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.
Nick Mullens - Mullens has earned quite a bit of money in his spot starter time this season. He likely goes back to reserve status in 2019 but is one of the higher upside options on the NFL landscape and could be on the Case Keenum path to seeing more time as a starter down the line. Mullens is one of the rare 'hits' for Superflex dynasty owners taking a shot on a relative unknown seeing starting reps in-season and developing into a solid rostered asset.
Matthew Stafford - While his dynasty stock is waning through a tough season, Stafford is a clear buy recommendation in the offseason as he sags outside the top-18 or so quarterbacks. Stafford lost Golden Tate (trade), Marvin Jones Jr (injury) and Kerryon Johnson (injury) for chunks of the season and Detroit had minimal tight end presence all year. Detroit's offensive line and run game is improved from 2017 as a positive from this season and Stafford is a prime bounce-back candidate for 2019.
Baker Mayfield - Mayfield has been steady and in control, and the Browns are on the precipice of an 8-8 season. I haven't seen enough to think Mayfield is going to be an elite fantasy asset, but he's done enough to think he'll be the starter in Cleveland for years to come. The upside is too enticing to not move him into the QB1 fringes.
Mitchell Trubisky - Don't look now but the Matt Nagy experiment is a smashing success. The Bears are fifth in scoring, and the second-year quarterback is getting plenty of opportunities to throw the ball. He's got an enticing cadre of receiving and tight ends, and an offensive line that looks solid after struggling under prior coaches. The arrow is pointing up.
Josh Allen - Allen's lack of accuracy remains a concern longer term, but Allen is turning into the fantasy player Lamar Jackson was supposed to be (but isn't). Allen is running for 100 yards like it's commonplace, but not at the expense of throwing aggressively downfield. He's turned receivers like Jones and Foster into fantasy relevant pieces, which makes you wonder what Allen can do in a season or two once the supporting cast gets upgraded.
Alex Smith - Smith wasn't lighting the world on fire, but he was a steady presence and could be counted on for a high floor and low-end QB1 value in certain matchups. But, the gruesome leg injury leaves Smith's career in jeopardy.
Josh Rosen - Rosen was my favorite of the rookie quarterbacks coming into the season, and that's looking like faulty analysis with a few games to go. While you can't write Rosen off completely (remember how bad Jared Goff looked under Jeff Fisher), his demeanor and poor decision-making leave little to get excited about even with a changing of the coaching guard.
Aaron Rodgers - Rodgers falls from the No. 2 spot, but not far. If you can trade him to someone who still views Rodgers as the best quarterback in the NFL, do so right now. Father time is undefeated and not every quarterback can play at an MVP level into their late 30s, early 40s. We've watched Drew Brees and Tom Brady and mistakenly viewed that as the norm. Both of those quarterbacks benefit from a stable, proven, and elite supporting cast whereas Rodgers is looking at a coaching overhaul and questions up and down the roster.
Sam Darnold – Houston’s big win over the Jets and New England’s loss to Pittsburgh allowed the Texans to move into the bye week slot. This completely overshadowed the fact that the Jets put up a heck of a fight against the Texans and Sam Darnold had an impressive week for a rookie quarterback against one of the better defenses in the league. Darnold posted an impressive 253 yards passing, two passing touchdowns and added in another 35 yards rushing. He ran a decent two-minute offense that led to a passing touchdown to end the first half and opened the second half by marching the Jets down the field for another passing score. The Jets still have a long way to go, but Darnold is clearly their quarterback of the future and he has shown a couple decent games this season, giving dynasty owners hope for next year and beyond.
Josh Rosen – When the coaching staff made the decision to pull Rosen in place of Mike Glennon, that should be cause for alarm to any Rosen owner in dynasty leagues. The Cardinals were quick to re-name him the starter for next week against the Rams, but this should be a huge warning flag that Rosen’s future with the Cardinals is in question. The Cardinals had high hopes for Rosen as the starter, but he has done nothing but disappoint this season. Arizona has the distinction as being the worst offense in the league, and they have both David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Rosen probably wasn’t on your radar but being replaced by Mike Glennon essentially shows how little confidence Arizona has in him for the future. Even in Superflex leagues where you can start two quarterbacks, Rosen shouldn’t be on your roster.
Gus Edwards - Edwards was on the fringes of the Ravens roster plans entering the season, but through injuries and attrition, Edwards got his opportunity and has thrived. He's played through minor injuries and shown a burst and an ability to keep his balance running in tight quarters. It's unclear whether he'll get a shot at the feature role in 2019, but his play of late makes it worth taking the gamble.
Derrick Henry - Henry is maddening. No sooner did dynasty owners give up on the young power back then he becomes the central cog in the Titans offense again. The bottom line is Henry is helping fantasy owners win league titles while the likes of Melvin Gordon III, Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, and Saquon Barkley are letting them down. We must at least consider the idea Henry will enter 2019 as the Titans centerpiece.
Phillip Lindsay - At some point, we must stop fretting about his size or Royce Freeman's talent and start buying into the production. Lindsay is a multi-purpose feature back, and he's making plays regardless of the Broncos game script. That's worth an upgrade.
Kareem Hunt - Hunt's star has plummeted, but don't completely forget about him. He's no longer a top-20 running back prospect, but he's not far behind that grouping. I believe Hunt will get another shot, as a starter, in the league as early as 2019. It all comes down to his level of contrition after returning from anger management rehab.
Kenyan Drake - It's hard not to give up on Drake. Adam Gase doesn't trust him as more than a complementary gadget player. If it weren't for the crazy lateral play to end the Patriots game, Drake would've been a non-factor. And this week, despite Frank Gore getting hurt, the Dolphins turned to Kalen Ballage instead. The only hope for Drake is a new coaching staff in Miami, but with the team in playoff contention, that's unlikely.
Alex Collins - The window to maximize your returns for Alex Collins has closed. Not only was he uneven this season, but now he's hurt. Meanwhile, Gus Edwards has been better in the same role, and Kenneth Dixon is back on the field and looks explosive.
Damien Williams – the Chiefs parted ways with Kareem Hunt and while Spencer Ware was initially thought to be his replacement, it’s Damien Williams who looks like the guy to grab in dynasty leagues. Even with limited touches, Williams was the biggest star of the Kansas City offense last Thursday against the Chargers. He has four touchdowns in the last two week and that’s only with 18 touches. Against the Chargers, he posted 120 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns. It’s too early to anoint him as the feature back of the offense for 2019, but he’s shown enough burst and pass-catching ability to warrant a roster spot for the remainder of the season.
Kalen Ballage – Frank Gore is done for the season, and maybe in Miami going into next year. Kalen Ballage is the guy that you want going forward both in 2018 and beyond. He broke a 75-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter which accounted for the majority of his fantasy production last week, but it was a flash of potential things to come. Miami is still in the hunt for a playoff game, so you can expect to see more Ballage in these last two games and the Dolphins try to hang on. Miami seems to favor him a bit over Kenyan Drake and by next season, Ballage could be the feature back in this offense.
Jaylen Samuels - Samuels has taken full advantage of his opportunities with Le'Veon Bell and James Conner out at various points this season. Samuels is a two-way option and even if Conner is the clear lead back to start 2019, Samuels is now in the Conner mold of possessing RB1 upside if a single injury occurs.
Derrick Henry - Henry has emerged from the wreckage that has been his career to-date with high-level games in back-to-back weeks. Henry was used as the clear lead back in Week 15 and emerged with big production yet again and without the aid of a long touchdown run. Henry could turn from a tease to 2019 impact with a strong finish to the season and the prospect of beginning next season as a high-volume foundation back.
Alshon Jeffery – With Nick Foles under center, Alshon Jeffery returned to life this week, posting eight receptions for 160 yards and was a big part of why the Eagles were able to upset the Rams. It’s unclear why Jeffery hasn’t been a big part of the offense so far, but clearly, the swap to Foles has shown that Jeffery hasn’t lost a step. Expect this to continue as Foles will most likely be the Eagles starter for the rest of the season. While their playoff hopes are dim, it is still possible for them to make it, so you can expect that Jeffery will be a great pick going forward the rest of this year. A healthy Wentz under center for 2019 should help keep Jeffery as the top receiver next year as well.
Demaryius Thomas – Gone are the days when Thomas and Emanuel Sanders were a fantastic one-two punch for the Broncos. In Houston, Thomas is all but lost in the offense that surrounds DeAndre Hopkins. Thomas has just 13 receptions for 139 yards over the last three weeks. Aside from his two-touchdown game against the Titans, he has not posted any fantasy relevant numbers, even in a PPR league. Thomas does have ‘some’ value as Houston’s No. 2 receiver, but he’s only a flex option in the deepest PPR league and you must hope that you catch him on the week that he reaches the end zone.
Josh Reynolds - I can't raise Reynolds as high as some of my peers, because he's still the fourth receiving on the Rams depth chart entering 2019. However, he's done enough since Cooper Kupp got hurt to think Reynolds could be a weekly fantasy starter if the depth chart thins out.
Dante Pettis - Pettis looks like the player we thought he could be, and the guy who earned Matt Waldman's top ranking among rookie prospects. The 49ers have essentially spent this year trying out the young players on the roster, with an eye toward a playoff-contending coming out party in 2019. There's no reason to think either Pierre Garcon or Marquise Goodwin can stand in Pettis' way next year.
Marqise Lee - This is an under-the-radar move that could net huge returns. Lee missed the entire year and the Jaguars offense is sputtering. He's not on many people's radar. Use that to your advantage. Lee was given a hefty contract last offseason and no other receiver on the Jaguars roster did enough this season to displace Lee's spot atop the depth chart. Assuming there are new coaches and a new quarterback in town next year, Lee steps into a role as the clear-cut No. 1 for a re-emerging team.
Amari Cooper - Cooper gets another upgrade, and it may still not be enough. He was the exemplar of failed potential in Oakland but has been a dynamic, game-breaker in Dallas. Dak Prescott isn't going anywhere, and that means Cooper should be a viable every week fantasy starter for years to come. It's quite the resurgence.
Emmanuel Sanders - Sanders' injury is tragic, particularly given his age and contract situation. It's going to be hard for him to land a clear-cut starting role in Denver or elsewhere next year.
A.J. Green - Green's injury history is quietly turning into a major concern. He's too talented to fall out of the Top 20, but it's time he's viewed as a fantasy WR2 versus the can't-miss WR1 we've always thought.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling - We all lost our collective minds with Valdes-Scantling for a few weeks, and he's fallen back to Earth. The Packers receiving corps is full of questions beyond D. Adams, and it's hard to value anyone else beyond bottom-of-the-roster lottery ticket status.
Mike Williams - Williams is certainly on the rise with his huge Week 15 performance as Keenan Allen missed most of the game. However, I would issue some pause for projecting a monster 2019 season as a result. Williams will still have to contend with Allen for targets as well as Melvin Gordon III and a returning Hunter Henry. This is a formidable quartet but one which will have push-and-pull for weekly prowess. The competition for targets is likely to keep Williams' upside tempered for fantasy purposes.
Amari Cooper - What a difference less than half a season and a team change have made for Cooper. Dallas has featured Cooper's route-running and separation skills on short and intermediate routes to strong early returns. Cooper was labeled a bust by a section of the dynasty community, but the change of scenery has been a boon for his surging value, pointing towards a season-long WR1 finish in 2019.
Gerald Everett - Watching the Rams' offense closely this season and Everett has been steadily more involved in the passing game, especially in the red zone. Everett has a hybrid wide receiver-tight end frame and is regularly used as a split-out option. Everett is on my short list for 2019 break out tight ends.
Jordan Reed - After a rare healthy stretch for Reed in 2018, he is hurt again. Plus, Reed was not overly impactful when healthy as separation and after-the-catch opportunities eluded him despite a featured role on the wide receiver-starved Washington passing game. Yes, the team churned through quarterbacks this season but considering Reed's injury history and recent fall off, he looks to be eroding more quickly than the typical late-20s tight end.
Blake Jarwin – He’s not Jason Witten by any stretch but Jarwin seems to have emerged as the Cowboys primary receiving tight end over the last two weeks. He’s posted just 11 receptions for 101 receiving yards, but sadly that’s all it takes to be the top tight end in Dallas. He’s had 14 targets over those same two games, so expect a small, consistent performance to continue for him as the Cowboys try to retain their lead in the NFC East. In tight end bonus leagues, a guy like Jarwin who can post four or five receptions a game is worth a roster spot for now.
Jared Cook - The tight end position is at a nadir, and it's hard to justify keeping Cook out of the TE1 tier, regardless of his history of inconsistency.
Ian Thomas - It's not clear if Thomas can be a regular fantasy contributor, yet another Greg Olsen injury clears the way for Thomas. Olsen's career is probably over, and the Panthers will give Thomas plenty of targets in the final few games to establish his place on the 2019 roster and beyond.
Greg Olsen - Olsen's latest injury may end his career. He's got a bright future ahead as a broadcaster, and enough is enough.
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