As thousands of NFL players found themselves out of work this weekend, others moved their gear to another city in last-minute trades. Their new squads feel these players are worth losing late-round draft picks or bench players. But what about our NFL fantasy teams? Could a new uniform make any of these players worth a waiver wire pickup down the road?
There were four wide receivers and a quarterback traded, plus one more who made it through waivers and was picked up. Most filled obvious needs. They include:
1. Jacoby Brissett, QB from New England to Indianapolis
Anyone who watched New England’s fourth preseason game against the Giants understood exactly how the Patriots could have been so willing to trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Brissett was brilliant as he threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns while running for another. The only blemish was a pick-six that was more the fault of a missed block than the NE passer.
Much has been made of the Colts’ quarterback situation and their lack of planning for life without Andrew Luck. Scott Tolzien was outplayed by third-stringer Stephen Morris, but will still get the start in the Colts’ opener. Luck was activated from the PUP list, which means he can practice and be activated at any time. But Colts management has no definitive timetable. So could Brissett be the starter before Luck?
Tolzien will get a chance to run the team in Luck’s absence. But if Luck can not come back from his shoulder surgery and Tolzien does not look better than he did in the preseason by week three or four, all bets are off. With T. Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and Jack Doyle, plus a stable of pass-catching backs, Brissett would immediately become a waiver target. We will have to wait and see what happens in Indy.
2. Phillip Dorsett, WR from Indianapolis to New England
Dorsett was a much-maligned first-round draft pick in 2015. With two established stars ahead of him, he never seemed to get an opportunity to shine in Indianapolis. That being said, he was included in some sleeper discussions this year before the seriousness of Luck’s injury was realized.
Now, Dorsett becomes the latest reclamation project of the masterful Bill Belichick. Would anyone be surprised if Dorsett is among the league leaders in receptions by the end of the season? Tom Brady has another first-round receiver in his arsenal dying to prove he has skills. If you haven’t already drafted, Dorsett might slot in close to Chris Hogan as far as NFL fantasy value within a few weeks.
Of course, Dorsett is relatively young and will need to master one of the most detailed playbooks in the league. Former teammate, tight end Dwayne Allen, already mentioned how complicated the Patriots’ scheme is compared to what they run in Indianapolis. I am still betting on Dorsett being a worthy waiver addition very soon, even if Brady has to draw the play on the turf for him in the huddle.
3. Sammie Coates, WR from Pittsburgh to Cleveland
Sammie Coates caught at least one pass for 40 yards in five consecutive games last season before fracturing two fingers. He never fully recovered and with the activation of Martavis Bryant, he became expendable in Pittsburgh.
He joins a Steelers’ rival in Cleveland where he will get to remind Pittsburgh fans what they are missing twice a year. But even before last year’s injury, Coates was never known for good hands. He hauled in only half his targets over his two seasons. Part of that might be attributable to the low-percentage type of deep ball thrown his way.
The Browns will pair him with Kenny Britt and enjoy a pair of 6’2” fast and large bodies on the outside. Coates will be valued as a blocker for Isaiah Crowell as much as a receiver. With Corey Coleman also in the passing equation, Coates is not an immediate NFL fantasy roster target. However, with an unknown quantity at quarterback, you never know what will transpire as the season develops.
4. Kaelin Clay, WR from Carolina to Buffalo
Kaelin Clay has bounced around the league a bit in his first couple of seasons, but he appeared to make the Panthers’ 53-man roster before this trade. He is a super-fast deep threat and returns man.
Buffalo appears to be adopting a more conservative passing game. But between injuries and trades, they found themselves with a roster of possession and intermediate receivers. Clay provides the occasional deep threat needed to make the offense work.
If you are in a league that awards points for return yards, Buffalo’s new addition may interest you sooner than the rest of us. In standard NFL fantasy leagues, Clay is just another Bills receiver in an offense we’re not completely sure what to expect from.
5. Jermaine Kearse, WR from Seattle to New York (Jets)
My father used the expression, “That’s a lot of nothing!” to describe something that was less important than it appeared. Jermaine Kearse walks into the Jets locker room as the senior wide receiver. He could quickly become the first target in the Jets’ passing attack.
As enticing as that sounds, it will not amount to much in NFL fantasy points.
6. Brock Osweiler, QB from Cleveland to the couch to Denver
At first glance, it almost makes sense for Denver to bring in Osweiler as a replacement for injured backup Paxton Lynch. He just left Denver and should know the offense, right?
Then, I remembered that Denver has a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and game plan. Will Osweiler have an impact? Denver better hope not because it won’t be pretty. The only reason I mention it is that Osweiler under center makes me think twice about the Broncos receivers on my NFL fantasy team.
There could be more moves ahead as we approach opening day. So, check back with RealSport to see if anything else will impact the NFL fantasy season.
Which trades provide the best player opportunity to make a fantasy impact? Comment below!
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