After another thrilling NFL off-season there are many new faces in new places. Here is an inside look at who is going to benefit in their new landing spot.
After years playing opposite Richard Sherman, arguably the best corner in the game, Philadelphia has made Maxwell the 5th highest paid cornerback in the league behind only Darrelle Revis, Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman and Joe Haden. That is some pretty high company to live up to and teams will definitely test Maxwell early and often. Maxwell rated as the 45th best corner in the game according to Pro Football Focus last year and will have a tough time living up to his contract. However, in IDP fantasy football, the cornerbacks who get picked on the most get the most tackles, leading to more fantasy points. Draft Maxwell with confidence as he is getting paid $10.5 million this year and will have a lot to prove for his new team.
After tearing his left pectoral in 2011 and 2012 and right pectoral last season, Brian Orakpo landed a deal with Tennessee. He will be the featured ROLB in Dick LeBeau’s legendary 3-4 defense, the same position James Harrison starred for LeBeau. The former Vince Lombardi award winner, the top lineman in college football, is still only 28 years old and has averaged over 9.5 sacks per season when healthy. Do not hesitate to pull the trigger on Orakpo as the Titans gave him a 4 year $32 million contract this offseason and will not give up on the former 13th overall pick.
Pernell McPhee hit the jackpot by landing in Chicago this offseason. Overshadowed by fellow outside linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs, McPhee collected 27 tackles and 7.5 sacks last year while only playing 47.2% of Baltimore’s defensive snaps. McPhee will be the starting LOLB opposite hall of fame pass rusher Jared Allen this year in the new look Bears 3-4 defense. McPhee rated as Pro Football Focus’ #2 OLB last year only behind Justin Houston and will become a difference maker in his first year as a full time starter for the Bears.
The former #9 pick in the 2010 NFL draft signed with New Orleans, which is a perfect fit for his skill set. This could end up being the best signing of the offseason as Spiller will look to regain his 2012 form where he averaged 6 yards per carry and over 1700 total yards with 8 TDs. After missing almost half of 2014 with a broken collarbone (he returned for the final two games) C.J. Spiller is looked at as an injury prone RB but has averaged 14 games per year during his first four years. Spiller will slide right into the empty hole that the Saints missed last year, from Darren Sproles, who averaged 77 catches in his three years in New Orleans. Drew Brees will love throwing the ball out to the flat for Spiller to make plays in the open field and he will form a great 1-2 punch with power back Mark Ingram.
When a top 5 fantasy running back changes teams, everyone notices. McCoy goes from one of the most prolific offensive minded coaches in Chip Kelly, to a defensive minded, run heavy Rex Ryan coached group. Rex will not hesitate to pound the run as his teams have averaged 500 carries per season the past three years, with his top back averaged 219 carries per season. Taken a year after McCoy, C.J. Spiller a good comparison to LeSean McCoy, coming out of Clemson, with all the physical skills in the world but could never put it all together consistently for Buffalo. McCoy will slide right into that void left by Spiller and next on the depth chart is aging Fred Jackson, career underperformer Anthony Dixon along with former Eagles teammate Bryce Brown. McCoy should easily maintain his top fantasy RB status this season.
As the undisputed top tight end in the league it was a shock to most when the Saints shipped Graham off to Seattle. Graham is poised to have a huge year in Pete Carroll’s west coast offense led by Russell Wilson. As the focal point in the Saints offense, Seattle will do much of the same using his big 6’7” body as a great Red-zone target, which they clearly lacked in the Super Bowl. Graham averaged 11.5 TDs per year for the last four years and this number will not suffer. You will not be disappointed taking Graham at the end of the first round this year.
The most coveted free agent this summer was Ndamukong Suh and Miami sure paid a price to get him. Suh, who averaged over 7 sacks per season with Detroit, is now surrounded by Cameron Wake (11.5 sacks/year last 5 years) and Olivier Vernon (18 sacks the last 2 years) and will obviously continue to terrorize quarterbacks. Suh will finish as a top 3 DT again this year even with the change of scenery.
Darrelle Revis decided to go back to the Jets after winning his Super Bowl with the Patriots. He will be reunited with Antonio Cromartie who also returns to the Jets, in addition to Buster Skrine, as New York revamped their secondary.
DeMarco Murray signed with the Eagles to replace LeSean McCoy. If he can stay healthy, will continue to be the #1 fantasy running back. Ryan Mathews also signed with Philadelphia for a 1-2 punch with Murray. If both RBs can stay healthy that will be the top duo in the league.
Julius Thomas signed with Jacksonville to spark their offense. He will essentially be Blake Bortles’ new #1 target opposite 2nd year receivers Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson. Thomas’ targets will drop from leaving the high powered Denver offense, but look for him to continue putting up top 5 TE numbers as Bortles will lean on his new safety net.
Nick Fairley signed with St. Louis and will have comparable numbers then when he was in Detroit.
Torrey Smith signed with San Francisco to replace Michael Crabtree. The 49ers made the right choice as Colin Kaepernick will love launching the ball deep to Torrey Smith and his 4.4 speed.
Jeremy Maclin went to Kansas City where receivers go to die. He will try to help spread the field for Jamaal Charles to run free. Maclin is essentially the only viable wide receiver on the Chief’s depth chart so in targets alone he will produce. This signing will only help the development of Travis Kelce as a receiving threat.
Rahim Moore goes toHouston to replace the carousel they had at FS last year. He was solid for Denver averaging 50 tackles a year and should prevail in Houston.
Da’Norris Searcy signed with Tennessee and will start at SS and Chris Culliver signed with Washington and will start at CB opposite DeAngelo Hall.
Two tight ends are in new cities as Jordan Cameron went to Miami and Charles Clay to Buffalo. Both will hover around the bottom 10 at TE this year.
Michael Crabtree signed with Oakland to be their premier WR. He has disappointed after his outstanding 2012 season. The Raiders will give him every possible chance to replicate that season.
Darren McFadden signed with Dallas to try and replicate DeMarco Murray’s epic 2014, good luck.
Cecil Shorts to Houston to fill Andre Johnson’s shoes. He will surprise for the Texans and take some pressure off DeAndre Hopkins as long as Brian Hoyer can get them the ball.
Frank Gore signed with Indianapolis to finish his career. They are desperate for a lead power RB after the Trent Richardson experiment. Gore surprisingly has played in all 16 games four straight years and he will split time with Ahmad Bradshaw as they will try to keep each other healthy.
Last but not least, Mason Foster signs with Chicago to start at RILB opposite Jon Bostic. He will look to get back on track after a disappointing 2014. He did average 94 tackles his first three years in Tampa Bay and at 26 he is still in his athletic prime.