Vincent Jackson swapped coasts, Brandon Marshall rejoined Jay Cutler in Chicago, and Peyton Manning is now a horse of a different color. As your summer wraps and you return your undivided attention to football, here’s your one-stop shop for all the notable fantasy players who changed teams this offseason.
Peyton Manning, Broncos
The highest-profile move of the offseason saw the Colts declining to pick up Peyton’s $25 million option, sending the sure-fire Hall of Famer on a whirlwind free agency tour that included visits with the Redskins, Dolphins, Titans, and Niners. Ultimately Manning bought what fellow QB legend John Elway was selling in Denver, and early reports are that while the deep ball may not be all the way back yet Manning is more than ready to start the season under center.
The pairing of Manning and run-happy head coach John Fox is an interesting one, but Manning has consistently fed his backs at the stripe (12 straight seasons of double-digit RB TDs for Manning-led teams). He also acquired a pair of security blankets in former Indy teammate Jacob Tamme and ex-Texan Joel Dreessen, in addition to inheriting play-making wideout Demaryius Thomas and reliable target Eric Decker. After more than a decade at or near the top of the fantasy QB list Manning sits at 16 in the latest Huddle rankings. He’s the ideal fantasy QB2: plenty of upside, but with another starting-caliber quarterback already on roster to mitigate the risk.
Matt Flynn, Seahawks
Flynn capitalized on a monster Week 17 showing while Aaron Rodgers rested for the playoffs, but the big money never really came calling. Surprisingly, Flynn’s former Green Bay OC, Joe Philbin, didn’t make much of an effort to woo Flynn to Miami and Flynn ultimately landed in a QB battle in Seattle, where he should have the edge over utterly mediocre incumbent Tarvaris Jackson and low-round rookie Russell Wilson.
The Seahawks’ attack will be decidedly more run-heavy than Flynn was used to in Green Bay, so it’s tough to see many more 480-yard, six-TD performances in Seattle. Add in an unproven receiving corps that includes Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, and Golden Tate and Flynn’s 27 ranking indicates he’s a late-round flier at best.
Tim Tebow, Jets
Despite leading Denver to a first-round playoff upset of the Steelers, Tebow wasn’t the kind of quarterback John Elway had in mind for his Broncos. The acquisition of Peyton Manning freed up Elway to unload Tebow, and he shipped him across the country to the Jets.
In New York, Tebow is an insurance policy should Mark Sanchez falter. The Jets are also talking about using Tebow in a Wildcat package for around 20 snaps a game. Tebow could be a solid goal line back, but all he’ll really do is torpedo the fantasy value of both himself and Sanchez by splitting the gig. Tebow is currently ranked 35th based on his potential for rushing touchdowns and the possibility that Sanchez can’t hold on to the starting job, but he’d better be your Plan B at quarterback—and you’d better have a really good Plan A.
David Garrard, Dolphins
Garrard doesn’t currently appear among the Huddle’s top 40 quarterbacks, but heading into training camp he may be the favorite to emerge with the Week 1 starting gig. Of course, both Garrard and Matt Moore are merely buying time for first-round pick Ryan Tannehill to develop. And with a receiving corps highlighted by Davonne Bess and Brian Hartline, even if one QB housed all 16 starts there’s not enough fantasy juice here to fill a Dixie cup.