Daniel Thomas

Free agency is always fun, especially the fantasy implications that come with it. If you don’t realize that it has fantasy implications, let me refresh your memory.

Last year, here is what we saw:

  • Stephen Jackson signed with the Atlanta Falcons (fantasy bust)
  • Mike Wallace signed with the Miami Dolphins. (solid fantasy year)
  • Danny Amendola signed with the New England Patriots (fantasy bust)
  • Wes Welker signed with the Denver Broncos (fantasy stud)
  • Martellus Bennett signed with the Chicago Bears (fantasy sleeper)
  • Reggie Bush signed with the Detroit Lions (fantasy sleeper)
  • Rashard Mendenhall signed with the Arizona Cardinals (bust)
  • Percy Harvin signed with the Seattle Seahawks (injuries made him a total bust)

See what I mean? Clearly, free agency impacts our fantasy squads. That was last year, though. So let’s take a look at just some of the many moves thus far for 2014, as many teams wasted no time signing big names.

Knownshon Moreno

(Denver Broncos -> Miami Dolphins)

From Super Bowl contender to a locker room full of bullies, Moreno is joining the tandem of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas in South Beach. This is not promising for Moreno’s fantasy value. With Peyton Manning, he finished fifth last year in total yards and topped it off with 13 touchdowns. Now, he goes to a Dolphins team with two other running backs that will get significant playing time, limiting his rush attempts. However, this could give Montee Ball a boost in Denver and make him a sleeper in 2014.

Maurice Jones-Drew

(Jacksonville Jaguars -> Oakland Raiders)

Jones-Drew will join Darren McFadden, an all-time fantasy bust, in the Raiders backfield. It looks nice on paper, but Jones-Drew is not the same running back he once was. In Oakland, he will likely enter the season as the starter and be solid. He won’t be the Jones-Drew we used to know, but he should improve over his past two years.

Emmanuel Sanders

(Pittsburgh Steelers -> Denver Broncos)

It doesn’t get much better than catching balls from Peyton Manning. Sanders’ fantasy value is definitely up, and I expect a big year out of him. He will replace Eric Decker, who left for the New York Jets.

Eric Decker

(Denver Broncos -> New York Jets)

Decker is now the number one option for the Jets, and he is going to have a solid fantasy year. However, his value is definitely down from last year. Simply put, Decker just left Peyton Manning for Geno Smith and Michael Vick.

Ben Tate

(Houston Texans -> Cleveland Browns)

Tate’s value has skyrocketed. I am a fan of what Tate did in Houston when he got his carries, averaging 4.7 yards per touch over his career. He will be the starting running back, and I am boldly predicting he’ll finish as a top-12 fantasy back.

Hakeem Nicks

(New York Giants -> Indianapolis Colts)

Nicks signed a one-year deal, meaning he will have to prove he can still be a stud wide receiver after a disappointing year last year. Nicks, who failed to score a touchdown last season, is going to be playing with Andrew Luck and I expect his fantasy value will increase as a result.

Steve Smith

(Carolina Panthers -> Baltimore Ravens)

It is going to be weird not seeing him in a Panthers uniform, but Smith should step into a starting role with the Ravens and do what he does. Count on Smith, and don’t be afraid to draft him.

Darren Sproles

(New Orleans Saints -> Philadelphia Eagles)

The combination of Chip Kelly and Darren Sproles is a fantasy football dream. I expect Sproles to explode this year. I suspect Chip Kelly to use him in a variety of ways and gain a ton of yards with some scores here and there.

LeGarrette Blount

(New England Patriots -> Pittsburgh Steelers)

This is the perfect type of running back for the Steelers. A guy that can ground and pound the football, Blount is going to be a factor on the Steelers. Blount will be a goal-line back at the least, and he will be among the league leaders in touchdowns.

Golden Tate

(Seattle Seahawks -> Detroit Lions)

This definitely helps Tate because the Lions aren’t afraid to throw the ball, and Calvin Johnson will take away a lot of the coverage. If Matthew Stafford looks to his left, Tate should be open. His stock is up.

James Jones

(Green Bay Packers -> Oakland Raiders)

Jones is in a similar situation to Decker, except worse. Not only does he not have Aaron Rodgers anymore, he is going to the Raiders who haven’t had a successful passing season in a long time. His stock is down.

MANHATTAN, KAN. – Fireworks went off and the chant, “We own Texas” echoed throughout Bill Snyder Family Memorial Stadium Saturday night after Kansas State beat Texas 39-14.

With the win, Kansas State is bowl eligible for the first time in three years.

The Longhorns came into Saturday night’s game with a 4-4 record, hoping to put their past behind them. But trouble started immediately.

Kansas State tailback William Powell, the nation’s top-ranked kickoff returnee, fielded the opening kick for 62 yards in front of a crowd of 46,734. Two plays later, tailback Daniel Thomas ran the ball in for a 38-yard touchdown. Kansas State was on the board in the first 53 seconds of the game.

“Since I’m a linebacker, if they score on a running play I feel like it’s my fault,” junior Emmanuel Acho said. “Especially on that play. It wasn’t the way the defense wanted to start the game. That was huge momentum for them and a horrible momentum shift for us.”

The Longhorns’ nightmares continued all game long as Kansas State ran the ball down their throats for a total of 261 yards. With starting quarterback Carson Coffman out, backup Collin Klein played and accounted for 151 of those rushing yards. Thomas had 107.

“The offense surprised us because the quarterback did not play,” head coach Mack Brown said. “We knew that number seven [Klein] was a good runner and that they put him in some on third down, but we did not expect to see him every snap.”

Texas’ defense couldn’t hold the duo of Thomas and Klein, but the offense didn’t help out.

In the first quarter, running back Fozzy Whittaker rushed for two consecutive first downs, but then offensive coordinator Greg Davis opted for the passing game. On the next two plays, quarterback Garrett Gilbert threw one of his 27 incomplete passes to tight end Barrett Matthews and then a completion to receiver James Kirkendoll, but he was called for a holding penalty and the series fizzled.

Gilbert, who had one of his best performances of the year last week against Baylor, threw five interceptions – three in the first half and two in the second as he completed 32 of 59 passes. Many of his incomplete passes were overthrown balls that the receivers had no chance of catching. However, Gilbert did have a career-high 93 rushing yards on five carries.

Despite Gilbert’s turnovers, the coaches did not put in backup Case McCoy.

“We thought about it in the fourth quarter,” Davis said. “But then we got a drive going and wanted Garrett to finish it.”

Texas’ biggest goal for the rest of the year is to get at least two more wins to become bowl eligible. The last time the Longhorns did not play in the post-season was in 1997.

“We’re in a hole and we’re trying to get out of it,” Acho said. “We’re scratching and we’re clawing and we’re fighting.”