Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Free agency caused a lot of ups and downs for many players in the league. This article contains ten NFL players who's fantasy football value is on the rise since free agency. Keep an eye out for them in your fantasy football draft.

Ray Rice, Bal
The Raven's traded away their goal line running back, Willis McGahee. McGahee has been vulturing touchdowns from Rice for years. Willis leaving should greatly improve Rice's touchdown numbers. Then the Ravens signed All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach to a three-year deal, presumably removing Le'Ron McClain from the equation. Leach blocked for Arian Foster in Houston last year. He is consider one of the best blockers in the league. Leach is hardly a threat to steal workload from Rice; in fact, he only carried the ball three times over his four seasons in Houston. He is just an insane blocker. Expect big things from Rice.

Beanie Wells, Ari
The Cardinals traded Tim Hightower who had stolen some touches from Wells. Later Arizona Cardinals coach Whisenhunt said, "To say this is a make or break season is a little premature, but this is what he (Wells) wanted. Clearly he's the guy."  Implying that Wells will get the chance he wanted to be the clear number one running back in Arizona. He was being ranked in the 40's prior to this news (40th best running back that is), expect him to jump up significantly. He will still have rookie Ryan Williams lurking behind him on the depth chart.

Larry Fitzgerald, Ari
He finally got a quarterback. Last season Larry put up 1,137 yards and 6 touchdowns. Decent but not great. Those numbers are considered his floor considering he had to overcome an awful quarterback situation. The addition of Kolb should put him back into top five consideration. In the Kolb trade the Cardinals had to give up corner back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Which means the defense is now worse as well which figures to big a good thing for Fitzgerald because being behind translates to more passes and more fantasy points.

Joseph Addai, Ind
The Colts resigned running back Joseph Addai to a 3 year 14 million dollar contract. That's starter money for a Colts running back. The Colts clearly have faith in Addai so you should too. If he is the main starter with goal line work he will have value. It is still a pass first offense which limits his upside but Addai is still a solid player don't be afraid to draft him.

James Jones, GB
The Packers resigned Jones after both Rodgers and Driver made remarks to the media about how they wanted him back. This crowds the Packers receiving corps even more and hurts Jordy Nelson the most. The reason why I upgrade Jones is because he will still have a solid quarterback who obviously thinks he is valuable. Jones was thought to be the sleeper on the Packers before Nelson was and he is more talented. Personally I'd draft Jones before Nelson.

Chad Ochocinco, NE
Ocho was traded to the Patriots for a fifth and sixth round pick. He described the trade as a gift from God, so you could say he's excited about it. This helps his fantasy football value a ton. The Patriots are in need of receiving help and although Ochocinco has lost a lot of his down the field speed he is still a great route runner. He will fight Welker to be the Patriots most productive receiver. Maybe he's motivated enough to win.

Roy Williams, Chi
Williams was traded to Chicago and reunited with Mike Martz, the coach that brought him to the pro bowl in 2006. Martz should have Williams more involved than he was in in Dallas. Expect both Williams and Knox to produce similar numbers. Williams has a lot of potential but he has been a disappointment throughout his career in both the NFL and fantasy football. Maybe this year will be different.

Mike Sims-Walker, Stl
Sims-Walker was picked by many to be a sleeper last year. He did not live up to expectations. The 26 year old receiver will get a second shot in St. Louis this year. Really it could end up being a great job for him with a quickly developing quarterback in Sam Bradford at the helm. Sims-Walker optimistically could greatly improve on last year, consider him a sleeper.

Kevin Kolb, Ari 
Kolb was traded to the Cardinals changing him from a back up to a starter. He also inherits one of the most talented receivers in the league in Larry Fitzgerald. The two could have a great relationship together. Kolb signed a big deal. The question is whether or not he can live up to it. He has a questionable 11:14 TD:INT ratio. To his defense he started 0-4 in 2008 and improved since then. In one quarterback fantasy football leagues Kolb is a solid back up with upside. 

Greg Olsen, Car
Following Greg Olsen's trade from Chicago to Carolina Rivera, coach of the Panthers, said he wanted to find a tight end who could be productive in the passing game. Olsen can be just that. The 6' 5'' tight end surely fits the build. Olsen will be escaping the Martz offense in Chicago. Martz is notorious for not using tight ends. Olsen will be a big, athletic target for developing quarterback Cam Newton. Olsen's rank went from about 25 all the way up to starter material. The Panthers will feature a conservative offense that is tight end friendly. He has elite fantasy football upside with all of his talent.


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