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.
Drew Brees - With the defense and running game clicking for New Orleans, we’re not seeing Brees throwing as much, which is what has driven his fantasy value in recent years. A report that Brees’ future with the Saints is uncertain and the mention of declining physical skills has me a bit spooked as a Brees dynasty owner. He moves a few notches down my board.
Andrew Luck - Missing a whole year of football isn’t a death knell to his value (see Peyton Manning), but seeking stem cell treatment in Europe is a concerning development. Assuming Luck can get back, this team is going to have to undergo some wholesale changes to the offensive line and perhaps the coaching staff to help keep Luck upright. All these obstacles have me reassessing Luck’s long-term worth.
Carson Wentz - Beyond just the touchdown numbers that Wentz has been putting up in recent weeks (3 against Washington, 3 against Carolina and 4 against Denver), his dynasty value is on the rise (up to QB1 in my updated rankings) because he continues to pass test after test. Wentz has put the Philadelphia franchise on his back and led his team to the best record in the NFL. He seems to show improvement on an almost weekly basis. Wentz has the size, athleticism, arm strength and smarts to be a fantasy QB1 for the next decade.
Jared Goff - Goff continues to fly up the dynasty rankings (up to QB13). After his rookie year, he looked like a bust. Early in the season, he looked much improved and it was easy to envision him as a long-term NFL starter but not necessarily a fantasy difference-maker. After throwing for 666 passing yards and 7 touchdowns over the past two weeks, it is time to seriously reconsider Goff’s fantasy upside. He looks like a solid QB1 down the stretch of the 2017 season. At just 23-years old and under the tutelage of arguably the best young coach in the NFL, the future is very bright for Goff.
Andrew Luck - Luck drops in my rankings from QB3 to QB6 in my updated November rankings. Even that may be too high with real uncertainty about whether Luck will ever return to the form that, just a few years ago, had many arguing that he should be the 1.01 in dynasty startup drafts. Our Dr. Jene Bramel wrote an excellent in-depth breakdown of Luck’s injury and his chances of achieving a full recovery. Luck is easier to gamble on in typical one Quarterback leagues because there are always solid replacements and streaming options available if you do end up having to go without your top passer. In Superflex (or Two-Quarterback) leagues, Luck’s value is further decreased because it is much more difficult and costly to find a strong replacement. In this format, the risk in holding onto Luck is extreme and it is probably worth trying to move him for somebody like Cam Newton, Dak Prescott or Marcus Mariota if you still can.
Alvin Kamara - Kamara has yet to start an NFL game, yet still ranks as a top-7 running back in PPR scoring. In terms of the “eye test” Kamara has passed with flying colors and looks like one of the top two or three rookie running backs in the loaded 2017 class. He is rushing for 6.5 yards per carry on the season and has shown a tremendous ability to break tackles in the open field. Kamara is on pace for 76.4 receptions and already has 6 touchdowns.
Melvin Gordon III - Gordon’s fantasy value has always been largely based upon value moreso than efficiency. He has a career YPC of just 3.7 and hasn’t rushed for 4.0 YPC in any of his three seasons. Thus, it is especially concerning that he logged less than 70% of the snaps for the third straight week. Austin Ekeler has emerged as an exciting and effective change-of-pace option in the mold of Danny Woodhead. Assuming Gordon does not go back to playing nearly every snap any time soon, his fantasy value takes a real hit. He remains a top-10 dynasty back but assuming the usage continues along these lines, the gap between Gordon and the top backs will widen further.
Joe Mixon - Mixon is rising slightly in my rankings. Jeremy Hill was put on Injured Reserve, paving the way for Mixon to have the primary role in this backfield. While the state of the team and the poor offensive line is limiting his upside at this time, we can see that the future is bright for the young runner. He is getting work as both a between-the-tackles and pass-catching option. Hopefully, when Marvin Lewis is out, the new regime will give Mixon more with which to work.
Jamaal Williams - Aaron Jones suffered a significant knee injury and Ty Montgomery re-injured his ribs. That leaves Williams as the last man standing in this backfield. He has a body better suited to take the pounding that comes with the position, is a competent pass protector, and has an intuitive understanding of how to play running back. While the offense is not what it could be because they are missing Aaron Rodgers, there’s a chance for Williams to show he’s the best among this group heading into next year.
Donte Moncrief - I feel many people are forgetting about Moncrief due to his team’s lowly circumstances. He reminded owners on Sunday that he’s still got talent on his sixty-yard score. He’s very young (he’ll be only 25 at the outset of next season) and it will be interesting to see where he lands in free agency. I would be buying Moncrief for a mid-second-round pick or later in the leagues in which owners are frustrated with him.
Robert Woods - When Sammy Watkins was traded to the Rams, many (myself included) figured that Robert Woods would be an intermediate possession receiver who would spend a lot of his time blocking for Todd Gurley downfield. Instead, Woods has been a big play threat, filling the role that we thought Watkins would assume. While I’m not convinced that Woods will maintain his multiple-touchdown-a-game pace, I am more open to Woods having worth beyond being just a role player.
Adam Thielen - Don’t look now, but Thielen is a top-3 fantasy wide receiver on the season as we head into Week 11. He has been a model of consistency and is the only player in the league who has at least 5 receptions in every single game this season. Thielen bumps up into the top-20 at Wide Receiver in my latest rankings update. He is one of those wide receivers who did not come into the league with a lot of pedigree (like Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton and Doug Baldwin) and the dynasty market doesn’t adjust quickly enough. If fellow owners still view Thielen’s production as somewhat fluky, the buy-low window could stay open the rest of the season.
Sterling Shepard - Shepard put together a monster performance (11 catches for 142 receiving yards) in Week 10. In part, he is putting up bigger numbers because he and Evan Engram are the last men standing at wide receiver for the Giants and Eli Manning has no other options. However, recent weeks have been a reminder that Shepard is a very talented young player with a knack for making difficult catches. In recent weeks, he has gone from a dynasty afterthought to a player who could carry contenders down the stretch.
John Ross - Ross played just five snaps in Week 10 and is running well behind 4th-rounder Josh Malone in the pecking order at wide receiver for the Bengals. Sure, some patience is required because Ross has been battling through injuries. But the practice reports couldn’t be much uglier. Ross is struggling with confidence and reportedly hasn’t shown the speed that made him such a valued draft commodity. If you can still sell high based upon the top-10 draft pedigree, it is worth considering.
Kelvin Benjamin - It is hard to find any positives from a fantasy perspective in the trade of Benjamin from Carolina to Buffalo. The Bills rank 31st in pass attempts per game (29.5) and have uncertainty moving forward at quarterback, where the team doesn’t seem fully committed to Tyrod Taylor. Beyond the fit and projected impact on the Buffalo offense, it is also concerning that Carolina was willing to cut bait so cheaply on Benjamin in a season they are contending for a playoff spot. It speaks volumes that the front office and coaching staff that sees Benjamin daily does not value him highly. If they don’t, neither should his dynasty owners. In his first game with the Bills, Benjamin pulled in just three receptions.
Jared Cook - Cook has always had talent and is now developing into a prime weapon for Derek Carr in Oakland. Over the past three weeks, Cook has 290 receiving yards and a pair of 100-yard receiving games. Still just 30-years old, Cook could be the rare player who breaks out late in his career (like Delanie Walker) and puts together his best fantasy seasons in his 30s. Don’t sleep on Cook’s upside. Like Walker, he has TE1 fantasy potential the next couple seasons.
Rob Gronkowski - Gronkowski remains the top dynasty tight end but his value compared to other positions has fallen in the last month. Gronkowski has looked slower and less explosive than he did in his youth and hasn’t made much of an impact in recent weeks. Still just 28-years old, Gronkowski theoretically has a long and productive future ahead of him. However, with his long history of injuries to his back and knees, he is an “old 28” and there are no guarantees that Gronkowski remains a top fantasy producer into his 30s like many expect he will. Even in the shorter-term, it is hard to trust that Gronkowski will still be healthy and play at a high level when the fantasy playoffs come around late in the season. It is scary to trade away a player in his 20s who is likely to go down as the greatest to ever play his position, but it is at least worth considering if you can sell high now and turn Gronkowski into a talented youngster without a long injury history.
Austin Hooper - I’ve been high on Hooper for some time and Sunday’s action only sent him up a few spots in my rankings. It’s nice to see the Falcons involving him more in the offense, particularly in red zone work. He was overshadowed by Hunter Henry last year because he didn’t have the immediate impact, but he’s every bit as talented.
Tyler Kroft - With Tyler Eifert being in the Jordan Reed camp of tight ends who are not able to stay healthy, it’s been Kroft who has carried the mail for the Bengals at the position this year. Kroft is 25 years old, just about the time that most tight ends start hitting their stride. He’s done well, even on a team that’s been stuck in the mud offensively for most of the year. One would have to think drafting a tight end will be pretty low on the to-do list of a new regime, so Kroft may have a role with this team going forward.