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.
Drew Brees - Brees is going to be one of my bigger recommendations in startup drafts come January. The latest ADP shows Brees outside the Top 12 at the position. With NFL rules protecting quarterbacks more than ever before, I am more agnostic on quarterback age and worrying about 'fixing' the position in a couple years if Brees retires by then. In the meantime, enjoy the elite quarterback for as long as he lasts.
Philip Rivers - Rivers, like Brees, is another clear target for the next few seasons. Rivers put up 400+ yards on the Broncos this week but is also one of the overlooked quarterbacks this season with Patrick Mahomes II notably getting plenty more attention. Rivers has multiple touchdowns and 200+ yards in every game this season plus gets Hunter Henry back in 2019.
Nick Mullens - Mullens was on no one's radar as the 49ers third-string quarterback a few weeks ago, but had to see action after Beathard's injury. Mullen has handily outplayed Beathard and, at a minimum, has established himself as a viable, developmental QB2 in San Francisco or elsewhere.
Mitchell Trubisky - Trubisky hasn't convinced me of his long-term place as a franchise quarterback, but he's thriving in Matt Nagy's system and is running enough to matter. Given the skill players on the roster and the relative youth of the key pieces, Trubisky is worth investing in just in case he's one of the league's bright young stars.
Alex Smith - Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury this weekend and it's not clear whether he'll ever be the same. While medicine has advanced since Joe Theismann's devastating, and career-ending leg break, Smith's break is being compared to his fellow Washington quarterback.
Kirk Cousins - Cousins falls a few spots to the bottom of the top-10. He's still an enviable player to have on a roster, but a few of the other quarterbacks have vaulted ahead of him in an apples-to-apples comparison.
Lamar Jackson – It was against the worst defense in the league, but Lamar Jackson got his first NFL start and his first NFL win this week. He had more rushing yards than passing yards for much of the game and finished with 117 rushing yards on 27 carries. He didn’t look great throwing the ball, but it’s a start. Jackson is the future of the Ravens, and with Flacco injured for a little while, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to prove he deserves it. With their playoffs hopes hanging by a thread, Jackson should see plenty of action the rest of the season. He’s worth a roster spot in your dynasty leagues on the potential for future performance. Having a QB who can run as well as pass is always dangerous.
Colt McCoy and Alex Smith – Alex Smith’s broken leg will end his first season in Washington. The injury was pretty severe, and given Smith’s age (34) this could be career threatening. Colt McCoy did a serviceable job as his replacement and will probably be the starter the rest of the season. McCoy is a known quantity and will need to turn into Drew Brees if he’s going to replace Smith as the starting quarterback after this season. If you need a starter this year, McCoy is your man. If you have Smith as your starter, its’ time to look elsewhere. Expect Washington to add another quarterback before the start of 2019. For Smith, he’s going to have a long road to complete recovery and will need all the good vibes you can send him.
Josh Adams - Adams has evolved from practice squad player to the Eagles' best running back. He's not seeing the workload to be viable in redraft formats, but the trend is on his side. If he can get a full workload -- and produce -- over the final two months of the season, Adams' value will continue to skyrocket. Better to invest now while the price is cheap.
Marlon Mack - Mack's durability will always be a worry, but he's been a well-rounded and productive cog on a resurgent Colts offense. He'll be the team's feature back as long as he can stay off the injury report.
Rashaad Penny - Just when we thought Penny was the forgotten man, a Chris Carson injury opens the door for Penny to dominate and outshine prospective No. 2 Mike Davis. Penny is still stuck behind Carson this year, but the signs of life are encouraging, particularly for 2019 where he should get another shot at securing the lead job.
Jay Ajayi - Ajayi is little more than deep bench fodder at this point given his injuries and the uncertainty in Philadelphia related to playing time, salary cap needs, and offensive direction.
T.J. Yeldon, - Yeldon has become a forgotten man, in spite of being a top-10 fantasy back while Fournette was hurt, now that Fournette has returned. He's a valuable handcuff to roster, but it's clear the Jaguars don't see him as worthy of a role when the lead dog is off the injury report.
Rashaad Penny - I am a buyer on Penny, not so much for the rest of 2018, but for 2019. Penny looks to have lost the extra weight from the offseason and earlier in the regular season. I would gladly give a later Round 1 pick in 2019 for Penny to buy the Round 1 NFL Draft pedigree and Penny will get every chance to be the feature back next season.
Alex Collins - Ever since obtaining the Baltimore lead role I have been lower on Collins than consensus. This week was a new low with Gus Edwards breaking out while Collins and Javorius Allen were both healthy and active. Collins lacks athleticism overall and was already squeezed for goal line and third down work by Allen. Now, Edwards adds a new concern as Collins was a risky flex lineup option already.
Aaron Jones – The Packers have struggled this season, but one thing has emerged from all the question marks that they have on offense – Aaron Jones is going to be their feature back. Jones is explosive and has several big plays this season. He catches the ball well out of the backfield and had a nice touchdown late in the Thursday game this week. He has completely pushed Jamaal Williams out of the lineup and his value is only as a handcuff to Jones at this point. At this pace, Jones will skyrocket up the draft boards going into next season, and he maintains his ‘feature back’ status, he’ll be a 1st round pick in any ‘draft from start’ dynasty league.
Alex Collins – Time for Alex Collins owners to push the panic button. Alex Collins had a touchdown this week, but 2.6 yards per carry against the worst defense in the league isn’t getting it done. Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards quickly pushed Collins out of the lineup and both finished with over 100 yards rushing while Collins had just 18. This was a critical game for the Ravens and the fact that Collins wasn’t a big part of the offense is a really bad sign. If your roster allows, he’s worth carrying until we see what happens in the off-season, but he’s already being dropped in redraft leagues and that means he’s dead weight on your roster until further notice. Not sure Gus Edwards will pay dividends, but he’s worth picking up on a flier this week just in case he takes off.
Curtis Samuel – The Carolina passing game is tough to project at this point, but Curtis Samuel is worth a look. He had five receptions this week on seven targets and scored a touchdown for the second time in three weeks. He and D.J. Moore will share the spotlight Devin Funchess, so unless your roster is deep, you may just want to have Samuel on ‘waiver wire speed dial’. But he’s trending upward as the season progresses which is a good sign for a young receiver.
Mike Evans – Yes, Evans had a big game this week and he’s still one of the top receivers to have in fantasy football. However, Tampa is spreading the ball around more and guys like Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries who have begun cutting into Evans’s production. Even O.J. Howard finished this week’s shoot-out with five receptions for 78 yards – something that would have never happened as recently as last year. Evans isn’t a guy you’re going to trade unless you’re looking to start your rebuild early, but counting on him to be that 10-target, 8 reception receiver guy may be fading. Keep an eye on his production the rest of the season and be ready to make adjustments if this trend continues.
Mike Williams - Overall, I am a seller on Williams. With Keenan Allen not going anyway and Hunter Henry returning next season, plus Melvin Gordon III, it is difficult to see the opportunity for Williams to be anything more than a WR3/4 for the foreseeable future. Williams is a jump ball maven but has shown little else thus far and he still maintains quality market value despite these obvious situational limitations.
Brandin Cooks - With Cooper Kupp out for the season, Cooks is an auto-start WR1 for fantasy terms and one of the hottest receivers over the past few weeks. In the highly optimized Rams offense, even decent targets translate into strong production, and Cooks also benefits from the Rams defense underwhelming this season to produce a number of shootout game scripts.
Marqise Lee - Lee is a riser because it's getting late in the season, and the Jaguars receiving corps has been a mess. The team committed big money to Lee last offseason before he got hurt, and no one on the current roster has credibly threatened his role as the No. 1 upon his return for 2019.
Kenny Golladay - Golladay continues to move up the rankings thanks to Golden Tate's trade and Marvin Jones Jr' continuing maladies. Golladay is thriving in spite of increased focus by opposing secondaries.
Tyreek Hill - Hill falls a few spots in the top-10 as the early production has leveled off. He remains a key piece to the league's most exciting offense, but the Chiefs have found greater balance which means Hill's target share isn't what it might have been otherwise.
Alshon Jeffery - Golden Tate's arrival and the continued use of Jordan Matthews relegate Jeffery to a committee contributor. The entire Eagles offense is under downgrade watch as the offensive line has succumbed to age and injury, and the salary cap brings questions about how much of the unit can be retained in 2019 and beyond.
Jordan Reed - Of the "best of the rest" tight ends outside of Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce, Reed is my recommendation for contending teams this season. Reed had arguably his best film notes game of the season in Week 1, moving well and being featured within the Washington passing game as he should.
Ricky Seals-Jones - The former wide receiver convert has fizzled as the season has progressed, especially since Jermaine Gresham has returned to the lineup. Even without a strong receiver corps beyond Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk, Seals-Jones has been nothing more than a low-level streamer. Seals-Jones still offers some trade market appeal and time is running out to use him as a stepping stone to a better long-term asset.
O.J. Howard – Speaking of Howard – he’s developed into a legitimate fantasy tight end this season. He’s posted more than 550 yards this year, averaging more than 16 yards per reception and has five receiving touchdowns so far. He didn’t reach the end zone this week in the high-scoring shoot-out with the Giants, but he did finish with the second highest reception total on the team. He’s a decent mid-range tight end and should be starting in most dynasty leagues, especially PPR leagues.
Jonnu Smith - It took a few games, but Smith is finally replacing Delanie Walker's production; at least in part. Smith has become a reliable short yardage and red zone weapon and should remain so for as long as Marcus Mariota is the Titans quarterback.
Vance McDonald - I was a McDonald doubter for a long time, but his play this year has clearly earned high praise. He's overtaken Jesse James and is creating mismatches against linebackers in every game.
Jimmy Graham - Graham got hurt, again. And he wasn't all that productive in Green Bay before the injury.