There are plenty of reasons why we draft the players we do in Fantasy Football. Maybe it's because a receiver is in his third year, or a running back is expected to get around 20 touches a game, or because a quarterback is in a pass-heavy offense.
But there's one reason that anyone -- even people who have never played Fantasy Football -- can understand: taking a player motivated by money.
Get the latest news and analysis from the most informed Fantasy staff in the industry by following us on Twitter and Facebook.
The incentive fueled by a large pay day cannot go unnoticed. NFL players know that they can't play forever, so when the opportunity comes to earn the right for a team to shove a huge check into their faces, players will fight hard. They'll play through small injuries and scratch for extra yardage. They'll battle deep into games, even when they are meaningless. They'll do whatever they can to make themselves look good when the season is over -- and that's exactly what Fantasy owners should want. We might not get a cut of the signing bonus, but we will get a big cut of the stats.
Making matters tougher is the lack of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the players and the league's owners. With no structure of how free agency should behave starting on March 1, 2011, there are some issues that could keep some players from shaking free from their current teams. In past seasons, once a player accrued four years of work, he was eligible for unrestricted free agency; last year that accrued total was bumped to six because of how the CBA was written for the NFL's uncapped year, which is this year. It might stay that way, it might not.
Therefore, we are treating the designations of the upcoming class of free agents as if they are eligible for free agency after four years, not six. We will adjust once a new collective bargaining agreement is in place.
Hopefully that is sooner than later -- the players listed below will "ball out" this year for that big check, but if there's no football, then there's no check.
Some free-agent notes:
UFA: Unrestricted Free Agent -- A player who will be eligible to sign anywhere (under the assumption that a player is UFA-eligible after four years).
RFA: Restricted Free Agent -- A player who can sign anywhere but original team can match offer or receive compensation from new team (under the assumption that a player is RFA-eligible after three years).
EXFA: Exclusive Rights Free Agent -- A player who can only negotiate with current team (under the assumption that a player is EXFA-eligible after one or two years).
FRAN: Franchised Player -- A player who is guaranteed a one-year deal from his original team relative to highest-paid players at his position. The new team must give two first-round picks as compensation to original team if signed away.
|NFL Free Agents To Be (sortable)|
|Pos.||Player||'10 team||Status as of '11 offseason|
|TE||Shockey, Jeremy||NO||TO PANTHERS|
|DB||Atogwe, Oshiomogho||STL||TO REDSKINS|
|DB||Sanders, Bob||IND||TO CHARGERS|
Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org .