It has been a couple of weeks since the NFL’s new league year began and for the majority of players, the free agency period is all but over. There are a few exceptions, including former starting QBs Jameis Winston and recently released Cam Newton, along with edge defender Jadeveon Clowney, who hasn’t found the market he expected.
With limited remaining options, teams around the league are left to fill their needs through the upcoming NFL Draft. With a focus on the four key offensive fantasy football positions, here’s an overview of the top needs for each AFC team.
The Ravens traded TE Hayden Hurst and lost WR Seth Roberts to the Panthers and have otherwise been quiet on the offensive skill positions. With WR Marquise Brown, Willie Snead and Miles Boykin as the top wideout options, it should be a priority for Baltimore to add another pass catcher for QB Lamar Jackson.
The Bills have reportedly been interested in adding some backfield depth to pair with RB Devin Singletary. Instead, they made a splash by acquiring WR Stefon Diggs, who will take over as QB Josh Allen’s WR1. Buffalo could still add competition by drafting a rookie back.
Most expected QB Andy Dalton to be on a new roster by this time, but that hasn’t happened, yet. The entire NFL world knows Cincy will be adding QB Joe Burrow and should also be looking for help at the tight end spot, after veteran Tyler Eifert signed with the Jaguars.
The Browns made the first splash of free agency, signing Hooper away from the Falcons and making him the highest-paid tight end in NFL history. He’ll push David Njoku down the depth chart. The Browns also placed a tender on RB Kareem Hunt and are expected to retain him. The same was said before last season’s disappointing campaign, but the Browns have no real needs at the fantasy-relevant positions.
The Broncos have a pressing need at the receiver position, and most expect them to add firepower behind WR Courtland Sutton through the draft. Denver did make a splash by signing veteran RB Melvin Gordon, who is expected to serve as the team’s bell-cow back. That stings the fantasy value of RB Phillip Lindsay and could push RB Royce Freeman off the roster.
Umm, where do we begin? The Texans acquired veteran RB David Johnson to fill their major need in the backfield. In the process, they created an even larger hole at receiver, with injury prone WR Will Fuller serving as the new WR1 following the trade of Hopkins. Houston also signed WR Randall Cobb but should still add a rookie wideout. Poor Deshaun Watson.
The Colts clearly decided that QB Jacoby Brissett was not the answer, making the move to sign longtime Chargers QB Philip Rivers. With T.Y. Hilton starting to show his age and last year’s rookie WR Parris Campbell off to a poor start, the Colts should be adding another wideout to the depth chart. After losing TE Eric Ebron to the Steelers, Indy could also use a day three pick on his eventual replacement.
As previously mentioned, the Jags brought in veteran Eifert to pair with young TE Josh Oliver. The biggest move for Jacksonville though was sending veteran QB Nick Foles to Chicago. That trade leaves QB Gardner Minshew as the team’s clear starter, though he still needs additional weapons, especially at the wide receiver position.
The Chiefs’ offensive core is obviously very strong with QB Patrick Mahomes, WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce. Most expected the Super Bowl champs to part ways with WR Sammy Watkins, but that hasn’t happened yet. The team is projected to add a rookie running back to the fold and that player will quickly see his value spike.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders main goal of the offseason has to be upgrading their poor wide receiver corps after Antonio Brown’s antics left them struggling at the position. While the Raiders did sign WR Nelson Agholor, they chose to focus on adding competition for QB Derek Carr and signing former Titans QB Marcus Mariota. Vegas is expected to use their first-round pick on a top rookie wideout, likely Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers most important moves of the past few weeks were retaining RB Austin Ekeler and TE Hunter Henry. After giving up on Rivers, the team had to ensure their next quarterback would have weapons. With veteran Tyrod Taylor expected to hold down the starting job for the short term, adding a rookie quarterback will be the team’s top priority.
After a year of thrifty spending and draft pick accumulation, the Dolphins have all the ammo to stock up across the board. With multiple first-rounders, Miami will almost certainly add a Round One quarterback and potentially a ball carrier, as well. Miami did sign veteran RB Jordan Howard, though that shouldn’t stop them from using a day one or two pick on backfield depth.
New England Patriots
It is always difficult to project what the Patriots and HC Bill Belichick will do but for the first time in 20 years, they have a need at the quarterback position. QB Tom Brady signed with Buccaneers, leaving QB Jarrett Stidham as the current projected starter. The team does have options, including free agents Cam Newton and Jameis Winston, or even Dalton.
New York Jets
The Jets are obviously set at the quarterback position and veteran RB Le’Veon Bell should hold down the backfield for another year, at least. That leaves the team to focus on the wide receiver depth chart, which got even weaker after WR Robby Anderson signed with the Panthers. While WR Jamison Crowder will have the slot role locked down, the Jets need to add multiple receivers in the draft.
The Steelers had little cap space to play with entering free agency but still managed to upgrade their tight end spot, adding Ebron to veteran Vance McDonald. With veteran QB Ben Roethlisberger set to return from injury, the Steelers will be able to focus on adding a running back through the NFL Draft to upgrade over RB James Conner.
It wasn’t easy, but the Titans found a way to keep both QB Ryan Tannehill and RB Derrick Henry. Tennessee did part ways with veteran RB Dion Lewis and TE Delanie Walker, leaving a hole in the backfield behind Henry, while TE Jonnu Smith should take over at tight end. In the upcoming draft, Tennessee should also focus on adding another wide receiver for Tannehill.