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 of your teams. The diversity of rankings will result in a variety of opinions weekly.
Russell Wilson - Wilson continues to impress and, like Cam Newton, has shown significant progression as a pocket passer - where NFL quarterbacks ultimately succeed or die. Marshawn Lynch's injury helped accelerate Wilson's status as the offensive centerpiece and Thomas Rawls' absence will fuel the process even more. Imagine when Wilson gets a better collection of weapons...
Ryan Fitzpatrick - He is the opposite of glamorous. He has no name value. No one bangs the table in their draft room muttering 'man, you stole Ryan Fitzpatrick right in front of me.' However, Fitzpatrick produces. He has an outstanding pair of big-bodied receivers and adds a rushing boost.
Matt Ryan - Ryan slips two spots to my sixth-ranked quarterback. To say he has played poorly in the second half of the 2015 season would be an understatement. Not all of it is his fault-- he’s adjusting to a new system, which is tricky for even the savviest of veterans. Though he’s not getting sacked much, he is getting pressured and hit a great deal behind a patchwork offensive line. Ryan is also lacking a reliable secondary target, which makes the offense much easier to defend. I anticipate that some of these issues will get cleaned up with offseason acquisitions, but Ryan moves down my board until that point.
Jameis Winston - Winston has been steadily climbing my board. As I watch him, I see leaps and bounds in his development as a pure pocket passer. Even though he’s at his best in said pocket, he’s proven to be more mobile than I originally gave him credit for, as evidenced by scoring a few rushing touchdowns over the last several weeks. He also possesses one of the best receiving groups in football with Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. There have been and will continue to be growing pains, but Winston is showing all the signs that he’s the real deal.
Derek Carr – With Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Clive Walford, Carr has a very solid trio of weapons in which to target. He has made great progress in reading defenses and poise in the pocket. Given his one-year improvement, we are expecting even more development in year three (2016).
Teddy Bridgewater – I had Bridgewater in the Top 5 of the rankings earlier in the season, and still believe in his talent. The conflict for me is that he is a better NFL passer than fantasy producer. The Vikings run a conservative offense and Bridgewater is not asked to throw down the field often.
Thomas Rawls - Coming into 2015, Thomas Rawls was a longshot to see playing time behind Lynch, Christine Michael, and Robert Turbin. The dominoes all fell his way with a key cut, trade, and an injury to Marshawn Lynch. Rawls was playing spectacularly in relief of Lynch, but suffered a nasty ankle fracture with ligament damage in week fourteen. With an aging and injured running back stable, there is a real possibility that the team will add one or more to the roster in the offseason. Before the injury, Rawls was drawing mid-to-late first-round pick value in some leagues. He no longer has that kind of value with such uncertainty ahead.
David Johnson - Even buried on the depth chart behind Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, David Johnson was able to show his juice and score a few touchdowns on limited touches. With both Chris Johnson and Ellington sidelined by injuries sustained in week 12, David Johnson has shown he is more than capable of being the primary option in the Cardinals backfield rotation. With Chris Johnson likely headed back to the free agency market and Ellington not able to stay healthy for an extended time, it looks as if David Johnson may end up the long-term answer for Arizona.
Dion Lewis – The past few games have shown me how much the Patriots miss Lewis. He was highly productive pre-injury and is under contract for 2016. Having the weapon out of the backfield is something Brady and company miss down the stretch. When healthy, Lewis is a top five running back every week.
Jeremy Langford – It is looking more and more like Matt Forte will leave in the offseason, especially given the Bears have yet to offer him an extension. This leaves Langford to be the RB1 for Chicago. He will form a tandem with KaDeem Carey to anchor the running game.
David Johnson - Johnson is low-hanging fruit as a dynasty riser. However, I was already the conductor of his hype train early in the pre-draft process. He was big, with plus athleticism, with a historic track record as a collegiate pass-catcher as the running back position. I was infatuated with Johnson and even I was underplaying his rookie season impact potential. Few are better plays currently in starting lineups. Period. With the myriad of age, production, situation, or depth chart/usage concerns across the dynasty landscape, I would not bat an eye if someone had Johnson well inside the top-10 at running back.
DeAngelo Williams - More than grading Williams' current play, this is the time of year I turn the page in my dynasty values to 2016. Owners are either starting a player or not and trades are generally closed across dynasty leagues. Williams will be 33 years old for 2016 and Le'Veon Bell will be back. Where does that leave Williams? By default, he has to be a decent chunk lower than earlier this season with he took over from Bell as the unquestioned lead back on a quality offense.
Jordan Matthews – Matthews has been given several golden opportunities to emerge this season and he has not been able to get open, pull in the catch, and make a play with the ball in his hands on a consistent basis. This sounds simple but many – including myself previously – have him ranked ahead of players who can put up fantasy WR1 numbers any given week. Matthews cannot.
Allen Robinson – It is time to include Robinson in the conversation for the top five dynasty receivers. He has overcome poor quarterback play to become one of the better young pass-catchers in the NFL. The upside is high for the sophomore wideout. He is a budding star.
Jordy Nelson – The Packers have desperately missed the veteran receiver. Earlier in the offseason, there was talk that Green Bay may not bring Nelson back next season. Given the inability of the other receivers to get open with regularity, Nelson will be welcomed back with open arms.
Josh Gordon – The longer Gordon stays out of the news while serving his suspension, and as the season nears a close, the more appealing the troubled receiver becomes. Sure, there is plenty of risk. But, the potential is even more.
Jeremy Maclin - Alex Smith has shown a willingness to throw down the field with a legitimate weapon in Maclin on the outside. At 27 years old, Maclin still has some prime left and Travis Kelce has not stolen the Kansas City passing spotlight as much as I projected back in August.
Seth Roberts - Even with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree ahead of him on the Oakland wide receiver depth chart, Roberts has continued to produce with quality ball skills and route-running. I don't know how the targets shake out long-term, but Roberts has emerged from the undrafted small school ranks continuously and is one of the better No.3 receiver options across NFL depth charts.
Michael Floyd - He was quietly extended in April, meaning he’ll have at least one more year after this one in the Cardinals high-flying offense. Though banged-up at points throughout the season, Floyd has started to come on, just in time for the fantasy playoffs. In the prime of his career in arguably the best offense in the NFL, Floyd moves up a few ticks in my rankings.
Dwayne Allen - The more I think about Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen in free agency this coming offseason, the more I see Allen finding a committee (and on the blocking side of the split) and Fleener a better shot as a fantasy relevant role. Allen is a ho-hum talent with marginal draft pedigree and Fleener flashed a higher upside at his Indy peak than Allen. I would be surprised if Allen ever gets back to the top-15 to 18 tight ends in my ranks in the future.
Richard Rodgers - Rodgers is not a big-time talent, but moving up the general pecking order with Aaron Rodgers is a boost for any tight end. I still have Rodgers in TE2 land, but this season has shown a nice progression from Rodgers and he is under contract in Green Bay for two more seasons.
Martellus Bennett - His rib injury that sent him to Injured Reserve is not the reason I’m sliding Bennett down my board. Commanding a hefty salary in 2016 and reportedly not getting along with the team, there is a good chance that Bennett will not be a Chicago Bear in 2016. While I don’t doubt he’ll find a landing spot, I question whether or not we’ll again see the dominant version of Bennett this late in his career.
Jesse James – James moved up in the rankings with strong play the past few weeks. Heath Miller is under contract for just one more season and James looks like the heir apparent for the Steelers tight end job.
Blake Bell – Bell is a former quarterback at Oklahoma who transitioned to tight end for the NFL. With the injuries to the 49ers tight ends McDonald and Celek, Bell got the start this past Sunday. He could play well enough down the stretch to be the starter next year. There is plenty of upside with the athletic youngster.
More articles from Jeff TefertillerSee all
More articles on: DynastySee all
Dynasty Trade Value Chart: January - Hindery
The New Reality No.162: Early 2021 NFL Draft Metrics - Parsons
Waivers of the Future: Week 17 - Simpkins