🤯 A WR Move NO ONE Saw Coming


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In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Moby:

  • Calvin Ridley to the Titans, Mike Williams released

  • Not again, Arthur Smith…

  • RBs under the microscope: Zamir White RB1 SZN? Maybe…

  • It’s 3/14. Take it away, Peter Overzet…

Free Agency technically didn’t start until 4 pm yesterday—don’t forget to let everyone know that, by the way—but the majority of the dust had settled well before then.

Wednesday wasn’t without surprises, though. Two big WR question marks came into focus, including a move no one saw coming:

🤔 Calvin Ridley Stuns Everyone

Heading into yesterday evening, it seemed like one of two things were possible with Calvin Ridley’s free agency:

1) Ridley re-signs with the Jaguars after biding his time and helping the team retain their 2nd round pick.

2) He heads to New England and accepts a substantial offer that was apparently better than Jacksonville’s.

But then, out of nowhere, Ridley shocked the league by signing a four-year, $92 million deal with the Tennessee Titans.


As Matthew notes here, this is a downgrade for Ridley’s value but a boon for the Titans offense, which has quietly stockpiled assets.

As always, the success of this squad—and the pass catchers for fantasy—will all come down to the QB play. It’s on you now, Will Levis.

✂️ The Chargers Cut Mike Williams

One of the worst-kept secrets heading into the offseason was the Chargers living in cap hell. Before yesterday, they carried four of the Top 12 cap hits across the entire NFL.

They freed up $20 million at the buzzer on Wednesday, though, releasing 30-year-old Mike Williams after seven seasons with the team.

Williams immediately becomes one of the top available WRs, though he’ll have to contend with an exciting rookie crop.

I like Ian’s shortlist. I think my favorite would be the Bills, where he’d be a logical upgrade on Gabe Davis.

Where would you like to see Mike Williams land?

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👀 A rookie WR going overlooked in a loaded class. He could have an immediate impact.

📣 Roddy White sounds off on Sean Payton. Wow, spicy.

🚑️ Is “injury prone” a thing? It is until it isn’t.

📊 A salary cap infographic. How teams have cleared space and spent money.

😡 Oh no, oh no. Not again, Arthur Smith.

✂️ The Raiders cut Hunter Renfrow. Classy response.

👋 The Saints say bye to a long-time WR. End of a complicated era.

RBs With The Most To Lose Or Gain

Which veteran RBs could see the biggest shifts in value in 2024? Today, Chris dives into the RBs that haven’t moved in free agency, but could see their value move in the market after the first wave of signings and trades.

There’s no real mystery to determining if an RB has fantasy value.

We know what it takes for them to score points. 

Earning touches is the obvious goal. But even that simplistic idea requires context. Think about it. A carry from the 50-yard line offers more potential than a rush from the five. So, rushers who earn those (along with early-down work, not just short-yardage specialists) automatically gain consideration. And with PPR scoring, RBs who run routes accumulate targets are solid staples of any roster.

Again, we know ‘what’ to look for in drafts. So, with free agency ongoing and the draft ahead of us, identifying the rushers with the most to gain (or lose) over the next couple months will help us set market expectations.

🐃 James Cook, Bills

James Cook was the RB12 in PPR scoring.

But it didn’t feel like it.

He had the fewest top-12 finishes of any of the RB1s. However, he had peaks of efficiency to smooth over his lack of opportunity. Of the 27 RBs with more than 40.0% of their team’s carries, Cook’s analytical profile sticks out.

  • Rushing Success Rate: 7th

  • EPA per Rush: 9th

  • Adjusted Yards after Contact per Carry: 14th

  • Yards per Route Run: 3rd

At or above average in almost every metric? Great! However, one metric in which he lagged behind his RB1 peers was earning carries.

Only Bijan Robinson had a lower rate of his team’s carries than Cook. And we know how much of a headache (pardon the pun) the Falcons’ RB was at times. 

Additionally, the presence of Latavius Murray decimated any shot at Cook working on his short-yardage skills. Murray took 46.0% of the carries with three or fewer yards to go compared to Cook’s 34.0%. Plus, both RBs had their QB to contend with once the Bills got into scoring position.

Josh Allen will always be a factor. But Murray is looking for his seventh team to join in free agency. There’s no question Cook can be a high-end rusher and create explosives as a receiver. If Buffalo doesn’t add another short-yardage specialist, Cook’s red-zone opportunities should increase, making his 2023 results easier to replicate in 2024.

RBs With The Most To Lose Or Gain

🏴‍☠️ Zamir White, Raiders

Josh Jacobs is now taking handoffs from Jordan Love.

With this move, here’s a look at the Jacobs-sized hole in the offense with his departure.

  • Early-Down: 83.6%

  • Short-Yardage: 92.0%

  • Routes per Team Dropback: 53.0%

  • Inside the 5: 51.0.%

Prior to missing the final four games of the regular season, Jacobs was second in total touches (270) of any RB. Ameer Abdullah (remember him?) only had a claim to the long-down-and-distance and two-minute snaps. All of which left Zamir White in a contingency role.

By Week 14, the former Georgia Bulldog had 26 touches. His inability to wedge himself into Jacobs’s workload was a concern after sitting behind the then-All-Pro rusher. However, once Jacobs got injured, White’s workload was hard to distinguish from Jacobs’s.

Raiders RBs

HC Antonio Pierce treated White like an RB1. But the Raiders’ definition of an RB1 may be changing as we head into 2024.

Both Pierce and GM Tom Telesco have indicated they want to bring Jacobs back after the team franchise tagged him ahead of the ’22 season. The RB market for top earners like Jacobs, Austin Ekeler, and Saquon Barkley may take some time to settle, creating some uncertainty in White’s potential value for next season. And the front office’s team-building philosophy also poses a challenge.

Telesco noted wanting two or three backs to carry the load. As a result, getting aggressive on White would be an ill-advised move until we get through the draft.

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