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.
Daniel Jones – Jones is playing well, despite suboptimal coaching and a ground game that hasn’t consistently kept defenses honest. It’s hard to project Jones as an every-week fantasy asset, even in 2022 and beyond, but he looks more like a long-time NFL starter than he did entering the season. That’s worth bumping Jones up six spots to QB24.
Davis Mills – A week ago, Mills seemed like a minor footnote in the annals of Texans history, but he looked far more comfortable in his recent start against the Patriots. His future remains unclear, but he moves up a few spots to the top of the development tier. At best, he’s a player you should still value as an NFL backup, but there’s a slight chance he moves into a multi-year starting role.
Russell Wilson – Wilson remains a dynasty QB1, but his injury and the emergence of Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert warranted a shuffle. Either second-year quarterback is worth giving up Wilson for, particularly if you’re building for 2022 and beyond.
Jalen Hurts - Hurts has at least established that he is a good fantasy quarterback, most of the time. The Eagles were always going to struggle, especially behind the annual injury parade on the offensive line. Hurts has stood tall and played well, but winning is the only thing that will prevent the team from looking for his replacement next year. He moves up in my rankings, but his long-term forecast will depend on his performance over the last half of the season.
Daniel Jones - Jones has improved as a quarterback, both fantasy and reality. How patient are the Giants going to be by the end of the season if the team is still losing? Despite Jones looking better, concussion notwithstanding, he is not the finished product and held to ransom by the quality of his receivers. The next phase of the season will be vital for how patient New York will be with him. He gets a nice boost in rankings, and while he has the potential to be a starting fantasy quarterback long term, he could be Mitchell Trubisky in a heartbeat.
Davis Mills - Mills has had some good games and some absolute horrors, as one would expect from a third-round rookie quarterback. What makes his predicament interesting is what the Texans do with him once Tyron Taylor is fit. Do they continue to see what they have in Mills or do they let him sit and continue to learn? Mills gets a bump in rankings, purely because he hasn’t been incompetent.
Sam Darnold - I moved Darnold up to QB19. This season was to serve as a dress rehearsal to see if Darnold was a player Carolina could build around or just a one-year stop-gap until the Panthers could add a franchise passer. So far, Darnold has passed his test with flying colors and looks more and more likely to hold onto the starting job longer term. While the five rushing touchdowns in the first four weeks were fluky, it still served as a reminder that Darnold is not a statue and can add some fantasy value with his legs.
Ryan Tannehill - I dropped Tannehill a couple of spots to QB16. The Julio Jones trade looks like a bust and the entire passing offense is off to a slow start. He is in a weird no-man’s land in one-quarterback leagues. You do not feel good about having him as your starter now. Plus, it is hard to talk yourself into him being a strong starting option in the future given his age (33-years old) and the Titans offensive scheme.
Kenneth Gainwell - Gainwell has played himself into a nice role for the Eagles. He is unlikely to handle the full-time role if ever presented with the opportunity, but for fantasy managers, he could be a lifesaver as a depth option. Gainwell has been explosive and instinctive and while undersized, his touches count.
Trey Sermon/Elijah Mitchell - With both Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell active and available, Mitchell continues to be the preferred option. Disappointing for those who used a high pick on Sermon, and he has to be re-evaluated negatively moving forward. The 49ers do have a habit of needing lots of running backs so Sermon should get another chance down the road, but for how long? Mitchell should be ridden while he is the starter or moved at over the odds.
James Robinson - Robinson has now won over two sets of the coaching staff and who knows he may have to deal with a third sooner rather than later. He rises in rankings due to his consistent hard-nosed running on a team that has not won a game for over a year. At some stage, you have to stop undervaluing his performances
Alexander Mattison - While Dalvin Cook is one of the best backs in the NFL, he has an issue staying fit. He has missed a total of 11 games over the last three years with 2021 still warming up. That allows Alexander Mattison to consistently show his ability. Two times this year he has over 100 yards rushing and at some stage down the line will surely be a starting running back in the NFL. Patience is needed once Cook returns, but he has to be considered one of the best backups in the NFL
James Robinson- I moved Robinson up to RB15. Some of that is due to unimpressive play from some other young backs but the rise is also a reflection of just how well Robinson has been playing. Yes, Travis Etienne is lurking and could take a big chunk of the snaps away from Robinson. However, Robinson has shown enough that the lead role should be his unless Etienne really comes and takes it. Plus, worrying too much about future production from running backs is always so speculative anyway. Robinson is a borderline RB1 the rest of the season. He is only 23-years old.
Ezekiel Elliott - I moved Elliott back up to RB11. There was some concern on my part about the way he started the season and some fear he had lost a step. However, Elliott has looked fantastic the last two weeks, with back-to-back 110+ yard games. The Cowboys are rolling, which means Elliott should continue to have positive game scripts. Plus, while it seems Elliott has been around forever, he just turned 26-years old a few months ago.
Dalvin Cook - I dropped Cook to RB6. He is a great player in an extremely RB-friendly offense. However, he just can’t seem to stay healthy. This is a trend at this point. Plus, Alexander Mattison has looked great in relief, which makes you think maybe the Vikings will limit Cook’s touches a bit to try to keep him healthy knowing there is very little drop-off when Mattison comes into the game.
Samaje Perine – Perine vaults up the rankings, as Joe Mixon is battling injury again, and Perine looks entirely comfortable in the Bengals system. There are many outcomes where Perine becomes an NFL starter, either in Cincinnati or elsewhere.
Khalil Herbert – Herbert was one of Matt Waldman’s favorite rookie running backs in his Rookie Scouting Portfolio, and we caught a glimpse of why in the Bears game this week. With David Montgomery out for at least a few weeks, veteran Damien Williams as the No. 1 but rookie Herbert was heavily involved, too. Herbert has age on his side and projects as the more likely long-term answer in Chicago if Montgomery can’t return to form.
Cordarrelle Patterson – The Falcons seemed crazy to build the new rushing attack around Mike Davis and even crazier to pencil in converted receiver Cordarrelle Patterson as the No. 2. But Patterson has not only handled the running back position with aplomb, he’s also turned into the Bears' main big-play option.
Ty'Son Williams – Well, that was fun while it lasted. Hopes that Williams would follow in James Robinson’s footsteps and go from undrafted free agent to workhorse were quickly dashed. Despite averaging more than five yards per carry, the Ravens coaches saw something they didn’t like and have moved onto a series of veterans, including Latavius Murray. Williams was a healthy scratch last week, leaving it difficult to project long-term value.
D.J. Moore- Moore moves up to WR7 in my latest rankings update. He has a real connection with Sam Darnold and looks well on his way to a breakout season. Moore’s career-high for touchdown catches was four coming into this season. He scored three times through the first four weeks. He is on pace for 119 receptions and, while he is in his fourth season, is still just 24-years old.
Ja'Marr Chase- I took the plunge and moved Chase up to WR1 over Justin Jefferson. Jefferson does have the longer track record of production but Chase was the top guy at LSU when playing alongside Jefferson and is off to a historically great start (most fantasy points ever for a rookie through five weeks). Chase is also locked into catching passes from Joe Burrow while Jefferson faces more uncertainty.
Allen Robinson - I dropped Robinson all the way down to WR45. Maybe that is a slight overreaction but I’m not sure what to do with him. You cannot start him given what we have seen through the first five weeks, so he is a bench player in the short term. This summer, he turns 29-years old so it is not like you are getting a lot of long-term upside. His fall also coincides with the rise of some rookies and strong production from some players near his own age.
Allen Robinson – Robinson’s talent is unquestioned, but he’s unusable right now in Matt Nagy’s offense regardless of whether Andy Dalton or Justin Fields are under center. The Bears could be in line for a wholesale coaching overhaul, which may bring Robinson back to prominence in 2022. But the odds of his stringing together multiple years of every-week fantasy value are dimming.
JuJu Smith-Schuster – Smith-Schuster falls out of the Top 40 with his season-ending injury. He signed a one-year prove-it deal in hopes of earning a massive, long-term contract somewhere else in 2022. But given his injury, he’s more likely to sign with a team on another short-term, incentive-laden contract. While his talent and experience still point to a possible multi-year role as a quality starter on another team, the odds of a less-enticing outcome have risen considerably.
Julio Jones – Jones drops a tier and sits at WR30. He’s on the wrong side of 30 and is already missing time in Tennessee. History isn’t kind to elite receivers who change teams and start dealing with ever-increasing nagging injuries.
Kadarius Toney – Toney’s pedigree as a first-round draft pick argued for a higher dynasty ranking. Still, his off-field concerns and abnormal usage (mainly as a gimmick player) at Florida left many questions. His breakout game has to be acknowledged, which is why he’s moving up a tier, but keep in mind the breakout came with three other receivers hurt.
Cedrick Wilson – Wilson is the fifth or sixth option in Dallas behind CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup (when healthy), Dalton Schultz, and Ezekiel Elliott. But when Wilson does get opportunities, he looks the part. Wilson has a shot at landing on a new team as a starter in 2022, in which case you’ll be sorry you didn’t pounce at the discount price.
Mike Williams – At some point, we have to believe our eyes. Williams was a perennial disappointment, and an easy fantasy fade every year of his career, but there’s no denying he’s found a new lease on life in Joe Lombardi’s system. Justin Herbert is one of the three or four best young quarterbacks in the NFL, and Williams is outperforming Keenan Allen nearly every week.
JuJu Smith-Schuster - The nasty shoulder injury to JuJu Smith-Schuster will come at a difficult time for the young Steeler receiver. As an impending free agent, he will find himself in a strong free-agent class having to prove his fitness. As a dynasty option, he is an excellent buy-low option. Pittsburgh is likely to move on from him, but his talent and versatility will serve him well on a new team.
Kadarius Toney - The rookie receiver that the Giants deemed worthy of a first-round pick displayed why in difficult circumstances. He will be a popular player to discuss this week as his ejection also displayed the concerns surrounding his temperament. Will he mature and if so how quickly? His talent was dare I say it, reminiscent of Tyreek Hill in his rookie season. A definite riser for now.
Marquise Brown - Brown is finally on track to be worthy of the first-round pick the Baltimore Ravens spent on him in 2019. His numbers are through the roof to open the season, but Rashod Bateman will see the field soon. Brown is connecting well with Lamar Jackson in vital situations and moves considerably higher in rankings.
Tim Patrick - Patrick continues to put up solid fantasy numbers, with four performances in five weeks worthy of starting. Jerry Jeudy is expected to return soon, but there are enough balls for Patrick to continue to be useful. He may not be an every-week starter but provides excellent cover as the bye weeks commence. Patrick has earned some respect and moves up in rankings.
Albert Okwuegbunam – The tight end position is thinner than rice paper right now, and most players don’t have much if any, dynasty value. Okwuegbunam has raw athleticism and a high ceiling, but he’s hurt – again – and approaching a point in his career where teams may give up on him as a regular contributor.
Cole Kmet – Patience is essential in evaluating the tight end position, but whatever small kernels of the progress we need to feel good about a young tight end just aren’t materializing for Kmet.
Dawson Knox – What a difference a month makes. Knox was a forgettable prospect viewed as a placeholder until the Bills traded for or drafted the long-term starter. Now, he’s arguably the team’s second most crucial weapon in the passing game.
Kyle Pitts - Rookie tight ends traditionally struggle, that is a historical fact. Kyle Pitts is a total anomaly. He plays mainly as a wide receiver and the presence of Hayden Hurst and the departure of Julio Jones allows for that. Pitts was always considered as overvalued by me, but circumstances as they are, Pitts has to be near the very top of rankings
Dawson Knox - All the training camp and preseason talk in Buffalo centered on Dawson Knox struggling and his playing time threatened. Either it was subterfuge or Knox is one of those players that plays much better in real games than practice. He will be a starting fantasy tight end this season and at only 24 years of age, will be the security blanket of Josh Allen for years to come.
Maxx Williams - Originally a second-round pick in the 2015 draft, Maxx Williams drifted through the NFL with unrealized potential. That was until his promising start to the 2021 season. Unfortunately, destiny is not kind to Williams as a knee injury derails his season. Those with deep rosters, can consider stashing him for 2022 and beyond, especially if he remains with the Cardinals.
Dawson Knox - I moved Knox up to TE8, just behind Noah Fant and just ahead of Dallas Goedert. As much as any other position, tight end is about the potency of the pass offense and the strength of the connection with the quarterback. Both of those factors weigh heavily in Knox’s favor. The Bills offense is a juggernaut and Knox is becoming a big part of it.
Dalton Schultz - I moved Schultz up to TE18 and even that may be too low. The Cowboys have always run a TE-friendly offense and Schultz has clearly emerged as the lead guy ahead of Blake Jarwin. He is the highest-graded tight end in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. His excellent blocking ability will keep him on the field and he looks like he is one of Dak Prescott’s favorite targets.
If you would like to review our most recent Dynasty rankings, here is a link.