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In what is typically a quiet time in the NFL, full of beat writer roster projections and meaningless "best shape of his life" type articles, we have some action. First, Jeremy Maclin was released by the Chiefs and then the Jets stated their desire to either trade or release Eric Decker. It is mid-June; free agency opened months ago and the Draft came and went. That leaves two effective Fantasy starters looking for work and a dwindling number of suitors despite the obvious talent. Until they sign new deals, we can only speculate on their value for 2017 and beyond. The question now is what are we to make of the situations they are leaving?
Freek’n You by Jodeci
"I would give anything. Just to make you understand me. I don’t give a damn about nothing else. Freek’n you is all I need."
Jeremy Maclin was surprisingly released last week by the Chiefs. He is currently looking for work, having visited the Bills and Ravens already. There are plenty of WR-hungry teams out there that could use Maclin, and getting away from noodle-armed Alex Smith might actually lead to a bump in his value. Of course, it is all going to depend on where he lands, so Maclin dynasty owners need to sit tight.
Where does that leave the Chiefs’ aerial attack? Travis Kelce is clearly locked into the alpha dog role and Tyreek Hill gets an increased floor. Hill is already one of the most polarizing Fantasy players heading into 2017 after his fluky but electric rookie season. Without Maclin last year, Hill was involved more heavily through the air. If he can maintain a presence in the backfield and garner 100-plus targets in the passing game, we are looking at a Top 12 ceiling with a Top 30 floor. There is still plenty of risk here and his big play ability is going to continue to push up his ADP in redraft leagues, making him a major overdraft candidate. Dynasty owners lucky enough to have Hill can either gamble on his talent or maximize value by trading him right now.
We are not likely to see another relevant Chiefs receiver unless there is an injury, but Chris Conley is a player most will set their sights on this summer. It comes with good reason as Conley has all of the measurables you look for in a receiver, just none of the production. Drafting and stashing athletic talent is a recipe for success in deep dynasty leagues and there is a chance that Conley owners could hit big. Albert Wilson has had an uninspiring three-year tenure in Kansas City, but he’ll also receive increased opportunities. There’s very limited long-term appeal with the undersized Wilson. He’s average at best. Demarcus Robinson might be on your dynasty waiver wire after a nonexistent rookie campaign. A fourth rounder last year, Robinson has the size / speed combination to be dangerous. Of course, with limited targets to go around and most of them traveling less than 10 yards, Robinson’s immediate upside is capped. For dynasty purposes, however, he is worthy of your patience. Rookie Jehu Chesson is another name to keep tabs on. The Chiefs traded up to get the Michigan wideout. He looks like a potential possession receiver with excellent ball skills albeit limited speed/quickness.
Leaving On A Jet Plane by Peter, Paul and Mary
"All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go. I’m standing here outside your door. I hate to wake you up to say goodbye."
Eric Decker is apparently going to be traded or released by the Jets. For a team that projects to struggle offensively, it is a curious move for the Jets to abandon a TD machine like Decker. While he looks for a happier, more stable home, what is the deal with the mess he leaves behind? Quincy Enunwa is a well-built receiver with upside thanks to an increased target share. Enunwa has the strength to be a force near the goal line and the hands to be a reliable possession target outside of the 20s. He’s a definite WR3 for redraft purposes, but his dynasty value really hinges on whether he takes another step forward this year. Robbie Anderson, who was quietly productive as a rookie, should be the starter opposite Enunwa. Anderson’s speed is a major asset in the Jets’ offense and he can be a difference maker because of it. He’ll start out as a Fantasy WR5, but the pieces are in place for closer to Top 40 production.
The Jets also nabbed a few interesting draft prospects that deserve your dynasty attention. ArDarius Stewart is an excellent athlete with the physicality and size to have an early impact. The opportunity is there for Stewart to be playing meaningful snaps from Week 1. He will need to refine his game (routes, hands, concentration) to hit his ceiling, but there is long-term Top 25 potential if he gets there. Chad Hansen’s average athleticism limits his potential, but he could be a slot/possession weapon for the Jets. He has reliable hands and plays bigger than his frame suggests. Talented Baylor prospect KD Cannon was an undrafted free agent signee by the 49ers who was cut after rookie camp, reportedly or fnot running out a route. New York signed him and Cannon has another wide open depth chart in front of him. He has speed to be a deep threat specialist, but will need improvement in all other facets of his game to be truly Fantasy relevant. Jalin Marshall and Charone Peake will also battle for playing time, but are longshots to make an impact.
Hip To Be Square by Huey Lewis and the News
"It’s not too hard to figure out you see it every day. And those that were the farthest out have gone the other way. You see them on the freeway. It don’t look like a lot of fun. But don’t you try to fight it. And an idea whose time has come."
Dennis Pitta could be at the end of the line. Where does that leave the Ravens TE situation? After all, Pitta did account for 86 receptions and 729 yards in a bounce back effort last year. The Ravens have 36-year-old Ben Watson rehabbing an Achilles injury, but he is not someone you should count on at this stage of his career. Maxx Williams was a second- round pick just two years ago, but he’s done little on the field and is also working his way back from knee surgery. At 23, there is still enough upside if he is healthy to take a shot in deep dynasty formats. Nick Boyle? He is coming off a suspension for PEDs, but could get a chance to contribute given the dire situation. He lacks upside as a receiver however and shouldn’t be viewed as even a realistic Fantasy dart.
Crockett Gillmore dealt with a laundry list of injuries last year and hasn’t done much in the NFL outside of a few solid games in 2015. Still, he could be a Pitta type of low upside, volume-based producer this year and deserves sleeper attention in two-TE and TE premium formats. The wildcard here is Darren Waller, a converted receiver entering his third season. He’s an athletic, big bodied target with the potential to be a force in the red zone. He earned limited playing time last year and ended up registering two scores on 10 catches in 12 games. When drafted, he was considered a project and he still is, but I’m interested to see what he can do with his opportunity this summer. Waller is a name to keep a close eye on. This entire situation will be dependent on health and availability of the veterans as well as the development of the young talent.