Dynasty Movement - Week 16
by FBG Staff
December 19th, 2012

Each week, Footballguys staff members will share the big movers in their respective Dynasty Rankings. Since the two contributors will rotate, please check in weekly. The focus of this article will be on the "why" more than the movement itself. Dynasty Rankings are fluid and we hope that sharing the rationale will help you in your quest to create dynasties with all of your teams. The diversity of rankings will result in a variety of opinions weekly.

Quarterback

From Holloway

Colin Kaepernick (Upgrade): Colin Kaepernick was used early in the year by the 49ers in special situations and scored two rushing TDs. He took over for Alex Smith after Smith was concussed in week 10 action. Even though Kaepernick had a couple of "oh-no" moments initially, the 49ers have rallied around him as their leader and he has been productive and is leading the team well. He has a live arm and excellent mobility as witnessed by his five rushing TDs on the season. He only has averaged a little over 200 yards passing per game, but he is also contributing in the rushing attack with 381 yards. As Kaepernick continues to play well down the stretch, Alex Smith is probably out of the picture in San Francisco. Kaepernick is a great fit for the 49er game plan and should benefit from the solid quarterback teaching skills of the coaching staff to be even more productive.

Joe Flacco (Downgrade): Joe Flacco took a stand in the pre-season that he was an elite NFL quarterback, but he has a career completion percentage of just over 60% and is slightly under that percentage for this season. The Ravens operated a no-huddle for most of the pre-season and had a lot of success, but mostly went away from it halfway through this year. Now, with only three games left, they fired their offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron and are facing additional offensive challenges. With the loss in week 15, they are only a game ahead of Cincinnati and close out the season against the New York Giants and then face Cincinnati in their final game. Flacco will be a free agent after the season and has not solidified his bargaining position with his play this year.

Christian Ponder (Downgrade): Christian Ponder completed only 54% of his passes as a rookie and averaged only 6.37 YPA. Growth was expected in year two, but to date he is only averaging 5.98 ypa. Granted his completion percentage is up to 63%, but many have been at or behind the line of scrimmage. The Vikings have leaned heavily on Adrian Peterson and have used Ponder as a game manager. Ponder was drafted in the first round, at #12 overall and he was not taken that high with expectations of only being a game manager. He has been handicapped by a lack of receiving weapons, yet his growth has definitely been lower than anticipated.

From Garda

Andrew Luck (Upgrade) - Luck, has really shown he has what it takes to survive this league and flourish in it. Perhaps he's going to continue to have some rough patches, but ultimately he will be productive for a long time.

Peyton Manning (Upgrade) - I was very leery of Manning the first half of the season but his body has held up and he looks like he has a few good years left. On top of it, he is a great fit with this Denver team.

Matt Stafford (Downgrade) - He's put up points but something is wrong with his mechanics so, long term, I have concerns. I wouldn't abandon ship but I'm nervous about him. It doesn't help that he only has one weapon and a shaky offensive scheme.

Mark Sanchez (Downgrade) Another atrocious game and now we've seen the likely end of Sanchez's Jets career. They might keep him around because they're on the hook for 8 million dollars but he's unlikely to start. And after what we've seen if he does start in the NFL, he shouldn't start your fantasy squad.

From Grant

Peyton Manning (Upgrade): Manning has the Broncos in the hunt for the #1 seed in the AFC this season. At the minimum, they have the inside track for a first round bye week. Manning has looked sharper as the season has dragged on and while he's not going to throw for 40 touchdowns this season, he's already over 4000 yards passing and 30 TDS. The Broncos could go deep into the playoffs this year, and Manning looks as rock solid as he has ever been.

Blaine Gabbert (Downgrade): Gabbert's career in Jacksonville may be over before it really begins. He appears to have a permanent place on the bench for the Jaguars, and it won't surprise anyone if the Jaguars go shopping for a new quarterback this offseason. There are a few teams that may be desperate enough to give him a shot, but he's nothing more than a placeholder now.

Running Back

From Garda

Alfred Morris (Upgrade) - Not only has he proven himself, he's proven he's important to the offense even with Robert Griffin III running around. Add to that the rate with which Griffin gets hurt as of now, and Morris is even more vital.

Fred Jackson (Downgrade) - the injuries pile up while CJ Spiller looks more and more effective. The Bills may be in for some changes and I suspect he's going to be a victim of them come next season.

Michael Bush (Downgrade) - The Bears aren't all that interested in using him and now he's on Injured Reserve. I don't expect him to have a bigger role next year and given the potential tumult if Chicago misses the playoffs, Bush may not even be in Chicago anymore.

From Grant

Ryan Mathews (Downgrade): Mathews has been a total disappointment this season. Back in July and August, Mathews was a top ten fantasy back. At this point, he's struggling to even be a starter. He's only reached the end zone one time this season, and that was way back in week five. He has only posted more than 10 fantasy points twice this season, and his last time was back in week eight. There are plenty of other fantasy backs that will score more points week after week. Let someone else draft Mathews. He needs to prove himself before you can draft him with any confidence.

Marshawn Lynch (Upgrade): Lynch has been tearing it up over the last several weeks, and he's a big part of why the Seahawks are in the playoff hunt. Teams in the NFL are moving more and more toward the two back system, and a running back like Lynch who can post solid numbers as the primary back is going to be hard to find. The only knock on him is that he's been playing for seven seasons now, making him a little less attractive in a dynasty league. While he's no Adrian Peterson, Lynch is definitely a guy that you can build your team around.

Chris Johnson (Upgrade): Johnson has come on strong over the last few weeks, and he's climbed back into the top 12 for fantasy backs. He's still not putting up super consistent numbers from week to week, but he's definitely worth targeting as a late RB1 or solid RB2.

From Holloway

Fred Jackson (Downgrade): Fred Jackson rose to prominence at the age of 28 in his third year with the Buffalo Bills. For three straight seasons, he finished as an RB2 with rankings between RB14 and RB21. Jackson will turn 32 in the off-season and has finished the last two years on IR. He only played in ten games in each of the last two seasons, and his production was far less in 2012. He averaged only 3.8 YPC this year and scored only 4 TDs. Jackson's contract numbers for 2013 are reasonable with a salary of $2.15 Million and two roster bonuses for another $450,000, but even with a fairly light work load over his career, he should only be capable of playing a committee role in 2013 at the age of 32.

Rashard Mendenhall (Downgrade): Rashard Mendenhall did not return from his season ending injury last year until week 5. In that game, he showed a lot of promise carrying the ball 14 times for 81 yards and a TD and adding 2 receptions for 20 additional yards. However, since that solid outing, Mendenhall has managed to appear in only four more games with a total production of 73 yards from scrimmage. In addition to his poor production, he is spending this week on suspension from the team. Even though reports are that he is expected by the team staff to be a factor in the last two week's games, it is difficult to see him in Pittsburgh next year as he is eligible for free agency after this season. He will only turn 26 in June 2013, so he has plenty of time to make up ground, but he seems to hit the free agency at a bad time in his career.

Felix Jones (Downgrade): Felix Jones was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round (22nd overall) in 2008 with a lot of promise. There were questions about his ability to carry the load for the team as he had been used primarily at Arkansas as a committee back behind Darren McFadden. His explosion though made him attractive. In his first two seasons with the Cowboys, in a mostly support role, he rushed 146 times for 951 yards and averaged 6.51 ypc In the three years since, he has rushed 416 times for 1,745 yards and averaged 4.19 ypc Furthermore, in his five years in the NFL, he has only had twenty carries in two games. When he has been needed to carry the load, he has not been up to the task. He too is eligible for free agency and will only turn 26 in the off-season, so he has time to renew his career elsewhere, but he has not shown enough consistency thus far.

Wide Receiver

From Grant

Larry Fitzgerald (Downgrade): The Cardinals have completely imploded over these last few weeks and that's had a dramatic impact on Fitzgerald's stats. He hasn't posted more than three fantasy points in each of the last five weeks and he's on pace to post his worst statistics since his rookie season. Fitzgerald has great physical talents, but he'll need a quarterback to be able to get him the ball. Until that happens, he's not a guy you should be spending one of your top draft picks to get.

Torrey Smith (Downgrade): Smith has really fallen off the face of the earth in recent weeks. He has just one reception in each of the previous two games, and has just 15 receptions over the last six weeks. Although he has seven receiving TDS for the season, he hasn't had one since week ten. Despite the fact that the Ravens are still fighting for a playoff spot, Smith is not a big part of their offense. Maybe that will turn around over the final two weeks, but for now, you have to move him down your draft board a bit.

From Holloway

Randall Cobb (Upgrade): Randall Cobb was a jack of all trades in college with Kentucky, playing running back, wide receiver and even quarterback. He has an interesting skill set and he was productive as a rookie in 2012, catching 25 passes and returning kicks. He has really exploded this season as Greg Jennings missed a large portion of the year. He leads the Packers in targets with 99, receptions with 83, and yardage with 892 yards. He is second in reception TDs with 7. At this point in the season, it seems logical that the Packers will allow Jennings to leave via free agency, so Cobb should be in line for similar opportunities next year as well. He is only 22 years old and could be teamed with Aaron Rodgers for many years.

Cecil Shorts (Upgrade): Cecil Shorts has excellent quickness and explosion. He played collegiately at Mt. Union and has really produced well in only his second year in the league. He leads the Jaguars in receiving yardage and TDs on 49 receptions for 925 yards and 7 TDs. He is averaging 18.9 ypc Considering that he only had 8 catches for 162 yards after week five, his production is even more impressive. He is signed for the next two seasons at a very reasonable contract so he should be a fixture in Jacksonville with Justin Blackmon for the next two seasons at a minimum. Chad Henne seems to be much more efficient at quarterback than anyone else the Jaguars have had in a while.

Danario Alexander (Upgrade): Danario Alexander the undrafted free agent out of Missouri has resurfaced spectacularly for the San Diego Chargers. The always talented, but seemingly always injured wide receiver has been the team's leading receiver since joining the team in the middle of the season. In only eight games, he has caught 33 passes on 54 targets for 555 yards and 5 TDs. In the last six games, he has totaled 494 yards and 5 TDs. He signed a one-year contract and will be a restricted free agent after the season ends. If you can stomach his injury history, he is capable of producing as long as he can stay on the field.

From Garda

Mike Wallace (Downgrade) - he doesn't seem to fit in the Steelers offense and he may not be in town much longer anyway. That's a lot of uncertainty for what seemed like a sure bet just six months ago.

Greg Jennings (Downgrade) - His days are numbered in Green Bay and I doubt he ends up in a situation like he had there. His time as a WR1 is done and I'm not sold he emerges next year as anything more than a WR3 at this point.

Tight End

From Garda

Martellus Bennett (Upgrade) - Hey, this guy can actually play. If his quarterback was a tad more consistent this year, I'd feel better about the future and his place on the Giants. As it stands I am cautiously optimistic.

Coby Fleener (Upgrade) - Man does Andrew Luck love his old college buddy. Fleener being hurt this season makes him a bit shaky in some respects but it's clear Luck will use him anytime he's on the field. A good add for the future.

Rob Gronkowski (Downgrade) - not much of a drop but the guy can't stay on the field. That hurts his long term value.

From Holloway

Dwayne Allen (Upgrade): Dwayne Allen was drafted by the Colts in the third round and was thought by most to be the definite second fiddle at best to Coby Fleener, Andrew Luck's teammate at Stanford. Allen has been a pleasant surprise in his rookie campaign and has outproduced Fleener. Allen has 40 catches for 482 yards and 3 TDs. The three Colt rookie receivers, T.Y. Hilton, Fleener, and Allen have combined to catch 108 passes for 1,476 yards and 10 TDs. Allen and his teammates should continue to develop together and lead the Colts offense for years to come.

Brandon Myers (Upgrade): Brandon Myers had caught only 32 passes in his first three NFL seasons in the NFL, all with the Raiders. He was not expected to be an offensive factor this year either, but he caught 15 passes on 15 targets in the first three games. He has continued to be a steady producer all season and currently totals 72 receptions for 743 yards and 4 TDs. His lofty reception percentage at 76% is particularly high for a player not perceived to be an offensive weapon. In week 13, he had an amazing game, catching 14 passes for 130 yards and a TD against Cleveland.

From Grant

Heath Miller (Upgrade): Miller feels old to me. Not sure why, but for some reason, he feels like he's a 15 year veteran. And while he isn't exactly a rookie anymore, the Steelers are using him for a significant portion of their passing game. I wouldn't exactly break the bank to get him, but Miller is definitely a guy that you can put into your lineup and he won't hurt you. As part of a TEBC type of approach, Miller makes an excellent choice.

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