NFL free agency is on the way, which will begin key roster makeovers around the league. Many players will have their fantasy value impacted significantly by their team's moves, so now is the best time to take advantage.
Based on rumblings from around the league, let's do some forecasting here and highlight moves worth considering in dynasty leagues.
Trade away Duke Johnson Jr.
Johnson is only 24 years old and coming off a season in which he finished 11th at the position in fantasy points. Why trade him? Well, if the Browns select super-prospect Saquon Barkley with one of their two top-four picks, Johnson's value will be absolutely crushed (think Giovani Bernard). Could the Browns use Johnson more at wide receiver? Sure, but that was supposedly on the table last season, and he still saw 80 percent of his targets from the backfield. Could they trade him? Sure, but we can't count on that. Don't give him away for free, but now is a good time to explore taking advantage of Johnson's breakout season.
Trade for Robert Woods
I came away from the combine with the impression that Woods' breakout 2017 season was no fluke. He caught 56 passes for 781 yards and five scores in 12 games and was fantasy's No. 14 wide receiver prior to a Week 11 shoulder injury. Head coach/playcaller Sean McVay is building a reputation for being able to pick apart defenses, and possession receivers who run good routes -- such as Woods and slot man Cooper Kupp -- are key to achieving that goal. I was told that the Rams would like to re-sign Sammy Watkins, but even if they do, Woods' generous target share should be safe.
Trade away Austin Hooper
I was told pretty definitively at the combine that the Falcons will make a significant addition at the tight end position. Hooper handled 64 targets as the team's top tight end last season, and the team still has high hopes for the 2016 third-round pick, but it's clear Atlanta is not content. The Falcons released Levine Toilolo, so they need depth at the position regardless, but my impression is that the eventual addition will be more than just a reserve.
I spoke to a Jets coach at the combine just after Matt Forte announced his retirement and was given the impression that Powell would not be asked to handle a larger role going forward. Instead, the coach said the team will add an impact back to the mix. That would certainly limit touches for second-year McGuire and perpetually underutilized Powell. The time to explore a trade is now, while the depth chart still looks fairly barren.
Trade for Spencer Ware
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said during his combine media session that he plans to get Kareem Hunt more involved in the passing game. I spoke with him later in the day and asked what Hunt's expanded role would mean for Ware, who missed all of last season with a torn PCL and LCL. Reid said he has experience using multiple backs and Ware will be involved. I followed up and asked if Hunt, who had only six carries inside the opponent's 5-yard line last season, would be pulled for Ware at the goal line. Reid said no and that Ware and Hunt are similar backs who are both capable at the goal line. I still expect Hunt to be the clear lead back, but his presence will make Ware cheap to acquire, and he's one of fantasy's most valuable handcuffs. By the way, I asked Reid how Hunt fell to the third round of last year's NFL draft, to which he responded, "I have no idea, but I'm glad he did."
There seems to be little doubt that the Redskins will add an impact running back during April's draft. The likes of Derrius Guice, Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny or Nick Chubb would make for a terrific early-down complement to passing-down specialist Chris Thompson. This is the long way of saying that those who invested in Perine and Kelley should look to make a move as soon as possible.
Trade away Kenyan Drake
Another team that appears to be in the running back market is the Dolphins. Granted, coach Adam Gase seemed to be a big fan of Damien Williams (a free agent who I was told at the combine is generating interest from several teams), but Gase continued to utilize a committee when Drake was playing at a very high level. If Miami makes an impact acquisition, Drake's value is sure to take a big hit. Considering he's being viewed by many as a fringe RB1 as things currently stand, those of you rostering the third-year back might want to explore a trade.
Trade away Rob Gronkowski
This is nothing more than getting out in front of a retirement in the near future. Gronkowski is one of the most valuable assets in fantasy, but he already considered retirement this offseason, and it's possible he has only one year left in the league. Now might be your best chance to unload him for a valuable asset.
Trade away Greg Olsen
See "Gronkowski, Rob." Olsen is 33 years old and entering the final year of his contract with Carolina. He has been getting his feet wet in broadcasting, and a full-time gig appears to be on the horizon.
I asked a Jets coach about the prospects of 2017 wide receiver draft selections Stewart (third round) and Hansen (fourth round). The coach lit up at the mention of Hansen, adding that "he's a player." He also said Stewart was a talented player, but it was clear that there are high hopes for Hansen and that Stewart is more of a long shot. Hansen played 104 more snaps than Stewart last season.
Trade for Dalvin Cook
Cook was eighth in fantasy points among running backs when he went down for the season with a torn ACL in Week 4 last season. From Week 5 on, replacements Jerick McKinnon (10th among RBs) and Latavius Murray (15th) were both viable fantasy starters. McKinnon is expected to depart via free agency, and Cook is on his way to a clean bill of health in time for Week 1. All indications at the combine are that Cook will be the team's clear workhorse back, which certainly puts him in the RB1 mix.
Trade away Marlon Mack
Matthew Berry did a terrific job breaking this down in his combine recap, and new Colts head coach Frank Reich did not seem keen on Mack as a potential lead or feature back. The Colts are in the running back market, and even if they don't select Saquon Barkley early on, other options such as Guice, Michel, Penny, Ronald Jones II and Chubb will be available later and would crush Mack's value.
Trade for Chester Rogers
Speaking of the Colts, "Tre" Rogers was one of my favorite sleepers last year (he later was injured, and Andrew Luck never made it back). Now that Luck is finally expected to return and Donte Moncrief is a free agent, it's as good a time as any to get the former actor on your roster. At the combine, Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Rogers "has a chance to really ascend." Speaking of Luck, remember that he was a top-four fantasy quarterback his past three full seasons. He's another player to try to acquire.
Trade for Carlos Henderson
Denver appears likely to hang on to both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but both are over age 30, and the team has very little else in terms of viable targets. Henderson was a highly intriguing third-round pick last year and is returning from a thumb injury that cost him his entire rookie season. It will be hard for Denver's quarterback situation to be worse than it was last season, so try to trade for Henderson at a discount while you still can.
Trade for the Chicago Bears' offense
Specifically, go after QB Mitchell Trubisky, WR Cameron Meredith and TE Adam Shaheen. Expecting new head coach Matt Nagy to improve this offense to the extent that Doug Pederson did in Philadelphia or Sean McVay did in Los Angeles is asking a lot, but it will be hard for this unit to not be better than it was under super-conservative John Fox and Dowell Loggains. Trubisky (second overall) and Shaheen (45th) were early draft picks last year, and Meredith was poised for a breakout season prior to tearing his ACL in preseason. He very well could enter 2018 as Chicago's No. 1 wide receiver.
Trade away Giovani Bernard
The Bengals appear dedicated to second-year player Joe Mixon as their workhorse running back. That leaves Bernard without much of an offensive role. He's a terrific player, but he's also signed through 2019 and without a clear path to touches.
Trade for David Njoku
Njoku was one of the league's youngest players last season, but he played pretty well on 29 snaps per game. He has elite upside as a receiving tight end, and the Browns' offense is poised for a step forward, especially if the team hits on a quarterback (I'm asking a lot here, I know). Get Njoku now before he breaks out.
Trade away Lamar Miller
Miller has the all-important "name value," which is why you should be exploring deals. If one of your league mates views him as a fringe RB1, take advantage. Miller's efficiency has been very weak during two seasons with Houston, and he was playing second fiddle to Alfred Blue down the stretch last season. Houston's offense could be elite with Deshaun Watson back this season (which would boost Miller's value), but it's more likely that Miller loses significant work to D'Onta Foreman (assuming he makes a full return from a torn Achilles).
Trade away Mark Ingram
Ingram is 28 years old, fresh off the best season of his career and headed into a contract year. That might seem like reason to hold tight, but it's likely that Ingram is currently at peak value. Alvin Kamara was electric as a rookie and is likely to take on a larger workload in his second year (as he did down the stretch last season). Ingram figures to have a decent 2018, but expecting both Saints running backs to repeat as top-six fantasy backs is a pipe dream.
Trade for Chris Godwin
Godwin's name popped up at the combine when Buccaneers GM Jason Licht said he has "earned the right for a bigger role." It adds up. A third-round pick last season, Godwin was limited to 424 snaps as a rookie, but he looked the part when called upon. During the three weeks he ran at least three-quarters of the team's pass routes, Godwin averaged 9.3 targets per game and ranked seventh at the position in fantasy points. Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson remain roadblocks, but the cream rises in the NFL. Go get Godwin now, and hold tight.