The first couple of days of NFL free agency have been pretty crazy. Now let's talk a bit about the ramifications of some of the moves.
Donte Stallworth, WR (CLE): Donte Stallworth had a good season in Philadelphia two years ago, then failed in kind of a make-or-break situation in New England. While he struggled to determine his role in New England, his role in Cleveland is pretty clear: stretch the field. Even though his fantasy value stands to gain quite a bit from this move, I'm not fully sold that he's going to be either worth the money the Browns paid him or the draft pick someone will invest in him on draft day. He's played well in two contract years but hasn't topped seven touchdowns or 945 yards. With Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow and Joe Jurevicius on-site, temper your expectations from Stallworth for fantasy purposes.
Alge Crumpler, TE (TEN): Alge Crumpler was mired by injuries and shoddy quarterbacking last season. Now he steps into an absolute ideal environment for fantasy purposes. Crumpler has Pro Bowl talent, has played with the scrambling-type quarterback before (not that Vince Young is that guy all the time) and joins an offense that relies on the tight end quite a bit. Also, the Titans don't have any weapons at wide receiver, which means Crumpler should be among the most productive tight ends in fantasy football next year.
Michael Turner, RB (ATL): Michael Turner was the most coveted running back in free agency and the Atlanta Falcons ended up with the prize. The best news - in regards to fantasy purposes - was the Falcons' immediate decision to cut Warrick Dunn shortly thereafter. Turner is a bruiser, should top 1,000 yards and should see the goal line carries. Don't forget that Jerious Norwood is still around and was likely the bigger reason why Dunn was sent to the waiver wire. Norwood figures to split carries between the 20s but Turner should get the touchdowns and the bulk of the work. New Falcons head coach Mike Smith coached in Jacksonville last season, so you can expect that he's planning some kind of a time-share like his former team employs.
Josh Brown, K (STL): The St. Louis Rams made Josh Brown the highest-paid kicker in the NFL after their ace Jeff Wilkins retired. Brown, who has been extremely effective in the windy and rainy conditions at Qwest Field, now gets to kick indoors for at least eight games a year. He loves to work at the Edward Jones Dome. He kicked a 50+-yard game-winning field goal against the Rams in 2006. Not much changes here, though. He was valuable before and his value should be similar in 2008, as long as the Rams iron out their offensive troubles.
Bernard Berrian, WR (MIN): Bernard Berrian got a big payday - not the chocolate bar - from the Minnesota Vikings and his fantasy value is sure to plummet. Tarvaris Jackson hasn't proven to be a consistent passer in the NFL, which inherently hurts Berrian's value. The good news is that Berrian has been somewhat valuable playing with an inept quarterback in a run-oriented offense in Chicago, so he knows his role in Minnesota. Keep in mind that the Vikings play more of a West Coast offense, which might minimize some of his big plays.
DeShaun Foster, RB (SF): The San Francisco 49ers were crippled last season when Frank Gore slumped through about the first half of the season. Now they are hoping that DeShaun Foster, an average back at best, can offer some insurance, but more importantly, help keep Gore fresh and effective all season long. Foster is oft-injured and is probably a backup at best in the NFL. He only has value if Gore goes down.
Jerry Porter, WR (JAC): I'm not sure what to make of Jerry Porter. He's definitely not a No. 1 receiver, either in fantasy or reality, but that's what he's again going to be asked to do in Jacksonville. The Jags got tired of waiting on Reggie Williams and Matt Jones to develop and signed a proven veteran. Porter has twice had nine-touchdown seasons, but he's in a run-first offense now. His presence should help the continued growth of Williams, whom I still believe in. I might be one of the few. Instead of spending a high pick on Porter next year, I'd be more inclined to scoop up Williams late. Keep in mind that since Williams and Jones were drafted, they were asked to save the world in Jacksonville. Jones is lackadaisical and might not be on the roster next year, but both (or just Williams) should feel less pressure to produce next year with a steady veteran on board, which might pave the wave for breakout seasons.