NFL free agency begins next week, and the final fantasy fits for the 2021 offseason finds the best matches for pass-catchers set to become available on Wednesday. [NOTE: Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski are not included on the full expectation they will remain with the Buccaneers.]
Kenny Golladay: Washington
It sounds like Washington is going to be aggressive during free agency, and Golladay might be their top target as the consensus No. 1 receiver on the board. The quarterback situation for Ron Rivera’s squad is uncertain, but Golladay would form a dangerous duo with Terry McLaurin. Golladay’s red-zone proficiency would likely come into play often for a team set to be competitive this year and into the future.
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Jets
Whether it’s JuJu’s former college teammate Sam Darnold (the two should already have better chemistry than most new QB-WR duos) or with a quarterback selected No. 2 overall, a blank slate in the Jets new offense gives receivers an opportunity to carve out a large role, which Smith-Schuster has the talent to do. Smith-Schuster is a reliable target over the middle, and he’d also arguably be the team’s top touchdown threat if he joins New York.
Will Fuller: Packers
There are a number of nice fits for Fuller in free agency, but his best location might be in Green Bay working opposite of alpha No. 1 receiver Davante Adams. Matt LaFleur’s offense does an excellent job of working off the run game to create big plays down the field, and Fuller excels getting down the field against single coverage.
Nelson Agholor: Raiders
Agholor is an undervalued potential addition this offseason, and he’s another guy that can find plenty of fits on the open market. However, the trust Derek Carr showed in Agholor last season can be built upon in Year 2, and it’s clear that Jon Gruden and company are huge fans of the USC product and know how to use him. Agholor would have easy 1,000-yard upside after putting up 896 yards on just 48 receptions for Vegas in 2020.
Curtis Samuel: Bills
Second-year receiver Gabriel Davis is ready to step up for the Bills, who figure to roll with a trio of Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, and Davis. But Brian Daboll’s offense could utilize a weapon like Samuel, who can also contribute at running back, where Buffalo is looking for more production. A versatile role that gets the ball into Samuel’s hands at least several times per game could lead to consistent fantasy production from a dynamic talent.
Corey Davis: Titans
Similar to the Agholor situation, Davis came on strong with the Titans last year, so Tennessee is ultimately his best spot. There is upside elsewhere, but Davis was just 16 yards away from his first 1,000-yard campaign, and he has the trust of Ryan Tannehill. Continuing to work as the “Robin” to A.J. Brown’s “Batman” is the ideal location for the former fifth overall pick.
Sammy Watkins: Saints
Watkins wants to remain with the Chiefs, but a new team might provide a jolt for the 27-year-old weapon. If Jameis Winston is under center for the Saints, he’s not afraid to give his receivers opportunities to make plays; that, paired with the ability to play off of Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara in the New Orleans offense, makes for an intriguing possibility for Watkins.
T.Y. Hilton: Colts
When Carson Wentz is on, his deep ball can be very good, and the Colts are likely to target another deep threat this offseason to go with Michael Pittman Jr., Parris Campbell, and company. Hilton now sounds excited about free agency, but both he and the Colts may do well to remain together moving forward. Hilton turned it on a bit down the stretch in 2020, and he’s been at his best in his career while playing in domes, which Indy would allow him to do for at least nine games per year (including a yearly road matchup at Houston).
John Brown: Dolphins
The Dolphins were tagged with touchdowns by John Brown in each game versus the Bills last season, so after Buffalo released “Smokey”, Miami can strength their own offense with an addition from within the division. Brown profiles as a good complement to DeVante Parker, and his speed is a potential match with Tua Tagovailoa’s deep ball.
A.J. Green: Giants
Last season was disappointing for Green, but the Pro Bowl receiver clearly feels like he has productive football left in him. If he can get back to form with a new team, it could be a major steal. The Giants should be searching for a player of Green’s caliber to join the receiving corps, and the accuracy of Daniel Jones makes for a potential match with Green, who provides a different type of target than most of what Jones has worked with through two years.
John Ross: Rams
Ross is one of free agent’s most interesting players, as he’s made plays when he’s been healthy for the Bengals—though he might ultimately have to settle for a prove-it one-year pact. The Rams have a deep receiving group, but Ross has the ability to do major damage as Matthew Stafford’s top deep threat, which could at least land him in boom/bust FLEX territory from a fantasy perspective.
Marvin Jones: Panthers
Jones is likely interested in joining his former quarterback with the Rams, but he’d probably have more fantasy success someplace he would be able to get a larger target share. The Panthers are a sneaky option for a consistent role because of the way Joe Brady’s offense spreads the ball around, and we’ll see if Carolina is able to upgrade the quarterback position to really take off in 2021.
Emmanuel Sanders: 49ers
The Niners and Sanders enjoyed their time together a couple of seasons ago, and perhaps the partnership will resume this season. Sanders already has Kyle Shanahan’s offense down, and he can play all over the formation along with Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Sanders’ days of top-20 fantasy production are probably over, but San Francisco is his best spot for some deeper-league and spot-play value.
Hunter Henry: Patriots
Cam Newton is back for New England, and the team is set to upgrade the weapons around him. Henry might be the top free agency target, and Newton has had success throwing to tight ends throughout his career. Depending on what the Pats do at receiver, Henry would have a shot to be Newton’s top target behind Julian Edelman next season if he lands in Foxboro.
Jonnu Smith: Bills
Dawson Knox has shown flashes at tight end for the Bills, but Smith can provide a boost at tight end for a contending team. With plenty of pieces out wide for Buffalo, Smith should have room to operate as an athletic mismatch for opposing defenses. Coming off eight touchdown catches last year, Smith can hit around that mark while putting up more receptions and yardage in a pass-happy attack.
NFC EAST WITH GOLLADAY AND GREEN. OK
Next week bout to be crazy for receivers