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.
Tom Brady - We need to consider this may be the last season for Tom Brady. At 41 years old, how much longer can he play at a high level let alone over a whole season - and postseason? Brady has only one game with multiple touchdown passes since Week 7 and he's ranked 14th among fantasy quarterbacks this year. A big reason for his lack of production lately has been the absence of Rob Gronkowski. If Brady can't perform well without Gronkowski, it may be time for him to consider retirement. His value from a dynasty perspective is low and falling. The only answer may be keeping him until he calls it quits.
Ben Roethlisberger - Similar to Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger may be near the end of his career. Unlike Brady, Roethlisberger is still playing at a high level with a Top 5 place among fantasy quarterbacks this season. We've heard whispers of Roethlisberger hinting at retirement before. Depending on how far Pittsburgh goes in the playoffs, may determine his plans after the season. Roethlisberger still has value and presents an excellent sell option for those trying to get something for him, especially if there's an alternative on the bench. If you're looking for a quarterback to help you with a championship, Roethlisberger can be that player. There are advantages to buying and selling right now, it just depends on your team's situation.
Drew Brees - Like Roethlisberger, Drew Brees still has value this year, however, his long-term value is a big question mark that may not include 2019. If the Saints win the Super Bowl, we may see Brees retire at the post-game press conference. He still has value this year as he is an excellent buy candidate for a contending team or an excellent sell candidate if you have depth and are not contending. This may be Brees' last swan song and it doesn't look like he's going to slow down until he ends things on his terms.
Dak Prescott - As the running game dominates in Dallas, Dak Prescott looks better and better. He has only thrown one interception in the last five weeks and has thrown for six touchdowns over the same time span. With four rushing touchdowns over that period, his value in fantasy football skyrockets. The arrival of Amari Cooper has helped the whole Cowboy offense and once again Prescott looks as good as he did in his rookie season.
Matthew Stafford - We have to separate Matthew Stafford the fantasy football prospect from Matthew Stafford the NFL quarterback. As a fantasy option, he is having his worst career year. It doesn’t look like he will finish as a starting option for only the second time in the last eight years. Worse than that he doesn’t look like a quality quarterback ever since the team traded away Golden Tate. The situation is fixable as there seems no way that Detroit will be looking for another option in the foreseeable future. This time next year, we may not be saying the same thing if he continues to regress.
Carson Wentz - A couple weeks ago it looked like Wentz was rounding into form both for the Eagles winning games and for fantasy football purposes. The last two weeks, he was terrible. It is hard to see what has changed that took Wentz from the QB1 last season to QB14 (since he returned from injury). If anything, the weapons around him have improved. It is no longer possible to justify having Wentz ranked above Cam Newton and Andrew Luck, so he slides a couple spots.
Lamar Jackson - Jackson has always been an extreme boom/bust fantasy prospect. There wasn’t any guarantee he would be able to win and hold down a starting job, which is typical for quarterbacks taken outside of the top-20 in the draft. While he hasn’t definitively proven anything yet in that regard, the early returns are strong. Jackson has led his team to a 2-0 record in his first career starts. The reason I’ve continued to rank Jackson relatively high is that it was clear if he was good enough to start, he would be a real fantasy factor. So far, we have seen just that. In two games, he has rushed 38 times for 188 yards and 1 touchdown. With rushing numbers anywhere near that neighborhood, he doesn’t have to do much as a passer to be a fantasy QB1.
Baker Mayfield - In his last two games, Mayfield has completed 78% of his passes with 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. With Todd Haley and Hue Jackson gone, the new offense has been a perfect fit for Mayfield’s skillset. He again looks like a long-term fantasy QB1 and a top-10 dynasty asset at the position.
Christian McCaffrey - McCaffrey has been on a tear in recent weeks. The receiving and rushing production have been strong all season but the touchdowns weren’t there. In fact, he scored just one over the first six games (0.2 per game). In the last five weeks, he has scored nine times (1.8 per game). I have moved McCaffrey up to RB5 but he is now really close in value to Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott and could easily move up to RB3 (and top-3 overall) if he closes out the season strong.
Nick Chubb - It usually takes a little while for rookie running backs to get going but the great ones typically start at least showing signs by midway through their rookie season. Chubb has done that and then some. The usage has also been extremely encouraging, as he has seen his snap count rise each of the last four weeks. Since Week 7, Chubb has been a top-10 fantasy running back (RB9) and has a good chance to settle in as a low-end RB1 for the foreseeable future. He is a top-10 dynasty running back.
Aaron Jones - Jones was a bit of a forgotten man in the offseason after he received a two-game suspension and the Packers coaches talked up Jamaal Williams. He is finally starting to get a chance to be a true lead back and is producing at an elite level. Since returning from the suspension in Week 3, Jones has produced as the RB12 overall in PPR leagues. He looks good doing it too, averaging 6.0 yards per carry and showing big-time explosiveness.
Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman - It had already become clear that Lindsay was good enough to force his way into a committee with Freeman going forward. However, we now have to also seriously consider the possibility that Lindsay is the clear 1A and Freeman the low-value backup. Lindsay has been carrying a heavier load of late and is still averaging 5.8 yards per carry, proving his early production wasn’t a fluke.
Nick Chubb - The trade of Carlos Hyde to Jacksonville opened the door for Nick Chubb to showcase his talent and ability, and he's done exactly that. Since Week 7, Chubb has 18 carries or more in every game, plus he has 6 total touchdowns including his performance in Week 12. He has shown that he can be a bellcow running back, but also make plays as a receiver. He has moved into the Top 10 and depending on who you ask, he may be a Top 5 dynasty back right now. The time to buy was before he earned the lead role. Those who acquired him at a discount are benefiting greatly right now. His value is at the highest it's ever been and the window to acquire is nearly shut. Investing in him now may be too steep of a price.
Mark Ingram II - Ingram is an unrestricted free agent after this year and there is no guarantee that he will be back with such a potent offensive juggernaut in New Orleans. Drew Brees may be out of the picture in 2019, plus the Saints may decide to go separate ways instead of paying him what he thinks he deserves. Sure, he has the chance to latch onto another team and be a productive fantasy back, but this is a younger man's league, especially for running backs. No matter who he signs with, it will be difficult to match or come close to the success he had with Sean Payton and the Saints.
Aaron Jones - We are just starting to see the potential that Aaron Jones brings to the Packers offense and the value that he brings to fantasy football. He has separated himself as the primary back for Green Bay and that may be just the beginning. The Packers aren't a run-oriented team, so it's not a surprise that he has not exceeded 20 carries in a game this year. He does have a propensity of finding the end zone with five touchdowns since Week 8. The lack of high volume carries may be a negative, fantasy speaking, but he's averaging 6.4 yards per carry this season, which helps to cancel out any doubt of him not being a future RB1. He's currently a Top 20 dynasty back and his needle is pointing up this season as well as his future.
Tevin Coleman - Tevin Coleman is losing ground on getting that big free agent deal he would be looking for in the offseason. When Devonta Freeman went down, he had a chance to stamp himself as a feature back and cash in. Unfortunately, he doesn’t look anything more than that committee or third down back that can’t handle a workload. He will find a good role somewhere but seems to be perennially mired in that bottom end RB2/Flex area
Rashaad Penny - There is obviously an issue with first-round rookie Rashaad Penny in Seattle. He reportedly struggles to understand schemes and his role, but the coaching staff still remain effused about his long-term prospects. In the meantime, they have Chris Carson and Mike Davis to ease the transition and allow him to learn from seasoned and hard-working players. He has looked really good running the ball at times and if you have patience, it should pay rewards. If he has a worried manager, you should pounce on him. If he develops in the offseason and is ready to take that next step, Carson and Davis will be afterthoughts.
Lamar Miller - The Houston Texans have to move on from Lamar Miller in 2019 and look for a better option. He will only cost them one million to cut after the season and it is clear they need a full time back, not a substitute teacher. Miller will be 28 heading into next year, so still has a life as a complementary back or feature back for a team that throws the ball a lot. He is like the Andy Dalton of running backs. Good enough to keep, but not good enough to take the franchise anywhere. Running Backs are more disposable though and his value could take a sharp nosedive or remain steady depending on his 2019 destination.
Gus Edwards - Four weeks I wrote this about Gus Edwards “Opportunity is everything in the NFL and Gus Edwards is so close to seeing significant action in the Baltimore backfield….. Collins is averaging 3.65 yards a carry at the moment and doesn’t look to be a long-term consideration for the team. If you have space, add Edwards to see how he does in the next few weeks.” Well, those last 2 weeks have been fantastic for Edwards with back to back 100-yard games and if he isn’t already, he will be a very popular waiver wire addition. It’s nice for proactive thinking to be rewarded occasionally.
Noah Brown - This is the time of year where dynasty managers look for rookies that start seeing playing time down the stretch. Noah Brown missed the first half of the season with a bad hamstring injury, but the Cowboys thought enough of the seventh round pick, first of all, to keep him around after the injury and secondly to activate him from I/R. He only caught one ball against Washington on Thanksgiving, but almost got a second one and looked like he belonged on the field. The Amari Cooper contract could be an issue and Michael Gallup may have development issues. In reality, he will struggle to break through and be fantasy relevant, but those with deep rosters should stash him as he looks the part.
Dontrelle Inman - Dontrelle Inman always looked good when he was with the Chargers, but has had injury issues. Now he pops up in Indianapolis and goes straight past Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant for targets, fresh off the street. It is unlikely the 29-year-old is worth much past this season, but while Andrew Luck is firing, he could be an interesting add, on deep rosters.
Michael Crabtree - The last five games have seen Michael Crabtree drop from starting fantasy wide receiver to droppable in most formats. At age 31 and with a new type of quarterback being developed in Baltimore it is hard to see a role with the Ravens. His three-year contract essentially has an out after this season and unless he goes to a team that needs a veteran presence, his future in the NFL could be bleak. If he starts to show a rapport with Lamar Jackson, then we can re-evaluate, but until then we have clearly seen the best of the former first-round pick.
Christian Kirk - It is looking more and more obvious that Christian Kirk is the number one target for fellow rookie Josh Rosen. The two appear to be on the same page and while Kirk may have a limited upside, he has the potential to be a solid WR2 for a fantasy manager. With David Johnson secure at running back, the offseason moves of Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals will be of particular interest to anyone with an interest in Kirk’s development.
D.J. Moore - The ascension of D.J. Moore has come quickly. With Devin Funchess disappointing and missing the most recent game with an injury, Moore has stepped into the breach with 15 catches and over 250 yards in his last two appearances. His increased target totals reflect the confidence Cam Newton has in the first year man and although he may not continue at his most recent pace, his future in Carolina looks as good as you would expect from a first-round pick.
Tyreek Hill - The week-to-week inconsistency can be frustrating at times but when you add it all up, Hill is one of the most dominant fantasy players in the game right now. He is currently WR2, only slightly behind Adam Thielen. Plus, Hill is 24-years old and attached to a generational talent at quarterback. Hill is a top-3 dynasty wide receiver and may soon move up to WR1.
Antonio Brown - Brown is predictably seeing a steep decline in his dynasty value and is a great case study in why it never pays to take 29- or 30-year-old players in the first round of dynasty startups, no matter who they are. Brown is simply being outplayed by JuJu Smith-Schuster this season. Smith-Schuster is significantly outperforming Brown in terms of catch percentage, yards per target, and passing efficiency when targeted. He has more yards and receptions despite seeing fewer targets. Brown is no longer the same dominant fantasy force, ranking just 12th in receiving yards. It is also notable from a dynasty perspective that all 11 receivers ahead of him in yardage are also younger, many significantly so.
Jarvis Landry - I try not to repeat players from past updates but have to include Landry for a third-straight week because he just continues to bleed dynasty value. The Cleveland offense has finally broken out over the last two week and did so with Landry taking on an even lesser role. He has played less than 65% of the snaps combined in the two games and saw just five targets in each game.
Golden Tate - The best fantasy years of Golden Tate are probably behind him. He thrived in a pass-oriented system in Detroit and often saw double-digit targets with moderate touchdown totals. The trade to Philadelphia hurts his overall numbers. In Philly, the tight end is a big part of the offense and they rarely ever have a receiver top 80 catches. Tate entered 2018 with four straight 90+ catch seasons. He has 55 receptions this season and has not topped more than 5 yet with the Eagles. He's an unrestricted free agent after this season and may not decide to stay with Philadelphia. 2019 will be his 10th season in the league and there's no guarantee that he will land on a team that will utilize him like he was used in Detroit.
Randall Cobb - The Packers veteran receiver is an unrestricted free agent after this season and he probably will not re-sign with Green Bay. Can he rebound with another team and be fantasy relevant? Possibly, but his value will never be where it once was. Injuries have taken a toll on Cobb and he may be damaged goods on a new team without Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. We saw how this scenario worked out for Jordy Nelson. Cobb continues to drop in dynasty rankings with no sign of a rebound.
Keke Coutee - One player who has yet to hit his stride is the Texans rookie receiver, Keke Coutee. A hamstring injury has slowed down his rise, but he has shown signs of being an impact player and key target for Deshaun Watson for years to come. The trade for Demaryius Thomas may have some people concerned with the production value of Coutee, but Houston's passing game may be able to sustain three fantasy-relevant receivers. There's also not a guarantee that Coutee won't be the team's second-best receiver behind DeAndre Hopkins. Coutee's value is rising and now he appears to be over his hamstring injury which means he won't be held back. The best is still to come for the emerging rookie.
Hunter Henry - Don't forget about Hunter Henry. It's possible that he could return from a May ACL tear this season, but in all likelihood, it won't happen until 2019. He's an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season, so he has one year to prove his worth. Next year could be a big year for Henry and his dynasty value is at a standstill right now. It's time to buy before others realize how vitally important the 2019 season is to him.
O.J. Howard - Both O.J. Howard (UFA in 2022) and Cameron Brate (UFA in 2024) are together for the next three years, barring a trade, so there will always be the other in the picture from a fantasy perspective. This knowledge may deter people from targeting Howard, but Howard is clearly the better athlete and future for the Buccaneers offense. The knee injury to Howard may cause some to want to unload him for a pick or a discount. He's the future and he'll be a big part of the 2019 season and beyond. Now is the time to pounce while his value has dropped.
Dan Arnold - The second-year undrafted tight end from Wisconsin-Platteville, Dan Arnold, has been popping up in the box score for the last few weeks culminating in a touchdown against the Falcons on Thanksgiving. With Ben Watson turning 38 in December, there is a clear vacancy for a pass receiving tight end in New Orleans. Whether Arnold is the long-term man remains to be seen, but he should be on most waiver wires and this team has so many options in the passing game, Arnold could be a good addition.
Evan Engram - Every year there are disappointments for dynasty managers to deal with. Such is the case with Evan Engram. I had him rated as my number one Tight End across the board and for good reason. Rookie Tight Ends seldom rank fifth and look like imposing future threats. This year Engram has struggled with multiple injuries and was injured in pre-game warmups against the Eagles. He is only 24 years of age and has plenty of time to get back on track, but his managers clearly have to be concerned. With Odell Beckham Jr and Saquon Barkley locked in for the long term, the presence of a fit and firing Engram would be massive for the next generation quarterback. Patience is required here.
David Njoku - Njoku bumps up a couple spots after a bounce-back performance against Cincinnati. It has been a roller coaster season for Njoku with stretches where he looked to be emerging as an elite tight end sandwiched between stretches when he was a complete non-factor. In this case, it is worth remembering he is still just 22-years old and far from a finished product. Njoku could eventually be special for those patient enough to suffer through the rough patches.
Jimmy Graham - Graham saw a nice bump in value after signing with Green Bay. However, as in Seattle, it just hasn’t really clicked the way many expected. It is hard to trust Graham in your weekly fantasy lineup and it is hard to see any real light at the end of the tunnel or what might change that would give him a big boost. With the emergence of so many tight ends from the 2017 class, we’re seeing a changing of the guard at the position and Graham is one who is being replaced.