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 of your teams. The diversity of rankings will result in a variety of opinions weekly.
Ryan Tannehill - I am cooling on Tannehill by the week. This is a big season for him, with ample weapons (at least through the air) and I keep getting the impression QB1 'upside' is not really there for him long-term. He is more in the QB2 with some occasional QB1 flash moments or matchups type of fantasy option. Considering how replaceable Tannehill's evolving moniker is for dynasty (at least in start-1QB formats), I am taking shots elsewhere.
Paxton Lynch - I came away very impressed with the rookie in his first NFL regular season action. As a relief appearance, with no week-long lead-up to prepare, Lynch looked poised and threw a number of intermediate passes with velocity and accuracy. With Trevor Siemian looking adequate, I projected Lynch to be on the bench for the entire season, but this year could allow Lynch to dig in his heels as the starter from this point forward.
Marcus Mariota - As other young quarterbacks (Carson Wentz, Derek Carr, and Dak Prescott) show continued signs of progress, Mariota continues to regress. Through four weeks, he has thrown more interceptions (5) than touchdown passes (4). He has also been less involved as a runner (just 18 rushing yards per game) than expected. If he isn’t going to be used more heavily in the running game, it is impossible to see Mariota being fantasy relevant in single QB leagues anytime soon. The offense is too slow-paced and run-heavy.
Carson Wentz - With a Week 4 bye, Wentz has only played once since my Week 3 rankings update. But what a game it was. Wentz dissected a good Steelers defense on his way to 301 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns. What the rookie has been able to do early on after coming out of an FCS program is remarkable. He is clearly a top 15 dynasty asset at the QB position already.
Jordan Howard - With Jeremy Langford injured, the rookie fifth-rounder got his chance to show what he could do in as the feature back. He did not disappoint. He rushed for 111 yards, caught three passes and looked good doing it. Anyone who drafted Howard in the 2nd or 3rd round of 2016 rookie drafts has to be giddy with excitement about the potential he has shown. While we don’t want to overreact to one week, we also don’t want to under-react to the realistic possibility that Howard could cement himself as the workhorse back in Chicago over the coming weeks. He deserves to shoot way up in the rankings to RB16. That rankings bump could prove too aggressive, but there’s also a chance that it isn’t aggressive enough and Howard sneaks into the top 12 by midseason.
Latavius Murray - It’s always been hard for me to buy into Murray as a top dynasty asset. He just doesn’t pass the look test with his upright running style. The last two weeks have confirmed all of Murray’s dynasty owners’ worst fears about how this backfield situation would play out. Murray has received less than half of the RB touches for Oakland two weeks in a row. The team is clearly ramping up the usage of rookie DeAndre Washington (and to a lesser extent, Jalen Richard). With an expectation of 10-12 touches a week and only minor involvement in the passing game, Murray is nearly worthless from a fantasy perspective.
Jordan Howard - Welcome to the show, Mr. Howard. He looked the part of a lead NFL back and then some against Detroit in Week 4. Howard was one of the few running back prospects in the 2016 class who profiled as a three-down lead NFL back during the draft process by my eye and metrics. I doubt Jeremy Langford gets the job back when healthy later this season.
Derrick Henry - My valuation on Henry has not changed, but DeMarco Murray continues to dominate and Henry's snap count continues to shrink by the week. I thought Henry would be a flex option this year, but he is not even seeing goal line or much work outside of breathers for Murray. Henry is a quality talent buy for the long-term as any missed game by Murray would project Henry as a top-12 play that week.
DeAndre Hopkins - Will Fuller and the current state of the Houston offense is eating into Hopkins' weekly upside and floor. Hopkins is seeing all the coverage and less of the targets. Brock Osweiler is not forcing the ball to Hopkins like previous Houston quarterbacks. Fuller wins after the catch and through overt acceleration and speed. Hopkins is more of a contested ball receiver at his best moments. The gap is closing between the two and Hopkins is returning to the pack from the top tier of dynasty receivers.
Golden Tate - Like DeAndre Hopkins, Tate is missing the old version of the Lions offense. Marvin Jones is the lead target, Eric Ebron is more involved, Anquan Boldin is soaking up meaningful snaps and targets, and Theo Riddick is heavily-targeted. In short, Tate's yards-after-catch game is being squeezed out. Tate has dropped a number of spots in my rankings as an older receiver without the benefit of short-term production.
T.Y. Hilton - Hilton jumps up from WR17 to WR11 in my rankings update. Even before the Donte Moncrief injury, Hilton was clearly Andrew Luck’s top target. He has seen 10+ targets in every game this season. The 26-year old signed a long-term extension last offseason that keeps him with Andrew Luck through his prime years. He is a “set it and forget it” top-15 weekly option for the foreseeable future. Hilton has some real upside that has perhaps been hidden through the first four weeks. He has faced a number of tough cornerback matchups, but the schedule lightens up moving forward (starting with the Bears in Week 5).
Josh Gordon - Gordon’s stock has had the most extreme swings up and down of perhaps any player in the league in recent years. With optimism about his imminent return, Gordon shot up to WR22 in my Week 3 rankings update. Obviously, his stock is back in the dumpster after another relapse that has Gordon again facing an indefinite suspension and back in rehab.
Hunter Henry - The rookie tight end already ranked as TE9 in my dynasty rankings update two weeks ago, despite his slow start. But he has since moved up to TE7 and, more importantly, has the realistic upside to see his value shoot up even more. Since Antonio Gates went down with a hamstring injury, we have seen Henry thrust into an even bigger role and the rookie has impressed. In his two-game audition as the starter, Henry has averaged 6 catches, 66 yards and scored a touchdown. While the numbers certainly aren’t eye-popping, it is important to remember that he is doing this as a 21-year old rookie. It is extremely rare to see a rookie tight end (especially one this young) come in and make such an immediate impact. Thus, we should take notice and start to seriously consider the possibility that Hunter Henry will be one of the top 3 dynasty tight ends in the near future.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins - There is still a glimmer of hope for Seferian-Jenkins in New York. The Jets have Brandon Marshall, who could prove to be just the mentor that the troubled young tight end needs. Seferian-Jenkins is still worth a roster spot in deeper leagues. However, the TE16 ranking he carried two weeks ago is unjustifiable after his latest incident and the Buccaneers deciding to cut ties with him. He now ranks behind players like Kyle Rudolph, Jimmy Graham, Jesse James, and Tyler Higbee in updated rankings.
Hunter Henry - The Chargers rookie tight end is rising again in my dynasty valuation. He was seeing a solid share of the snaps even when Antonio Gates was in the lineup. In Gates' absence, Henry has played nearly every snap and is logging quality production...in his first month of NFL regular season action. The Chargers, considering their losses of Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen for the rest of the year, cannot put Henry back in the bottle even when Antonio Gates (who looks physically done by the way) returns to the field.