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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.
Baker Mayfield -Mayfield is a tough dynasty valuation. While I think he starts a good number of games going forward, his ceiling and being an "offensive elevator" is a major question mark. He feels like a low-end QB2 for premium formats but more ideally a QB3 on a good team.
Ben Roethlisberger - It was ambiguous earlier in the year if this would be Roethlisberger's final season. However, recent weeks point clearly to him being a wrung-out bar towel who may not survive the season, even with middling results in line with his season so far.
Mac Jones – Jones has been on the rise in dynasty rankings from the start of the season, performing at a level most rookie quarterbacks cannot reach. He seems to understand and have complete command of the offense, and the cerebral nature of his game has him ahead of the more physically talented quarterbacks drafted ahead of him. Jones is an up-and-coming player just scratching the surface.
Trevor Siemian – Siemian started hot a few weeks ago, filling in for injured quarterback Jameis Winston, but his play has cratered, and quarterback Taysom Hill is now starting for the Saints. Nothing is ever certain in the NFL (this year is a great example), but it is hard to see Siemian getting the starting job back without an injury. Even then, there is not much long-term upside with him as he looks like a backup only.
Trevor Lawrence - After being the most expensive rookie quarterback in recent dynasty history, Lawrence has been a disappointment in 2021 by almost any measure. Billed as a generational prospect who was “pro-ready” Lawrence ranks 33rd in points per drop back amongst 37 qualifiers, ahead of only Jacoby Brissett, Davis Mills, Mike White, and Zach Wilson. Lawrence has been a disappointment and should be a reminder that players are only insulated for as long as they are productive.
Derek Carr - I am generally not a proponent of big value moves at the quarterback position in season, but Derek Carr is worth moving up a tier in security at the position. With Carr’s contract guaranteeing no money after this season, there was concern about his security after 2021. However, given the production this year, I am convinced Carr will have a multiple-year window of starting security ahead of him with QB2-type production. This makes Carr a good secure asset in Superflex leagues.
Javonte Williams – Williams looks like a full-workload running back capable of doing damage as a traditional runner while also being under the radar as a pass-catcher. He is effective in pass protection which helps him stay on the field on third downs. Williams may share touches with running back Melvin Gordon this season, but Williams is too good in many ways to share the ball after his rookie season. He was a fantastic prospect coming out of North Carolina, and he has looked terrific as a rookie in 2021.
Dontrell Hilliard – Hilliard got his opportunity in the backfield with the injury to star running back Derrick Henry, and he has taken advantage in a big way. The Titans will need another runner to spell Henry as he ages, and Hilliard’s athletic profile makes him a very intriguing player to pair with Henry. Adding Hilliard makes sense for this season, but with more play like we have seen the past two weeks, he could work his way into a very favorable situation with the Titans into 2022 and beyond.
Alexander Mattison has been uber-productive when filling in for star running back Dalvin Cook when Cook misses time to injury. Cook is out again with a shoulder injury, and Mattison again gets his chance to prove what he can do as a full-time runner. Mattison has been an RB1 filling in for Cook, and I expect him to be very productive this time around. He is an unrestricted free agent in 2023, and while that makes him more of a long-term dynasty play, he will throw in production when given a chance, making him a valuable player going forward.
Christian McCaffrey - When you are thinking about dynasty strategy, McCaffrey should be a lesson we learn from. As a successive RB1 finisher in 2018 and 2019, including one of the most consequential seasons in fantasy football history in 2019, McCaffrey was locked in as the top non-quarterback in dynasty leagues in 2020. Since then, he has played a total of 10 games while averaging 21.8 points per game, but has not played a game in December. After Jonathan Taylor, Najee Harris, and DAndre Swift, there are no clean profiles at running back, and that 21.8 point per game potential as a median expectation is enticing entering his age 26 season, but McCaffrey fits in a bigger group of question marks than he did a week ago. He is a reminder that when you have a player with his level of elite production, you need to cash in for a championship because the window can be gone before you appreciate it.
Dalvin Cook - Dalvin Cook, like McCaffrey, has been a disappointment after being viewed by many as an elite running back in dynasty leagues as recently as August. As a cost comparison to McCaffrey, Cook has a worse resume and has averaged 16.5 points per game to date this season. At the time of this writing, the exact length the 26-year-old running back will miss due to the shoulder injury is unknown, but his trajectory is heading in the wrong direction on the value curve given his age and production.
Leonard Fournette - Leonard Fournette is in the midst of a top 5 season at the running back position, at 26-years-old. Fournette is averaging 17.9 points per game and has a better resume to date than Dalvin Cook. What will be interesting about his offseason valuation will be his contract. At present, Fournette is slated to be a free agent, and the extent of his guaranteed money and length of contract will be key to his dynasty value. If Fournette is given a multi-year contract with guaranteed money in the second year, his contract will have more security and longevity than Cook, which could make him a unique longevity buy at a discounted cost.
Elijah Mitchell - Mitchell has moved up in my dynasty player valuation system as he continues to control the 49ers' depth chart. I am still below market consensus, but warming to Mitchell as a starter beyond this season is a possibility. Also, each win by the 49ers increases the chances the coaching staff, which selected Mitchell, remains intact for 2022.
Christian McCaffrey - McCaffrey shifts down in value due to his season ending with an injury. I accelerate their age to Week 1 of the following season, which means McCaffrey will be 26.3 years old for his next meaningful game for dynasty teams. This also shifts McCaffrey behind Jonathan Taylor and in a contested zone of the position. Also, 26 years old firmly begins the market value decline zone for running backs, especially those returning from injury or not producing at an elite level.
Deebo Samuel - Dave, Victoria, and Troy discussed Deebo Samuel on the most recent Footballguys Mailbag Show, and their framing Samuel in the top 12 wide receiver discussion is appropriate. How you value Samuel is dependent on how you view the youth at the wide receiver position. Among the under 26 options at the position, Samuel is an explosive option who should be rising in value this offseason. Samuel is a non-traditional option at the position and has been used in a variety of different roles in his career, while always being productive.
Jerry Jeudy – Jerry Jeudy gives me a lot of pause at the wide receiver position. With a slow start to his career, Jeudy is now in a receiving corps that includes Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick on brand new extensions. With Noah Fant at the tight end position along with Javonte Williams in the backfield, there is major volume and upside Jeudy present outside of the addition of a certain Green Bay quarterback in the offseason. In year two without anything resembling a hit on his resume, Jeudy is on a bad track if looking for fantasy success.
Bryan Edwards - Bryan Edwards was a popular rookie pick based on a good college resume entering the NFL. Landing on day two of the draft behind Henry Ruggs, there was hope it would be Edwards instead of Ruggs that was the WR1 of the future in the Vegas offense. Now, without Ruggs, Edwards has disappointed, coming in as a WR6 on the season. Without a late-season breakout, Edwards should plummet further down draft boards in the offseason.
Jalen Reagor - For the record, I am one of the bigger fans of Reagor's prospect profile out there. However, two straight dud seasons have Reagor on the bust track with minimal wiggle room. If Reagor stays in Philadelphia, Devonta Smith likely limits Reagor's ceiling and if the Eagles move on from Reagor, that speaks to the bust track moniker.
T.Y. Hilton - In five active games this season, Hilton has more than 30 yards in just one of them. At 32 years old and passed by Michael Pittman in the pecking order, only name cache is keeping Hilton on the map. I am skeptical of even an Emmanuel Sanders type revival with a situation chance in the offseason as a best case.
Josh Reynolds – Reynolds was claimed by the Lions a few weeks ago, and he enters a very different situation in Detroit than he had in Tennessee. He was buried in Tennessee, clearly behind A.J. Brown and Julio Jones and more. He is the best wide receiver in Detroit and should get plenty of opportunity in the Lions offense. While there will be volatility in the Lions offense, there is enough quality to his game, and he could emerge as an essential player for the Lions. He caught a deep ball for a touchdown in Week 12 and has solid upside as we move into the back half of the 2021 season.
Curtis Samuel – Samuel was outstanding in Carolina in 2020, but injuries have kept him from playing many snaps for the Washington Football Team. The Panthers had to be creative to get him production, and the Football Team needs to do the same. He is a very explosive player, as a route runner and with the ball in his hands. Samuel’s breakout is coming, and he could be a sneaky addition late in the season.
Kendrick Bourne – Bourne is playing exceptionally well in New England, and he and rookie quarterback Mac Jones have an excellent rapport. While he is not blowing the doors down from a production standpoint, he consistently makes plays for the Patriots offense. Bourne has 25 targets and 20 catches over the past five weeks. He has registered 273 yards and three touchdowns over that span.
Noah Fant - The Broncos are loaded in surrounding weapons, resigning wide receivers slated for free agency, plus having Javonte Williams locked in and Albert Okwuegbunam has starter-level talent. Without an absolute stud addition at quarterback in the offseason, I am skeptical of Fant's probabilities for a higher-level TE1 ceiling.
Juwan Johnson - I am growing more skeptical of Johnson as the season progresses. Adam Trautman is out and has not helped Johnson yet, nor has a pedestrian wide receiver depth chart. Color me skeptical Taysom Hill under center aids Johnson's cause either. Johnson has 108 yards in nine active games where the lack of strong competition for targets is likely the best it will ever be for the positional convert.
Cole Kmet – Kmet has emerged and is one of the key pieces of the Bears offense. He is a very reliable weapon capable of using his short-area quickness and a big body to get open. Kmet has 33 targets over the past five games, and he has caught 23 passes for 231 yards in that five-game stretch. At 22 years old, he is an ascending player who will be valuable into 2022 and beyond.
Foster Moreau – Sometimes, all a player needs is a chance to prove himself. Moreau got that chance when starting tight end Darren Waller was hurt earlier in the season, and he delivered. He will get that chance again with Waller out with a knee injury in Week 13. Moreau is a talented player, but he is stuck behind Waller, which hurts his ability to be productive. If Moreau can produce with Waller out now, it will be huge for him when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
Mark Andrews - Mark Andrews leads the tight end position in the percentage of his team’s targets (22.9%) and his performance in yards per route run (1.99) is tied for third at the position. Andrews is also running routes the third-most routes at the tight end position on the season, a volume stat he has always lagged the leaders in the league. Andrews is an efficiency monster at the tight end position and should be at the top of the conversation for the next tight end off the board after Travis Kelce and Kyle Pitts.
Dallas Goedert - One of the big storylines at the tight end position heading into the offseason was going to be the contract extension of Dallas Goedert. Without an extension, there would be an air of uncertainty around his profile, but his extension this month confirms his performance and the commitment of Philadelphia in the future of the offense. Goedert will need to run more routes to reach a high-end upside, but this extension confirms his floor.
If you would like to review our most recent Dynasty rankings, here is a link.