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.
Gardner Minshew - Regardless of whether wins are a quarterback stat or not, winning certainly helps. Especially for backups having to come in and keep a team in playoff contention. Gardner Minshew had a very good statistical start to his Eagle career and with more opportunities could play himself into contention elsewhere, especially if the rookie class coming in is uninspiring. Minshew gets a good bounce in rankings.
Russell Wilson - It seems certain that either Russell Wilson or Pete Carroll, maybe both, are somewhere else next year. Wilson in particular doesn’t look the same player. Either the finger injury is still causing problems, the offensive scheme isn’t working or Wilson is just making poor decisions. This is despite his better game against the 49ers. He has to drop in rankings until his 2022:destination is clear
Lamar Jackson- After the last two weeks, I moved Justin Herbert up to QB4 ahead of Jackson, who fell one spot to QB5. Herbert has had a pair of strong games but this was more about the recent struggles of Jackson. Over the last three games, he has averaged just 219 passing yards per game with three touchdowns against six interceptions. The Ravens have been held under 20 points in three straight games.
Carson Wentz- There is a tier of quarterbacks that are either older (Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers), younger but with questionable longer-term outlooks (Zach Wilson, Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, and Daniel Jones), or mid-career but with middling fantasy projections (Kirk Cousins, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson, and Wentz). Wentz is still firmly in that mid-tier but has at least moved up near the top of the group. The Colts are 6-2 in their last eight and have found a formula that works, similar to how Tennessee was winning games before injuries struck. Wentz is playing well enough that he looks to be locking down the starting job for the next few years and is now one of the better bets in this tier to still be a starter three or four years down the line.
Tony Pollard - Tony Pollard continues to play himself into more snaps. Ezekiel Elliott being banged certainly helps there, but Pollard looks explosive and his big-play potential is a great complement to Elliott’s beat them down by attrition role. The only problem with Pollard is you don’t know when he will have a great game. They are becoming more frequent of late though. A riser in rankings.
Leonard Fournette - After starting the year projected to split time with Ronald Jones II, Leonard Fournette has matured into a strong fantasy option for this year and beyond. A popular fantasy punching bag due to the high expectations of being a top-five pick for Jacksonville. He clashed with coaches and lacked the maturity he has now. In the right situation, there is no reason he cannot continue to be a top 12 running back for the next few years.
Cordarrelle Patterson - With over 100 rushing attempts and less than 50 receptions it is surprising to see Cordarrelle Patterson still listed as a wide receiver in a lot of leagues. That is likely to change for 2022, but what will he be next year? Apart from turning 31 who knows if the Falcons keep him around or if he joins yet another new team. It seems a travesty that no coach was able to unlock his obvious skillset until Arthur Smith, but time may be running out. Sell if you can.
Sony Michel - This is the time of year where first of all backup running backs get their chance to shine and to second play themselves into roles for 2022. Michel has the pedigree of being a first-round running back and has life if given the opportunity. I don’t think he will attract big money offers, but if he is smart he will join a side that can run the ball and isn’t going to draft a back in the early rounds. Worth tucking away for 2022 or if Darrell Henderson struggles with fitness, a fantasy playoff option.
Joe Mixon- While he has benefitted from injuries to other star backs, Mixon has also played his way into my top five ranking amongst all dynasty running backs. He has scored in nine straight games and has been a true workhorse for an improving Bengals offense. Mixon is still just 25-years old.
Javonte Williams- I have moved Williams up to RB9. With most of the running backs from the rookie class of 2017 sidelined with injuries, it is yet another reminder of how large a premium we should place on youth at the position. Williams will not turn 22-years old until April, making him by far the youngest of the top tier of backs. If he finishes this season off on a hot streak and Melvin Gordon III moves on in free agency, we could be talking about Williams as a first-round dynasty startup pick this offseason. He certainly passes the eye test.
Leonard Fournette- While most of the class of 2017 backs have been struggling through injuries, Fournette has risen from the ashes to become a high-end fantasy RB1 for the stretch run of the season. We have seen flashes of this impressive mix of power running and soft hands out of the backfield from him in the past but he seems to be putting it all together in a new way over the past month.
Darrell Henderson- Henderson falls to RB23. It is not just that he is banged up again but that some of the recent comments from Rams coaches indicated some true dissatisfaction with Henderson’s play and how his lack of down-to-down consistency was hurting the offense. Sony Michel ran for 121 yards in place of Henderson last week and it is worth wondering if that may have the coaching staff considering whether a change at RB1 is needed.
Jaylen Waddle- He moves up to WR6 from WR12 two weeks ago after putting up 18 catches for 227 yards and a touchdown in the last two games. It is worth noting that I value WR6 through WR14 very similarly in terms of trade value so the ranking may be less important than the tier in this case. The argument for Waddle as a dynasty WR1 is simply based upon age and production. While he is less proven than DK Metcalf and A.J. Brown, he is healthier (in Brown’s case) and is outproducing both. I will also lean Waddle over veterans like Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs, who are slowly approaching that age cliff we have seen Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and others fall off of as they approach 30-years old. Waddle is like a super-charged Jarvis Landry and is playing a similar role to what a young Landry did in the Dolphins offense. Waddle’s career yards per catch (18.9)in college was almost twice his current NFL YPC, so there may be more big plays in his future on top of the massive slot volume. Waddle is on pace for 112 receptions in his rookie year.
Diontae Johnson- He moves up into the WR1 ranks for the first time at WR11. He just produces week-after-week and is a player who you feel fantastic about having in your starting lineup. Johnson has had double-digit targets in 9-of-11 games this season and is averaging 6.9 receptions per game. At just 25-years old, he is just entering his prime.
Tee Higgins- He moves up six spots from two weeks ago to WR14 on the strength of back-to-back big games (6-114-1 vs. the Steelers and 9-138-1 against the Chargers). Mike Tomlin noted before his team faced off against the Bengals that teams had adjusted and were going to give extra safety attention to Ja'Marr Chase. The Bengals have shown they have an answer to this adjustment, which is mercilessly targeting whoever is left to deal with Tee Higgins one-on-one. At just 22-years old, Higgins is going to be the long-term 1B in the Bengals offense opposite of Chase and has proven capable of being the go-to guy if teams overcompensate for Chase’s hot start.
Hunter Renfrow - With the tumultuous season for the Raiders, Hunter Renfrow has emerged as more than just “third and Renfrow”. Back to back, eight reception and a hundred-plus yard games put Renfrow in the frame as a fantasy playoff option for 2021 and who knows what in 2022. The concern is what happens to the team in the offseason, but any new coach would be a fool to overlook the impact he has on this offense. Big jump in rankings.
Laviska Shenault Jr - Laviska Shenault Jr started the season with promise, but like most things in Jacksonville, everyone is just trying to forget this season and look ahead. What happens for the Jaguars in the offseason? Who knows? Shenault can be an impact player in this league, but he also needs luck and opportunity. He moves down as the future looks clouded. Maybe clearer weather in 2022 helps see which direction his future is heading.
Chase Claypool - This season hasn’t gone according to plan for Chase Claypool. With the team likely to lose Ben Roethlisberger, as well as receivers James Washington and JuJu Smith-Schuster in the offseason, Claypool should figure strongly in the Steelers' plans for 2022. Every game there are about two targets where Roethlisberger is missing Claypool by inches. Last year they were big plays. I certainly would be trying to land the second-year man from a worried manager. He still has elite potential.
John Bates - The injury-troubled season for Logan Thomas has fast-tracked the progress of fourth-round rookie John Bates. A season-high four targets come as Washington tries to make a playoff push. I do not expect Bates to be fantasy-ready for a couple of years, but if your league allows you to develop or hold players or you have deep rosters, he will pay off maybe sooner than I expected.
Tyler Conklin - Tyler Conklin is having a nice fantasy season. When Irv Smith went down after Kyle Rudolph left in the offseason, Minnesota was expected to move away from the Tight End position. Conklin has been developed well though and depending on his 2022 location, he could be considered a good depth option moving forward.
Rob Gronkowski- In the two games since my update two weeks ago, Gronkowski had 11 catches for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns. In a year where standout tight end production is extremely hard to come by, Gronkowski is a Top 5 option the rest of the way. While his longer-term outlook is still cloudy, the short-term production has plenty of value and makes Gronkowski a dynasty TE1 (TE12) in my rankings for the first time in a couple of years.
Gerald Everett- There was little notable movement in my tight end rankings but I did bump Everett up a half dozen spots to TE22. He has averaged 6.8 targets per game over the past four weeks. While his production has not been anything to write home about, at least he is getting some opportunities.
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