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 - After a slow start to the year, Mitch Trubisky has had back to back 300-yard outings with 9 touchdown passes and 1 interception in those two games. Head Coach Matt Nagy has opened up the playbook for the second year quarterback and he's proving that he can handle the test. He's spreading the ball around well and finding the open man, which is a key attribute for a successful quarterback. In addition to his passing prowess, Trubisky has also rushed for 53 and 47 yards in consecutive games. His fantasy stock is rising as we speak.
Lamar Jackson - Any thoughts of Lamar Jackson coming in and being a promising versatile quarterback similar to Robert Griffin or the like are quickly being squashed. If we were to fast-forward to next Summer I'm not so sure he would be in the Ravens immediate plans at quarterback. Joe Flacco has been performing well and has the team winning. Any switch to Jackson would be an ill-advised coaching decision, based on how the team is performing with Flacco. The Jackson hype has died down and may not start back up without an injury to Flacco.
Chad Kelly - He came in for only one play while Case Keenum was being evaluated for a concussion, yet his dynasty value is trending up because Keenum is playing poorly and close to being benched. With the season slipping away, Denver will want to see what it has in Kelly and evaluate if he can be their future at the position.
Brock Osweiler - After his week 15 game against the Colts last year, I wrote that Brock Osweiler finally looked like a real NFL quarterback. After subbing for an injured Ryan Tannehill this week, Osweiler looked composed and did himself and his long-term outlook the world of good. With the injury to Tannehill affecting his throwing shoulder, the Dolphins can allow the injury to heal in its own time rather than forcing Tannehill back before he is ready. With a dearth of quality backups in the NFL, Osweiler is putting himself in a great position to get another starting opportunity eventually. One week at a time and all that, but he is still only 27 and maturing into a quarterback that could be worth a shot in deeper leagues.
Jameis Winston - With time to put in decent preparation, Jameis Winston got his first start of the NFL season and had a great fantasy day. Unfortunately for the Bucs, it was in a loss. He faces a much tougher Bengals outfit this week and the next few weeks are going to tell us if Winston is going to be the actual future of this franchise or a player that costs Dirk Koetter his job. The Tampa defense will allow fantasy points and help anyone needing Winston this season, but for any dynasty manager, the question remains as to whether he is a long-term starter in this league. He moves up my fantasy rankings for now, but it is tenuous and dependent on further development.
Eli Manning - There’s no getting around it, Eli Manning looks done as a fantasy football and soon to be, NFL quarterback. Unless he winds up with another team that can give him time to find an open receiver, like say the Jaguars, he really is a shell of his former self. The failure of the offensive line and coaching schemes to make use of the skilled playmakers the Giants have is a big reason that Manning looks startled in the box. His lack of mobility has always been overcome by his decision making. He now looks confused and unusable for a fantasy manager.
Derek Carr - I was holding out hope that we would see a return to the Derek Carr that broke out in 2016, but against the Seahawks, he was just atrocious. 23 completions for 142 yards and zero touchdowns is embarrassing. In his previous five games, he was able to accrue yardage, but this Raiders team is going nowhere fast and sapping the confidence of any of their fans watching. Carr has to be put on hold until the Raiders figure out what they are doing. Surprisingly the massive contract he signed last year has an out after this season and the Raiders can cut or trade him with little cap damage. If you do not have a deep roster, you may wish to bail, but we have seen that there is a good quarterback here, with the right coach.
Matt Ryan - Ryan was QB3 back in 2016, suffered through a down year (QB14) in 2017 due to issues in the red zone, and is performing at an elite fantasy level again in 2018 (QB2). Julio Jones is amazing, Calvin Ridley looks like the real deal as a WR2, Mohammed Sanu is one of the best WR3s in the league, and Austin Hooper is also emerging as a legitimate weapon. This offense is stacked at the skill positions moving forward, which means Ryan should be a top-5 quarterback in the short-term. He moves up to QB8 in my dynasty rankings.
Marcus Mariota - Mariota was awful last season but many tallied his struggles up to bad coaching and figured the arrival of Matt LaFleur as offensive coordinator would make Mariota a top fantasy quarterback. It hasn’t happened and there doesn’t look to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Mariota missed a bit of action but his QB30 rank so far is still pretty indicative of how useless he is in fantasy at the moment. He falls all the way to QB26 on my list, behind most of the rookie class.
Devonta Freeman - Running Back is a “what are you doing for me now” business and Devonta Freeman is facing one injury after another. The Falcons are getting good production from Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith and although Freeman’s contract makes it difficult to let him go, he is losing value in dynasty leagues. He is young enough to still be a starting fantasy running back but has to have his value lowered. 14 carries for the year to date is not good enough and in a crowded backfield, it places his reliability in question. There’s very little his managers can do except to hope that he gets back on the field soon and make some plays.
Derrick Henry - By now Derrick Henry should have seized the starting role and become a usable fantasy back. With a 3.3 yards a carry average and his usage plummeting week by week, there are third down backs on the waiver wire who hold more value right now. His long-term price is taking a massive hit and he is barely worth holding onto in most leagues. We have seen what he can do in small doses, but the job is being handed to him on a silver platter and he isn’t taking advantage.
Melvin Gordon III - I’ve always had Melvin Gordon III rated lower than most as he is simply a product of his environment, rather than a great running back. For the first time in his four year career, he has that yards per rush figure over four and his touchdown numbers are through the roof. At this stage, he is on pace to approach team records set by LaDainian Tomlinson, which makes him fantasy royalty. It is simply impossible for me to continue ignoring his production while watching him play. There are much better backs in the NFL that do not see his sheer volume of work, but this isn’t an aesthetic business, it’s a production one.
Alex Collins - I’ve always had Alex Collins pegged as a one year wonder, but when the Ravens didn’t sign or draft a back at all and Kenneth Dixon got injured again he is almost the lone choice to continue in his role. Javorius Allen is a nice complementary back, but he is restricted in almost every capacity as a runner. Alex Collins has his own limitations, as is evidenced by his meager yards per rush right now, but he will see volume and touchdowns which makes him a great short-term starting back in fantasy football. I remain convinced that the rug will be pulled out from under him sooner, rather than later, but he has to move up rankings.
Sony Michel - It was only a matter of time before one of the rookie backs started to emerge as a top fantasy performer. Michel has 316 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns over the last three games and looks to have a firm grasp on the starting job in New England moving forward. He moves up to RB12 and has some room to move higher if he starts to get more involved as a pass catcher.
James Connor - Connor moves up to RB15 in my rankings. Perhaps there will be a buy-low window on him in the next week or two when Le'Veon Bell returns and I will look to acquire him wherever possible. It is worth rolling the dice that Bell will be playing elsewhere in 2019 and Connor has done enough in his six-week audition to keep the top job in an elite Pittsburgh offense moving forward.
Jordan Howard - Howard falls to RB22 in my latest update. Even with the Bears offense starting to show signs of life, Howard still isn’t doing much. He currently ranks as RB36 in the PPR format and is tough to count on in your lineup on a weekly basis.
Saquon Barkley - The Giants mortgaged the quarterback position to secure a stud running back in the draft, but even with the success that Saquon Barkley has had, running backs don't win games on their own. If it weren't for Todd Gurley and the potent Rams offense, we'd be talking about Barkley being the best running back in the league. He has the lower body strength to break tackles, the vision to create open space, the hips to maneuver around defenders and the speed to make every other attribute stand out. Even on a struggling team, Barkley is a treat to watch and is the lifeblood of the Giants’ offense. Only Gurley is ahead of him in the dynasty ranks, and some may argue differently.
Ito Smith - Injuries continue to hamper Devonta Freeman, which is giving Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith a chance to find success. Coleman is an unrestricted free agent next year and is likely in his last year with Atlanta. Ito Smith has performed well in his limited action and has shown that he can be someone the Falcons can turn to if and when needed. Looking ahead to 2019, Smith is looking like he will be a key addition to the rushing and receiving game.
Tarik Cohen - Pass-catching backs are in high demand in today's NFL and Tarik Cohen is among those who have found success. He appears to be one of Mitch Trubisky's popular targets in the now wide-open style of offense the Bears are using. Cohen has back to back games of 100+ total yards, which coincidentally falls in line with how the Bears offense is now being called. If Trubisky can continue to thrive, Cohen should fall in line with production.
Jay Ajayi - An ACL tear has ended Jay Ajayi's season and perhaps his stay with the Eagles. Ajayi is an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but with this injury, and his injury history, will he fetch a deal that still makes him fantasy relevant? That's yet to be seen, but this is a younger man's NFL, especially at the running back position. Ajayi will be 26 when he'll be seeking a new contract this offseason, but he has injury concerns and may not be the type of back that teams will want to spend big money on. He will surely land somewhere, but the uncertainty of his future fantasy value is a concern.
Melvin Gordon III - Gordon has been on a tear the last several weeks. This week, he scored three touchdowns and racked up 132 yards. This team has been running the offense through Gordon much like the Rams run theirs through Todd Gurley and that has improved Gordon’s value vastly.
Adam Thielen - Week in and week out, Thielen proves to be the most reliable option of Minnesota’s passing attack. His floor has been ridiculously high over the last three years. He has out-produced assets for which general managers paid much more, such as Amari Cooper, Corey Davis, and Odell Beckham Jr Jr. Jeff Tefertiller was one of the first to place him within the top ten of his dynasty rankings. That may have sounded crazy back then, but it certainly looks like a rational take presently.
Tyreek Hill - When ranking players I like to think of hypothetical trade offers in my mind. When I thought about Hill for Odell Beckham Jr Jr., it legitimately made me stop and think. I’m not quite ready to rank Hill ahead of Beckham but I’m getting close and I now rank Hill as one in the handful of elite options at wide receiver as WR4. Sure, Hill’s production is hit or miss from week to week but the total numbers are extremely impressive. He is WR2 in PPR leagues after a WR7 finish last year. He is only 24-years old and when it comes to breaking ties with similarly productive players, the fact Hill should be tied to Patrick Mahomes for the foreseeable future can tip the balance to Hill.
Amari Cooper - This feels like Sammy Watkins all over again. Despite a rough 2017, the former #4 overall pick was still being drafted in the top-30 overall in startup drafts this summer. It wasn’t his fault he was knocked out of the game midway through the first half in Week 6 and was held without a catch. However, it was the 9th time in 20 games he was held to two catches or less. In the short-term, he is borderline worthless for fantasy. Longer-term, his value is unknown. Perhaps a change of scenery would help but we said the same thing for Watkins and even in elite offenses, Watkins hasn’t been a consistent producer.
Adam Thielen - Thielen is like the anti-Amari Cooper. He comes with no pedigree as an undrafted college free agent who was cut multiple times before finally sticking with Minnesota. But all he does is produce. It is hard to put into context how impressive Thielen’s torrid start to 2018 is. He has topped 100 receiving yards in every single game. He is currently on pace for 156 receptions on 218 targets. While Thielen is already 28, he hasn’t taken many hits in his career and shouldn’t slow down any time real soon. We have to consider him one of the most valuable assets in all of fantasy football at this point. I’ve moved him all the way up to WR6 from WR10. He is a couple of years younger than Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Antonio Brown and possesses every bit the short-term value. He is four years older than teammate Stefon Diggs and ranking the two versus each other is tough but for now the lean goes slightly to Thielen. The difference is big enough in favor of Thielen in short-term production to give him the overall nod despite the age gap.
Adam Thielen - Kirk Cousins has done a super job transitioning to the Vikings offense in his first year with the team. There was some concern that Adam Thielen would not have the rapport with Cousins as he did with Case Keenum, but he proved any and all doubters wrong. Talent usually rises to the top and with Thielen, it's no different. His six consecutive 100-yard games to start the season is an NFL record. He is an every-week, must-start play, and has shown that he can be successful regardless of the opponent. He belongs in the Top 10 and arguably the Top 6 among dynasty wide receivers.
Kenny Golladay - The Lions have found a gem in Kenny Golladay, who has taken off in his second year in the league. He has 74+ yards or a touchdown in every game this season. He is tied for the team lead in touchdowns (3), but his 15.9 yards per catch leads the team. Looking ahead, Golden Tate is an unrestricted free agent in 2019. If he signs elsewhere, Golladay becomes an even more important piece the Lions passing game. His needle is pointing up and we have still not seen his best.
Albert Wilson - After doing very little as a Kansas City Chief in four years, Albert Wilson has burst into a prominent role for the Miami Dolphin, culminating into what is likely a career day against the Bears registering six catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. This isn’t going to be a regular occurrence, but he has to be considered as a serious depth option on larger rosters or a bye week replacement in redraft leagues. He can be a regular deep threat and with the continued absence of Devante Parker will have a significant snap count each week.
Damien Ratley - Damien Ratley was a sixth-round pick that was considered a depth option only, but with Josh Gordon gone, Derrick Willies on I/R and Rashard Higgins out for a few weeks, Ratley was forced into the lineup against the Chargers. With a solid matchup coming against the Bucs, his value could skyrocket over the next few weeks. With only 47 catches in his college career, he could approach that in his first year in the NFL if he continues his development. Ratley has the size and speed to make it at this level but was thought to need some time. We’ve seen this type of player adapt quickly or simply not be good enough. Worth a chance if he is on your waiver wire.
David Moore - David Moore has appeared in the box score for two weeks in a row now and in Seattle production is rated very highly. Given the dearth of quality receivers for the Seahawks, you could do worse than invest in Moore and see where this road takes us. Moore was a seventh-round pick for Seattle in 2017 and needed a lot of work. He has the raw tools to be a player in the NFL, but for now, he has to significantly move up rankings
Jarvis Landry - Jarvis Landry had a 70 percent target to reception ratio in Miami. In Cleveland, he is well under 50 percent. Instead of trying to force the ball to him, the Browns and Baker Mayfield need to be more patient. Landry is a quality receiver that will be what they paid for, but for now, with the lack of touchdowns and receptions, he has to move down fantasy rankings.
Amari Cooper - There have been times in his career where Amari Cooper has looked like the receiver he was meant to be when he was drafted with the fourth overall in the 2015 draft. Unfortunately, that train has come off the tracks significantly. If he isn’t posting a hundred yard game he isn’t involved at all. Since the start of the 2016 season, he has four hundred yard games and only four games between 40 and 70 yards. There are no efforts between 70 and a 100 yards and twelve below forty. He has to move significantly down rankings until he can either be more consistent or find the ball on a regular basis. Three games with more than five receptions in 20 is not acceptable.
David Njoku - The consistency is still lacking and he is getting targets in large part due to the lack of other options in Cleveland. However, he is certainly showing some budding signs of a connection with Baker Mayfield. Since Mayfield took over, Njoku ranks as the TE5. He is only 22-years old and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him continue to develop. At a position without a real second-tier behind the top guys, Njoku rises to TE4.
Austin Hooper - Hooper was an offseason favorite and continues to progress up my rankings. He is now into the top-12 at the position. It feels like Hooper has been around a while but he doesn’t turn 24-years old until later this month. He has made steady progress each year is emerging as a legitimate TE1 with 18 catches over the last two weeks.
Eric Ebron - The continued absence of Jack Doyle has made Eric Ebron a must-start for the foreseeable future. Detroit fans have to be tearing their hair out, given that they used a first round pick on him and watched him underperform for four years. With six touchdowns already, Ebron has more than in any year of his time with the Lions. With a season-low of three catches and yardage numbers among the elite at his position, he should still be a good start even if Doyle and T.Y. Hilton return. He is only 25 and his improvement this year has been remarkable. He has the confidence of Andrew Luck and will be an integral part of the Colts moving forward. His contract for 2019 is not guaranteed, but he is under contract for that year only, so free agency issues could occur.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins - It was hoped that former second-round pick, Austin Seferian-Jenkins would thrive in Jacksonville after a tumultuous few years in the NFL. Unfortunately, a core injury put him on injured reserve and although he may be back later in the year, he was almost an afterthought in the Jaguars game plan anyway. His career has not turned out the way many people thought and if you still have him and need a roster spot, he isn’t likely to break out any time soon.
Eric Ebron - When Ebron was a Lion, we saw frequent drops and times when he would disappear for weeks at a time from the game plan. As a Colt, he still has dropped passes, but the volume he’s getting on a team that is throwing all the time makes up for them. Even with Jack Doyle back in the lineup soon, Ebron should enjoy volume that puts him among the top options at the position. If yours is not a contending team, selling high while the window is open is the savvy move.
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