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.
Sam Darnold - Darnold was hot over the opening month of the season. A big reason was his regression-worthy five rushing scores on just 52 yards. In the past two weeks, the passing defenses have stiffened, Darnold's rushing scores disappeared, and his stats have resembled that of his Jets' days. Darnold is in Year 4, a fantasy wasteland for an initial top-12 breakout season. Darnold is already up to nine turnovers and at high risk of losing his starting opportunity beyond 2022 if things do not turn around over the rest of the season.
Daniel Jones - The Giants are a crumbling offense with a drove of injuries. Jones was already a rushing-centric appeal, but four passing touchdowns and six turnovers through six weeks are numbers of a candidate to lose his grip on the starting job if the Giants have other options in the offseason. There's a perfect storm possibility the supporting case all get healthy by later in the season, one solace for Jones to turn around his fading profile.
Mac Jones – Jones is a very intriguing prospect, but he is not flashy and might take a little longer to develop fully than the other quarterbacks drafted in Round 1 of the 2021 NFL draft. While he is not going to blow anyone away with his physical tools, he seems to process things well, which has been on display early in his rookie campaign. Jones has played well and is a promising player with excellent long-term upside.
Tua Tagovailoa – Tagovailoa has had a volatile start to his career with the Dolphins as it appears the Dolphins do not fully trust him yet. That was the case last year when the Dolphins would pull him for long-time veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tagovailoa broke ribs in Week 2 and returned last week. He looked particularly sharp (outside the interception), throwing for 329 yards and completing 70 percent of his attempts. He also threw two touchdown passes to rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Tagovailoa is very talented, and he will be very productive as long as he continues to develop.
Josh Allen - Allen is playing amongst the elite at the positions for a second straight season. Quarterback is a position that is better to miss a year late on a breakout than invest too early in the position. Allen’s 2020 looked like sustainable progress from Allen, but the consequences of investing early and being wrong are costly. The beginning of the 2021 season is encouraging that Allen is truly one of the elites at the position and warrants a top 5 pick in Superflex Startup Drafts.
Kyler Murray - Murray, like Josh Allen, has padded his resume early in the season to warrant elite consideration in the top half of Superflex Startup Drafts. Murray took a step forward from his rookie to second season before taking a major leap in year three, including an 8.9 yards per attempt, and top 5 starter through six weeks. Murray’s advanced metrics confirm this growth and if Murray continues at this level, he will be an elite asset in dynasty leagues in 2022 and beyond.
Rhamondre Stevenson – Stevenson is an exciting player as he is a huge man, but he has light feet and is elusive for such a big player. He is adept at catching the ball out of the backfield, and anyone paying attention to New England over the past several years understands the value of the pass-catching role here. He is behind starting running back Damien Harris, but he can carve out a role and provide steady production as a backup.
Michael Carter II – Carter was one of the most explosive runners in the 2021 NFL draft class, and he landed in a good spot with the rebuilding New York Jets. Yes, Carter is in a timeshare, but he has assumed the lead back role with the Jets as he is easily the most talented runner on the team. Carter is coming off the Week 6 bye, could emerge over the next month, and the time to get him is now.
Khalil Herbert – Herbert was a sixth-round selection by the Bears in the 2021 NFL draft, and he was a bit of an afterthought behind running backs David Montgomery and Damien Williams. Herbert split carries with Williams in Week 5 and got the start with Montgomery and Williams out in Week 6. He played exceptionally well, showing his potential to be a full workload runner. A gamble on Herbert could pay significant dividends with Montgomery set to be a free agent after the 2022 season and Williams on a one-year deal.
Jonathan Taylor - At 22 years old, Taylor is younger than rookie Najee Harris, with a hit on his resume and is currently a top 6 running back. Taylor is averaging 18.9 points per game and ranks in the top 8 of the position in receiving yards. With injuries to Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey, who are both multiple years older than Taylor, Taylor has one of the best claims to the RB1 mantle in dynasty fantasy football.
Antonio Gibson - Entering his second season, there was hope Antonio Gibson would be a difference-making receiving at the running back position. A college wide receiver, Gibson has become a bell-cow running back but has failed to capture the receiving role from J.D. McKissic. Without an elite receiving ceiling, Gibson is more in the RB2 range of the position than an elite finisher. When that is the case and the price is still an RB1, the profile is a sell in dynasty fantasy football.
Darrell Henderson - Henderson is averaging over 18 points per game, and ranks amongst the elites are the running back position in expected points. Henderson’s career arc has been a roller coaster, but he has seized the opportunity after Cam Akers tore his Achilles during the summer. Henderson may have to compete with Akers in 2022 but should come at the competition with the benefit of incumbency against Akers who is returning from an injury running backs have historically struggled to return.
Antonio Gibson - I am skeptical Gibson makes it through the season managing his workload and a stress fracture in his shin. Week 6 was a disappointment to see him limp off the field on multiple occasions. Gibson is an ideal player to shop for pivots this week specifically as once he hits a short-term (or season-ending) IR stint, his trading liquidity will be gone for a while.
Javonte Williams - Williams is the fantasy assassin in waiting this season at the running back position. He is in a firm split with Melvin Gordon III, but once he is unleashed, either with a Gordon injury or trade or moving on in the offseason, Williams will be a breakout candidate. Williams is simmering and impressing with his touches. At a minimum in 2022, Williams will be one of the trendy picks for a huge production uptick.
Ja'Marr Chase - Through six weeks, Ja'Marr Chase ranks in the top five in receiving yards amongst all wide receivers. That is a good way to vault yourself up the board in the wide receiver rankings. The wide receiver position can be difficult to adjust to in the NFL, so the fact Chase has shown well so early is a good sign of development. If he continues on this track, he will have the best case for a young wide receiver behind Justin Jefferson.
Rondale Moore - Moore has shown he can play in an ancillary role and should move up the position, but caution is still warranted. Moore is playing the fourth-most snaps of the wide receivers in the offense, and is targeted at a high rate when running routes, but at one of the lowest aDOTs in the league. This all spells schemed usage. This is nice, but you need to create for yourself to be a true difference-making dynasty asset in the coming years. A.J. Green and Christian Kirk are both free agents in the offseason, with Moore a potential beneficiary if either or both leave in free agency.
Calvin Ridley - Ridley has struggled to establish himself as the top option in the Atlanta offense after Julio Jones was traded in the offseason. Ridley stayed behind on Atlanta’s trip to London to attend to a personal matter but has returned to practice after the bye. There is plenty of opportunity for Ridley to breakout on high volume as Atlanta grows in the Arthur Smith offense in 2021.
Marquise Brown - Brown's recent dip in market share aligns with Rashod Bateman's debut, which is a concerning connection if heavily invested in Brown, who had an elite market over the first three weeks of the season. This is without Sammy Watkins back from injury yet as well. Brown would be on my shortlist to explore selling this week before the sample size of Bateman in the mix grows.
Terrace Marshall Jr - I expect a new quarterback for Carolina in the offseason, plus Carolina to be a desirable destination for any veterans available. Robby Anderson has underwhelmed on his targets. Marshall is a sleeping giant with his Round 2 draft pedigree and elite metric profile. Whether later in 2021 or 2022, Marshall and D.J. Moore should be running mates as one of the better wide receiver tandems in the NFL soon.
Amon-Ra St. Brown – St. Brown moves up the rankings here because the Lions receiving corps is significantly depleted, and he should have no issues seeing enough volume as he gets his feet wet during his rookie season. St. Brown looks like a future high-volume slot receiver, but that volume is coming now with the Lions in heavy passing situations due to game scripts. St. Brown has been targeted 23 times, catching 18 passes for 161 yards over the past three weeks. It is not out of the realm to see St. Brown continue to see this kind of volume now and into the future.
Darnell Mooney – Mooney is developing excellent rapport with starting quarterback Justin Fields. The 23-year-old Mooney is an attractive option as he is both quick and fast, and if Fields is looking for him, it means big things. The Bears are not throwing the ball a lot right now, but when they do, it is Mooney leading the team in targets.
Parris Campbell – Campbell’s NFL career has been incredibly disappointing as he cannot stay healthy. He is very talented and has the potential to be very productive in the Colts offense. However, he has missed so much time that it is hard to continue to hold him on a roster. The latest is what is being called a severe foot injury suffered in Week 6 (after scoring on a 51-yard catch), and it sounds as if he is headed to IR and might suffer his third season-ending injury in as many seasons.
Robert Tonyan Jr - Tonyan was a screaming touchdown regression candidate for 2021 after his lower-volume 2020 breakout season. However, even the most bearish expectations would not have projected this through six games: 15 yards-per-game and a single touchdown. Tonyan has turned into a fantasy ghost over one offseason and, despite being a fantasy darling last season, is close to a dynasty cut in some formats six weeks into the season.
Eric Ebron - I hope out hope for the long-term profile of Ebron beyond 2021 at still 28 years old. However, Ebron has been passed by rookie Pat Freiermuth on the same Pittsburgh depth chart and has the look of a roster albatross for the rest of this season. Ebron enters a bye this week, making his roster spot more at risk in shallow to moderate leagues.
Ricky Seals-Jones – Seals-Jones is a wide receiver convert playing tight end in Washington. He brings an excellent combination of size and athleticism to the position, and he is seeing a healthy amount of volume replacing starting tight end Logan Thomas. He has seen 15 targets over the past two games, catching nine passes for 99 yards and a score over that span. Seals-Jones could play himself into a payday as he is a free agent after the 2021 season.
Dan Arnold – Arnold was traded from the Carolina Panthers to the Jacksonville Jaguars before the Jaguars Week 4 game versus the Cincinnati Bengals. He was quiet in his first game in Jacksonville, but in the two games since, he has seen 13 targets, catching eight balls for 91 yards. He is a part of the Jaguars passing attack, and at the age of 26, he has enough tread on his tires to be relevant in dynasty formats.
Mark Andrews - Andrews has been dominant in recent weeks, including a primetime Week 5 performance. Andrews is one of Lamar Jackson’s premier pass-catching weapons and is at the top of the position in receiving yards through six weeks. Andrews is consistently one of the most efficient tight ends in the league, so he has a very sturdy floor and his fantasy ceiling will be dictated by how frequently the Ravens throw the ball.
Dallas Goedert - Goedert gets the opportunity to be a TE1 in the Philadelphia offense after Zach Ertz was traded to the Arizona Cardinals. Like Andrews, Goedert has been one of the more efficient tight ends in the league through his career, but on lower volume. Without Ertz, Goedert should return from the COVID-19 list with an opportunity to expand his volume and earn a lucrative contract extension with the Eagles before he hits free agency in the offseason.
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