The legal tampering period always announces the beginning of the new NFL league year, and then as the clock strikes 2:00 pm on March 15, free agency opens in a flurry. Teams rush to sign their new players and announce them to the world. In the ensuing chaos, both interested fans of the NFL and excitable partakers of the great game of fantasy football speculate as to how those new players will impact their favorite teams and their fantasy rosters. So let's dive into the wide receiver group that signed deals so far in free agency and see what kind of impact they'll have!
Jakobi Meyers, Las Vegas Raiders
Meyers, who many considered the top free agent at the receiver position this year, received a somewhat disappointing contract from the Las Vegas Raiders, getting $33 million over three years with $21 million guaranteed. Obviously a terrific contract for any player that went undrafted, but some assumed that the scarcity at the position would lead to more interest for Meyers. Landing with the Raiders has people a little glum because, on the surface, it seems a bit crowded in the receiving room.
Looking closer, though, Meyers could have a path to a decent fantasy output in 2023 and beyond, as Darren Waller was moved to the New York Giants, and there have been rumors that Hunter Renfrow could be on the trade block. Meyers is a versatile receiver that can play both the slot and outside, so he should have a solid amount of relevance playing the short-to-intermediate for new free agent signing Jimmy Garoppolo.
2023 Fantasy Football Prediction: Top-30 WR. Draft him in the early teen rounds as your WR4.
Allen Lazard, New York Jets
Once we heard that Aaron Rodgers wants to play for the Jets, I'm sure most people gravitated to this move being a logical landing spot for Lazard, who is friends with Rodgers and will be thrilled to play with him again in New York. Lazard signed a four-year, $44 million contract with $22 million guaranteed. The problem is, I'm not exactly sure what role Lazard will play on his new team. In Green Bay, Lazard was an excellent run-blocking receiver, noted as one of the best in the NFL. However, Corey Davis is still on the Jets as of this writing, and he is also a very solid run-blocking receiver who has had success as a Jet. The most logical conclusion is that Davis is included in the eventual Green Bay-New York trade, and Lazard takes over his role.
Davis has had injury issues in his time as a Jet. But he hasn't been all that productive when healthy, so there is space to wonder where Lazard fits in this offense with Garrett Wilson firmly entrenched as the WR1.
2023 Fantasy Football Prediction: Top 36 WR. He should be available in the back portion of your drafts.
Adam Thielen, Carolina Panthers
It will be weird not to see Thielen don the Vikings' purple uniforms in 2023 after playing for them for nearly 10 seasons. But here we are, with Thielen signing a three-year, $25 million contract with $14 million guaranteed to play with the Panthers' ragtag group of guys and a brand new rookie quarterback coming in late April. Thielen slots in as the de facto WR1 in this offense, given that the other options are Terrace Marshall, Laviska Shenault Jr, and Shi Smith, but there was a definitive drop-off in Thielen's game last season. He struggled to get separation, and you have to ask yourself whether he only got most of his 107 targets due to teams double-teaming Justin Jefferson.
I'm a Thielen fan, so we'll see what happens, but you should probably have some safer options for your fantasy team before you take a flier on Thielen.
2023 Fantasy Football Prediction: WR4 with the possibility of volume sliding him into the WR3 team. People will probably let him slide in the later rounds of your draft.
Continue reading this content with a 100% free Insider subscription.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, NBC Sports EDGE