Each week, Footballguys staff members will share the big movers in their respective Dynasty Rankings. Since the 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 your teams. The diversity of rankings will result in a variety of opinions weekly.
Marcus Mariota- Despite how unimaginative Mike Mularkey is at times, we don’t need to worry about the development of Marcus Mariota. He has been making great decisions, completing stick throws into narrow windows, and otherwise demonstrating growth in year two. We can only hope the team will move to a coach who can bring the vision of GM Jon Robinson to full fruition and thereby amplify Mariota’s impact long-term.
Dak Prescott- Prescott continues to be a top producer at the position and has richly rewarded those who picked him up for free in the preseason. Romo finally being healthy and remaining on the bench should tell us all we need to know about how the team views Dak Prescott at this point. The offense simply is functioning with better efficiency as Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott work synergistically to mow down opponent after opponent.
Kirk Cousins - Coming into 2016, Washington applied the franchise tag to Kirk Cousins to give him one more year to prove himself before locking him up long-term. That's looking like it might have been a costly decision; Cousins has been playing better and better as the season goes on, culminating in a surgical dismantling of the Green Bay Packers on national TV this week. Over his last three games, Cousins is averaging 365 yards passing, with seven touchdowns against just one interception over that span. He's played well despite many of his top targets missing time. And with Jamison Crowder emerging and Josh Doctson waiting in the wings, the weapons around him look pretty strong going forward.
Joe Flacco - Flacco is nearing the kind of lifetime performance marks that read as extremely back-handed compliments. He already joins Jim Plunkett as the only quarterbacks in history with more Super Bowl wins than pro bowl appearances. By the middle of next season, he should surpass Steve DeBerg for the most career passing yards by a player who has never been to the Pro Bowl, too. On the wrong side of 30, we're long past the point where there's any reason to think he's anything other than what he's been, and what he's been is a quarterback who you can't start and you can't trade.
Wendell Smallwood - One thing I like to preach about is gaining an informational advantage: at the end of your roster, it's good to have players about whom you're going to gain a lot of new information very soon. If the information is bad, you can downgrade them and move on. If the information is good, you got in on the ground floor. Smallwood has given mixed reviews in limited action to date, but with injuries around him on the depth chart, he profiles as a player who we're going to learn a lot about in the coming weeks.
Mark Ingram II - It says a lot about the running back position in general that Mark Ingram II reached as high as he did in the rankings. A disappointing former 1st-round pick, Ingram was reasonably productive and reasonably young in an environment where most backs possessed neither trait, let alone both. But with a coaching staff that seems unwilling to continue to commit to him on a regular basis, it'd be hard to feel good about owning the soon-to-be 27 year old back, much less relying on him on a weekly basis.
Christine Michael- I’ve been one of the biggest proponents of Michael, but even I know when it’s time to fold ‘em. Pete Carroll may spin it as other guys on the team needing increased opportunity, but teams don’t just cut bait on guys so that up-and-comers can get increased touches. Getting kicked off multiple teams multiple times tells me that there is a problem between the ears. Some are still optimistic about Michael due to the fact he was claimed by the Packers. It says more about the abysmal state of the Packers’ running back depth chart than it says about how optimistic they are about obtaining Michael.
Thomas Rawls- The box score may not show it, but Thomas Rawls was more involved in his first game back than I thought he would be. The Christine Michael experiment is over in Seattle, and while C.J. Prosise isn’t going away on passing downs, Rawls should command the bulk of the work between the tackles.
Devante Parker- We’re seeing the second-year wideout make strides in route running and week-to-week consistency. The route he ran to secure the game-winning touchdown for the Dolphins against the Rams was a thing of beauty. The team turning things around under Gase also bodes well for his long-term outlook.
Davante Adams - A lot of ink is spilled about the importance of talent in dynasty leagues, and I'm not about to contradict that. But it's important to recognize that sometimes we're wrong in our thoughts about a player's talent. Players can get better, like Roddy White did early in his career. Sometimes a new situation unleashes talent that was there all along, like Emmanuel Sanders when he joined the Broncos. Sometimes all a player needs is to get healthy, like Dion Lewis. Whatever the reason, Davante Adams has come a long way from the punch line he was last year; he is currently tied with Jordy Nelson for the team lead in both receptions and receiving yards, and on sixteen fewer targets. We had good reason to question whether Adams was any good last season. We have good reason to revisit that opinion today, too.
Jamison Crowder - Based on the quality of play and results on the field, there might not be a more underrated asset in fantasy football right now than Crowder. He's giving name-brand production with a generic price tag, and with Cousins looking like a long-term solution, there's good reason to think he can keep it up going forward.
Jimmy Graham - I'm known as a guy who seeks out and buys injured players at every opportunity, because I think people underrate the power of modern medicine. Even I was bearish on Graham after what had historically been a career-ending injury. But not only is Graham back to looking like his pre-injury self, he's back to looking like his pre-Seattle self. He's not getting any younger, but on the other hand, with Gronk's injury woes, there might not be a more valuable fantasy tight end around in the short term. And he's still plenty young compared to options like Delanie Walker and Greg Olsen.