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- Looking at everything that’s gone wrong in Miami over the past few years, Tannehill may be the common denominator. We know that the Tennessee Titans present a favorable matchup through the air, yet Tannehill managed to throw two interceptions and look totally ineffective against them. To be fair, his offensive line was down two starters and not protecting him well. Yet his decision-making was still incredibly poor. Adam Gase swears Tannehill will remain the quarterback through the duration of this season, but the Dolphins placed an opt-out clause in his contract, meaning they can cut ties with him after this season if they so choose. He’s on very shaky ground in dynasty leagues going forward.
Ryan Tannehill – Tannehill moves down the rankings for two reasons: lack of time to throw and poor decisions when throwing the ball down the field. In the preseason, I gave Tannehill too much benefit of the doubt with Adam Gase calling the shots. There is no reason to think that the line play or decision making will improve quickly enough for fantasy owners.
Dak Prescott – Prescott has shown poise in the pocket, unlike most rookie quarterbacks. While it is entirely possible that Tony Romo reclaims the starting job when healthy, Prescott has proven he can be a long-term starter in the NFL. Leading the Cowboys to the impressive victory against the Bengals, without the services of superstar Dez Bryant, was enough to push the rookie up the rankings.
Latavius Murray – Murray missed the game against the Chargers on Sunday with a turf toe. While he should regain the starting gig when healthy, rookie DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard have each solidified an expanded role in a committee.
Jeremy Langford- For dynasty, the battle for value between Langford and Howard is a no-contest competition in Howard’s favor. Howard has run hard and made the most of his touches, while Langford has been on the shelf. Howard has contributed some impressive work in the passing game as well. Worst case scenario, he’ll force a committee with Langford upon his return. Best case scenario, John Fox shies away from his seeming aversion to playing rookies and gives the more gifted Howard the majority of the touches. This would allow Howard to build his experience and prepare for a long-term role.
Tyrell Williams- With each passing week Williams continues a steady ascent up my rankings. While he still needs a little bit of polish (as evidenced by some in-game miscommunications with Rivers), Williams is doing admirable work filling in for Keenan Allen. He is averaging over seven targets a game in an offense that is often forced to play from behind. Williams’ targets to date have not been high-value deep balls, but Williams reeling one in for a massive 50-yard gain on Sunday may have been enough to encourage the coaching staff to unlock this aspect of his game going forward. I believe this offense will continue to utilize Williams even upon Allen’s return because of his tremendous size-speed combination, especially in the red zone. If you don’t believe in Williams like I do and are looking to cash out, I would not take any less than what projects to be a high second-round pick in 2017.
Adam Thielen- In recent years, the Vikings have been a team that is good at finding undrafted or late-round receivers that can produce when the opportunity presents itself. Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs are two such examples. Adam Thielen would also appear to be in that mold. In 2013, Thielen tried out for the team and was signed to a contract. He was a special teams standout in the 2014 and 2015 seasons for the Vikings. However, with Stefon Diggs ailing and Laquon Treadwell struggling to absorb the offense, Thielen has been getting snaps on offense and producing when targeted. While I question his long-term value with Treadwell waiting in the wings, I do think he makes an interesting play and/or stash in deeper leagues.
Cameron Meredith- The Bears acquired Cameron Meredith as an undrafted free agent in 2015. In terms of body dimensions, Sigmund Bloom recently compared him to San Diego’s Tyrell Williams. I believe that is an apt comparison. With Kevin White on IR and the rest of the Bears receiving corps playing banged up, Meredith is getting additional opportunities on the field. The losing game scripts in which Chicago finds themselves will continue to force Brian Hoyer to throw often. Most of the coverage attention will be on Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, and Zach Miller - meaning Meredith could present covert value for those in deep leagues. He also makes sense as a stash on dynasty rosters with 35 or more roster spots.
Alshon Jeffery – Something is not quite right with the star pass catcher. First, Kevin White sees many more pass targets than does Jeffery. Then, when White is injured, Cameron Meredith sees more passes thrown his way. This does not bode well for a player entering free agency after the season.
Chris Conley – Conley is very athletic and makes plays when quarterback Alex Smith throws the ball his way, but it does not happen very often. The Chiefs rarely target receivers not named Jeremy Maclin. But, Conley makes a great stash. In limited action, he has shown the ability to make plays and that is all we can ask.
Jimmy Graham – Graham looks to be back near what he showed in New Orleans. The good news for fantasy owners is that the Seahawks have begun utilizing the big tight end and he is converting targets to big plays.
Martellus Bennett – Bennett has a good rapport with quarterback Tom Brady and it was evident in the huge outburst against the lowly Browns. The New England offense is a great fit for Bennett’s athleticism. We expect the veteran tight end to finish the season as an elite player at the position.