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Dynasty Rankings Movement, Week 15 - Footballguys

Footballguys staff rankings and the reasoning behind the movement

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.

Quarterbacks

Haseley

Nick Mullens - Jimmy Garoppolo is future of the 49ers passing game, but San Francisco has two decent quarterbacks who may be good enough to find success in the league with another team. It's definitely possible that General Manager, John Lynch could look to trade one of these two for a draft pick or other trade commodity. Mullens is a free agent in 2020, while Beathard is one year later, 2021. Trading one and keeping the other as a backup makes sense, the 49ers just need to find a suitor who thinks they can make Beathard or Mullens a starter. Mullens appears to have the highest value at this time. If a trade happens, he becomes a much more relevant dynasty prospect.

Alex Smith - It's easy to pull for Alex Smith to forge a comeback from his unfortunate leg injury, but sadly his current situation has a return to football looking like a bleak possibility. Joe Theismann never played another snap after his near-identical career-ending injury 33 years earlier. Smith's dynasty value has fallen way off, making him droppable even in deeper leagues.

Cam Newton - Cam just snapped an 11-game streak of throwing two-plus touchdown passes, so a down game is expected from time to time, however, it seems pretty clear that he is having troubles with getting high velocity on his throws. It's worrisome that he is dealing with shoulder soreness after having offseason surgery after the 2016 season. It's possible that he will return to form in 2019, but he'll be entering his ninth season, and he's still seeing a lot of contact that could cause more injury concerns. He drops slightly in my rankings until he can show he can thrive with this shoulder soreness.

Hicks

Jared Goff - Jared Goff had his worst game since the presence of Jeff Fisher oozed over the Rams. The Bears defense deserves full credit for making Goff uncomfortable in the pocket, but it follows another average game against the Lions and you would be forgiven for thinking that the bye week was the worst thing to happen to the Rams. Their offensive momentum has been sapped and although they face an easy schedule running home, this team and especially Goff need to get their act together quick. Of interest for those that will be playing Goff is whether he can adapt and improve from this lesson or if there is now a blueprint for dealing with him.

Josh Allen - Josh Allen has quickly vaulted up quarterback rankings based purely on his athletic ability. With three games of 99 yards rushing or more since his return from injury and five rushing touchdowns for the year, his flaws and development as a passer can be put to one side for now. When you have more rushing yards in three games than Lamar Jackson has in his last four you can be forgiven for thinking the wrong rookie is getting a lot of the attention. Of course, Jackson has four wins, so he has that over Allen, but fantasy points count more unless you are a fan of the Bills. From a dynasty point of view, will Allen turn out to be a better passer than Jackson is a more relevant question?

Hindery

Dak Prescott - Prescott has seen his dynasty stock bounce back in a big way since the Amari Cooper trade. Since the move, Prescott is the fantasy QB4. He put up a whopping 455 passing yards yesterday against the Eagles in a win that puts the Cowboys in control of the NFC East. Even beyond the short-term adjustment of fantasy expectations, Prescott’s recent bounce back has started to cement his franchise quarterback status. He is a top-12 dynasty quarterback.

Derek Carr - Things were looking extremely shaky as far as Carr’s long-term future in Oak-land. However, he has righted the ship in recent weeks. Oakland hasn’t gone completely in the tank, pulling an upset of Pittsburgh and nearly taking down Kansas City over the past two weeks. Plus, Carr ranks as the QB12 since Week 10. It may not matter much in one-quarterback leagues, but Carr should once again be viewed as a decent asset in superflex leagues.

Josh Allen - It is hard to value Josh Allen right now because it is tough to tell how much of an outlier his crazy rushing production is. Over the last three games, he has 335 rushing yards. He’s actually second in the entire NFL (behind Saquon Barkley) in rushing yards over that stretch. The huge production as a runner has actually made Allen the fantasy QB1 over the last three weeks. He still has a lot to work on but the fantasy upside is now glaringly obvious and Allen moves ahead of aging veterans like Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers in my latest update all the way up to QB13.

Running Back

Hindery

Saquon Barkley - Another week, another ridiculous performance by Barkley. I’ve decided if I was in a startup draft today, Barkley would be my pick at 1.01. Thus, I’ve moved him up to #1 overall in my rankings. Barkley has 100+ total yards in 12 of his 13 games this season. Even in the one game he didn’t post 100 yards, he still had 94 yards, 9 receptions, and a touchdown. At just 21 years old and with almost no history of injuries whatsoever, Barkley jumps Todd Gurley as the top dynasty player. He may keep that title for quite a while.

Ezekiel Elliott - I’m focusing a bit more on the top of the rankings this week because we are getting closer to the offseason and startup drafts. Elliott moves up ahead of Alvin Kamara this week. Early in the season, it made sense to favor Kamara because he was so much more involved as a pass catcher. However, that has flipped in a big way during Dallas’ five-game winning streak. Since Week 10, Elliott has 36 receptions (7.2 per game) and is second only to Chris-tian McCaffrey (37 catches) amongst running backs over that stretch. Kamara has just 19 catches over that same stretch. Elliott is now on pace for 80 receptions, a number few would have thought possible coming into the season. The top five backs have separated from the pack a bit and are each elite. I currently have them ranked in order: Barkley, Gurley, Elliott, McCaffrey, and Kamara.

Nick Chubb - Chubb moves up to RB8 in my latest update. Since Week 10, he is the RB5 and has cemented his hold on the lead running back job in Cleveland moving forward. We’ve also seen the Browns offense take major steps forward and this now looks like one of the better young offenses in the league. The only thing keeping Chubb from joining the top tier is pass-game involvement. He has just 16 catches in 13 games. However, it is worth noting that since Carlos Hyde was traded, Chubb’s averaged just over two receptions per game, which is similar to the numbers Elliott put up his rookie year. Just a few years later, Elliott is on pace for 80 receptions. Chubb could develop along a similar trajectory.

Royce Freeman - On the season, Freeman ranks as RB51. While he did miss a few games, he has basically been a fantasy non-factor. It is hard to see that changing any time soon either. Phil-lip Lindsay looks like the more talented back and isn’t going anywhere. Freeman falls all the way out of the top-30 running backs.

Sony Michel - Michel falls a few spots in the latest rankings update because he simply isn’t being used in the passing game. When Michel landed with the Patriots, the expectation was he would be heavily involved as both a pass catcher and runner. However, he has just three total targets over the past four weeks. If he remains in the LeGarrette Blount role for the Patriots moving forward, he will be extremely touchdown-dependent and a tough player to start with confidence.

Hicks

Frank Gore - What do we do with Frank Gore? He has shown no signs of diminishing and has not indicated if he will retire or play on in 2019. He is worth stashing away for next year as a reserve or emergency back. He will earn his Hall of Fame jacket based on longevity, rather than brilliance, but he is still a very capable back at age 35. He should be available or very cheap after the season is over, so try and grab him as part of a package deal just in case he suits up again.

Kenneth Dixon - After three years of nothing, Kenneth Dixon may finally be ready to show us his talents. A big leap forward in that area is the presence of rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. While Jackson is playing the other running backs such as Gus Edwards and Dixon have value. Edwards is a grinder who just accumulates yards slowly, while Dixon has proven more explosive in this offense. He may not get the touches of Edwards but will have more value due to his receiving skills and breakaway talent. Don’t get carried away just yet, but if he is available or cheap to attain he is worth a roster spot. This offense will have valuable runners into the 2019 season and Dixon could very well be one of them.

Jeffrey Wilson - Jeff Wilson is another undrafted free agent getting his opportunity due to injuries. His value may be short term, but with Matt Breida always beat up, Wilson could have a role in the next few weeks and maybe even longer if he continues to play well. The concerns about him heading into the season were his lack of size and ball security issues. What wasn’t an issue was his vision as a runner and under Kyle Shanahan that kind of player has value. Don’t get carried away and pencil him in as the 2019 starter, but keep him around or just use him while he has value.

Haseley

Christian McCaffrey - After scoring 12 touchdowns in his last six games with a possible 2,000-yard season in his sights, he's clearly a big piece of the Panthers future. From a fantasy perspective, he's putting up numbers comparable to Marshall Faulk and is deserving of all accolades coming his way. At age 22, he has a lot of football left, even for a running back. He's a top 5 dynasty running back at this time and the future looks bright.

Alex Collins - A foot injury ended Alex Collins' 2018 season, but it's important to note that he is a restricted free agent in the offseason. Baltimore doesn't appear to have a true lead back with a roster that includes Collins, Kenneth Dixon, Gus Edwards, and Ty Montgomery. The future is cloudy for Collins. He doesn't appear to have a clear path to fantasy success with Baltimore and another team could sign him, but not use him as their lead back. Some dynasty owners may be excited about the prospect of him landing on a new team in 2019. It may be wise to try to get some trade value while you can.

Rashaad Penny - There is no true lead back on Seattle this year, but there's a potential lead role with Rashaad Penny. Chris Carson has performed well for the Seahawks, but he has his limitations. Part of finding success in a dynasty league is to make educated decisions on players that you can buy low and reap the benefits. We've seen this with other back, most recently Nick Chubb stands out. The window to acquire Chubb on the cheap has passed, but the window is wide open to land Penny.

Wide Receiver

Hicks

Julio Jones - At this stage of the year, we need to start looking at players as they age and what we can get from them before they lose value rapidly. Elite receivers who are about to or have turned 30 fits that criteria. A few of them retain value for a couple more years, most don’t. Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant were players who should have been shipped while they still had elite value. In the case of Jones though he looks like he may be elite for a couple of years more. He needs to be monitored for warning signs moving forward but retains elite ranking for now.

Robert Foster - Robert Foster has had a 100-yard game and a 90-yard game in the last four weeks before registering another 100 yard game against the Jets. It is often difficult to believe in undrafted rookie wide receivers, but it’s time we at least treat him as a prospect seriously. Remember how Keelan Cole did in the fantasy playoffs last year? He has good size and speed but was seen as an unpolished prospect who had the physical tools but had never produced much in college. With good coaching and a willingness to get better, this is the kind of player that can make it in the NFL. He may not be the future, but he has proven a good rapport with Josh Allen and has shown more in the last few weeks than more credentialed candidates.

JuJu Smith-Schuster - If you have the choice between Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster in a dynasty league do you take the 30-year-old or the 22-year-old? Especially when the younger one has more yards and receptions than the older one. Smith-Schuster had a fantastic rookie season but has improved even further into his sophomore year. Brown cannot get any better and has clear signs of regression in his game, as well as issues that could be classified as temperamental. Smith-Schuster is the future star in this offense and should be snared if at all possible. A few more double touchdown games like against the Raiders would be nice as well.

Hindery

Amari Cooper - Since Week 10, Amari Cooper ranks as the WR! In PPR scoring. He has averaged a 7.0-117.6-1.0 for 24.8 points per game over the five-game stretch. He looks like a completely different player in Dallas. While it feels like Cooper has been around a long time, he is still just 24-years old and is seven months younger than hyped second-year guy Kenny Golladay. There is some fear of over-reacting but Cooper is once again a top-12 dynasty wide receiver.

Courtland Sutton - Sutton’s dynasty stock caught fire after the Demaryius Thomas trade. It was expected he would be an impact fantasy performer down the stretch of his rookie season. That has not been the case whatsoever. He has just one game with over three catches all season and has caught just 30 of 65 targets on the season. The 23-year old has yet to match the immense hype and slides a few spots in my wide receiver rankings.

Dante Pettis - While all eyes have been on Courtland Sutton and D.J. Moore, who have stepped into bigger roles of late, it has actually been Pettis who has been the top rookie receiver down the stretch of the season. Over the past three weeks, he has 12 catches for 255 yards and 4 touchdowns. The second-round rookie has overcome a slow start and is starting to establish himself as the clear #1 receiver for the 49ers moving forward.

Haseley

A.J. Green - New and younger wide receivers have entered the league with similar fantasy prospects as Green who will be 31 next July. He may have a few good productive years left, but the time to sell a veteran player is two years too early than one year too late. Green is entering the sunset of his career, but he still has value. He'll be playing for a new contract in 2019 and that information may have trade partners inking a deal that could land you a draft pick(s) that can help you find the next great piece of your roster.

Kenny Golladay - Golladay is expected to be a key piece in the Lions future, but he has struggled at times this year. Is he having difficulties because he can't hack it as a WR1 since Marvin Jones Jr was placed on injured reserve? Some receivers are best when they can be a complementary piece in the offense, but when they are thrust into a lead role, against top cover corners, they have challenges maintaining that same level of production. Until Golladay proves he can be a consistent weapon, he drops down my ranks, despite expectations of a bright 2019.

Tight End

Haseley

Ian Thomas - Greg Olsen may have played his last game in the league. Nagging foot injuries and a career in broadcasting waiting in the wings may be enough for him to make the decision to move on as a player. If that happens, Carolina has his replacement on their roster in rookie Ian Thomas. Thomas has shown good development in his first year in the league and appears to have a good rapport with Cam Newton. He's the future at a position that offensive coordinator Norv Turner has found success developing players in the past. The needle is pointing up for Thomas. His dynasty value is rising and some people may not be aware of his potential.

Hindery

David Njoku - Njoku has been inconsistent this season and since we have such a small sample size, his most recent performances have a greater impact on his rankings than they would if he was a more established player. Njoku’s recent cold streak drops him a couple spots in the tight end rankings. He has caught just one touchdown since Week 7 and has seen his role decrease significantly from what it was early in the season.

Jared Cook - With so many of the older tight ends struggling through injury-plagued seasons (Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, etc.), Cook has quietly been one of the most productive players at the position. He ranks as TE5 both on the season and over the last five weeks. Plus, at age 31, he still looks like one of the most athletic players on the field. He is running away from linebackers still shows an elite burst after the catch. Cook bumps up to TE13 in my rankings and there’s a case for him to be higher if your team is in win-now mode.

Hicks

George Kittle - Over the last two seasons, I have ranged from an avid supporter of George Kittle to a massive detractor. I’ll admit when I am wrong and this is one of those occasions. Kittle is clearly the number one target in San Francisco and smashed through the 1000 yard barrier with a mammoth game against the Broncos. Unless the 49ers add a premium free agent wide receiver then Kittle is a safe top three dynasty tight end moving forward. He has many good years ahead of him and has proven that this is the right offense for him to thrive and he has done it with three young, unproven quarterbacks.

Anthony Firkser - This is the time of year when injuries allow opportunities to guys that wouldn’t otherwise see the field. With Delanie Walker and now Jonnu Smith down, Anthony Firkser gets his chance. His long-term value may be in doubt, but he has at least three catches in his last four games and those of us who are desperately searching for help over the next few weeks would do well to add him while he has value. If he continues to improve he is worth keeping into next year with Walker an aged veteran now and Jonnu Smith unproven.