NFL Free Agency has significant implications for fantasy football.
It can be as simple as a wide receiver being in a better situation with a more capable quarterback or higher-powered offense. A running back that goes from a committee to a workhorse role. Or even a tight end that has less blocking responsibility in his new city and runs more routes.
We chose to look at three key free agents that can make waves in fantasy football with their relocation. We will predict their 2023 NFL Season statistics and discuss their fit in their new team.
D.J. Moore – WR – Chicago Bears
The 2022 season was infuriating for fantasy football coaches with D.J. Moore on their roster.
To be clear, this wasn’t his fault. Instead, the 25-year-old receiver’s disappointing season resulted from an absolute mess at the most important position. The Panthers had three quarterbacks start, combined for a paltry 3,187 yards, 16 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and 12 fumbles.
Moore had no shortage of targets. He was thrown to 118 times and caught 63 balls for 888 yards and seven scores. He was responsible for 44 first downs and had a solid 76.2 PFF receiving grade.
Moore was not the primary culprit of the disappointment from his 2022 campaign. Fortunately, Moore has the opportunity for a fresh start in the windy city to catch balls from Justin Fields. While the first-round selection is still clearly developing as a passer, the Bears are investing in him and will likely want to see what they have behind center this upcoming season. Look for Fields to build on his 318 passing attempts and, as a result, have a big bump to his 2,242 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. In addition, his electric rushing should enable him to take a step passing as teams devote resources toward containing his scrambling ability.
Moore is a terrific receiver that may get a career revival in Chicago. But, most of all, for fantasy coaches, he may get an equally impressive fantasy revival.
Prediction: 136 targets, 97 catches for 1,116 yards, and 12 touchdowns
Darren Waller – TE – New York Giants
Darren Waller is out of Vegas and into New York City.
Unfortunately, the superstar tight end has struggled to stay healthy over his last two seasons with the Raiders. He has appeared in just 20 games over that span, and only 1,056 yards receiving and five scores. This resulted in Las Vegas shipping the star to New York for a third-round selection.
Waller had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020, and the Giants are hoping he can be a versatile security blanket for their newly inked franchise quarterback Daniel Jones. His veteran presence will assist the 25-year-old quarterback in expanding on his best season yet, in which he threw for 3,205 yards, 15 touchdowns, and five interceptions with a depleted receiving corps.
Thus, Waller can become the primary pass catcher for the developing quarterback. Jones will likely lean on him in the red zone and third down, and he is set to get a massive dose of receiving targets. And we know that target count will be fantastic for fantasy football.
Predictions: 122 targets, 83 catches for 1,042 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns.
Miles Sanders – RB – Carolina Panthers
Running back is a brutal business in the NFL.
Despite making his first Pro Bowl in the 2022 NFL Season, Sanders seemed destined to leave Philadelphia. Howie Roseman is known for not investing in the running back position, which has become the norm in the modern NFL. As a result, Sanders’ breakout season was not enough to keep him in the City of Brotherly Love, and the Panthers pounced.
The 25-year-old signed a four-year, $25 million deal to move to Carolina. As a result, the Panthers get an explosive back with 1,259 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 259 rushing attempts. Some fans may argue that Sanders’ success was primarily defined by running behind the league’s most dominant offensive line. While that certainly played a part in his success, he also forced 46 missed tackles and had 34 explosive runs, per PFF. Moreover, Sanders achieved a terrific 82.3 PFF rushing grade, which does show his viability as an explosive rusher.
Sanders is the lead back behind a developing offensive line unit in Carolina. He is solidified as the starter in front of Chuba Hubbard and Raheem Blackshear. Furthermore, the running back will benefit from the continued development of physical left tackle Ikem Ekwonu, who will pair with Taylor Moton to make a sound tackle combination in the rushing attack. Their interior combination of Brady Christensen, Bradley Bozeman, and Austin Corbett is solid and will likely be added to in the draft process.
Sanders will likely be a primary force in the offense as the Carolina Panthers select a rookie quarterback and support him with a run-first mentality with an explosive, experienced running back. And those touches will be instrumental in a breakout fantasy performance.
Prediction: 297 rushing attempts, 1,395 rushing yards, and seven touchdowns.
Which of these three free-agent acquisitions is most exciting to snag in your fantasy draft? Let us know on our socials, and don’t forget to follow Stadium Rant for all of your sporting news!