By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Fantasy football is over. Or is it? Because I see it as the beginning. The beginning of the start of your season. Now is where you get the edge on your league mates. If you know all the ins and outs of who goes where – from players to coordinators and position coaches – you’re priming yourself for a trip to your fantasy playoffs in the upcoming season.
First comes free agency, then comes the draft. Sounds like the start of a fantasy addict’s nursery rhyme, but I digress. There will be plenty of content coming your way from Club Fantasy on this year’s draft class, but first, we start with NFL free agency.
This series will cover offensive players, as they have the most impact in fantasy circles and we at Club Fantasy don’t play individual defensive players, or IDPs as the kids call it these days.
Next up on the free agent preview list: Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills.
Kenny Stills had arguably his best season as a pro in 2016, and at the right time in his career no less. He caught 42 passes for 726 yards and an eye-popping nine touchdowns. The catches and yards suggest a complimentary receiver: a solid number two or excellent number three. Early reports suggest Stills and his representatives are looking for a contract in the $12 million a year range, making him out to be a number one receiver for his next team.
Um, someone’s on that Grade-A medical kush if they think Stills is a number one wide receiver.
He filled in admirably throughout the season for the Dolphins as they dealt with a string of injuries to their number 2 wideout, DeVante Parker. It’s easy to suggest that Stills’ touchdowns will regress to his career numbers – no better than 5 in his three previous seasons – but given the system his next team puts him in, the sky could be the limit for the fourth year speedster.
If Stills does indeed command a contract averaging eight figures, consider him way out of Miami’s price range. Just as Miami would love to have him back, a team in free agency would love to overpay him with the amount of excess cap space that is running rampant throughout the league.
Stills would fit best as a number two that can stretch a defense. Plenty of teams will covet his speed, and since he’ll be turning 25 in April, he’s got many years of said speed left in him, barring injury. So where will Stills land? What team will be able to maximize his skill set to turn him into a fantasy superstar?
Here are the candidates:
Duh. A team in need of speed, the Eagles are linked with every available wide receiver. The biggest question for them in their pursuit of playmakers: can they afford them? The Eagles have yet to release any veterans making significant money and therefore can’t afford to offer these guys the type of money it will take to land them. Stills might even be a better option for this team than DeSean Jackson, as he is five years younger. The Eagles want playmakers that will be able to grow and create a rapport with franchise quarterback Carson Wentz.
As tempting as this pairing looks to be, it seems like a pipe dream at best.
The Browns haven’t been linked to a ton of free agents, despite their league high $102 million in cap space, according to Overthecap.com. They have to look at resigning Terrelle Pryor, but with mere days before the beginning of free agency and no deal in place, if Pryor doesn’t return, where will the Browns turn? They drafted Corey Coleman out of Baylor in 2016 and believe him to be a number one wide receiver in the making. Wouldn’t Stills be a nice compliment to Coleman for a solid one-two punch to whomever throws passes in Cleveland?
Another point to add: Cleveland is in the process of getting younger and rebuilding the roster. Stills will be 25 at the start of the season, so he fits in well with their youth movement.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
They are heavily involved in trying to bring DeSean Jackson to Tampa. Stills would be a nice conciliation prize, albeit one that will likely be more expected. The Bucs need speed on offense in the worst way, and Stills would provide an ability to get behind defenses and take attention away from star wideout Mike Evans.
It won’t be Miami. It likely won’t be the Browns, unless they decide to spend money for the sake of spending money. The Eagles won’t get into play unless they clear some cap space. And the Bucs feel like a long shot. So where does Stills go? Probably to a team not on this list. But for the sake of argument, I’ll say the Browns, as things with Pryor seem to be breaking down and they’ll need someone to catch ducks from their next quarterback.