Fanelli’s Fantasy Files: Best Fantasy Fit for Remaining Top Free Agents


The 2022 NFL free agency window is just over a week old. Several blockbuster trades have happened, headlined by Russell Wilson heading to the Denver Broncos and Deshaun Watson going to the Cleveland Browns. Several top free agents signed new deals within the first day or two of free agency. Now that the second wave has hit, it has become a buyer’s market. However, there are still plenty of talented players available. Let’s look at the best fantasy landing spots for the top remaining free agents.

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Andy Dalton → Seattle Seahawks

After trading Wilson to the Broncos, Seattle has Drew Lock penciled in as their starting quarterback for Week 1. Reportedly, they are interested in trading for Baker Mayfield. Now that Marcus Mariota is in Atlanta and Matt Ryan is a member of the Indianapolis Colts, the Seahawks are the lone remaining spot without a clear-cut starter at quarterback. While it is unlikely Dalton ends up with the Seahawks, it would be a solid fantasy fit. Dalton has been a solid fantasy player when the starter in his career. However, he has never played with a duo like D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. If Dalton lands with the Seahawks, he is a mid QB2 in super flex leagues.

Leonard Fournette → Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Now that Tom Brady has come out of retirement, the Buccaneers are all in for another Super Bowl run. They haven’t re-signed Fournette yet, but they haven’t added any other running backs in free agency. Currently, Ke’Shawn Vaughn is the only running back on the roster. Vaughn is not a lead back despite some flashes at the end of the season. Before suffering a hamstring injury, Fournette was the RB3 in PPR scoring, averaging 18.3 fantasy points per game. While the Buccaneers lost Alex Cappa and Ali Marpet this offseason, they traded for Shaq Mason. If the Buccaneers re-sign Fournette, they will likely close the door on bringing back Ronald Jones. Fournette would have a featured role in Tampa Bay next season with Jones out of the picture.

Melvin Gordon → Houston Texans

Despite splitting the backfield workload with Javonte Williams, Gordon finished the year as the RB20, averaging 12.2 PPR fantasy points per game. Reports are out there that the Broncos won’t re-sign Gordon, bringing tears of joy to Williams owners. While a return to the Los Angeles Chargers is an option, the Texans would give Gordon a featured role on a young offense in need of a star running back. The Texans targeted their running backs on 17.8 percent of their throws last season. Meanwhile, Gordon has at least 37 targets every year of his career. With limited weapons at wide receiver, Gordon would play an impactful role in the passing game for the Texans. If he joined the Texans, Gordon could have top-12 upside next year.

Odell Beckham Jr. → New England Patriots

Beckham averaged 12 PPR fantasy points per game over the final seven games with the Los Angeles Rams last season. After the Rams signed Allen Robinson, many believed they shut the door on a Beckham return to Los Angeles. However, the Rams traded Robert Woods to the Tennessee Titans, and that door is now open again. While Beckham will likely return to the Rams, the Patriots offer him the best fantasy fit. Beckham had a 27.4 percent target share during his time with the New York Giants. He will never see that in Los Angeles with Robinson and Cooper Kupp on the team. However, the Patriots have a massive hole at wide receiver. He could step in and see the needed target share to finish next season as a WR2.

Julio Jones → Indianapolis Colts

Injuries have derailed the past few years for Jones. After playing in at least 14 games in six straight years, Jones has played in only 57.6 percent of the games over the past two seasons. While the Titans won’t have their second-round pick this year because of the Jones trade, they released him last week. Many would like to see him in Green Bay to replace Davante Adams. However, the best fantasy spot is with Matt Ryan in Indianapolis. The duo combined for 60 touchdowns during their time together with the Atlanta Falcons. With the Colts lacking a receiving threat opposite Michael Pittman, Julio would be an excellent addition in Indianapolis for team and fantasy owners.

Jarvis Landry → Cleveland Browns

When the Browns traded for Amari Cooper on the cheap, it meant the end of Landry’s time with the Browns. However, after adding Watson, both sides are interested in a return to Cleveland. While the Browns have been a run-heavy team the past few years, the addition of Watson will make them more balanced. Cooper is a capable No. 1 wide receiver. However, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz, and Jakeem Grant are not starting-caliber players. In his final season with the Texans, Watson produced two excellent fantasy wide receivers. Brandin Cooks averaged 15.5 PPR fantasy points per game, while Will Fuller averaged a career-high 17.2 fantasy points per game. If Landry returns to Cleveland, he could become a steal for fantasy owners during the draft.

Eric Ebron → New York Giants

The tight end free agent market dried up quickly after Dalton Schultz, Mike Gesicki, and David Njoku received the franchise tag. While he is technically a free agent, Rob Gronkowski expects to re-sign with the Buccaneers now that Brady is back. However, Ebron offers some fantasy appeal depending on where he lands. Last week the Giants released Kyle Rudolph and let Evan Engram sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars. While they signed Ricky Seals-Jones, they currently don’t have a starting-caliber tight end on the roster. Meanwhile, Ebron struggled with injuries last season, playing only eight games. However, he averaged 10.2 PPR fantasy points per game over the previous five seasons. Ebron has a path to fantasy relevance if he lands in New York.

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Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
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