2021 NFL Free Agency Tracker: Fantasy Breakdowns on the Latest Moves

SI Fantasy analyst Michael Fabiano logs the impact of the fantasy noteworthy moves during the 2021 NFL offseason
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Below is a breakdown of the noteworthy free agency moves with a fantasy spin on the news. For a complete free agency tracker across every position, click here.

QUARTERBACKS

Dak Prescott re-signs with Dallas / 4-year, $160 million

The Cowboys and Prescott have agreed on a four-year, $160 million contract, including $126 million guaranteed and a no-trade clause. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Cowboys still tagged Prescott as a "procedural matter," but regardless, he'll remain in Dallas. Barring any setbacks in his return from a gruesome leg injury, Prescott should be considered a potential top-five fantasy quarterback in 2021.

Cam Newton re-signs with New England / 1-year, $5 million

Newton finished last season with a mere eight touchdown passes, but he didn't have a lot of help in the passing game in New England. His rushing totals kept him fantasy relevant, but the former superstar is certainly on the statistical downside of his career. He'll be a bridge quarterback for the Patriots at best in 2021, and his draft stock will be limited to that of a late-round selection in the majority of fantasy football drafts.

Ryan Fitzpatrick signs with Washington / 1-year, $10 million

The Fitzmagic ic back! He'll join his ninth NFL team next season, and I love the fit in Washington. He'll compete with Taylor Heineke for the starting job, but I see him as the clear-cut favorite in an offense with some good, young talent in Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin and a veteran in Logan Thomas. Fitzpatrick averaged nearly 18 fantasy points per game this past season in Miami, so he has plenty of gas left in the tank, even at the age of 38. He'll be a late-round No. 2 fantasy quarterback in bigger 2021 fantasy football drafts with more value in both two-quarterback and DFS formats.

Jameis Winston re-signs with New Orleans / 1-year, $5.5 million

Winston re-signed with the Saints and is now considered the favorite to open the 2021 season as the starter. The last time we saw him in that role, Winston finished as the QB5 with the Buccaneers. He did throw 30 interceptions, however. The Saints offense is certainly conducive to fantasy production, but can Winston take advantage? And for that matter, can he hold off Taysom Hill? In a best-case scenario, Winston will be an attractive No. 2 fantasy quarterback and matchup-based starter. But the worst case, where he loses out to Hill, is also quite possible. Stay tuned, fantasy fans.

READ MORE: NFL Free Agency Tracker

Andy Dalton signs with Chicago / 1-year, $10 million

Dalton signed a one-year contract with the Bears and should compete with Nick Foles for a chance to start. This might not be what the Bears fanbase wants, but Dalton isn’t a significant downgrade over Foles or Mitchell Trubisky from a fantasy perspective. He’ll be a mostly vanilla quarterback in the stat sheets, and fantasy fans will have to hope he can get the football to Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet.

Tyrod Taylor signs with Houston / 1-year, $6 million

Taylor joins the Texans on a one-year deal, so let the chatter begin about him being the starter if Deshaun Watson is traded. At this point, the move is purely for depth purposes and has little impact on the world of fantasy football.

Jacoby Brissett signs with Miami / 1 year, $5 million

Brissett will go from being a backup in Indianapolis behind Philip Rivers to being a backup in Miami behind Tua Tagovailoa. He could see an increase in value if Tua struggles during the course of the season, but Brissett won’t have draft appeal.

Mitchell Trubisky signs with Buffalo / 1 year, $2.5 million

Trubisky's fall from grace continues, as he signed with the Bills and has virtually zero fantasy value playing behind one of the league's best young quarterbacks in Josh Allen. Unless Allen misses time due to injuries, Trubisky will be fantasy irrelevant. 

RUNNING BACKS

Aaron Jones re-signs with Green Bay / 4-year, $48 million

Jones has finished as a top-five fantasy running back in each of the last two seasons, and he'll be just 26 when next season starts. The Packers didn't tag him but instead signed him to a four-year, $48 million deal. The move keeps him among the top-15 fantasy backs in 2021, but it decimates the re-draft ceiling of A.J. Dillon.

READ MORE: Jones stays in Green Bay

Kenyan Drake signs with Las Vegas / 2-year, $11 million

In one of the worst fantasy free agent moves, Drake takes his talents to Las Vegas where he'll form a 1-2 punch with Josh Jacobs. That might be fun for coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders, but it stinks in fantasy circles. You can say goodbye to Jacobs' 37.1 percent touch share and Drake's 30.5 percent share from last season and expect a committee that will limit the fantasy stock of both players. In fact, Jacobs is now more of a volatile No. 2 fantasy runner while Drake is a potential flex option (at best) in 2021 drafts.

Chris Carson re-signs with Seattle / 2-year, $14.6 million

It looked like Carson's time in Seattle was over, but he ultimately returned to the Great Northwest on a two-year deal. It's a terrific landing spot for fantasy purposes, and he'll remain the top runner in a Seahawks offense that want to lean on the ground attack more in 2021. Carson had dealt with minor injuries from time to time, but he's still in the prime of his career and a locked and loaded No. 2 fantasy back in 2021 drafts.

Mike Davis signs with Atlanta / 2-year, $5.5 million

Davis was a godsend for fantasy managers a season ago, producing top-12 totals among running backs and saving those who lost Christian McCaffrey. He's durable, versatile and has proven he can be the lead back at the NFL level. While Davis is currently atop the Falcons depth chart, I believe the team will add competition in the NFL draft. For now, keep him on the RB2 radar in your rankings as Atlanta's top backfield option.

James Conner signs with Arizona / 1-year, $1.25 million

Conner was considered a top fantasy running back in 2018, when he helped lead many managers to a postseason berth in Le'Veon Bell's absence. He produced more than 1,400 scrimmage yards and 13 touchdowns, and ranked sixth in fantasy points among runners despite missing three games. In the last two seasons, Conner has missed nine games and was mostly an afterthought for fantasy fans down the stretch. He'll also share the workload with Chase Edmonds, who will be the main pass catcher in the backfield. At best, Conner will be a volatile flex starter in 12-team leagues.

Jamaal Williams signs with Detroit / 2-year, $7.5 million

Williams joins the Lions on a two-year deal and will presumably be the top backup behind D’Andre Swift in 2021. He had shown flashes of value when in a featured role during his time in Green Bay, but Williams was ultimately a backup for Aaron Jones. He saw a near 19 percent touch share in his final season with the Packers, which is less than what Adrian Peterson had with the Lions in 2020 while playing with Swift. The move doesn’t take the bloom off the Swift rose in fantasy leagues, as Jones was a superstar the past two seasons with Williams behind him. I’d consider him a solid handcuff in the later round who could have occasional standalone flex value.

Leonard Fournette re-signs with Tampa Bay / 1-year, $4 million

Fournette was integral in the Buccaneers taking home the Super Bowl title and is back with the team on a 1-year deal. He finished just 35th in fantasy points among running backs last season, but he was an absolute star in the postseason when "Lombardi Lenny" was born. He'll likely continue to share the workload with Ronald Jones in 2021, however, so it will be tough to trust him as a weekly flex starter in most leagues.

Phillip Lindsay signs with Houston / 1-year, $3.25 million

Lindsay becomes the second running back to sign with Houston this offseason, joining Mark Ingram in a crowded backfield behind David Johnson. The Texans have one of the worst offensive lines in the league, and touches won't be guaranteed on a week-to-week basis. At best, he'll be worth a late-round choice in fantasy drafts.

Damien Williams signs with Chicago / 1-year

Williams knows the offense of coach Matt Nagy well from their time together in Kansas City. He didn't play last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he'll see enough touches to make David Montgomery a bit less attractive in 2021 fantasy drafts. Overall, Williams will be a solid late-round handcuff with possible standalone value.

Tevin Coleman signs with N.Y. Jets / 1-year, $2 million

Coleman joins former Niners DC and current Jets head coach Robert Saleh in the Big Apple. Saleh's offense should be similar to the one Kyle Shanahan runs, so Coleman could have the early edge on incumbents like La'Mical Perine, Ty Johnson and Josh Adams. Still, I'd look for Gang Green to add a featured-type runner in the NFL draft. At this point, Coleman would be worth a late-round look in 2021 fantasy drafts.

James White re-signs with New England / 1-year, $2.5 million

White will return to the Patriots after playing the free-agent market. He's seen a decline in production in recent seasons, and the team has added a ton of pass catchers during free agency. New England also has a crowded backfield that's certain to be a headache for fantasy fans, so White won't be worth more than a late rounder.

Kalen Ballage signs with Pittsburgh / 1-year

Ballage had surprising fantasy value last season with the Chargers, making a pair of starts in the absence of Austin Ekeler. Now in Pittsburgh, he'll either be in a committee or a pure backup joining Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland and Jaylen Samuels. The Steelers are likely to draft a running back, so Ballage won't have much 2021 appeal.

Malcolm Brown signs with Miami, $1.75 million

Brown landed with the Dolphins, creating a one-two punch with Myles Gaskin. Brown would be the No. 2 in the pecking order, at least at this point as the Dolphins could still add a impact-maker at the running back position in the NFL draft. For now, Brown would be a late-round draft pick as a RB5 or handcuff for Gaskin managers. 

Carlos Hyde signs with Jacksonville / 2-year, $6 million

Hyde signed a two-year contract in Jacksonville, where he'll be reunited with his former college coach, Urban Meyer. He won't be much more than a handcuff for James Robinson, however, and dynasty leaguers with J-Rob on their roster have to be breathing a sigh of relief. Robinson remains a top-20 pick with Hyde behind him.

Marlon Mack re-signs with Indianapolis / 1-year, $2 million

Mack missed most of last season with a torn Achilles, so his stock in free agency was limited. He ultimately decided to return to the Colts, who will use him as a backup to Jonathan Taylor. I don't see Mack's return as a huge detriment to Taylor's 2021 stock, but he will be worth a late-round look as a potential fantasy handcuff.

Mike Boone signed with Denver / 2-year, $2.6 million

Boone signed with the Broncos and will be the main fantasy handcuff behind Melvin Gordon. That comes after the team decided to let Phillip Lindsay walk as a free agent. Boone will be worth a late-round pick, especially for those who land Gordon earlier.

Matt Breida signs with Buffalo / 1-year

Breida has lost a lot of his luster in fantasy leagues, and his move to Buffalo won't make him more attractive. He's basically third on the depth chart behind Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, and the Bills could also pick a running back in the NFL draft. At this point, Breida has little fantasy appeal outside of the deepest of leagues.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Kenny Golladay signs with N.Y. Giants  / 4-year, $72 million

Golladay has signed with the Giants, where he'll become the team's new No. 1 wide receiver. Unfortunately, the 27-year old will have to share targets with a crowded group of receivers that includes Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph. He'll also be catching passes from Daniel Jones, who has yet to prove that he can be a consistent quarterback at the NFL level. Instead of being a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy wideout, Golladay will now be more of a No. 2 or 3 receiver.

JuJu Smith-Schuster re-signs with Pittsburgh / 1-year, $8 million

Smith-Schuster opted to return to the Steelers on a 1-year deal, despite offers from the Ravens and Chiefs. He's proven to be a fantasy asset at the NFL level, producing a top-10 finish as a rookie and a top-16 finish last season. Pittsburgh does have a lot of mouths to feed with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool also in the mix, but their offense threw the ball nearly 65 percent of the time last season. Ben Roethlisberger will be back under center too, so Smith-Schuster should retain WR2/WR3 value.

Corey Davis signs with New York Jets / 3-year, $37.5 million

Davis is coming off his best season in the pros, finishing with 65 targets and nearly 1,000 yards. It was only good for a WR30 finish, however. Now in New York, he figures to be their No. 1 wideout while playing alongside Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder. I don't see Davis making a big statistical leap in the Big Apple, however, but much of what he'll become in fantasy circles depends on the Jets quarterback. Will it be Sam Darnold, Justin Fields, or Zach Wilson? Time will tell. For now, I'd rank Davis as a No. 3 or 4 fantasy wideout who has some (but not much) room to improve in 2021.

Allen Robinson II franchise tagged by Chicago

Robinson has been a top-10 fantasy wideout in each of the last two seasons, which is quite an accomplishment considering the Bears' quarterbacks. Chicago made the smart move with little depth at the position and placed the franchise tag on its stud receiver. Now the question is, who'll be his quarterback next season? Stay tuned on that.

Chris Godwin franchise tagged by Tampa Bay

Godwin’s best fantasy landing spot would not have been Tampa Bay, as the team has a lot of mouths to feed on the offensive side of the football. However, the Buccaneers would have been unwise to let go of a young wide receiver who averaged seven targets a game in Tom Brady’s first season with the team. He’ll remain a No. 2 fantasy wideout in most leagues, but Godwin’s ceiling will have a statistical cap next season.

Will Fuller signs with Miami / 1-year, $10 million

Fuller was on pace to have a career season in 2020, but he was suspended for the final five games and will also miss the first game of next season. When he was on the field, however, Fuller averaged 17.2 points a game for the Texans. That ranked eighth-most in the league among wide receivers who played in at least 11 games. His value takes a hit in Miami, though, as he'll be playing in an offense with a lot of young talent (and could be adding more). Fuller will also see a downgrade at quarterback from Deshaun Watson to Tua Tagovailoa, so look for him to be drafted as a No. 3 fantasy wideout.

Marvin Jones signs with Jacksonville / 2-year, $14.5 million

Jones leaves the Motor City for Jacksonville, where he’ll be catching passes from Trevor Lawrence. The WR18 in fantasy leagues last season, Jones will be hard pressed to reach that level with his new team. In fact, the move makes Jones, D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault at least slightly less attractive from a fantasy perspective. Chark remains the most attractive wideout for future drafts, but the ceilings for all three players is a bit faded. On a positive note, Jones does know this offense well as he played for coordinator Darrell Bevell during their time together with the Lions.

Curtis Samuel signs Washington / 3-year, $34.5 million

Samuel landed in a great spot to succeed, as he'll move right into the No. 2 wideout spot alongside Terry McLaurin in an offense that now has a lot of good, young talent. Samuel ranked 27th in fantasy points among wideouts last season, but he was the WR12 over his final 10 games. During that time, he averaged more than seven targets and nearly 17 fantasy points per game while playing in an offense with D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson. A talented, versatile playmaker, Samuel now has a chance to earn a bigger target share and could be as much as a low No. 2 fantasy wideout.

T.Y. Hilton re-signs with Indianapolis / 1-year, $8 million

Hilton, who turns 32 in November, returns to the Colts on a one-year deal. He finished an unimpressive 42nd in fantasy points among wideouts last season, but the veteran did turn things on late in the year and was far more productive. He'll have to gain a rapport with new quarterback Carson Wentz, but overall I'd still be looking to target Hilton in the later rounds as a high-end No. 4 fantasy wideout in 2021 drafts.

Emmanuel Sanders signs with Buffalo / 1-year, $6 million

Sanders lands in Buffalo where he’ll take over the role left behind by John Brown, who was released earlier in the offseason. The veteran finished 41st in fantasy points among wideouts a season ago, and I don’t think he’ll be much better for the Bills while playing behind Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis. His presence might take a little of the luster away from Davis, but Sanders won’t be worth more than a late draft flier.

Nelson Agholor signs with New England / 2-year, $26 million

Agholor signed with the Patriots after a career season in Las Vegas that saw him finish with eight touchdowns and nearly 190 fantasy points. He also had a team-high 16.5 percent target share while running about 64 percent of his routes out wide. New England also added Kendrick Bourne and still have Julian Edelman, Jacobi Meyers and N'Keal Harry under contract though, so there's a lot of wideout mouths to feed. With Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith both now on the roster too, Agholor is probably no better than a No. 4 or 5 wide receiver with late-round value in most leagues. 

John Brown signs with Las Vegas / 1-year, $3.75 million

Brown signed a one-year deal with the Raiders and is likely (at least for now) to replace Nelson Agholor. He’ll play with Henry Ruggs III and Hunter Renfrow when the Raiders go three wide, and Bryan Edwards will also be in the mix. Brown, who saw his numbers tumble last season while missing seven games for the Bills, could be worth a late flier in fantasy drafts if the Raiders don’t make any other significant moves at wide receiver. His days as a 1,000-yard wideout are in the rearview mirror, though.

Kendrick Bourne signs with New England / 3-year, $22.5 million

Bourne signed a three-year deal with the Patriots and will compete with Nelson Agholor, Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry, and Jakobi Meyers for targets at wide receiver. With tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith also in the mix, it'll be tough for Bourne to see enough targets to be a consistent fantasy contributor next season.

A.J. Green signs with Arizona / 1-year, $8 million

Green, who turns 33 this summer, looked like a shell of his former self last season.  He did have 104 targets, but he turned them into a modest 47 catches for 523 yards in the stat sheets. The Cardinals offense can be very wide receiver friendly, but it'll be tough for Green to be worth anything more than a late-round flier (at best) in fantasy drafts while playing behind DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk. One has to wonder if this means the end of Larry Fitzgerald's time in the desert. Or in the NFL.

Sammy Watkins signs with Baltimore / 1-year, $5 million

A former 1,000-yard wide receiver, Watkins wasn't a reliable fantasy factor despite playing with Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City. Now with the Ravens, he'll be the favorite to start opposite Marquise Brown in an offense that threw the football 44.1 percent of the time in 2020. What's more, no team had fewer receiver routes run or targets at the wide receiver spot. Watkins will be worth a late-round fantasy flier at best. 

Breshad Perriman signs with Detroit / 1-year, $3 million

Perriman joins the Lions, following in the footsteps of his father, Brett, who also played in the Motor City. Detroit's wide receivers are not all that impressive after the losses of Marvin Jones (Jaguars) and Kenny Golladay (free agent), so Perriman could see a decent target share in 2021. The Lions are likely to add more pieces than just Perriman and Tyrell Williams, however. At this point, he's worth a late-rounder in most drafts.

DeSean Jackson signs with L.A. Rams / 1-year

Jackson still has plenty of speed at the age of 34, but he hasn't played a full 16 games in a single season since 2013. He'll be third in line (at best) for targets among Rams wideouts behind Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, and Van Jefferson is also in the mix. He'll be worth a late flier in deeper leagues, but that's the extent of Jackson's value.

Josh Reynolds signs with Tennessee / 1-year

Reynolds is coming off a season with a career-high 81 targets for the Rams, and now he'll be in line for a slightly bigger role in Tennessee. He's the early favorite to replace Corey Davis, who left for the Jets and leaves behind 92 targets in 2021. The Titans are a run-heavy team, however, so Reynolds will be limited to late-round status in drafts.

Willie Snead signs with Las Vegas / 1-year

Snead lands in a crowded Raiders passing attack that includes incumbents Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards, Hunter Renfrow and free-agent add John Brown. Picking one player to be consistent for fantasy fans will be an exercise in futility, and adding Snead to the mix makes it that much worse. He won't be picked in many 2021 re-drafts.

Adam Humphries signs with Washington / 1-year

Humphries joins the Football Team as their new slot receiver, adding to an improve pass attack that has also brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick as it's No. 1 quarterback and the versatile Curtis Samuel. Consistent targets will be tough to come by for Humphries, however, so he won't have much value outside of the late rounds of deeper PPR leagues.

TIGHT ENDS

Hunter Henry signs with New England / 3-year, $37.5 million

If you told me the Patriots would be signing Henry before free agency starts, I'd have been excited. But Henry and Jonnu Smith? That puts a cap on the fantasy appeal of both players. Sure, the Patriots will undoubtedly run a ton of 12 personnel as they did back in the Rob Gronkowski-Aaron Hernandez days, but Tom Brady isn't the quarterback anymore. Smith and Henry both have the potential to be low-end No. 1 tight ends during the season, but consistent production could be tough to find.

Rob Gronkowski re-signs with Tampa Bay / 1-year, $10 million

Much as we expected, Gronkowski will return to the Buccaneers on a one-year, $10 million deal. While he did finish tied for eighth in fantasy points among tight ends last season, Gronkowski was anything but reliable overall. With O.J. Howard returning from an Achilles tear, the target pool could be even shallower for the future Hall of Famer in 2021. He'll be a late-round No. 2 tight end option in most fantasy leagues.

Jonnu Smith signs with New England / 4-year, $50 million

Smith's value looked to be on the rise as a result of signing with the Patriots, but the team also added Hunter Henry into the mix. That puts a cap on the fantasy appeal of both players. Sure, the Patriots will no doubt run a ton of 12 personnel like they did back in the Rob Gronkowski-Aaron Hernandez days, but Tom Brady isn't the quarterback anymore. Smith and Henry both have the potential to be low-end No. 1 tight ends during the season, but consistent production could be tough to find.

Gerald Everett signs with Seattle / 1-year, $6 million

Everett was the best free-agent tight end in the league behind Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith (Patriots), and he could a nice bargain in 2021 fantasy drafts. He rarely had a chance to be a true featured tight end in Los Angeles, which was evident in the fact that he never has more than 62 targets in a year. Now with the Seahawks, he'll be the favorite to replace Greg Olsen as the team's top tight end. He could push for TE1 value. Everett's departure from Los Angeles improves the value of Tyler Higbee, too.

Jared Cook signs with L.A. Chargers / 1-year, $6 million

Cook didn't stay a free agent long, signing with the Chargers and joining one of the league's best young quarterbacks in Justin Herbert. He'll be the projected starter for the Bolts, leaving fantasy truthers of Donald Parham in a state of shock. Playing with Herbert is a positive of course, but I don't expect Cook to be much more than he was last season.  A mid-tier No. 2 fantasy tight end worth no more than a late rounder.

Kyle Rudolph signs with N.Y. Giants / 2-years, $12 million

Rudolph will join a crowded Giants pass attack in 2021. He saw a 7.6 percent target share in his final season in Minnesota, and that total won't improve with Evan Engram on the New York depth chart. Rudolph won't have much re-draft value, but his presence in the offense does make Engram a bit less attractive as a potential No. 1 fantasy tight end. In fact, I'd drop him into the mid-tier, No. 2 tight end range in drafts.

Dan Arnold signs with Carolina / 1-year, $6 million

Arnold showed showed some flashes of fantasy potential last season, posting 438 yards and four touchdowns while ranking just 30th in routes run among tight ends. He'll be a potential deep-league sleeper, assuming the Panthers don't draft Kyle Pitts.

Jacob Hollister signs with Buffalo / 1 year, $1.127 million

Hollister has had some fantasy value at times in recent seasons, albeit limited. He did play his college ball at Wyoming with John Allen, and the duo connected for seven touchdowns in their final season together. Still, Hollister will be a tough sell in fantasy leagues with Dawson Knox also in the mix. Buffalo could add another tight end, too.

MORE FANTASY ARTICLES FROM MICHAEL FABIANO

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for all of the latest breaking fantasy football news and the best analysis in the business!


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