For much of the NFL offseason, the focus was on how much better or worse each move made each individual team, but now, we have reached the most important time of year — how they affected fantasy football!
In this article, players will be highlighted whose fantasy outlook improved significantly, so let's dive in!
WR DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
Smith was a curious draft prospect — a Heisman trophy-winning receiver for one of the best programs in the country who weighed just 166 pounds in a league where prototypical size is north of 200. Smith was effective in his first season but didn’t dominate, and some of his biggest question marks have to do with whether that lack of size prevents him from doing so against NFL physicality.
With A.J. Brown joining the Eagles, Smith may never need to, as he can lean on his route running, hands and savvy ability to separate to generate production. He also gets to do all of that while the best and most physical coverage focuses on Brown. Smith’s average depth of target last season was 15.2 yards downfield, and there is a lot of untapped potential in using him more underneath as long as it doesn’t expose him to overwhelming physicality.
Now, Brown can be the focus of that attention, leaving Smith to realize his full potential. The biggest thing determining where his ceiling now lies may be his quarterback.
QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Speaking of his quarterback, few players got the kind of boost that Hurts did this offseason with the Brown addition. Hurts is already a fantasy cheat code due to his rushing ability — he ranked just 16th last year in PFF passing grade but 10th overall in PFF grade as well as fantasy points. He was even higher in points per game. Hurts left a lot of meat on the bone as a passer, often failing to even target open receivers, but Brown brings something completely different to the receiving corps — a dominant physical specimen who has the tools to make things happen with the ball in his hands. He has broken 40 tackles in three seasons while averaging over 6.0 yards after the catch.
Brown will present Hurts with a completely different type of target than he has had to work with so far in his career, and those differences may make the Eagles QB a little more ready to put the ball in the air and take some chances. If he does that, he could emerge as a real top quarterback.
RB Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
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