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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 of your teams. The diversity of rankings will result in a variety of opinions weekly.
Colin Kaepernick from 6 to 5
I had Kaepernick ranked behind Drew Brees under the assumption that Brees would outperform him by a significant amount in the near term. After Kaepernick's 400-yard passing game against the Packers, I'm beginning to question that assumption.
Josh Freeman from 14 to 18
A slow start to the season has my confidence in his ability to keep his job beginning to waver slightly.
Ben Roethlisberger from 17 to 21
The injury to Pouncey and Pittsburgh's general offensive malaise this week dramatically reduce my expectations for Roethlisberger this season, and he's not getting any younger in the meantime.
I admit it. I wasn't on the Kaepernick bandwagon during the preseason. I know that he was great at the end of last season, but I fully expected him to fall back to earth this season. So far though, Kaepernick looks like the real deal. He's clearly the leader of this team and he's going to take them a long way this season. From a dynasty prospective, he's a guy that you could build a team around.
It’s not so much a knock on Roethlisberger himself, but more of the Pittsburgh offense in general. They look like they have taken a big step back this season, and the loss of Mike Wallace is bigger than they might have originally expected. It doesn't help that the Steelers have a very limited running game. Roethlisberger has really fallen down the fantasy charts over the last couple seasons and he's more of just a back-up at this point.
By the end of the preseason, the Raiders looked completely incapable of doing anything on offense under Matt Flynn. Pryor gives the offense a different feel. He might not be the most accurate passer but his running ability gives the offense an added dimension. He's raw and unafraid though and he could breathe new life into the Oakland offense this season.
Pryor is still a work in progress as a passer, but he will be a very frustrating runner for teams to try to contain. That's great for fantasy football, and if Pryor starts to improve as a passer, he may become a starting quality NFL QB for a while.
The offensive line in Pittsburgh is offensive, and Todd Haley's dink and dunk offense will continue to limit Roethlisberger's fantasy upside. As we've seen in years past, Roethlisberger is likely to get banged up and be of less use to you as the season goes on. The arrow is only pointing down for Big Ben from here on out.
Wilson's redraft stock was through the roof just before the start of the season. For a guy who has a grand total of three games with more than 10 fantasy points, it seemed like it could be too good to be true. After the first game this season, it looks like that might be the case. If Wilson can't keep the ball off the carpet, he's not going to see a lot of playing time. Until he can hold on to the ball, he’s not a guy that you want on your fantasy team.
Reggie Bush really showed that he still has plenty left in the tank. Last season Leshoure's success was based more on volume than it was effectiveness. With Bush in the picture now, Leshoure's role is going to diminish more and more. He is not much more than a 15-20 carry a game back. From a fantasy prospective, he’s probably nothing more than a bye week fill in or a 'what the heck flex' type of player.
Montee Ball has failed to impress so far, Ronnie Hillman is just a change of pace back, and Knowshon Moreno is painfully average. There's a reason that the Broncos kept an undrafted free agent who was hurt when final cuts went down. You'll want to have him on your roster to see if Anderson ends up being the best back on the roster at some point in the future.
Vereen is still an overall upgrade in dynasty leagues because he looked like a borderline RB1 in PPR leagues. Vereen ran hard, broke tackles, had a terrific burst, and showed that he can a very strong element in the Patriots offense for a long time. Time to get on board in dynasty leagues.
Ronnie Hillman from 35 to 47
With his week 1 demotion, it's looking like Hillman's best case scenario is as a change-of-pace back. Danny Woodhead-like upside isn't worthless, but it's also not something I'm getting too excited for.
Shane Vereen from 48 to 29
The preseason talk was about how Zach Sudfeld was going to play the "Aaron Hernandez role" for the New England Patriots. In week 1, Sudfeld was a complete non-factor, while Vereen shined as a matchup nightmare / moveable chess piece. Vereen was even split wide five times, and was targeted on four of those plays. I'm aware that he was placed on IR (designated to return), but I view injuries as inconveniences at worst and opportunities to buy at best. I'm much more interested in Vereen's long-term than his short-term.
PPR leaguers are going to love Roberts as the underneath option in this Bruce Arians vertical pass offense. The offensive line is not always going to give Palmer the time to go downfield, and Roberts will be there to soak up receptions and make things happen after the catch. He's a solid WR3/Flex in PPR leagues and still on the upslope/prime of his career.
Hartline has already equaled his 2012 touchdown total, and he is looking like the primary option in this pass offense as long as Mike Wallace remains disgruntled and disconnected from Ryan Tannehill. Hartline should at worst be very very good depth for your team, but after another week or two of WR1 numbers, you'll probably want to start him.
Edelman shined as the only incumbent receiver on this roster, and he should only get more opportunity as Danny Amendola tries to bounce back from a groin injury. Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld were not ready for prime time, so Edelman could use this year to springboard into a long term deal with the Patriots.
Danny Amendola from 27 to 22
He may be dinged up again, but week 1 reinforced how important Amendola is to this offense. When he's healthy, he's a high-end WR2 or possibly even a low-end WR1 in PPR leagues.
Marques Colston from 28 to 23
This doesn't have much to do with week 1's action; upon further reflection, I realized I had Colston too low in the first place.
DeSean Jackson from 31 to 27
Week 1 didn't just give us a glimpse of just how fast Philadelphia will be playing on offense, it also gave us a glimpse at how little Philadelphia trusts its other receivers, as they went to Desean early and often.
Dez Bryant is probably a low-first round quality pick now from a dynasty prospective, more from his future potential prospective than anything else. Some of the top backs have fallen into more of a committee role and their best days are behind them. Bryant is a guy who represents very low risk and real long-term potential. You could do a lot worse than a guy like Bryant at the end of the first round.
With the disintegration of the New York running game, Eli Manning is going to have to throw the ball a lot more to be successful. Randle looks solid this season, even as a WR3 for the Giants. Hakeem Nicks has trouble staying healthy and Randle is going to see plenty of opportunities to shine this year. Look for him to really have a break-out season for the Giants.
Jared Cook from 11 to 6
At tight end, upside is the name of the game, and after a preseason where he was frequently the only bright spot on St. Louis's offense, Cook demonstrated MONSTER upside in week 1 against the Cardinals.
Julius Thomas from 21 to 9
Again, low-end dynasty TE1s are all about rostering upside, and Thomas has it in spades. He's put any fears about his role to rest. He will be inconsistent in the near term, simply because Denver has so many mouths to feed. In the long term, though, Decker only has one year left on his contract, and Welker only has two. Thomas could easily be the 3rd or even 2nd option in this passing game in two years.
Let’s face it, it's Cleveland. They're not exactly known as a team that’s going to throw for 4000 yards this year. Yet Cameron is finally emerging as a legitimate receiving option for the Browns and he opened the season posting the best numbers of his career. By the third game of the season, he’ll have set career best totals in all major receiving stats. He's only in his third season and he has a long career in front of him.
Peyton Manning has a way of turning his tight ends into fantasy studs. In his second season with the Broncos, it looks like Julius Thomas is that guy. After two seasons with just one total reception on seven targets, Thomas exploded last week posting 110 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He looks very much like the real deal and has huge upside potential with Manning as his quarterback.
Chris Palmer should be ashamed of himself for squandering Cook in Tennessee. Cook is a walking mismatch and the Rams did what they had to to sign and then feature Cook, much to his dynasty owners' delight. He is talented enough and in a good enough situation to be the most valuable fantasy TE after Graham and Gronk.