Week three continues to round out the picture of the NFL season. The class of 2021 saw an influx of young quarterback talent now headed in different directions, painting the dynasty landscape in Superflex leagues for years to come. Three weeks give clarity to wide receiver pecking orders and running back committees. Weekly the Footballguys staff will share their thoughts on the dynasty ranking movement and answer a critical question you may face.
Trey Lance - San Francisco
A season-ending injury completely changes Lance's dynasty trajectory. Widely considered a high-upside dynasty asset a few weeks ago, he now slots down at QB32, and that's only in deference to the massive draft capital San Francisco invested in acquiring him. But if the 49ers make a playoff push this year again with Jimmy Garoppolo, we can't be sure Lance will ever get a chance to be the franchise's starter. And even if he is given another opportunity in 2023, how much do we really know about him? The 49ers' decision to keep Garoppolo this year already had my hackles up.
Trevor Lawrence - Jacksonville
I penned a player spotlight article a few months ago examining Lawrence's historically bad rookie season and highlighting how damning that kind of Year One is for dynasty value. But Lawrence's pedigree was his one viable out (to break from the strong historical context working against him), and after three weeks, I'm confident in saying I was wrong to be worried. He looks more like the 1st overall pick under Doug Pederson's watch than the league's worst passer under Urban Meyer. Given his age, the young nucleus of talent around him, and an organization with an improved front office and coaching staff, the sky is the limit.
Justin Fields - Chicago
While Trevor Lawrence is helping us forget his terrible rookie year, Justin Fields looks to have somehow regressed in Year Two after being dismally bad as a rookie. We knew the Bears didn't give Fields much to work with, but no one could've predicted 15 passing attempts per game and a nearly 9% interception rate through three weeks. I expect the offense to improve, but that doesn't mean it won't be one of the league's worst. With no clear plan and a front office that gave Fields a terrible offensive line and one of the worst receiving corps in the last decade, it's far more likely the Bears are starting anew in a season or two with another young quarterback.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia
I am slow to react to past profiles and price points I deem risky. Hurts is one of those, as many had him in the top-10 positionally this offseason. He still has yet to do it for even a full season, so I am still below the market as he sits in a tier within the QB10-15 zone, but I have boosted Hurts early this season. The profile of a good enough passer with strong weapons and the rushing upside is a ceiling lifter.
Matt Ryan, Indianapolis
As a Ryan fan in general, this season has been a tough watch. His ability to get the ball out and react to pressure has slowed dramatically and, when paired with a leaky offensive line, has been a horrific pair through three games. An older veteran who has left even the streaming 1QB format radar is a reason to drop him to the QB30 range in my dynasty values.
Jalen Hurts - Philadelphia
Hurts has been an absolute stat monster through the first three games of the season, averaging over 300 passing yards and over 50 rushing yards per game. He's also thrown four touchdowns and run for another three. He and the Eagles absolutely dismantled the Vikings in prime time and followed it up with an impressive pounding of division rival Washington last weekend. The sky is the limit for Hurts right now, and at this pace, he will finish the season as the top-rated fantasy quarterback. This year, in a new dynasty draft, the question was 'how soon do you draft Josh Allen'. If Hurts keeps this up, next year it will be 'should I take Hurts or Allen as QB#1?'
Lamar Jackson - Baltimore
While I'm not quite ready to push all in on Jackson because I've been burned before, he sure looks like the guy everyone fell in love with after the 2019 season. 10 passing touchdowns, 8.51 yards per attempt, and he's posted 100+ rushing yard games against Miami and New England. It's a long season, and there's plenty of time for him to regress toward his career averages, but as we head into week 4 - he's another quarterback who looks like he will be in the running for fantasy QB#1 this season.
Trey Lance - San Francisco
The 49ers haven't given up on Lance, but the succession of events has not been good. San Francisco surprised everyone by retaining Jimmy Garoppolo at the end of the preseason, stating he would be a backup to Lance when everyone knew/expected him to be a starter somewhere else. Then Lance injured his ankle midway through the season's first game and needed season-ending surgery to repair it. With four to six months of projected recovery, it will be well into next summer before Lance sees the field again with his team. How much will this limit his mobility? How far will the team progress without him? Most importantly, will San Francisco be willing to wait on him if Garoppolo flames out? The deck is stacked against a young quarterback looking to come into his own this year. I was on the fence about him going into the season, and he's a 'hard pass' for me in dynasty leagues now.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia
Since The Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts when Carson Wentz was seen as the team's future, Hurts has been relatively low in my rankings. The thing that always intrigued though was the leadership intangibles mentioned constantly. With Philadelphia loaded at the skill positions, Hurts is now a legitimate all-around threat that simply has to be among the elite fantasy and NFL quarterbacks. The doubt is gone.
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville
Watching Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville last year, you had to wonder if another potentially great franchise quarterback was being ruined by poor decision-making at the coaching and management level. Under Doug Pedersen, we have seen excellent decision-making and starting quality fantasy stats. That's without anything as a runner and playing with big leads. He finally looks like he will be the generational quarterback he was promised to be.
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans
It is only three games, but the Saints are not using Kamara as much in the passing game as in previous seasons. The Saints are 17th in running back targets and 26th in goal-line carries. Kamara does not have the elite ceiling, and the looming potential suspension in 2023 still lingers. That is plenty of ding Kamara's value at 27 years old.
J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore
Dobbins returned to the field in Week 3 and still carries top-15 running back value in many dynasty circles. Baltimore is one of the worst backfields to optimize running back touches in recent years, and they are dead last in the metric through three weeks. Dobbins is likely not back to his full-strength self until late this season or 2023, plus the situation is likely to hold back any runner.
James Robinson, Jacksonville
Robinson returning from his Achilles injury to produce as he has an outlier outcome. Also, Robinson is keeping first-round pick Travis Etienne in the RB2 role. Every predictable start for Robinson is a value boon post-Achilles, and he has the upside to keep the job until injury (or 2023). Robinson is around RB30 in my dynasty values and up a handful of spots from August.
Mike Davis, Baltimore
A few short weeks ago, Davis was the projected Week 1 starter and even in fantasy lineups. Davis (and even Week 1 starter Kenyan Drake) are relics for fantasy roster spots with J.K. Dobbins back and Justice Hill in the RB2 role. Davis is likely done as a dynasty-relevant option, and his NFL career might be done post-2022 as well.
Dalvin Cook - Minnesota
Dalvin Cook has never been a guy who can make it an entire season without missing a couple of games due to injury. But his overall PPG has made him a high-value running back from a fantasy perspective. However, that seems to have taken a slight downturn this year, and with his dislocated shoulder set to keep him out of action, there is a quiet concern that this could be a negative trend for a guy many would have targeted in their first round just a season or two ago. Cook averages 4.7 yards per carry, but his pace so far has him at less than 15 carries per game. Even if he only misses a game or two, that trend has him finishing with his lowest totals in the past four seasons. He's still a solid fantasy back, but he might be more of a sell-high candidate than a guy who will keep you in the playoff hunt for the next season or two.
Alvin Kamara - New Orleans
Kamara didn't have a great fantasy season in 2021, and he's also off to a slow start in 2022. Although he has a solid 4.2 yards per carry so far, it's more due to the small sample set. He missed week 2's contest against Tampa Bay and has only 29 touches total for the season. Most concerning is that he hasn't reached the end zone yet. This is a depressing trend for a guy you could typically count on to hit double-digit touchdowns each year. His hip and rib injuries could nag him all season, making him a normally high-floor fantasy back risk to your starting lineup.
Travis Etienne - Jacksonville
Hopes were high that Etienne would be an excellent sleeper pick this season. James Robinson was returning from a late-season injury, and Etienne was looking solid through the summer and the preseason. Yet Robinson has been the feature back, and Etienne is firmly entrenched as the second fiddle in Jacksonville's RBBC. He will probably pan out in the long term, and his touches are increasing, which is a good sign. But the high expectations on him going into this season have not panned out, and he will compete with Robinson for touches for the foreseeable future.
Cam Akers - LA Rams
Earlier this month, Rams coach Sean McVay called Akers out, saying Akers needs more urgency and accountability. He responded with 123 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on 29 touches over the last two games. Not exactly a resounding response for a guy who is 23 years old. Akers has appeared in just 15 games over his first 2 1/4 seasons, and while he has looked flashy at times, it is questionable if he has what it takes to have a true break out. He and Darrel Henderson are splitting carries pretty evenly now, so unless Akers really turns the corner, he will be cemented into an RBBC with minimal fantasy upside.
Cam Akers, LA Rams
After a disastrous first week, Cam Akers has looked better and even showed a burst against the Cardinals. He deserves to move back into flex territory, but a timeshare with Darrell Henderson means that his upside is capped even if he returns to pre-Achilles tear form. He still needs to be watched carefully as evaluating week to week is a dangerous proposition.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta
After three weeks, only three running backs average over 100 rushing yards a game. Cordarrelle Patterson is the most surprising. At age 31 and seen more as a versatile back, Patterson has only four receptions. What he is doing with his rushing attempts, though, will not evaporate immediately. He has to rise in rankings, even if he only is valuable this year. His performance indicates it may be more than just that.
Austin Ekeler, LA Chargers
The Chargers have had a poor start to the season. The performance of Austin Ekeler exemplifies that. Two and a half yards per carry and zero touchdowns are disappointing, to say the least. You have to assume that things turn around, but troubles on the offensive line and poor play design aren't going to be quick fixes—a significant drop in rankings.
Saquon Barkley - New York
Barkley is a beacon of hope in an era where seemingly no running back can combine a heavy workload with efficient per-touch metrics. Any questions about his prior injuries have been put to bed as the young power back is the lone difference-maker in Brian Daboll's offense, yet he's dominating despite opposing defenses knowing he's their top priority. Barkley looks strong, explosive, decisive, and determined. His re-emergence is a good reminder not to confuse prior injuries with risk. Every running back has a high risk of injury, so holding older injuries against backs can often lead to mispricing.
Austin Ekeler - LA Chargers
What is happening to the Chargers? A rash of injuries to key pieces risks derailing the season, and Ekeler is paying the early price. Ekeler is 27 years old and hasn't averaged 3 yards per carry in any game this season. The offense isn't getting into the red zone as frequently, and when they are, the coaches share the touches more than we'd hoped. Ekeler's future is far from dire, but he needs to re-establish his effectiveness very soon, or you could be holding a deeply declining asset.
James Robinson - Jacksonville
Robinson is reshaping the way fantasy analysts think about Achilles' injuries. Not only is he back on the field, but he also looks as explosive as he did before the injury. He's currently RB3 in PPR formats, behind only Nick Chubb and Saquon Barkley. With the Jaguars looking much better in every facet under coach Doug Pederson, the trajectory of all the Jacksonville skill players is rising quickly. Robinson's ability to dominate regardless of the game script makes him a top-12 dynasty running back if you're being intellectually honest.
Travis Etienne - Jacksonville
Etienne drops from RB12 to RB22 this week in my rankings update, but even that ranking assumes some stabilization in his role. I never thought James Robinson could return to form in the way he has, and there's no denying Robinson is the better player with the safer role. Etienne still has draft capital, talent, and a long history with Trevor Lawrence, so we can't abandon hope yet. But unless he starts playing a lot on third downs and in the red zone, he could be a bitingly frustrating dynasty asset.
Question: Who is your most significant red flag in dynasty value through 3 weeks?
Tampa Bay receivers who are not Russell Gage. While his stock is on the rise with 19 receptions on 21 targets, the big names everyone knows like Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Julio Jones all have 'danger' written on them now. Godwin can't stay healthy, Julio Jones has definitely lost a step. Mike Evans was doing OK through the first two games, but Tom Brady has just three passing touchdowns in three games, and his 6.5 Yards per Attempt is a career low. Maybe it's because his best targets are missing time, and maybe he'll improve as the season progresses. But from a dynasty perspective - I'm very nervous about guys like Godwin and Evans, who have a real danger of falling off a cliff stat-wise.
We are getting to a significant season turning point where we can make summary judgements on players, teams, and coaches. Like Jason, I do not like how Denver is playing, and somehow they are 2-1. Another team that has significant concerns for me is in the same division, the Los Angeles Chargers. Brandon Staley was given a lot of latitude for some awful decision-making in 2021, and with injuries and poor performances in 2022, it is difficult to see this side play to its potential. Justin Herbert, at times, looks like a future face of the NFL, but at others, is reckless and with the inability to lift his team to the heights elite quarterbacks need to. Austin Ekeler looks like a misplaced third-down back like he did early in his career, and Keenan Allen is on track to finish his career like he started it, with injury issues. Mike Williams is as inconsistent as ever. Of course, there is time to make adjustments, and the players involved have good upsides. Right now, they are nowhere near it, and I don't trust the group entrusted to get it out of them.
Anyone who has an "RB" designation.
In all seriousness, the running back position is off to an abysmal start, but we have to think it'll normalize in the coming weeks. In specifics, I think the most alarming situations are where players are stuck in an organization with a bad quarterback whom the organization cannot reasonably move on from. To that end, the Broncos' start is troublesome. A new head coach, new play caller, and veteran QB with a massive long-term deal look as inept as they did with Drew Lock in 2021. Russell Wilson probably rights the ship soon, but if this is the new baseline, all the other talent, including Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Javonte Williams, and Albert Okwuegbunam, are in trouble for seasons to come.
With my most recent update to market values, I have seen Michael Pittman in the WR10-12 range. Matt Ryan is eroding in front of our eyes. The ancillary weapons for the Colts also need work. If Alec Pierce does not show progress this year, pointing towards 2023, expect a focus on the position in the offseason. Parris Campbell has not worked out, and (pending Jelani Woods) the tight end position has also offered little. The wide receiver position in dynasty is currently packed with youth, and pushing Pittman so high within that bucket is a gamble.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kansas City
The question marks at wide receiver in Kansas City seem to be shaping up. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are dominating the targets. While neither has a touchdown to date, they will come, and after watching the Chiefs carefully, Valdes-Scantling is due to break some big plays soon. He has just missed his connection with Patrick Mahomes II to date, but I expect that to change. The former Packer is a player to target at a considerably low price if you can get him.
Mack Hollins, Las Vegas
When a player has had five full seasons in the league and bounced around from team to team, with a career-best of 16 catches in a season, you would expect little fantasy production. Mack Hollins has 14 catches in three games and had a career game of eight catches for 150+ yards and a touchdown as his latest effort. With Davante Adams and Darren Waller dominating defensive looks and the Raiders struggling, expect Hollins to continue his out-of-nowhere ascent up fantasy rankings.
Zay Jones, Jacksonville
Another receiver who is having unexpected early fantasy success in 2022 is Zay Jones. He was a high draft pick by Buffalo in 2017 but never fulfilled his promise. With a real opportunity to become the receiver he was expected to be in Jacksonville, Jones will still be underrated as a fantasy choice. He moves up significantly, and I expect him to finish this year inside the top 36 fantasy wide receivers.
Allen Robinson, LA Rams
While there has been a lot of publicity regarding Kenny Golladay and his contract situation with the Giants, the microscope has yet to be turned on Allen Robinson. Seven catches for 88 yards and a touchdown would be a great game. Not for three weeks of production, though. Robinson has been a career disappointment considering his production in his few good years. Tanking his final year in Chicago, just like Golladay did in Detroit, for free agent riches puts up a big red flag. He moves further down my already low evaluation.
Garrett Wilson - NY Jets
The rookie receivers are putting on an early clinic, and no one stands above Garrett Wilson through three weeks. Wilson is already the Jets' best receiver, outclassing Elijah Moore and veteran Corey Davis. The only fly in the ointment is whether Zach Wilson's impending return derails the passing attack, but let's not pretend Joe Flacco is an orchestra conductor. Seeing Wilson step into the lineup immediately and produce with Joe Flacco vaults him into my Top 20 dynasty rankings because the Jets won't let Wilson torpedo their franchise for long. If not 2022, then in 2023, Wilson will have someone able to get him high-value targets.
Amon-Ra St. Brown - Detroit
After St. Brown's massive target share down the stretch in 2021, the fantasy industry was divided on his future. We all agreed a 35% target share was unsustainable, but did he show enough to the coaches and Jared Goff during that stretch run to cement the No. 1 role? We now know the answer is a resounding yes, and St. Brown looks like an every week star for years to come.
Chris Olave - New Orleans
Olave was my No. 1 rated receiver in this incredible rookie class, and I advocated drafting him 2nd overall in rookie drafts (behind RB Breece Hall). The early returns are promising, as Olave has already cemented an every-down role despite Michael Thomas' return and Jarvis Landry's addition. The only question for Olave is what the Saints quarterback situation looks like, as Winston has already thrown five interceptions. But assuming they have at least a league-average passer in 2023 and beyond, Olave will be a fixture in everyone's top-25 lists.
Curtis Samuel - Washington
If I told you Curtis Samuel would have 30 targets through three weeks, you would've asked Joe for a refund on your subscription. Yet, that's what's happened as Samuel is healthy (for a change) and quickly becomes Carson Wentz's trusted outlet. While neither Terry McLaurin nor Jahan Dotson has disappointed, Samuel appears to have the least volatility depending on the game script.
Romeo Doubs - Green Bay
Doubs was a darling during the preseason, but Aaron Rodgers has a long history of ignoring rookie receivers. But rules are meant to be broken, and Doubs appears to be no worse than the No. 2 option behind Allen Lazard and could be the No. 1 target very soon. Aaron Rodgers' No. 1 target is always an elite fantasy asset, and his No. 2 target frequently carries weekly value, too.
Jaylen Waddle, Miami
I was skeptical that Tua Tagovailoa could produce two strong fantasy receivers. With Tyreek Hill acquired by Miami, deductive reasoning would have Waddle as the fantasy loser in the scenario. The offense has funneled through the two receivers, with Mike Gesicki dwindling in his role. Waddle has a profile worthy of a top-five dynasty receiver standing with a strong rookie season and now an elite beginning to Year 2.
Davante Adams, Las Vegas
I like Derek Carr but do not like the look of this Raiders offense. The feeling is they do not know how to feed their weapons, and Carr is an equal opportunity point guard. Mack Hollins has looked like the lead receiver two weeks in a row. With older players in dynasty, they need an elite ceiling or need to be affordably priced. Adams was not affordably priced in the offseason and now has shown cracks in the foundation of elite production. I have Adams outside of WR6 for the first time in many years for dynasty.
D.J. Moore, Carolina
Moore has upside beyond his NFL production thus far. However, he has topped out as a strong WR2 in his best season, and Baker Mayfield is a clear limitation to the 2022 Carolina offense. Even Christian McCaffrey is struggling to eat, and his targets are among the easiest in the NFL to deliver. Moore is in the WR25-30 range on my board and has dropped a handful of spots due to being 25 years old, with limitations and questions for the future regarding his production, ceiling, and situational factors.
A.J. Brown - Philadelphia
As Jalen Hurts is elevating his game, AJ Brown is the primary beneficiary. Over the first three games of the season, Brown is averaging over ten targets a game, with 309 receiving yards and a touchdown. He and DeVonta Smith were #1 and #1a last week against Washington, but Brown has been consistent all season. He's clearly in a better situation with the Eagles than the Titans, and he's on pace to set career-best numbers across the board.
Curtis Samuel - Washington
Samuel missed much of last season, and it was unclear what his role would be in Washington heading into this season. With Carson Wentz under center and Terry McLaurin and rookie Jahan Dotson competing for attention, Samuel felt like the odd man out just a few short weeks ago. But Samuel has proven to be the most reliable and consistent pass-catcher in the Washington offense, averaging 10 targets a game, with seven or more receptions and a couple of carries in each of the first three games this year. His yards per catch are downright pedestrian at just 8.2, but he's contributing where he can and has a couple of touchdowns as well. He's an excellent flex option for any fantasy team.
Amon-Ra St. Brown - Detroit
The hype from last year carried over into this season's Hard Knocks episodes, but one thing is clear as of now: It's no longer hype - St. Brown is a legitimate threat for the Lions and a solid fantasy contributor. With 23 catches on 33 targets, he's performing twice as well as any other pass-catcher in Detroit this year. With a big game against Washington in week two and a strong performance last week in a tough loss to the Vikings, St. Brown is staking his claim to be a break-out player for the Lions this year.
Chris Olave - New Orleans
As the 11th overall pick this year, Olave came into the season with high expectations and has not disappointed. After three games, he leads the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. With Michael Thomas injured again and not practicing, Olave is getting a golden opportunity to position himself as the top receiver on the team. He hasn't found the end zone yet, but that's going to catch up with him before long. He's already paying dividends for the Saints and fantasy owners this year.
David Njoku - Cleveland
You have to squint hard to find ten tight ends you're genuinely excited about this year, much less into the future. The position needs a talent infusion. But the lack of depth spikes Njoku's value, as he's been on the field nearly every snap for a Browns team that looks much better with Jacoby Brissett under center than I expected. If Njoku can stay healthy, he's as good a lottery ticket as anyone else you're targeting outside the Top 10.
Cole Kmet, Chicago
What are we supposed to do with the Bears? They've thrown the ball 45 times through three games. While that can't continue, is there any reason to think the offense will be fantasy friendly in 2022? Kmet and receiver Darnell Mooney carried high dynasty values on their potential, but potential only goes so far when the tangible production is several rungs below replacement level.
Evan Engram, Jacksonville
Engram will push for a top-12 finish this season as Trevor Lawrence continues to rise in prominence. Plenty left Engram for dynasty dead in the offseason. But I left the door open for a critical 2022 season to stay healthy, and the assumption Jacksonville would, at a minimum, be better. Engram sits at TE11 and elevated from August in the amalgam tier below the elite tight end options.
Hunter Henry, New England
Henry has been a tough watch this year. Add Jonnu Smith as another highly-paid and talented player in New England getting minimal passing game love. Henry is unstartable in 1TE formats and a shoulder-shrug option in 2TE formats. Not as a talent or player, but as a lineup decision based on his usage this season. Henry is outside of TE20 in my dynasty rankings for the first time in years and possibly ever.
Mark Andrews - Baltimore
With Lamar Jackson off to a fast start, Mark Andrews has been the guy seeing the biggest uplift. He has twice as many targets and nearly three times as many receptions as any other receiver on the Baltimore offense. He is only averaging 11.1 yards per catch, but at an average of seven per game with three receiving touchdowns, he leads all tight ends in fantasy points. If Jackson can stay healthy, Mark Andrews has a legitimate shot to be the top fantasy tight end this season.
George Kittle - San Francisco
Kittle has been nursing a groin injury, but he made his 2022 debut last week against the Broncos. While he played for 51 of the 56 offensive snaps last week, his stat line read just four receptions for 28 yards. Hopefully, he'll pick up speed as the season progresses, but for now, he's a guy who you paid a premium to draft that's producing minimal results. He's too talented not to start, but be ready to change that if things don't improve soon.
Tyler Conklin, NY Jets
Given the lack of viable fantasy tight-end options, new ones come out of nowhere every year. Tyler Conklin shouldn't be surprising as he had 59 catches for 587 yards in Minnesota last year after Irv Smith went down. He signed a nice contract with the Jets and has had three consecutive games with starting fantasy production. The return of Zack Wilson potentially clouds the optimism moving forward, but it shouldn't.
Hunter Henry, New England
The numbers for Hunter Henry last year were heavy in touchdowns. They disguised the relatively low number of targets per game. This year the disguise has been removed, and Henry looks obsolete in the New England offense. Three catches in total in three weeks is simply not good enough. It is hard to see optimism in his future production either. Maybe he can still turn it around, but he cannot be trusted now.
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