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.
Alex Smith - Smith has been routinely underrated by the dynasty community. Smith is not a flashing option, but his combination of mobility, decision-making, and a lack of turnovers is a breath of fresh air for the Washington offense. In Week 1, Smith elevated the weapons around him to an impressive road win.
Tyrod Taylor - It was a concerning performance for Taylor in Week 1. There are no excuses in Cleveland anymore with a talented roster, especially at the skill positions around Taylor. However, Taylor was jittery in the pocket, inaccurate, and looking to run before exhausting his progressions. Taylor was the main reason Cleveland tied instead of won against divisional rival Pittsburgh and when, not if, Baker Mayfield replaces him has to be the question in the coming weeks without a stark uptick in performance.
Andrew Luck - There were questions and uncertainties surrounding Andrew Luck and his return for the Colts. He had 53 pass attempts in a losing effort in Week 1 that included 39 completions, two touchdowns and 319 yards passing. Marlon Mack (hamstring) was not present in Week 1, which likely had an impact on the Colts offensive game plan, but the writing on the wall is that Luck and the Colts will be passing an awful lot this year. Not only does Luck look healthy enough to be a reliable quarterback, but the game scripts that dictate high volume performances look to be in his favor.
Jameis Winston - There were whispers of the Buccaneers not being happy with Jameis Winston, both as a quarterback on the field and how he represents himself and the team off the field. The impressive 400-yard, 4 touchdown performance of Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1 may be enough for Tampa Bay to consider sticking with Fitzpatrick even when Winston returns from a three-game suspension. If he's not starting, he doesn't belong in the rankings ahead of other starting quarterbacks. Winston drops way down my rankings as a result.
Patrick Mahomes II II - It's only one game, but Mahomes four touchdown, zero interception debut against a solid Chargers defense is hard to discount. Admittedly I was lower on Mahomes than the consensus and this is more about me righting an injustice than going out on a limb of optimism. A few more games like this from Mahomes and -- given his age -- he easily becomes a top-10 commodity at the position.
Alex Smith - Smith isn't young, but then again neither are quite a few starting quarterbacks. He's signed to a multi-year deal in Washington and since most dynasty windows shouldn't look much past three seasons, Smith was too low. His precision and leadership transferred from Kansas City to Washington without missing a beat, and he deserves consideration as a valuable piece to a dynasty team that is trying to win this year and beyond.
Jimmy Garoppolo - You don't want to overreact to a single game, but I was too high on "Jimmy G" and he falls down a few notches. The supporting cast looks iffy particularly if Marquise Goodwin misses significant time. He's still a dynasty No. 1 quarterback, but a few other passers moved back above him.
Dak Prescott - The Cowboys have scored ten or fewer points in five of their last nine games. Houston, we have a problem. The offense looked listless this week despite Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott back and healthy. The "it's not Dak, it's his supporting cast" argument is feeling weaker with each passing Sunday.
Joe Mixon - Week 1 results: 17 carries, 95 yards, 1 TD with 5 receptions for 54 yards. Mixon had a standout performance in what could be a breakout season for the second year running back. What stands out about his performance is the fact that he had 17 carries to Giovani Bernard's one carry and he had the second most targets (7) behind only A.J. Green. His needle is definitely pointing up, especially if he keeps up the pace of being a solid rushing and receiving back.
James Conner - Pittsburgh was able to insert Conner into the running back equation and get similar results to what Le'Veon Bell has done for them in the past. We saw the same with DeAngelo Williams in his first year with Pittsburgh. There's no reason to think Conner won't be able to have similar efforts in the coming weeks or years with the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger may soon be out of the picture in two or three years, but dynasty running backs have a small shelf life. For the time being, which is now and this season, Conner appears to have short-term value and potentially long-term value in 2019 and beyond if Le'Veon Bell exits Pittsburgh in free agency after the 2018 season.
Le'Veon Bell - It's possible that Le'Veon Bell will report to the Steelers in the coming weeks, but it's also possible that we won't see him until Week 10. His dynasty value takes a hit if that's the case. The unknown even has a negative impact on Bell's dynasty standing. Looking into the future, Bell will probably be with a different team in 2019. A team willing to pay for his services, but there are many other variables. Bell found success with the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger's tendencies to check down to him as a receiver. He thrived running behind a specific offensive line that exemplified his abilities. We can't say that cohesion or offense will exist on whatever team he plays for in 2019. Remove the concerns for wear and tear and just focus on the unknown, and that's enough to lower him down the rankings and potentially out of the Top 10. Clinton Portis was good and maybe even great with Washington, but he was not an elite running back like he was with Denver. I can see the same type of scenario playing out with Bell if he exits Pittsburgh in 2019.
Joe Mixon - While I projected Mixon to join the top cluster of dynasty running backs this year, you still need to see it. Mixon was efficient on his touches and has ideal size and movement to thrive as a three-down back for an improved Cincinnati offense. Mixon is on the RB1 track this season.
Rashaad Penny - While his stock has been beaten up with an early injury and Chris Carson being the Week 1 starter, the more alarming aspect to Penny this week was looking heavy and slow. The extra weight is not a good sign for Penny and while he is likely to surpass Carson for top touches in the backfield sooner rather than later, he looks like a better bet for 2019 once he resets to a better weight for his two-way game.
Joe Mixon - Mixon's talent was never in question, but the Bengals offensive line struggles in 2017 masked what he could be, particularly in comparison to a historically good rookie running back crop. A strong preseason and a stunning debut in Week 1 highlight how Mixon can be a feature back, on all three downs, for years to come.
James Conner - The biggest riser at any position, Conner went from an intriguing handcuff that may or may not have ever gotten a starting role to a Le'Veon Bell clone (statistically, not stylistically) in a week. Bell's contract holdout just got more interesting because Conner seems like he could be the feature back in 2018 possibly and 2019 certainly.
T.J. Yeldon - Yeldon is talented and would be an ideal complementary back and third-down specialist on many teams. My adoration for Leonard Fournette relegated Yeldon to "break glass in case of emergency" status and that was unfair for two reasons. One, Fournette has injury risk. Two, Yeldon can be productive with a modest number of touches let alone if he steps in for an injured Fournette in the feature role.
Le'Veon Bell, - Call me stubborn, but I generally don't put a lot of value in running backs with a lot of mileage, much less facing a changing team dynamic. While Bell and his agent may be correct in expecting a monster free agent deal next year, it's hard for me to imagine a better scenario than staying in Pittsburgh where we know he will be a transcendent star. If you can still trade Bell as one of the five or six best players at his position, do so before his trade-in value plummets.
Mark Ingram II - Ingram is terrific, but I had him too high looking beyond 2018. It's not that he won't be productive in the 12 games this year, it's that his role in 2019 and beyond is far from certain. The Saints have no reason to keep him entering free agency when they can draft a younger version who demands fewer touches as a complementary piece to Kamara.
Jamaal Williams - The Packers will have a stud running back again someday. But I don't think he's on the roster currently. Williams looked average, at best -- again -- in a Packers offense that's craving a difference maker on the ground.
John Brown - I was burned by John Brown in redraft leagues many times and paid little mind to his signing with the Ravens as Michael Crabtree was the marquis addition. A strong preseason suggested he was back in form, and the opening game (and a touchdown) punctuated that view. He's the 1b to Crabtree's 1a and deserved a significant bump in my rankings.
Kenny Stills - Stills was the best receiver in Miami last year, and he's the best receiver in Miami this year. He'll probably be the best Dolphins receiver in 2019 and 2020, too. He's young enough to invest in for dynasty teams looking to balance winning now and contending in future seasons.
John Ross - Ross shook off an injury-riddled rookie season to earn a starting role (and make Brandon LaFell expendable) with the Bengals. Cincinnati appears to have righted the ship offensively after a forgettable 2017, and Ross is a young player on the rise, and worth investing in.
Doug Baldwin - Baldwin falls out of the Top 20 and probably never returns. It's hard for veteran players to shrug off injuries. There are natural career arcs for most (not all) players and Baldwin profiles as someone who's seen his best days. It's time to sell while there's still a premium.
Corey Coleman - Coleman was deemed irrelevant on an 0-16 Browns team, and then couldn't make it out of camp with a Bills team that is the definition of talent-starved. He'll be lucky to find a backup role in the league at this point, and any thoughts of Coleman emerging once he got a change of scenario are long gone.
Devin Funchess - He's just a guy. He's a very big guy. Just a guy nonetheless. The Panthers still have a use for him, particularly if Greg Olsen's days are numbered, but he's a placeholder easily replaced once the team acquires or drafts a suitable alternative.
D.J. Moore - The Panthers Norv Turner offense doesn't look that much different from last year's Mike Shula offense. Cam Newton is winning games with timely throws, but mostly with his feet. It doesn't look like he'll be putting up many 300-yard games in this offense. How does this impact Moore? There were whispers that Moore was not picking up the offense as fast the Panthers would like and until he does, his involvement may be minimal. He may have excellent long-term value, but for now, it does not appear like he's ready to be a difference maker.
Sammy Watkins - It appears that Tyreek Hill, not Sammy Watkins is the primary target for Patrick Mahomes II in the Chiefs offense. We've seen Watkins find some success with the Bills, before his foot injury, and we struggled to see him consistently thrive with Jared Goff and the Rams. We're only one game into the 2018 season, but the change of scenery to Kansas City may not yield different results for Watkins, which lowers his dynasty value. He is not a consistent weekly WR1 or even WR2 at the moment and that uncertainty makes him a player you can't trust.
Randall Cobb - The Packers veteran receiver is healthy again and he's making plays at a high clip. There was talk that Cobb may be on the trade block or even cut at the end of the preseason. His Week 1 performance of 9 receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown suggests that he will continue to be a key component of the Packers offense. This is good news after being a question mark entering the 2018 season.
Sammy Watkins - Well, Tyreek Hill certainly looks like he is not giving up the WR1 position in Kansas City any time soon. Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt had poor receiving games and Watkins was still underused this week. I am skeptical Watkins finishes as nothing more than a WR4 this season in PPR with a few big weeks which an owner cannot predict for lineup decisions.
Josh Doctson - It was only a single game, but this is a critical year for Josh Doctson. Even with Jamison Crowder taking a step back from his previous role, Paul Richardson Jr, Chris Thompson, and Jordan Reed all look clearly ahead of Doctson in Washington's pecking order. Doctson may hit dynasty waiver wires before the end of the season.
Mike Gesicki - Not only did Gesicki get manhandled by a defensive back on a goal-line fade situation, turning into an interception, but A.J. Derby was the clear starter and Gesicki was invisible within Miami's offense this week. A wide-open depth chart only aids a young player when they are prepared to take the job and run with it.
Ian Thomas - Greg Olsen's injury paves the way for Thomas to surge into the starting role. Thomas was already getting some first-team snaps before Olsen's injury and the wide receiver depth chart beyond Devin Funchess lacked prominence in Week 1. Thomas could challenge for top-half TE2 production or better the rest of the season.
Jonnu Smith - Delanie Walker appears done for the season, and Smith has the opportunity to step into Walker's role this year, and perhaps permanently if he performs well. Smith and Walker were listed as co-starters on the opening depth chart, which spoke to the team's high hopes for the youngster. His time is now.
Eric Ebron - Ebron was a perennial tease in Detroit, but a healthy Andrew Luck can and will support both Ebron and Jack Doyle, it seems. Like most tight ends, Ebron will be a volatile week-to-week player, but he certainly needs to be considered as a potential top-12 dynasty asset at the position.
Greg Olsen - Another injury casts doubt on Olsen's ability to ever reclaim his position as one of the league's top playmakers. The days of valuing Olsen as a top-5 dynasty tight end are gone, sadly.
Charles Clay - Charles Clay has never been a top-12 fantasy tight end, misses games every year, and is playing for arguably the worst team in the NFL. He was too high in my rankings, plain and simple. Sometimes betting on someone to fill a giant target void, simply because someone has to catch passes, is the wrong approach.
Eric Ebron - The Colts offense looks to be in high gear, especially the passing game. We know that Andrew Luck has a high propensity to use his tight ends, and this year it shouldn't be any different. Ebron appears to be in the Colts plans this season and should continue to see consistent targets. The addition of Ebron gives the team a bigger, more athletic pass catcher for plays that can stretch over the middle and down the seam. This offense might be able to sustain two fantasy tight ends, which moves Ebron up the rankings for long-term value.
Jonnu Smith - The injury to Delanie Walker (ankle) opens the door for Jonnu Smith to receive an increase in targets in the Titans offense. Smith showed flashes of ability at times last year and with the opportunity now presenting itself, his time to rise is now.
O.J. Howard - Howard didn't have a big Week 1 game, but his size and ability are enough for dynasty owners to salivate over. It generally takes a year or two for tight ends to develop into reliable receivers in their team's respective offense. Howard's time is coming, and it could be sooner rather than later. He had more of a presence in the Buccaneers offense in Week 1 than Cameron Brate and appears to be a worthy target for Ryan Fitzpatrick. If this continues and if the Buccaneers offense is legit, Howard will benefit.