💣 A Bombshell Trade For The No. 1 Pick

On the cusp of FA...

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The Bears win the Oscar for best adapted screenplay...

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Zingeroo:

  • A huge trade for the No. 1 pick

  • The Dolphins make a big move

  • OverReaction Monday: Pay Lamar!

  • Seeing the future: A Broncos bet

  • It's 3/13. Take it away, Peter Overzet.

The legal tampering period for NFL free agency begins today at noon ET, but the biggest move of the offseason went down on Friday afternoon when the Bears traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers for this massive haul:

  • Pick No. 9

  • Pick No. 61

  • 2024 first-round pick

  • 2025 second-round pick

Wow, nice job Chicago!

  • and WR D.J. Moore

Let’s break it down from a fantasy perspective…

📈 Justin Fields finally gets a legitimate weapon

The Bears put very little effort into surrounding Fields with weapons heading into the 2022 season (sorry, drafting a 25-year old rookie and trading for Chase Claypool in November doesn’t count), but by securing Moore in this deal, they finally have enough talent on offense to compete with the big boys.

The Bears threw for a league-worst 2,598 passing yards in 2022, but should air it out far more in 2023 with Claypool and Darnell Mooney stretching the field on the outside and Moore and Cole Kmet feasting underneath.

Pete’s Takeaway: Fields should be the 4th QB off the board in drafts behind only Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts.

📈 Moore finally gets a QB

He’s a bona fide WR1 who has been plagued with subpar QB play his entire career. I think it’s fair to worry about volume concerns in a run-heavy offense, but a spike in efficiency and more big plays should fully offset it.

Pete’s Takeaway: Moore has only 21 total TDs through five years and has still delivered four straight WR2 seasons. He’ll flirt with WR1 territory for the first time in 2023 while finding the end zone with more regularity.

📉 The cupboard is bare in Carolina

Sure, they’ll get their QB of the future, but C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young will not have much help when they hit the field this fall. The Panthers WR depth chart is now the worst in the league after Moore’s departure:

  • Terrace Marshall

  • Laviska Shenault

  • Shi Smith

  • Preston Williams

They’ll almost certainly add some bodies in FA and via the draft, but it won’t be pretty regardless.

The low-key winners for fantasy in Carolina are the RBs, D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard, who will receive all the work they can handle in 2023. Foreman is a UFA so he could potentially leave, but re-signing him is reportedly an in-house priority.

Pete’s Takeaway: Marshall, Hubbard, and Foreman are all good late-round fliers in your Big Board drafts for now, but don’t be surprised if competition arrives sooner rather than later.

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📣 We're tracking every free agency move. Get everything you need to know.

🐬 The Dolphins make a big move. Are the Rams blowing it up?

💰 The 5 teams with the most cap space entering FA. The Bears are set to dominate the offseason.

🔒 The Saints lock up their TE. Derek Carr's new Darren Waller?

🤷 An update on Aaron Rodgers' plans. Will this ever end?

🏃‍♂️ The fastest man in the NFL took it to the track. And crushed.

💦 The Texans make a splash in FA?? Fine, maybe a puddle?

⚔️ A QB battle comes into focus. Good news out of San Fran.

✌️ The Vikings say goodbye to a mainstay. Where will he land?

OverReaction Monday

We're humans who play fantasy football, which means we are prone to overreact. Today, Kendall leads us in overreacting to the latest QB drama...

💸Teams need to “risk” it all for Lamar Jackson

We all read the news last Tuesday — the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson. This was the first time in seven years that a quarterback has been given the non-exclusive tag (the last was Kirk Cousins in 2016).

Here’s what’s important to know about the non-exclusive franchise tag: Jackson can negotiate with other teams, but the Ravens can match any offer. So, if Jackson signs with another team and Baltimore declines to match that offer, then the Ravens will get sent two first-round picks from Jackson’s new team.

ALRIGHT so here’s the overreaction: A TEAM SHOULD PAY LAMAR JACKSON.

I really don’t mean just any team, but more specifically, one in the QB market that doesn’t want to take a risk on a rookie: the Indianapolis Colts. STAY WITH ME HERE.

This idea has been floating around all weekend, especially after the Panthers traded for the No.1 overall pick on Friday.

Do the Colts really want to take a swing on the fourth-best quarterback in the NFL Draft (assuming the Cardinals trade their pick)? There’s a risk here on both sides — yes, a fully guaranteed contract is risky in and of itself, but so is taking a swing on a rookie QB.

So, if the Colts trade the No. 4 overall pick and a 2024 first-round pick (per the non-exclusive information above) to the Ravens for Jackson. Come on, the Mock Draft Gods even agree, this would be fun! Will it happen? PROBABLY NOT, but this is what makes overreaction Monday worth it.

Let’s just make a new ice cream flavor every week until the Ravens pay Lamar!

OverReaction Monday Lamar

🙏Send all the good vibes to Chris Godwin and Mike Evans

Nothing like going from superstar quarterback Tom Brady to... Baker Mayfield?!

Oh yeah, you heard me right. There are reports circulating that the Buccaneers are expected to target Mayfield as a potential starting quarterback option. *sigh*

You know I usually like to put a positive spin on things, but really I can’t figure one out here. And please don’t bring up that one Thursday Night Football game where he hopped off the plane in Los Angeles and led an improbable comeback against the Raiders.

Let’s all remember he was with the Panthers for 12 weeks in 2022, winning just one of the seven games he appeared in. After he was picked up by the Rams off waivers, Mayfield won just one of his four starts.

This move would not be good, but it especially wouldn’t be good for fantasy football purposes. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans deserve better!

Futures bets

Finding values on NFL future bets is a year-round venture, but most of us don't have the time to birddog all of the options. That is why we are lucky to have our resident futures expert, LaMarca, constantly sniffing for value...

We’re off to a solid start with our NFL futures. The Bears were the first pick in this series, and they’ve already dropped from +3000 to +2200 to win the NFC on BetMGM. With a legit No. 1 receiver in town for Justin Fields, two first-round picks, and an abundance of cap space, their stock should only continue to rise as we get closer to the start of the season.

This time, we’re going to focus on the AFC. The Broncos are currently available at +2000 to win the conference, which puts them in the same boat as teams like the Raiders (+2200) and Browns (+2200).

I think the Broncos are clearly the best team in that bunch.

2022-23 was a weird year for the Denver Broncos. They brought in a marquee quarterback in Russell Wilson only to watch him post the worst season of his career.

Wilson was horrendous in his 15 starts, posting a 4-11 record while averaging 6.9 adjusted yards per attempt with 16 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. He dipped all the way to No. 29 in the Pro Football Focus quarterback grades after finishing inside the top six in seven of his 10 years with the Seahawks.

This had a massive impact on the Broncos’ offense, which ranked dead last in the league in points per game.

Seeing the future Denver

The big question heading into the offseason is can Wilson turn things around next season?

The team is doing everything they can to help him out, starting with a change as head coach. They brought in Sean Payton from the Saints, who is regarded as one of the sharpest offensive minds in football.

In Payton’s 15 years in New Orleans, his offense ranked inside the top 10 in yards 13 times. They were first in yardage six times. They also put plenty of points on the scoreboard, so he seems like the perfect option to turn around the Broncos’ disappointing unit.

Having a first-ballot Hall of Famer in Drew Brees at quarterback certainly didn’t hurt, but Payton is capable of getting the best out of this unit.

The Broncos also have room to improve the rest of their roster. They’re currently seventh in the league in terms of cap space, and they should focus that money on improving their offensive line. Wilson’s biggest struggles last year were when he was under pressure, which happened on 35.9% of his dropbacks.

They ranked 30th in the league in adjusted sack rate, and getting Wilson better protection will undoubtedly improve his production.

Additionally, getting back Javonte Williams should also be a huge boost to the offense. He was dynamic as a runner as a rookie, leading the league with 31 broken tackles despite splitting touches with Melvin Gordon.

He was limited to just four games last season, but he has the potential to be one of the best running backs in the league in 2023-24.

If the offense can just get to league-average, they could win a lot of games with their defense. They fell off a bit towards the end of last year – particularly in an embarrassing loss to the Rams – but they were one of the best units in football at the start of the year. They allowed 19 points or fewer in eight of their first nine games, yet they managed to win just three of them.

With an elite coordinator in Vance Joseph and one of the best cornerbacks in football in Patrick Surtain, this unit should be good once again in 2023-24.

Ultimately, all the pieces are there for a bounce-back season. They just need Payton to put them together.

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