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Fantasy Football Free Agency Insights: Mike Davis, Devin Funchess Get Big Boosts

There has been a quick avalanche of notable NFL free agency signings so far, and many of the more notable ones have not been direct impact fantasy news makers, involving defensive players and offensive linemen. Of course, we are watching the skill position newswires very closely and two of the most significant fantasy free agent movers so far don’t seem like major ones overall. But they are indeed very meaningful for our fantasy purposes.

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NFL Free Agency Fantasy Insights – Davis and Funchess

RB Mike Davis (Bears) and WR Devin Funchess (Colts) have signed with new ball clubs and both players now have instant additional promise for 2019. I have been touting Davis as a very underrated and impactful free agent ever since the offseason started. Whenever he was pressed into service with Seattle over the past two seasons, he came through not only as a runner, but also as a pass-catcher. He is only 25 years old and will now be the likely complement to Tarik Cohen and his arrival will ultimately send Jordan Howard elsewhere. Davis adds another respectable piece to the Chicago offense, which is still developing. Look for him to open 2019 as Chicago’s lead ball carrier and main goal-line runner. Having Cohen in the mix will reduce his pass-catching potential, but he still has lower-end RB2 potential for 2019.

Funchess obviously gets a big upgrade in the QB he works with and playing with Andrew Luck can boost him back into starting fantasy WR territory. Funchess dealt with injuries and erratic passing from Cam Newton throughout his Carolina tenure. Now he becomes the big target and potential ideal WR complement to T.Y. Hilton, who never seemed to find the end zone consistently enough. Now, Luck has maybe found what he is lacking at WR on key passing downs and in goal-line situations. Hilton has never caught more than seven TD passes. Funchess caught eight in 2017 and at 6-4, 225-plus, he gives the Colts passing game a new fusion of size and considerable talent that they were lacking at WR, and he will enter the new season at age 25, so maybe his best years are still ahead of him. His arrival, however, could put a serious dent in the TD potential of Eric Ebron, the Colts’ preferred goal-line area target in 2018.

More NFL Free Agency Fantasy Insights

The incredibly busy New York Jets are doing everything they can to open their possible window of contention wider and quicker, as they have been very aggressive in free agency and didn’t wait to pounce as soon as negotiating windows opened. Offensively, they added former Washington slot man Jamison Crowder on the first day of free agency. He is a perfect add for young QB Sam Darnold, as Crowder can make the important catches, but also get downfield for big plays. Darnold now has a deep receiving crew with Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Crowder. The ex-Redskin now plays with a still-evolving passer and has two other proven WRs to contend with in the passing game. Consistency could be an issue and Crowder has never hit the 800-yard mark in his career yet. He has WR4 labeling until proven otherwise. But he will be just 26 when the new season starts and we may not have seen his best season yet.

Latavius Murray was expected to leave Minnesota for a chance to play more regularly elsewhere, and while he will be part of a duo in New Orleans, he will likely have a more clearly defined role than he did in Minnesota. Murray should take over the old Mark Ingram role as a part-time runner who shares reps with lead runner Alvin Kamara. Ingram always seemed to get into the mix despite the outstanding play of Kamara. Murray is a prolific short-yardage and goal-line runner, but I would not count Kamara out in those situations anymore. Having an electric playmaker like Kamara and a physical complement like Murray continues to give defenses two distinctive styles to deal with every week. Murray was not guaranteed much playing time when Dalvin Cook was healthy, and now he will surely operate in a time share. Kamara’s value should not change but Murray is more of a flex player than the handcuff he was in Minnesota.

I was one of many fantasy analysts who had high hopes for where Adam Humphries could sign and Tennessee seems like a slightly disappointing destination. Marcus Mariota has done little to show us he can stay healthy regularly, and when he is available, the play has all too often been erratic. The Titans did need a more consistent complement to Corey Davis to help Mariota. How effective Humphries can be will depend on Mariota’s play, but he also becomes possibly the most reliable pass-catcher the Titans have. I’ll put him into low-end WR3 territory in PPR formats for 2019.

The Blake Bortles era is over in Jacksonville, where Nick Foles has landed. In 2017, Foles had a trio of three-TD games and a pair of 300-yard outings in six starts combined during the regular season and postseason. In seven combined starts in 2018, he had one 300-yard game and one with more than two TD passes. With lesser weaponry right now in Jacksonville, having some promising but still highly unproven pass-catchers, he does not figure to be anything better than a high-end fantasy QB2.

The Bills have moved to fill their WR needs with one possession guy and a deep threat. They added former Cowboy Cole Beasley, an important piece for Josh Allen, who landed a dependable target that should be frequently targeted to move the chains. Beasley has never topped 850 yards or five TDs in  season with more established passers, so he remains a fantasy bench player in PPR formats. Brown did catch three TD passes in his first four games in 2018 and Allen is not shy about throwing the deep ball, so he will have some streaming appeal for 2019. These two acquisitions bolster Allen’s dynasty outlook, especially if Robert Foster and Zay Jones continue to provide good depth.

DeSean Jackson is back again in Philadelphia as the needed speed merchant for Carson Wentz, but consistency has long been an issue and he won’t be more than a streamer at best. He’ll remain a boom-or-bust bench fantasy option at WR. Carlos Hyde gives the Chiefs an interesting depth piece if Damien Williams shows he cannot handle a lead RB job over a full season. Frank Gore provides Buffalo with some veteran insurance for solid play if LeSean McCoy continues to battle injuries.

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