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Live Fantasy Football Analysis Of Day 1 Free Agent Landing Spots

Ted gives his live takes on every big fantasy football move from the first day of NFL free agency.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 14: D'Andre Swift #0 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball during at Lincoln Financial Field on September 14, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Today is a huge day for the NFL and fantasy football alike. While free agents technically can’t sign deals until Wednesday, as of noon EST today they will be able to begin negotiating with teams other than the team they were on last season … which means they will be free to start announcing deals that were probably all-but-confirmed well before the official deadline. Let’s get straight in with a live tracker of the fantasy implications of today’s biggest moves:

D’Andre Swift Signs With The Chicago Bears — Fantasy Impact

This is a big win for Swift’s value, as well as obviously a huge blow to the incumbent group of Bears running backs. Making Swift a priority free agent signing signals that the Bears’ decision-makers are planning to have him be their lead back, whether as a true three-down workhorse or just the 1A in a committee. Prior to today, Swift was going as the RB31 in Underdog ADP. Now that he has a favorable landing spot, he will rise into at least the RB2 range, if not higher.

As for whether Swift is worth drafting, I am expecting the hype following this move to push the veteran above where I’d be comfortable drafting him. While Caleb Williams (I’m assuming) is less likely to vulture rushing touchdowns than Jalen Hurts, Chicago’s offensive line is not on the same level as the Eagles’. And Swift actually graded out as a below-average rusher in PFF Grade (39th of 59 qualified backs) and Next Gen Stats’ Rush Yards Over Expected Per Carry (39th out of 49 qualified backs). On the other hand, volume is king, and a contract like this all but guarantees Swift will get the first crack at dominating touches in what could be an up-and-coming offense.

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Tony Pollard Signs With The Tennessee Titans — Fantasy Impact

As a manager of both Pollard and Tyjae Spears in a couple Dynasty leagues, I hate this. Even when I take a step away from my own biases, this feels like an odd fit. In a league trending towards building committees out of backs with complementary skill sets, Pollard and Spears feel too similar to one another to be a perfect fit — instead of thunder and lightning, they are lightning and lightning. On the other hand, that could work great as the league is also trending towards speed, speed, and more speed.

On the fantasy side of things, just like with Swift, we have to assume Pollard’s contract means he will at least start the season in the lead role. Expect Spears’ current RB18 ADP to plummet, while Pollard himself may also slide down a bit from RB22. Pollard had a rough year efficiency-wise as a bell-cow for Dallas last season, so perhaps splitting time with another back in Spears may help him, but we also can’t ignore that moving from the Cowboys’ offense to the Titans’ is a big downgrade. Pollard himself attributed his struggles to recovering from the fractured fibula he suffered during the 2022 postseason, and the stats do support that he improved down the stretch. With that in mind, he could be the steal of drafts if he returns to his early-career self and holds off Spears for the lion’s share of the work … but that is a lot of ifs. I think Pollard should still be drafted as an RB2, while Spears is more of a long-term stash than anything else at this point.

Gabe Davis Signs With The Jacksonville Jaguars — Fantasy Impact

This is a pretty good landing spot for Davis. Assuming that this means Calvin Ridley does not return to Jacksonville, he is now locked in as one of the Jaguars’ starting receivers. And while it’s hard to upgrade in situation as a deep threat leaving a Josh Allen-led offense, Trevor Lawrence at least has the arm strength to use Davis’ speed. Davis should be his usual boom-or-bust flex self in Jacksonville, so I expect his ADP to rise slightly from where he currently sits at WR62. On another note, Christian Kirk should probably also slide a few spots up from WR36 now that he is nearly guaranteed to be T-Law’s top target with Ridley likely out the door.

Josh Jacobs Signs With The Green Bay Packers — Fantasy Impact

This is a shocking landing spot for Jacobs, and not in a good way. Aaron Jones is already one of the league’s best backs, especially in the passing game. These two guys were essentially back-to-back at RB14 and RB16 in ADP, but both have to fall some following this news. Jacobs is likely to dominate early-down work, while Jones plays third downs and potentially in the red zone. If the Packers’ offense is great, they can both be RB2s. Otherwise, this has all the makings of a gross committee that turns two very talented backs into unreliable fantasy options. There’s also a chance this signals that the Packers will be moving on from Jones, so watch this space — if that does happen, this landing spot goes from terrible to incredible for Jacobs.

Update: Jones has been officially released by the Packers. Jacobs is a locked-in RB1 as a likely bell-cow on a good offense. Jones’ value will depend greatly on his landing spot.

Kirk Cousins Signs With The Atlanta Falcons — Fantasy Impact

Probably the least surprising move of the day, as we have been getting plenty of smoke that this move was incoming. This is a solid landing spot for Cousins, where he will have plenty of young playmakers to work with (although none quite as good as Justin Jefferson). There is some risk with the 35-year-old coming off a major injury, but I think that risk is worth taking at his current QB20 ADP. In terms of other fantasy impacts, this is a huge upgrade for all of those young playmakers (Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson), although some of that upgrade has already been priced into their ADPs. I gave my take on which of those guys to target already.

Saquon Barkley Signs With The Philadelphia Eagles — Fantasy Impact

At first glance, this is a perfect fit, as one of the league’s best rushers joins an elite offense and will run behind perhaps the league’s best offensive line. However, as we saw with Swift in this situation last year, the Eagles’ offense isn’t always a fantasy paradise for running backs. We all know about Jalen Hurts tush-pushing his way into the end zone, and he isn’t exactly a check-down machine, either. Still, this landing spot makes Barkley as close to a lock for an RB1 season as it is possible to be, he just might not have truly elite upside with low TD equity and receiving work. I expect his ADP to rise into the top five at the position, but I wouldn’t go much higher than that.

Antonio Gibson Signs With The New England Patriots — Fantasy Impact

I don’t think Gibson is likely to have much fantasy relevance himself, but this move can still have a real fantasy impact. Gibson is a talented receiver, and his arrival in New England can only be a bad thing for Rhamondre Stevenson’s passing-game usage. Stevenson is currently being drafted as a middling RB2, but I think he might be more of a backend RB2 or even high-end RB3 on what is unlikely to be a prolific offense.

Devin Singletary Signs With The New York Giants — Fantasy Impact

Singletary finished the 2023 season strong with the Texans and was rewarded with a contract by the Giants. For now, he is the only game in town, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants weren’t done adding to an RB room that is suddenly very empty with Saquon’s departure. If that doesn’t happen, Singletary could find himself in the RB2 conversation on volume alone, but it seems more likely he will end up a flex option as a member of a committee in New York.

Gardner Minshew Signs With The Las Vegas Raiders — Fantasy Impact

The biggest fantasy impact of Minshew’s signing is what it implies for other players. Minshew himself is unlikely to be relevant outside of Superflex and 2-QB leagues. But Minshew heading for Las Vegas means they are likely no longer an option for other available quarterbacks, notably Justin Fields, who seems to be running out of potential options. Minshew’s arrival is also a slight positive for Davante Adams and the Raiders’ other weapons; he’s not incredible, but he’s certainly better than Aidan O’Connell.

Gus Edwards Signs With The Los Angeles Chargers — Fantasy Impact

I’m late on this one as it somehow slipped through my radar, but reuniting with Greg Roman in LA is as good an outcome as the Gus Bus could have hoped for from a fantasy perspective. Edwards’ 2023 production was largely based on goal-line touchdowns, but he could get his fair share of those again on the new-look Chargers’ offense. Don’t expect more than inconsistent flex production, and Jim Harbaugh may not be done adding to his RB room, but this is definitely a win for anyone with Gus on a Dynasty or early Best Ball roster.

Austin Ekeler Signs With The Washington Commanders — Fantasy Impact

Given the size of his deal and his production in recent years, it is likely that Ekeler will be almost exclusively a pass-catching back for the Commanders. Once a top-five RB, he is likely to be more of a flex play with limited volume in his new role (think J.D. McKissic). This is also a downgrade for Brian Robinson, as any hope he might expand his passing-down usage with Antonio Gibson departing goes out the window.