Unlock More Content Like This With A
Footballguys Premium Subscription
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, NBC Sports EDGE
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 of your teams. The diversity of rankings will result in a variety of opinions weekly.
Andy Dalton - Dalton moves down the rankings a few spots. The Bengals are at their best when running the football at a high rate and the tandem of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill is one of the best, if not the best, in the entire NFL. Dalton is one of the more inconsistent quarterbacks in the league and is a very matchup-dependent QB2.
Blake Bortles - Bortles gets a nudge up to high-QB2 range as he offers some short-term matchup appeal and few veterans stick out a clearly better options in the coming few seasons.
Tom Brady - I’ve been struggling with Brady since the end of last season and we often wait too long to give up on former greats. Looking at it objectively, he’s a 37 year old that’s gotten worse each of the last three seasons and is on a team that is based on running the ball and playing good defense. I don’t see Brady as QB1 at any point in his future and that’s a future that isn’t likely more than a couple of years long.
Kirk Cousins - Cousins looks more comfortable in the offense than he did at the end of last season, but that’s only part of the equation. Robert Griffin III III has to get healthy, stay healthy, and play at a higher level or Cousins is going to get every opportunity to be the quarterback of the future. The current regime has no attachments to either quarterback.
Drew Stanton - Stanton has looked adequate in his replacement of Carson Palmer, especially this week against San Francisco. He’s not a high ceiling play, but he looks like he could be an adequate bye week replacement for Palmer this year. Stanton has had a long history as a backup quarterback so it’s not like you’re getting a long term starter here, but he has better short term prospects than many of the quarterbacks above him.
Jay Cutler – Upgrade – After throwing two interceptions in the opening game against the Bills, Cutler settled down and lead the Bears to two big prime time wins with six passing TDS against zero interceptions. With offensive weapons around him like Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett, Cutler’s future prospects look pretty good. He’s not quite ready to be an every week starter, but he’s definitely a guy you can plug in to your lineup during a bye week.
Kirk Cousins – Upgrade – Cousins has looked pretty good in his first two games this season. He had a big 427 yard, 3 TD passing game against the Eagles last week and he’s proving that he can play at the NFL level. He’s still the backup to Robert Griffin III III, but Cousins is definitely capable. He’s a free agent in 2016, so he has a long way to go before he becomes a starter. However, RGIII hasn’t been the healthiest guy, so Cousins is going to have plenty of opportunities before then.
Arian Foster – Downgrade. Remember when Foster was a top three consideration in most fantasy leagues? Now it seems like he’s in injury risk waiting to happen. When Ben Tate left the team, it looked like a big vote of confidence in Foster. Now it looks like Alfred Blue is going to cut into Foster’s time. His first two weeks were solid, but now he’s being slowed by a hamstring injury which will limit his effectiveness for most of the season. He’s 28 years old and in his sixth NFL season. Could it be downhill from here? It’s still a little early to tell but Foster might not be that RB2 you build your team around anymore.
Toby Gerhart – Downgrade – Any hope that Gerhart would bloom after getting out of the shadow of Adrian Peterson seems to have quickly faded after he became the starter in Jacksonville. The Jaguar offense is a joke and Gerhart is averaging just 2.4 yards per carry through the first three games of the season. With Blake Bortles taking over at QB, there’s an outside shot that the offense could rebound. Defenses will definitely stack the box against them though, and Gerhart is going to have a tough time breaking out of his slump.
Jeremy Hill - Hill moves well for a back of his size and is the perfect interior complement to Giovani Bernard. The Bengals are committed to a strong running game and their defense will keep them in most games. While Bernard keeps Hill from being a true workhorse option, the lack of young productive running backs on the dynasty landscape boosts Hill’s ranking into the top-20.
Le’Veon Bell - Bell has a strong case to finish as the top overall running back in 2014. Combined with his age, Bell is my new No.1 running back in dynasty. His lateral agility at his size is impressive and acumen in the passing game insulates his weekly production floor. The 2015 NFL draft class is a likely party crasher for running back rankings next summer, but Bell is the best of the current options.
Ray Rice - This is an obvious adjustment with the off-field turmoil surrounding Rice. While the legal process sorts out, the dynasty point of emphasis is centered on Rice as an older running back and any missed time, injury, or downturn in short-term production is a significant issue. As a result, Ray Rice moves from the low-20s at the running back position into the nebulous range of RB60-70.
Adrian Peterson - Just a week ago at this time the Vikings were getting ready to reinstate Peterson. Now there is talk that he may never play for the Vikings again. For a running back of Peterson’s age an extended absence is a legitimate concern and it’s difficult at this time to see him in a role anything similar to what he had at any point in the future.
Lorenzo Taliaferro - I’d heard a lot about Taliaferro but I don’t think anyone expected him to get a shot this early. When your only competition is Justin Forsett and Bernard Pierce, you’ve got a pretty good shot at some legitimate volume. I don’t think Taliaferro has a chance to be a long term RB1 but if he wins the job outright he could be a borderline RB2.
Carlos Hyde - Hyde didn’t get very many touches this week but two more impressive runs have me even more convinced that he’s the perfect running back for this offense. He’s a strong, explosive runner that may be an upgrade over Frank Gore in many ways right now. Gore isn’t giving up the starting role without a fight but at his age it’s only a matter of time.
Kelvin Benjamin - I thought Benjamin was a high-upside, raw receiver when he came into this league. I thought if he hit his potential he might be a WR1 one day. I had no inkling that he’d be a WR1 the first 3 weeks of his career. His opportunity coupled with his talent means he’s reaching his ceiling much sooner than expected.
Torrey Smith - I’m not completely giving up on Smith but these first three weeks have been extremely frustrating even for him. In 2013 it looked like he was becoming a more consistent receiver with a better command of the route tree. All of a sudden he looks like one of the biggest disappointments of the 2014 season. I hope he gets it turned around but my expectations about his ceiling have certainly lowered.
John Brown - Bruce Arians wants to throw the ball down the field and Brown’s speed makes him a big part of that game plan. It’s pretty clear that Larry Fitzgerald is getting phased out of this offense, which means there should be targets for Brown going forward. He’s a what-the- heck flex most weeks as it stands now.
DeAndre Hopkins – Upgrade. Hopkins is really coming into his own in the Houston offense and he’s been a big part of their passing game through the first three games. With almost 20 targets in that timeframe, and three weeks of 10+ fantasy points, having Hopkins as you WR2 is providing huge benefits so far this season. There’s still a long way to go before the season ends, but Hopkins looks like he could post WR1 numbers this year. He’s still very young and worth consideration if you’re looking to build your fantasy team from the WR position.
Brian Quick – Upgrade. The Rams are on a bye week so be careful if you’re picking him up to start, but Quick’s performance through the first three games warrants strong consideration. In leagues with 3 or more receivers, he’s a solid starter. Quick had 9 targets and 7 receptions in his first two games this season. Last week he only had two catches, but one of them was a 51-yard TD strike. Quick is going to be a big part of the offense this year, and he’ll cement himself as a starter if he keeps this pace up.
Allen Robinson – Upgrade. This is really more of a ‘someone has to catch the ball’ type of thing more than anything else. Blake Bortles is taking over as the Jacksonville QB and Robinson’s 10 targets last week might be a sign of things to come. The Jaguar offense is going nowhere and the team is going to have to throw to win. If Robinson continues to get 8-10 looks a game, he’s going to post reasonable numbers each week.
Victor Cruz - Cruz’s main appeal was his high floor and short-term production appeal. Odell Beckham is set to join the fray, Larry Donnell is gobbling up between-the-numbers targets and goal line work, and the Giants passing games is frankly not conducive to high-end fantasy production. Cruz drops into the 25-30 range of the receiver rankings as a matchup-cloud short-term option with a murky long-term outlook.
Torrey Smith - Smith owners have to be rooting for a change of scenery as an upcoming free agent. Steve Smith has been the primary receiver in Baltimore through three games and the missed downfield connections with Joe Flacco continue for Smith. While upside remains, Smith looks to be a flex play or worse in 2014 and moves down a handful of spots in the wide receiver rankings.
Martellus Bennett - Bennett is on a target binge and his short-term upside, once a low-TE1 on my board, shifts up to a top-8, if not top-5, option for the rest of this season. Outside of the top-3 tight ends, the next half dozen are fluid in the rankings. Bennett moves past Ladarius Green and Jordan Green, who may have equal or lower upside and have concussion and playing time concerns respectively.
Larry Donnell - Donnell was unranked in the preseason, but has emerged as one of the Giants top options in the passing game and especially in the red zone. Adrien Robinson is in the rearview mirror and Donnell has showed more athleticism than his prospect profile would otherwise indicate. Donnell debuts in the TE20-25 and a weekly starter when neutral or positive matchups present themselves.
Larry Donnell - Upgrade - He’s a secret weapon in TE required leagues that won’t be secret much longer. With 18 receptions, 180 yards and a TD through the first three games of the season, Donnell is looking like a top 15 fantasy TE.
Travis Kelce - Kelce’s snap count continues to rise and that was really the only thing standing between him and elite production. Andy Reid seems to have gotten over some of his concerns about Kelce’s blocking and realized that they need weapons in the passing game more than anything else. Kelce could legitimately turn into a top five tight end by 2015.
Dennis Pitta - You always hate to see an injury, especially when it could be a career ender. Pitta’s done for 2014 for sure after another hip surgery and it’s difficult to see him coming back and producing like he once did. Even if he does, you won’t be able to trust that he’ll stay healthy.
Check out some of your favorite Footballguys staffers talking Dynasty once a week on a Google Hangout.