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.
Brock Osweiler – After replacing an injured Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler came on and actually looked like a real NFL quarterback. It was against the Colts, but still he showed passion, poise and executed well. He could be a nice buy low, but I won’t be expecting him to start on an NFL roster in 2018. We also need to see him do the same when he actually starts as well. This was the first positive performance from him though for a long time.
Mitchell Trubisky – Mitchell Trubisky has flashed what he could be in the NFL, but the biggest concern with him is where do the Bears go in 2018? It is unlikely that John Fox continues in the job and changes will come on offense as well. Trubisky has not had a receiver of note to throw to since he took over and this team needs a new identity. Trubisky has looked good, but has also thrown some absolute stinkers as well. His pace of development could be rapid a la Jared Goff with the right new team in place, but more than likely the new group will take time to transition and I wouldn’t expect Trubisky to approach fantasy starter status in 2018.
Blake Bortles – Implausibly, Blake Bortles has turned his career around over the last few weeks with some solid performances now that the defense is leading the way. 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions over the last 3 games, with an average of 300 passing yards a game is fantasy starter material. Considering he is doing it with Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and Jaydon Mickens, it is astounding. The wide receiver class of 2014 for the Jaguars of Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and less so Marqise Lee have been absent and may not be around in future. It may all come apart it the playoffs, but right now Bortles has to be given a modicum of respect for a possible new destination in 2018.
Blaine Gabbert – Blaine Gabbert was given a real-life opportunity to become an NFL starter in 2018. He has failed. After a promising first three games as a starter, his last 2 performances have been average to poor. He still has a chance against the Giants and Seahawks to win back an opportunity, but if Carson Palmer wants to come back, Gabbert won’t be invited to compete. At best he gets another backup job elsewhere, but dynasty owners need to look elsewhere for that sleeper starter for 2018.
Jimmy Garoppolo – 5 career starts, 5 career wins. Not a bad audition for the 49ers to throw a bag full of money at him in the offseason. The next 2 weeks will be interesting as Garoppolo faces the Jaguars and Rams. If he remains composed and performs as good or better than other opponents have, then the 49ers will have no choice but to lock him up. As it is, he looks like a strong fantasy option for San Francisco in 2018 once they start improving the offense in free agency and the draft. Looks like a bottom end fantasy starter for 2018, given how impressive he has been to date and a future dynasty star.
Jimmy Garoppolo - The 49ers offense looks completely different with Garoppolo under center. He is on my short list for breakout players in 2018 and especially if San Francisco sees an upgrade in weapons in the offseason (likely). Garoppolo offers the most value in superflex formats but is a worth committee member in team-building in start-1 formats this offseason as well.
Mitchell Trubisky - Like Jared Goff last year, I see positive traits from Trubisky on a weekly basis, but the situation is horrible for a translation in strong production. Trubisky has little help (Kendall Wright the best option) and this offseason will bring a weapons upgrade, plus Kevin White and Cameron Meredith are in-house injury return wildcards for 2018 impact. Trubisky has quality mobility and a strong arm on display with a few window throws on intermediate routes and over the middle on a weekly basis as foundation-building traits.
Jamaal Williams - Williams has had his moments this season but is a firm season once the offseason hits in dynasty leagues. Aaron Jones offers more dynamic play and Ty Montgomery is a name not to forget in the Green Bay backfield, who was the clear starter before injury. Williams excelled as the last man standing primarily at his production peak and the past few weeks and early in the offseason offer a substantial profit point in his dynasty timeline.
Jamaal Charles - The former high-level producer is one of my favorite low-cost stash players for the offseason. The main question with Charles was his injury recovery. He flashed on a number of occasions this season and now has the opportunity to find a new landing spot in the offseason. C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker did not clear the way for an overt opportunity this season, but Denver has been a struggling offense overall anyway. A long-standing dynasty mantra is to keep betting on top players until out of the league and Charles fits the low-cost investment criteria heading into 2018.
Kenyan Drake – If the Dolphins don’t start the 2018 season with Kenyan Drake as a 200-carry-a-season starter it will come as a surprise to me. He averages almost 5 yards a carry, is a good receiver out of the backfield and has handled an average of 26 touches a game over the last 3 weeks. Soft matchups against the Chiefs and Bills to close out the season should only solidify his status even further heading into next year. Jay who?
Mark Ingram II – It’s taken awhile, but there is no doubt now that Mark Ingram II finally looks like he was worth a first-round pick for the Saints in the 2011 draft. Soon to turn 28, the role he has now will be safe for 2018 as Drew Brees gets even older. Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara work well together and the run game is now the main weapon for the Saints. Ingram will have his best season in year 7 and should be a safe first rounder for 2018 and a solid dynasty keeper.
Keelan Cole – It’s been brewing, but Keelan Cole finally exploded in a big way. 3 catches and touchdowns in each of the last 2 weeks, led to 7 catches for 186 yards and a TD this week as Marqise Lee left the game early with an injury. I’ve added him on most rosters earlier in the season, but wasn’t wise enough to start him in any this week. Cole has massive upside for 2018 and beyond though, but what the Jaguars do with their impending free agent group of Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and potentially Allen Hurns as well will be interesting. They could easily sign one or none of them and go cheap with Cole, Dede Westbrook, Jaydon Mickens and another rookie.
A.J. Green – It is too early to panic about the prospects of A.J. Green in 2018, but a new head coach might not view a 30-year old WR1 with a massive contract in a favorable light. He is a potential cut in the offseason with only a $6-million cap hit, but is likely to be kept on as a bridge to a new system. Dynasty owners should consider selling him if they can get a good asking price. He has had a fantastic first 7 years in the NFL, but a new regime should scare his owners about expecting a WR1 in the future.
Jordy Nelson – While A.J. Green owners should be a little worried, Jordy Nelson owners should be shaking in their boots. He will be 33 for the start of the next season and has probably reached the end of his shelf life as a fantasy WR1. I do think he has one more WR1 fantasy season in him, but think he could also fall through the floor quicker than expected. Simply put he is not worth the $12-million cap hit he is projected for next year and is either an easy cut or restructured on a much friendlier deal. If you can get a good price, do it.
Robert Woods – If there was any doubt about where Robert Woods sits in Jared Goff’s pecking order, that should be removed after his return from injury as the only Ram receiver with more than 2 catches. With matchups against the 49ers and Titans left, he is an outside chance to reach 1000 yards, despite missing 3 games, but regardless of that he is the number 1 receiver in a potent offense. He may still be underrated by dynasty owners, but at age 25 he still has many good years ahead of him. Grab if you can.
Antonio Brown – What goes up…..His injury against the Patriots may ruin many a fantasy owners 2017 season, but his numbers over the last few years have been as good as there have ever been. He will hit 30 next year and what 2018 holds for Ben Roethlisberger remains to be seen. It may be too early to bail on him in a lot of dynasty leagues, but he still should command a high price if you like getting older players off your roster before they hit the floor.
Marquise Goodwin – Regardless of what the 49ers do at the wide receiver position in the offseason there is little doubt that Marquise Goodwin has been a major revelation for the 49ers this year. He was patchy and offered little while Pierre Garcon, Brian Hoyer, and C.J. Beathard were around, but since Jimmy Garoppolo has become the starter he has been electric and a true WR1. He has only found the endzone once all year, but has 24 receptions for 319 yards over the last 3 weeks off a massive 33 targets. The scary thing is he may be a free agent in some leagues and easily attainable due to his lack of touchdowns, poor name recognition and lack of screen time for the 49ers. His chemistry with Garoppolo should withstand any additions to the offense and he should be a must add if you can.
Tavon Austin - The hyper-athletic former top-10 pick is a name to remember in dynasty leagues. Austin's involvement with the Rams suddenly-loaded offense has dwindled to the point where he sees more running back snaps than as a receiver. Austin is even available on some dynasty waiver wires where a change of scenario could be in the works as the Rams have only $5 million of dead money left on Austin's four years (and more than $35 million) left on his existing contract. Without a plan to increase his offensive role, Austin could be gone from the Rams as early as this offseason.
Robby Anderson - The Jets receiver has been overachieving this season and my tagline is 'we learn what a team thinks of a team when they get the offseason to address the position'. Anderson has a minimal pedigree and was the de facto No.1 on arguably the worst wide receiver depth chart in the NFL this season. The Jets are prime candidates to bring in multiple options via the draft and free agency in the coming months better than any of their existing options, yet Anderson is well inside the top-100 of ADP, which is extraneously high considering the offseason situation risk.
Greg Olsen - Olsen is back and the impact on Carolina's offense was immediate in Week 15 as the centerpiece element. Olsen is well into his 30s, but is paired with a good quarterback and has a long-standing record of production. With the influx of 2017 rookies to the rankings, Olsen presents a 'do not forget about me' value in startup drafts and trades this offseason as one of the few older veterans with top-5 upside at the position.
Jimmy Graham - Graham's tape is concerning to me this year. His athleticism is waning and the stark drop in yards-per-catch is alarming. I see an older tight end struggling to separate, win after the catch, and is relying solely on touchdowns to keep up with his name value. If the market to sell is only a late second round pick, I am fine holding but an early second or better in a good 2018 draft class (or trade equivalent) would be enough to trigger a strong sell recommendation this offseason.
Ross Travis – When looking for young Tight Ends, it doesn’t hurt when they have a basketball background and were undrafted, a la Antonio Gates. A recent addition to the Colts after being developed by the Chiefs, he could be something or nothing here. He won’t cost anything to add and watch in the offseason. The current starter in Jack Doyle is solid, but hardly spectacular and a similar prospect in Eric Swoope looks like he may not get it together. To me, he looks like he has a higher upside than Doyle, but only if he can stay on the roster and improve in the offseason. A longshot, but he fits the profile to come out of nowhere.
Greg Olsen – It was good that Greg Olsen finally delivered something to his patient 2017 owners, but where he goes in 2018 and beyond is interesting. He will be 33 next year and while that has been a problem in the past, Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jason Witten have proven that if you are good enough you can still be fantasy useful in your mid-thirties. Some of his owners may be looking at getting younger at the position and he could be had at a bargain price. His rapport with Cam Newton still looks as strong as ever and while it is easy to think this year is a sign of things to come, he could still have a great year or 2 left in him.
Rob Gronkowski – It is hard to admit when you are wrong sometimes, but I’ll admit it now. I thought Gronkowski looked slow early in the season and was unreliable moving forward. After smashing through the 1,000-yard barrier against the Steelers, despite missing a game, he is still an imposing force that is unstoppable. If he has lost a yard, it doesn’t matter. He is too strong and his hands elite. If he can be smarter in how to take hits he could have years of elite production left at the position.