By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
If you head over to the Club Fantasy Instagram page, you can stay up to speed on all the transactions as they occur, or as fast as my graphic designer can make some bomb ass pictures for you to like. Below you’ll see how I view all of the relevant NFL offseason transactions. I say relevant because, for the purposes of fantasy football, defensive signings don’t impact us as much as the offensive ones. I’ll cover the defensive signings when I do my team-by-team previews later in the summer.
I’ll identify the player, who they signed with or were traded to, and how I think it impacts their fantasy value going into 2017, positive or negative. Next up: Jared Cook signs with Oakland.
Transaction: Jared Cook signs with the Oakland Raiders
Fantasy Outlook: Many fantasy pundits expected Raiders TE Clive Walford to be something of a name to know going into 2016 drafts. An athletic tight end is all the rage these days and they can be used to distract defenses from other weapons, or make defenses pay for forgetting about them. But Walford never took that next step in his second season, with only 33 catches for 359 yards and 3 touchdowns. With so many other offensive weapons at their disposal, the Raiders decided to bring in someone to do what they hoped Walford would have done in his second year.
This offseason, the Raiders brought in Jared Cook, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, to be yet another weapon at quarterback Derek Carr’s disposal. Cook proved to be a difference-maker down the stretch in the Packers run to the playoffs, even making a spectacular sideline catch to extend a drive. But Cook priced himself out of Green Bay, who turned their attention to Martellus Bennett, and Cook found himself with few suitors for his services. Enter Oakland.
Maybe it’s just me, but I like Walford as an option for Carr and the Raiders offense. Of course, I’m a Miami Hurricanes fan, so this may come across as a little biased, but I just think the Oakland offense isn’t tailor made to exploit the tight end position. If they think Jared Cook is the answer, they may be mistaken. Just look at last season. Cook had 30 catches for 377 yards and 1 touchdown. Not exactly earth shattering number, am I right?
In Cook’s eight NFL seasons, only last year did he have a formidable QB throwing him the football. But instead of taking advantage of it and showcasing the abilities many of us feel he has, he missed 6 games and only showed some of that promise towards the tail-end of the season.
To Cook’s credit, he is usually healthy. Maybe last year was an anomaly. Or maybe it’s just what you should expect going forward. After his late season surge, Cook is likely to generate buzz as a top 10 option at TE going into this season’s fantasy drafts. I think he’s more top 15 option than top 7 or top 10, even if he’s fully healthy. I’d look for Cook to have around 40 catches for 460 yards or so and maybe 3 TDs. Again, I just don’t think the Raiders offense is built to exploit TEs, no matter how much they really want to. By the end of it, they’ll think Walford was the right guy all along, and could’ve spent Cook’s salary on ways to improve their defense.