Tag Archives: Curtis Samuel

2021 NFL Free Agency Winners and Losers

It’s been one week since the legal tampering period unofficially began the 2021 NFL free agency period. The first wave is always action-packed. That’s because there is already a week’s worth of speculation and fans worked into a lather. By the time free agency officially opens, we have a pretty good idea on a number of deals and the frenzy only grows from there.

It must be said, no team wins the Super Bowl in March (or April or any month that isn’t February really). Still, there were clear winners and losers of this first run on the open market. Some earned their designation through shrewd activity while others watched the world pass them by.

Winners and Losers of the First Wave of 2021 NFL Free Agency

We’re about six weeks out from the NFL Draft but free agency in the NFL is in full effect. By the time the new crop of NFL players gets set to hear their name called, we should have a better picture of who’s landing where and why. Please note, “better” does not mean we’ll know for sure, but it’ll be a heck of a lot easier both in predictions and in the aftermath when explaining picks.


New England Patriots

Let’s just get this out of the way, there is definitely some bias implicit in this ranking. Cam Newton is a personal favorite and the thought of the Patriots actually trying this season with him at the helm is intriguing. Now, this isn’t to say New England won’t be drafting a quarterback early on. But Cam will get a crack with the new pieces Bill Belichick has put around him.

Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne received deals worth a combined $48.5 million which had everyone up in arms. So much so that the additions of tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith (combined $87.5 million, $56.25 guaranteed). Did they pay a premium? Yes. But how soon we forget what Belichick can do with two dynamic pass-catchers running up the seams.

This isn’t just about outside additions, either. New England lost nine of 11 defensive starters to opt-outs last season. Many of those players are returning including one Dont’a Hightower. His presence alone in the middle of that unit should uplift a defense that still ranked seventh in points and 15th in yards. Add in Matthew Judon and the return of Kyle Van Noy and there might be something cooking up in Foxboro.

Washington Football Team

The Washington Football Team has undergone a major facelift, even if it remains to be seen if the inner-workings have taken to the changes. Still, on the field, the Football Team (which they will be called for the foreseeable future) should be much improved after winning the NFC East last season at 7-9. They’ll certainly have a little magic.

Ryan Fitzpatrick joins his ninth team in his 17th season on a one-year $10 million deal that could be worth up to $12 million. Fitzmagic will have a new weapon joining stud wide receiver Terry McLaurin in former Carolina Panthers receiver, Curtis Samuel (3yr/$34.5 million). He’s coming off a season in which he set career-highs in catches and yards. Retaining Brandon Scherff might be the best move of all.

They didn’t ignore their stellar defense either, signing cornerback William Jackson away from the Bengals on a three-year $40.5 million deal with $26 million in guarantees. He’ll join Kendall Fuller and should allow a little more flexibility in coverage than his predecessor Ronald Darby. And with their stellar defensive front, they could once again be the team to beat in the division.

Los Angeles Rams

This is more about quality than quantity, as the Rams only made two outside additions, and one was via trade. But when that trade brings back a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford it’s worth noting. Jared Goff got paid a couple of years ago but, ultimately, he was a limiting factor for an offense that ranked 11th in yards and 22nd in points.

Stafford has spent the entirety of his 12-year career toiling away in Detroit. This has to be like hitting the lottery. The Rams offense is just a year removed from ranking second in both points and yards and two years from being the highest-scoring act in the league. His Lions offenses never ranked higher than third in yards or fourth in points and were incredibly imbalanced.

L.A. brought DeSean Jackson home as their other outside addition. He’ll theoretically help to stretch the field but he’s only appeared in eight games total over the past two seasons. Leonard Floyd re-signing is the more impactful decision after his career-high 10.5 sacks for the league’s top-ranked defense.


Chicago Bears

Not all free agency activity is created equal. Some have criticized the amount of the deals given to Kenny Golladay or Bud Dupree. But both of those moves at least have a shot at paying off big in areas of need for the Giants and Titans, respectively. The Bears big move was signing Andy Dalton to a one-year, $10 million deal that could get up to $13 million.

Some are calling Dalton a competent starter but his interception rate has been over 2.4 in all but two of his 10 seasons. His penchant for turning the ball over (he threw eight interceptions in 11 games with nine starts for the Cowboys last season) and lack of mobility would seem to be the antithesis of what Chicago needs at the position. They franchised Allen Robinson though.

The defense didn’t miss out on the fun as it saw Kyle Fuller released, not traded, and replaced by the oft-injured Desmond Trufant. Mario Edwards returns and they add Jeremiah Attaochu as nice depth pieces. But, after all the build-up over a Russell Wilson trade, this was a big letdown.

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore had one job. One. That was to get Lamar Jackson a number one wide receiver. They can be excused for not retaining Matt Judon and all of his six sacks. The money paid to Kevin Zeitler is fine; they missed Marshal Yanda last season. But not addressing the wide receiver room in free agency is borderline criminal.

They went after JuJu Smith-Schuster but he took less to stay put. Yes, this draft class is deep at receiver but the position usually takes time to develop. Golladay would have been  perfect fits for this group with Marquise Brown on the outside and Mark Andrews down the seams. But even some of the lesser names like Marvin Jones or Corey Davis would have been nice additions.

Baltimore is also in danger of losing Orlando Brown due to a contract dispute. This is shaping up as a regressive offseason for the Ravens. Maybe they add T.Y. Hilton, who would be nice in this offense, but they’d still need a big body on the outside. And this says nothing of their waning pass-rush.

Best and Worst of 2021 NFL Free Agency

This is just the first wave of free agency and we still have the 2021 NFL Draft yet to come. So we’ll check back in to see where things stand then. But these are the teams that have had the best and worst free agency periods.

Week 10 Waiver Wire: Coastal Elite

Week 10 waiver wire: Hopefully, you were on the giving end of one of the explosive performances from this weekend in the NFL. If you had Dalvin Cook or Davante Adams this weekend there’s a really good chance you walked away with a ‘W’. Unless, of course, the rest of your lineup proceeded to wet the bed (*dries tears*). Basically, there were several stars performing like stars this week.

There were also some surprises, confirmations, and a few other happenings. So the Week 10 wire will include a quarterback back from the brink, a running back that might finally get his chance, and a receiver that keeps popping up with big games in relief. That’s big with the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs joining the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets on bye. As usual, most if not all of these players fall below 50% ownership.

Rams and Patriots Headline the Week 10 Waiver wire


Jared Goff

Los Angeles Rams

Quick, who is the QB13 on the season? If your answer wasn’t one Jared Goff, thanks for playing. Goff and the Los Angeles Rams are coming off of their bye and he didn’t have a great game before the break. But he does have a couple of appearances in the weekly top-10 and several others in the top-18. Los Angeles is run-heavy this year, but this game presents an interesting challenge.

Goff draws the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. They’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks including the QB2 performance of Josh Allen in Week 9. Kyler Murray was the QB2 against them in Week 7. Seattle even let Nick Mullens finish as the QB16 in Week 8. The bottom line is, they are a sieve against the pass and fairly sturdy against the run. Fire up Goff, and all of his weapons for that matter, with confidence.

Nick Foles

Chicago Bears

This is where there is a clear delineation of real-life football from fantasy. In no world (in any way shape, or form) would Nick Foles be a recommended starting quarterback for your real team. But in fantasy, we don’t care how you rack up points, just rack ‘em up. Foles has one of the best defenses in the league behind him but his unit fails to move the ball most of the game; ranking 28th or worse in scoring and on third and fourth downs.

Since his first start in Week 4, however, Foles is actually QB17 on the season. He’s ahead of names like Ben Roethlisberger and Matthew Stafford. Not elite fantasy quarterbacks by any stretch but all very serviceable. With a date against the Minnesota Vikings (who’ve allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks) on deck for Week 10, this might be a hold your nose situation.

Running Backs

Malcolm Brown

Los Angeles Rams

We just got done talking about how good Goff’s outlook was in Week 10 and now we’re going to tell you why Malcolm Brown could be useful in lineups. The Rams are still going to try establishing the run and Brown is just 20 carries and 144 yards behind team-leader Darrell Henderson. They both have three rushing scores. All of that without drawing one start for L.A. Henderson got banged up before the bye though he is expected to be fine. But that shouldn’t deter you from deploying Brown this week.

He’s gotten double-digit carries four times this season and Henderson was active for all of them. But in a game with such a high point expectancy, you want to get any viable piece of the action that you can. You’re probably still hoping he finds the end zone; only Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison surpassed 60 yards against the Seahawks. But again, double-digit carries. You aren’t finding that in many back-up running backs across the league. And don’t let the Rams get out to a lead like the Bills did.

Kalen Ballage

Los Angeles Chargers

Injuries suck no matter when they occur. But fantasy owners of Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson got a big fat goose egg in their lineups when he hurt his knee on the first play of the game against the Las Vegas Raiders. He played two more snaps but didn’t record a touch. It was a blow but Kalen Ballage stepped up in real life and might have a shot to do so for your fantasy team in Week 10.

Los Angeles hosts the upstart Miami Dolphins. They aren’t a cakewalk but they aren’t to be avoided either. Ballage, who was traded by the Dolphins to the Jets this preseason, out-carried rookie Joshua Kelley 15-9. While the latter got more action through the air, the former still managed to haul in two of his three targets for 15 yards, adding to his profile for Week 10. Of course, this depends on whether or not Jackson recovers, but if he misses time, Ballage could help you stay afloat.

Rex Burkhead

New England Patriots

Speaking of wasting entire spiels, we included Damien Harris in our Week 9 write-up. Now Harris is dealing with a chest injury. But that allowed Rex Burkhead to re-emerge as a viable option. Burkhead finished as the RB8 in Week 9, rushing 12 times for 56 yards and three passes for 11 yards. He also scored two touchdowns, one each via the air and ground. It was Burkhead’s second appearance in the top-10. He was RB2 way back in Week 3.

The New England Patriots will face a tough matchup in Week 10, hosting the tough Baltimore Ravens. They’re allowing the fewest points to running backs this season but only the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans backs in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, and the Colts backs in Week 9 failed to crack the top-20 against them. James White is still around and Cam Newton is always a threat to vulture at the goal line. But Burkhead’s versatility will serve him well in what is sure to be a hard-fought battle in Week 10.

Wide Receivers

Jakobi Meyers

Sticking with the Patriots, if you watched Monday Night Football in Week 9, first I’m sorry. But second, you certainly noticed one Jakobi Meyers, Week 9’s WR4. The second-year former quarterback out of N.C. State was easily Newton’s favorite target on the night, garnering 14 looks and catching 12 for 169 yards. He was repeatedly open in the middle of the field as the New York Jets wanted Newton to throw down the field. He and Meyers picked them apart instead.

Baltimore is just as tough on wide receivers as back so this is going to be tough sledding for Meyers. The Ravens have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to receivers this season. They have, however, given up top-10 performances to Travis Fulgham and Terry McLaurin, and Tyreek Hill was WR12 in Week 3. Fulgham and McLaurin are probably better comps as target hogs on bad teams. That bodes well for Meyers.

Curtis Samuel

Carolina Panthers

There is some inherent risk in playing Carolina Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel, though admittedly less so than normal. Samuel had buzz coming into the season as a versatile playmaker and the coaching staff even talked him up as such. But he failed to even score double-digit fantasy points in any of the first four games this season. He’s flipped that over his last four contests, recording increasing point totals every week culminating with being the WR7. He’s also scored in each of the last three games. Samuel is the WR12 since Week 5 and is the WR6 (!!!) over the last three weeks.

Carolina draws an almost certainly pissed off Buccaneers team down in Tampa in Week 10. They’re 12th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers and only four receivers have finished in the top-20 for the week against them. Fortunately for Carolina, two of the receivers were Panthers. Both D.J. Moore (WR10) and Robby Anderson (WR12) did it in Week 2. Perhaps Samuel, who will be in the mix for carries if Christian McCaffrey misses more time.

KJ Hamler

Denver Broncos

This is our first rookie of the week after previous listings often had several at a time. But KJ Hamler might be emerging as a reliable option for the Denver Broncos at the right time. Drew Lock (who made last week’s article) has thrown five touchdowns over his last two starts. Hamler has nine catches, 88 yards, and a touchdown in that same span. He also finished as the WR29 in Week 9.

There are a few hurdles for Hamler to clear to maintain relevance. First, he is competing with fellow rookie Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick for targets. In his favor, Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam are both banged up, freeing up space (and targets) in the middle of the field should one or both miss time. Denver faces the Raiders in Week 10. They are 17th in fantasy points allowed to receivers.

Tight End

Irv Smith Jr

Minnesota Vikings

It’s one thing to ignore a one-off, TE4 performance. It’s another thing entirely to ignore Irv Smith Jr. having several top-12 performances. Or that he is the TE15 on the year despite having just three starts and playing behind Kyle Rudolph most of the season. In fact, Smith has out-snapped Rudolph in each of the last two games. The Minnesota Vikings aren’t the defensive force they once were so Smith has been a revelation.

Minnesota travels to Chicago in Week 10 to take on the reeling Bears. They have one of the best defenses in the NFL but there are weak spots. They effectively lock down the perimeter but have shown to be vulnerable to backs and tight ends at times. Chicago is 28th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and have given up six touchdowns to the position. Smith has been a weapon for the Vikings and that should continue in Week 10.