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.
Justin Fields - Fields is far too young to write off, but he's looked terrible in place of Andy Dalton. While not every rookie is going to step into the huddle and perform like Justin Herbert, you have to twist yourself in knots to make a case Fields looks like a future difference-maker. It's likely Fields gets a new lease on life in 2022 under the watch of a new coach and play-caller, so he could skyrocket back up the ranks. But, for now, he's dropped back into the low-value replacement level tier.
Sam Darnold - I had high hopes Sam Darnold would flourish under Joe Brady's watchful eye after years of being beaten down under Adam Gase. That looked prescient for a few weeks but the former USC Trojan has turned back into a pumpkin. He was benched in favor of P.J. Walker this week and the Panthers are allegedly pushing for a DeShaun Watson trade. Regardless of what happens this year, Darnold's chances of being an above-average, multi-year NFL starter have taken a major hit.
Derek Carr - Derek Carr is perennially undervalued. Who else completes 70% of their passes with a solid touchdown rate and is viewed as a marginal replacement-level asset? The Raiders are playing exceptionally well, even after the Jon Gruden turmoil, and Carr is young enough to have many years of fantasy-caliber production ahead.
Mac Jones - Remember a few months ago when fantasy pundits were mocking the 49ers' rumored interest in Mac Jones? Hot takes often age out quickly, and that one looks foolhardy. While Jones isn't lighting up the box scores, he's showing accuracy, poise, and maturity as a rookie that projects into a long-term, above-average NFL starter. Unless you think Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels are no longer capable of fielding a fantasy-friendly system, Jones' arrow is pointing up and to the right.
Sam Darnold - The season started with such promise, but Darnold currently looks like he did under Adam Gase. He can still be a good starting quarterback in this league, but he needs to deliver, and soon. A career as a backup would be such a waste. He cannot be started with trust and takes a significant drop in rankings
Joe Burrow - All the preseason talk surrounding Burrow was relatively negative. Maybe it was justified at the time, but few quarterbacks are playing better than the second-year Bengal. The offense is young and the combination with his star receiver Ja'Marr Chase is off the charts.
Deshaun Watson - Whether Deshaun Watson gets traded before the deadline remains to be seen. Several teams want him, but it’s not just your normal trade arrangement. Even if he gets traded, how football-ready is he? The Texans were hardly a good side in 2020, but if he gets traded is it that much better? Making a move for Watson now depends on your tolerance for risk.
Jalen Hurts - I dropped Hurts to QB17 because with every loss, it feels a little bit less likely that Hurts is the Eagles starter in 2022. While he is certainly not solely responsible for the Eagles 2-5 record, quarterbacks tend to be judged by wins and losses much more than any other position. Plus, the Eagles are now trending towards having three very early first-round picks this spring.
Sam Darnold- He falls to QB28 in my rankings. After an outstanding start, the last few games have seen Darnold play like the same guy who the Jets gave up on. While Miami remains the favorite for Deshaun Watson, the Panthers are also rumored to be interested and that scenario seems much more realistic now than it did a few weeks ago.
Carson Wentz- This is a small move but I bumped Wentz up four spots to QB22. He has not been perfect but has kept the Colts competitive despite a slew of injuries. This is also about readjusting the odds that guys hang onto their starting jobs for next season and I am now more confident in Wentz to do so than Darnold.
D'Ernest Johnson - We are moving through the running back depth charts in some circumstances. Some guys are going to get the opportunity for more playing time in their current location or look good to their next team. Johnson did every little thing possible to get more snaps and to be fantasy useful with them.
Kenyan Drake - The departure of Jon Gruden and Josh Jacobs being banged up is allowing Kenyan Drake to earn his free-agent money. Hopefully, we do not see anymore Peyton Barber surprises, but Drake finally is getting the use expected. It’s a long season so if you can get him now, do so.
Khalil Herbert - Khalil Herbert has now had three consecutive games of 18 carries or more and in the latest against the Buccaneers, he added five receptions and a touchdown. With David Montgomery out for at least two more games, Herbert has leapfrogged Damien Williams on the depth chart. Herbert is a good add for long-term potential on deeper squads. Gets a big rise in rankings
D'Andre Swift- Swift moved up three spots to RB5 in my rankings. He has long been a favorite of mine due to his receiving upside and we are seeing him achieve the higher end of his range of outcomes as a pass-catcher. In fact, Swift is the Lions' top receiver and top rusher. As we near the halfway point of the season, Swift is the RB2 in PPR behind only Derrick Henry.
Cordarrelle Patterson- The rise of Patterson has been one of the most surprising storylines of the 2021 season. He is the RB7 in PPR. We are also seeing more signs that he may actually be able to sustain this elite production the rest of the season. In Week 7, he received 14 carries to only 4 for Mike Davis. If Patterson continues to see 10-plus carries in addition to the 5-plus targets he has been getting, he is going to be a player everyone wants to have in their lineups the rest of this season.
Chris Carson- I’ve dropped Carson all the way down to RB43. There seem to be more questions than answers in terms of his neck injury and when he might be able to return. While I love Carson’s game, he has had a hard time staying healthy even before this injury. Adding neck issues into the equation is a scary proposition at any position but especially for a running back.
D'Ernest Johnson - Johnson was outside my Top 100, and behind Demetric Felton. That was clearly a mistake, and Johnson's stellar performance in place of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt warrants a significant move. He's still behind two excellent tailbacks who are still in their primes, so don't push Johnson up too far. He's still a high-upside, developmental prospect who needs a lot of help to be fantasy-relevant on a weekly basis.
Leonard Fournette - What more does Fournette have to do? The running back pool dries up quickly, particularly using a multi-year dynasty lens. You would be hard-pressed to credibly find more than two dozen tailbacks with better multi-year outlooks. Fournette has not only shed the Buccaneers' planned three-headed committee, but he's also looking dynamic in every facet of the game. He's running hard inside, breaking tackles, catching passes, blocking well, and converting at the goal line.
Darrell Henderson - I was wrong. I believe Henderson couldn't handle a starting role, and that the Rams' decision to acquire Sony Michel indicated the coaches also saw Henderson as nothing more than a committee option. While his durability remains a concern, in a tissue-paper thin running back group, Henderson has been a high-value fantasy starter. Cam Akers has a long road ahead recovering from a torn Achilles, which leaves Henderson open to a multi-year, top-20 run on a solid offensive team that won't give up on the run in most game scripts.
Mike Davis - Cordarrelle Patterson is a converted wide receiver on the wrong side of 30 years old, yet he's handily outplayed Davis in every facet of the game. Many of us wondered how head coach Arthur Smith could be comfortable with Davis as the lead back, and in retrospect, it's clear he never was comfortable with him. Davis is more likely to spend a few more years as a low-value No. 2 than find a third lease on life.
Trey Sermon - The vision, balance, and power Sermon showed in college haven't evaporated. But it's hard to feel good about his situation given the 49ers' desire to use just about anyone else on the roster over him in high leverage situations. If the 49ers streamline the roster in 2022 and Sermon projects as a starter, then all bets are off. But the early returns are damning.
Jaylen Waddle- He moves up to my WR10. One of my strongest beliefs in fantasy is that it is best to get trade value for wide receivers in the tail end of their primes to start reloading with elite young draft prospects. A player like DeAndre Hopkins is still very productive and he is outscoring Waddle by about two fantasy points per game. However, that gap has closed significantly in recent weeks and Waddle is more than six years younger. That age gap and the upside we have seen from Waddle has led me to bump him up past a number of older veterans like Hopkins, Calvin Ridley, Mike Williams, and Amari Cooper.
Tyler Lockett- As noted when discussing Waddle, my lean is always towards trading a wide receiver a year early versus a year late. Lockett is at that age (29-years old) where the risk levels start to rise that his production falls off of a cliff. I’ve dropped him to WR32. The next time he has a big game, he is a player I will be looking to trade away where I still have him.
Henry Ruggs III- Ruggs moves up to my WR31. If he keeps producing, he has the potential to move up even more. He is on pace for 1,139 receiving yards this season at the age of 22. The most intriguing thing is that Ruggs is still nowhere near a finished product. There is still a chance he levels up his game again and becomes one of the league’s better young wide receivers.
Marquise Brown - You would think Marquise "Hollywood" Brown was a bust based on the way the fantasy community values him. Use that misbegotten opinion to your advantage while you can. While his three-drop game early in the season looms large in the collective consciousness, it's worth noting Brown is currently on pace for 90 receptions, 1,375 yards, and 14 touchdowns. He's only 24 years old, has three years of experience, and should have the same quarterback for most of his career. What's not to like?
Ja'Marr Chase - Unless you have Davante Adams, you should be willing to trade away any wide receiver for Chase at this point. The rookie has been historically great through seven weeks, setting an NFL record for yards in the process. Chase has been dominant in any game script and is paired with a young quarterback (who he played with in college, too) that looks like a multi-year Pro Bowler in his own right.
Cooper Kupp - Kupp was already a top-12 dynasty receiver, but his weekly dominance with Matthew Stafford argues for a move into the next near-elite tier. Kupp is young enough to project multiple years of high-level production, particularly if Stafford stays healthy.
Deebo Samuel - Samuel moves up, but is not quite into the Top 20 because of the questions I have about the 49ers quarterback situation. If Trey Lance is an effective multi-year starter, Samuel hasn't yet reached his ceiling. But if the 49ers commit to Lance in 2022 and he isn't up to the task, Samuel could be hamstrung in his prime seasons.
Odell Beckham Jr - It's time to pull the ripcord. Beckham is so far removed from his All-Pro caliber performances that we have to start asking if he'll ever return to form. With Baker Mayfield hurt and the Browns facing a pivotal contract decision with their quarterback, it's unclear whether Beckham will be playing with a good quarterback or in a friendly offense in 2022 and beyond. He could end up on another team desperate for a lottery ticket, and yet we've seen nothing lately to suggest Beckham is trending back toward excellence.
Calvin Ridley - It's only a three-spot downgrade, but it's time to think of Ridley as an attractive WR2 in dynasty parlance versus the potential top-5 WR1 we projected before the season began. Matt Ryan's future in Atlanta is unclear, and in the meantime, Kyle Pitts appears to have quickly overtaken Ridley as the focal point of the passing game.
Allen Robinson - Robinson has the talent to be an every-week fantasy star for years to come. But his situation is untenable, and with Justin Fields looking bad in the early going, it's entirely possible Robinson will be stuck as a glorified decoy for the next few seasons. And before we know it, he'll be past his prime and hoping to latch onto a contender as a complementary option.
Brandon Aiyuk - Brandon Aiyuk had a highly promising rookie season and much was expected heading into 2021. What has happened is astounding. There has got to be an underlying reason why he has lost the trust of the coaching staff and bis quarterback. He has to drop noticeably in rankings, but the hope is there is a decent explanation for the mystifying drop in form.
Odell Beckham Jr - Odell Beckham Jr and Cleveland do not appear to be working out for the team and the fantasy managers relying on him. It is unlikely we see a return to the Beckham we saw with the Giants until he finds a new destination. Until then he drops in rankings. He will be 29 entering 2022 so maybe the star shined bright for a short while only.
Dante Pettis - Dante Pettis had a highly promising rookie season with the 49ers in 2018. A knee injury derailed his career significantly. With back-to-back five reception games and an opening on the depth chart with several injuries to the starters, Pettis could be a nice move to make on the deeper rosters. He is still only 26 and was a second-round draft pick.
Ja'Marr Chase - At this stage, Ja'Marr Chase has to move to the top of dynasty rankings or if not number one, right up there. With a 17 game season, he is not only on pace to smash rookie records, but he can also threaten long-standing wide receiver numbers. In his rookie season. Everything is in place for this to be a long-term situation with a young side playing well, with stability and promise.
Kalif Raymond - Who predicted the number one wide receiver in Detroit would be Kalif Raymond? At the start of the season, his best prediction was fourth on the depth chart. This isn’t likely to be a long-term proposition, but 2021 still has 10 weeks to run. Who knows after that? He has to get ranked higher for now, with Flex upside.
Zach Ertz - The veteran star got a new lease on life by landing with the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. Arizona has too many weapons to expect Ertz to push for 80+ receptions, which was his baseline during his prime years in Philadelphia. But as we saw in his first start with the Cardinals, Kyler Murray is going to provide him downfield scoring opportunities at a rate he's never seen before.
C.J. Uzomah - Uzomah is no longer a well-kept secret after his breakout in the first two months of the season. With Joe Burrow looking sharp, the Bengals have a chance for a multi-year window of offensive excellence. Uzomah will be a part of that process. While his weekly volatility is undeniable, the same can be said for nearly every NFL tight end these days.
Hunter Henry - Just when I think I'm out, they keep pulling me back in. Hunter Henry has scored in four consecutive games, while Jonnu Smith got hurt and wasn't playing as well beforehand. With Mac Jones starting to roll, and clearly building chemistry with Henry, it's time to start thinking about Henry as a multi-year Top-12 option in all scoring formats.
Jonnu Smith - The yin to Henry's yang, Smith has looked lethargic and pedestrian despite a heavy snap count. It's hard to imagine Smith morphing into a fantasy dynamo unless Henry gets hurt, which is certainly possible. Until Henry is out of the picture, Smith's fantasy value is marginal, at best.
Robert Tonyan Jr - Aaron Rodgers remains in MVP form, but Robert Tonyan Jr has reverted back into a game-specific matchup play. Last year's touchdown barrage was statistically unrepeatable, and without the touchdowns, Tonyan is just another guy.
Logan Thomas - Thomas drops mainly because of Washington's uncertain offensive situation. It's not clear the team has its 2022 starting quarterback on the roster yet, which raises the question of everyone's role on offense beyond 2021.
C.J. Uzomah - Every year we see tight ends who have poked their heads through the curtains in previous years become the star attraction after several low-producing fantasy seasons. C.J. Uzomah is having a great four-game stretch with five touchdowns. He will still be on some waiver wires, so grab him while you can. The position has no depth for fantasy managers so every player producing needs to be taken.
Ricky Seals-Jones - Thirty-year-old Logan Thomas is still struggling to get over a hamstring injury. This has opened the door for Ricky Seals-Jones who has moved from team to team on his NFL journey. Right place, right time in Washington, and at age 26, this could be his chance to grab a regular role. What happens when Thomas returns is the interesting part of all this. Could Seals-Jones usurp the role?
C.J. Uzomah- I have been fairly aggressive with my rankings of Uzomah this season and he continues to move up my list. Two weeks ago he was TE19. This week, he moves up to TE14. The 28-year old has shown a serious connection with Joe Burrow and has become one of the go-to veteran leaders in an otherwise young Bengals offense. The former college wide receiver has always shown receiving upside and seems to be reaching his full potential in what looks like it will be a mid-career breakout season. Uzomah is the TE11 and is tied with Dawson Knox for the most touchdowns by a tight end (five).
Mike Gesicki- I’ve bumped Gesicki up three spots from TE10 to TE7. He ranks fourth amongst all tight ends with 427 receiving yards and has been especially productive with Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. Since Tagovailoa returned in Week 6, Gesicki has been the top tight end in the NFL with 15 catches for 200 yards and a touchdown. He is a freaky athlete and we could see him continue to develop into a major mismatch for the Dolphins.
If you would like to review our most recent Dynasty rankings, here is a link.