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.
Philip Rivers - Every offseason there are one or two quarterbacks undervalued in the marketplace. Veterans with a strong track record but a lackluster season are my focus. Rivers is the lead candidate on my board to rebound. Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen were lost for the season early on. Hunter Henry will enter Year 2. Shifting Tyrell Williams and the other ancillary receivers down a peg with Allen back will help tremendously and San Diego may add a free agent or rookie pass-catcher as well. Rivers had 19 interceptions (second-highest of career) and he was a strong rebound candidate last time he hit 19 or more interceptions (2011). He completed just 60.6% of his passes - his lowest mark since 2005. His attempted passes were at the lowest point since 2012. All signs point to a regression back upward in 2017.
Ty Montgomery - In my early December update, Montgomery was my 63rd ranked wide receiver. He moves over to the running back position and debuts at RB24 in my latest update. Can Montgomery excel as a lead back over a full season? While I’m skeptical, the possibility must be taken seriously. His athleticism, ability to catch out of the backfield and the upside inherent in the Green Bay offense makes him one of the more intriguing young dynasty backs.
Kenneth Dixon -It felt like the Dixon hype was a little over the top in the offseason, but he is starting to live up to some of the lofty expectations. He had the big Monday night game against New England, then took a backseat to Terrance West the following week. He again played well against the Steelers in Week 16. The most important thing at this point is that Dixon looks the part and that’s enough for me to move him up to the top 25 of my RB rankings. Maybe the Ravens don’t view him as anything more than a committee back, but the risk/reward are enough to invest in Dixon at the cost of a low-end RB2 and hope his role increases in his second season.
Kenneth Dixon - While the overt fantasy production was not a game-changer from Dixon his rookie season, I continually noted strong play with my weekly game-watching. Dixon has plus balance, vision, and a feel for defenders' angles when cutting back and navigating the line of scrimmage. As the season progressed (and Dixon gained health after an injured start) Dixon gained market share of the Baltimore backfield. Look for Dixon to be an upside for RB1 production in 2017.
Paul Perkins - While a fan of Kenneth Dixon to continue to excel with his expanded opportunities into next season, Perkins is a different case. I project many in the dynasty space will overvalue Perkins this offseason. Rashad Jennings looked nearly done in 2016 and Shane Vereen is best in a pass-centric role. Perkins failed to impress much on tape and got what was blocked (or slightly more) on his opportunities. I view Perkins as a secondary NFL back and think there will be moments to sell him in the dynasty space as a future lead option this offseason.
Tyler Lockett - Injuries sapped much of Lockett's sophomore season, but the overt flashes of athleticism and ball skills project ahead for production. An example of waiting out a string of injuries would be Marqise Lee, finally putting together a string of strong play in 2016 when back to full strength. A similar path of patience should be used with Lockett for 2017 or until he puts together a stretch with Russell Wilson where he can expand his role.
Kenny Britt - Free agency is here for Britt in the offseason. The reclamation project has quietly logged two solid seasons for the limited Rams offense and is playing the best prolonged ball of his career. Still in his 20s, Britt's free agency appeal was boosted with the off-field cloud surrounding Michael Floyd and much of Britt's dynasty value will hinge on his free agency market result. While a No.1 role is possible, I project a strong No.2 spot on a depth chart with an incumbent lead receiver. Considering Britt's lower-band dynasty value at present, betting on him into free agency is recommended.
Terrelle Pryor - Pryor is one of the toughest players to rank and I expect he will be one of the guys who is most hotly debated this offseason. The month of December has been a disaster for Pryor and I think he is overrated in the dynasty community right now. As an Ohio State fan, I have followed Pryor’s career for a decade (ever since he was the #1 recruit in the nation in 2007). There have been two near constants for Pryor: (1) he is an absolutely incredible athlete and (2) he seems to rub almost everyone the wrong way. His athleticism is special. Many were skeptical of reports that he was the fastest player on Ohio State’s roster at 6’5, 235 pounds. Then he went out and ran a sub-4.4 forty-yard dash at his pro day. That athleticism allowed him to make the mid-career move from quarterback to wide receiver. Something unprecedented for a 27-year old. But we are seeing more and more of the personality issues creep in that have sabotaged his career up to this point. Three straight weeks, we saw opposing cornerbacks come out after the game and go out of their way to say that Pryor is “trash,” “garbage”, overrated, etc. We’ve seen him blow up at his quarterbacks during games. We’ve seen former teammates come out in the press and say stuff like, "You're trying to tell me with a guy that had suspect personality characteristics, I'm going to go ahead and hand you a bunch of money, then you're going to work harder?" Brian Hartline said. "Uh, I think I'm going to bet against that if I'm a betting man.” There’s enough smoke out there about Pryor to worry about whether he has already reached his peak dynasty value and the risk/reward don’t add up to draft him in the third round of a startup draft (which is his current ADP).
Doug Baldwin - Baldwin continues to be underrated in dynasty circles because he doesn’t have the flashy skill set, size or top pedigree (undrafted out of Stanford) that make dynasty owners drool. However, as I started looking at opponents’ rosters in the fantasy playoffs, Baldwin’s name was one that evinced that “uh oh” feeling where you know he has the possibility of putting up a huge score and ending your season. Sure enough, he went off with a monster game in Week 16. In my previous rankings update, I fell into the same trap of overrating youth, pedigree, and size/speed and underrated Baldwin. I won’t be making the same mistake again. Baldwin is a top 15 dynasty receiver and a guy who you can feel great about plugging into your lineup as a WR2 every week for at least the next 3-4 seasons.
Travis Kelce - Kelce has been on a torrid pace down the stretch of the 2016 season, but that’s not the only reason to move him up from fourth to the top of the tight ends rankings. One group of numbers in particular really stand out when looking at Kelce: 16, 16, 16…Those are his number of games played over the last three seasons. Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert can only dream about that level of health and consistency. And dynasty contenders who went into the playoffs scrambling at tight end because their injury prone stars were out yet again were left wishing they owned Kelce instead. Kelce has always had elite talent and put up solid numbers. But his usage by Andy Reid left us wanting more. Something finally seemed to click and in mid-November Reid and Alex Smith began to feed the ball to their best offensive player. Kelce has responded by putting up 100+ receiving yards in 5 of the last 6 games. Add it all up and if I’m picking any dynasty tight end, I will take the guy who seems to have found a new level and who doesn’t have an injury history a mile long.
Vernon Davis - Bet on elite talent until they are out of the NFL is a commonly-said mantra of mine. Davis rekindled his play as the No.2 to Jordan Reed with the Redskins. Now entering free agency, Davis at worst will land a secondary role on a new team and has starter upside. Even as his physical traits erode, he was starting from an elite level and at 80% would be one of the most athletic tight ends in the NFL.
Jerell Adams - Adams is more of a straight-line athlete, but one thing I do know is Larry Donnell and Will Tye are depth or stopgap NFL options at best. Adams will get every opportunity to be the Giants' Week 1 starter. Adams is still on some waiver wires post-Week 16 and is an ideal stash into the offseason.