Free agency has a tendency to get pretty wild at times. Two of the most active teams thus far have been the Texans and Bills. Houston traded away Brandin Cooks, but then brought in more offensive firepower in the form of Dalton Schultz and Devin Singletary. Meanwhile, Buffalo let Singletary go to those same Texans and have now at least temporarily replaced him with former Patriots running back Damien Harris. All the moves change the dynasty values across those two teams (and beyond) and force us to re-evaluate some player values. Let’s take a look at the respective player values affected by this flurry of moves.
Dalton Schultz, TE HOU
For years, Jason Witten was a staple for the Cowboys at the tight end position, becoming a locked and loaded TE1 in the process. After he moved on, Schultz stepped right in and has been nothing short of spectacular during stretches over the past five years, posting 211 catches, 2,122 receiving yards, and 17 touchdowns, with most of that coming over the past three seasons. His 78/808/8 season certainly put him on the map in 2021 and unfortunately, Dallas just ran out of money and franchise tags, allowing him to walk in free agency and land in Houston this off-season.
Schultz ended up getting a one-year deal worth up to $9 million with the Texans. Considering many expected him to join Justin Herbert in Los Angeles, this development is a little disappointing. Still, the recent trade of Cooks has opened up targets in Houston and Schultz is more than capable of taking some of those vacated looks. Schultz’ 2021 production did take dip last year as he posted just a 57/577/5 line in 2022. With a rookie quarterback in tow, it’s quite likely we see something in between next year for our TE10 as Schultz should provide a pretty solid safety valve.
The good thing with this signing is the fact Schultz is only a one-year deal. He should be motivated to perform at a super high level and cash in at this point next off-season. There is obvious risk here as the Houston offense simply doesn’t look explosive, but he’s going to get a fair number of targets. One should expect his ADP to remain fairly stable after the move.
Jake Ferguson, TE DAL
We’ll see what Dallas does at the position, but Ferguson looks like the big winner at the moment. He was solid last season with 19 catches for 174 yards, and two touchdowns. Those stats don’t tell the whole story, though. Ferguson has simply looked the part. While he has a lot to prove moving forward, his value is going to take a huge jump if the Cowboys don’t address the position further. Stay tuned.
Devin Singletary, RB HOU
The Bills just never seemed to settle on Singletary being “the guy.” He’s been solid over his four years, posting 3,151 rushing yards, 145 catches, 971 receiving yards, and scoring 20 times. He also boasted a yards per carry average of right around 4.7. Still, Buffalo obviously didn’t want to commit to him long-term and let him go in free agency. They apparently weren’t alone in their assessment of him as he signed just a one-year deal worth up to $3.75 million with the Texans – hardly the kind of money a team spends on a starter.
The expectation here would be Singletary being used as a change of pace complement to last year’s rookie steal, Dameon Pierce. It’s an odd fit considering Singletary isn’t known for being an elite pass catcher or really suited for third down work. Still, it’s a low cost signing that should solidify the backfield in Houston. As for Singletary, his ranking of RB38 is only going to go up if the Texans come out and say they want this to be a true committee or 1-2 punch with Pierce. In the end, this signing is a bit of a buzzkill.
Dameon Pierce, RB HOU
If this is the only move the Texans make, it’s not a terrible thing for Pierce. Conventional thinking led us to believe they were going to add someone to the backfield and while Singletary is a good player, he’s not exactly going to relegate Pierce to backup status. He’ll look to build on his rookie season and should have a good chance at his first 1,000-yard campaign. This is an awful time to trade for a running back, but I wouldn’t be down on Pierce at all at the moment.
With Brandin Cooks off to Dallas, Robert Woods, Nico Collins, Noah Brown, and possibly John Metchie make up the new corps. With Schultz in the fold, each of these players are likely going to lose a little bit of value. Still, Houston is likely going to need to throw the football and you have to like the comeback potential of Woods and the breakout potential of Collins this season. This whole group of players won’t cost you a fortune in dynasty leagues, but there’s some sneaky potential value here.
Future Texans Quarterback
It never hurts to have some talent around you and it looks like either Bryce Young, or CJ Stroud is going to be at the helm next season. The additions of Schultz and Singletary are good ones (as is the extension signed by tackle Laremy Tunsil) as Houston looks like they may have learned a lesson from the past and are at least committed some resources in an attempt to not have their new quarterback get “David Carr-ed” this time. In short, this offense looks lot better than it did last season already.
Damien Harris, RB BUF
Just when folks thought it was going to be James Cook’s time with Singletary signing in Houston, this signing happened just hours later. Harris is going to provide the Bills with a solid power back, making Cook far from a full-time player moving forward. In all truthfulness, this looks like a signing that is better in reality than it is in dynasty. Harris is going to have some goal-line chances, but Josh Allen also take a bulk of those away from the ball carriers. Harris is currently our RB34 and it’s hard to see that changing too dramatically now that he’s paired with Cook. Harris has always been solid in his career, but he’s only had 449 rushing attempts in his career as New England does what New England does – cycle through running backs. The Bills are also rumored to possibly have interest in some of this year’s rookie running backs, so this is a situation worth staying away from for the moment.
James Cook, RB BUF
On one hand, you have to love what you’ve seen so far from Cook. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry last season and showed some big play ability. Unfortunately, he only had 89 carries and 21 catches playing behind Singletary and others last year. You can see the potential he has, but the signing of Harris just doesn’t seem to help. He’s still a very valuable asset and could work his way to the top of the depth chart eventually, but this has to be seen as a short-term setback for those who are just salivating to see him as a true three-down back for the Bills.
Nyheim Hines, RB BUF
Hines has seen his value plummet and this won’t help him much, either. At this point, he needs to move on and find a new team. You have to really wonder why they traded for him last year because they never seemed committed to using him at all. With both Cook and Harris ahead of him, that likely won’t change much. He looks the part of a cap casualty.