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.
Jameis Winston – The Tampa Bay quarterback moves down 14 spots in the rankings after Sunday’s performance. Winston has been plagued by turnovers throughout his NFL tenure, but otherwise, the talent is unmistakable. With a compelling set of targets including Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and O.J. Howard, few quarterbacks have a higher ceiling. New head coach Bruce Arians stressed getting Winston’s turnovers fixed all preseason, but Week 1 was more of the same. Winston threw three interceptions including two pick-6s to a San Francisco secondary that’s not regarded as one of the league’s best. If Winston doesn’t change his turnover-prone ways soon, his future as an NFL starter and fantasy commodity is in jeopardy.
Mitchell Trubisky - There are a handful of young starters bunched together in a tier, but Trubisky falls toward the bottom after a disappointing Week 1 versus the Packers. It’s not so much the one game, but more that it calls into question whether Trubisky made any strides after a 2018 that was less about his skillset and more about positive game scripts.
Baker Mayfield - The fantasy world – me included – got caught up in the Cleveland Browns hype, and there’s still plenty of reason for long-term excitement. However, Mayfield hasn’t earned the right to sit inside the Top 5 yet, and his poor showing against the Titans reinforced that view. He remains solidly in the Top 10 given his age, strong rookie season, and the tantalizing supporting cast.
Gardner Minshew - Nick Foles broke his collarbone, underwent surgery, and is out indefinitely. Rookie Gardner Minshew stepped into the lineup and looked like a seasoned pro; he completed 22-of-25 passes for275 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. The Jaguars traded for Joshua Dobbs on Monday, so it’s not certain Minshew will be anointed the new starter. But if he keeps the starting job, he can build a resume and put himself in position to be traded to a QB-needy team in 2020.
Lamar Jackson - Quarterbacks who rush for 700 or more yards in a season are almost always top-10 performers, so Jackson deserved to be higher than QB23 regardless of what his rushing style means for his long-term health. But as the summer wore on, my confidence in Jackson’s ability to throw the ball – and in turn secure a longer tenure as an NFL starter – increased. His Week 1 performance was the exclamation point in completely reshaping the way we should think of him. I now have him ranked as a low-end fantasy QB1.
Carson Wentz - Wentz is 100% healthy for the first time in two seasons, had the deepest collection of receivers in his young career, and the team is a contender with few if any deficiencies. As long as he can stay healthy, which hasn’t been easy in the last 24 months, he has as much upside as any quarterback other than Patrick Mahomes II.
Tom Brady - It’s hard to rank a 42-year old player highly in dynasty leagues, but Brady is the exception. Josh Gordon’s reinstatement and the soap-operatic acquisition of Antonio Brown set Brady up for another MVP-caliber season. That alone makes him valuable, but he’s also expected to play for another season or two beyond 2019. Don’t rank Brady over some of the younger, elite passers. But don’t treat him as roster fodder, either.
Lamar Jackson - Jackson as a competent passer is a problem for opposing NFL defenses. Miami is a black hole for 2019 competition, but Baltimore still bludgeoned them for 50+ points. Jackson has strong weapons (Marquise Brown was eased in and still an impact player in his debut, Hayden Hurst healthy as a second-year and first-round tight end among upticks) and the rushing upside to be a QB1 even if his passing levels off.
Jameis Winston - While Winston is not at risk to lose his in-season starting job yet, Week 1 was another frustrating display of Tampa Bay (read: Winston) underperforming on offense with mistakes, turnovers, and not turning yards into touchdowns, all a long-standing trend. Winston has not security for 2020 and a starting gig, so each data point in 2019 decreases his chances to be an unquestioned starter going forward.
Lamar Jackson - After the first week of the season, the players that move most in dynasty leagues tend to be first or second-year players. Either they have improved a lot from their rookie season or have a bigger role than was originally expected. Lamar Jackson is in the first category. We must check ourselves that it was against the Dolphins, but when the alleged strength of his game, his running was equaled or exceeded by Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, and Matthew Stafford, his improvement as a passer must be noted. Better weapons help. He has to move up into the top fantasy quarterbacks, but this could be a volatile situation depending on his next few opponents.
Gardner Minshew and Joshua Dobbs - For the next eight weeks, at least, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be looking for decent production at quarterback following the Nick Foles injury. If the defense does not show more than the disheveled mess that the team produced against the Chiefs, the offense will be accruing yardage. Minshew was poised and did well, but sixth-round rookies in action within the first week of the season is poor management from the team. Joshua Dobbs has had little playing experience in the NFL but is in his third year and ready for playing time, once he gets his head into his new environment. In deeper leagues, both are worth rostering and move significantly up rankings
Kyler Murray - One good garbage time quarter does not erase third quarters of amateur hour, despite the fact it put the Cardinals back into the game and gave them a tie. The Lions don’t look threatening and it will be interesting to see how Murray does against better teams over the next few weeks. He gets a pass after the first game, but he cannot move up rankings until we see better than that.
Baker Mayfield - Cleveland must improve rapidly on the performance against the Titans or this is going to be another long season for the Browns. Optimism was short-lived and will be on a knife’s edge this week against the Jets. Baker Mayfield was heavily overvalued heading into his second season and while we cannot assume that he won’t reach the level predicted, anyone relying on him this year will be anxious. He must move down rankings, but for the most part, he is where I thought he would be.