🤫 Low-Key Free Agency Winners

They'll be tenth-round picks by June...

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Free agency fallout. New mocks. Potential trades looming. March Madness, indeed.

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by BetMGM:

  • Underrated Winners of Free Agency: The guys (you might) need

  • Love/Hate: A surprise edition!

  • Big Mike Finds A New Home

  • Top 150 Rankings Updates: Dwain don’t miss, y’all

  • It's 3/20. Take it away, Chris Allen.

“What is happening?!”

Like Twitter's default message, it’s all I could say last week after seeing each notification hit my phone. Everything felt like a shift away from 2023’s trends from the number of RBs to ink multi-year deals to the re-evaluation of QB development in the league. Accordingly, the common response is to try and figure out what it all means.

Best-ball ADPs are fluctuating, and we’re reshuffling the rankings (more on that in a bit) as we quantify the impact of each signing or trade. But we can’t just focus on the biggest winners from free agency.

If the results of these top-heavy tournaments have taught us anything, it’s that we can and need to find values outside of the early rounds to build competitive rosters. So while fantasy managers clamor for Marquise Brown or Curtis Samuel (and drive up their cost), a couple of low-key winners may prove to be the guys you need to have on your squad.

🐦 Greg Dortch, Cardinals

  • ADP: 225.9 (WR95)

We should be drafting Greg Dortch based on his celebration alone.

All right, fine. You probably want more than a disrespectful gesture toward a defender as a reason to click on a guy. Marquise Brown’s departure serves as a good starting point. When Hollywood missed time last season, Dortch challenged the WR corps for the top spot.

  • Target Share: 1st (amongst the ARI WRs)

  • Air Yard Share: 2nd

  • TPRR: 1st

  • YPRR: 1st

Only Trey McBride saw more targets in obvious passing situations than Dortch over that stretch.

But let’s assume Arizona drafts Marvin Harrison Jr. making Dortch their primary slot guy. The Cards shipped Rondale Moore over to Atlanta. There’s no one to challenge Dortch for snaps. And after averaging the second-most WR targets with Kyler Murray (despite getting a goose egg in Murray’s ‘23 debut), Dortch should be in queue during drafts this offseason.

🏴‍☠️ Tre Tucker, Raiders

  • ADP: 238.1 (WR109)

Honestly, after the Raiders cut Hunter Renfrow, I thought I’d be advocating for Jakobi Meyers instead of Tre Tucker. But from when Antonio Pierce took over as HC to the end of the regular season, the part-time player bested the full-time vet in multiple metrics.

  • YPRR: 1.83 (Tucker), 1.42 (Meyers)

  • TPRR: 19.1%, 17.3%

  • Air Yard Share: 23.1%, 20.3%

  • Explosive Play Rate: 24.2%, 18.2%

Plus, if Pierce is all about improving the vibes in Vegas, Tucker has Meyers beat there, too.

The Raiders drafted the Cincinnati speedster in the third round last year as a natural complement to Davante Adams and Meyers occupying safeties. And the coaching staff used their gravity to Tucker’s benefit. Despite the uncertainty at QB, with Renfrow gone, Tucker’s routes and targets should climb, given his ability to threaten defenses deep.

And if any trade rumors for Adams pick up again during the season, you’ll be glad you bet on Tucker. And since I mentioned betting, that reminds me…

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Surprise! A flurry of free agency changes calls for a special edition of everyone’s favorite column, Love/Hate from Matthew

📺 Ranking the top 24 post-free agency rankings changes. Take notes…

🥇 You know Caleb Williams is the likely No. 1 pick…but what about everything else you need to know?

🎥 The league announces a new documentary in the works. It ‘caught’ our attention.

🥹 The King signs his new contract with Baltimore in style. Much respect.

✈️ Mike Williams goes cross country for a new deal. Jets offense looking pretty scary now.

🤔 J.J. McCarthy meets with a couple of NFC East teams. They’re not drafting him, right?

👀 Brandon Aiyuk thinks he looks like an AFC North coach. It'd be even harder to tell them apart on the same team...

💪 Cincinnati signs a new OL. The Bengals are getting big up front!

😎 Travis Kelce: elite podcast host and….TV show host? Retirement might not be too far away for KC’s TE1.

Top 150 Ranks Update by Dwain

Player value has been in flux since the free agency started. The market says one thing, but let’s take a step back for a second and contextualize some of these situations. To help, Dwain has updated his FREE Top 150 ranks along with some notes on who’s moved up and down over the last week.

📈 Upgrades

💪 Josh Jacobs – RB9 (previously RB15)

Heading into free agency, the best scenario for Jacobs was landing on an RB-needy quality offense without a high-end passing-down option. Inking a four-year, $48M contract with the Packers – who cut Aaron Jones – Jacobs checks all of these boxes. With A.J. Dillon returning on a minimal deal, the runway is clear for Jacobs to dominate snaps.

While Jacobs’ efficiency took a massive hit in 2023, he will only be 26 this season and has proven capable of handling large workloads. Over his first five seasons, he has never finished worse than a mid-range RB2 and flashed high-end RB1 upside with an RB3 finish in 2022. While he might never duplicate that 2022 campaign, Jacobs offers low-end RB1 potential in Green Bay.

🚀 Drake London – WR14 (previously WR27)

London registered a 23% target share over his first 33 games in the NFL – a WR2-worthy mark. However, the Falcons have struggled through bad QB play over the last two seasons, averaging 172 and 222 yards per game passing. Now, they get Kirk Cousins, who has averaged 271 yards over the last three seasons.

Top 150 Ranks Update by Dwain

😤 George Pickens – WR32 (previously WR36)

With Diontae Johnson traded to the Panthers, Pickens could see a significant increase in targets in 2024. Last season, Pickens demanded a 26% target share on plays without Johnson versus 20% with him. Initially, I thought the third-year WR would move further up my ranks based on this news, but we still have questions at QB with Wilson and Fields, and Arthur Smith has limited snap counts on some of his studs in the past.

📉 Downgrades

😢 Tyjae Spears – RB28 (previously RB21)

Spears was electric in his rookie season, posting RB1-worthy marks in missed tackles forced per attempt (26%) and yards after contact (3.2). However, he appears destined for a committee role after the Titans signed Tony Pollard to a three-year, $24M deal. Like Spears, Pollard flashed elite efficiency and high-end receiving chops early in his career, and if he returns to form, Spears could struggle to pass a 30% snap share.

😱 Calvin Ridley – WR36 (previously WR30)

The Titans inked Ridley to a four-year $92M deal to start alongside DeAndre Hopkins so the team can see what they have in Will Levis. While Tennessee’s run-heavy ways are likely over, with Mike Vrabel gone, this isn’t an optimal landing spot for Ridley. Hopkins represents significant target competition – he averaged a 28% share last season. Additionally, Levis is an unknown. He made some great throws last season, but the consistency is a question mark.

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