From a fantasy perspective, which free-agent signing or trade resulted in the best fit between player and team?
Andy Hicks: Curtis Samuel to the Washington Football Team stands out. Not only does The Team get an ascending talent, but one who has worked with offensive coordinator Scott Turner in the past. Washington had a dearth of talent at the wide receiver position, which should allow Samuel to see more touches than he did in Carolina, where he combined for over 1,000 total scrimmage yards last season. Adding Samuel to Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson gives Washington great potential at the skill positions.
Jeff Haseley: I’ll second the Samuel move as an upgrade for Washington. As Andy said, he already knows the system and should get up to speed quickly. To play devil’s advocate though, Samuel enjoyed a career year with Joe Brady calling the shots in Carolina -- not Turner. Hopefully, Turner took some notes on how to unlock Samuel’s full potential.
Chad Parsons: The hole opposite McLaurin at WR2 was practically a crater last season for Washington. This was close to a best-case scenario for Samuel and should keep him relevant as a weekly fantasy WR3/4.
Scott Bischoff: I’m going to stay in the NFC East and give a nod to the moves the Giants made to help quarterback Daniel Jones. In particular, the addition of wide receiver Kenny Golladay stands out. Golladay is not a receiver capable of separating with quickness or speed, but he is dominant with the ball in the air utilizing his big body to box out defenders. He should be the primary target in this offense, and Jones is not shy about putting the ball into dangerous areas -- exactly where Golladay wins. Expect some week-to-week volatility, but the potential exists for the Jones-Golladay pairing to be very productive in 2021 and moving forward.
Dave Kluge: Golladay in New York is a great fit. The Giants have been craving a superstar pass-catcher since Odell Beckham Jr left after the 2018 season. With Saquon Barkley returning from injury and demanding the opposition’s attention, Golladay should have plenty of room to work downfield. Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram have each underwhelmed at times, but they round out a competent group of skill players that should also help keep defensive attention away from Golladay. Scott has it right. Not only is Golladay’s value set to skyrocket, but he’s good enough to bring Daniel Jones along for the ride. Jones now profiles as a sneaky-good late-round quarterback target.
Dan Hindery: I also like the fits for Samuel and Golladay. But my favorite signing was one that flew a bit under the radar -- Marvin Jones Jr to the Jaguars. Jacksonville has a great deep threat in D.J. Chark Jr and a fun hybrid player in Laviska Shenault Jr. Jones rounds out the group as a clutch red-zone player who can line up across from Chark and add some veteran leadership to an otherwise (very) young offense. If Trevor Lawrence is as good as most scouts seem to think he’ll be, there could be plenty of fantasy value to go around for each of the Jaguars’ top three pass catchers.
Chad Parsons: Don’t forget about the guys who stayed put. Aaron Jones was an RB1 in each of the last two seasons in Green Bay. We already know he’s an ideal fit for the Packers’ offense. Similarly, Chris Carson returning to Seattle is a huge win from a fantasy perspective for an older running back with two top-12 point-per-game seasons under his belt with the Seahawks.
Troy King: You beat me to it, Chad. Aaron Jones returning to Green Bay has to be the best fit. He wasn’t just a back-end RB1 the past two seasons. Jones ranked third and sixth, respectively, in average fantasy points per game. His workload in a very fantasy-friendly offense doesn’t project to change.
Dave Kluge: It’s hard to argue with that logic. Jones and Carson returning to teams they’ve already had success with are automatic “best fits” They should both be locked in as strong fantasy running backs for 2021.
Jordan McNamara: I'll add Will Fuller V to the mix. While I have questions about Tua Tagovailoa following his rookie season, it was clear he did not have sufficient weapons. Fuller is the perfect receiver to unlock the vertical passing scheme Tagovailoa excelled in at Alabama. Injury questions will always follow Fuller, but he appears locked in for eight-plus targets per game in Miami for as long as he remains healthy.
Troy King: Fuller to Miami is also one of my favorite signings. Miami’s 20th ranked passing offense from last year desperately needed a home run hitter and Fuller is one of the best downfield receivers in the league. His addition helps open up the offense and will force opposing defenses to adjust coverage compared to last year when Tagovailoa’s average depth of target was only 7.8 yards.
Jeff Haseley: I'm hesitant to raise Fuller's value up too high. DeVante Parker is still the alpha-dog in Miami and it remains to be seen how much of Fuller’s success is owed to Deshaun Watson. Will he have the same impact on Miami with Tagovailoa, who averaged 6.2 yards per attempt last season? With so much of Fuller’s fantasy potential riding on Tagovailoa’s second-year improvement, I’m proceeding with caution.
Jason Wood: You all have hit on a few of the best fits, already. I'll throw a few out there who may not be fantasy darlings but are excellent fits for their projected roles.
Jamaal Williams in Detroit makes a ton of sense. D'Andre Swift is seen as the Alvin Kamara or Austin Ekeler of the offense, and will be positioned for 180-200 rushes and 50+ receptions, and used in high-leverage situations. The Lions want to run the ball a lot like the Saints have in recent years, and that requires a durable, no-nonsense No. 2 who understands his role. That's Williams to a tee.
Gerald Everett should fit well into the Seahawks’ plans. The team is among the most run-heavy in the league, and re-signing Chris Carson shows that won't change under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. Everett will be a big help in the run game, but is also capable of making tough contested catches in traffic and should provide Russell Wilson with an enviable secondary red zone outlet.
Phil Alexander: The Colts were the best-case landing spot for Carson Wentz following the disastrous end to his time in Philadelphia. As terrible as Wentz looked in 2020, he spent most of the season running for his life behind the Eagles’ 31st-ranked offensive line (per Football Outsiders). In Indianapolis, he’ll enjoy one of the best pass-blocking units in the league, the guidance of head coach Frank Reich (his former offensive coordinator), and an intriguing young group of skill-players, including Michael Pittman Jr, Parris Campbell, and Jonathan Taylor.
The elite per-game numbers we saw from Wentz during his time with Reich from 2017-2018 might be gone for good. But a back-end QB1 finish is well within reach considering the Colts just coaxed a top-10 passing yardage season out of the statuesque Philip Rivers at age-39. Coming off the board in the same range as Baker Mayfield in early Best Ball drafts, Wentz is shaping up as an ideal late-round quarterback target.
Sigmund Bloom: I'll finish this off with a mention of Ryan Fitzpatrick. He was the perfect signing for a team that lost out on Matthew Stafford and wants to repeat as division champs. He'll uplift an offense that was morose with Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, and Alex Smith, and provide an amplified boost from the one Taylor Heinecke gave them in the playoff loss to Tampa Bay. The locker room should unite around Fitzpatrick, who is used to learning and mastering new offenses in one offseason. The one-year, 10 million dollar deal was very modest for a proven starting quarterback and should add more wins to the team's bottom line than the similar Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, and Cam Newton one-year stopgap deals. The Football Team could have a similar offensive renaissance to the one the Titans had after they installed Ryan Tannehill at quarterback.
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