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.
Matt Ryan – The veteran has to move down the rankings. The League MVP has not rebounded well from the crushing Super Bowl defeat and the loss of Kyle Shanahan can’t be understated. If you own him though you should be a little bit patient as Ryan’s first season with Shanahan was similarly underwhelming when he finished with only 21 touchdowns and ranked 18th. His true upside was on display on the Falcons run in 2016, so he could be a good buy low if his current owner is starting to get worried.
Paxton Lynch – I’m not sure if the Broncos will be starting to panic, but a record of .500 Is not where the team they imagined they’d be to start the 2017 season. Trevor Siemian has had moments of good play but looks ordinary for the most part. Paxton Lynch isn’t fit enough right now, but as soon as he is you must wonder if they finally let their number 1 pick from the 2016 draft loose to play. The Broncos have a nightmare schedule over the next 3 weeks with Philadelphia and Kansas City away and then a visit from the Patriots. The team could easily be 3-6 or 4-5 and a return of fitness from Lynch could be just in time for a much easier schedule thereafter.
Blaine Gabbert – It is clear that coach Bruce Arians has a preference for older guys on his team, which is why 33-year old Drew Stanton will start ahead of the just turned 28 Blaine Gabbert following the broken arm suffered by Carson Palmer. In 10 years Stanton has 14 touchdowns to 19 interceptions and based on his play against the Rams he isn’t getting any better. Gabbert still has a chance to become something in this league and after a few more inept starts from Stanton I would be surprised if Gabbert isn’t on the field by mid-November.
DeShone Kizer – Has to make a massive fall in dynasty rankings. What seemed like promise is just turning into another disaster for the Cleveland Browns at the QB position. Falling in love with the upside, it is clear by now that the reports of DeShone Kizer needing to sit and learn were true. Repeatedly getting yanked in his rookie season, when he shouldn’t even be out there displays a poor lack of judgment from the Browns staff. I would be surprised if Kizer can come back from what is happening now, the scars are already quite noticeable.
Dak Prescott - Prescott looks like he has made the leap to elite franchise quarterback (and elite fantasy quarterback) in his second season. Over his past four games, Prescott has thrown 11 touchdown passes and rushed for another 3 scores. We know Prescott has extra fantasy value due to his rushing production, but he is now on pace for 37.3 passing touchdowns. If he can keep up this pace, Prescott could head into the offseason as the #1 dynasty quarterback.
Matt Ryan - At this point, we must wonder if Ryan is just a slightly above-average quarterback who Kyle Shanahan’s scheme allowed to put up elite numbers in a once-in-a-lifetime season. After posting 38 touchdowns and 7 interceptions last season, Ryan has 7 touchdowns and 6 interceptions through six weeks in 2017.
LeSean McCoy - A 29-year old running back’s dynasty value is always going to be heavily determined by his short-term outlook. For McCoy, a sluggish start that saw him average just 3.1 yards per carry and not score a single touchdown in his first five games knocked his value down. The Bills talked about making adjustments to their scheme over their Week 6 bye to get McCoy on track. While we don’t want to overreact to one game, McCoy’s Week 7 breakout performance against Tampa Bay should put to rest most concerns about his short-term projection. McCoy put up 28.2 points and once again looks like a top-5 weekly option at the position for the rest of the season.
Ty Montgomery - Montgomery entered the season as a boom/bust player from a dynasty perspective. He has a unique skillset and clearly had fantasy RB1 potential in the potent Green Bay offense. The questions about whether he would be able to make the starting running back job his on a longer-term basis. Montgomery’s Week 4 injury opened the door for rookie Aaron Jones and he has run with the opportunity. Jones has scored three touchdowns and rushed for 346 yards in the three and a half games since Montgomery went down. Montgomery is looking more and more like a change-of-pace backup and not the potential workhorse back his early-season usage hinted he might become.
Derrick Henry - The hamstring issues DeMarco Murray has been playing through all season opened the door for Henry to take over this backfield. Henry simply hasn’t been able to make the job his own. He has shown some flashes but hasn’t put it together like his dynasty owners were hoping he would. The Week 7 debacle against Cleveland (13 yards on 13 carries) was the latest sign that Henry’s emergence is further off and much less certain than expected.
Adrian Peterson - The loss of Carson Palmer has to hurt the offense, especially when his replacement in Drew Stanton is a sub-standard quarterback. On the bright side for those who liked what they saw against the Bucs, Peterson is now the only hope to get the offense moving. The Rams allowed him nothing, but the Cardinals have a good schedule against the run heading into the colder part of the season. Keep the faith or try to pry him from the guy who got him off the waiver wire and started him with an 11-carries-for-21-yards performance.
Derrick Henry – Would have been a popular start against Browns, especially with DeMarco Murray in doubt to play, but he stunk with 13 carries for 13 yards. Unfortunately, until Murray is out of the way, anyone starting Henry is going to have to put up with 6 carries for 7 yards one week, 19 carries for 131 and a TD the next and 13 for 13 the one after that. To be truly successful Henry needs the ball 20 times a game. His schedule does open up now if he gets the touches and will be worth a long-term add if you can get him now.
Doug Martin – If you still have Doug Martin as an important part of your roster, now would be the time to maybe off-load him while he has value. It is clear that Tampa Bay isn’t going to be what they promised in the offseason and his schedule is about to get very difficult. Only 2 of their remaining 10 games are against teams in the bottom half against the run and while Martin is running the ball okay, he is clearly not in the form from his 2012 and 2015 seasons. Almost 29, you need to consider unloading Martin before he becomes a journeyman back or out of the league altogether.
Jalen Richard – With Marshawn Lynch sidelined for a week and clearly past his beast mode best, Richard must be considered as a short-term investment. While he will share time with DeAndre Washington, Richard has run the ball well and is a better receiver out of the backfield. The Raiders were already alternating between Washington and Richard before Lynch got ejected and if you can snap up Richard now, he could be RB2 worthy for the rest of the year. Long-term opportunities may not be far behind.
Robert Woods – Lost among the talk of the underperformance of Sammy Watkins has been the play of Robert Woods. Before Watkins arrived with the Rams I was very high on Woods this year and his play to date has been a sign of that faith. He may not push the 1000 yard mark this year, but he has at least 6 targets in his last 5 games and the Rams are just about to meet a lot of poor pass defenses. His rapport with Jared Goff is evident and while the box score has been solid, it could be much more very soon.
Cooper Kupp – While Robert Woods has been a big play target for Jared Goff, the guy Goff looks to when the chips are down is rookie Cooper Kupp. Kupp should be a target monster for years to come as he gets better, and the offensive scheme works out ways to get him the ball. If you have a chance to get Kupp, do so now before it is too late.
T.Y. Hilton – Unfortunately for the Colts this season is about to go down the tubes. Jacoby Brissett has done his best, but he is not Andrew Luck, and this is an overmatched team in all areas now. Hilton will have the occasional big game, as he has done twice this year already, but it will be hard to rely on him as a WR2, let alone what his previous form dictated he become. With this team likely to undergo change and Luck likely to be an unreliable play when he returns, given his injuries and predilection for contact, I would take a good offer for Hilton while his value is strong. Dark clouds are circling.
Deonte Thompson – From looking like a potential starter for the Bears following the loss of all their wide receivers, Thompson was surprisingly let go and snapped up by the Bills who also are snake bitten at the position. His first game with them was a stunner with 100 yards and although he will be hard to rely on, stranger things have happened. If you have deep rosters and can get him cheap, why not?
Martavis Bryant - When I was a young guy working as a waiter, I was an unreliable employee. I’d call off sick about once every month or two if I was out too late the night before and couldn’t drag myself out of bed. Of all the negative stories that are leaking out about Bryant, the most eye-opening one is that he has called in sick four times in the past month missing practices, meetings and pre-game walk throughs. On top of the history of failed drug tests, lack of production, trade requests, and spats with teammates on social media we are seeing a forest of red flags regarding Bryant. The window to sell high has passed and Bryant’s dynasty value is cratering.
Donte Moncrief - With the news that Andrew Luck is likely to miss the entire 2017 season, it is entirely possible Moncrief will never catch another pass from Luck. Moncrief will enter free agency from what is looking to be another very disappointing season. It has been nearly two calendar years since Moncrief has had a 70-yard receiving game (Week 12 of 2015) and there may not be much of a light at the end of the tunnel.
Hunter Henry - Even the biggest believer in Henry’s talent had to find it disconcerting to see him start the season so slowly. Over the past four weeks, we have finally started to see the fantasy TE1 performances we were expecting. Henry has either scored a touchdown or had at least 70 receiving yards in four straight games. As 37-year old Antonio Gates continues to slow down, the 22-year old Henry could see his production tick up even more. We can once again confidently rank Henry as a top-5 dynasty tight end.
Evan Engram - Engram’s recent fantasy success is certainly tied to the slew of injuries to the Giants other pass catchers that vaulted him to the top of the list of Eli Manning’s weapons. Even when keeping in mind that important context, Engram’s performance has been incredibly impressive for a rookie tight end. Over the past two weeks, he has faced two of the NFL’s best defenses (Denver and Seattle) and caught 11 passes for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. The 23-year old is starting to separate himself from the pack of rookie tight ends in dynasty value. In terms of 25-or-under tight ends, Engram and Henry are the cream of the crop.
Austin Hooper - There we many in the dynasty community who preferred Hooper over Hunter Henry in the offseason. While Henry has continued to emerge as a key cog in the Chargers offense, Hooper’s ascent is stuck in neutral. He has seen more than two targets in just two games all season (both games Mohamed Sanu was out). With Sanu back in the lineup, Hooper saw just one target on Sunday night against the Patriots. In the short-term, you can’t have Hooper in your fantasy lineup. Longer term, there must be growing concern about the likelihood he ever emerges as a consistent fantasy producer.
George Kittle – A couple of weeks ago it was bugging me as to why I struggling to embrace George Kittle as his rookie season was moving along impressively. Watching him even more closely I am maybe chasing shadows, but have come to the conclusion that his hands are below average, and his body size isn’t going to be ideal for long-term punishment. He has the chance to work on and improve both areas though, so while it seems foolhardy to write off Rookie Tight Ends before the halfway mark of their debut season, I have seen enough to be concerned about his long-term future in the game.
O.J. Howard – Is a Rookie who should leap up dynasty rankings. His first 5 games saw only 1 big play and an average of a catch a game. That changed against the Bills when he put up 6 catches for almost 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. Now more than likely he will struggle to hold up that form and may even regress a little, but he has displayed the upside that with hard work and dedication will place him among the elite Tight Ends in the next 2 years. If you have him, sit back and grin. If you haven’t, wait for a few poorer performances to try and make a deal.