NFL
April 12, 2022

NFL Free Agency: 10 Fantasy Football Winners & Losers (So Far)

Now that the first wave of the 2022 NFL free agency period is all but over, it's time to look toward the next football — and fantasy — season. 

There have been plenty of league-changing moves that will not only impact the NFL, but also your fantasy football league. 

There's the Russell Wilson trade to the Broncos and the shocking trade of Davante Adams to the Raiders, to name a few. 

But who emerged as big winners and losers from the first week of free agency? 

We've detailed five winners and five losers who, as of now, have had their fantasy value impacted. 

Winners

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

You might not agree with how the Jags spent their stockpile of cash this offseason, and we can't blame you, since signing Christian Kirk — who might appear later on this list — to a four-year, $84 million contract was a jaw-dropping move. 

But you can't deny that the Jags have upgraded on offense. Not only have they brought in a Super Bowl-winning coach in Doug Pederson, but they've added multiple wide receivers and tight ends while bolstering the offensive line. 

Lawrence had a disaster of a rookie year, but he should bounce back in his sophomore season which makes him a strong buy-low this offseason. Although, his value is steadily on the rise. 

Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals

With Kirk leaving the desert for Florida, that leaves a lot of targets on the table for second-year receiver Rondale Moore. 

The diminutive pass-catcher had a disappointing rookie campaign, but he should be a target hog in an offense that is desperate for playmakers outside of DeAndre Hopkins. 

Hopefully, Moore will get targeted past the line of scrimmage this upcoming season so his fantasy stock is on the rise. 

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals 

There might not be a bigger winner in free agency than Bengals star QB Joe Burrow. 

The former Heisman Trophy-winner has arguably the best receiver core in the NFL, but the worry was always the offensive line. That might not be as big of a problem anymore. 

The Bengals added three starters to the line — including recently inked La'el Collins — to help keep Burrow upright and healthy. The last thing the Bengals want is for Burrow to be the next Andrew Luck. 

With an improved line, the sky is the limit for this Bengals offense. 

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

While Davante Adams might not be a winner, fantasy-wise, after departing the Green Bay Packers for the Las Vegas Raiders, his former college QB, Derek Carr, definitely upgraded this offseason. 

This was a shocking move to many because once it was clear that Aaron Rodgers was returning to the Packers, it seemed logical to believe that his No. 1 receiver would continue to play for Green Bay.

Adams is a brilliant All-Pro receiver who is arguably the best at his position in the league. He has had four consecutive sensational seasons, and he caught 123 passes for 1,553 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2021, and that comes on the heels of 115-1,374-18 performance in 2020.

But the fact of the matter is, Adams is downgrading at QB from Rodgers to Carr and that should hurt his target share and efficiency. However, the Raiders' offense is much faster than the Packers', so they both could make up for it in volume. 

Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns

This is technically not a free-agent move since Amari Cooper was traded by the Cowboys to the Browns, but it has the same impact as a free-agent signing.

Cooper was no longer the No. 1 receiver in Dallas because of the presence of CeeDee Lamb, but he will get a chance to show off his immense skills with the Browns, especially now that Cleveland acquire Deshaun Watson.

Cooper caught 68 passes for 865 yards and 8 TDs with the Cowboys in 2021 and he was targeted 104 times. While those numbers are decent, they were a step back from 2020 when he was targeted 130 times and caught 92-1,114-5. Cooper will be 28 at the start of the next season and he should have at least three high-level seasons left in him before he starts to tail off.

Losers

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys might grow to regret their playoff loss to the 49ers even more now that they've had an exodus of free agents. 

The Cowboys are down two starting receivers in free agency and multiple offensive linemen. That's a lot of holes to fill for a team up against the salary cap. 

Prescott still has an emerging CeeDee Lamb, sure, but they will be without newly re-signed Michael Gallup for at least the beginning of the season while he recovers from a late-season ACL tear. 

Prescott will have to be even better next season while hoping Lamb makes the leap to No. 1 receiver... if he wants to be a top-5 fantasy QB next season. 

Russell Gage, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Former Falcons receiver Russell Gage has emerged as one of the most underrated pass-catchers in the league. And Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sure took notice. 

With Brady back with the Bucs, Tampa Bay had some big holes to fill on the offensive line and at receiver as franchise-player Chris Godwin recovers from a torn ACL. 

Enter, Gage, who could excel at WR3 and the "Antonio Brown role" in the Bucs offense,  but let's be honest, he's no AB.

Plus, when Godwin returns then Gage will be relegated to the fourth or fifth option in the Bucs' passing game. 

While Gage will upgrade at QB next season, this represents a good opportunity to sell high on the newly acquired receiver in dynasty or keeper formats. 

O.J. Howard, Buffalo Bills 

After falling out of favor in Tampa Bay, Howard signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Bills. While that certainly is a cheap enough price, Howard has had two poor seasons in 2020 and 2021. He will try to write a new story with the Bills with Josh Allen at quarterback after playing uninspired football when Brady was his quarterback. It would be a surprise if Howard finds the inspiration to play to his potential with the Bills.

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers

Diontae Johnson currently has an ADP of 34.7 on Underdog Fantasy, which severely overvalues a player who got a ton of targets from the corpse of Ben Roethlisberger. 

Now with Mitchell Trubisky joining as the presumed starter, expect Johnson's target share to drop. 

A dual-threat QB, Trubisky might be better than Big Ben, but by how much?

It might be wise to see what you can get for Johnson on the trade market in your fantasy league, especially with players such as Cooper, Travis Etienne, Jerry Jeudy, Elijah Moore, Allen Robinson and others with a lower current ADP. 

D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

This one is a no-brainer. 

Metcalf, with a 23.8 ADP on Underdog Fantasy, just lost his franchise QB who is arguably the best deep-ball throw in the NFL. That's where Metcalf feasts in the NFL. 

With a major downgrade at QB in his future — especially if Drew Lock remains the Seahawks' starter — Metcalf will probably see a smaller target share and worse quality targets. That's a recipe for disaster from a talented receiver who has shown his frustration on the field. 

Metcalf might be a good buy-low in dynasty if you're patient. The Seahawks will probably acquire another QB this offseason as well. 

Photo: Getty Images/Lines Illustration