• Several teams that relied heavily on one running back in 2023 could be in the market for a new one: The Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers are all currently set to lose a significant percentage of 2023 running back usage which could make for a great landing spot in free agency.
• Another potential shift in the wide receiver market: Several teams have already established WR1s on the roster but could be on the lookout for someone to pair with them for 2024.
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Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
It’s Super Bowl week, which means that there is just one game remaining in the 2023-24 NFL season and the offseason can begin in earnest in just a few short weeks. With that in mind, for fantasy football, there are bound to be a number of situations that change player’s value and opportunity for production throughout this offseason, and the first major factor is free agency.
Below are the skill position rankings of each team which state, as things stand right now – no franchise tags, re-signings, etc. – how much of their 2023 usage they are currently slated to lose in free agency. The full free agent list is pulled using Over The Cap’s free agency tracker.
Running Backs (rushing)
Highlighting the teams with the highest expected percentage of available running back carries from the 2023 season. This chart is reliant on expected free agents and includes the percentage of rushing yards and rushing touchdowns their slated free agent running backs accounted for this past season.
Top running back landing spots
- The Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers relied heavily on Tony Pollard, Saquon Barkley and Austin Ekeler in 2023, and all three are slated to hit free agency this offseason.
- Neither team has any true successors waiting in the wings on the current roster and would be the top-tier landing spots for any of the top free-agent running backs to sign because they would have the greatest opportunity for touches.
- A lot will be dependent on how much these teams want to invest in a single running back, whether in free agency or the draft, but there is a large workload up for grabs if a capable back ends up in one of these situations.
Other top running back landing spots
- The Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens are also all losing the running backs that led them in carries in 2023 (D’Andre Swift, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs and Gus Edwards), though the workload was slightly more shared amongst others on the team.
- The Eagles leaned on Swift for more than 200 carries this past season, just as they did in 2022 with Miles Sanders, but hadn’t previously surpassed that mark with a single back since 2014 with LeSean McCoy. With a new offensive coordinator (Kellen Moore) stepping in and also a history of relying heavily on a single back, there could be a decent-sized opportunity in Philadelphia for an incoming running back.
- Tyjae Spears performed exceptionally well as a rookie, leading Tennessee’s running backs in yards per carry (4.5) and posting a strong 76.8 PFF offensive grade (18th). Spears’ dynasty managers are certainly hoping for a larger workload in 2024 with Henry out of the picture, but there are still plenty of hurdles to clear before Week 1, including free agency.
- The Ravens are on track to lose both Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins in free agency, and while Dobbins missed most of this season due to injury, he was the expected lead back for the 2023 season, and with Edwards actually leading the way, there could be a large hole to fill in Baltimore’s backfield in 2024, as Keaton Mitchell also recovers from a torn ACL.
Running Backs (receiving)
Highlighting the teams with the highest expected percentage of available running back routes and targets from the 2023 season. This chart is reliant on expected free agents and includes the percentage of routes run, targets, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns their slated free agent running backs accounted for this past season.
Top receiving back landing spots
- Similarly to the team’s vacated running back carries, the top three teams also account for the highest percentage of vacated routes run and targets out of the backfield.
- Pollard, Barkley and Ekeler finished among the top 15 in running back targets in 2023, which would leave some significant usage for a potential free agent, especially in PPR leagues.
- Part of what generates such a high target rate is the player himself, which certainly plays a major role in how lucrative these landing spots appear to be, but without any true receiving backs on those rosters likely to absorb these roles, or even a significant percentage of them, there should still be some excitement for a receiving-capable back landing in these destinations.
Other top receiving back landing spots
- Except for the Green Bay Packers among the next five teams on the list, all of the top receiving backs on each of those teams are scheduled to be free agents, including Josh Jacobs, Devin Singletary, D’Andre Swift and Antonio Gibson.
- Gibson is the only name on the list who was used scarcely and saw a large chunk of his touches come as a receiver. He is the only player among the four listed above to touch the ball fewer than 250 times (113) with 42% of those touches coming as a receiver — by far the largest discrepancy among the group, which could open up a specific need in Washington’s offense.
Highlighting the teams with the highest expected percentage of available wide receiver routes and targets from the 2023 season. This chart is reliant on expected free agents and includes the percentage of routes run, targets, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns their slated free agent wide receivers accounted for this past season.
Top wide receiver landing spots
- Among the top-10 teams with the highest percentage of routes available coming out of 2023, only the Arizona Cardinals, and arguably the Jacksonville Jaguars, need true top WR1 options, as both Marquise Brown and Calvin Ridley are slated to hit free agency. Both led their team’s wide receivers in targets this past season.
- Both Jacksonville and Arizona were led in total targets by its tight ends (Evan Engram and Trey McBride). They could be in the market for a true alpha wide receiver, though not necessarily through free agency.
- The other eight teams among the top-10 in percentage of vacated wide receiver routes have their top receivers essentially set for the 2024 season, but there could be a need for WR2 on the roster for a team looking to add some more talent at the position.
Other top wide receiver landing spots
- The New Orleans Saints could potentially lose both Michael Thomas and Rashid Shaheed, who combined for 134 of the team’s targets. While that isn’t the 138 that Chris Olave commanded alone, there’s a significant chunk there for one of the higher-end free-agent wide receivers to step into.
- The Indianapolis Colts receiver room is going to be dependent on whether or not Michael Pittman is back for 2024, as he’s currently slated for free agency and led the team with 150 targets in 2023. While rookie Josh Downs showed a lot of promise with 94 targets, the team could be in the market for an outside threat if Pittman indeed departs.
- The Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers stand out as interesting potential spots with new head coaches and have been led with 130-plus targets by receivers over 31 years old in 2023. While it’s possible that a talented wide receiver doesn’t see a team-leading target share in 2024, a multi-year deal in one of these spots could pay dividends down the line.
Highlighting the teams with the highest expected percentage of available tight end routes and targets from the 2023 season. This chart is reliant on expected free agents and includes the percentage of routes run, targets, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns their slated free agent tight ends accounted for this past season.
Top tight end landing spots
- The Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots are currently slated to lose all of their tight end usage from this past season, creating a significant need for these two teams, specifically, to be top landing spots for this year’s tight end free agency class.
- Dalton Schultz is slated to hit free agency, which leaves the Houston Texans with a significant hole at the position, as he earned 84 targets, which was the second-most on the team. While they may bring in another top option, Brevin Jordan also showed promise when filling in during Schultz’s absence this past year and could be the most obvious replacement.
- The Los Angeles Chargers are slated to lose Gerald Everett in free agency, who accounted for 70 targets — the second-most on the team in 2023 — which could make this a prime destination for a receiving tight end on a team in need of reliable and consistent options after so many injuries to the receiving corps as a whole in 2023.
Other top tight end landing spots
- The Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders round out the rest of the teams with nearly 50% or more of their tight end routes and targets expected to be vacated via free agency.
- Neither of these teams relied particularly heavily on the position for offense in 2023, though the right player could prompt a change in that philosophy in 2024.