Six fantasy players that need to stay put in 2020 free agency

Fantasy Football, NFL

Last month I wrote about the six players who should divorce their teams in 2020. This month, I take a look at six players who, despite impending free agency, should stay put and stick with their current team for 2020 and possibly beyond.

 

There’s a list a mile long of coveted free agents who end up leaving the franchise where they had great fantasy success for the team that gives them the biggest signing bonus. Sometimes in a new location, their (fantasy) production stays consistent, or in the case of a select few, actually improves. But generally, it’s easier to name players who wildly disappointed. WR Javon Walker to the Raiders, TE Julius Thomas to the Jaguars, and most recently, RB Le’Veon Bell to the Jets.

In fantasy when deciding between two players of similar value, always take the player who has proven history on his current team over someone who must acclimate to a new team. The following six players will have their fantasy value and eventual production negatively affected if they switch teams in 2020.

QB Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If you’re a Buccaneers fan, after seeing Winston become the first ever member of the 30/30 club  (30 touchdowns, 30 interceptions), you most likely wish Winston would exit via free agency and let the team move on and bring in veteran who is more careful with the football. But as a fantasy owner, and for Winston himself, leading the league in passing yards will not happen for him in any other city. If he re-signs with Tampa, Winston is definitely worth holding on to in keeper leagues. Keeping him is a murkier proposition if he plays elsewhere in 2020.

QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

Tannehill came off the bench midseason for the disappointing Marcus Mariota and played like the franchise quarterback he was expected to be with the Dolphins. Despite missing the first six games, Tannehill finished in the top 10 among QB’s in fantasy. He also finished with a career high in completion percentage and a career low in interceptions. Staying in Tennessee is Tannehill’s best chance to match and potentially exceed his career year. Both team and player should come to their senses and partner up for at least 2020 if not longer and skip free agency.

RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

After leading the NFL in rushing in 2019, Henry is a sure-fire 1st round pick for 2020 no matter what team he is on. That said, Henry’s smashmouth style isn’t a fit for every offense. Even the Titans struggled with how to properly use Henry in his first couple seasons. Since becoming Head Coach, Mike Vrabal embraced Henry’s size and power, feeding him the ball often and late in games, allowing him to bowl over and drag tacklers. Henry’s production will suffer if he leaves via free agency and goes to a team without the same patience and commitment to the power run game.

RB Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals

A trade deadline deal sent Drake from Miami to Arizona. Thought of as depth rental because they already had $60 million in David Johnson and promising youngster Chase Edmunds, Drake surprised many by racking up three 100 yard games and 8 touchdowns in only 8 games. The prevailing wisdom is that the Cardinals want to keep Drake from free agency and jettison Johnson one way or another. If Drake stays with Arizona, 1200 yards rushing isn’t unrealistic. He’s a bigger fantasy risk if he leaves and lands in his third offense within a year.

WR Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys

After being traded from the Raiders, Cooper finished last season on fire and started strong this season 1,237 and 11 touchdowns over his first 14 games in Dallas. But finished with 677 and three touchdowns in his last 11 games, failing to get at least 7 fantasy points in 5 games as he approaches free agency. Nagging injuries were thought to be a factor. Nevertheless, new Head Coach Mike McCarthy values a true #1 receiver, if he re-ups with the Cowboys, there is little doubt that Cooper will get a lot of targets, including the deep crossing routes that a McCarthy offense is known for.

Next: Biggest fantasy football busts of 2019

TE Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons

The dearth of quality and dependable tight ends in fantasy makes any roster movement among the position noteworthy. In each of the past two years, Hooper has been a top ten TE hauling in 70+ receptions, thanks in large part to catching passes from Matt Ryan and running routes near Julio Jones. Without a top level QB, Hooper probably falls in the preseason rankings if he’s on another team. According to Spotrac.com, the Falcons will have the 2nd worst cap situation entering 2020 free agency. So of every name on this list, Hooper is the least likely to return to his current team.

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