[sc name=”Author Corey Brooks”]
Examining the “Rest of Season” outlook for the newly traded: Jimmy Garoppolo, Kelvin Benjamin, and Jay Ajayi. Also, a breakdown of the offensive situations in Carolina and Miami after the blockbuster moves.
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Jimmy Garoppolo QB (San Francisco 49ers) — As a Boston native and New England Patriots fan it’s bitter sweet to see the almost-heir apparent to Tom Brady be shipped off to San Francisco, but the 49ers have hit the jackpot with this acquisition. The 49ers have thrown more passes than any other team in the NFL, averaging nearly 40 attempts per game.
Now, San Francisco is still 0-8 and will continue to be one of the worst teams in the NFL, but they now have a capable passer who has just shadowed Brady for the first 3 and a half years of his career. In fantasy terms Garoppolo is a must-own in all leagues. He will have the keys to the kingdom of a team who will be throwing more than 60% of the time.
With Garoppolo at the helm, say hello to fantasy relevance of Pierre Garcon. I fully expect Garcon to be the key beneficiary of this deal and he has moved himself into immediate flex-play consideration.
Another player to keep an eye on is TE George Kittle. If there’s one thing Patriots QB’s love (ex-Patriots as well) it’s a big TE who goes across the middle and is an excellent check-down route runner. Add Jimmy G. as an insurance QB who may add value to your team, especially if you have a sub-par QB.
Kelvin Benjamin WR (Buffalo Bills) — The biggest fantasy winner of the trade deadline could be Kelvin Benjamin. Many experts are not so confident in the change of scenery, as Benjamin goes from one inconsistent QB to another in Tyrod Taylor.
The difference is Taylor has never had a WR of Benjamin’s caliber. He had an underwhelming, injury-prone WR in Watkins over the past few years but that’s about it. Benjamin has also never been able to play with an explosive running back like LeSean McCoy, which can suck in defenses. Not to mention the Bills have arguably the best schedule for WR’s the second half of the season. Buffalo has also been pretty good in the red zone thus far, scoring a TD in 55% of its visits. Benjamin will own a majority share of targets as the legitimate number 1 WR in what looks to be an evolving explosive offense.
Adding a player like Benjamin has other fantasy repercussions for the Bills. With the threat of Benjamin on the outside, stacking the box is just not as much of an option for these defenses, so expect McCoy to take advantage of his 18-20 carries a game and plant him in as a firm RB1 the rest of the season.
With Benjamin on the outside, Jordan Matthews in the slot, and hopefully a soon to be healthy Charles Clay, Taylor now has the weapons to consistently perform. This also takes a lot of pressure of rookie WR Zay Jones, who can learn from Kelvin.
Consider Benjamin as a high-end WR2 after this week’s game.
Jay Ajayi RB (Philadelphia Eagles) — I am sold on Ajayi’s move to Philadelphia. It nice to see Ajayi get put on a team with a better O-line, better offense, and better overall team. The great thing about Philadelphia is their ability to control the clock. As long as the Eagles maintain leads Ajayi should succeed in this offense.
Philadelphia runs the ball more than any team in the NFL, about 30 rushes per game, which seems to bode well for Ajayi. Keep an eye on if he becomes a steady workhorse, especially in goal line situations. My only concern is Blount will be a TD vulture, which could hamper Ajayi production.
The Eagles VP stated Blount is still the starter for now, but I don’t see that being the case for too long. The two runners are very similar, with Ajayi having more skill at this point in his career. Make sure to put Ajayi in your line up as an RB2. Just temper expectations for the first week or two as the Eagles work through therir rotations of Blount and Ajayi.
Carolina Panthers — The biggest loser of this trade deadline may just be Cam Newton. With the Panthers at 5-3 and in the hunt for the NFC South Division crown, this move was surprising. Newton’s inconsistent play has hurt the fantasy value of Funchess and Benjamin.
With the loss of his WR1, Newton will now look to rely on Christian McCaffrey and Funchess to captain the fantasy ship. Unfortunately, I see the ship sinking. Funchess will see a lot more targets moving forward and opportunity is everything. I wrote to stop playing Funchess in a recent article called Stop, Drop, and Roll. I still believe Funchess is nothing more than a flex WR at best. He struggled to produce the last 3 weeks against the number two cornerback’s and will now see a litany of number one cornerbacks. With no run game insight and the inconsistent play of Newton I don’t see Funchess playing much of a factor.
The biggest benefit of the trade is McCaffrey, who should see a lot more dump-offs and screen passes with the loss of Benjamin. Look for the Panthers offense to run through McCaffrey.
Miami Dolphins — The white flag has officially been waved in Miami. After shipping out its Pro Bowl ,4th year running back for a 4th round pick, Coach Adam Gase has officially thrown the offense down the drain.
The only startable fantasy player right now is Jarvis Landry, and he is strictly a low-tier PPR WR2 and Flex player in standard leagues. His TD streak was bound to end and it did so last week. With the likelihood of Devonte Parker returning, Landry should see fewer targets. Of course, he’ll still lead this team in receptions and targets moving forward. I do expect Parker to come back as the red zone target he can be, as well as a big-play threat.
In PPR leagues look to add Damien Williams as the beneficiary of what looks to be Miami moving towards a more pass-happy attack. In standard formats look to add Kenyan Drake as the early-down back replacement. Neither of these players really inspires me to add them for anything more than RB depth for bye weeks or a desperation flex play.
I’d ultimately stay away from almost all the Miami Offense with the exception of Landry in PPR. Wait to see what Parker can do coming back from injury before inserting him into the lineup.
New England Patriots — My intuition tells me that not much changes in the New England offense. Look for the Patriots to sign Hoyer as a backup. I think Brady’s job should be safe for now.