There has been a lot of exciting movement over the last week, most of which has been covered in the fantasy reaction pieces. And the action still isn’t done, as lots of marquee free agents are still on the market, along with numerous players on trading block. All of the movement along with team’s camps getting in the full swing means that there will be tons of news to keep track of as we get ready for the upcoming football season. So let’s stop wasting time and get right into it!
The Atlanta Falcons signed one of the top free agent defensive ends, Ray Edwards, and now boast one of the top defensive end rotations in the league. Edwards is set to spilt time with John Abraham and Kroy Biermann, all three of which finished within the top-20 last season amongst all defensive ends. Edwards scored a 31.2 PFF rating over 763 snaps, Abraham with a 30.8 PFF rating over 620 snaps, and Biermann with a 15.1 PFF rating over 630 snaps. Being able to rotate should keep all of the players fresh, and allow constant pressure to be applied on opposing quarterbacks all game.
After losing Paul Posluszny to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Buffalo Bills signed Nick Barnett to replace him. Although Posluszny is the younger player, Barnett is no slouch, and could even be a short-term improvement. In 2009, Barnett’s last healthy season, he finished as the third highest ranked inside linebacker, with a 27.7 PFF rating. In comparison, Posluszny finished last season with a -2.7 PFF rating. Expect Barnett to be among the league-leaders in snaps and tackles this season.
Safety, Michael Huff, re-signed with Oakland, allowing Tyvon Branch to move back to the IDP-friendly strong safety position. Huff finished last season as the second best safety, with a 13.9 PFF rating. His breakout year also came with a strong fantasy season, with 78 solo tackles, 95 total tackles, 4 sacks, 3 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and 7 passes defended. Obviously those numbers aren’t sustainable, but he still remains a strong fantasy safety.
The Detroit Lions signed linebacker, Stephen Tulloch, and along with the earlier signing of Justin Durant, it all but kills DeAndre Levy’s fantasy value. A strong candidate to regress after being amongst the league-leaders in tackles, Tulloch now has the potential to repeat his performance, and maybe even add in a couple more sacks as well. The ferocious front four that Detroit boasts should only do wonders for Tulloch, and his 13.6 PFF rating from last year.
The Philadelphia Eagles have been tabbed as the big winners of this year’s free agency, revamping their defense with Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin, and Cullen Jenkins. In fact, they have improved so much that they have made cornerback, Asante Samuel, available via trade. All of the players mentioned have finished within the top-20 at their respective positions at least once in the last two seasons, just to put into perspective at how dominant this group of players is.
The New England Patriots made a splash, acquiring Albert Haynesworth from the Washington Redskins. Despite a ton of drama the last two seasons surrounding Haynesworth, he is only a season removed from being a top five defensive tackle, with a 28.8 PFF rating in 2008 and an 18.0 PFF rating in 2009. If there’s any coach and locker room that can keep Haynesworth in check, it will be Bill Belechick and the Patriots.
Questions and comments are always welcome via Twitter – @Eric_Yeomans