Savvy Fantasy Football players, especially those in dynasty and keeper formats, and those already drafting early in Best Ball formats are staying on top of every offseason move and potential transaction. NFL Free Agents cannot officially sign until March 13, yet we have already seen Kareem Hunt and Joe Flacco find new destinations.
There are some impact running backs that all NFL teams are readying to pounce on next month, and we look at some potential and speculative landing spots and how they could affect Fantasy outlooks for the 2019 season. This list includes my favorite notable unrestricted free agents right now. I am throwing some darts here, but ones that make sense based on team needs, schematic fits and available cap room.
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2019 NFL Free Agents: Running Backs
Le’Veon Bell: The Jets have been the most prominently mentioned suitor, and he would become a hero in the New York market should Bell eventually boost the Jets into Super Bowl contention. It’s a lucrative landing spot for Bell, who would become a New York icon and get the most possible future upside out of playing in the NYC market. Going to the Texans or Eagles would put him closer to a championship sooner. He could also slide in perfectly in Tampa Bay to ease pressure on Jameis Winston in a variety of ways.
Best Fantasy Fit: Realistically, the Jets are the best move for his career prospects on and off the field. Fantasy wise, we would love to see him with the Texans or Eagles.
Mark Ingram: He’s the best free agent RB available and the biggest potential offseason prize at the position other than Le’Veon Bell. Ingram is 29 years old, but he has averaged 165 carries per year, so don’t get stuck on the old age axioms when looking at him. He has not been a fully consistent ball carrier in recent seasons. If the Jets don’t land Bell or the Texans want to truly upgrade at RB this offseason, Ingram could step in and be the instant answer in both scenarios. Profiling as a guy that can be a true No. 1 RB type given the opportunity, the Raiders are a possibility as well. The Ravens have also been mentioned as a suitor, and it makes sense to stabilize the position with a young QB at the helm. A quality RB could make the RPO game more dangerous in Baltimore.
Best Fantasy Fit: He’d be the missing offensive puzzle piece for the Texans but he may be more likely to go the Baltimore, where he could be a viable Fantasy RB2.
Tevin Coleman: He had the opportunity to prove he could seize a starting job and produce well with Atlanta last year, but Coleman mostly whiffed on the opportunity. Coleman started 14 games but only had three 80-yard rushing outings and caught just 32 passes. He could still contend for a starting gig elsewhere but may also be viewed as one piece of a time share. The New York Daily News has already suggested him as a Bell consolation prize. The Eagles could be a good spot for him to share carries, but they may not have enough money to get into a bidding battle. The Raiders have the cap space and don’t have a win-now mentality, so they could give him another chance to show he can be a lead RB.
Best Fantasy Fit: The best opportunity for getting the biggest workload may be with the Raiders.
Latavius Murray: He did perform well enough when called on last season, as he started six games and rushed for six TDs, four between Weeks Six and Nine. He should at least compete for a part-time role somewhere as an inside banger and TD threat. He already told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune he wants to start somewhere else if possible. Murray would be a good drive finisher for Tampa Bay, and could be a place holder until Ronald Jones is ready to start realizing his potential. Washington, like Tampa Bay, does not currently have a lot of cap space and could pair Murray with Chris Thompson at RB. The Eagles could also consider him if they want to continue to employ a committee approach and utilize him as the short yardage option.
Best Fantasy Fit: He could have the best TD potential and a chance to get the most reps with the Buccaneers.
Jay Ajayi: He is coming off a lost season and injuries will be a constant concern. But as we have seen at times, Ajayi can perform at a RB1 level when he is on the field. Depending on how his health is evaluated Ajayi could vie for a significant role somewhere, but he cannot be brought on as a reliable featured back. Buffalo, Houston and Baltimore are all spots where he could be utilized prominently when he is healthy.
Best Fantasy Fit: He could rise to the top of the pecking order with the Ravens if Ajayi regains much of his better form.
Mike Davis: This guy is the real sleeper of the offseason. Whenever the Seahawks called on him last season to step up, he delivered, as both a runner and receiver. He is only 25 years old, too. If a new ballclub gives him an opportunity to contend for significant carries, they may be rewarded. Franchises with lesser cap space like the Eagles and Buccaneers should consider Davis, as should a team that needs a depth guy who could step forward immediately if needed (Bills).
Best Fantasy Fit: The Bills cannot rely on LeSean McCoy to stay available if he stays with Buffalo. Davis could fill a void and shine in such a scenario, especially if the offensive line improves.
C.J. Anderson: His play down the stretch and early in the postseason is now the stuff of legend and can earn him a shot at a starting job elsewhere. But he will still have to prove himself in such a situation. The Eagles could use him as a featured runner and complement him with a pass-catching back, or Washington could pair him up with Chris Thompson. The Raiders could attempt to utilize him as a lead ball carrier, as they are a ballclub that can afford to take chances.
Best Fantasy Fit: We’d like to see him maybe get a shot as a lead runner for the Eagles.
Adrian Peterson: He was not reliable at all for Fantasy purposes, yet still played well enough overall to earn Comeback Player of the Year buzz. He’s not done just yet, and maybe there is a possibility he returns to Washington or more likely hooks on with a team that suffers a significant injury at the position in the preseason.
Best Fantasy Fit: That has yet to be determined, and Fantasy players cannot trust him no matter where he lands. Peterson might have to play wait and see again.
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