The coronavirus has paused the world of sports, but NFL free agency will be here after we get through the weekend. From a fantasy football perspective, these are the best fits for some of the top free agents.
Tom Brady: Buccaneers
On the surface, it’s difficult to say Tom Brady would have better fantasy success someplace other than New England, where he’s spent the entirety of his 20 years in the NFL and has mastered the offense; but the Buccaneers are a rare opportunity that could provide sensational statistical success. Tampa Bay is reportedly set to give Brady whatever he wants in terms of the offense, so that likely means the veteran quarterback will be about as comfortable as he can be while adjusting to a new team. Jameis Winston threw for 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns (with 30 interceptions) last season, so Brady could certainly put up 4,500+ yards and 35-40+ touchdowns (and probably 25% of the interceptions) with the Bucs.
Teddy Bridgewater: Buccaneers
A conservative passer that rarely makes mistakes, Teddy Bridgewater opened things up and was more aggressive during his five starts for the Saints in 2019 than he was during much of his time in Minnesota to start his career. Landing with the Buccaneers would allow Teddy to remain aggressive, using his underrated accuracy and throwing velocity to hit one of the league’s best supporting casts in stride while playing in Bruce Arians’ offense.
Marcus Mariota: Raiders
The Patriots would also be a good fit for Marcus Mariota if Tom Brady actually leaves in free agency, but the thought of the former Oregon Duck being unleashed by Jon Gruden is tantalizing. Las Vegas is undoubtedly going to be going after receivers in free agency and/or the draft, and the supporting cast on offense is shaping up nicely with Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, Tyrell Williams, and Hunter Renfrow in the mix. Mariota has the ability to put up similar passing numbers to Derek Carr last year, with the added rushing upside giving him a boost in fantasy football.
Philip Rivers: Colts
Because Philip Rivers has a history with Colts head coach Frank Reich, Indianapolis would be the best spot for him from a fantasy perspective in 2020. The longtime Chargers starter would benefit from playing behind a much better offensive line than he has recently, and the Colts are another team that figures to add more at receiver this offseason. Right now, T.Y. Hilton remains a No. 1 weapon, Jack Doyle is a solid match at tight end, and Parris Campbell fits well with Rivers on underneath catch-and-runs.
Jameis Winston: Buccaneers
Another team doesn’t seem likely to install Jameis Winston as their starting quarterback, so the Buccaneers are clearly his best fantasy fit after he was a QB1 option in 2019 despite the subpar play from a real-life perspective.
Melvin Gordon: Texans
A case can be made for the Chargers as the top spot for Melvin Gordon to remain given his success putting the ball into the end zone for them over the past few years, but the Texans are probably a safer spot that offers similar upside in an offense that’s set at quarterback with Deshaun Watson. Carlos Hyde is an underrated player, but he’s coming off his first career 1,000-yard season for Houston, and most would agree that Gordon is definitely a more talented/versatile player—he could hit 1,500-2,000 total yards with double-digit touchdowns in Houston.
Jordan Howard: Chargers
Austin Ekeler looks set to lead the Chargers backfield in 2020 after signing an extension last week, but Los Angeles could still be a great spot for someone like Jordan Howard. The bruising runner would be the hammer by the goal line, and he could easily be the leading ball-carrier for the Chargers even with less playing time than Ekeler, who would likely still get more overall work when considering his contributions as a pass catcher. Buffalo is another potential fit for Howard during free agency.
Kenyan Drake: Cardinals
Kenyan Drake played like a star after he was acquired by the Cardinals last season, and the best spot for him is to remain in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. Arizona is not afraid to give the Alabama product a heavy workload both on the ground and through the air, and Drake’s role as a receiver would likely increase with a full offseason in the offense.
Amari Cooper: Cowboys
While he’s had some ups and downs playing for the Cowboys over the better part of the last two seasons, the incumbent team remains the top fit for him to put up numbers. Mike McCarthy’s arrival in Dallas could help the talented receiver become more consistent throughout the season, and Cooper has a rapport with quarterback Dak Prescott. A higher weekly floor each week with the usual gamebreaking ceiling makes the Cowboys the best team for Cooper.
Robby Anderson: Packers
The 49ers are a sneaky option for Robby Anderson to have statistical success, but playing opposite Davante Adams in Green Bay might be the top situation. Aaron Rodgers still likes launching his deep ball when he can, and Anderson’s speed and size is an exciting match with Rodgers’ accuracy down the field.
Nelson Agholor: Patriots
He might command more money than some are expecting, but some team is going to get a free-agent value in Nelson Agholor. The opportunities didn’t come consistently in Philadelphia, but the former first-round pick has shown the ability to be a high-volume receiver that can hurt a defense on all three levels. New England’s offense would use Agholor’s inside-out versatility in plus matchups against second and third cornerbacks.
Austin Hooper: Patriots
These last two are with the assumption that Tom Brady is the Patriots quarterback, but Austin Hooper would help fill a void at tight end post-Rob Gronkowski. Hooper has caught 70+ passes in each of the past two seasons in Atlanta, and he has shown an impressive feel for finding room and high-pointing the ball down the middle of the field and in the red zone when utilized there.