Joe Dolan and I covered every major offensive transaction from this off-season. We broke down all the important free agency signings and trades from a fantasy perspective in articles 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.
Austin Hooper (Cle) — Former Falcons TE Hooper and the Browns agreed to a four-year, $44 million contract with $23 million in guaranteed money.
Fantasy Points: It’s hard to believe but Hooper is now the highest-paid TE in the league as his $10.5 million annual average salary topped Travis Kelce’s $9.4 million AAV. Hooper has steadily improved throughout his four-year career, seeing his FPG grow every season (14.7>10.2>7.5>4.6), culminating in a TE3 finish last season. He finished with 75/787/6 receiving on 97 targets (10.5 YPR) in 13 games last year — he missed three games in the middle of the season to an MCL sprain. Hooper, 25, has never been great after the catch like another Stanford TE Zach Ertz, but he still finished 13th in yards/route run (1.65) among 40 TEs with 30+ targets last season. Hooper’s biggest challenge next season will be trying to duplicate his 7.5 targets/game from last season, and that’s not even based on the fact that he’ll be playing with ball hogs Odell Beckham (8.3 targets/game last season) and Jarvis Landry (8.6). He played beside a dynamic duo at WR over the last two years with Julio Jones (10.7) and Calvin Ridley (7.2) soaking up targets in Atlanta.
The problem is Hooper is going from an offense with the most passing volume over the last two seasons to an offense that projects to finish in the bottom half of the league in pass attempts/game. The Falcons attempted by far the most passes/game last season (42.8), and they attempted the fifth-most in 2018 (38.6). By contrast, the Browns ranked 20th in pass attempts/game (33.7) and Kevin Stefanski’s Vikings offense ranked 30th (29.2) last season. Hooper will also be dealing with a downgrade at quarterback and some stiff competition for TE targets. Matt Ryan ranked ninth in adjusted completion percentage last season compared to Baker Mayfield, who finished 36th out of 39 QBs at 69.5%. Former 2017 first-round pick David Njoku also figures to stay involved and to be a fantasy vulture for Hooper. Stefanski and the Vikings finished behind only the Eagles in two-TE sets last season. Njoku is arguably loaded with more raw talent than Hooper, and he’ll be looking to have a strong year and to make some money in free agency next off-season — the Browns are unlikely to pick up his fifth-year option after signing Hooper. The fantasy tight end class is still front-loaded, but Hooper is still likely to be valued as a mid-range TE1. I’m going to value him more toward the back-end of the TE1 range, which means I’ll likely be fading Hooper this summer.
Hayden Hurst (Atl) — The Falcons acquired Hurst and a fourth-round pick from the Ravens in exchange for second- and fifth-round picks.
Fantasy Points: The Falcons didn’t waste any time finding their replacement for Austin Hooper, trading for a 2018 first-round pick, albeit one that’s actually older than Hooper. Hurst will turn 27 in August — he played minor league baseball before going to South Carolina — and he’s going to get his first real crack at being an every-down player. Hurst needs to be on the radar as a low-end TE1 this summer because he’s going from being a reserve on a run-heavy team to a starter in a pass-heavy offense. Hurst couldn’t surpass Mark Andrews or Nick Boyle on the Ravens’ TE depth chart the last two years, but he’ll have only Jaeden Graham to navigate in Atlanta. Hurst played 42% of the snaps in Baltimore last season compared to a 44% share for receiving-TE Mark Andrews and a 70% share for blocking-TE Nick Boyle.
Hurst is going from a Ravens offense that attempted the fourth-fewest passes/game last season (29.4) to a Falcons offense with the most passing volume over the last two seasons. The Falcons attempted by far the most passes/game last season (42.8) after attempting the fifth-most in 2018 (38.6). Hooper left behind a generous 18% target share, a 15% air yards share, and a 20% reception share. I’m expecting Calvin Ridley to take over a chunk of Hooper’s usage but most of it should go toward Hurst. He also has the potential to make more plays down the seams and after the catch for Matt Ryan than Hooper ever did. Hurst flashed some big-play ability in his limited chances last season, ranking 10th in yards/route run (1.69) among 40 TEs with 30+ targets last season. With that said, Hurst should fall short of the 5.0 catches/game average Hooper posted the last two seasons in Atlanta. This summer, I’m going to be actively targeting Hurst at his late-round price because of his potential to be a low-end TE1 in a pass-friendly offense.
Eric Ebron (Pit) — Former Colts TE Ebron and the Steelers came to terms on a two-year, $12 million contract.
Fantasy Points: Ebron, last summer’s top regression candidate at TE, is looking to be a bounce-back option with the Steelers in 2020. He had a magical first season and only season with Andrew Luck in 2018, posting career-highs across the board, including a position-high 14 touchdowns — he finished as the TE4 with 13.9 FPG. Ebron, 27, predictably came crashing back to earth last season, which was made even more predictable when Luck announced his retirement just before the start of the season. Playing with Jacoby Brissett, he finished with 31/375/3 receiving on 52 targets (12.1) for 7.9 FPG (TE19) while playing in 11 games — he finished the season on the IR with an ankle injury. Ebron has mostly underwhelmed throughout his career as a former top-10 pick by Detroit in 2014, but he’s still an intriguing athlete and fantasy option if everything breaks right. He’s also shown he can dominate in the red zone as he did in 2018 when he scored a position-best 10 TDs on 18 red-zone targets.
He did pick a tough spot to fully evaluate for fantasy heading into the summer. QB Ben Roethlisberger, who turned 38 in March, missed nearly all of last season because of an elbow injury, which still has him throwing from short distances in the spring. The Steelers also have a potential stud WR in JuJu Smith-Schuster and some intriguing young WRs in Diontae Johnson and James Washington, but it was tough to fully evaluate their seasons playing with scrubs at quarterback. The Steelers still have Vance McDonald around, as well, and he finished as the TE17 (8.9 FPG) playing with Big Ben in 2018 — he split snaps with Jesse James that season. Ebron has never been a particularly strong blocker, and he’s likely to split snaps and targets with McDonald like he’s done the last two seasons with Jack Doyle in Indianapolis. Ebron’s signing coupled with James Conner’s struggles to stay healthy could signal that the Steelers are ready to air it out a lot this season. They led the league in pass attempts/game in 2018 (43.1), but they seemed prepared to make the running game a bigger part of their offense after Antonio Brown left last off-season. Of course, everything went out the window as soon as Roethlisberger went down early last season, and now they have some uncertainty in their backfield this off-season. Ebron is unlikely to be a full-time player, but he could be worth a late-round flyer like he was in 2018 if Big Ben can get back some of his old form in what should be a pass-heavy offense.
Greg Olsen (Sea) — Former Panthers TE Olsen and the Seahawks agreed to a one-year, $7 million contract with $5.5 in guaranteed money.
Fantasy Points: Olsen, 35, spurned the NFL TV booth — he called some XFL games this winter — for a 14th season and one last chance to win a Super Bowl. He finished as the TE13 in overall scoring (123.7) and in FPG (8.8) last season, but he was hardly a consistent source of fantasy production. In 14 games, he reached double-digit FPs just three times and 20.6% of his fantasy production came against the Cardinals in Week 3 (25.5 FP). In his defense, he had to play with the likes of Kyle Allen and Will Grier for most of the season, and he still averaged 11.5 YPR. Olsen has now missed 18 games over the last three seasons since he reeled off three straight seasons with 75+ catches and 1000+ yards in 2014-16. At least Olsen’s chronic foot issues didn’t crop up last season.
Olsen’s bigger issue this season will be his usage in a crowded tight-end room in Seattle with Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister already in the fold. Dissly has suffered two major injuries in his first two seasons — he’s torn his right patellar tendon and his left Achilles — but he’s been a fantasy star when he’s been on the field with 31/418/6 receiving in 10 career games. Hollister then stepped in and posted 41/349/3 receiving in the final 10 games of the season. QB Russell Wilson has shown affection for his TEs in recent years with 30% of his TD passes going to the position over the last three seasons (30 of 100), and Seattle TEs combined for 76/728/7 receiving last season. Given Dissly’s major recovery and Olsen’s $5.5 million in guaranteed money, I’ll give Olsen the slight nod over Dissly as the tight end to consider selecting at the very end of drafts. Still, Olsen is more likely to be a matchup-based option than a consistent low-end TE1 because of Seattle’s preoccupation with running the ball so much and D.K. Metcalf’s growing role. Also, with their depth at the position, the Seahawks could spread out their TE snaps to keep Olsen fresh for the entire season.
Jimmy Graham (Chi) — Former Packers TE Graham and the Bears agreed to terms on a two-year, $16 million contract with $9 million in guaranteed money.
Fantasy Points: Bears GM Ryan Pace must have a fetish for terrible tight ends. Apparently, Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen weren’t enough for his roster so he went out and signed Demetrius Harris and, most inexplicably, he gave Graham $9 million in guaranteed money — the Bears did later cut Burton. Graham, 33, has looked washed up in recent years, falling below 40 receiving yards/game in each of the last three seasons. He’s also never been a great blocker, but he’s become even more of a liability in that department in that same three-year period. Graham couldn’t deliver the fantasy goods last season even with the Packers dying for a second receiver to step up behind Davante Adams. Graham finished as the TE21 last season in overall FPs (100.7) and as the TE32 in FPG (6.3) after posting 38/447/3 receiving on 60 targets (11.8 YPR). He finished 30th in yards/route run (1.11) among 40 TEs with 30+ targets last season. Graham, once the most feared red-zone weapon in the league, managed to score just five TDs in 32 games with the Packers the last two seasons — he scored 5+ TDs in seven of his first eight seasons. Graham is a player to avoid in drafts because of his rapidly deteriorating skills, the Bears’ crowded TE room, and their limited passing game led by QBs Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky. The one glimmer of hope is that Foles heavily targeted his TEs in Philly, but Graham is no Zach Ertz at this point in his career.
Tyler Eifert (Jax) — Former Bengals TE Eifert and the Jaguars agreed to terms on a two-year contract.
Fantasy Points: Eifert made it through a full, 16-game season for the first time in seven NFL seasons last year. He managed to stay healthy by averaging just 30.6 snaps/game and serving as the #2 TE behind C.J. Uzomah. Eifert had his second-best overall statistical season, posting 43/436/3 receiving on 63 targets (10.1 YPR) to finish as the TE28 in FPG (6.7). The Jaguars would be wise to limit Eifert’s workload like the Bengals did last season, and they should give second-year TE Josh Oliver a bigger role. Eifert, who will turn 30 in September, will reunite with his former Bengals OC Jay Gruden in Jacksonville, and he could be a big factor for Gardner Minshew in the red zone next season — he has 24 TDs in 59 career games.
Jason Witten (LV) — Longtime Cowboys TE Witten and the Raiders agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth up to $4.75 million.
Fantasy Points: Witten’s 16-year run with the Cowboys will come to an end with Jon Gruden inking the veteran TE for their first season in Las Vegas. Witten, who will turn 38 in May, is more of a fantasy pain in the butt than a fantasy asset at this point after posting 63/529/4 receiving on 83 targets with the Cowboys last season. He averaged a career-low 8.4 YPR — he hasn’t topped 10+ YPR in his last four seasons, and his 8.7 FPG average was his lowest since his rookie season all the way back in 2003. Witten figures to be a thorn in the side of breakout fantasy stud Darren Waller and for second-year TE Foster Moreau, who stole five TDs from Waller last season. The Raiders also signed former Jaguars TE Nick O’Leary so they’ve loaded up on tight end depth this off-season. Witten is unlikely to make many waves for fantasy next season, but he could steal enough targets and snaps to significantly lower Waller’s fantasy impact.
Ricky Seals-Jones (KC) — Former Browns TE Seals-Jones and the Chiefs reached terms on a one-year deal.
Fantasy Points: RSJ will be on his third team in as many seasons this year after playing with the Browns in 2019 and the Cardinals in 2018. Seals-Jones, 25, was a one-time fantasy sleeper with the Cardinals in 2018 because of his wide receiver background, but he’s never fully broken out in his three-year career. He’s unlikely to break out this season either as he’ll be the primary backup for Travis Kelce after Blake Bell left for Dallas in free agency. RSJ scored a career-high four touchdowns last season with the Browns last season. He disappointed otherwise with just 14/229/4 receiving despite David Njoku missing most of the 2019 season. Seals-Jones would be a top waiver wire add this season if Kelce were to miss some games since he’d be playing with Patrick Mahomes in one of the league’s best offenses.
Nick Vannett (Den) — Former Steelers TE Vannett and the Broncos reached terms on a two-year contract.
Fantasy Points: Vannett will be with his third team in the last two seasons after playing his first three games with the Seahawks last season before getting traded to the Steelers. He finished with 17/166 receiving on 22 targets (9.8 YPR) in 16 games between the two teams. Vannett, 27, will be used as a blocking-TE option behind rising second-year TE Noah Fant this season. Vannett has topped 20+ catches and 200+ yards just once in five seasons as a former third-round pick in 2016 out of Ohio State.
Donald Parham (LAC) — Former XFL TE Parham and the Chargers and agreed to a two-year contract.
Fantasy Points: Parham went undrafted out of Stetson last spring, and he failed to make the Redskins during final cuts last season. He got back on the NFL radar after he finished third in receiving yards in the XFL’s five-game season, posting 24/307/4 receiving. Parham, who will turn 23 in August, is massive at 6’8”, 255 pounds, and he impressed at his Pro Day last spring by posting a 4.67 40-time and a 38.5-inch vertical. Parham is an intriguing prospect and a potential dynasty buy since the Chargers gave him a two-year deal, especially with Hunter Henry potentially gone in 2021 since he’s playing this season on the franchise tag.
Logan Thomas (Was) — Former Lions TE Thomas and the Redskins reached terms on a contract for 2020.
Fantasy Points: The Redskins have a huge need for TEs after moving on from Jordan Reed and with Vernon Davis retiring. Fourth-year TE Jeremy Sprinkle is at the top of the depth chart for now but Thomas, a former Virginia Tech QB, will get a shot to compete for snaps. With T.J. Hockenson missing the end of last season, Thomas, who will turn 29 in July, finished the year a little more active to post a career-high 16/173/1 receiving on 28 targets in 16 games for the Lions. Thomas isn’t guaranteed a roster spot next summer, but it also wouldn’t be shocking if he’s the top option on a bad Redskins’ TE depth chart, which could potentially make him fantasy relevant on the low end.
Blake Bell (Dal) — Former Chiefs TE Bell and the Cowboys agreed to a one-year deal.
Fantasy Points: The Cowboys added Super Bowl champion Bell to primarily serve as a run-blocking option behind new starting TE Blake Jarwin. This will be Bell’s fifth team in as many years, previously playing with the 49ers (2016), the Vikings (2017), and the Jaguars (2018) before playing with the Chiefs last season. Bell, who will turn 29 in August, had just 8/67 receiving in the regular season, but the “Belldozer” caught three passes in Kansas City’s Super Bowl, including a touchdown in the Divisional Round.
Seth Devalve (Car) — Former Jaguars TE Devalve and the Panthers agreed to terms on a contract.
Fantasy Points: The Panthers will be entering their first season without Greg Olsen since 2010, and they brought in Devalve to help replace his production. He’ll be the lead candidate to backup rising third-year TE Ian Thomas this season. Devalve, 27, posted 12/140 receiving on 18 targets (11.7 YPR) last season while playing 40% of the snaps in 12 games for the Jaguars — he missed four games because of an oblique injury.
Demetrius Harris (Chi) — Harris and the Browns reached an agreement on a one-year, $1.65 million contract. The Browns released the 28-year-old Harris on Feb. 17 and it took just two days for Harris to net his next contract.
Fantasy Points: It didn’t take long for Harris to land on his feet after the Browns cut him this off-season. Matt Nagy, his former offensive coordinator with the Chiefs, stepped in to grab Harris to give David Montgomery another big body (6’7”, 230 pounds) in front of him. Harris, who will turn 29 in July, doesn’t have much of a path to fantasy relevance with Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen also competing for snaps and targets at tight end. With a potential tight end committee and the shaky Mitchell Trubisky leading this passing attack, it’s tough to see any of these Bears’ tight ends holding much fantasy value next season.
Richard Rodgers (Was) — Formers Eagles TE Rodgers and the Redskins came to terms on a deal.
Fantasy Points: Rodgers appeared in just eight games over the last two seasons with the Eagles, missing most of last season with a foot injury — Philly did bring him back for the season finale and their Wild Card Round loss. Rodgers, 28, finished as the TE17 in FPG (10.0) with the Packers back in 2015, but he’s been a fantasy non-factor in the last four seasons. The Redskins depth chart is barren with Jeremy Sprinkle and Logan Thomas leading the way, but Rodgers isn’t guaranteed to make the roster out of camp.
Levine Toilolo (NYG) — Former 49ers TE Toilolo and the Giants agreed to contract.
Fantasy Points: Toilolo has never come close to fantasy relevance in his seven previous seasons, and he’s set to play for his fourth team in as many years. The massive blocking TE (6’8”, 268 pounds) registered just two catches in 13 games for the 49ers last season. Toilolo, who will turn 29 in July, is set to play as an inline blocker for the Giants behind Evan Engram and Kaden Smith this season.
Michael Roberts (Mia) — Roberts and the Dolphins agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth $660,000.
Fantasy Points: Roberts, who will turn 26 in May, spent last season on the couch after the Lions nearly traded to him the Patriots for a seventh-round pick last June. He subsequently failed his physical and was cut by the Lions once the deal fell through. The Packers swooped in to sign Roberts after the Lions cut him, but Green Bay ended up waiving him days later after he failed another physical — Roberts landed on the IR with a shoulder injury at the end of the 2018 season. At 6’5”, 265 pounds, Roberts has the size to be a goal-line weapon — he scored a whopping 16 TDs in his senior season at Toledo in 2016 — but he needs his body to hold up to give him a chance to make this 53-man roster behind Mike Gesicki.
Hunter Henry (LAC) — The Chargers placed their franchise tag on Henry, which is expected to be around $11 million. Henry and the Chargers have until July 15 to agree to a long-term deal.
Fantasy Points: Henry has had an incomplete first four NFL seasons, playing in just 41-of-64 potential games. The Chargers were a little hesitant to ink him to a long-term deal because of his durability concerns, but he’s still shown more than enough potential when he’s been on the field that they couldn’t let him walk without getting another look at him next season. He missed the entire 2018 regular season with a torn ACL — he played in the Divisional Round against the Patriots — and he’s missed 20 games over the last two seasons combined. Henry, who is just 25 years old, did have his best season last year despite playing in 12 games. Henry posted 55/652/5 receiving last season, he finished as the TE8 with 12.5 FPG, and he finished 12th in yards/route run (1.67) among 40 TEs with 30+ targets last season.
Henry figures to continue to duke it out with Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler when it comes to targets behind #1 receiver Keenan Allen. In terms of air yards share, Henry finished behind Williams (34%) and Allen (30%) with a 21% mark. He finished slightly ahead of Williams (16%) and slightly behind Ekeler (18%) with a 17% target share. It’s difficult to see his shares rising too much without an injury in the passing game, which is a concern since the quality and the quantity of his targets will go down with Tyrod Taylor and potentially a rookie QB leading the offense this season. The Chargers also attempted the 10th-most passes/game last season (37.3) with Philip Rivers at QB, a rate which is likely to go down this season with their quarterback change and because of their formidable defense after a strong off-season. Henry is clearly loaded with talent at a young age, but he does have some downside as mid-range TE1. He’s had a clear QB-situation downgrade, HC Anthony Lynn would love to move more toward a ground-and-pound approach with his defense and QB, and Henry’s durability concerns have to be taken into account.
Blake Jarwin (Dal) — Jarwin and the Cowboys came to terms on a three-year, $24.25 million contract with $9.25 million in guaranteed money.
Fantasy Points: The Cowboys gave a strong signal that they’re ready to give Jarwin a huge opportunity this season by giving him a hefty contract and by letting longtime Cowboys TE Jason Witten walk in free agency. The Cowboys finally moved on from HC Jason Garrett this off-season and his obsession with Witten hindered Jarwin from having a bigger role last season. Jarwin played on just 39% of the snaps last season, but he still managed to post 31/365/3 receiving on 41 targets (11.8 YPR). Witten ate up 75% of the snaps, a 14% target share, and 16% reception share last season, which Jarwin should take a big bite out of. It also doesn’t hurt that Randall Cobb’s 15% target share and 15% reception share are gone from the slot.
Jarwin, who will turn 26 in July, finished seventh in yards/route run (1.82) among 40 TEs with 30+ targets last season, and he’ll bring even more juice to this already potent passing attack with his big-play ability down the seams. The Cowboys already had one of the best offenses last season — they finished first in yards/game (431.5) and first in yards/play (6.5) — and Jarwin has the potential to make this passing game even more lethal. On the downside, Jarwin hasn’t shown much of a blocking prowess early in his career, which could limit his snaps this season, but he should still see a huge spike in usage from 2019. Jarwin has the ability, the opportunity, and the offense to push for low-end TE1 status. He’s going to be one of my favorite upside tight ends to select at the tail end of drafts.
Darren Fells (Hou) — Fells and the Texans agreed to a two-year, $7 million contract, with $4 million coming for the 2020 season.
Fantasy Points: Fells will be an easy fantasy fade next season after he finished as the TE17 in overall scoring (110.1). Among TEs last season, he finished third in touchdowns (seven) but 27th in receptions (34), 30th in receiving yards (341), and 28th in targets (48). Fells, who turns 34 at the end of April, had never previously scored more than three TDs in five seasons prior to 2019. Third-year TEs Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas could also be ready to take on bigger roles next season. Fells’ fantasy fortunes are likely to regress next season, and he should be left off fantasy draft boards this summer despite his seven-TD season in 2019.
Marcedes Lewis (GB) — Lewis and the Packers agreed to a one-year contract.
Fantasy Points: Lewis’ days of fantasy relevance are long gone, but he could have a slightly bigger role next season with Jimmy Graham out of town. Lewis, who will turn 36 in May, will still primarily be a blocking TE in this offense, and he played a role in helping Aaron Jones breakout last season. Lewis finished with 15/156/1 receiving on 19 targets last season, and there’s a chance he could have a slightly bigger role in this offense with the Packers potentially reluctant to put too much on Jace Sternberger’s plate in his second season.
Anthony Firkser (Ten) — Firkser and the Titans reached terms on a one-year extension worth $660,000 for the upcoming season.
Fantasy Points: Firkser posted just 14/204/1 receiving on 24 targets in 15 games last season, but he saved his biggest plays for the Titans’ postseason run to the AFC Championship, scoring twice in three playoff games. Firkser, 25, is likely to be the top option behind Jonnu Smith next season, which means he’ll need some help to be fantasy relevant at any time in a run-heavy offense.
Jason Croom (Buf) — Croom and the Bills agreed to a one-year contract.
Fantasy Points: Croom had an outside shot at major playing time last season, but the Bills ended his season when they placed him on the injured reserve just before the start of the season with a hand injury. He led all Bills TEs in receiving in 2018 with 22/259/1 receiving on 35 targets (11.8 YPR), but the Bills added talented second-year TE Dawson Knox and Tyler Kroft last off-season to beef up their TE depth chart. Croom, 26, will start training camp behind both Knox and Kroft, and he’ll be in a battle for a roster spot.
Ross Dwelley (SF) — Dwelley and the 49ers came to terms on a one-year, $660,000 contract for the 2020 season.
Fantasy Points: Dwelley had a brief flirtation with fantasy relevance in the middle of the season when George Kittle missed two games to a knee injury. Dwelley, 25, became a popular add off of the waiver wire before his Week 11 matchup with the Cardinals, and he paid it off with two-touchdown receptions for a TE6 finish that week. That would be the only time Dwelly surpassed 7+ FP in a game last season as he went back to being an afterthought once Kittle returned to the lineup. Dwelley has the inside track to being the top backup to Kittle this season with Garrett Celek retiring at the end of the 2019 season, but the 49ers will likely bring in some competition for the former 2018 UDFA out of San Diego.