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As the calendar nears the end of January and the Super Bowl approaches, it brings the NFL free agency season closer and closer. Ah yes, that magical time when fans throughout the world will dream and scheme about the players that their favorite NFL teams will go out and sign.
It is doubly exciting for fantasy owners as where a player decides to sign can be vitally important as to what his fantasy value will be moving forward. Or in some cases (I’m looking at you Mike Tolbert) just how far his fantasy stock may plummet.
Since patience has never been a friend of mine, I have decided to jump ahead a couple months or so and take a look at some dream landing spots, from a fantasy perspective, for a few big name 2013 free agents.
These are matches made in fantasy heaven and are not necessarily based on any inside information or hot rumors I have been privy to, but rather an idea of just where some player’s talents could best be put to use.
Let’s get to it!
Greg Jennings, WR: Jennings didn’t exactly help in bolstering his value leading up to becoming a free agent by missing eight games with a groin injury. Once he did return to action he would put up 34 receptions for just under 400 yards with four touchdowns in Green Bay’s final seven games of the season, including the playoffs.
He’ll be arguably the most sought-after free agent wide receiver, and the Miami Dolphins are expected to make a big play for him as they are starved for talent at the position. Brian Hartline is not a No. 1 wideout and Davone Bess is better suited to play from the slot so Jennings could step right in and bolster the Miami passing game as a deep ball threat. While the Dolphins are a logical choice they are not the dream landing spot for Jennings from a fantasy perspective.
The Detroit Lions are expected to head into the 2013 season with a very different looking roster and after a dismal 4-12 record last season it’s not surprising. They have 22 unrestricted free agents and approximately half of their salary cap tied up in three players - quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. It’s renegotiating time in Detroit, and general manager Martin Mayhew is looking at a very ‘hat in hand’ type of offseason.
Signing Jennings is a complete long shot for Detroit, but what the heck? This is a fantasy football article, after all Ryan Broyles (injuries), Titus Young (head case) and Nate Burleson (injury, $6.5 million cap number in 2013) are not the answer at the wide receiver position and the main reason defenses can afford to sell out to cover Johnson.
While most folks are assuming that he will look to sign somewhere as a No. 1 receiving option, Jennings could have immense fantasy value lining up opposite Johnson for the Lions.
Single coverage on nearly every down and lots of wide open space to exploit his yards after the catch skills could see the kid out of Western Michigan (Detroit is in Michigan, right? See what I’m doing there) amass huge stats in 2013.
If Matthew Stafford is truly on board with improving the Lions offense moving forward, he will be first in line to restructure his current deal and he’ll be encouraging other players to do the same in hopes of bringing Greg Jennings into the fold.
Reggie Bush , RB: Bush has had a career resurrection since landing in South Beach. He just missed putting together back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons for Miami after finishing with 986 in 2012. In his two seasons since leaving the New Orleans Saints, he has amassed more than 2,600 total yards from scrimmage and posted 15 touchdowns.
Showing toughness between the tackles that wasn’t utilized during his stint in the New Orleans, he’s managed to compile seven 100-yard rushing games over the past two seasons. While he had a career low in receptions this year with only 33, he remains one of the best receiving backs in football.
The Dolphins don’t seem intent on bringing Bush back, although there is talk that they will offer him a ‘team friendly’ (what player wouldn’t jump at that?) deal, so Bush will get to test the market. Bush is only 28 years old, so it would seem like the suitors list would be long, but knee issues along the way create a bit of concern when it comes to bringing him on board. The offers for his services may be fewer than expected, and for me, there is one dream fit for Bush.
The Green Bay Packers should have Bush at the top of possible running backs to bring on board for the 2013 season. It is a match made in fantasy football heaven and makes sense for both parties from a NFL perspective as well. If DuJuan Harris can manage to climb to the top of the depth chart in the short amount of time it took him, Bush would be the ultimate upgrade.
His pass blocking skills showed some improvement in 2012, and while he has shown a willingness to tote the rock between the tackles, he wouldn’t be asked to nearly as much in Green Bay. Their passing game, which Bush would enhance greatly with his receiving skills, keeps defenses from keying on the run and Bush will see huge lanes to run through.
Green Bay has never been a franchise to go out and spend top dollar on a free agent running back (case in point, Cedric Benson), and while his name still has some cache, Bush may just find himself in the price range that Green Bay likes. The Packers can sell him on the chance to make it to another Super Bowl while also greatly improving their running game and their chances of actually getting there.
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