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.
Mitchell Trubisky - The Bears defense did their part to make the Buccaneers’ day miserable, but Tampa Bay was also terrorized by the Chicago offense. Trubisky rebounded from a rough outing last week to have a terrific six-touchdown day. He showed that there will be days when he can execute in the scheme and be a fine matchup-based play for dynasty teams that have a few options on their bench from which to choose. Trubisky moves up a few spots to my 20th dynasty quarterback.
Jared Goff - It is very clear that Jared Goff is more than just a system quarterback. The former number one overall pick has been scintillating and overlooked as a potentially elite quarterback by almost all heading into the season. If he plays week 17 last year, he finishes as a top-six fantasy quarterback. That is almost certain to happen this season at his current pace. Those worried about his first two games forgot that it was against weak sides where the Rams just had to get the game over with. In the last two weeks, he has kept level with Patrick Mahomes. Think about that moving forward.
Marcus Mariota - It took until week 4 for Marcus Mariota to become the leader the Titans need. He was clutch and delivered, despite numerous key drops from his receivers. Mariota must move up fantasy rankings after that performance against the Super Bowl champions, but he needs to do that on a regular basis, especially away from home before he becomes a serious quarterback option moving forward.
Russell Wilson - There is little doubt that the most disappointing fantasy quarterback to date this season has been Russell Wilson. For years he has been able to carry this franchise on his back and be a decent fantasy option. The latter is seriously in doubt for now and he must take a fall down rankings. Those of us making excuses for his declining options and the Doug Baldwin injury have to re-examine our thought process. Wilson is extremely talented and capable of making something from nothing, but he is not Superman.
Sam Bradford - Those keeping Sam Bradford in dynasty leagues are going to have to wait until 2019 to see if he gets another shot at a starting gig. Simply put the Cardinals would have to be in playoff contention and playing well to consider putting Bradford under center considering the further financial cost of playing him. Josh Rosen was able to keep Arizona in the game; which Bradford hasn’t been able to do as well. The rookie will probably learn more by taking his lumps, than watching Bradford for now. Should be droppable in most formats.
Jared Goff - In the short-term, defensive injuries for the Rams boost Goff’s fantasy prospects. With the defense allowing just 6.5 points per game in the first two games, Goff threw just 3 touchdowns. In the two games since, with the Rams defense allowing 27 points per game, Goff has thrown 8 touchdown passes. Goff’s prospects also look brighter long-term. He may have the best weapons in the game and none of them are going anywhere any time soon. Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks are both signed until 2024, Cooper Kupp is signed until 2021, and Robert Woods until 2022. In this scheme and with these weapons, there are few quarterbacks I prefer going forward. Goff moves up to my QB3.
Baker Mayfield - In his first two games, Mayfield has passed the eye test with flying colors. There are going to be some growing pains and he could be limited somewhat by his supporting cast, but it is hard to bet against Mayfield at this point. Plus, the Browns have the draft picks and cap space to add a true #1 wide receiver soon. Mayfield moves up to QB9.
Russell Wilson - Wilson slides to QB8 and is in danger of falling further with exciting prospects like Mayfield right behind him. Wilson has played okay this season, but it is impossible to dismiss concerns about the coaching and surrounding talent on the Seattle offense both short and long-term. The offensive line is terrible, play-calling unimaginative, and the receiving talent is mediocre. Through four games Wilson sits at QB20 and doesn’t look like a real fantasy difference-maker in an environment when so many other quarterbacks are putting up video-game passing numbers.
Patrick Mahomes II - Mahomes has risen to the top of my dynasty rankings due to his performance in the first four weeks. His success has elevated his standings in the rankings but also keep in mind, he has an excellent supporting cast of receivers with an offensive-minded head coach who knows how to best utilize his young talent. Mahomes talent and longevity of time ahead of him is enough to place him at the top.
Jared Goff - Like Mahomes, Goff has excellent talent with an above average supporting cast that helps make the offensive engine go on a consistent basis. Goff and Mahomes have catapulted themselves into the Top 3 of my dynasty rankings and both have a long career ahead of them with the tools and complementary pieces needed to sustain success.
Aaron Rodgers - In this new era where the offense is on the rise, Aaron Rodgers sits as the 15th ranked quarterback after four games. He will turn 35 this year, has already been injured once (knee) and his play has declined. He's still an excellent, capable quarterback, but the league is growing up and improving around him with youth, strong arms, and potent offenses. Rodgers has not reached 300+ yards passing this season and he has failed to reach multiple touchdowns in a game twice (50% of his games this year). He is no longer in the Top 3 among dynasty quarterbacks.
Alvin Kamara - The suspension to Mark Ingram II opened the door for Kamara to showcase his abilities and prove his worth to the team and he performed above all expectations. He has jumped into the Top 2 in dynasty rankings, behind only Todd Gurley. His value may drop some once Ingram returns this week, but his skill set, effort, and execution are paramount in the Saints success, which is an indication that he will still be heavily utilized. If anyone is to lose ground, it's Ingram.
David Johnson - Johnson still deserves to be in the conversation of the Top 10, but his utilization or lack thereof, is keeping him from being a mainstay in the Top 5. From a talent standpoint, Johnson is one of the best backs in the league, but Arizona is struggling to be a force on offense, and his coaching staff is misusing his abilities as a versatile rusher and receiver. Until that changes, he drops down in the ranks.
Nick Chubb - Matt Waldman told us that Chubb is the highest graded back he’s evaluated in the last five years and we can now see why. In his game against the Raiders, Chubb showed off his potential to be a bell cow back with Cleveland in future days. He had two long scores of 63 and 41 yards respectively. Chubb is now my 11th ranked running back and should only continue to rise.
Dalvin Cook - Dalvin Cook may not be the back he was expected to be until later this year, next year or not at all. It is clear that he is little better than Latavius Murray right now and his future position has to be reconsidered until he can get back to his pre-ACL form. If the Vikings defense doesn’t get its act together, he could easily become an afterthought in this offense and struggle for an RB2 rating. He is running without room or confidence and must take a tumble down my rankings.
Nick Chubb - Nick Chubb had three carries, but two were for 40 plus yard touchdowns. It was only against the Raiders defense, but he showed he can play at this level and will get better with more opportunities. Carlos Hyde is still the dominant ball carrier however and Chubb will have to wait. There is always a doubt with rookie running backs about their ability to adapt to the NFL. Most of those doubts have been erased with those two long runs and it is only a matter of time. Chubb has to move up rankings.
Kenyan Drake - As a longtime patient dynasty manager of Kenyan Drake, it pains me to say that he must be moved to the bench and way down rankings. It is clear that Adam Gase prefers to use the veteran Frank Gore in key situations and Drake is doing very little with the opportunities he is having. I expect Drake to have a breakout game sooner or later, but if you have other options they need to play ahead of Drake until the Dolphins figure out how best to use him, if at all.
Nyheim Hines - The undersized back clearly has a use in the NFL if used correctly. We just must look at James White, Chris Thompson, Tarik Cohen, Dion Lewis, and Matt Breida, to name a few. The Colts seem to have figured out that Nyheim Hines can be their version of this type of player. There will be games where he doesn’t do much, but when he is heavily involved, as he was against the Texans he is a starting fantasy running back. As his role evolves, his ultimate ranking will be figured out, but for now, he moves up and must be a serious consideration moving forward.
Christian McCaffrey - If there was any doubt about the truthfulness of Carolina’s offseason assertions they were going to give McCaffrey a heavy workload, the first three weeks should put those to rest. With 46 carries and 22 receptions, McCaffrey is averaging 22.8 touches per game this season. He has a realistic shot at catching 100 passes this season and is a major force in PPR leagues. He moves all the way up to RB5.
Sony Michel - When the Patriots drafted Michel in the first round, it seemed like just a matter of time before he took on a huge role in their excellent offense. Nagging injuries led to a slow start and plenty of doubters. However, in Week 4 we saw Michel succeed as the centerpiece of the Patriots offense. He rushed 25 times for 112 yards and a touchdown. He should only get better. The issue going forward will be how much passing-game work Michel can earn. He has been limited to a two-down role so far but has the skillset to make an impact as a receiver. If he gets more receiving work, Michel has the potential to be an elite fantasy performer. For now, he rises to RB14. If we start to see some targets go his way, he could easily jump at least a few spots higher.
Aaron Jones - Jones moves up to RB26. After serving his two-game suspension, he has clearly been the Packers top back in the two games since he returned. The big question will be how large his slice of the pie will be. It may be that we see something like a 40/30/30 split with Jones, Jamaal Williams, and Ty Montgomery. Or it could be Jones is able to handle 60% of the touches. If the Packers decide to give him a solid workload, the offense is explosive enough and Jones talented enough to move up the rankings further.
Cooper Kupp - One of three young receivers to crack the top-20 in my wide receiver rankings for the first time, Kupp seems to slide up a spot or two every time I update my rankings. He is up to WR17 after a monster Week 4 performance. Kupp is definitely a product of his system to some extent, which makes his longer-term prospects murky if he doesn’t eventually sign an extension with the Rams. But that is a bridge that won’t need to be crossed for a few years. In the meantime, he is WR6 through four weeks and is a player who you feel great about having in your lineup every week.
Calvin Ridley - The second young wide receiver to crack the top-20 for the first time is Ridley, the clear standout so far of the rookie class. Ridley actually leads all receivers with six touchdown catches and is WR10 overall. The current level of production is probably unsustainable with Julio Jones also producing at the top-10 level. However, the future is bright both short and long-term for Ridley.
Will Fuller V - The Fuller-Watson connection continues to be incredible and he is the third young wide receiver to crack the top-20 for the first time. Fuller finds the end zone every week and his dynamic deep speed makes him one of the top deep-ball threats in the NFL. The biggest issue with Fuller continues to be his health. After a hot start in Week 4 (4-49-1 in the first half), Fuller had to leave the game with a hamstring injury. It doesn’t appear to be a serious injury, but it is a continuation of a trend for Fuller, who has had a hard time staying on the field.
Corey Davis - Davis has had a massive target share in weeks past, but due to the struggles of his offense, he had not been able to have a big day. He finally was able to have his breakout party this week, catching nine of his 15 targets for 161 yards and a score. The Titans continue to get healthy on offense and at last, have all the members of their starting line back together. Marcus Mariota is finally getting over his ulnar nerve injury and able to get the ball down the field, meaning Matt LaFleur’s offense can finally be executed without limitations. This will mean more big days are ahead for Davis. He is my 12th ranked dynasty receiver and will move up the boards of many other dynasty owners after a game like this one.
Cooper Kupp - Those with the foresight to see what the Rams offense was and where it was heading, stacked their sides with one or more from Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. In hindsight, this looks like it could end up being like the Colts offense of 2004 where Brandon Stokley, Reggie Wayne, and Marvin Harrison all finished as fantasy WR1 receivers. Kupp has just as many receptions as Woods and Cooks but leads the touchdown tally for the wide receivers. I do expect Woods and Cooks to exceed Kupp's year-end totals, but Kupp must take a serious leap up fantasy boards for quite a while. This is a young offense that could play together for a long time.
John Brown - There were several of us who took John Brown off our boards once he was diagnosed with his sickle cell trait. It clearly influenced his last two seasons and only saw Brown sign a one-year deal with Baltimore. He clearly has his condition under control and is better than when he was in his second season with the Cardinals where he finished as a borderline fantasy WR2. John Brown can be considered a serious starting option moving forward in redrafts, but in dynasty leagues needs to be held in check due to the potential long-term issues associated with his illness.
Chris Hogan - Those expecting Chris Hogan to cash checks he wasn’t capable of are paying the fantasy price right now. He has eight catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. That would be great for one game, but not for four. Those two touchdowns came in a three-catch game and are clearly an outlier. With the return of Julian Edelman and the integration of Josh Gordon into the Patriots offense, Hogan can only be kept in deep leagues. He will soon be thirty and with Cordarelle Patterson and Philip Dorsett seeing more targets, it would take a serious fan to keep the faith. I have no doubt he will pop up somewhere in box scores at some stage this season, but it won’t be often, and it won’t be predictable.
Keelan Cole - Some of us got carried away following the week two performance of Keelan Cole where he was pulling in freak catches and posting seven catches for more than 100-yard performance, which followed on nicely from his performance in the fantasy playoffs of 2017. The last two weeks have been a huge reality check as both Donte Moncrief and DeDe Westbrook have dominated the targets as Cole falls from favor. Whether Bortles trusts the others more of is just throwing to the open man will need further viewing but relying on Cole will be a risky move. He is safe to move down rankings.
Kelvin Benjamin - Those of us patiently waiting for Kelvin Benjamin to join his fellow first-round wide receivers from the 2014 draft class into the elite fantasy options are going to be disappointed. For a start, the Buffalo offense isn’t going to give us a consistent fantasy option at wide receiver and with Benjamin hauling in only seven catches from 21 targets there is a serious combination of Benjamin underachieving and raw quarterback play that makes Benjamin hard to hold onto. The only real hope is seeing where he ends up next season, if he is prepared to swallow his pride and accept a smaller contract than his compatriots and look for a huge payday once and if he performs.
Keke Coutee - Despite only being a fourth-round pick, there was a considerable buzz surrounding the Houston Texans rookie Keke Coutee. In his first start following a hamstring injury, he burst onto the scene with an 11-catch performance. Helping matters was another soft tissue injury to Will Fuller V, which should give Coutee an excellent opportunity to consolidate his role in the explosive Texans offense. Even if the injury to Fuller isn’t that serious there will be enough food to feed all the mouths here. DeAndre Hopkins will frighten opposing defenses allowing single coverage regularly to both Fuller and Coutee. Without a reliable tight end, Coutee is a serious add if he is available.
Tyler Eifert - Sadly the career of Tyler Eifert is in doubt following another serious injury. He has played just 43 games out of a possible 94 to date and less than a full season combined in his last three years. Unfortunately, he will be another “what could’ve been” player and can be safely dropped in all formats. Whether he tries again with the Bengals in 2019 or elsewhere, he cannot be relied upon as anything other than a desperate waiver wire add for short-term use only. A shame really.
George Kittle - I have consistently tried to find reasons why George Kittle will fail, instead of just looking at the box score. Kittle is clearly the target of choice for Jimmy Garoppolo and now C.J. Beathard from a quality receiver deprived 49ers outfit. I still have my long-term doubts, but he must make a serious leap up my board. Production counts and Kittle is producing to an elite level.
Vance McDonald - After suffering through multiple injuries and development issues in his four years with the 49ers, his move to the Steelers took a little while to take off. He clearly is a major part of this offense and at age 28 still has several good years ahead of him. He will be a borderline starter for the remainder of the season unless his bruising style sees him miss more time. If he is still on your waiver wire, grab him.
Jared Cook - Through four games, Cook is the fantasy TE1. He has a great connection with Derek Carr and has a massive role in John Gruden’s Oakland offense. Plus, one of the early fantasy takeaways from this season has been the wisdom of focusing on short-term production at the tight end position. Injuries are a major problem for tight ends and, outside of the top few guys, we see major variations from year-to-year in the size of the role these tight ends have.
Tyler Eifert - Eifert was looking fantastic in recent weeks but suffered yet another season-ending injury in Week 4. It is especially tough for him because he was playing on a one-year deal trying to improve his stock for free agency next offseason. While the injury doesn’t look to be career-ending, it will continue to be tough for teams to count on Eifert as a prime piece of their offensive systems.
George Kittle - Even with Jimmy Garoppolo out for the year, Kittle proved he is a big part of the offense going forward. Savvy dynasty owners know that the tight end is a critical piece in a Shanahan offense and maybe even more so with a more inexperienced quarterback in need of a safety blanket. As of today, Kittle is ranked 10th among all tight ends on my board.
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