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Fantasy Football Free Agency Insights: Donte Moncrief is Rising, Tevin Coleman Creating Confusion

The Steelers and Giants moved quickly in free agency to fill the voids left by their departed superstar wide receivers. New York signed an obvious impact wideout, but Pittsburgh’s new addition could be a very improved fantasy player in 2019.

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The latest NFL free agency observations

After trading Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland, the Giants signed veteran Golden Tate, arguably the best free agent WR on the market this year. It was a move that may slightly ease the noise from an angered fanbase following the Beckham deal. Tate is one of the better receivers in the league in terms of dual ability to make possession catches and gain significant yardage after the catch.

An in-season trade to Philadelphia hurt his 2018 production, but now his outlook can be a more optimistic if the Giants indeed spend their No. 6 pick in the draft on a new franchise QB. Such a WR signing would seem to indicate that will be the case, as a young passer can greatly benefit from playing with an oft-dependable proven veteran like Tate. He will at least be regarded as a low-end WR2 in PPR leagues in 2019.

Following their unloading of Brown to Oakland, the Steelers moved quickly to acquire former Colt and Jaguar Donte Moncrief. The big target has not been able to live up to his potential over the last two seasons because of shaky QB play. He did catch 13 TD passes combined in 2016 and 2017, so the scoring potential is certainly there.

Playing with Ben Roethlisberger over a full season, with JuJu Smith-Schuster drawing away defensive attention, can put Moncrief at least in fantasy WR3 territory for 2019. James Washington may not be able to handle anything more than a third receiver role in his second season. Moncrief can be a big possession target and TD threat while Washington is more of a downfield playmaker. Moncrief does have fantasy WR2 promise playing with Roethlisberger. He could be on the verge of a breakthrough to the point where he is considered a consistent quality fantasy starter.

The Raiders swiftly added prime free agent target Tyrell Williams to pair with Brown. Williams was the best combination of size and speed available in free agency, and landing alongside Brown can only naturally help him face less defensive attention. Oakland cut Jordy Nelson and it is clear Williams won’t have competition for the second WR role like he did in Los Angeles. Some may submit that it is an obvious downgrade from Philip Rivers to Derek Carr at QB, but this is the best WR duo Carr will have and we must have confidence he can at least be respectable with such weaponry. At the very least, Williams is a WR3 with potential for more in 2019.

There will be no duo of Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon to lead the Baltimore backfield in 2019. Instead, as anticipated, Mark Ingram left New Orleans to start somewhere else, and he is now a Raven. Some naysayers may point to his age of 29 as a concern, but I don’t agree with that number being a negative any time soon. Ingram was a part-time player for much of his New Orleans career and does not have as much wear and tear on him as some other players his age had when they started to decline. He will be an important piece in the RPO game with Lamar Jackson and should see a heavy workload. His fantasy appeal now gets a boost to RB2 territory.

Tevin Coleman’s decision to sign with a busy 49ers team that is continuing an overhaul over the two seasons raised some instant confusion from fantasy scouting perspectives. Coleman joins a crowded backfield that includes last year’s “big” addition, Jerick McKinnon, and the scrappy and tenacious Matt Breida. The signing of Coleman, who is reunited with Kyle Shanahan, could mean the Niners move on from McKinnon and release him before his $3.7 million salary becomes guaranteed on April 1.

Or, the 49ers could take the cautious approach after they endured so many RB injuries last season and keep the depth afforded By Coleman, McKinnon and Breida. Of course, that situation would drive fantasy players crazy. Coleman proved last year that he could not handle being a featured RB when given the opportunity, and he operated in a timeshare again. Coleman should still be the San Francisco RB you want to own when you consider the 49ers were last in red zone scoring in 2018, registering TDs on just 41 percent of their trips. Coleman is the best potential short yardage runner of the three, having rushed for 13 total TDs in 2016 and 2017. He has the most flex appeal between him and McKinnon if both remain with the team. If McKinnon gets sliced from the roster, Coleman could have more of a chance to rise into low RB2 territory, but he has not proven he can be in such conversations so far, even with opportunities to expand his workload.

The Falcons will hope that Devonta Freeman can stay healthy while Ito Smith gets elevated to Coleman’s old time share role. Smith should be drafted as a high RB4, and he could have potential to at least move into the flex area if he is pressed into additional service at any time.

Adrian Peterson re-signed with Washington as he continues his Hall of Fame career. The fact that the Redskins brought him back so quickly signals that they may not have much faith in Derrius Guice to contribute in 2019. Washington may have one of the worst offenses in the NFC next season, and Peterson will often be in the defensive spotlight. He does not run with the same authority he used to, and it’s unlikely he can be utilized as anything more than an RB3 streamer.

Scott Engel is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame and a four-time award winner. He was one of the driving content forces in the rise of and was the lead host on the RotoExperts in the Morning for six years on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. He was also instrumental in the launch of the FNTSY Sports Network. Scott was the first-ever Senior Writer and Managing Editor at CBS SportsLine and won a company Hall of Fame Award. He was also an Associate Editor and Fantasy analyst for He has been the featured Fantasy Writer on since 2012 and his work has been syndicated to the Associated Press,, New York Daily News, New York Post, Yahoo Sports, Bloomberg Sports, Sports Illustrated and many others. He is a credentialed media member who won an FSWA award in 2016 for his Insider Fantasy Reporting. Known as “The King”, Scott is on Twitter @scottTheKing

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