Dynasty and Keeper Leagues: Looking at Potential Free Agent Running Backs
Every year, NFL players change teams after their respective contracts expire. The player movement creates an opportunity for NFL players and fantasy owners alike. This series of articles will look at the players whose contracts are up after the 2016 season and could change teams next offseason. This is the second installment of the series and will examine the running backs who could hit free agency next spring. Our goal is to identify the beneficiaries of the player movement. Free agency impacts fantasy football and those fantasy owners who anticipate correctly the situations usually come out on top.
LeVeon Bell – We once thought it inconceivable that the Steelers let Bell walk, and his assertion that he wants $15 million annually on his next contract inserted a little doubt into the equation. Bell will be the marquee back on the market next spring. While this demand seems outrageous, we do expect the stellar runner to garner close to $10 million with the first two years guaranteed with a healthy 2016. The key will not be the annual amount but the guarantee. If he and DeAngelo Williams both leave, Pittsburgh could be in a pickle at the position. Williams is a free agent, too, but could be a short-term stop-gap in case Bell exits. In that case, he would be paired with an incoming rookie out of the talented 2017 class.
Eddie Lacy – Lacy has battled the bulge since arriving in the NFL. With free agency looming, this is a huge (pun intended) year for the power back. Unless he has an outstanding season, it is unlikely the Packers bring him back. So, Lacy is playing for his next deal, for his next team. There are several teams which he would be a great fit (Indianapolis, chief among them) but Lacy needs to put the weight concerns behind in order to get $4-5 million per season instead of backup money, roughly half that amount. Just like with Pittsburgh above, we expect Green Bay to draft a tailback from the loaded 2017 draft class instead of paying for an expensive veteran at a low-value position.