On the Football Absurdity Podcast yesterday, we pretty much determined that free agency dwindled to a close. Numerous running backs are still out there to ruin some backfields, but it’s time to start making content. Let’s start with the biggest winners and losers from free agency, and starting at the quarterback position.
Quarterback Winner: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
I don’t know if there’s a bigger winner in all of sports than Tua Tagovailoa this offseason. The Dolphins let Ryan Fitzpatrick shuffle off (more on him in a second) and replaced him with Brian Hoyer. That sent a signal to Tua: the era of benching you is over, time to sink or swim. Then, they added Will Fuller, a deep threat extraordinaire. Finally, and most impactful of all: the Dolphins did a handful of trades and now sit with four top-fifty picks in the 2021 NFL draft.
The Dolphins took three, turned it into twelve, then turned twelve into six. By picking at six, the Dolphins virtually ensure themselves one of Kyle Pitts, Penei Sewell or literally any wide receiver they would like. All of those will play a huge role in Tua Tagovailoa taking a step forward for 2021. I’m not sold on him for 2021 1QB league relevance yet, but I am intrigued.
Quarterback Winner: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington Football Team
The Ryan Fitzpatrick 2021 Offseason Experience certainly piqued my interest. He left Miami determined to find a starting job somewhere then… almost retired? He failed to latch onto Denver, and rumors swirled that the 38-year-old might hang ‘em up. Now, he’s at the helm of a young offense that has a lot of breakout potential. Newly-signed wide receiver Curtis Samuel will potentially be his fourth option on offense, behind Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and Logan Thomas. Fitzpatrick suddenly went from being in a rocking chair on a porch, knitting, to bombing it out to F1 and dumping off to Antonio Gibson. Fitzpatrick turned from being nearly retired to a borderline top-12 QB in 2021.
Quarterback Winner: Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
If Matthew Stafford stayed with Detroit, he would be looking down the barrel of throwing footballs to Quintez Cephus, Tyrell Williams, and Breshad Perriman, with Anthony Lynn as his offensive coordinator. Not exactly fantasy football glory happening for him in Detroit in 2021. Instead, he’s down in Los Angeles with the three B’s: beers, babes, and Bobby Woods. Stafford traded in his existing offense for one powered by Sean McVay’s offensive mind, and one where his primary weapons will be Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. There will likely be some growing pains, but Stafford had a massive glow up to his 2021 prospects when he moved to Los Angeles.
Honorable Mentions: Daniel Jones, Dak Prescott
Quarterback Loser: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill lost a lot of his targets this offseason. Corey Davis is a Jet, Jonnu Smith is a Patriot, and Adam Humphries is a Football Team. Those were his #2, #3 and #5 targets last season, costing him 192 of his 481 targets, or 40% of his targets from last season. In addition, he lost the offense’s maestro, Arthur Smith, to Atlanta. The Titans added just Josh Reynolds in free agency, and need to do some serious work to make Ryan Tannehill work for fantasy football purposes in 2021. After all, he can’t just throw the ball to A.J. Brown 200 times this year… or can he?
Quarterback Loser: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
I don’t want to pull real-life horrors into this fantasy football discussion, but we all know what’s going on with Deshaun Watson. None of the allegations are good, and they are mounting extremely quickly. Let’s assume everything disappears tomorrow, somehow, someway… Deshaun Watson’s offseason still stands as one of the most dreadful in the league. He wanted out of Houston, but they wouldn’t let him out. The Texans also lost Will Fuller and replaced him with a mix of Andre Roberts and Chris Conley. Now, Watson’s best-case scenario is coming back to the Texans with his tail between his legs to have Andre Roberts as his WR2. Big yikes, but it is quickly coming out that it might be his appropriate comeuppance.
Quarterback Loser: Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (for now)
Jimmy Garoppolo had a terrible 2020 campaign that was marred by injuries. I’m sure he felt safe after Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard absolutely ate you-know-what with their opportunities to throw the ball. Then, the 49ers gave up everything to get the #3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft with the intention of taking a pass catcher. People who like to get my blood pressure up insist it will be Mac Jones (it will be Justin Fields or Trey Lance). However, this all threw Jimmy Garoppolo’s offseason into major turmoil. Nobody knows where he will play in 2020, or if he even gets to choose his destination. The obvious answer is sending him back to the Patriots, but who knows, at this point. All we know is that Jimmy Garoppolo lost big time.