The fantasy season has come to an end. It is difficult to fully acknowledge this but we must look ahead and start making plans to improve our dynasty teams building championship contenders.
The good news is there is no off-season for dynasty leaguers. The next few months will be filled with the NFL Combine, free agency, the NFL Draft and more. All of these events will greatly affect player value and dynasty strategy.
In this Off-Season Primer series, I’ll make sure you and your dynasty teams are ready for all that might happen in the coming months by giving you an advance look at players who could be on the move.
Anytime I have a question regarding a player’s contract or team salary cap situation, I visit Spotrac, which includes all of the information you could ever need regarding the financial side of the NFL, along with financial information for all other major sports as well. Here at DLF, we think so much of this site that we’ve included some of their graphics on each of our player pages.
March will bring both free agency, along with teams naming their franchise and transition tag players, but even before these events, teams will begin preparing for the 2019 season by making some difficult decisions. Among these decisions will be cutting players, primarily due to their impending contract responsibilities. Spotrac.com recently released an article listing players who could be victims of these “cap cuts.” I strongly suggest you read Potential 2019 NFL Roster Bubbles by Michael Ginnitti, but for now, I’ll share some of the highlights, along with the potential dynasty fantasy football impact.
Ryan Tannehill, QB MIA
Potential Team Savings: $18.75 million
After yet another season stuck as a game-managing quarterback, former first-round pick quarterback Ryan Tannehill is reportedly in danger of being cut by the Dolphins. Prior to Week 17, local beat writers reported that the team was ready to move on from their long-time starter. With a new coaching staff set to take over and nearly $19 million in total savings, Tannehill will almost certainly be looking for work. The Dolphins have no in-house options to claim the starting job but could use their eleventh overall pick on a rookie or sign one of the many signal callers expected to be available in free agency.
Joe Flacco, QB BAL
Potential Team Savings: $10.5 million
This writing has been on the wall since the 2018 NFL Draft when the Ravens used a first-round pick on quarterback Lamar Jackson. When veteran starter Joe Flacco went out of the lineup in mid-season with a hip injury, he likely had no idea that all but signaled the end of his tenure with Baltimore. The Ravens will reportedly look to trade Flacco before simply cutting him and considering the annual quarterback shortage, they will find a partner.
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Eli Manning, QB NYG
Potential Team Savings: $17 million
Let’s be honest, most people were surprised veteran quarterback Eli Manning even made it through this season. The Giants had a chance to select their quarterback of the future last season and instead opted for running back Saquon Barkley. Even though the Giants were well out of the playoff hunt, the coaching staff didn’t seem interested in giving rookie Kyle Lauletta a chance. In fact, there were even in-season reports that Manning would be back as the team’s starter in 2019. General manager Dave Gettleman didn’t stick to that plan once the season ended though, so we may have seen the last of Manning in a Giants uniform. The Giants have been widely projected to select Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with their sixth overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Blake Bortles, QB JAX
Potential Team Savings: $5.5 million
Like Manning, Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles probably should’ve been replaced a year ago but survived after making a deep playoff run. Bortles was at his worst this season, ultimately being replaced by journeyman Cody Kessler. Bortles is a lock to be cut by the Jags and while he will likely draw some interest, it will surely be in a backup role. The Jaguars have been a rumored destination for reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles.
LeSean McCoy, RB BUF
Potential Team Savings: $6.425 million
The Bills struggled through much of the season but did show some promise at times with rookie quarterback Josh Allen making plays with his legs and the defense routinely making stops. It is only that slight glimmer of a breakthrough season that might keep veteran back LeSean McCoy on the roster. McCoy endured the worst season of his career as Allen outgained him on the ground. We might have seen the last of McCoy as an every-week fantasy starter.
Leonard Fournette, RB JAX
Potential Team Savings: $3 million
A year ago, or even just a few months back, seeing Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette on this list would’ve looked like a mistake. After an injury-plagued season that ended with Jacksonville exec Tom Coughlin publicly criticizing Fournette’s sideline behavior in the season finale, Fournette found himself in the doghouse. Making matters worse, a one-game suspension earlier in the season allowed the Jags to void Fournette’s future guaranteed money, opening the door to a divorce. After a meeting between both sides following the season, it seems the two sides are ready to put their issues behind them and look towards the 2019 season. The Jags will also likely lose backs T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant via free agency.
Lamar Miller, RB HOU
Potential Team Savings: $6.25 million
Texans running back Lamar Miller wrapped up another ho-hum season and retains his status as one of the more disappointing players for fantasy purposes. A late-season injury to backup D’Onta Foreman in 2017 locked Miller into a roster spot this past season and with limited options still, his job is probably safe. Foreman just hasn’t shown enough to make a strong claim for the lead role.
Dion Lewis, RB TEN
Potential Team Savings: $3.175 million
Just one year after signing as a free agent with the Titans, veteran running back Dion Lewis is in danger of being out of work. Both Lewis and his backfield-mate Derrick Henry struggled through much of the season until Henry turned things on in the final month. That performance and the disappointing year from Lewis could be enough to send the former Pat packing. A change at offensive coordinator could have an impact as well.
Carlos Hyde, RB JAX
Potential Team Savings: $4.75 million
With around a month left in the season, it was a foregone conclusion that the Jaguars would be cutting veteran back Carlos Hyde, whom they acquired in trade earlier in the season. The late-season issue with Fournette might just be enough to convince the Jaguars to keep Hyde. If they do dump the former Browns back, Jacksonville and new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, formerly with the Vikings, could have interest in veteran free agent Latavius Murray.
Antonio Brown, WR PIT
Potential Team Savings: $1.045 million
The Steelers and superstar receiver Antonio Brown are not in a good place, to say the least. While essentially everyone has admitted that a parting of the ways is inevitable at this point, team officials have stated they would not outright release Brown, instead preferring to trade him. There should be plenty of interest from other teams, so the situation won’t come down to this.
Demaryius Thomas, WR HOU
Potential Team Savings: $14 million
Unfortunately, this will likely be an easy decision for the Houston Texans. Veteran receiver Demaryius Thomas was acquired in a mid-season trade from the Denver Broncos and greatly struggled during his tenure with Houston. In Week 16, Thomas went down with a torn Achilles, the second one of his career. Thomas claims he is not considering retiring, though it is a difficult process to return to full health, especially at age 31, as Thomas is now.
DeSean Jackson, WR TB
Potential Team Savings: $10 million
Veteran receiver DeSean Jackson was rumored to be cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a year ago but stuck around and had a productive season. After missing time late in the year with injury, Jackson voiced his displeasure with the team and it became a virtual certainty that he would not be back in 2019. The recent coaching change could affect things as new head man Bruce Arians is reportedly courting Jackson.
DeVante Parker, WR MIA
Potential Team Savings: $9.387 million
After yet another disappointing season in Miami, the Dolphins coaching staff basically admitted they were phasing wideout DeVante Parker out of the offensive game plan. You probably didn’t notice though as that looked a lot like every other game of Parker’s career. Like Jackson, a coaching change could benefit Parker, but a fresh start is probably best for all involved at this point.
Michael Crabtree, WR BAL
Potential Team Savings: $4.6 million
You might have heard that defenses don’t matter. In the Ravens offense, wide receivers don’t matter. Despite leading the team in targets, veteran receiver Michael Crabtree was second in receptions and third in receiving yards. It could be “one and done” for Crabtree’s time in Baltimore.
Pierre Garcon, WR SF
Potential Team Savings: $1.2 million
Due to injuries, veteran receiver Pierre Garcon was essentially a non-factor for the 49ers this past season. While San Francisco looks to make a quick turnaround with the return of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Garcon may not be part of those plans. The veteran’s time as a fantasy asset may have come to an end.
Cameron Meredith, WR NO
Potential Team Savings: $4.05 million
After missing the entire 2017 season, receiver Cameron Meredith saw a major value bounce back when he was signed by the Saints, an offense all dynasty owners like to chase. Unfortunately, Meredith was plagued by injuries once again and made only nine catches for the season. With rookie Tre’Quan Smith being counted on to play a larger role and the Saints expected to make other changes, Meredith is unlikely to be part of the team’s long-term plan.
Allen Hurns, WR DAL
Potential Team Savings: $5 million
Similar to Houston’s Thomas, the Cowboys were likely already considering parting ways with underperforming wideout Allen Hurns before he suffered a serious injury a couple weeks ago. Dallas was desperate for help at the receiver position, signing Hurns and drafting Michael Gallup. That didn’t do the trick, leading them to the mid-season trade for Amari Cooper. With a subpar year and a serious injury, Hurns may have difficulty finding a new gig if he is released by Dallas.
Jimmy Graham, TE GB
Potential Team Savings: $5.3 million
The Packers just keep trying the veteran tight end angle via free agency and it hasn’t really worked yet. Jared Cook, Martellus Bennett and most recently Jimmy Graham. For much of the season, Graham looked like his career was nearing an end. The Packers have no developmental options behind Graham so they could certainly opt to keep him around for another year, though our expectations should be modified.
Rob Gronkowski, TE NE
Potential Team Savings: $10 million
The fall of future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski has been one of the top stories of the season. The Patriots attempted to trade him last summer and that should’ve told us all we need to know. Gronk looked old and slow throughout the season, catching three or fewer passes in eight of 13 games, including the seven of the last eight. Now, Gronkowski is reportedly strongly considering retirement. One way or another, Gronkowski will not be with the Patriots next season. While we hate to admit it, his dynasty value has vanished.
Charles Clay, TE BUF
Potential Team Savings: $4.5 million
Despite having very limited weapons in the passing game, the Bills still found little use for veteran tight end Charles Clay this season. By the end of the year, he was a healthy scratch. This should be among the easier calls of the players listed here. Clay’s career may be nearing an end.
Kyle Rudolph, MIN
Potential Team Savings: $7.625 million
Veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph endured a disappointing season as we learned there weren’t enough balls to go around for star receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, plus Rudolph. His huge game in Week 16 might be enough to keep fantasy owners happy throughout the off-season but the Vikings could be swayed by the $7+ million savings they’d reap by dumping their longtime tight end. Despite the savings, this has to be considered a longshot.
Cameron Brate, TE TB
Potential Team Savings: $7 million (dead cap)
As soon as the Buccaneers re-signed tight end Cameron Brate a year ago, his new contract was heavily scrutinized and was found to be a short-term insurance plan disguised as a long-term extension. With O.J. Howard enjoying a breakout season, the Bucs could use his savings to upgrade in another area.
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