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.
Jared Goff - It would appear rather obvious that Jared Goff is only as good as the team built around him and the offensive system in place. At this stage, the Rams are struggling to overcome the challenges opposing defenses are putting on Sean McVay’s scheme and the lack of overall offensive line cohesion. We have seen enough to know that if Goff gets time, he is a great producer. Unfortunately, Goff himself cannot lift those around him to perform to the level required. The Rams probably know better than anyone the issues facing them, but what happens in the offseason will be crucial for the long-term play of their franchise quarterback. He moves down rankings until we see signs that he can be more than a system guy.
Jameis Winston – Clearly, Jameis Winston can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. What is not clear is what his ultimate ceiling is. He often makes poor decisions, turns the ball over with alarming frequency and has cost his team several wins this year. It will be interesting to see what Tampa Bay decides to do with Winston in the offseason. Whether Bruce Arians has the patience to continue with Winston or move on to a player that can’t make some of the throws that the former number one overall pick can make but is a safer option. There should be another team in the NFL that thinks it can get more out of Winston and he will only be 26 years old to begin the 2020 season. I still don’t think the match between Winston and Tampa Bay is a good one, but he does move up several spots from my low evaluation.
Lamar Jackson - Quite simply, the NFL has not seen a player like Lamar Jackson before. His running ability has been seen before in players of the ilk of Randall Cunningham and Michael Vick, but where Jackson has the advantage is his ability to make good decisions passing the ball. He also has the bonus of a head coach who understands the need to play to Jackson's strengths and not try and mold him into something he is not. Baltimore has also been very sensible with their backups in Robert Griffin III III and Trace McSorley, quarterbacks who share a similar skill set. Jackson is now the clear leader as the number one fantasy quarterback. Patrick Mahomes II simply cannot run for 1000 yards and approach double-digit rushing touchdowns
Drew Lock - The rookie passed his first test with flying colors and has an opportunity to solidify his role as the 2020 starter with a strong December.
Ryan Tannehill - The Titans have been reborn offensively with Tannehill in the lineup, and he’s playing better in each successive week. A prominent beat writer speculated Tannehill could receive the franchise tag in the offseason, indicating the team views him as more than a 2019 stopgap.
Tom Brady - The Patriots are, once again, one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. But Brady has played more like the young game manager who won his first Super Bowl as a supporting piece than the multiple-time MVP he became in his prime. Although Brady intends to play a few more seasons, he’s performing at a level that isn’t 12-team worthy.
Ryan Finley - The rookie was put in a difficult situation playing for arguably league’s worst team. But he failed his first audition which facilitated going back to lame-duck Andy Dalton last week. You must think the Bengals are going to draft their next starting quarterback in a few months, making Finley no better than a backup on a bad team for the next four or five years.
Rashaad Penny - Penny was the first-round pick who would make all other Seahawks running backs irrelevant, until he wasn’t. Then Chris Carson emerged, and all seemed lost. Interestingly, Penny’s re-emergence hasn’t been at Carson’s expense. They’ve become a true 1-2 punch and are both delivering fantasy-relevant production each week.
Derrius Guice - I’m thrilled to move Guice back up the dynasty rankings after dropping him earlier in the year. He’s returned from the injured list and been explosive, despite a suboptimal supporting cast. His natural talents are clear, and any fears yet another injury robbed him of his RB1 upside are now put to bed.
Derrick Henry - Henry moves into the Top 10 with another dominant series of performances. He’s the centerpiece of a conservative, ball-control Titans offense that’s clicking with veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill under center. While Henry will never be a 50-catch receiver capable of 2,000 yards from scrimmage, his ability to handle a heavy workload and the coaches’ trust in him in key short-yardage situations makes Henry a premier asset.
Le'Veon Bell - Bell is, once again, on my fallers list. Most of us doubted Bell could match his per-touch efficiency as a Steeler, no matter where he signed. But he’s been worse than even his skeptics feared. The Jets don’t seem like a team that’s one or two players away from contention and need a complete overhaul of the offensive line. It’s possible the offensive line could be fixed with a masterful offseason, and Bell’s stock could be on the rise. For now, Bell is better viewed as a fantasy RB2 contingent on high-volume game scripts.
Sony Michel - Entering the season, you couldn’t find a bigger Michel supporter than I was, but times have changed. He’s talented, but he’s fallen into the Patriots trap of nearly impossible-to-predict usage rates. It seems Michel is one lost fumble away from obscurity, and that’s not an asset you can value highly in dynasty circles.
Royce Freeman - I’m getting close to throwing in the towel on Freeman as an every-week fantasy starter. The hope a new coaching unit with a zone-blocking scheme would lead to Freeman’s emergence simply hasn’t materialized. Freeman remains second fiddle to Phillip Lindsay, and neither has matched last year’s efficiency as a unit.
Derrick Henry - Fantasy playoff time means its Derrick Henry's time to shine. Quite simply he has chewed up and spat out opposing defenses over the last month, including an incredible 516 rushing yards in the last three games. Add in five rushing touchdowns and the stable quarterback play of Ryan Tannehill and people facing Henry in fantasy leagues over the next few weeks have every reason to be trepidacious. At 25 years of age, he also coming into his best years and easily deserves a rise in future rankings. Despite the investments in the wide receiver position, it is clear the strength of this team is through the second-round pick from 2016.
Derrius Guice - It has only taken almost two completed seasons, but finally, the investment Washington placed in Derrius Guice paid off. If, and it is always a big if, he can remain fit then he can give this team some stability under whoever gets to be chosen as the head coach in 2020. Adrian Peterson has been admirable in producing to a level rarely seen from a 34-year-old running back, but the team clearly must turn Guice loose. If Guice can remain fit through the last four games of the season, have a good off-season and be system compatible under the new regime, he clearly is an RB2 at worst heading into 2020.
Saquon Barkley - Unfortunately, Saquon Barkley is not superman and cannot lift the Giants by himself. He has clearly been a fantasy disappointment in 2019 and it is unclear how the Giants get significantly better in 2020. For what looked a clear franchise running back standout, it has been with great reluctance to see the blinding obvious, Barkley needs help and cannot carry fantasy teams with poor coaching, poor quarterback play, and an offensive line that struggles to do its job. Barkley must be treated more cautiously as a fantasy option instead of a guaranteed Hall of Famer. That he is not, just yet.
Bo Scarbrough - Bo Scarborough has been the fifth or sixth choice to run the ball for Detroit this year, but he has perhaps been the most consistent since being given his chance against the Cowboys. Maybe he is just a guy and one to discard after the 2019 season, but right now he is getting 20 rushing attempts a game and averaging over four yards a carry. No receptions and only one touchdown limit his upside, but he should be playing himself onto an NFL roster for 2020 and is worth keeping in deeper leagues to see what next year holds for him.
Jarvis Landry - It is clear that the number one receiver in Cleveland isn’t the most well-known one. Jarvis Landry has been the number one fantasy receiver in the entire league over the last five weeks and who Baker Mayfield looks to make that crucial play. He is averaging over ten targets a game lately and has always had a good reception to target ratio. With the exception of his last year in Miami, he has never been the most prolific touchdown producer and it must be noted that his five touchdowns hot streak are his only ones for the year. He has to move up dynasty rankings given all we’ve seen recently, but we cannot go crazy just yet in his long-term evaluation.
D.J. Moore - The number one receiver in Carolina has quietly approached and will exceed the 1000-yard season mark soon. He is averaging over 100 yards a game over the last five weeks, showing remarkable consistency when you consider that his best game over this timespan only is for 126 yards. Despite the general struggles of the team offensively, it is clear they have their future number one receiver on their roster. Moves up significantly in rankings.
DeVante Parker - Commonly thought to be a player that Miami was trying to offload for a draft pick, any draft pick, the Dolphins have benefitted from the play of DeVante Parker over the last month or so, coincidentally once the trade window closed. He had always shown the ability that saw the team use a first-round pick on him in 2015, but his attitude had always been questioned. Whether this is coincidental now that he will be a free agent or whether the light has finally turned on remains to be seen, but he deserves more respect from a futures standpoint.
Terry McLaurin - After a dynamite first five games to start his NFL career, Terry McLaurin has been nothing short of a disappointment since. He is averaging three catches and less than 40 yards a game, with zero touchdowns since week seven. Coincidentally this is around the same time as his college quarterback in Dwayne Haskins was taking over. It is easy to cut bait with him in redraft leagues, but dynasty managers face a bigger quandary. He has clearly shown he can play at this level, but why the sudden turnaround? He has to move down for now but has the potential to make a massive leap in 2020 with the right circumstances.
Sammy Watkins - After his week one explosion, it looked like Sammy Watkins had finally looked like the first receiver drafted from the great class of 2014, but alas we are getting the same kind of performance as we have seen over the last few years. At this stage he should beat his 2018 stats, but only just. A much more unheralded player in Demarcus Robinson looks just as good and despite all the pieces in place for Watkins to finally show some consistency we get more of the same. Undoubtedly, we will see another good game, but good luck in picking when.
Sterling Shepard - Shepard’s concussion-related absence is concerning, but I had downgraded him too far in prior updates. He’s still in his NFL prime, has a contract that guarantees the Giants can’t walk away from him soon, and the Giants have a young quarterback that needs reliable weapons in a pass-happy era.
Deebo Samuel - The 49ers litany of young receivers was a blob of unsculpted clay a few months ago, but Samuel has emerged as the finished sculpture ready for the kiln. He slowly worked into a prominent role and has passed every test. He’s not Jimmy Garoppolo’s go-to receiver in high leverage situations, and still has room to grow as a route runner. He could push for WR1 value in a season or two depending on what the team does at the receiver position in the draft and offseason.
D.J. Moore - Entering the season there was a narrative that Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore were relatively close in their skill sets and career upside. While Samuel is talented, Moore has established himself as an impact player. He’s made plays even though opposing defenses key on him and has thrived in spite of a change at quarterback to Kyle Allen.
Dante Pettis - Pettis was the odds-on favorite to emerge from a non-descript 49ers receiving corps, but his star has steadily fallen throughout the preseason and regular season. He’s clearly not in the coaches’ good graces, which facilitated the trade for Emmanuel Sanders. With a veteran like Sanders, and an emerging young star in Deebo Samuel, it looks like Pettis’ upside is limited; at least until he changes teams and gets a fresh lease on life.
Brandin Cooks - I’ve been a staunch Cooks defender throughout his career, but it’s hard not to worry given his disastrous season. The Rams haven’t been offensively potent this year, at least consistently, and it stands to reason changes will be made in the offseason. With Cooks’ role in question and his concussion situation, it’s fair to ask if we’ve already seen his career-best.
DeSean Jackson - Who would’ve predicted Jackson’s opening week explosion would not only be his best game of the season, but also the lion’s share of his full-year output? At Jackson’s age, with so much of his value tied up in one skill – deep, vertical speed – it’s hard to imagine he’ll ever be more than a WR3 in 12-team leagues going forward. And that’s by no means a certainty.
Jacob Hollister - The Seahawks in a perennial search for an impact tight end and Will Dissly was staking claim to the role before suffering a second consecutive season-ending injury. Hollister, who is already a journeyman of sorts, has solidified the position and gained Russell Wilson’s trust. He’s young enough and the depth chart is open enough for Hollister to have a multi-year run as a marginal fantasy contributor.
Tyler Higbee - Watching Higbee explode this past week in Gerald Everett’s absence leaves everyone wondering why Higbee hasn’t been on the field more in the first place. Coach Sean McVay presumably knows better than we do, but given how thin the tight end position is, anyone capable of 100+ yards and multiple, athletic touchdowns in a game for a high-powered offense is worth rostering.
Trey Burton - The tight end position hasn’t been this top-heavy in a long time, and a lot of dynasty holds at the position will be lottery tickets. While Burton is too young and talented to discard completely, he’s never lived up to his contract after leaving the Eagles following the Super Bowl heroics.
Eric Ebron - Ebron was an obvious regression candidate after last year’s touchdown extravaganza, but Andrew Luck’s retirement and another season-ending injury make Ebron’s long-term value questionable. The Colts are in flux, although it seems likely they’ll stick with Jacoby Brissett for at least another season. If that’s the case, Ebron’s role is no better than a fringe starter in 12-team leagues, and at his age and injury history, that’s not someone to prioritize.
Mike Gesicki - Sometimes the fantasy community is brutal on young Tight Ends and the difficulty they have in producing to their draft slot in the early years of their career. Leading into the season the common wisdom was that Mike Gesicki was trending more in the direction of a bust than starting tight end. In only his second year he has produced as a top-five fantasy tight end over the last five weeks and may have finally turned a corner. It is too early to rely on him at this stage, but the signs are more promising, and he is worth reconsideration.
Kyle Rudolph - All he does is catch touchdowns used to apply to a former Minnesota wide receiver but could be just as applicable in the case of Kyle Rudolph lately. He has six touchdowns from 24 receptions over the last six weeks as he moves to the veteran stage of his career. It would be wise to not overvalue his performance heading into the next few seasons as rookie Tight End Irv Smith looks highly promising and starting Rudolph if he isn’t finding the endzone is likely to end up with poor results.
If you would like to review our most recent Dynasty rankings, here is a link.