NFL Trades: Early Thoughts on Fantasy Impact

NFL Trades: Early Thoughts on Fantasy Impact

Free agency begins on Wednesday, and a flurry of veterans are expected to change their allegiances for the 2018 season. Some teams have gotten a jumpstart on the process, hoping to lure free agents by improving their squads via trade. Here’s a recap of the biggest moves we’ve seen so far:

Landry, Taylor, Randall join the Browns

The last time we saw Jarvis Landry play meaningful football, he was ejected in Week 17 against the Buffalo Bills after scoring the last touchdown of his Miami Dolphins career.

The next time he suits up, he will be lining up in the slot for the 2018 Cleveland Browns. Landry brings some much needed play making ability to what was the league’s worst DVOA offense in 2017.

He won’t be alone – Cleveland added former Buffalo signal caller Tyrod Taylor, who (presumably) will start in September. Tyrod is by no means an elite quarterback; for Cleveland, however, competency at the position marks an elite upgrade over what they dealt with in 2017.

Tyrod compares very favorably to DeShone Kizer, who arguably had better weapons in Cleveland this past season:

Player Comp Att Yards TD INT Comp % Y/A TD % INT %
Tyrod Taylor 263 420 2799 14 4 62.6% 6.66 3.33% 0.95%
DeShone Kizer 255 476 2894 11 22 53.6% 6.08 2.31% 4.62%

 

Tyrod’s ability to limit turnovers and complete his passes at a much higher clip than what Cleveland experienced in 2017 should lead to more production from all of Cleveland’s pass catchers, especially the newly added Landry.

Landry’s critics like to point out his full season production is due to an increased number of targets on short, drag routes, evidenced by his 10.1 yards per reception (Y/R) average for his career.

Yet, Landry represents a perfect receiving option for a mobile passer like Taylor, who likes to make plays with his legs when his primary and secondary reads fall through. Landry’s ability to get open and make plays on short routes should help Taylor a lot. The 2018 preseason should give us more insight into how these two will complement each other in their new NFL home.

The addition of Damarious Randall from Green Bay’s secondary should bolster the Browns secondary, which finished the 2017 season as a part of the 16th overall DVOA defense, but only 28th against the opposing top wide receiver. Randall led Green Bay in interceptions (with 4) and pass deflections (with 9).

Rams acquire Peters, Talib in pair of moves

The Los Angeles Rams were one of the most productive defensive units in fantasy in 2017, finishing the season 5th in takeaways with 28 on the season. They did so, however, without a true ballhawk lurking in their secondary for opposing quarterbacks to be mindful of.

With Trumaine Johnson likely leaving the team in free agency next week, the Rams moved quickly to acquire Marcus Peters from the Kansas City Chiefs and Aqib Talib from the Denver Broncos for a bag of mid-round draft picks.

Peters finished the 2017 season with 5 interceptions, good for a tie for the third most in the league. Talib, entering his age 32 season, represented an opportunity to acquire an elite level defender with upside from a Denver team with salary cap issues to navigate. The Rams defense is gearing up to compete against the likes of Russell Wilson and Jimmy Garoppolo, and looks poised to defend their franchise’s division title as a result in 2018.

Torrey Smith to Panthers, Eagles defensive upgrades

The 2011 second round pick is on the move, as Philadelphia has traded Torrey Smith to Carolina for an upgrade at cornerback, more on that in a bit.

Smith could slide right into the Kelvin Benjamin role in Carolina’s offense, as Devin Funchess by all accounts could use some company in the wide receiver’s room in 2018.

The move makes sense for a Philadelphia team that has somewhat of an embarrassment of riches at the position with Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery, and impressive young receiver Mack Hollins available in addition to their highly productive tight end, Zach Ertz.

Philadelphia is looking to shed salary and upgrade their defense a bit. The addition of Daryl Worley, a two year veteran still on his rookie contract helps them get closer to being under the cap, as Carolina takes on Smith’s $5 million cap hit for 2018.

Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett joins the Eagles as well, and brings more depth to an impressive defensive line coming off a Super Bowl winning season. Entering his age 33 season, Bennett brings elite level pass rush ability, as he generated 8.5 sacks for Seattle in 2017.

It has been an extremely active trade season in the NFL, and shows no signs of slowing down. Football is already back.