Miles Sanders, Rashaad Penny, and Chris Olave Are Moving On

With a week of NFL free agency in the books, many players have signed with new teams. As with each of the three important offseason events (free agency, draft, preseason), players’ habits are affected. Here are some of the key fantasy football winners after the first week of free agent signing.

NFL Free Agency Fantasy Football Winners

Free agency is one of the most exciting events of the offseason. From following the Super Bowl through the fantasy season in late August/early September, there is plenty of downtime. For most of spring and summer, there isn’t much going on. Right now, we have news coming out every hour.

Many names related to speculation have been circulating. This signing affects not only the players but also their new teammates, as well as those who left. Let’s take a look at some fantasy football winners.

Miles Sanders, RB, Carolina Panthers

Miles Sanders is one of the most polarizing players in fantasy. I’ve always thought he had more – a talent for revenge. But his 5.0 yards per carry and performance metrics suggest otherwise.

While I’m a believer in advanced analytics and metrics, hard work isn’t always indicative of a player’s ability. It can often be a sign of an offensive program. The Eagles’ run-blocking scheme is such that any running back can be successful.

Last season, Sanders rushed for 1,269 yards and scored 11 touchdowns – averaging 12.7 points per game. But, Philadelphia was not interested in bringing him back. Head coach Nick Sirianni made it clear that he didn’t believe they had anyone on the team who could be a three-down back.

MORE: Top Dynasty RB Trade Targets 2023

Sanders always had a hard time finding a landing spot where he could be clear to begin with. Well, he found one.

In Carolina, Sanders is poised to be a clear RB1. While I don’t foresee him doing much in the passing game, it wouldn’t be surprising if he improves on his 5.2% percentage. The offense is obviously a big drop from the Eagles’, but the volume and goal-line work should be there. This was as good as it would get for Sanders.

Rashad Penny, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Speaking of the Eagles’ incredible run-blocking scheme, Rashaad Penny should be the starting running back. Philadelphia, however, will also use three backs in the rotation. They still have Kenneth Gainwell and recently signed Boston Scott. Even so, Penny will be their first-down back. Hopefully, he gets a goal-line haul, too.

Throughout her life, Penny has dealt with a lot of trauma. I’m not one for predicting injuries, but Penny missed 42 games in his first five seasons.

At 27 years old, he’s not exactly young, but he treads on his tires quite a bit. He won’t do much in the passing game, but he’s a better runner than Sanders. In this offense, if he can stay healthy, Penny has a 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown upside.

Jamaal Williams, RB, New Orleans Saints

I was sure Jamaal Williams would be back with the Detroit Lions. Once they signed David Montgomery, it’s clear that’s not going to happen. The timing of events suggests that Williams felt the same way.

Shortly after Montgomery left for Detroit, Williams agreed to a contract with the New Orleans Saints. This is a good landing spot for Williams. He’ll fill the role of Mark Ingram alongside Alvin Kamara – a role we’ve seen pretty successful in speculation.

In 2017, Ingram averaged 17.4 ppg, and in 2018, he averaged 11.9 ppg – his two seasons with Kamara.

Williams averaged 13.3 ppg last season, finishing as the overall RB18. He could easily be a low RB2 as well, especially behind the Saints’ strong offensive line. Add in the fact that Kamara is likely facing suspension, and Williams could end up being a valuable fantasy asset that you can draft in a later-digit round.

Allen Lazard, WR, New York Jets

Yes, Allen Lazard is an admirable football player who is determined by Aaron Rodgers to follow him to the New York Jets. Rodgers said that was his goal, but I’ll believe it when it happens.

Assuming Rodgers is next, this is about as good as it could get for Lazard. Last season, Lazard played above his salary grade as a WR1 for the Green Bay Packers. He had the best season of his career, averaging 11.7 ppg, and finished as WR34 overall.

MORE: Aaron Rodgers Trade – Fantasy Impact of Jordan Love, Aaron Jones, Christian Watson, and Others

On the Jets, Lazard will be their WR2 or WR3, which is closer to where I think he belongs on offense – WR3/4. If Elijah Moore is included in Rodgers’ trade package, that would cement Lazard as the WR2.

Either way, this is his best shot as far as fantasy is concerned. Four years, $44 million, shows the Jets believe in him more than I do. I’m not going to favor Lazard for this season’s projections, but there’s no denying he’s done well with his contract and landing spot.

Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints

This does not take much to understand. You’re all going to be sick of me teasing Chris Olave by the time the season rolls around. I’m sorry, not sorry.

Olave caught 72 passes for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. He averaged 14.5 yards per reception and had a 14.5 field goal average. He is a do-it-all receiver and can be a ground threat and a ground man.

Olave did all that last season with Andy Dalton at quarterback. Now, he has Derek Carr. While Carr is not a top quarterback, he is certainly capable, and is undoubtedly a significant upgrade over Dalton and Jameis Winston. Carr’s skills meshed perfectly with Olave. And we know Carr will pepper his WR1.

Even if the Saints bring back Michael Thomas, this is Olave’s team now. I fully expect him to be a WR1 in the fantasy.

Some Winners

Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Tony Pollard was always going to be the leader of the Cowboys back in 2023. But with Ezekiel Elliott released, Pollard has a shot to go nuclear. After averaging 15.6 ppg in one season, Pollard has a 20 ppg upside if the Cowboys don’t do something bad like draft Bijan Robinson.

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots

The Patriots’ biggest offseason move at running back was signing James Robinson. In terms of bringing Rhamondre Stevenson competition, that’s about as little as it gets. Absent another move, Stevenson is set to be three-down back in 2023.

Samaje Perine, RB, Denver Broncos

Samaje Perine had a good career with the Bengals, but he still shared the backfield with Joe Mixon. In Denver, Perine has a shot to be the Broncos’ feature back for part or possibly the entire 2023 season while Javonte Williams works his way back from a torn ACL.

Leave a Comment