The NFL season ended with Ray Lewis riding off into the New Orleans sunset and the Baltimore Ravens capturing the Super Bowl XLVII championship. After the confetti settled, there was a victory parade and then the flood gates to free agency opened. The 2013 NFL free agency was set off after the Ravens inked their Super Bowl MVP QB to the richest contract in quarterback history. So while Flacco’s stock rose as a result of reaching the pinnacle of the sport, his fantasy ranking took a hit with the loss of perennial All-Pro wide-receiver Anquan Boldin. Not to mention the other losses they took on the chin with the mass exodus on the defensive side of the ball with Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and future hall-of-famer Ed Reed. Without further introduction, here are your losers from the 2013 NFL free agency frenzy.
Big Ben had a forgettable end to last season resulting in being shut out of the playoffs. In the offseason he suffered the loss of his favorite target, Mike Wallace, to the Miami Dolphins. The loss of Mendenhall to the Cardinals doesn’t help either. With 35 year old Plaxico Burress presently a top wideout option, one can’t think Big Ben is feeling great about this offseason thus far.
Patriots Nation probably feels much better with the signing of Danny Amendola, but the loss of Wes Welker won’t be an easy one. For the last 6 seasons Welker has been one of Brady’s favorite targets and owner Robert Kraft’s comments about the loss of Welker were indicative of it. The Patriots have seen a more steady balance in the running game as well. Brady is still going to be elite, but his numbers could take a hit early in the season as a result until he builds chemistry with his receiving corps.
CJ2K looked much better running the ball last season than he did a couple years ago, coming off his contract dispute. However, his numbers paled in comparison to what most fantasy owners expected. The addition of Shonn Greene to bang between the tackles certainly means he needs to find a way to break the big one or he can expect those goal line and subsequent TD carries to decline.
With the release of Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, it begs the question how will Buffalo address the void at that position. From all early indications it seems like the upcoming NFL draft is the Bills’ answer. With a rookie quarterback at the helm, expect 7 or 8 in the box to stop the run. This would definitely make it much more difficult for Spiller to match his league-leading rushing yards per carry from last season. It’s hard to find running room without a proven QB to keep a defense honest.
The loss of Danny Amendola to the New England Patriots hurts the progression of quarterback Sam Bradford. Not only was Amendola the #1 option for Bradford, but he was also the most targeted receiver, period. Now he’s gone and Steven Jackson jumped ship to join the Matty Ice bunch in Atlanta. Bradford will be shouldering an awfully heavy load without much of a supporting cast. However, his backside should be a little cleaner with the recent signing of left tackle Jake Long.
Jennings was plagued last season by injury but he’s been very productive and is still in his prime. The move within the NFC North to the Vikings means he’ll likely be the #1 option, but Jennings won’t have the luxury of Favre still being there to throw him the ball. This is a ball controlled offense dominated by Peterson and Christian Ponder doesn’t scare defenses much so don’t expect the same numbers in purple that he put up with Aaron Rodgers.
The fact that Arizona hasn’t done anything in free agency and cut Kevin Kolb makes it probable that they will address their issues via the draft, with the possibility of taking Geno Smith. This could result in Fitzgerald suffering another season of going through the motions. He’s arguably the best pass-catcher in the league, but it’s been since the days of Kurt Warner that’s he’s been truly fantasy relevant.
The Ravens Defense certainly hasn’t been the formidable force they were from the early 2000s and with the mass exodus at linebacker, cornerback and Ed Reed’s recent departure to the Texans that defensive unit appears to be in a bit of trouble. The recent signing of Elvis Dumervil from the Broncos adds some D-Line support opposite of Suggs.