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Best Acquisitions of the NFL Offseason
by Hans Steiniger, Posted: April 20, 2010
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With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching and the first wave of free agency coming to a close, I thought it might be a good time to review some of the better free agent acquisitions of the offseason as they relate to fantasy football. Front office personnel are no doubt looking to the NFL draft to reload, as collegiate stars bring with them an infusion of youth and talent that can turn a franchise around rather quickly. As a Fantasy owner, you too should be looking at the happenings in the free agent market as they will directly affect your own strategies on draft day. Being aware of what NFL GM’s are thinking can pay big dividends when you’re on the clock, so be sure to closely monitor both the free agent market and the draft day war rooms. The following teams have really helped themselves by addressing glaring needs on the offensive side of the ball that will affect your draft board this summer.  As we approach training camps and preseason games, these are the players that will be worth watching to see how they fit in.

Anquan Boldin to the Baltimore Ravens
Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome continues to find ways to reload and improve this team. For years he invested high draft picks on the defensive side of the ball, neglecting a fairly lackluster offense. More recent drafts however, brought rising stars Joe Flacco and Ray Rice to the fold, adding a new dimension and swagger to the Ravens offense. The acquisition of Anquan Boldin may be the final piece of the puzzle for an offense that’s ripe with matchup nightmares for opposing defenses to account for. Boldin brings number one receiver pedigree with him from Arizona, a luxury the Ravens have never had. That’s not a slight to the venerable Derrick Mason, who served as a solid number one for years, but with Anquan Boldin, Baltimore can finally boast an elite talent at the wide receiver position. The emergence of Ray Rice as a dual threat running and receiving the football, combined with a receiving corps that includes Boldin, Donte Stallworth, and Derrick Mason, will offer Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense the opportunity to actively win football games rather than just maintain a lead. Anquan Boldin will be a big part of the culture of change in Baltimore bringing an electric offense to the the field in 2010.

Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins
Many fans in Philadelphia finally got what they’ve been clamoring for for years with the trade of Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins, but like the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Moving the 33 year old quarterback to a division rival will haunt the Eagles twice a year for many years, as this veteran will be out for blood each time he’s matched up against his former teammates. The Washington Redskins are a steadily improving franchise that’s headed in the right direction. They’ve drafted wisely the last few years and added a Hall of Fame caliber head coach to the mix ... and McNabb has not been banished to a team where the cupboard is bare, he’ll actually find some solid point producers on a Redskins roster that’s full of potential. Santana Moss will continue to be the deep threat the offense needs to spread the field, but the true on this team are youngsters Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly and Fred Davis. McNabb will quickly find out that the sure-handed, speedy Thomas will be his goto receiver as the season progresses and with Mike Shanahan at the helm, even with a stable of washed up has-been running backs, a solid ground game is assured. I’d look for McNabb to put up solid numbers throughout 2010 campaign. Lucky for him he wasn’t banished to Oakland.

Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins under Bill Parcells and Tony Sporano continue their work in crafting a playoff team in the highly competitive AFC Eastern Division. By trading for Brandon Marshall from the Denver Broncos, an elite talent at the wide receiver position who’s in the prime of his career, the Dolphins have acquired a go to option for the young Chad Henne, allowing the third year quarterback a chance to truly blossom into an NFL gamer. The Miami Dolphins have also managed to sign Marshall to a lucrative four year deal, giving him some reassurance that he's seen as a long term solution in that locker room, and potentially providing some incentive to continue his development as a top five receiving talent. What sets Marshall apart is his run-after-catch ability that will enable fantasy owners to bump up Chad Henne a notch in fantasy rankings. He has excellent hands and is a red zone threat, causing separation from defenders with great body control and vertical leaping ability. Marshall will gobble up tons on yards for the Miami offense and can find his way into the endzone from anywhere on the field. However, his down side includes off-the-field issues that seem to have plagued him throughout his career. If Marshall can manage to stay out of trouble, he joins a team in transition. The Dolphins have an aging, oft-injured running back in Ronnie Brown and a steadily developing quarterback in Chad Henne with a defense that is average at best. The Dolphins have shown flashes over the years and continue to be a dangerous team that will only become more so with the addition of this elite talent. Brandon Marshall is certainly one to watch this preseason.

Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets
The New York Jets under Rex Ryan are quietly building a Super Bowl caliber contender to fill the brand new seats at the new Giants Stadium. It began with some great work on draft day the last few years building first in the trenches along the offensive and defensive lines and continues with the acquisition of young skill players like Mark Sanchez and Shonn Green. Returning the NFL’s top rated defense and top running game, the Jets have their sites set on acquiring the final pieces through free agency to give Mark Sanchez the tools he needs to blossom under center in 2010. Santonio Holmes is an excellent addition to an already potent Jets offense and he will make Mark Sanchez a much better Quarterback. Already a legitimate number one receiver, Holmes joins Braylon Edwards and Jericho Cotchery to form and imposing receiving corps as long as they can all stay out of trouble. Santonio Holmes is a speedster who’s an elusive route runner with great hands. With 1248 yards and five touchdowns last year in Pittsburgh, he was set to blossom as the team’s number one receiver, but his off-field antics have landed him a four game suspension by the league. Rex Ryan is taking a risk with the rash of off-the-field issues involving both Holmes and Edwards, but if he can get them to straighten out their acts, the New York Jets have the makings of a Super Bowl offense to compliment their Super Bowl Defense
.

With new homes for the 2010 season, these players are sure to flourish if they can manage to assimilate themselves into a foreign locker room quickly.  In some cases, a change of scenery can be very good for a player that has plateaued in his current situation, however if team chemistry simply is not there, moving to another team can be a career ender.  For these reasons, it will certainly be interesting to follow how each of these moves may pan out for their new team, and with the NFL draft approaching, I still expect to see the guys like Jason Campbell from Washington and Marshawn Lynch from Buffalo to find new homes before the start of the NFL regular season as their current teams look to avoid any distractions that might be caused by keeping them on their roster.   All in all it's been an extremely interesting off season up until this point, and I'm sure there 's more to come.


 
       

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