The height of NFL free agency is behind us. With signings and trades shifting the league as a result, our analysts are here to break down the most noteworthy moves for fantasy football.
Below they highlight three fantasy quarterbacks whose value have seen the biggest boosts so far this offseason.
Free Agency Winners: QBs
|Jalen Hurts, Eagles|
|Cam Newton, Patriots|
|Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington|
Jalen Hurts, Eagles
Sean Koerner: Hurts’ stock went way up this offseason after the Eagles traded away Carson Wentz to the Colts.
All signs point to the Eagles giving Hurts the 2021 season to prove himself. It also seems likely that the Eagles will use their sixth overall pick to land a wide receiver such as DeVonta Smith or Ja’Marr Chase, or a generational talent in tight end Kyle Pitts.
Hurts produced overall fantasy QB3 numbers in his three starts last season. His rushing upside alone will make him a QB1 heading into 2021 drafts.
Chris Raybon: By flipping their maligned $128 million franchise passer to the Colts and then bringing in a 36-year-old who couldn’t even beat out Sam Darnold last season, the Eagles have paved the way for Hurts to be their starter — and potential fantasy league winner.
In the three games Hurts started and finished last year, he averaged 282.3 yards and 1.67 touchdowns passing while adding another 79.3 yards and 0.33 touchdowns with his wheels.
Here are how his numbers as a starter would look when extrapolated over a 16-game season as well as where they would have ranked among QBs in 2020:
- 4,517 passing yards (sixth)
- 26.7 passing TDs (12th)
- 1,269 rushing yards (first)
- 5.3 rushing TDs (seventh)
Not too shabby.
Though Hurts struggled as a passer in his inaugural campaign, earning a Pro Football Focus passing grade of just 57.5 — 37th of 41 quarterbacks with at least 150 dropbacks — there’s reason for optimism.
For one, Hurts’ Year 1 passing proficiency profiles similarly to the rookie years of Lamar Jackson (59.3, 32nd of 39) and Josh Allen (58.0, 33rd of 39). Both turned into top-tier fantasy options in Year 2, with Jackson finishing as the overall QB1 and winning MVP while Allen clocked in at QB7.
Secondly, Hurts’ supporting cast and scheme cannot possibly be any worse than last season, when Doug Pederson employed a stale scheme with a bunch of stale receivers. Regardless of the degree of truth to the reports that team owner Jeffery Lurie instructed his front office to prioritize building around Hurts, the bottom line is that the Eagles have 11 draft picks, including four in the top 84. With Alshon Jeffery already gone and Zach Ertz’s foot out the door, the Eagles should be able to field a much more explosive group of skill players around Hurts.
Yes, his fantasy floor is still suffering in-game benchings for Joe Flacco, but Hurts’ fantasy ceiling is the overall QB1 — worth it for a guy who is going outside the top-12 based on early Average Draft Position (ADP) data and will be hard-pressed to crack the top 10.
Cam Newton, Patriots
Samantha Previte: Newton’s status has improved drastically since the beginning of March.
The 2015 NFL MVP wasn’t even expected to return to New England on the heels of a disappointing 2020 season. He completed 65.8% of his passes for just 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first season as a member of the Patriots. He tacked on 592 rushing yards and scored an impressive 12 rushing touchdowns — his second-most ever.
However, the 31-year-old Newton was just one line item on a hefty free agency tab de facto general manager Bill Belichick has racked up already.
The team made numerous high-profile signings and added tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry as well as wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. The group still lacks some star power, but it’s a palpable upgrade from the pass-catchers Newton had at his disposal last season.
All of this bodes well for Newton’s fantasy value heading into 2021. He finished as QB20 last season with Jakobi Meyers — who reeled in a lackluster 729 receiving yards — as the team’s top pass catcher. Newton’s rushing prowess will continue to provide a safe floor and offset his passing game, which should improve with the Patriots’ other free agency additions.
Newton is worthy of consideration in two-quarterback leagues or as a high-end backup in standard leagues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington
Matthew Freedman: A few weeks ago, Fitzpatrick was going undrafted in high-stakes and best ball leagues, but now — as the presumed starter for the Washington Football Team — he is going off the board around pick 120-60.
That range makes sense, but at his average draft position, he provides significant upside and not much downside. That means he’s someone I will be fine selecting as a late-round option — especially in two-quarterback leagues.
Fitz has a YOLO style that heightens his ceiling, and he has little competition for snaps in Washington: He has a reasonable chance to start for the entire season.
And his receiving options are some of the best he’s had over the past decade: Wide receivers Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, running back Antonio Gibson and tight end Logan Thomas can all turn short attempts into long gains.
With his projected opportunity and supporting skill-position teammates, Fitz feels a little like free money.