Unlock More Content Like This With a Footballguys Premium Subscription
"FBG is the best fantasy football advisory service anywhere."
Nigel Eccles, Co-Founder, FanDuel
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.
Zach Mettenberger — The Titans are not getting very good play out of the quarterback position with the oft-injured Jake Locker and backup Charlie Whitehurst. Mettenberger is the kind of pocket passer that head coach Ken Whisenhunt prefers as he is willing to stand in the face of pressure to make throws down the field. The Titans are going to have to choose between the physically talented but injury prone Locker or they are going to have to move to Mettenberger. If the trend continues, it will be Mettenberger at some point.
Blake Bortles - Bortles is separating himself from the pack of rookie QBs (with perhaps the exception of David Carr) just a little bit (the same way he did on draft day). Despite an incredibly porous OL and mediocre skill position talent, he is starting to put up legitimate fantasy production. His 336 yards passing and 38 yards rushing on Sunday against Tennessee displays the type of fantasy upside that Bortles possesses. He should be a guy who rushes for 400-500 yards and a handful of rushing TDs every season so he doesn’t need to have monster passing numbers to eventually develop into a QB1.
Derek Carr - The other rookie QB to put on show Sunday was Derek Carr. Against an extremely stout San Diego Defense, Carr threw for 4 TDs and 282 yards and almost pulled off a stunning upset. Put simply, Carr looks like a starting NFL QB. His upside will be largely dependent upon whether the Oakland Raiders franchise can get back on track. The next coaching hire will be huge (Jon Gruden?) and the Raiders badly need to add more WR talent through the draft and free agency (Oakland is flush with cap space this offseason). Carr doesn’t have Bortles’ upside as a runner, but he is worth stashing in one QB leagues and should be a hot commodity in Superflex and two QB leagues.
Derek Carr – Consider me a believer in the rookie quarterback. Now with viable receivers, Carr also gets the fantasy benefit of a bad defense so he will have to drop back and throw early and often nearly every week. I think the Raiders have their starter for this year and years to come now.
Austin Davis – Similar story to Derek Carr. Head coach Jeff Fisher likes to identify talent and let them play. Davis is the starter for the Rams for the rest of this year, and he will get a chance to develop with all of the young receivers (and tight ends) in that offense.
Philip Rivers - The MVP front-runner, Rivers is providing his second straight season of high-end QB production. He's got a proven track record dating back nearly 10 years, and he's substantially younger than Tony Romo or Drew Brees. There's no reason to suspect his resurgence couldn't last for another 3-4 years. It's time Rivers starts getting more dynasty respect.
Austin Davis - Sam Bradford didn't top a 95 passer rating in three consecutive games in his entire career. Austin Davis did it in his first three starts, and his strong performances against the Cowboys and Eagles look better every week. Davis may not be the long-term answer for St. Louis, but he's certainly off to a fantastic start.
Indianapolis (Ahmad Bradshaw up, Trent Richardson hold/down) – Indianapolis has had to open up the offense this year, and Trent Richardson has not shown as much ability as former Giant Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw is quicker and more multi-dimensional, offering value as both a rusher and a receiver. Richardson still has ball security issues and looks more tentative running the ball (and slower) than Bradshaw. I would not give up on Richardson, but I would definitely add Bradshaw and ride him this year and maybe even in 2015.
Baltimore (Ray Rice down (/out?), Bernard Pierce average, Justin Forsett way up, Lorenzo Taliaferro up) – We all know the Ray Rice story now, I won’t go into it again. It is very disappointing on many, many levels. With each door that closes, others open – and now both Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett have big opportunities. Forsett has produced 10+ points every single week in PPR formats, and I think Baltimore will ride him for all he is worth. Pierce has some long term value, but he cannot get enough production with so many backs involved (and being behind Forsett). Taliaferro has deep dynasty league long term appeal.
Minnesota (Adrian Peterson down (/out??), Matt Asiata up, Jerick McKinnon way up) – Yet another ugly running back situation for Adrian Peterson and the Vikings, but Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon have new opportunities. Asiata has the look of a “JAG” (Just Another Guy) type back, while McKinnon looks to have much better (and higher) long term appeal.
New England (Stevan Ridley down, Shane Vereen up, James White up, Brandon Bolden up) – Stevan Ridley is now out for the year (torn ACL and MCL), and he will be a free agent in 2015. Both Bolden and White will have chances to contribute now and compliment Shane Vereen, who also sees a bump in value. New England’s backfield is going to be a weekly question mark until Bill Belichick settles down on a back of choice, but in deep leagues White and Bolden should be rostered.
Theo Riddick — Riddick sure looks like a player that can eventually make Reggie Bush expendable. He is shifty and elusive but he also understands to get the ball going down the field instead of dancing around at the line of scrimmage. His addition to the list is for next year and beyond, but he is skilled and in an offense that should be peaking when he is more involved in the Lions’ committee of running backs.
Eddie Lacy - The biggest point in Eddie Lacy's favor was that he was a talented young workhorse, so Green Bay's decision to have him rotate series with the perennially-underrated James Starks is concerning. If Lacy is not a workhorse, then he's being dramatically overvalued.
Roy Helu, Jr. - While we knew he would play a role on passing downs for the Redskins, Helu seems to have taken the mantle of this year's Danny Woodhead- a situational RB who manages to achieve low-end RB2 or high-end flex value just by catching a few dumpoffs a game. If you're desperate at RB, it's hard to think of any acceptable patches at the position who could be had more cheaply right now.
Terrance West - I have been a big Terrance West believer, but I am starting to get worried. Things broke almost perfectly for West early in the season. The inevitable Ben Tate injury happened even sooner than expected and West was thrust into the starting role. He played well, but did not do quite enough to really seize the job the way his supporters had hoped. In fact, it looks like his fellow rookie Isaiah Crowell has passed him on the depth chart (West was a healthy scratch Week 6). Plus, Ben Tate came back from his injury and quickly reclaimed the starting job with two strong performances. The Cleveland running game should have a lot of value and both Tate (injuries) and Crowell (attitude, fumbles) have their own issues so there is a chance that West gets another shot. For now, his value is certainly down from the highs of just a few weeks ago.
Branden Oliver - The most impressive rookie rusher so far? There is an argument that undrafted free agent Branden Oliver of the Chargers deserves the title. He has absolutely made the most of his opportunity in the San Diego backfield provided by injuries to each of the Chargers’ top 3 RBs. Oliver looks like he belongs and his receiving ability should allow him to carve out a productive role in the Chargers’ offense even if Ryan Mathews reclaims the starting position. In PPR leagues, Oliver has a nice combination of decent upside and high floor due to what should be a regular role on 3rd downs.
DeSean Jackson - It's clear that he's going to be able to keep up his downfield ways in his new location. The return of Jordan Reed will likely hurt Pierre Garcon much more than DeSean Jackson, who is one of the rare deep threats who is able to maintain some semblance of consistency, too.
T.Y. Hilton - I had been worried before the season that Hilton’s ascent could stall out in a similar way to Torrey Smith. There was a real possibility that he would end up as more of a boom/bust weekly starter reliant on the big plays for production. Instead, Hilton has become a PPR monster averaging almost 7 receptions per game through the first 6 weeks. With 9 receptions in each of the last two games, we are starting to see just how much upside Hilton has in the Colts’ offense. Hilton is becoming a star and his stock is really on the rise. Could he crack the dynasty WR top 10 if he keeps up his torrid pace?
Jarvis Landry - Landry has flown way under the radar in dynasty leagues despite being a 2nd round draft pick with great college production. His slow 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine seemed to really sour the vast majority of dynasty managers on Landry who regularly fell to the late 2nd and even sometimes the 3rd round of rookie drafts. Landry is slowly but surely coming on however as he is increasing his role in the Dolphins’ offense and making plays when given the opportunity. To anyone who watched Landry outplay Odell Beckham, Jr. at LSU, his emergence shouldn’t be a surprise. Landry plays fast and seems to catch everything. I don’t think it is crazy to think Landry’s rookie year could play out somewhat similarly to that of Keenan Allen last year if everything breaks right and Ryan Tannehill shows improvement. While some of his peers (Paul Richardson Jr, Cody Latimer, etc.) languish on the bench, Landry is out on the field making plays.
Roddy White - White looked like a good buy low candidate for contenders in need of some short-term production at WR. The expectation was that the 33-year-old White would not be the player he once was but that with Julio Jones drawing the attention of the defense, White could still put up WR2 numbers in the powerful Falcons’ passing offense. For some reason, it just hasn’t happened. After getting 14 targets (with 4 receptions) in Week 4 at Minnesota and producing a decent stat-line, White has had back-to-back stinkers. 2-26 at the Giants and 3-40 at home against the Bears. White’s value is pretty much entirely based upon his being a consistent producer now (and maybe over the next year or two). If he isn’t producing, he is essentially worthless. Perhaps he can bounce back, but his owners have to be pretty concerned and thus White’s dynasty value is certainly down at present.
New York Giants (Victor Cruz down, Rueben Randle up, Odell Beckham Jr up, Larry Donnell up) – The Giants struggled to adjust to Ben McAdoo’s new scheme in September, but Eli Manning looks like he has figured it out. On Sunday Night Football, Victor Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon and is now out for the season. That means Manning must rely on Rueben Randle and tight end Larry Donnell even more, and rookie Odell Beckham Jr has healed up just in time. Beckham will be a starter now and will see a ton of snaps and targets, opening the door for him to emerge as the first round talent he was drafted as back in May.
Andre Holmes – Derek Carr found Holmes for two touchdowns in Week 6, and Holmes looked very comfortable as a starter for Oakland. He has become a starter due to injuries to other Oakland targets, but I think he holds on to the top spot after a very strong Week 6 performance.
Davante Adams – Adams is the clear third wide receiver for Green Bay, and he nearly found the end zone in Week 6 with a pass intended for an easy score deflected at the line of scrimmage. Even with that disappointment, Adams converted six of the other seven targets for a very respectable 6-77 performance. Do not let the third WR designation worry you, as Aaron Rodgers will target Adams often every week.
Odell Beckham Jr — Beckham Jr. should not be available in dynasty formats and if he is he needs to be snapped up immediately. He has shown his route running chops in his first two appearances with the Giants’ offense, scoring a beautiful touchdown in his first game as a professional. Now the ante gets stepped up with teammate Victor Cruz tearing his patellar tendon and out for the year. Beckham Jr. can step in and be productive in the Giants’ short and quick passing attack.
Jarvis Landry — Landry was a bit of an afterthought coming into the league, but he had some of the best hands of all receivers in the draft and he plays a lot faster than his 40-yard dash time would indicate. In Week 6, Landry was targeted eight times and registered six catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. He is a smart, savvy route runner who will continue to make plays for the Dolphins offense.
Tim Wright — Wright is a solid route runner who is capable of creating separation in short to intermediate areas of the field, and he is showing a little more every week for the Patriots. He has now scored twice in his last two games having been targeted six times total, catching six passes for a total of 86 yards. Once again, the Patriots have that two tight end look they had a few years ago that was so dynamic.
Jace Amaro — Amaro entered the draft through Texas Tech where he lined up all over the file for his offense. He isn’t a traditional in-line tight end and he needs to be moved around to be effective. Quietly he is producing amazing numbers for a rookie tight end in a bad offense. He is on pace for 64 catches and 565 total yards to go along with two scores. Amaro should be added in all dynasty formats as he is going to be a very good option at the tight end position very quickly.
Charles Clay - For a team that lacks receiving threats, the Dolphins' half-hearted use of Charles Clay is puzzling. It's also worrying. He's gone from the focal point of their offense to a virtual afterthought.
Timothy Wright - He's not the new Aaron Hernandez, but with so many of New England's receivers getting cut, deactivated, or struggling, it's clear he has a role in this offense. He might even be the #3 target going forward behind Gronkowski and Edelman.
Jace Amaro – So what does a team do when they have very little talent at wide receiver? They target the tight end. Amaro converted 12 targets into 10 catches and a touchdown on just 35 snaps. The rookie struggled early with the playbook but is getting better every game. He is a great pickup and spot starter for anyone with their top option on a bye or out in a given week.
Travis Kelce – Kelce is being used more and more as a receiver by Andy Reid, and Alex Smith does not have a big, down-the-field type arm. Kelce has TE1 upside in his future, and I am a buyer of his services.
Larry Donnell - After three strong performances in the first three weeks, Donnell put together a huge 3 TD performance in Week 4 that sent his dynasty value up. Donnell came from nowhere and all of a sudden was a TE1 in dynasty that had nearly everyone excited about his short and long-term potential. He has followed that big Week 4 performance with two absolute clunkers however. Donnell has only 1 catch for 6 yards total in the last two weeks. Any opportunity to “sell high” is probably gone as even just two poor weeks has a big impact with a player whose body of work is as small as Donnell’s is. What is he worth? Really tough to say at this point, but certainly not as much as he was a couple weeks ago.
Rob Gronkowski - After a slow start to the season, both Gronkowski and the Patriots offense have come alive the past two weeks. While Gronkowski’s 6-100-1 and 7-94 totals in Week 5 and Week 6 respectively are not really out of the ordinary, they serve as a reminder of what a healthy Gronkowski is capable of. While Gronkowski is starting to round into form, the TE landscape in dynasty is being decimated by injuries and lack of production. Gronkowski’s value has definitely rebounded and there is little doubt anymore that he, Julius Thomas and Jimmy Graham are the cream of the crop in dynasty. Furthermore, the 2nd tier of dynasty TEs has really taken a hit so there is even more separation between the top group and everyone else. Add it all up and Gronkowski’s dynasty value is certainly on the rise.
The Footballguys.com staffers have a dynasty-centric Google Hangout each Thursday. Here is a link to watch.