The fantasy football offseason is in full swing and this column is designed to be a one-stop shop for quick-hitting analysis of the most impactful player movement throughout the start of NFL free agency, including trades.
ESPN Fantasy writers Mike Clay, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Eric Karabell and Eric Moody will offer their insights into what each move means for a player’s fantasy value in 2022. The most recent news appears in the top section, while earlier transactions and players who re-signed are listed alphabetically below that.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Perriman has 11 receptions for 167 yards and a touchdown in six games with Tom Brady under center. On Tampa Bay’s depth chart, he’s behind Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage. Perriman is not on the fantasy radar in most leagues.
J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington Commanders: Apparently, McKissic changed his mind and decided not to sign a two-year, $7 million contract with the Bills. Over the last two seasons, he averaged 4.8 carries and 6.0 targets per game for Washington and will continue to have a similar role as part of the Commanders’ running back committee alongside Antonio Gibson.
DJ Chark Jr., WR, Detroit Lions: The Lions entered the offseason with a major void at wide receiver behind Amon-Ra St. Brown, so adding Chark — a speedy, 6-foot-2 vertical threat — to the perimeter is huge. Chark missed most of 2021 due to injury, but he went for 1,000 yards and a score back in 2019. The 25-year-old figures to settle in as a WR3/flex. – Clay
Russell Gage, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay has found its No. 3 wide receiver behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Gage, a 2018 sixth-round pick, has been one of Matt Ryan’s top targets in Atlanta the last two seasons, posting 72-786-4 and 66-770-4 receiving lines. Gage has yet to produce a top-35 fantasy campaign, but a top-three role in the Buccaneers’ high-scoring, pass-heavy offense positions him as a potential flex option.
Christian Kirk, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: Jacksonville has proactively surrounded second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence with playmakers. Kirk is coming off a career season in which he primarily played in the slot. The trend should continue in Jacksonville and Kirk remains a WR3 for fantasy purposes. – Moody
J.D. McKissic, RB, Buffalo Bills: Buffalo found itself a passing-down complement to Devin Singletary. McKissic averaged 4.8 carries and 6.0 targets per game in Washington the last two seasons and figures to play a very similar role for the high-powered Bills. Limited as a rusher, the 28-year-old has a low ceiling, but could flirt with flex numbers in PPR formats. – Clay
James White, RB, New England Patriots: The Patriots have a good, young RB duo in Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, but that didn’t stop them from re-upping this long-time passing-down specialist. Despite missing all but three games last season, White ranks first among backs in targets, receptions and touchdown catches since 2015. He’ll remain a low-ceiling flex, whereas Harris is a TD-dependent flex and Stevenson a late-round insurance back. – Clay
Other recent moves
Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It’s difficult not to view Brady as a QB1 in 2022. Last season, he averaged 312.7 passing yards and 25.5 fantasy points per game. It is likely that he will produce similar per-game numbers this season, as many of his key receivers return. – Moody
Amari Cooper, WR, Cleveland Browns: Cooper is assured of being the Browns’ top wideout, especially after Jarvis Landry was released. In a less-pass-friendly offense than the one he left in Dallas, Cooper may have trouble achieving surefire WR2 status every week, but is still a top-30 WR. – Cockcroft
Chase Edmonds, RB, Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins signed Edmonds to resurrect a running game that averaged 3.5 yards per carry, the lowest in the NFL. It remains to be seen if Miami will deploy him on all three downs. In spite of this, Edmonds is very much on the RB2 radar. – Moody
Evan Engram, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars: Over the last two seasons, Engram averaged only 8.0 points per game in a poor Giants offense. My biggest concern with Engram in the Jaguars’ offense in 2022 is that he will have plenty of competition for targets, even if a change of scenery is good for him. He will be more of a matchup-based streamer this season. – Moody
Zay Jones, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: In the final four games of last season, Jones had 25 receptions for 264 yards. Due to the plethora of receiving playmakers added by the Jaguars, he has limited fantasy appeal.- Moody
Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: During training camp, Trubisky will be considered the favorite to start for the Steelers. As the Bears’ primary starting quarterback from 2017 to ’20, he ranked 29th out of 36 quarterbacks in both passer rating and yards per dropback. It wouldn’t be wise to trust Trubisky as anything more than a QB2, despite having playmakers like Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Najee Harris at his disposal. – Moody
C.J. Uzomah, TE, New York Jets: Last season, Uzomah had 49 receptions for 493 yards, while Jets tight ends combined for 50 and 534. New York has not been a hotbed for tight end fantasy football production in the past. Uzomah can be considered more of a TE2 with upside in certain matchups. – Moody
Carson Wentz, QB, Washington Commanders (via trade): Considering Washington’s limited number of receiving playmakers, Wentz can be viewed as a high-end QB2. The Commanders should continue to rely heavily on play-action passes. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen were the only other quarterbacks with more play-action touchdown passes than Wentz (12) last season. – Moody
Cedrick Wilson, WR, Miami Dolphins: Wilson is expected to play primarily from the slot for the Dolphins. Miami had the fourth-most receptions from the slot last season (151), with Jaylen Waddle (55) and Mike Gesicki (48) accounting for 68% of those receptions. As the Dolphins’ fourth receiving option, it will be difficult for Wilson to find fantasy relevance. – Moody
Russell Wilson, QB, Denver Broncos (via trade): Wilson now has one of the best, youngest and deepest groups of targets in the league. In addition to aforementioned Sutton, Jeudy and Williams, he’ll have Tim Patrick, Albert Okwuegbunam and KJ Hamler. Wilson should be valued as a QB1 with top-five upside. – Mike Clay
For more on the Wilson trade and its impact on Broncos, Seahawks players, check out Mike’s full reaction.
Players who are staying put
Mo Alie-Cox, TE, Indianapolis Colts: Alie-Cox, with Jack Doyle retired, is firmly on the TE2 radar and could contribute more to the Colts’ offense this season. That could change if Indianapolis adds another tight end in free agency or the NFL draft, though. – Moody
Braxton Berrios, WR, New York Jets: Berrios is expected to replace Jamison Crowder as the Jets’ primary slot receiver. Although Berrios is worth taking a chance on in the double-digit rounds of PPR drafts, his presence will allow Elijah Moore to be exclusively used as an outside receiver next season, which should make fantasy managers salivate.- Moody
James Conner, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Last season, Conner averaged 26.0 fantasy points per game in five games without Chase Edmonds. Conner is a perfect fit for the Cardinals’ offensive scheme. Although he can be viewed as an RB1, Arizona may still add a back of significance to cap his upside. – Moody
Zach Ertz, TE, Arizona Cardinals: In 11 games with Kyler Murray in and out of the lineup because of injury, Ertz racked up 574 receiving yards and three touchdowns for the Cardinals last season. Ertz’s three-year, $31.6 million contract makes him the highest-paid tight end in the league, and fantasy managers can consider him a TE1. – Moody
Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys: I’ve liked Gallup for a long time, but never felt he got the opportunity he deserved. Now he will, with Cooper gone. Gallup is on the fringe of the top-30 WRs opposite a true fantasy WR1 in CeeDee Lamb. – Cockcroft
Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers re-signed Williams after he set personal bests in targets (129), receptions (76) and receiving yards (1,146) last season. With franchise QB Justin Herbert throwing the ball to him, Williams can be considered a WR2 heading into the 2022 season. – Moody