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Best free agents

Unsigned players with the best chance of making an impact

Leonard Fournette is letting it be known, through Adam Schefter, that he would like to sign with a team before training camp. Per a social media post, Schefter says Fournette is in shape and ready to go.

While Fournette isn’t done with the league, however, the league might be done with him. He’s 29 and has hardly been a factor the last two years. He averaged 3.5 yards per carry for the Bucs in 2022. Buffalo signed him halfway through last season but got on the field for only two games, carrying 12 times for 40 yards. It doesn’t look good.

Two other similar veteran backs are also looking for work, Dalvin Cook and Kareem Hunt. I see Cook as the most likely of these three to perhaps start a few games this year. He was a lightly used afterthought for the Jets last year, but I remember him ripping off a 19-yard run in the fourth quarter of Baltimore’s playoff game against the Texans where he didn’t look any different than he did in his final season with the Vikings (he had two games over 100 yards that year, with another four over 90). Cook, however, gained only 4 yards on his other 7 carries in that playoff game last year.

The Cowboys seem like they could add another back; they’re currently going with Ezekiel Elliott, Rico Dowdle, Deuce Vaughn and Malik Davis. I think it can be debated whether Cook is better than any of those backs.

Cam Akers is also a free agent running back, with reports indicating he’ll re-sign with the Vikings as a backup.

Ryan Tannehill looks like the best free agent quarterback. He’s 35, and he went 6-6 as a starter with the Titans two years ago, with 13 touchdowns versus 6 interceptions.

Michael Thomas looks like the most notable current free agent (among skill-position players, at least). He’s been plagued by injuries the last four years, but he’s supposedly healthy now, and there have been spurts of production. Thomas caught 11 passes for 122 yards and 3 TDs in the first two weeks of the 2022 season. The BetOnline sportsbook lists the Cowboys, Bills, Ravens and Broncos (in that order) as the favorites to land his services. Thomas caught a record 149 passes in the 2019 season.

I would think Hunter Renfrow will also sign somewhere before long. He’s sputtered the last two seasons, but he was an effective slot in 2021, catching 103 passes.

Jimmy Graham says he’s interested in re-signing with the Saints. Graham is 37, but they used him some as a goal-line option last year, resulting in 4 TDs. With Juwan Johnson trying to work his way back from a foot injury, the Saints may re-up with Graham.

In a typical 12-team league, I would think Thomas should be rostered in the final few rounds. Cook and Renfrow are the other two players I could see getting drafted with a speculative late-round stabs in fantasy drafts (especially those of the best-ball variety).

BEST AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
PosPlayerAgelast tm
QBRyan Tannehill35.9Tennessee
RBDalvin Cook28.9Baltimore
RBCam Akers25.0Dolphins
RBKareem Hunt28.9Cleveland
RBLeonard Fournette29.5Buffalo
RBJoshua Kelley26.6LA Chargers
RBJerick McKinnon32.2Kansas City
TEJimmy Graham37.6New Orleans
WRMichael Thomas31.4New Orleans
WRHunter Renfrow28.5Las Vegas
WRRobbie Chosen31.2Miami

—Ian Allan

Fantasy Index