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Worst Offseason Moves for Fantasy Football in 2023

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Nick Makowitz

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The reality show that is the NFL offseason has again delivered the type of drama that your favorite dating show craves. We’ve had halted contract talks, big-name free agent signings and huge trades that figure to have a massive impact on the NFL landscape.

 

However, not all impact is positive. Now that we’ve made it through the bulk of free agency and the draft, we’ll take a look at the worst offseason moves for fantasy football in 2023. 

Brady Out, Baker in for the Bucs

Tom Brady retired (apparently for good this time), and that could spell trouble for his former pass-catchers. His replacement, Baker Mayfield, surely won’t be asked to lead the league in pass attempts like Brady did considering he’s only ever thrived in run-first schemes, so it will be tough to support two receivers who have consistently been fringe WR1s, plus an emerging tight end and talented young running back.

Mike Evans never finished outside the top-16 fantasy receivers with Brady at the helm, and Chris Godwin posted two straight top-15 points per game seasons before struggling a bit off of ACL surgery last season. Second-year tight end Cade Otton showed flashes of chemistry with Brady, and running back Rachaad White will miss out on Brady’s abundant checkdowns that made Leonard Fournette so valuable the last few seasons.

Running Backs Reshuffling

It’s been musical chairs this offseason for running backs. David Montgomery signed with the Lions, D’Andre Swift was traded to the Eagles, Miles Sanders joined the Panthers and Devin Singletary signed with the Texans.

For Montgomery, the move looked like a potentially nice change of scenery with Swift on his way out, but then the Lions drafted Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th pick in the NFL Draft. The aforementioned Swift gets to play behind the league’s best offensive line, but Jalen Hurts will undoubtedly gobble up a lot of high-value carries. Sanders goes from one of the league’s best offenses to one with a whole bunch of new pieces, including a rookie quarterback. Last but not least, Devin Singletary heads to Houston with the sole purpose of preventing Dameon Pierce from being a true workhorse stud. All of this reshuffling has created more uncertainty in a fragile fantasy running back market.

DeAndre Hopkins Stays Put

This can still change, but as of now, DeAndre Hopkins is still a member of the Arizona Cardinals. There was speculation that the Bills were interested in making a move for the three-time All-Pro, but nothing materialized before the draft. If Hopkins does stay put, he’ll likely be playing with a backup quarterback in one of the worst offenses in football. He’s done that before in Houston, but at this stage of his career, he might not even be interested in playing in that situation. 

If he’s traded before the season, his new situation would almost certainly be a positive move for fantasy football. If he’s traded to an elite offense, it would be one of the best moves of the entire offseason. In nine games last season, Hopkins averaged 80 yards on seven receptions while scoring three touchdowns. He clearly still has plenty left in the tank and it would be a shame if that’s wasted in Arizona this season.

 

Looming Running Back Signings

There’s been plenty of running back reshuffling already this offseason and more is coming. A handful of talented backs – most notably Leonard Fournette, Ezekiel Elliott and Kareem Hunt – are hanging out in free agency just chomping at the bit to destroy a perfectly fine fantasy backfield. 

Wherever these players sign, they’ll be a part of a running back committee, something fantasy managers have grown more accustomed to in recent years but still despise with a passion. Depending on the team each player ultimately signs with, the impact will vary, but it’s hard to envision any of them signing without muddying some backfield waters.

All three have shown signs of decline, but each is enough of a specialist to demand touches in nearly any offense. Fournette has been one of the league’s leading receiving backs over the past few seasons, Zeke is still a north and south, one-cut bruiser, and Hunt is still one of the most reckless and powerful downhill runners in the sport.

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