Welcome to the 2020 Free Agency Review: IDP-style. We break down the major moves this offseason by position. The articles are ordered by players changing teams ("New Homes") and by players sticking with their 2019 teams ("Staying Put"), and players are ordered by their potential fantasy impact in each section. Don’t see your favorite DE or OLB? Be sure to check out the EDGE article for free agent pass-rushers.
Byron Jones (Mia) — The former Cowboy signed a massive five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Dolphins.
Fantasy Points: Jones broke into the league as a hybrid corner/safety, putting up solid tackle production as primarily a safety in 2016 and 2017. Those seasons produced 88 and 82 tackles with 2 INTs, 2 FFs, and 15 PD. But once he moved back to cornerback, he started shutting receivers down, and the tackle opportunities dwindled. Last season, Jones had just 46 tackles in 14 games. That’s good for real football but bad for fantasy.
The other issue with Jones’ fantasy value is his lack of big plays. He has just 2 INTs (none since he was a safety in 2017), 2 FFs, and no sacks. He does put up some hefty PD production, with 20 in his last two seasons, and 42 in his five-year career. There is hope, however. The 27-year-old is pairing with elite CB Xavien Howard, so QBs are more likely to throw Jones’ way in So Flo than they did in Big D.
James Bradberry (NYG) — The Giants found their new No. 1 corner, signing the former Panther to a three-year, $43.5 million deal.
Fantasy Points: Bradberry was famously torched by Julio Jones a few years back, but has now developed into a top-tier cornerback who isn’t afraid to tackle. Averaging 5 tackles (4 solo) per game over his three seasons as a starter in Carolina, Bradberry should see those numbers tick up a bit as he moves from one of the worst stat crews for awarding tackles to one of the most generous.
Bradberry also supplies big plays, posting 3 INTs last season, along with 12 PD and a sack. He’s posted at least 10 PD each season. Just 27, if he can keep padding his big-play stats along with his solid tackle floor, Bradberry should remain a CB1/DB2 in New York.
Chris Harris (LAC) — The longtime Bronco signed a two-year, $17 million deal with the Chargers.
Fantasy Points: Harris has been an elite corner - particularly in the slot - for several seasons and is bringing a Super Bowl pedigree with him to Los Angeles. At 30, his overall coverage skill set has diminished from his prime, but as a slot defender he’s still one of the best. The Chargers are planning on using him in the slot, which is great for their defense but doesn’t bode well for his fantasy value. He may end up playing opposite No. 1 CB Casey Hayward in 2-wide sets, but as of now, it doesn’t look good for Harris’ tackle floor to be a slot specialist.
Trae Waynes (Cin) — Waynes shores up the secondary in Cincy on a three-year, $42 million contract.
Fantasy Points: In a crowded and talented Minnesota secondary, Waynes managed about a 70% snap share. He posted below-average tackle numbers in his snaps, averaging 3.8 per game over the last three seasons. He also hasn’t done much in the way of big plays. Over the last three seasons since earning the starting gig, the 27-year-old has just 4 INTs, 1 sack (back in 2017), 2 FFs, and 1 FR. Even his PD are on the low side, with 8 in back-to-back seasons.
He’ll need a lot of things to go his way in Ohio for Waynes to be a fantasy asset, even in deep leagues.
Mackensie Alexander (Cin) — The second CB to leave Minnesota for Cincinnati, Alexander signed a one-year, $4 million deal to become a Bengal.
Fantasy Points: Alexander was used primarily in the slot in Minnesota, and we expect that to continue in Cincinnati. With William Jackson and Trae Waynes projected on the outside, the Bengals should use their new slot specialist in his familiar role. Alexander hasn’t been a fantasy factor, and that’s not likely to change with a new uniform.
Ronald Darby (Was) — The oft-injured corner signed a one-year deal with Washington worth $4 million.
Fantasy Points: Darby’s five-year career doesn’t include a single full season of action. His injury history is borderline legendary, having played just 28 games over the last three seasons. Darby signed a one-year deal to try and prove he can stay healthy and be effective. Darby - just 26 - will have to fight Fabian Moreau and Kendall Fuller for snaps, and is likely pegged for rotational duties.
But if the fates change and he makes it onto the field, Darby is a PD machine. He averages around 15-20 PD over a full season and has done so his entire career. He’s also good for a few INTs as well. He’s an afterthought for fantasy at the moment, but in big-play leagues, he’s a name to jot down if he’s forced into full-time service.
Desmond Trufant (Det) — The former Falcon inked a two-year, $20 million deal with the Lions.
Fantasy Points: Trufant was an elite corner in his prime, but age and injury have slowed him a bit. That actually might help his fantasy value, as QBs may look his way more often. Trufant missed nine games in his last season with Atlanta, but still managed 4 INTs. It’s a long shot, but Trufant could parlay those ball skills with increased opportunity to move back into fantasy relevance. With DB productivity being such a fluid commodity, it’s nothing to bet on.
Xavier Rhodes (Ind) — Indy gets some help in the secondary, signing Rhodes to a one-year deal.
Fantasy Points: Rhodes is just a few years away from being one of the most dominant and productive corners in the league. But injuries slowed him down the last two years in Minnesota. A cap casualty, Rhodes was cut by the Vikings after being their top corner. Indianapolis needed a solid corner to pair with the developing Rock Ya-Sin, and to compete with T.J. Carrie and Kenny Moore for snaps. If Rhodes can stay healthy, he has a good chance of earning a starting job. His tarnished coverage skills have produced a positive for fantasy; last season’s 63 tackles were the most of his career.
Kendall Fuller (Was) — Fuller looks to revive his young career, signing a four-year, $40 million deal with Washington.
Fantasy Points: Fuller bounced around the KC secondary as a nickelback/safety, playing just 45% of the defensive snaps last season. In 2018, Fuller played more safety and had a productive year for fantasy with 82 tackles and 2 INTs. Just 25, Fuller will be looking to earn a full-time CB spot in Washington, which could lead to some solid fantasy production.
Brian Poole (Hou) — Poole re-signed with the Jets on a one-year, $5 million deal.
Fantasy Points: After being buried on the depth chart in Atlanta, Poole’s move to New York proved fruitful last season. The Jets used him in the slot, where he excelled and actually produced for fantasy there (a rare feat). Poole’s 59 tackles, 1 INT (returned for a TD), 5 PD, 1 FF, and 1 TFL made Poole a CB2 last season. He’ll need similar or better big plays and similar tackles to keep fantasy-relevant, but it’s certainly within his reach.
Jimmy Smith (Bal) — The veteran CB re-signed with the Ravens on a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
Fantasy Points: Smith’s prime years are behind him, and at 32 he’s been relegated to limited duties. Between limited usage and injuries, Smith recorded just 30 tackles, 1 INT, 6 PD, and 1 sack. He hasn’t played a full season since 2015 and hasn’t cracked 50 tackles since then.
The Ravens are stocked with capable CBs such as Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and Tavon Young, so Smith’s fantasy prospects rest solely on a slew of injuries or a switch to safety (which isn’t likely).