Last time around I opened with my AFC East report cards, and this was actually supposed to be an AFC North piece; but when I reviewed the signings, there really wasn’t much to discuss. A lot of guys staying home, or inconsequential signings. So, we move on to the AFC South, here.
You remember the format from last time; let’s jump right into it…
QB Tyrod Taylor, Texans, 1 year, $5.5 million.
Team Grade (C): This deal looks pretty awful when you look at it in context with the Mitchell Trubisky and Jacoby Brissett signings by the Bills and Dolphins, respectively. I would rank both Trubisky and Brissett ahead of Tyrod at this stage in their respective careers, yet Tyrod is going to be the highest-paid of the three. Again, regardless of the regime, it seems like the Texans simply don’t know what they are doing. The only “win” here is this: if everything falls apart regarding Deshaun Watson, at least Tyrod can be a veteran calming influence for this team going nowhere.
Fantasy impact: If Tyrod somehow ends up the starter, in Redraft he would be in the No. 26 to 32 range.
RB Mark Ingram, Texans, 1 year, $1.5 million.
Team Grade (B-): This is a tricky one, because my first instinct is didn’t they just make an awful trade for David Johnson last season? What are they stockpiling washed-up running backs? However, you have to dig a little deeper here to find the value. First off, the pricetag is fine here. Ingram has incentives to make a bit more, but I have absolutely no issues with this pricepoint. Also, John Harbaugh kept Ingram very fresh last season, really because JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards were thoroughly outplaying him. Still, regardless of the reason, maybe Ingram now has a little bit left in the tank. Despite the poor initial optics, I’m actually okay with this move.
Fantasy impact: I’ll have to dig a little deeper regarding David Johnson, but yeah, I could see Ingram outplaying him. Still, this is Redraft only, and late. This Ingram situation is somewhat similar to Tevin Coleman’s with my Jets, from a fantasy perspective.
RB Phillip Lindsay, Texans, 1 year, $3.25 million.
Team Grade (B-): All right, I fully admit that I wrote the previous blurb without knowing that the Texans also signed Lindsay. Like… what is this organization doing? Who loads up on running backs these days? That isn’t really the way of the world right now, when it comes to the better organizations around the league. And didn’t they also restructure David Johnson’s deal? So they are keeping all three to create a blah committee? It’s a mess, but at least Ingram and Lindsay aren’t bad players. These end up being just average moves, with weird overall implications in terms of internal roster construction.
Fantasy impact: When you consider the propensity for explosive plays, you have to consider Lindsay the potential leader of this backfield. Again, I’m clearly thinking Redraft over Dynasty here, but in RD he does offer more upside than both Ingram and Johnson. This a mid-late draft pick here, depending on the context of your particular roster.
WRs Chris Conley (C-) and Donte Moncrief (D-), Texans.
I mean, if these two moves don’t scream Houston Texans, then what does? Is it possible to scrape any lower into the barrel? I’m putting them together because – no offense – but these guys don’t deserve individual blurbs. Conley is the better and more professional player of the two, here. Moncrief has glaring consistency issues and a lack of confidence that is playing him out of this league.
Fantasy impact: Come on, seriously? Are you psyched about the fantasy implications of Tyrod Taylor to Donte Moncrief?
QB C.J. Beathard, Jaguars, 2 years, $5 million.
Team Grade C: Wait… I’m lost in translation, here. What have I missed since the birth of my daughter? I thought the Jags were drafting Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick, and “The Moustache” Gardner Minshew was still in the mix. So where does Beathard come into play at a $5 million pricepoint? My guess is Minshew is already whining to new head coach Urban Meyer, and he’s gonna want to push his way out. Beathard is a solid backup, coming from some good coaching and development by Kyle Shanahan and his gurus. If Minshew is gone, and Beathard becomes the primary backup, this becomes a B move instead of a C.
Fantasy impact: None. I have to think Jacksonville will start Lawrence from the get-go, unless they are really that bad of an organization.
RB Carlos Hyde, Jaguars, 2 years, $6 million.
Team Grade (B): This is a pretty easy one to sum up: James Robinson was outstanding last season, but ya never know when it comes to surprise running backs. Yeah, Hyde can’t seem to stay healthy, but he is one of the more solid backup running backs in the NFL. This is a fine move. A solid move that makes roster sense.
Fantasy impact: Similar line of thinking – I’m still taking J-Rob high for now, but anything can happen at the running back position when it comes to a lesser-known upstart. Hyde will be waiting in the wings, with possible value if anything goes awry.
WR Phillip Dorsett, Jaguars, inconsequential dollar figures.
Team Grade (D+): Better than Donte Moncrief and worse than Chris Conley. Easy little grading formula, there. Just a depth piece, could see him even getting cut if the roster numbers don’t work out in the end.
Fantasy impact: Is there a such thing as an 18-team league? Maybe if he stays healthy and impresses the coaching staff he can find miniscule value in an insanely-deep league.
WR Marvin Jones, Jaguars, 1 year, $7 million.
Team Grade (A-): Okay, now we’re talkin’. At least the Jags are sending a message to Lawrence: we aren’t going to leave you all alone out there. Between Robinson, Hyde, Jones, DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault, Lawrence should be able to find some balance within this attack. Sure, Jones is heading toward the backside of his career, but this veteran delivers in the redzone. He has sure hands, nifty feet and the wherewithal to create the necessary separation in tight spaces. Rookies tend to find a veteran they can rely on in difficult spots, and Jones surely looks to be that guy for Lawrence in Jacksonville.
Fantasy impact: Jones picks up some nice Redraft value, here. Get the right pricepoint; you know the deal. Don’t overdraft simply because of the change of scenery and “sexy” roster changes; yet and still, Jones should lead all Jacksonville receivers in touchdowns and high-leverage opportunities.
WR Josh Reynolds, Titans, I don’t have the contract details offhand.
Team Grade (B-): I suppose we are looking at Corey Davis’ replacement, here. Another tricky one: if Reynolds was that good, would Sean McVay and the Rams really let him get away this easily? On the flip side, we have seen some positive flashes from Reynolds in the past, particularly this last season. I see him as more of a WR3 or 4 in terms of “real” football, but he may actually have to function as Tennessee’s No. 2 behind A.J. Brown the stud. B- is the mark here; it has the potential to go well, but I’m not enthralled overall. There’s a bit of a “spec” aspect of this signing.
Fantasy impact: Maybe a late Dynasty scoop in case Tannehill develops unforeseen chemistry with Reynolds. This is late, late stuff we are talking about here.
More division report cards will be coming in the near future!
John Frascella is a published sports author and fantasy football analyst with over two decades of experience. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy football.