Fantasy Free Agent: Where’s Mike Wallace?
NFL Free Agency may still be over a month away, but there’s already a lot of buzz over where Steelers star receiver Mike Wallace might land. A new contract in Pittsburgh appears unfeasible, but there are plenty of teams that would love to add someone of Wallace’s talents to their roster.
In the wild world of Fantasy Football, it’s tough to predict how things will go from one season to the next, but it’s always fun to throw spaghetti to the wall and see what sticks. Whether a team has a young quarterback that could use a lightning bolt to help him out, a future hall of famer that could use some help getting over the hump or just a team that may need to find themselves a replacement, it will be interesting to see what happens for Mike Wallace in free agency.
Where will this Fantasy Free Agent land next season?
Mike Wallace Joins Kansas City Chiefs
With fellow free agent WR Dwayne Bowe making his way out of town and former Eagles boss Andy Reid now at the helm of the Chiefs, Wallace could find himself signing the dotted line in KC a couple short months from now. Reid is a fan of elite speed outside the numbers, having recently spent high draft picks on and building an offense around DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in Philly. Wallace is essentially a more durable and more “complete” version of Jackson.
The fit may make sense from an NFL standpoint, but Wallace wouldn’t be doing fantasy owners any favors if he chooses Kansas City. Despite Reid’s pass-heavy reputation, we can expect the Chiefs to remain a run-first team behind Jamaal Charles for the foreseeable future. Going out and slinging the ball around with Matt Cassel or Brady Quinn isn’t going to work, and they know that. Seeing those last two names should tell the rest of the tale here, Wallace would not come close to his usual stats with KC’s miserable quarterback play.
Mike Wallace Joins Miami Dolphins
At this point it would be quite an upset if the Dolphins, who played out 2012 with Brian Hartline as their top receiver, did not sign one of the star free agent wide receivers available this March. Although much more commonly linked to Greg Jennings due to his connections with the coaching staff, Wallace is also a legitimate candidate to wind up playing ball in Miami next year.
Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill was not quite the shining star that some of the other rookies were, but by normal standards he had a solid first campaign with what he had to work with. Assuming Tannehill’s development continues on an upward slope, Wallace (or any other receiver that comes into Miami) should have the pieces around him to be successful. Hartline and Davone Bess are nice complementary receivers, and the running game does just enough to keep the offense flowing. How good Wallace would be in fantasy on the Dolphins really comes down to how many steps forward Tannehill takes this offseason. But if Hartline could hit the 1000-yard mark with a rookie Tannehill, the floor for Wallace should be fairly high.
Mike Wallace Joins New England Patriots
Excluding special teamers, New England currently has just Brandon Lloyd under contract for 2013, and as reliant on Wes Welker as the Patriots have been for the past six seasons, the two sides may very well split this spring. Without Welker and with Lloyd having just moderate success, the team could be forced to reinvent their wide receiver position, potentially turning to Wallace in free agency.
As lucrative as a Brady-to-Wallace pairing sounds for fantasy football, there’s reason to believe Wallace’s numbers would actually decline slightly from his averages in Pittsburgh. While Wallace has proven to be an effective route runner at shorter depths recently, his primary value has been as a deep ball receiver. Tom Brady excels at the short-to-mid levels, and New England’s offense with its tight ends is predicated on this. The Pats would most likely take fewer deep shots at Wallace than Ben Roethlisberger did with the Steelers, resulting in fewer high-scoring outbursts but possibly more consistency.