Players aren’t always drafted into the perfect situation by the team that selects them, lets face it great players get drafted by bad teams. Sometimes great quarterbacks have to sit behind divas that don’t know when to retire (Favre). Whatever the dilemma, it can take some personnel changes until a player finds that great fit they’ve been looking for. Every off-season players change venues, and the team losing them can often be affected as much, if not more than the team gaining them.
A change in teams will always mean either a decrease or increase in production, and we all know in fantasy it’s all about production. You have to be on top of who went where and who will take that guys place. Don’t be the guy in your league that says he cant wait to see how Tebow will gel with Wes Welker. New faces in new places has a huge impact on how the fantasy season will play out but it’s not always bliss, it can either open the door for a new talent or close the door on one’s career. Lets take a look at what has transpired going into this season and what fantasy implications will emerge.
Old Team- St. Louis Rams/New Team- Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are growing into a super bowl contender right before our eyes. However when you watch them you might say to yourself, “if they had a good running back they would be unstoppable.” Well you weren’t using your inside voice because the Falcons heard you and went out and got Steven Jackson in the off-season. Jackson was always utilized in St. Louis but lacked opportunities at the goal line. Those opportunities will be plentiful in the state of Georgia as the Falcons are one of the hottest offenses in the NFL. Despite arguably having the best receiving core in the game with Julio Jones and Roddy White, the Falcons love to rush the ball in the red zone, so look for them to feed the beast. Look for those 4 tds to turn into double digits as I look for Jackson to have a great year.
The Rams are left with the short end of the deal. They will try their hand in a RBBC headed up by Daryl Richardson(subject to change), followed by Isaiah Pead and Zac Stacy. This will be a situation to monitor as one of these three guys should take the upper hand as the season progresses.
Old Team- Miami Dolphins/New Team- Detroit Lions
Reggie Bush had a decent year in Miami last season posting right at 1278 total yard and 8 total tds. He is now in Detroit and while he has all the opportunity to succeed, im not so sold that he will have a good year. For one, Ford Field last time I checked(googling does Ford Field have turf?), indeed does have turf. Reggie use to play on turf down in the big easy. If he was the player he was supposed to be I think he would still be there. He stayed injured on that turf and I think we can expect the same. Not to mention Mikel Leshoure is very serviceable and had a good year in 2012. There is also a young man there named Joique Bell and he is coming into his own awaiting his time to shine. Despite the hype I’m not buying what the Lions are selling.
The Dolphins can now open the door for Lamar Miller, a back that all experts have in their sleeper articles. All the pieces are in place for him to have a great year. He has the easiest schedule among fantasy running backs and he’s been working out with former hurricane alum, Frank Gore. In the hall of fame game he coughed it up on the first play, to go on to rip a big gain on each side of the line before taking a seat on the pine. Take a risk on Miller early and watch him reap the benefit of being the lead back playing the easiest schedule in the NFL.
Old Team- New England Patriots/New Team- Denver Broncos
One of the best slot receivers in the game in Wes Welker, is taking his talents to mile high and joining the Denver Broncos. Welker is an interesting player to evaluate, an absolute catching machine in New England wasn’t as successful in Miami without a great quarterback like Brady. The guy draws another Ace out of the deck as he moves from the passes of one elite to another in Peyton Manning. The core in Denver is loaded now with Decker and Thomas already in place. However unless they proceed to let Peyton throw two balls at one time, someone is due to lose targets in Denver. Welker expressed his frustration about Belichek’s micro managing in New England. Look for Welker to have a solid year but nothing like the days in Foxboro.
What do you do when you lose Wes Welker? You go out and find his clone in Danny Amendola. With the same size and skill set, Amendola can come in day one and fill the void that Welker left. Too bad that’s not the only void to fill with Hernandez gone forever and Gronk’s health. The Pats will have to find some playmakers fast this preseason. Reports out of New England all point to Brady and Amendola having good chemistry already so look for him to have a good year if healthy.
Old Team- Baltimore Ravens/New Team- San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers lost a key weapon in their offense coming into this season with Michael Crabtree going down. Thankfully they made a move to bring in Anquan Boldin in the off- season. This does nothing more than open the door for Boldin to shine in this offense. Kaepernick looks to build off his amazing playoff run and he has showed he has a knack for targeting the best receiver on the field. Boldin, a big receiver with great hands surprised us last season showing everyone he can still be a threat in the passing game. I believe he will be targeted heavily this season and looks to be a great sleeper option given his value.
So who is left in Baltimore after they cleaned house? The defense looks like the 4th quarter of a preseason game, I couldn’t name three guys with a program in my hand. As far as the offense and replacing Boldin’s production, it all falls on Dennis Pitta and Torrey Smith. Well so much for that, with Pitta gone for the season, Smith will have his work cut out for him trying to get open in quintupled coverage. Look for Torrey to be a decent flex option or WR3 as Flacco will look for a young receiver to fill Boldin’s cleats.