Fantasy football: Sizing up players with new teams

Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Schaub gestures while speaking during a news conference Friday, March 21, 2014, at the NFL football team's practice facility in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Schaub gestures while speaking during a news conference Friday, March 21, 2014, at the NFL football team's practice facility in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Posted: August 06, 2014

Quick: Name Cam Newton's new starting wideouts. Who's expected to be the workhorse rusher in Jacksonville? How about Cleveland? Whose jersey is Stevie Johnson wearing now?

More than 60 fantasy-relevant players switched ZIP codes this year. And while this year's merry-go-round spun no more quickly than in recent years, there's one thing we can always count on: Precious few players have boosted their fantasy stock by moving to a new team.

Last year, only Alex Smith and Anquan Boldin measurably improved their fortunes in different uniforms. A few others, like Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Ivory, and Greg Jennings got modest bumps but were mediocre contributors at best. Meanwhile, following the historic trend, the list of team-swapping disappointments was exhaustive.

So as we survey the NFL's continuously shifting landscape, we are justifiably pessimistic about most of the carpetbaggers' prospects. Here's a quick look at the most significant offseason moves of 2014.

Movin' on up

Look for improved production from these five.

Josh McCown, QB, Buccaneers - One of last year's biggest surprises earned himself a starting job down south. If he can develop a rapport with his new receiving corps, McCown could solidify his unlikely role as a fantasy stalwart.

Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars - No longer Adrian Peterson's perennial handcuff, Gerhart will be given every opportunity to breathe life into the Jaguars' offense. He's a solid rusher and receiver, so don't be surprised if he finally emerges as a fantasy force.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants - He showed flashes of brilliance during his tenure in Oakland, and the starting job is his to lose in New York. Only rookie Andre Williams will stand in Jennings' way.

Ben Tate, RB, Browns - While Cleveland feigns competition at the QB position, the real battle is playing out between Arian Foster's former backup and rookie Terrance West. Tate has a spotty injury history, but there's upside here if he emerges as the lead tailback.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos - Ka-ching! Sanders has the talent to fill Eric Decker's shoes, and Peyton Manning can make him a star.

Comin' back down

These players will be hard-pressed to match last year's results.

Matt Schaub, QB, Raiders - He was traded by the Texans for a sixth-round pick. It's hard to imagine Schaub getting his mojo back in Oakland.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Dolphins - Even before worries arose over his injured knee, I would've bet my retirement fund (meager as it is) that Moreno would never approach his 2013 stats in Miami.

Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles - As long as LeSean McCoy is healthy, Sproles' role will be minimal.

Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Raiders - It's only a matter of time before Darren McFadden's next injury, but MJD is clearly not the runner he once was.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Steelers - He won't get the chance to soar like he did in New England as long as Le'Veon Bell remains intact.

 DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins - His presence boosts Robert Griffin III's chances of a rebound, but Jackson won't flirt with elite status again playing second fiddle to Pierre Garcon.

 James Jones, WR, Raiders - Swaps Aaron Rodgers for Matt Schaub. How do you think that's going to work out for him? Exactly.

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