- No running backs?: The Miami Dolphins currently don’t have any of their top-four running backs from last season under contract.
- Danny Dimes could use some help: The New York Giants boast the most available targets and air yards ahead of free agency.
- Be a lot cooler if they just re-signed: The Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys could have massive holes at tight end should their respective incumbent starters take their talents elsewhere in free agency.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
It’s almost March, meaning NFL free agency is about to arrive. Players will sign with new teams, franchise tags will be dished out and at least a few trades are sure to commence, as more player movement happens during March than any other month of the year.
While keeping in mind that the grass is seldom greener on the other side when free agents choose to switch teams, there are a number of big names out there who will inevitably be signed to solid-enough deals to suggest a large role is on the way in 2023. Today’s goal isn’t to break down the credentials of said free agents (you can find that here) but rather to look at what offenses have the most available opportunity to potentially afford fantasy-friendly workloads to any newcomer.
Special thanks to 4for4 Football’s finest John Daigle for all available opportunity data — make sure to check out John’s updated tracker all offseason for both the run game and pass game. All rankings refer to that team’s percentage of available carries and/or targets available with lower numbers indicating more available opportunity.
- Miami Dolphins (No. 1 in available carries, No. 9 in available targets)
- New York Giants (No. 2, No. 1)
- Las Vegas Raiders (No. 3, No. 2)
- Philadelphia Eagles (No. 4, No. 29)
- Carolina Panthers (No. 7, No. 20)
Each of the Dolphins’ big four running backs from 2022 are free agents. This offense hasn’t been all that great at enabling fantasy-friendly backs in recent years, but there’s a real opportunity for 2023’s lead back to soak up virtually all of the backfield’s work.
The Giants and Raiders would obviously no longer be atop this list should they re-sign Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs, respectively. This would probably be best for all parties involved considering the track record of running backs signing big deals with new teams in free agency.
While Jalen Hurts (like most mobile quarterbacks) doesn’t always make life easy on his running backs in fantasy land, the league’s reigning third-ranked scoring offense figures to still have plenty of fantasy-friendly goal-line touches to go around – especially if the NFL decides to do something about the “tush push” play (I hate that name). Both Miles Sanders and Giants slayer Boston Scott are unrestricted free agents.
The Panthers haven’t had a real chance to replace Christian McCaffrey and D’Onta Foreman is an unrestricted free agent. New head coach Frank Reich ranks eighth in total targets to running backs with the Indianapolis Colts from 2018 to 2022, but it’s not a guarantee that his next starting back will have a true workhorse role given his history of utilizing committee backfields.