By Luke Grilli (@lgrilli88)
We all love to speculate where players could go in the off season. Some options are realistic, while others may just be pipe dreams. However, talking about these moves are half the fun of the off season! Below are 5 (well 6…you’ll see) players that have uncertain futures going into the 2013 season and where a fantasy owner may love to see them go.
Matt Flynn- Signed with the Seahawks
In 2012, Dynasty owners got excited about Matt Flynn getting the chance to start for the Seahawks. Flynn’s record breaking New Years Day 2012 game vs. Detroit had people drooling over his potential. Unfortunately, Russell Wilson came to town and the rest is history. So what is next for the QB from LSU? Out of Seattle, the word is they are keeping him, but I don’t see that happening. While Russell Wilson is a cheap option, it would be foolish to waste $5.25 million on your backup QB.
A perfect fit for Matt Flynn, in my mind, would be Arizona. In Green Bay, Flynn had arguably one of the best receiving corps in the NFL. With Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts and Rob Housler, the Cardinals pass catchers are nothing to ignore. Playing with a great WR like Larry Fitzgerald will not only help Flynn’s NFL future, but also his fantasy future.
I’ve been pretty bullish on Flynn this offseason because I think his two big games (vs. Lions and Patriots) were no joke. Flynn showed good accuracy and was able to get the ball in the hands of his receivers. Arizona has a tough defense and the potential to have a good running game. Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Brian Hoyer simply are not the answer there.
If Matt Flynn goes to Arizona, he is a QB2 with QB1 upside and could be had on the cheap if you act now.
Steven Jackson- Currently on a 1 year deal, but there is a chance he opts out.
All signs point to Steven Jackson and the Rams negotiating a new deal. If he wishes to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent, S. Jax can opt out of his1 yr deal worth $7 million. I have always liked Jackson due to his loyalty to the Rams and his consistency as a workhorse on a bad team. This time around I would love to see him go to a contender.
A team that comes to mind is the Green Bay Packers. Injuries at RB absolutely killed the Packers 2012 season as they became a one dimensional team after Cedric Benson went down with a foot injury. Being a pass first team, Jackson’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield would be a perfect fit in Mike McCarthy’s system. Hell, even Benson almost matched his 2011 reception total (15) in 5 games with the Packers (14).
Steven Jackson leaving the Rams could open up the door for Isaiah Pead to take on the lead back role (Sorry, I don’t see it with Daryl Richardson). After a slow beginning to 2012, Jackson ended up being a solid RB2 in the second half of the season. I see one or two more years of RB2 production in Jackson’s future, regardless where he goes.
Ahmad Bradshaw- Unrestricted Free Agent after being cut by the Giants
Quietly, Ahmad Bradshaw finished with over 1,000 rushing yards in 2012. Obviously, the David Wilson draft pick and emergence of Andre Brown pushed Bradshaw out the door, but I think that is good for three separate parties; The Giants, Ahmad Bradshaw and fantasy football owners. The Marshall RB has a tough injury history, but is still relatively young (27 when the 2013 season starts) and could flourish in the right system.
With that being said, I love the idea of Ahmad Bradshaw to Atlanta. Atlanta has a pass first mentality and Bradshaw is known as a strong pass blocking RB. Injuries are a huge concern here, but how much would pass happy Atlanta ask him to run the ball? Jacquizz Rodgers is not a lead back and Michael Turner is likely to be cut, which gives Bradshaw the opportunity to come in and take Turner’s role as the main rusher. Side Note: With Michael Turner lining up in the back field, I felt the Falcons were too predictable. There was a slight chance that he would be a receiving option out of the backfield. Ahmad Bradshaw could come in and almost eliminate the predictability, making Atlanta even more dangerous.
Ahmad Bradshaw has shown that he can thrive as a pass catcher and Quizz would still see a healthy amount of reps. Bradshaw to the Falcons would give him the value of a High End RB2. Seems like a match made in heaven.
Greg Jennings- Unrestricted Free Agent
You would think that leaving Green Bay would be a curse and Greg Jennings’ fantasy numbers would go down. I think differently. The emergence of Randall Cobb, James Jones and a healthy Jordy Nelson has cut into Jennings’ production. Even if he took less money to stay in Green Bay, the ball would be spread around and his numbers would drop. If healthy in 2013 and on the right team, I see Jennings returning to his 2008-2010 production numbers. In those years, Jennings averaged 75 catches, 1225 yards and just over 8 TDs a game. Those are WR1/WR2 numbers in most PPR leagues.
Miami seems like the perfect landing spot as he reunites with Joe Philbin, but the Dolphins came out and said their #1 target is Mike Wallace. With plenty of cap room, I expect them to throw wayyyy too much money at him, leaving Jennings to look elsewhere.
I’m gonna throw a wrench into the mix and say that Jennings is headed to Cleveland (wishful thinking??). The Brownies need a veteran leader in the locker room and someone who can hold the ball (ya, I’m looking at you Greg Little). Now…who will throw said ball to Jennings? If he lands in Cleveland, expect Jennings to be a WR2, with some games where the anemic passing game drops him down to a WR3.
Dwayne Bowe- Unrestricted Free Agent unless Franchised by Kansas City
I’m going to go on record in saying that I hate Dwayne Bowe almost as much as I hate Robert Meachem. I genuinely refuse to draft him if at all possible. The streakiness of Bowe’s game frustrates me too much. With that being said, Bowe is a WR2 for fantasy purposes and you would be foolish to draft a WR3 over him just in spite.
In 2012, Bowe was riddled with injuries on a horrific Kansas City team. Unless the Chiefs tag him again (which they should), I expect the former 1st round pick to leave for greener pastures. By greener pastures, I mean Pittsburgh, duh.
Listen, Pittsburgh had a weird year last year. The injury to Big Ben and Antonio Brown totally killed what they were trying to do and Mike Wallace coming into camp late didn’t help either. On top of those things, the running game was maddening for fantasy owners and NFL coaches to figure out…but not in a good way. Rashard Mendenhall’s injuries and poor attitude led to a RBBC featuring Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer…not really the Thunder N Lightning you’d hope it be.
Couple all of that with the fact that Mike Wallace is more than gone, the Steelers NEED to go after Dwayne Bowe as I think he would be the best compliment to Antonio Brown. Bowe (when motivated) is a physical receiver with a nose for the end zone. I think that with the leadership of Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin, Dwayne Bowe could turn into consistent WR2 on your fake fantasy team.
Jamarcus Russell- Unrestricted Free Agent
Just a mentally tough player who is willing to take the extra step to ensure he is well worth the #1 overall pick…OK, I just threw up in my mouth a little typing that…my bad.
JaMarcus Russell, your 2013 Comeback Player of the Year?
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