Jennings still top-30 WR with Vikings
To see Christopher Harris' rankings for the 2013 fantasy football season, click here for updates throughout the offseason.
Here's a rundown of the latest free-agent signings and other transactions:
Greg Jennings to the Minnesota Vikings: Well, the wiseacres on Twitter instantly pounced on the discrepancy between catching passes from Aaron Rodgers and Christian Ponder, and it's sizable. But this move doesn't make Jennings any kind of fantasy nonfactor. In fact, part of Ponder's problem in 2012 was a lack of an outside receiver. (And, when Percy Harvin went down, a lack of any kind of viable pro-level receiver at all.) Defenses will focus all they have an Adrian Peterson this year, and although Ponder has yet to show he has even average arm strength, he is accurate (62.1 percent completion rate in '12 with a motley crew of pass-catchers). And Jennings' hallmark as a WR is his route-running precision. He will be open. Ponder just needs to be able to hit the windows. I think he'll do it enough on the short-to-intermediate stuff to keep Jennings among the top 30 fantasy WRs. He's at No. 26 on my list at the moment.
Mike Goodson to the New York Jets: Give this to Goodson: He has never had a chance like it appears he's about to have in Gotham. After three seasons buried behind DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart with the Carolina Panthers and then another behind Darren McFadden with the Oakland Raiders, Goodson arrives as a budget back with more ability than any RB currently on the Jets' roster. That's just not saying much. Bilal Powell is a good player who's valuable as a receiver but hasn't proved he can make many people miss. Joe McKnight has endured an almost-switch to defensive back, but he's basically a special-teamer. Lex Hilliard is a fullback. Goodson has legit size (6-foot, 212 pounds) and burst, but you have to ask yourself in a season when McFadden played badly and missed five games, why couldn't Goodson do much of anything? Mostly because -- surprise! -- Goodson got hurt, too. He's been a leg injury waiting to happen for much of his NFL career, and I have real concerns that he'd never hold up to every-down wear and tear, but it's hard to believe he isn't the top fantasy candidate in the Jets' backfield today. I just worry that's not worth very much. I bumped him up to No. 39 on my RB list on this news.
Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown to the San Diego Chargers: This says much more about Ryan Mathews than about Woodhead or Brown. The new coaching regime in San Diego has clearly decided it doesn't want Mathews near the field on third down. And really that's no different from 2012, when Mathews touched the ball exactly five times on third down (that stat is courtesy of Rotoworld's Patrick Daugherty). So forget it when you hear new head coach Mike McCoy or new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt calling Mathews their "bell cow." They know Mathews is fragile. They know he scored exactly one TD last year while breaking two collarbones. They're going to try to protect him by keeping him away from too many pass-protecting situations or obvious passing downs and will use Woodhead and Brown instead. Certainly, I like Woodhead much more than Brown, but he's dropping down several levels in talent class, landing with latter-day Philip Rivers and a messy offensive line. Woody's fantasy chops from '12 (when he finished 27th among fantasy RBs) came from a whole lot of New England Patriots hurry-up, and all those juicy close-in carries. He can't expect anything close to that with the Chargers, and thus doesn't crack my RB top 40. Mathews dips a couple of spots on this news, though, down to No. 24. It should also be noted that I was pretty darned convinced that eventually Woodhead would wind up re-signing with the Pats, and now that he's gone, Shane Vereen gains third-down attractiveness. I moved Vereen up to No. 32.
Dustin Keller and Brandon Gibson to the Miami Dolphins: Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland isn't going down without a fight. Despite boasting one of the NFL's spottiest track records, Ireland kept his job for '13 and is remaking his roster.
Considering Wallace and Brian Hartline got hefty contracts this winter, there's not going to be a huge workload for Gibson, not even if Davone Bess eventually gets cut, so we'll set him aside for the moment. But Keller replaces Fasano in the starting lineup, and he's a much more accomplished pass-catcher. The only thing he lacks is massiveness: He's 6-2 and 250 pounds, which used to be big, but now seems quaint for a TE. But Keller had a 65-catch season with Mark Sanchez in '11. The Dolphins will use him in the red zone; last year, Fasano had 12 red zone targets, and nine catches on those targets resulted in five TDs. Is Keller's situation good enough to instantly toss him into the top 10 at his position? I don't think so yet. He belongs to the weird, giant TE middle class, from about No. 7 to No. 17, the members of which all look like possible weekly breakout candidates but also look like candidates to disappear in any given game. For the moment, Keller sits at No. 15 on my list, but if you like him more as he's been liberated from the Sanchez yoke, I get that.
Brandon Myers to the New York Giants: Myers is a good pass-catcher, but a terrible run-blocker and pass protector. I just wonder what kind of fit that is with hard-nosed Tom Coughlin. Certainly, we've seen Eli Manning make fantasy music with several tight ends in the past few seasons, and Myers is a prototype seam stretcher with nice hands. With the lousy Raiders, he finished as fantasy's No. 10 TE in '12. But he also had only three great games, and he utterly disappeared in December. The Giants inked Myers to a one-year deal for what I presume is a relatively minor financial commitment rather than look for a longer-term solution in part because they're hoping second-year man Adrien Robinson can blossom into an all-around player at the TE position. The Giants have been calling Robinson "the Jason Pierre-Paul of our offense" for a calendar year now, and if he starts figuring things out -- admittedly a big if -- he could take this team by storm. That's another limitation to Myers' upside. Mostly, though, I think Coughlin is going to have a sideline fit the first time Myers whiffs on a block and will start reconsidering playing time accordingly. Myers enters my ranks at No. 17 among TEs.
Brandon Lloyd released by the New England Patriots: I guess the leaked stories about Lloyd's "erratic" behavior really indicated the team's dissatisfaction after all. If the Pats had been able to land both Wes Welker and Danny Amendola, as was evidently their hope early last week, Lloyd would've been replaced on the outside by Amendola. Maybe that's still part of the plan, but with Welker gone, things are more fluid. There are rumors the team might offer restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders an offer sheet, but as of this writing that hadn't taken place, and most of the major unrestricted WRs have found chairs. Maybe that means Donald Jones -- lately signed from the Buffalo Bills -- really could get a chance on the outside. Or maybe it means Amendola is still headed for a split end kind of role and the team will re-sign Julian Edelman or draft someone such as Tavon Austin to play in the slot. As for where Lloyd will land, your guess is as good as mine at the moment. It's definitely not a good sign that his biggest fan, Josh McDaniels, with whom Lloyd had a relationship on three straight teams, couldn't save him in New England.
Other moves of note: The Arizona Cardinals did the inevitable and cut Kevin Kolb, leaving behind Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley as the team's QB candidates. My early money is on Stanton, and the team has told reporters it has no intention of taking Geno Smith with the No. 7 pick in April. That could of course be a smoke screen. Boy, it would be nice for Larry Fitzgerald to get a good guy throwing it to him again, right? The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Justin Forsett to replace Rashad Jennings and Jalen Parmele behind Maurice Jones-Drew. Although that's not glamorous, Forsett spent last year learning the Houston Texans' zone-blocking schemes, and he lands in Jacksonville at a time when new coordinator Jedd Fisch is installing a similar look. And remember, MJD is coming off foot surgery. Forsett seems like a pretty smart handcuff. The Philadelphia Eagles sent a tiny '13 late-round upgrade and a conditional '14 pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for former No. 39 pick Arrelious Benn, a wide receiver who was supposed to be what Mike Williams has become in Tampa. Instead, he's mostly been injured and even when he has cracked the Bucs' starting lineup, he's been unreliable, with just four career games of 50-plus yards receiving in three seasons. In Philly, maybe he's the No. 4 receiver in Chip Kelly's new offense? The talent just hasn't translated to production, though.
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