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.
Dak Prescott – It is very clear that Dak Prescott cannot carry the Cowboys on his own. Not yet anyway. When Dallas allows the run game to dominate, Prescott looks much better and can post decent fantasy stats. As Jason Witten and Dez Bryant age, he needs to find the next group of receivers that will move his game forward. At the moment, he can only be relied upon as a dynasty backup, even after Ezekiel Elliot returns. He may be 2 years away from becoming a reliable dynasty starter.
Tyrod Taylor – Despite being the only quarterback on the roster that keeps Buffalo in playoff contention, it is clear that the current regime wants to look in another direction. His contract situation allows Buffalo to let him go and get an experienced starter to replace him or keep him for another year and draft a rookie high in the 2018 draft. Dynasty owners may have to endure another year of pain before a new team either takes him as a starter or allows him to compete for the role.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Jimmy Garoppolo passed the first stage of his audition for the 2018 49ers starter with a strong grade. There were no touchdowns, but he completed over 70% of his passes and made a below average receiving crop look better. One or 2 more games like this, especially if he can get a couple more wins and the 49ers will commit more and more to him as their draft pick moves down the board. Dynasty owners would be wise to get him now before he becomes a valuable commodity as the 49ers build a strong offense around him.
Russell Wilson - Wilson was ranked in the top tier of quarterbacks last month but slightly below Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers as QB4. As of today, I don’t think there is any dynasty quarterback I would rather own than Wilson and have bumped him up to QB1. He has been absolutely incredible this season and was especially masterful in out-dueling Wentz on Sunday night.
Jameis Winston - Winston falls all the way to QB15 in my latest rankings update. While it was somewhat understandable to write off his poor decision-making his first couple years as typical of a young quarterback making the leap to the NFL, he seems to have regressed even further instead of showing improvement in his third season. He simply makes too many boneheaded plays to win games and his status as a franchise quarterback is coming into serious question. His off-field decision making is also a major concern, with Winston now facing his second serious sexual misconduct allegations.
Alvin Kamara - In my mid-November rankings update, Kamara ranked as RB7 and that felt like it might be too aggressive a move up the rankings. However, in the three weeks since, the 7th ranking actually seems to have been too conservative as Kamara has jumped up to RB5 and become one of the more untouchable dynasty players overall if you try to trade for him. Kamara looks like an elite talent and has been able to put up top-3 fantasy numbers at the position over the past six weeks despite playing in a part-time role with Mark Ingram II seeing more touches. If Kamara starts seeing 20 touches per game next season, he has a real shot to eventually be a guy who is in the conversation at 1.01 in startup drafts.
Kareem Hunt - Hunt and Kamara are on diverging paths with Hunt’s value falling by the week. He drops from RB6 to RB12 based upon his miserable fantasy production over the past month. Hunt’s fade has been hard to understand and his poor Week13 fantasy performance is especially concerning considering the Chiefs offense finally broke out of its funk.
Samaje Perine - Perine moves up from RB31 to RB20. While there are still major questions about Perine’s fantasy upside and long-term projection, the same can be said about all of the other backs in his tier. Unlike many others, Perine has shown some nice positives in his extended audition as a starter. He has been a much better receiver than expected, which gives him some actual upside in PPR leagues.
Ameer Abdullah - Abdullah falls from RB20 to RB32. Abdullah has always shown flashes of talent but has been unable to produce in the Lions poor rushing offense. However, we can’t continue to write off Abdullah’s issues as entirely a product of his offensive line. He has done little to prove that he deserves to be a lead back at the NFL level and is a player who will be at risk of being replaced in the draft because the Lions need to upgrade their talent at the position this offseason.
Kenyan Drake – I targeted Kenyan Drake very highly in dynasty leagues last year. Teams do not throw around top 3 picks on running backs, without having a plan in mind. The Dolphins knew they had an issue with Jay Ajayi, who fell to the 5th round for a variety of reasons. Now it is a concern that Damien Williams was still preferred to Drake until his shoulder injury, but now Drake has a clear shot to finish the season as the unquestioned starter heading into 2018. His 23-carry, 120-yard rushing performance against the Broncos was impressive for a number of reasons. Primarily though, he broke through for a long touchdown run and had 9 carries of 6 yards or more. Your chance to get him has probably passed, but if he is attainable, get him.
Derrick Henry – It is clear that the Titans are transitioning Derrick Henry to become the lead dog in their dominant running game. Demarco Murray will turn 30 in the offseason and Tennessee can get out of his contract with no cap hit. The Titans are likely to draft a younger back to complement Henry or re-sign Murray to a cheaper deal, depending on what they feel Murray can offer. Henry should exceed 200 carries in 2018, as this offense isn’t ready to run through Marcus Mariota yet and he may be obtainable now with a good offer.
Jordan Howard – Dynasty owners need to be very concerned about Jordan Howard. We’ve seen numerous late round picks thrive for a short period of time, but not keep up that level of play. Right now, Howard is a mid to late level RB2, but when a new coach comes in for the 2018 season, he is unlikely to play to Howard’s strength as a runner and is likely to be looking for a runner that fits his scheme. It is highly probable that Howard could see a similar decline in fortunes to that of another back drafted late in Alfred Morris. Howard owners may be able to sell at good value on past production, but his value could plummet depending on offseason moves.
Tion Green – After a strong performance in the final preseason game of 8 carries for 63 yards and a 74-yard touchdown reception, few expected to see anything from Tion Green this year. Injuries and underachievement by other runners allowed an opportunity for Green in Detroit though and he made the most of it with 11 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens. Now he could disappear back into obscurity, but when the best their other runners can average is 3.4 yards a carry, he should be given at least another shot. The struggling Bucs run defense is there for the taking after Tevin Coleman recorded 97 yards and 2 touchdowns and the Packers ran for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns in week 13. If he has a strong game this week, he could be a dynasty steal. If he doesn’t, he’s an easy cut.
Mike Davis – After an impressive cameo against the Falcons in week 11, Mike Davis came back from a minor injury to look like the starter the Seahawks have been searching for since Chris Carson went down. 100 combined yards and 4 receptions is just a taster of what he could achieve if he can get a run at the job. Things change rapidly at this time of the year and he could take a stranglehold on the job or disappear altogether. His upside in this offense is worth the risk though, so grab him if you can.
Ryan Grant – In his 4th season in the NFL, Ryan Grant is quietly turning into a dependable wide receiver for Washington and Kirk Cousins. He has at least 3 receptions in 75% of his games this season and 4 touchdowns as well. These aren’t the type of stats that fantasy owners are looking for, but on deep rosters, he is a good emergency option. As a free agent after this season, I would watch for him and Cousins playing on the same team in 2018, whether that is in Washington or elsewhere. He could increase significantly in value if they are both elsewhere next year and costs next to nothing right now.
DeVante Parker – Expectations were high for DeVante Parker heading into the 2017 season, but he has underperformed significantly and lost playing time to Kenny Stills. As a dynasty owner, he does scream value though if you can get him now while his value is depressed. At age 24 he has plenty of time left and the return of Ryan Tannehill could be significant in 2018. If he genuinely is interested in playing and becoming what his draft slot suggested he could be, now is the time to grab him.
Jermaine Kearse – Every year there are circumstantial players that take advantage of situations to the surprise of fantasy owners. Jermaine Kearse is fully embracing the chance to become a genuine starting receiver in the NFL and his stats will smash whatever he achieved in his first 5 years in Seattle. What he does in 2018 will depend on a number of factors, but the Jets can keep him if they want or resign him to a longer-term deal to ease the cap number. Odds are he can’t duplicate what he does this year, especially if a 39-year old Josh McCown can’t also replicate what he is doing. Hard to see these numbers continuing, so sell if you can or buy on the cheap and let the 2018 cards fall where they may.
Dede Westbrook – Jacksonville is entering an interesting phase with their receiving corp. Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, and Marqise Lee could all be gone after this year, as could Blake Bortles. It is likely that the Jaguars keep one of the receivers and pair them with cheaper receiving options like Keelan Cole and this year’s 4th round pick Dede Westbrook. After being injured most of the year, Westbrook has been impressive in his 3 games to date and screams 2018 breakout candidate. The offseason games involving the quarterback and receiving group needs to be monitored carefully here. If Jacksonville keep 2 of Hurns, Robinson, and Lee that spells danger for Westbrook. If they only keep 1 or less, look out.
Trent Taylor – Trent Taylor had his best game of the season coinciding with the introduction of Jimmy Garoppolo to the starting job. Given Taylor’s size, though I wouldn’t be getting carried away just yet though, 5’ 8” receivers tend to have very specialized roles in the NFL and don’t become reliable fantasy targets. He is worth watching carefully though as games of 6 catches for 92 in a rookie season are worth noting.
Josh Gordon – It would be remiss of anyone not to mention the return of Josh Gordon to the NFL after a 3-year absence. His price will be a lot higher this week than it was last week or the week before. If you get blown away by an offer you should seriously consider it. Long-term success for guys out of the NFL for so long is not good. Cleveland is likely to have another tumultuous offseason and where the next regime goes is anyone’s guess. Gordon will be a great story if he can play like he did in 2013, but the head needs to take control of the heart at some stage.
Keenan Allen - I’ve always ranked Allen higher than most and have bumped him up four more spots from WR9 to WR5 based upon his recent hot streak. Allen has always shown elite talent and has just needed to stay healthy. He is doing so this season and the results have been superb. He is the first wide receiver in NFL history to record three straight games of 10+ catches, 100+ yards, and at least one touchdown. At just 25-years old, the present and future both look extremely bright for Allen.
Corey Davis - Davis falls 10 spots from WR11 to WR21. The value of rookies is always going to fluctuate wildly based upon small sample sizes and Davis is a prime example. The unknown promise of a top-5 pick with a nice skillset holds high value and everyone was excited to finally see Davis in action. However, now that we’ve seen Davis in his first extended playing time, there are some serious red flags as to just how much upside he really has and whether he can be a true lead wide receiver. Davis hasn’t looked particularly explosive against NFL competition. Rookie struggles for top picks can be overcome and there are plenty of guys who have done so. However, the majority of first-round rookies who struggle to make an impact early never make a major fantasy impact so the poor start for Davis is concerning.
Robby Anderson - Anderson makes a major move all the way up to WR25. The 24-year old puts up big fantasy performances on a weekly basis now. It is time to recognize him as one of the top emerging young talents at the wide receiver position. If the Jets can somehow land a franchise quarterback this offseason, Anderson could see his dynasty value rise even further as the clear #1 target in a surprisingly solid Jets offense.
Stephen Anderson - Anderson makes a big jump from TE46 to TE28. Anderson is the perfect late-season waiver wire addition both for playoff teams desperate for a startable tight end option and non-contenders looking to stash a young player for 2018. Anderson was one of Jared Goff’s favorite targets at California and entered the league undrafted in 2016 as a combo tight end/wide receiver in the mold of Jordan Reed. He is the last man standing at the tight end position for the Texans, who have been decimated by injuries. Anderson flashed in Week 13 and should see starter’s snaps the rest of the way. With C.J. Fiedorowicz suffering his third concussion of the season, there is a real opportunity for Anderson to potentially take the starting job. Any starting pass-catcher playing with Deshaun Watson has a shot at fantasy relevance, which would make Anderson intriguing going forward.
Tyler Kroft - Kroft moves up a handful of spots from TE26 to TE21. He has played very well as the starter in Cincinnati since Tyler Eifert was lost for the season with yet another injury. Eifert is a free agent after the season and is a good bet to land somewhere other than Cincinnati. Kroft is just 25-years old and could be the long-term starter in a Cincinnati offense that leans heavily on the tight end in the red zone.
Stephen Anderson – With C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin having numerous and lingering concussion concerns this year, Stephen Anderson has taken advantage by having the best game of his career against the Titans. He is probably a strong play for the remainder of this year, but I would be wary of anything beyond that. The Texans are likely to be in transition mode in the offseason and a new offense and Deshaun Watson are different than Tom Savage at QB. Use and trade or use and discard are the best options for Anderson right now.
Hunter Henry – Hunter Henry has been waiting to breakout into the elite TE1 every knows he will become. That time has arrived. The Chargers offense is on fire and Henry will be a key part of that. The only concern is that Philip Rivers has an extensive group of targets at his disposal and situational matchups will be key. Henry might have 2 great games out of 4 and 2 stinkers, but moving forward he will be moving up that TE1 leaderboard. Wait for a poor game and try and grab him. He is a superb long-term investment.
Trey Burton – Zach Ertz owners could do well to handcuff him with Trey Burton in dynasty leagues. Whenever Ertz is missing, Burton steps up and performs to a borderline TE1 performance. In deep leagues, he is worth rostering for the Ertz owner or if Ertz misses any time, for someone else to get decent fantasy stats off of the waiver wire.