The last time we checked in with you, Aaron Rodgers had announced that he was choosing to join the Jets. A week on, and we're still waiting for Rodgers to actually be traded to the Jets. The Jets and Packers are in a staredown over compensation, and while we still expect Rodgers to be a Jet in 2023, it's not a reality yet.
Of course, free agency hasn't just stopped just because of that. In fact, the Jets are still making moves, as they traded Elijah Moore to the Browns. They also added Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman to their receiving corps prior to shipping Moore out, moves seemingly made with Rodgers in mind.
There's a lot to keep up with when it comes to free agency, and coverage around Rodgers has sucked a lot of the air out of the room. Hey, it's the offseason, I can't blame you if you haven't been keeping up with everything. That's what we're here for.
In today's newsletter, we'll catch you up on what you might have missed over the past week – though if you've been listening to the Fantasy Football Today in 5 podcast, you haven't missed anything .. *hint hint* – including how the landscape has shifted in our latest mock draft. Next week, we'll have some Dynasty-flavored reactions to free agency, so if you have any offseason questions, send them my way at Chris.Towers@ViacomCBS.com.
And now, here's what you need to know from free agency over the past week:
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Free agency recap
📰Zeke has a wish list
Thursday afternoon, we got a report from ESPN that Ezekiel Elliott has narrowed his list of potential teams to sign with to the Eagles, Jets, and Bengals, though as NBC reported later, that might be more like a wish list than a list of interested suitors. According to that report, Elliott doesn't actually have a contract offer from those three teams. Whether he'll actually sign with any of them is still very much up in the air.
For what it's worth, Jamey Eisenberg ranks the Eagles as the best choice of the three, which isn't much of a surprise – Miles Sanders rushed for nearly 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, and they've only added the injury-prone Rashaad Penny so far in free agency. Elliott could still have a path to value in Fantasy with the Eagles, at least.
🛫Elijah Moore to the Browns
I wrote about the deal that sent Moore to the Browns Wednesday, and I think it's generally a decent landing spot. The Browns don't run many three-WR sets, so Moore will have to emerge as a starting outside wide receiver alongside Amari Cooper to maximize his value, and Deshaun Watson will need to play a lot better than he did last season for it to matter. But, when Watson was at his best with the Texans, he supported multiple WRs who averaged at least 60 receiving yards per game three times. There's still plenty of upside here, enough to make Moore a top-100 pick now.
☑️Free Agency Tracker
Here are the other moves we've broken down in our Fantasy Football Free Agency Tracker:
- Cowboys add Brandin Cooks
- Adam Thielen signs with the Panthers
- Jets add Mecole Hardman and Allen Lazard
- Texans signed Dalton Schultz and Devin Singletary
- Bills replace Devin Singletary with Damien Harris
- Patriots add Mike Gesicki
First post-FA mock
This week's mock draft was our first one since the end of free agency, but it is by no means an accurate picture of what the 2023 Fantasy landscape is going to look like. That's true of all drafts at this point in the year, when the player pool isn't even finalized until the rookies are part of it, but it feels more true this year than ever.
Partially that's because there's a Lamar Jackson-shaped cloud hanging over everything. Jackson might be a top-five Fantasy QB for 2023, but can you really draft him that way when we don't know where he is going to play? In fact, it might be fair to say we don't even know whether Jackson is going to play in 2023; I have a hard time seeing him agreeing to play on the franchise tag when he's looking for a massive, guaranteed, long-term deal.
There's also the uncertainty around big names like DeAndre Hopkins, Joe Mixon, and Dalvin Cook, who could all be traded or cut seemingly any day now. And Ezekiel Elliott's status will matter, too.
Which is to say, this is all just a snapshot of where things stand right now, but I'd bet we're going to see a lot of movement between now and August. Jamey wrote all about the mock for CBSSports.com, focusing specifically on Tony Pollard and some of the other big names from free agency, and you can read his breakdown along with the full results here. Below, you can find my thoughts on some of the key picks through the first five rounds:
1.1: Justin Jefferson, WR, MIN - Dave Richard
1.2: Christian McCaffrey, RB, SF - Jake Grogins
1.3: Travis Kelce, TE, KC - Adam Aizer
1.4: Cooper Kupp, WR, LAR - Jamey Eisenberg
1.5: Austin Ekeler, RB, LAC - Zach Brook
1.6: Ja'Marr Chase, WR, CIN - Chris Towers
1.7: Jonathan Taylor, RB, IND - R.J. White
1.8: Tyreek Hill, WR, MIA - Jack Capotorto
1.9: Tony Pollard, RB, DAL - Jacob Gibbs
1.10: Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG - Dan Schneier
1.11: Kenneth Walker III, RB, SEA - Thomas Shafer
1.12: Josh Jacobs, RB, LV - George Maselli
Best pick: I mean, look, it's really hard to have a bad first-round pick. These are all pretty great players here, but getting Jonathan Taylor at No. 7 overall feels like a coup for R.J. Taylor may never get back to that 2021 form again – leading the league in rushing yards and touchdowns is really hard! – but he's still an explosive runner on a team that remains invested in getting the most out of him. If Ekeler ends up traded from the Chargers, Taylor will be the clear No. 2 RB for me.
Iffiest pick: Based on what we know right now, it's Walker, who had a very good rookie season, but who left a lot of yards on the field and was very dependent on big plays for his production – that he doesn't have a track record of being a high-volume pass-catcher is also a knock against him. However, there's a decent chance the Cowboys make another addition at running back after cutting Ezekiel Elliott (they did add Ronald Jones, for what that's worth), and if they do opt to add Bijan Robinson in the first round of the NFL Draft, Pollard is going to be a reach in the first round.
2.1: CeeDee Lamb, WR, DAL - George Maselli
2.2: Stefon Diggs, WR, BUF - Thomas Shafer
2.3: Garrett Wilson, WR, NYJ - Dan Schneier
2.4: A.J. Brown, WR, PHI - Jacob Gibbs
2.5: Breece Hall, RB, NYJ - Jack Capotorto
2.6: Davante Adams, WR, LV - R.J. White
2.7: Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, DET - Chris Towers
2.8: Javonte Williams, RB, DEN - Zach Brook
2.9: Jaylen Waddle, WR, MIA - Jamey Eisenberg
2.10: Derrick Henry, RB, TEN - Adam Aizer
2.11: Joe Mixon, RB, CIN - Jake Grogins
2.12: DeVonta Smith, WR, PHI - Dave Richard
Best pick: I'm typically always low on Derrick Henry, but getting him as RB9 late in the second round seems like a big win. He got off to a slow start last season and had a dip in the second half of the season, but was still a hugely impactful runner for much of the season, and finished as the No. 4 RB in PPR scoring. The Titans seem like they're on the verge of a rebuild, but they haven't pulled the trigger yet, so I'm expecting them to remain extremely reliant on Henry's unique skill set in 2023. He's a risky pick given his age and workload, but one worth taking here, I think.
Iffiest pick: There's no shortage of them here, more than you expect to see in the second round, and things will certainly change when Bijan Robinson and the other rookie running backs are in the player pool. The remaining dominoes in free agency could also change things, as will updates on Breece Hall and Javonte Williams' health coming off their knee injuries. They are clearly the iffiest pics here, though there continue to be enough whispers about Mixon being a cap casualty that he might be a reach here, too. Looking at the picks made here, I think we should probably just be moving the top quarterbacks up into this range.
3.1: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, ARI - Dave Richard
3.2: Nick Chubb, RB, CLE - Jake Grogins
3.3: Tee Higgins, WR, CIN - Adam Aizer
3.4: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, NE - Jamey Eisenberg
3.5: D.J. Moore, WR, CHI - Zach Brook
3.6: Mark Andrews, TE, BAL - Chris Towers
3.7: Travis Etienne, RB, JAC - R.J. White
3.8: Aaron Jones, RB, GB - Jack Capotorto
3.9: Chris Olave, WR, NO - Jacob Gibbs
3.1: DK Metcalf, WR, SEA - Dan Schneier
3.11: Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC - Thomas Shafer
3.12: Chris Godwin, WR, TB - George Maselli
Best pick: I don't want to be the guy who cites my own pick as the best, and the uncertainty around whether Lamar Jackson will be back with the Ravens next season adds some real questions here, so I won't say Andrews. I will say that the second we get confirmation that Jackson is back in Baltimore, Andrews will be a second-round pick. Otherwise, I think the Rhamondre Stevenson pick was a terrific value. Some may be scared off of Stevenson, especially after they signed James Robinson, but I would gently suggest those folks watch what Robinson looked like last season. He shouldn't be a threat to Stevenson's role.
Iffiest pick: I appreciate Dave planting a flag with Hopkins, who proved he has a lot left in the tank after putting up a 121-catch, 1,354-yard pace in nine games last season despite uneven (at best, frankly) QB play. It's a bet on a Hall of Fame player, but until we know exactly where Hopkins is going to play next season, it's a risk. It's possible he ends up somewhere like Kansas City where he might be a second-rounder, but there's also a chance he gets moved somewhere like Baltimore where I'd be a lot less enthused.
4.1: Josh Allen, QB, BUF - George Maselli
4.2: Calvin Ridley, WR, JAC - Thomas Shafer
4.3: Christian Watson, WR, GB - Dan Schneier
4.4: Jalen Hurts, QB, PHI - Jacob Gibbs
4.5: Najee Harris, RB, PIT - Jack Capotorto
4.6: Amari Cooper, WR, CLE - R.J. White
4.7: Dalvin Cook, RB, MIN - Chris Towers
4.8: Joe Burrow, QB, CIN - Zach Brook
4.9: Keenan Allen, WR, LAC - Jamey Eisenberg
4.1: Jerry Jeudy, WR, DEN - Adam Aizer
4.11: Deebo Samuel, WR, SF - Jake Grogins
4.12: David Montgomery, RB, DET - Dave Richard
Best pick: I think Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts should probably be drafted in the first two rounds at this point, so I'm going to go with the Allen and Hurts picks here. I think the fourth round is a fine place for Burrow, but he's clearly in a tier below those three elite guys in my mind – I'll probably rank Lamar Jackson ahead of him once we have some certainty about his status.
Iffiest pick: There have been plenty of rumors that the Vikings are open to trading Cook, who has three years left on his deal and is owed $10.4 million in 2023. Cook stayed healthy in 2022 for the most part, but wasn't nearly as effective as we've gotten used to, as his 14.5 PPR points per game were his lowest since 2018. We just don't know where he's going to play or how many high-end seasons Cook has left. The value is fine, but it could be a reach.
5.1: Dameon Pierce, RB, HOU - Dave Richard
5.2: Mike Williams, WR, LAC - Jake Grogins
5.3: Justin Herbert, QB, LAC - Adam Aizer
5.4: Drake London, WR, ATL - Jamey Eisenberg
5.5: Terry McLaurin, WR, WAS - Zach Brook
5.6: Justin Fields, QB, CHI - Chris Towers
5.7: Miles Sanders, RB, CAR - R.J. White
5.8: Mike Evans, WR, TB - Jack Capotorto
5.9: Kyle Pitts, TE, ATL - Jacob Gibbs
5.1: J.K. Dobbins, RB, BAL - Dan Schneier
5.11: T.J. Hockenson, TE, MIN - Thomas Shafer
5.12: Darren Waller, TE, NYG - George Maselli
Best pick: If I can get Pitts in the same range as Hockenson and Waller, I'm going to do that every time. I know, I know – he was dreadful last season, and I'm not sure the combo of Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke is actually an improvement on Marcus Mariota. I do think we'll see a more pass-heavy version of the Falcons either way, and I'm always going to leap at the opportunity to buy Pitts at a discount. He won't even be 23 by Week 1 and had a historic rookie season, in case you need reminding. I'm going to bet on talent and youth at a position where having a true standout is key.
Iffiest pick: I think Waller is fine, and the move to the Giants is probably a good one. But I'm probably going to be out on him. He's entering his age-31 season, and while he should be the clear No. 1 option in the Giants passing game, I think that passing game is likely to be significantly worse than the one he just left. Given Waller's age, injury history, and the fact that he just hasn't played like a true impact player since 2020, I'm just not going to be excited about this price.