Old faces in new places
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - We're only a few days into this season's NFL free-agency period, but we've already seen significant movement that will effect fantasy owners.

While a few of the stars stayed put (see Tony Gonzalez, Joe Flacco, Dwayne Bowe), we have already seen plenty of players with fantasy value move to new venues.

Let's look at some of those moves and evaluate what the change in scenery will do to their fantasy value.

Wes Welker, Denver - The news of Welker heading to the Rocky Mountains received most of the attention this week as it should have when you realize how consistently strong a fantasy option Welker is. Over his last six seasons he's caught 672 balls for 7,459 yards and 38 touchdowns. That averages out to 112 receptions for 1,243 yards and 6.3 TDs per season. While he leaves the comfort of his friend and future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, he's going to Denver where Peyton Manning showed last season that the neck injury is not a problem. Instead of sharing targets with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez it will be Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. There is no reason he can't continue to produce at the same level.

Mike Wallace, Miami - Wallace leaves cold, snowy Pittsburgh for the winter warmth of South Beach which may make him happy, but his fantasy owners ... not so much. It will be hard for anyone to say he's upgraded at quarterback by going from two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger to second-year signal caller Ryan Tannehill. "Big Ben" averaged between 250-288 yards per game over the past four seasons Wallace was in Pittsburgh, while Tannehill averaged 205.9 ypg in his debut season. Wallace will be the No. 1 receiver, but do not expect him to reach the heights we saw in 2010 (60-1,257-10) or 2011 (72-1,193-8).

Reggie Bush, Detroit - Bush surprised fantasy owners when he first came to Miami in 2011 by staying healthy and rushing for 2,046 yards over two season. He now brings his running and pass-catching ability to Detroit where they have been begging for someone to stand up and take control of the running game since Barry Sanders left over a decade ago. Bush is no Sanders, but he seems to be an excellent match for the Lions' offensive style. He probably won't get into the end zone much with the bigger Mikel Leshoure still around, but he could rack up 1,000 yards rushing and catch 50 balls out of the backfield.

Danny Amendola, New England - What receiver wouldn't want the role as the "new" Wes Welker? The question for fantasy owners concerning Amendola is the same one we asked in St. Louis ... Can he stay healthy? If he does, he has the talent to be another Welker and rack up 90-100 receptions and 1,000-plus yards.

Steven Jackson, Atlanta - Atlanta traded one declining back for another by sending Michael Turner packing and signing Jackson (saving a couple of million dollars per season). Jackson is a solid running back. but Jacquizz Rodgers will still be the Falcons' receiving back making Jackson a two-down player. Jackson's fantasy value will rise slightly simply because he'll get more opportunities to score in the red zone.

Danny Woodhead, San Diego - Woodhead leaves New England to become the backup to running back Ryan Mathews and given Mathews' propensity for injuries over his first three seasons might have a chance to play more than in the four-player RBBC he was stuck in with the Patriots. He'll also likely be the third-down back which will reduce Mathews' fantasy value even further.

Jared Cook, St. Louis - Cook received a load of cash from the Rams who haven't had this talented a tight end since the team moved to Missouri. Although he's never caught more than 49 balls or 759 yards in a season the Rams are paying him like a top-six tight end and he has the size, speed and talent to be one. He should become Sam Bradford's favorite target and set personal bests in both receptions and yards.

Martellus Bennett, Chicago - Bennett started off strong last season with the Giants, but injuries ruined any chance of him being a factor for fantasy owners. Also, Eli Manning still preferred to throw to his wideouts Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz whenever possible. With the Bears he could be a solid second option for Jay Cutler who only had one reliable target last season - Brandon Marshall. Seventy catches and 800 yards would not be out of the question if he plays 16 games.

James Casey, Philadelphia - New Eagles coach Chip Kelly always used his tight ends in the passing game when he was at Oregon and that should help Casey in producing numbers in Philadelphia. He'll still have to share time with Brent Celek, but twice in his introduction the coach referred to Aaron Hernandez when talking about Casey. With DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on the outside and LeSean McCoy catching balls out of the backfield, Casey doesn't figure to have enough fantasy value unless he surpasses Celek and takes over as a full-time starter.

Shonn Greene, Tennessee - Greene leaves the bright lights of New York for a backup role with the Titans. Barring injury to starter Chris Johnson, Greene will have no fantasy value. Even if he becomes the team's short yardage guy, it's a role he didn't do very well last season averaging just 2.5 ypg versus the league short-yardage average of 3.1 ypc.

Other players to follow during summer camp and the exhibition season are: Dustin Keller, Miami; Mike Goodson, New York Jets; Delanie Walker, Tennessee; Donnie Avery, Kansas City; Drew Stanton, Arizona.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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