DAY 1: WILL FULLER V
Throughout the season, the NFL provides countless unforgettable moments, but some of the biggest moments in the year don’t even happen during the actual season. During the off season, some of the largest and most earth shattering moments take place. We have already experienced a few so far in the form of a wild trade in which Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff took a cue from Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy by trading places as well as JJ Watt joining his former teammate Deandre Hopkins in Arizona. On top of those amazing moves, some of the most interesting shifts to NFL rosters will be happening next week, beginning on March 17th, the period when Free Agency begins. It is one of the most exciting times in the year for football fans and for the implications to the intricate world of fantasy football. That is why DayDreamer Media has dedicated this week to the art of pontification, postulation and overall speculation.
From Monday to Friday of this week, we will be discussing the most interesting free agents who have the highest probability to pack their bags and make their way to a new city. We will also be doing a follow up article about the honorable mentions who just got edged out of our top five picks in the following week. Without any further ado, our first free agent pick of the week is Will Fuller V of the Houston Texans.
Will Fuller V has spent his entire five-year career in Houston and is coming off his best season by far despite playing only 11 games. He hit career highs in a multitude of categories including receiving yards (879), touchdowns (8), and receiving yards per game (79.9.) He was a major highlight on the dismal Texans team, taking advantage of the mind bottling trade of Deandre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals which saw Fuller become the number one receiver for Deshaun Watson. Unfortunately for him, his year was cut short when over Thanksgiving weekend he was caught indulging in more than just a traditional turkey dinner as he was suspended for six games due to a PED violation. However, that suspension might be a blessing in disguise because it seems incredibly likely that his tenure with the Houston organization will be coming to an end later this month. At this point, the Texans team is crumbling like the California coast in the John Cusack disaster flick “2012,” so even though he still won’t be able to play the first game of the 2021 season, it seems Fuller has almost guaranteed his freedom from the disaster that is Houston at the moment.
One of the biggest signs leading to his seemingly inevitable departure is that Houston has not given the franchise tag to Fuller meaning he is still a major free agent possibility. Houston could free up cap space elsewhere, but for the time being, they do not have enough cap capital to franchise him. With the inevitability of Fuller’s departure growing each day, here are the top five destinations he could land.
1. The Indianapolis Colts: The Spite Pick
Besides the trade involving Stafford and Goff and JJ Watt going to Arizona, one of the other major moves that’s happened so far this offseason has been the Colt’s acquisition of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. On top of filling the big hole left by the departure of veteran QB Philip Rivers to a well-deserved retirement, Carson Wentz also reunites with his former offensive coordinator in Frank Reich. He is the same offensive coordinator that saw Wentz set an Eagles franchise record for passing touchdowns in a season with 33. I don’t expect Wentz to be breaking that record with the Colts given some of the historic quarterbacks they have had, but I think Wentz can make an immediate impact on the team. That’s all fun and good, but why does that matter in relation to Will Fuller V?
Well, Fuller has shown what he is capable of when playing with a competent quarterback, and even though Wentz is not in the same caliber as Deshaun Watson, he and Fuller can light up the AFC South if given the chance. The Colts have one of the largest estimated cap spaces this off season at just over $40 million, so they should have no problem being able to entice Fuller money wise. Fuller would also balance out that team by combining the best attributes of the Colts top two receivers in Michael Pittman and T.Y. Hilton, who may not even be back this upcoming season, adding more of an emphasis on signing Fuller. He can provide a great balance of youth and speed like Pittman with the experience and the deep ball ability of Hilton. Fuller balances out the team on the offensive end, and with the Colts most likely getting a defender to add to their already stacked defense, Fuller’s presence gives them the shot in the arm they need to make a deep playoff run for this upcoming season and beyond.
On top of all of this, Fuller going to Indianapolis would mean he gets to face the Texans twice a year and show them they lost the relationship. If he's anything like the rest of the star players to ever leave Houston, there will be no love lost between the two, and he can get his sweet revenge on the organization.
2. The Green Bay Packers: The Treat Yourself Pick
Putting pretty much any wide receiver with Aaron Rodgers is going to make them a better player. He seems to elevate any receiver that plays with him, and if he plays like he did this past year, it makes the job one of the most fun in the NFL. This should be no different for Will Fuller V. The Green Bay Packers already have a stout team given they made it to the NFC Championship game this past season, but with the addition of a consistent player in the likes of Will Fuller V, it could give them the push they need to give Rodgers another shot at the Lombardi trophy. Everyone in the football world knows that Aaron Rodgers loves a consistent player about as much as Winnie the Pooh loves honey, and Fuller gave a pretty good argument for his consistency on the field last year by having six straight games with a touchdown and catching over 70% of the passes thrown to him. In the upcoming draft, The Packers will likely be getting some help up front defensively in order to create better pressure and get their turnover numbers up from the 18 they had last year which was tied for 6th worst. Despite all the positive aspects that could entice Fuller to Wisconsin like a freshly baked apple pie sitting on a windowsill, the Packers do have one glaring issue when it comes to picking up free agents this offseason. The Packers have one of the worst cap salaries with an estimated $-11 million available to work from. That doesn’t give them a lot of wiggle room, but Fuller is the type of player they should go for because he can make an immediate impact. It would also be a savvy move from a GM standpoint in that it could be used to appease a frustrated Aaron Rodgers who didn’t get much help offensively in the 2020 draft.
3. Cincinnati Bengals: The Investment Pick
This is my investment pick in that it won’t pay off right away but with time will appreciate in value. The reason it won’t have as immediate an impact compared to the first two entries is the status of Joe Burrow. Burrow tearing his knee up in the latter part of last season puts his timetable to return at some point in the middle of the upcoming season most likely. He would need John Cena levels of rehab to return any earlier than that, which basically means the 2021 Bengals will probably have an under .500 year due to Burrow’s absence. That’s okay though because Fuller going to Cincinnati is a long term move that can see them become a viable team come two or three years down the line. The Bengals are most likely going to use their draft pick on an offensive lineman which they sorely needed last year and may have prevented Burrow from getting hurt. They’ll still need help in the years to come, but they have a ton of cap space with an estimated $43 million and change. They can easily sign Fuller as well as others if they wish and accumulate the right draft picks while they build a solid team. If they wish to do this, the first piece should be picking up Will Fuller V, so he has ample time to bond with Burrow and become a focal point of the offense.
4. Cleveland Browns: The Contingency Pick
The Browns have a ton of pieces in place to win right now, so in all reality, Fuller isn’t really needed on the team except for one condition. That is on the condition that the Cleveland Browns trade Odell Beckham Jr. That might sound crazy as Odell is the top receiver on the team and has had 1,000-yard seasons when he plays a minimum of 12 games. This is all great, but in terms of fitting with the team, Baker Mayfield has played much better without Beckham on the field. It is just a pure fact and the numbers back up the sentiment with Mayfield improving his QBR going from being ranked 14th with Beckham to 3rd through week 15, being only behind Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. Mayfield also had better chemistry with Rashard Higgins having a 16% better completion percentage than with Beckham. His QBR targeting Jarvis Landry versus targeting Beckham was 20 points higher as well. This is not to say that Beckham is bad because he definitely is not, but it shows that he might not be gelling with the team the way a number one receiver should, especially with the price tag that comes with him at nearly $13 million guaranteed for the 2021 season.
By trading Beckham, the Browns can free up more of their already estimated $20 million in cap space. That can open the door for an eager Will Fuller V as well as gaining numerous players to help out Cleveland on defense which they sorely need if they hope to go far in the playoffs. Fuller would fill in for Beckham nicely and could come at a cheaper price. Aside from the Odell Beckham Jr. aspect of this, the Browns being in the same division as the Bengals, gives this choice an interesting move in allowing Cleveland to spite their Ohio rivals from getting a much-needed piece for their offense
5. Philadelphia Eagles: The Homeward Bound Pick
This choice is the most guilty pleasure out of the five because it is just nice when someone returns home. Obviously, this means Will Fuller V grew up in Philadelphia, home of the Philadelphia Eagles and also where he attended Roman Catholic High School. Philadelphia loves their own like no other, and if Fuller returns, expect the City of Brotherly Love to show some love to the receiver upon his arrival. Beside the nostalgia of a return home, there is some substance to him playing for the Eagles. The past few years, the NFC East is one of the worst divisions in all of football, and although they need a lot of help to get back to any chance of winning a Super Bowl, Fuller could help catapult them far above the rest of that division. Their biggest competition might be Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, however that situation is still up in the air at the moment. The Eagles need a lot of help, but they have finally moved past the debacle with Wentz and can fully focus on assembling the right pieces for victory. Much like the Colts, the Eagles have a combination of veteran and young receivers that Fuller can mesh with well. This pick is a long shot, but never underestimate the value of home.
Will Fuller is one of the most interesting free agents and regardless of whether he chooses to stick it to the Texans by going to Indianapolis, goes to have a great time with Rodgers in Green Bay, plays the long game in Cincinnati, fills a potential void in Cleveland, or makes a triumphant voyage to his native city of Philadelphia, Will Fuller V is going to make an impact on any fantasy football team. Depending on who he signs with moving forward, he has the potential to be a borderline WR1 and high end WR2 potential. Regardless of where he ends up, expect him to go no later than the fifth round of your fantasy draft and as early as the second or third if he goes to the Colts or Packers. Believe that!