The rapid fire pace of free agency has waned, but there’s still plenty of fantasy news to report. After 2015, loads of livid owners vowed to “never again” draft the likes of C.J. Anderson and/or Mike Wallace. If recent moves are any indication, however, they might consider eating their words…
C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos
It looks like Anderson won’t be cruising A1A Beachfront Avenue after all. In a surprising move, the Broncos matched Miami’s offer sheet, keeping the 25-year-old running back in Denver. Despite being considered fantasy poison by many, Anderson averaged 4.7 YPC in back-to-back campaigns. He was also the sixteenth best RB in fantasy over the last ten weeks of 2015. During that time he carried the ball 85 times for 540 rushing yards, averaging the most yards per carry (6.4) of any RB down the stretch.
While Anderson’s workload was far lighter than many had hoped, it is worth pointing out that when the stakes were at their highest, Anderson was the Broncos’ top dog. In the Super Bowl, committee-mate Ronnie Hillman carried the rock a mere five times, whereas Anderson racked up 23 totes. This move by Denver’s front office is an extension of that, highlighting the team’s lack of faith in Hillman and understanding Anderson’s workhorse potential. With massive question marks under center and Peyton Manning’s legacy no longer something to contend with, Denver promises to be a run-first offense.
I can already see the eye-rolling emojis and “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on…blah, blah” tweets clogging my feed… but Anderson is going to a low-end RB1 in 2016. I know he was a first-round bust last year, but let’s not forget he was hobbled with foot and ankle issues at the start of September. Frankly, I hope the burn factor from angry former owners keeps his price down and allows gutsy gamers to capitalize on his mega-point potential.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins
The yo-yo continues. For now, Ajayi’s value is up. But the Phins have shown their hand. While they’ve praised his three-down skill set, Dennis Hickey & Co. seem a bit skittish about the 22-year-old’s ability to carry the load. Falling in the 2015 draft due to concerns over his knee, Ajayi could emerge as the team’s No. 1 option, but promises to be in some sort of timeshare. I’d be shocked if Miami doesn’t add an RB next month (reports indicate that Chris Johnson is currently visiting the club), and will wait to prognosticate further until then.
Mike Wallace, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Don’t call it a comeback. That’s right, I think Wallace is due for a renaissance. Just one year removed from a 10 TD season, the deep threat is headed back to the AFC North. While his time in Miami and Minnesota underwhelmed, he now has a cannon-armed QB in Baltimore, which should fuel a bounce-back campaign for the 29-year-old wideout.
A team ravaged by injury in 2015, it makes sense that the Ravens would want to add depth. They had hoped that first-round pick Breshad Perriman would fill the void left by Torrey Smith, but the rookie tore his PCL (knee) and ended his season before it even began. Boasting ideal size and electric speed, the Central Florida alum has tons of potential. Considering he’s a raw route runner whose college career was marred by drops and focus issues, however, his chances of making an immediate impact are slim.
Wallace provides not just insurance, but a here-and-now option for Baltimore to utilize while the youngster develops. Guaranteed to fall in drafts, Wallace projects to be a late-round steal capable of producing a 60 catch, 900 yard, and 9 TD season.
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