With the quarterback landscape fundamentally changed after free agency, it’s time to look at the best fantasy football RB buys, sells, and holds as we head into the 2018 summer.
KIRK COUSINS SIGNS WITH MINNESOTA
Cousins was the No. 1 free agent on the market and arrives in Minnesota with hefty expectations and a fully guaranteed contract. Underappreciated during his time in Washington and allowed to depart after a down 2017, his play was still comparable to that of Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford over the last three seasons.
Cousins will replace Case Keenum. The Vikings placeholder filled in admirably for Sam Bradford and had a career-year while leading Minnesota to the NFC Championship game.
Cousins’ owners will now count on him to build on the QB14 finish managed by Keenum last season. Surrounded by a strong coaching staff and multiple elite receiving weapons – Minnesota ranked 10th in yards per game (358.1) and points per game (23.2) – everything is in place for him to meet the challenge.
Cousins also finds himself with a solid running game after several seasons of having to go it alone. Washington stumbled to 28th (90.5) in rushing yards per game last season and 20th (106) in 2016. By contrast, the Vikings ranked No. 8 (117.9 rush yards) in 2017 despite having second-round draft pick Dalvin Cook for only four games.
Currently draft in Round 5 of 12-team leagues, Cousins is in a great position to have a career season in 2018 and is worth the investment in fantasy football drafts as a QB1. He should solidify the Vikings as a perennial Super Bowl contender, making the three-year, $84 million contract worth every penny.
CASE KEENUM SIGNS WITH DENVER
It’s easy to blame the QB for the recent offensive woes in Denver.
Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch did not fill the void left by Peyton Manning. The Broncos have taken a step in the right direction by signing Keenum to a two-year deal. The move creates breathing room for general manager John Elway to select the team’s QB of the future early in this year’s draft.
They do have some other issues to address. The Broncos offensive line had three new starters last season and struggled to find continuity. The unit gave up the second-most sacks (32) and ranked 29th in Adjusted Sack Rate, but ninth in Adjusted Line Yards.1 The team did address the offensive tackle position by recently trading for Jared Veldheer.
The Broncos do not have viable targets at WR or TE outside of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. With Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler departing, Carlos Henderson, Jordan Taylor, and Isaiah McKenzie could see more targets this season.2
The Broncos have not had a QB finish in the fantasy top 25 since 2014. Keenum should reverse this trend if Thomas and Sanders remain healthy. He’s a value at his current 13th-round ADP.
SAM BRADFORD SIGNS WITH ARIZONA
Bradford is only 30-years old, but it’s difficult for NFL teams to view the QB as a legitimate long-term option given his injury history. Bradford was selected first overall in 2010, but has played in only 80 of 128 possible games for three teams in his career.
The tide seemed to turn in 2016 when he set a career high with 3,877 passing yards after being traded to the Vikings.3 Bradford only played in two games last season due to a knee injury.
Bradford doesn’t have the offensive weapons that Carson Palmer had to work with in Arizona. The rebuilding Cardinals can still deploy Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, and rehabbing superstar David Johnson gives them a unique weapon out of the backfield. This won’t be enough for Bradford to be valuable outside of 2-QB and superflex leagues, but any starting job buoys his worth in those formats. The Cardinals paid an outrageous price for the injury-riddled vet and should still look to address the position at No. 15 overall.
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