Fantasy: Early analysis of every move from 3rd wave of free agency

Recent fantasy analysis

The new league year officially began Wednesday afternoon and another round of signings shook up the fantasy landscape.

Let’s take a look at all the notable skill-position signings from Wednesday and what they’ll mean for fantasy owners.

This post will be updated if more signings occur before the end of the night.

Tevin Coleman, 49ers

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Contract: 2 years, $10 million

Coleman reunites with his former offensive coordinator and current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, the man behind his breakout 2016 campaign. The former third-round pick put up 941 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns in 13 games that season, sharing time with Devonta Freeman.

No one is better equipped to take advantage of Coleman’s skill set than Shanahan – an expert in building rushing attacks.

The first thing to be sorted out now is the depth chart in San Francisco. After all, it was Jerick McKinnon inking a multi-year deal to start for the 49ers last offseason, only to have a torn ACL prevent him from suiting up the entire year. That allowed undrafted free agent Matt Breida to emerge as the starter and enjoy a breakout season of his own. With Coleman in the fold, all three can make a case to lead this backfield in touches.

Shanahan might be stockpiling rushers as a safeguard against another running back injury. Or perhaps the team plans to part ways with McKinnon; cutting him would save the team $3.75 million towards the cap.

At worst, Coleman will be part of a two-man committee. The last time we saw him in that role under Shanahan, he finished as a low-end RB2 in fantasy. But if San Francisco jettisons McKinnon and gives Coleman the bulk of the touches, the former Falcon would challenge for top-15 numbers.

Adrian Peterson, Redskins

Contract: 2 years, $8 million

The soon-to-be 34-year-old running back stays with the team that helped him to his first 1,000-yard season since 2015. The move makes sense for Peterson, who found success rushing behind the Redskins’ solid offensive line, though it does increase my concern over the health of Derrius Guice.

We’ve seen multiple videos of Guice rehabbing from the torn ACL he suffered before his rookie campaign. We also know he required three additional surgeries to combat infection, pushing back his timeline. The 21-year-old was a second-round pick in last year’s draft and a player for whom fantasy owners rightfully have great expectations – if he can get back to 100 percent.

With Peterson returning to the fold, one has to think the team is hedging its bets on whether Guice will be ready for the start of the season. That could turn this into an undesirable situation for fantasy owners, who would be compelled to draft both players. Chris Thompson will also enter the year healthier than he was for all of 2018, potentially siphoning touches in the passing game.

Add Washington’s to the list of backfields we’ll be monitoring over the coming months and into training camp.

Tyrell Williams, Raiders

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Contract: 4 years, $44 million

The Raiders would have been an excellent fantasy fit for Williams prior to the Antonio Brown trade; he needed to find a team that could give him volume and/or scoring opportunities. Unfortunately, neither of those items will be in abundance in Oakland.

Brown projects to see a massive target share, with Williams playing a similar role to the one he filled with the Chargers: a big-play deep threat whose week-winning performances will be far too rare to trust him in your lineup.

Williams’ best season came in 2016 when injuries vaulted him into a more prominent role; he responded with 69 receptions, 1,059 yards, and seven touchdowns. Unless Brown is sidelined for a significant part of the season, Williams won’t come close to those numbers.

This is one of the more disappointing signings among the free agents I was excited to own in 2019.

Tyrod Taylor, Chargers

Contract: 2 years

Any hope that Taylor would find a starting job in free agency and recapture some of the fantasy value he held in Buffalo is gone. His relationship with Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn dates back to their time with Bills, making this an easy transition. No one wants to see Philip Rivers get hurt, but that’s what it would take for Taylor to have a shot at fantasy relevance in 2019.

Mark Ingram, Ravens

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Contract: 3 years, $15 million

The fantasy stock of Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon was sent crashing Wednesday with news Ingram would be a Raven for the next few years. It’s an ideal situation for Ingram, who gets out of the shadow of Alvin Kamara and into a full workload as Baltimore’s starter.

No team rushed more than the Lamar Jackson-led Ravens last year. Edwards was the RB11 in standard leagues and the RB18 in PPR formats over those six games, a feat he accomplished despite seeing just one target during that time. Ingram takes over as a more versatile north-south runner, one who had three straight seasons with at least 46 receptions prior to his suspension-shortened 2018 campaign.

When he returned from that four-game ban, Ingram was as a top-20 fantasy running back over the final 12 contests. That was after eclipsing 250 touches, 1,300 yards from scrimmage, and 10 touchdowns in each of the previous two seasons.

Baltimore’s offense isn’t nearly as prolific as the Saints’ attack. But we’ve seen proof – through volume and the presence of a dual-threat quarterback – that the Ravens can produce a top-15 fantasy back, which is exactly how I expect Ingram to finish this season.

Demetrius Harris, Browns

Contract: 2 years

This was a surprising landing spot for a tight end who appeared ready to compete for a starting role. That wasn’t going to happen in Kansas City, where Harris was trapped behind Travis Kelce, but there were several teams in need of a tight end.

Instead, the 27-year-old joins the Browns and settles in behind another established No. 1 in David Njoku. An injury could always open up playing time but, for the time being, Harris remains no more than an in-season waiver wire candidate in fantasy.

Brandon Bolden, Patriots

Contract: 2 years

Bolden is always way down the running back depth chart, given that his main contributions come on special teams. If he somehow ends up getting carries during the season, you know things have gone horribly wrong in New England’s backfield.