Will John's Free Agent Breakdown

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Le’Veon Bell

Free at last! Free at last! It’s refreshing to see the Steelers organization resigned to the fact that in the end they had to take that big fat “L” by letting Le’Veon finally hit free agency.  Their reasoning behind the decision?  Well, in my opinion, it was to prevent further damage to the team’s public image.  Recently emerging details have shed some light on the situation surrounding Bell’s decision to shut down his 2018 season before it even began back in November.  Bell and his agent had reportedly come to the table with Steelers GM, Kevin Colbert, to reach a deal for him to return to the Steelers prior to the franchise tag deadline.  Apparently, Bell agreed to return under the condition that the Steelers not exercise their right to franchise or transition tag him following the conclusion of the 2018 season.  That’s an offer that the ethically-bankrupt Colbert simply couldn’t accept.  Ultimately the joke was on you, Steelers fans.  All of the unwarranted vitriol that your fan base directed at Bell (e.g. “You’re being selfish”, “You’re a bad teammate”, “James Conner is a better RB”, “We’re better off without you”, etc.) came back to bite Pittsburgh in the ass during that final playoff deciding stretch of games.  Not only did they not have Bell when they needed him the most, but you also got nothing in return for keeping him on the shelf.  Additionally, I’m sure that this whole “player contract debacle” is a red flag for any potential future free agents they’d like to sign.  Seems like PIT is the place to be if you enjoy having zero faith that your employer has you or your team’s best interests in mind… Well, I think that’s probably enough salt in Pittsburgh’s self-inflicted wounds for one article.

Let’s focus on the best free agent running back over the course of my lifetime.  All the weight gain rumors and RAW cones in the world can’t stop the offensive impact that Bell will have on his next team of choice.  Admittedly, all his time spent away from football does have me a little concerned but the risk/reward of buying/owning Le’Veon in dynasty is potentially league-winning value over the next few seasons.  I truly believe that his involvement in all off-season team activities and programs will get him re-acclimated and back up to speed by Week 1.  Going forward, we will be looking at a top 5 fantasy workhorse again.  The only question left now, is which uniform he will be over the shoulder pads next fall? Here’s my list of preferred landing spots for Bell:

  1. Baltimore Ravens – Greg Roman Block Scheme + Le’Veon Bell + Steelers Revenge Games = Karmic Revolution.  Seriously though, their offense may not look pretty with Lamar Jackson at the helm, but the run game is absolutely unreal.  And this has been with UDFA RB’s and a perpetually injured Kenneth Dixon.  Imagine if they added the best option at the position (outside of Saquon).

  2. Green Bay Packers – As a real life Vikings fan… Insert Michael Scott “No, God! Please no! No! No! NOOOOO!” As a Bell dynasty owner, take me to the promise land!  The added bonus to Bell donning that nauseating color scheme is that I would also get to go back and laugh at all the ridiculous premiums that people have been paying to acquire Aaron Jones in dynasty.  That seems like a win-win until I remember that I hate the Packers… SKOL.

  3. Indianapolis Colts – No surprise here.  Similar to Aaron Jones in Green Bay, Marlon Mack is somewhat of a fantasy darling that has an inflated dynasty value because of the offense around him, as compared to his actual level of talent.  Even though the Colts have already dismissed the notion that they would pursue Bell in free agency, it’d probably be in their best interest to at least consider the added benefits.

  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Master Bruce deserves Le’Veon Bell.  Le’Veon Bell deserves Master Bruce.  The only thing that would make this pairing better, would be if Bell and Arians both start sporting Kangol in the post-game pressers.

  5. Houston Texans – That O-Line sucks balls, but the idea of adding Bell to that offense is enough to erase the sting of owning him all over dynasty and redraft leagues last season.

  6. New York Jets – Were you aware that it’s a mortal sin for Sam Darnold to attempt a pass more than 5 yards downfield?  Unless you’re Colin Cowherd, you were probably already aware.  All jokes (*clears throat*, Colin Cowherd) aside, the Jets offense is one that should bank off the dump-down pass as they try to develop the face of their franchise.  It may not be the perfect fit for the Jets, given Bell’s price tag and how far away they are from competing, but Bell should bring the added bonus of becoming Darnold’s safety valve.  He’d undoubtedly keep their offense on the field more often by extending drives – which, in theory, should help expedite the development of their young talent on both sides of the ball. On top of that, we’d also have our elite RB1 back in fantasy.  But, the icing on the metaphorical cake is that we’d be able to watch Adam Gase grind his teeth to the gums when the front office forces him to utilize his best running back.  Seriously, I’d pay to make that a reality… just to be an asshole.

Mark Ingram

I don’t think that his age or the number of seasons he’s played reflects the amount of tread that he has left on the tires.  You have to remember that he split carries for a good portion of his career and has also missed a fair amount of time due to minor injuries.  Even with him publicly stating his desire to return to the Saints in 2019, I doubt that he continues to deal with “Douche Lord” Sean Payton’s playtime politics for the remainder of his career.  I think that’d be the preferred outcome for anyone that owns Ingram or Kamara at this point. With regard to his preferred landing spots, I see it being more realistic that the Ravens sign Ingram over Bell – but that’s solely based on Bell’s price tag.  For fantasy purposes, I think the best landing spots are with the Eagles, 49ers, or Colts.  Unfortunately, my gut instinct is telling me that the Lions are wise enough to consider the added benefits of pairing him with Kerryon Johnson over the course of a regular season.

Tevin Coleman

I’m not entirely sold on Coleman’s talent and ability to become a new team’s franchise back.  There’s an odd misconception that Tevin possesses above-average receiving skills.  Don’t believe me? Check the film, stats, and his 3rd-down usage-rate/efficiency compared to league average.  Don’t get me wrong, I think that he is a very talented runner and does possess an above-average skillset in THAT area.  The real problem is the large bevy of multi-faceted RB’s entering the upcoming draft, in addition to the free agency. As a result, I believe his level of talent won’t necessarily warrant a large enough contract to guarantee job security as an RB1 for any team’s foreseeable future or a larger offensive role than the one he had with the Falcons.  I predict a “smaller than currently expected” contract (in terms of total payout, as well as guaranteed money) accompanied by a RBBC situation nearly identical to the one he is leaving in Atlanta.

Golden Tate

Most people seem to be under the impression that Golden Tate is washed up after failing to immediately catch fire in Doug Pederson’s offense.  Well, just in case you’re unaware, here’s his 16-week prorated stat line that he was on pace for prior to be traded to Philly: 158 TAR/101 REC/1182 YDS/7 TD
To put that in layman’s terms, that’s 262 points in PPR scoring formats.And before you say it, I already know what you’re thinking about those stats being misleading (based off Detroit’s insistence on feeding him targets). While that may be true, I’m not as worried about owning or acquiring him in dynasty because in most leagues you’ll find his current price tag is dirt cheap.I still think he can flourish in a fair amount of current NFL offenses, but my preferred destinations for fantasy are either with the Patriots or right back with Stafford in Detroit (lol).

Jamison Crowder

At 25 years old Crowder has the raw athleticism and natural ability to be a premier talent in this league, but you wouldn’t know it if you watched the Redskins over the last four seasons.  That’s mostly the result of two things:

  1. Jay Gruden’s stupid ass has mostly avoided utilizing one of their most obvious playmakers, even when they’ve been almost entirely depleted of receiving weapons, and

  2. Crowder has had his fair share of minor injuries that have helped limit his game-day availability.

But those injuries only account for his time missed, not his time being completely ignored by their play-calling.  It’s difficult to comprehend why that is, until you’ve followed the NFL long enough to identify the Redskins as the worst franchise in American professional sports.  Luckily for Jamison, he finally has an opportunity to leave all the coaching and QB ineptitude behind and play for a team that knows how to throw him the fucking ball.  I’m calling it right now…. He’s either catching passes from Aaron Rogers or Matt Stafford next fall.