranked as a No. 2 receiver in PPR. He'll remain the slot receiver for Tampa Bay and should continue to lead the Buccaneers in targets and catches. Mayfield's top receiver in Cleveland was Jarvis Landry, and Godwin is a more talented receiver who Mayfield should lean on. Evans is 30 this year, and his streak of nine seasons in a row with at least 1,000 receiving yards could be in trouble. He only scored six touchdowns in 2022, and an increase on that number seems unlikely. Evans is a high-end No. 3 receiver at best, and the earliest I would draft him is Round 5.
I didn't expect Smith-Schuster to end up in a place where his Fantasy value would explode. But going to New England on a three-year, $33 million contract isn't the most ideal landing spot. The positive is there are targets available after Jakobi Meyers left for Las Vegas. Meyers averaged 6.8 targets per game in 2022, and Smith-Schuster should step into the slot role for Mac Jones. But are the Patriots going to get pass happy this season under new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien? Do they trust Mac Jones more in Year 3? Jones has averaged 481 pass attempts a season in two years, and Smith-Schuster is coming off a season where he failed to take off with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. His one-year tenure with the Chiefs ended well with a Super Bowl victory, but Smith-Schuster scored double digits in PPR just seven times. I think Smith-Schuster can be a low-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver worth drafting with a mid-round pick. He can probably replicate the 12.1 PPR points per game he averaged in 2022 -- Meyers was at 12.6 PPR points per game -- but anything more than that is probably unrealistic.