Fantasy Football: Top Free Agent Signings – #20-#11

NFL free agency is seen by many as one of the most hopeful times of the year for football fans. With the signing of a key person or two, the fortunes of a franchise can sometimes change. For fantasy participants, this period is key in keeping track of which names end up where because a change in environment can drastically change production in players from the previous season.

Below is part one of two in looking at the top 20 free agent signings so far and how their fantasy stock is looking heading into the 2014 season because of it.

20. Mark Sanchez

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets

From New York Jets to Philadelphia (1 year deal)

2014 Fantasy Forecast: The Sanchez signing by Philadelphia completely solidifies Nick Foles' hold on the starting job, not that he needed the reassurance. Sanchez is a non factor fantasy wise unless Foles is unable to play.

19. Donald Brown

From Miami to San Diego (3 year, $10.5 million)

2014 Fantasy Forecast: The signing of Brown means that the Colts running back situation is officially a place you want to avoid. Chargers coach Mike McCoy has already said that he plans to use the hot-hand approach to Brown, Ryan Matthews and Danny Woodhead. That means it will be a big question mark from week to week on who is going to get the majority of touches. Consider Brown and the entire Chargers running backs as void unless desperate.

18. Hakeem Nicks

From New York Giants to Indianapolis (1 year, $3.9 million)

2014 Fantasy Forecast: Nicks is coming off of a season where he scored zero touchdowns, but that didn't stop Indianapolis from grabbing him. Playing alongside Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton will limit his catches but this is a great opportunity for Nicks to show he still has what it takes. Consider Nicks a later round grab for spot starts.

17. Knowshon Moreno

From Denver to Miami (1 year)

2014 Fantasy Forecast: Moreno had a monster year last season as he rushed for 1,583 yards and 13 touchdowns. However, those numbers were inflated by the fact that opponents often only had six men in the box, using the rest to try to contain the Broncos passing attack. Now in Miami, expect Moreno's numbers to take a heavy dive as he will be facing more bodies. Consider Moreno a mid-round fantasy back.

16. Jacoby Jones

Stays in Baltimore (re-signed 4 year, $12 million deal)

2014 Fantasy Forecast: Jones staying in Baltimore is good as a whole but may not mean improvement in his overall production. He now joins both Torrey and Steve Smith and may end up as the “third wheel” of the receiving group. Consider Jones a late round pick to spot start as needed.

15. Steve Smith

San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

From Carolina to Baltimore (3 year, $11 million)

2014 Fantasy Forecast: Smith was signed by Baltimore to help bolster a Joe Flacco who threw only 19 touchdown passes while recording a career high 22 interceptions. With Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Dennis Pitta all looking for touches, Smith will have a hard time getting consistent production. Consider him a late round pick for spot starts.

14. Maurice Jones-Drew

From Jacksonville to Oakland (3 year deal)

2014 Fantasy Forecast: Jones-Drew comes into Oakland with no certainty on playing time. MJD will be competing with Darren McFadden for touches, which will hurt both in terms of overall production. Consider MJD a later round pick as insurance for McFadden, who often finds himself on the injury list.

13. Matt Schaub

From Houston to Oakland (Traded to Oakland)

2014 Fantasy Forecast: Schaub has already been named the Raiders starter for the 2014 campaign. Once one of the more promising QB's in the league, Schaub will have a lot to prove if he wants to be anything more than a one year stop-gap for Oakland. Schaub is a mid-round QB with upside.

12. Riley Cooper/Jeremy Maclin

Staying in Philadelphia (re-signed with PHI)

2014 Fantasy Forecast: With the release of DeSean Jackson, look for both Maclin and Cooper to have every chance to increase their production from a year ago. As of right now, Cooper ranks higher than Maclin but both are considered mid round picks.

11. Michael Vick

Philadelphia Eagles v Oakland Raiders

From Philadelphia to New York Jets (1 year, $5 million)

2014 Fantasy Forecast: Vick Heads into the 2014 with a strong chance to beat out incumbent starter Geno Smith. Though he would be a high scoring possibility any time under center, Vick's injury history means that even if he does start, you definitely have to draft both Vick and Smith to be safe.

 

James LeBeau is an avid fantasy sports participant and a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on twitter @LoboISbroke or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.

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