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Fantasy Football Free Agents in Dynasty Leagues

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With March 13 on the horizon, we need to take a break from rookie content to peek at just how strong this free-agent class is this year. As dynasty managers, staying ahead of the curve is vital, so understanding who could see a value spike or decline after free agency is pivotal to sustained success. 

 

Some of these players may receive a franchise tag before the March 5 deadline – which could also affect their long-term outlooks. Let’s cut the small talk and dive in!

2024 Fantasy Football Impending Free Agents

Quarterbacks 

If you are hoping for a splash in free agency at the quarterback position, this is not your year sadly. We have two potential startable options about to hit the open market, but after that, we have a bunch of journeymen like Sam Darnold, Tyrod Taylor and Jacoby Brissett. None are interesting to us as fantasy players. 

Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baker Mayfield is coming off his best statistical season as a professional, setting career-highs in passing yards (4,044) and touchdowns (28). This success carried over into the fantasy side where he finished as the QB10 with 284.1 fantasy points – the best of his career. Mayfield fit perfectly into the Buccaneers system and was aided by all the talent surrounding him, which is why Tampa Bay would be the perfect spot for him to return. With a strong quarterback class entering the NFL, Mayfield is a perfect contending target in superflex formats and should be on your trade radar moving forward. 

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins QB Minnesota Vikings

Captain Kirk Cousins will be 36 years old coming off an Achilles tear in 2024, both less than ideal for this perennial top-15 fantasy quarterback. A return to Minnesota should not be ruled out, since this would be the perfect fit for him and likely the team that is positioned outside a position to get one of the premier prospects. This would also open a perfect sell window in fantasy. He would likely still have viability for a year or two, which is a perfect selling point in the trade market. If he does test free agency, it’s likely his stock will drop since few teams have the skill players the Vikings possess.  

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Heading into his age-36 season, Ryan Tannehill will likely be looking for a new home in a few weeks, as he was replaced by second-round pick Will Levis after eight games this year. Levis showed plenty of promise in his rookie year, and the Titans will likely move forward with him. As a result, Tannehill’s fantasy outlook has tanked with few teams looking to add a “game-manager” style quarterback to their roster. There is always a chance he may find a starting role, but this seems unlikely. Outside of a deep superflex league, it’s fair to say Tannehill should not be rostered at this point. 

Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts 

After being forced into action this season, Gardner Minshew set a career-high in passing yards with 3,305 and earned Pro Bowl Honors. This was a great story, but Minshew has proven to be nothing more than an average NFL quarterback. At 28 years of age, he will find a job in 2024, but with few starting jobs available, Minshew will be hard-pressed to land one. He is still a rosterable player in superflex but could see his value spike if he lands in a spot like Las Vegas, Atlanta or Denver. These spots could lead to a potential starting role. 

Running Backs 

If we look at the 2024 free-agent class based on name value, this is the most star-studded cast we have seen in recent history. There are multiple starting-caliber running backs hitting the market. On the flip side, it’s likely a few of these guys have seen their best days. On top of this, there is also a tier filled with potential sleepers like Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, AJ Dillon, Antonio Gibson and J.K. Dobbins, and all of them could find flex-viable roles. 

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Fresh off his 27th birthday, Saquon Barkley is rumored to be hitting the open market this year, making him a polarizing asset. Despite setting a career-high in rushing yards with 1,312 in 2022, the Giants would not give him a long-term deal, which is why we are here now. In 2023, his production dropped to the lowest it has been since 2021, the first year after his ACL injury. There is one spot that could help his fantasy value drastically, the Los Angeles Chargers, which and there are some early rumors there already. There are quite a few locations that are also appealing like Minnesota, Dallas and Houston, but these feel like a tier down in comparison. 

Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

Josh Jacobs RB Las Vegas Raiders

Josh Jacobs is the most appealing running back to hit the open market for the second straight year, especially considering he is only 26 years old. After dragging out a franchise tag in 2023, which affected his whole season-long production, I doubt he will repeat this in 2024. If the tag is placed, I expect him to return to Las Vegas and hopefully return to his 2022 form – the year he topped 2,000 scrimmage yards en route to the RB3 in half-PPR scoring with 301.8 points. If he hits the market, there are quite a few locations that would be appealing for fantasy, but the best would be Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore, Houston or Dallas. So if you can catch a manager panicking, make a move and acquire him before the free agency spike. 

D’Andre Swift, Philadelphia Eagles

As one of the youngest running backs set to hit free agency, D’Andre Swift may be the most appealing for us dynasty managers, especially coming off his first 1,000-yard rushing season. In addition, his 1,263 scrimmage yards were a career-high. I wouldn’t expect Philadelphia to bring him back. But if they do, he will remain a consistent top-24 asset. If we are lucky enough, he will hit the open market and land himself in a prime spot like Baltimore, Minnesota or Houston which would skyrocket his value. He would no longer suffer from the “tush push” which capped his 2023 value and tanked his touchdown production. Free from that, he could return to his rookie form and hit double-digit touchdowns. 

Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys

Tony Pollard is fresh off his franchise-tag season which many fantasy managers called a disappointment, only finishing as the RB15 in half-PPR. He demonstrated that he can handle a significant workload, but we saw his efficiency numbers drop, as his yards per attempt went from 5.2 to 4.0. Additionally, his receiving numbers dipped drastically from 9.5 to 5.7 yards per reception despite setting a career-high in receptions. A return to Dallas in a split backfield makes the most sense for both sides here. If a change of scenery happens, I don’t think it would be the worst thing. Landing in a place like Minnesota would see his value spike, and he would likely see his touchdowns increase along with his passing work.

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

Whether it was the age cliff or the ankle injury, Austin Ekeler fell off a cliff in 2023, finishing at the RB28 in half-PPR and only topping 20 fantasy points once. In addition, his yards per attempt dropped a full yard from 4.5 to 3.5 in 2023. Heading to free agency after this is less than ideal, and he is also entering his age-29 season. With only 1,400 touches under his belt, you can argue there is some tread left on the tires. Expecting to get prime Ekeler is foolish, but there is still some viable fantasy production to be had here if he lands into a scheme like Minnesota, the New York Giants or Miami. Acquiring him for pennies on the dollar is smart business if you are a contender. 

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans 

After an incredible run in Tennessee, 30-year-old Derrick Henry is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career. Fresh off his fifth 1,000+ yard season in six years, he hasn’t shown any significant signs of slowing down. If any of the signs are concerning it is his stamina, since he appeared to lose some of this down the stretch as a player who traditionally got better as the season went on. That leaves questions whether that will continue at his age and if he can sustain fantasy viability without this role. At this point, he will likely latch onto a contending team, making Minnesota, Dallas and Baltimore possible spots. We can hope that he becomes a touchdown machine in one of these offenses and a viable fantasy asset. 

Wide Receivers

At the moment, the 2024 free agent wide receiver class is incredibly strong, headlined by names like Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman, but I expect these players to receive a franchise tag. Even if we lose both of them, there is still some good value, but it lacks high-end talent with players like Gabe Davis, Tyler Boyd, Kendrick Bourne, Chase Claypool, DJ Chark, Curtis Samuel, and Odell Beckham

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

Tee Higgins WR Cincinnati Bengals

 

The rumors are already swirling that Tee Higgins will be franchised tagged before the deadline, which is not a surprise. Higgins had a down year in 2023, but this was due to his own injury and one to Joe Burrow. Before this season, Higgins had failed to produce less than 900 yards and six scores in a single season. On the fantasy side, he had never finished outside the top 30 wide receivers in half-PPR scoring. He has also lacked a true high-end ceiling, though, and never reached the top 15. If Higgins lands back in Cincinnati, it wouldn’t be the worst spot, but he would never reach that ceiling. Landing in an offense as their No. 1 wide receiver would unlock Higgins’s true ceiling, which should be top-12 production. Surprisingly, Higgins is being undervalued currently in the dynasty market and should be on your short list of must-acquire players this offseason. 

Michael Pittman, Indianapolis Colts

Coming off a year where he set career-highs in most statistical categories, Michael Pittman is set to hit the open market for the first time. He has posted three straight seasons of over 900 receiving yards but has failed to top six touchdowns in a season, limiting his fantasy upside at times. We have yet to see him top WR15 in half-PPR scoring, but has posted three straight top-24 finishes. The Colts would be silly to let him walk, as he is entering his age-27 season which is why a franchise tag seems likely. This will raise some questions on the fantasy side, since we have yet to see him with Anthony Richardson under center for a long time. In the small sample size we have, Pittman averaged a modest 11.4 points per game, which is far from the elite tier. If he hits the market, plenty of teams will come calling for an alpha perimeter receiver of Pittman’s caliber. I wouldn’t be surprised if he unlocked new heights if a change of scenery was to occur. 

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Future Hall-of-Famer Mike Evans is coming off his 10th straight season of over 1,000 receiving yards, all of which have come in a Bucs uniform. For this reason, it is weird to think he would ever suit up in anything different, but the time may be upon us. Evans is set to be a free agent, and entering his age-31 season, he may be looking to join a true contender this year. Throughout his career, we have seen him rise above poor quarterback play and sustain weekly viability, so I am not worried at all about a potential landing spot if he does hit the open market. He will likely return to Tampa in my opinion, and this may be the best thing for him. Baker Mayfield enjoyed targeting him, and this connection could continue if both players are brought back for 2024. But as an aging asset, I am still looking to move on from Evans if a fair offer presents itself. 

Marquise Brown, Arizona Cardinals

It has been a roller-coaster career for Marquise Brown en route to 3,644 yards and 28 touchdowns over his first five seasons. It has been two years since his last 1,000-yard season, and he bottomed out this year with a WR52 finish in an injury-riddled year. His time in Arizona has been somewhat disappointing, as many dynasty managers expected a breakout after pairing up with ex-college teammate Kyler Murray. With a new regime in Arizona, it will not be surprising to see Brown walk in free agency. Finding a new home will not be difficult for this soon-to-be 27-year-old speedster, but I wouldn’t count on him producing much more than top-30 numbers moving forward. 

Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars 

After serving his suspension, Calvin Ridley bounced back with a WR17 finish in half-PPR with 191.9 points. For many of us, this was disappointing, since many hoped the pairing with Trevor Lawrence would produce fireworks. Instead, it was clear Ridley had lost a step since his 2020 campaign, but he still managed over 1,000 yards and eight scores. If the Jaguars decide to bring him back, there is a path for him to repeat his 2023 campaign. But entering his age-30 season, we could see a step back in his play. At this point, I don’t see a scenario where Ridley lands in a better situation moving forward than Jacksonville. When it comes to his fantasy value, I am looking to move on as soon as I can – it will only decline from here.  

Tight Ends

In 2023, we saw the tight end landscape shift for fantasy football. Two rookies finished inside the top 12 for fantasy (Sam LaPorta and Dalton Kincaid). We also saw the emergence of veterans like Jake Ferguson and David Njoku, along with a breakout from Trey McBride, making the tight end position feel deeper than ever for fantasy.  That leaves us with little room for this year’s group of free-agent tight ends. This group is not very strong and is filled with guys like Austin Hooper, Mike Gesicki and Irv Smith. There are a few names worth highlighting, though.

Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

There were question marks about Dalton Schultz heading into 2023 going from a potent offense in Dallas to a far less desirable Houston offense, but he silenced that quickly. We saw him continue his steady play, catching 59 of his 88 targets for 635 yards and five scores. This was good enough for a TE11 finish with 121 half-PPR points. One year later, he finds himself in a familiar place, hitting free agency, with a similar hope that he will remain with his current team. If he can stay with rising star C.J. Stroud and this pass-centric Texans offense, Schultz should continue to have weekly fantasy value. If he is forced to move on, I anticipate some production, but I expect him to drop out of the weekly starter tier. 

Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

Hunter Henry has steadily decreased his production as a part of the abysmal Patriots offense, hitting rock bottom this year with a career-low 419 receiving yards. He did manage a TE18 finish despite this, but this was due to his six touchdowns. Entering his age-30 season, Henry’s fantasy value will be tied to touchdowns more than ever. With this in mind, moving on from a struggling Patriots offense may be best for him, and landing in a spot like Cincinnati, the Los Angeles Chargers or Seattle would be ideal. No matter the outcome, the years are limited, and I would move on from him this offseason via trade if I could. 

Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks

At one point, Noah Fant was viewed as a must-roster dynasty tight end, but now he is nothing more than a fringe roster player since joining the Seahawks. In 2023, he failed to find the end zone and produced a career-low 414 receiving yards (TE34). It was clear that operating as the fourth target in the passing attack was not conducive to his fantasy success. For this reason, it is best for him to move on. Fant is only two years removed from producing top-12 numbers and could easily return to his form in the right offense. Finding a home in either Washington, the Los Angeles Chargers, Houston or New Orleans could benefit him and his managers significantly. As he enters his age-27 season, there is plenty of life in those legs, which makes him one of my favorite cheaper trade targets this offseason. 

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers

Gerald Everett is set to become a free agent again after two less than stellar years in Los Angeles. This past year, he produced only 411 receiving yards, his lowest since 2019. He also was kept out of the end zone, managing only three scores. He has now been a part of three different offenses and failed to become a consistent weapon in the passing attack despite seeing over 60 targets for five straight years. With this in mind, Everett is a must-move player. I am hoping for an impressive landing spot like Houston, New England or Cincinnati will open a selling window. 

Harrison Bryant, Cleveland Browns 

Harrison Bryant is the sleeper of this tight-end class, as he has failed to prove his ability to handle a lead role. But in small samples, he has proven to be a viable fantasy asset. He is coming off the most disappointing year of his pro career with only 81 receiving yards, but prior to that, he had three straight seasons of over 200 receiving yards. He is a plus athlete and has strong hands that can make him a viable weapon in any passing attack. If he can land an opportunity with a lead role, it may lead to a breakout and weekly fantasy value. 

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