The Top 250 Dynasty Football Rankings – Week 9 Refresh
This week’s #Dynasty250 refresh features a shake up of the top ten. We’re half way through the NFL season and it’s time to acknowledge that DeAndre Hopkins is not quarterback proof. Taking his place inside the top five are the next waive of stud wide receivers, Mike Evans and Amari Cooper, who have solidified themselves as bonafide WR 1’s.
Meanwhile, we have more clarity about the progression (and lack thereof) of young quarterback prospects such as Mariota, Carr, Winston and Bortles. There’s a perpetual deficit of worthy quarterbacks, particularly pocket passers, which is why I’m keen on buying up shares of Bortles. The masses seem to have labeled him “officially bad” as if all quarterbacks are graded on a binary scale of worthy or unworthy around week nine of their third NFL season. I’m still confident that he’s a long-term starter somewhere, plus he is #GarbageTimeKing for fantasy purposes.
In all, the 2016 draft class is shaping up to be quite poor. Many rookies that I had ranked aggressively like Tyler Boyd, (who I still like long term), deserve to be faded in favor of older, more productive players. His previous aggressive rankings factored in the possibility that he’d break out and provide some present value. Overall, this year is a win for dynasty owners who like to play it safe. We’ve seen productive first halves from aging-but-not-old wide receivers like Michael Crabtree and disappointing seasons from shiny new toys such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, Davante Parker… so basically every highly drafted sophomore wideout besides Cooper.
In this iteration I am slightly closer to consensus on the elite young running backs, but seriously folks… how many times do we have to see inexpensive backups turn into RB1’s or high-end RB2’s before the dynasty community stops paying full retail for the “proven, reliable, job-secure” workhorse back? You know the type, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, CJ Anderson, Thomas Rawls, etc. I get that going #ZeroRB in dynasty requires speculation, some luck and comfort with the unknown, but if you invest enough roster spots you’re all but guaranteed to have worthy starters without the risk of investing in a workhorse.
As always, this list is designed for 2QB and superflex leagues, so make sure you fade the crap out of the quarterbacks if you play in a single quarterback league.
Happy rankings. Questions, comments and criticisms are welcome. Please point out obvious omissions (e.g. I left off Meredith last time!).
|1||Andrew Luck||QB||We’ll never doubt you again.|
|4||Amari Cooper||WR||I had a nice comment about how the lack of touchdowns were flukey and then he goes off and finds the end zone. So now you’ll just have to trust me that I was a genius.|
|9||Russell Wilson||QB||Wilson’s injuries are giving owners a look at what he might look like when he no longer runs. I’d expect a bounceback year with better health in ’17.|
|10||DeAndre Hopkins||WR||Dynasty owners can take solace in the fact that Hopkins can’t possibly have worse quarterback play to work with in future seasons.|
|18||Carson Wentz||QB||The fantasy stardom isn’t here yet, but here you’re paying for a long-term starter to lock down the position with some upside.|
|19||Ezekiel Elliott||RB||I know I’m a broken record, but I’d rather sell for a stud WR and fish for the next free Jacquizz Rodgers.|
|20||Le’Veon Bell||RB||See Elliott, Ezekiel.|
|21||David Johnson||RB||See Elliott, Ezekiel.|
|27||Todd Gurley||RB||Hard to put a positive spin on his sophomore slump, but still has every down back skills (pass catching and blocking) to continue to get high usage indefinitely even if he’s merely good-not-great.|
|28||Dak Prescott||QB||Small sample comes with plenty of risk that he regresses, but you can’t win dynasty leagues without taking some chances.|
|29||Matthew Stafford||QB||Enjoying a career year at an age in which quarterbacks often peak.|
|32||Sammy Watkins||WR||In the offseason he will likely return to the top 20.|
|35||Blake Bortles||QB||Bortles is QB12 on the year with the 10th highest per game average. People seem to think he’s a joke, but tools and fantasy production remain strong.|
|38||Keenan Allen||WR||2016’s top dynasty buy opportunity for rebuilding teams; don’t eff this one up.|
|41||Marvin Jones||WR||Marvin’s opportunity is currently greater than his talent, which in my book makes him a sell, particularly given his health history. Figures to lose value in the offseason.|
|43||Randall Cobb||WR||Rodgers to Cobb is heating back up, folks.|
|44||Jordan Reed||TE||Reed has publicly scoffed at the prospect of an early retirement due to the concussions.|
|45||Doug Baldwin||WR||He’s so efficient and good, but alas maybe the Seabags never air it out enough for him to be more than a WR2.|
|49||Martavis Bryant||WR||Without his… issues… he’d be a top 25 asset in my opinion.|
|57||Melvin Gordon||RB||Gordon has excelled as a receiver and in pass blocking, but has once again struggled as a runner. His opportunity currently outpaces his talent, which makes him a big, fat “sell.”|
|58||Jay Ajayi||RB||If you own him and you’re not shopping him to see if someone is willing to overreact then we can’t be dynasty friends.|
|62||Tyrod Taylor||QB||The question entering the season for me was whether he could prove he’s good enough to start in the next couple of years. I think the answer is now most likely yes, so he’s arrow up.|
|63||Ryan Tannehill||QB||Do not confuse mediocre (Tanny) with bad (Osweiler).|
|65||Eli Manning||QB||The track record, durability and weapons make me inclined to chill out, but maybe this is what the beginning of the decline phase looks like. The yards per attempt still healthy.|
|67||Hunter Henry||TE||If you’re in a shallow league that starts one TE, I suppose you should fade, but looks like the next generation of differentiated studs.|
|68||Michael Crabtree||WR||If you can get a 2017 1st I’d cash out and thank Crabtree for his service.|
|70||Tevin Coleman||RB||Doing three down back things in Atlanta, but alas, plays with another three down back.|
|72||Tyler Eifert||TE||Well, look who decided to rejoin the party!|
|75||DeMarco Murray||RB||Still time to cash out for a 2017 1st while he’s hot and healthy. Maybe you can get more.|
|76||Spencer Ware||RB||I don’t care who it is, but in five years when the Chiefs find a replacement for Ware, pay everything you have for them because this is getting scary (Holmes, Johnson, Charles and now Ware).|
|77||Jordan Howard||RB||Jack-of-all-trades reminds my Bears’ fan friend of Frank Gore and I like the comparison; three down skills.|
|79||Kevin White||WR||He will creep back up this list if/when he gets healthy. I don’t recommend playing it safe in dynasty; buy shares if you’re not a contender.|
|82||Duke Johnson||RB||I’m a sucker for his profile as a high-floor back with upside for more.|
|83||Derrick Henry||RB||I’m a fan of what he’s done in limited looks and see a potential three down back more than I did preseason, when he looked strictly like an early-down guy.|
|84||Devontae Booker||RB||How many Booker’s, Ware’s, Howard’s and Ajayi’s must pop up before dynasty owners scale back their pricing on “proven” lead backs?|
|85||Tyrell Williams||WR||I like him and he’s young, but with Keenan Allen returning next year he has more present value than future value in my opinion.|
|86||Ty Montgomery||WR||Not sure what his position is, but Jordy is old, Adams’ rookie deal expires after next season and he has diverse skills to stay on the field in multiple situations and with different personnel.|
|89||Jordy Nelson||WR||Cash out after his next big game and thank him for his services.|
|93||Christine Michael||RB||I’m selling in part because I think his usage has peaked and because he’s struggled as a receiver.|
|94||Doug Martin||RB||Sell after his next big game.|
|95||Allen Hurns||WR||The touchdowns aren’t there and the efficiency has dropped, but Hurns is trending towards a respectable season. Doesn’t have prospect pedigree to fall back on in times of doubt.|
|102||Teddy Bridgewater||QB||People hate this guy, but there was plenty to like. Has youth on his side.|
|110||Jimmy Graham||TE||Because there’s no time like the present.|
|116||Kenneth Dixon||RB||(Still) excited about his chances to be a second half league winner the way Booker could be in Denver.|
|118||Sammie Coates||WR||We saw the good (deep ball speed and athleticism) and the bad (dropped the easiest TD catch ever) on Sunday, but can’t deny he’s a massive value gainer.|
|119||Breshad Perriman||WR||Flashing just enough to keep me optimistic. The depth chart could clear up in a hurry as the Ravens have a lot of old / generic WR’s.|
|121||C.J. Prosise||RB||Has been productive as a pass catcher. One of my favorite pre-season RB prospects is ripe for the buying.|
|124||Cameron Meredith||WR||Meredith befuddled me as he came out of|
|125||Jamaal Charles||RB||Talk of a second knee surgery is no bueno, but I couldn’t resist but to buy low for next year in one of my leagues.|
|127||Zach Ertz||TE||After three straight years of steady improvement, Ertz has been bad this year but makes for a nice buy low.|
|134||T.J. Yeldon||RB||High draft pick has not done much to distinguish himself this year.|
|141||Jay Cutler||QB||No guarantees, but in QB-starved league it seems more likely than not that he gets more chances to start.|
|142||Cody Kessler||QB||Showed some modest promise.|
|143||C.J. Fiedorowicz||TE||I swear I didn’t mean to double up on C.J.’s (and yes, I’m buying this C.J.).|
|144||C.J. Anderson||RB||Should make for a sweet #ZeroRB next year assuming the price comes down to here.|
|152||Trevor Siemian||QB||Performed admirably, but more suited for a backup role.|
|153||Colin Kaepernick||QB||A high-end QB stream option; he’s likely at peak value.|
|159||LeGarrette Blount||RB||Worth a look for your championship runs.|
|160||Jimmy Garoppolo||QB||Patience required and I likely overranked him previously. He will trend up, but very unlikely to help until 2018, if ever.|
|168||Mike Glennon||QB||My favorite QB spec add for 2017.|
|169||Brett Hundley||QB||My favorite QB spec add for… 2019.|
|170||Wendell Smallwood||RB||If you’re looking for the next Booker and Dixon is unavailable it could be Smallwood or even Paul Perkins.|
|175||Jack Doyle||TE||Nice receiving chops as a tight end.|
|176||Charles Sims||RB||Totally blew his chance this year, but should return as a useful #ZeroRB.|
|177||Clive Walford||TE||Has not gotten in on the Derek Carr level up party.|
|188||Jeremy Langford||RB||Has gone from a do-not-touch in preseason to a trade target of mine for owners that believe he’s now worthless.|
|202||Ryan Fitzpatrick||QB||Should be demoted to high-end NFL backup any week now.|
|203||Bryce Petty||QB||Should get his chance any week now.|
|225||AJ McCarron||QB||A free agent after the 2017 season, McCarron is an interesting free stash to potentially luck into a starting quarterback down the road.|
|228||Danny Woodhead||RB||A sneaky stash in PPR leagues.|
|229||Andre Ellington||RB||Hoping for that David Johnson injury to hit.|
|234||Antonio Gates||TE||Historically there’s a decline among tight ends at 31 and then a crater at 37. Gates is 36.|
|235||Robert Griffin III||QB|
|242||Lance Dunbar||RB||Has struggled in his return from injury, but I’m intrigued by him as a pass-catching back still since he’s a 2017 FA.|
|249||Brian Hoyer||QB||Could stick around in the Ryan Fitzpatrick mold as an interim starter for another year or two.|
I might suggest a by-position ranking format, since clearly you have strong views on loving QB/WR and hating RB in dynasty. Since such view are highly league structure-dependent, it would be nice to see players ranked/grouped by position rather than overall.
” how many times do we have to see inexpensive backups turn into RB1’s or high-end RB2’s before the dynasty community stops paying full retail for the…”
If you play in a deep-bench dynasty league, you might only see this happen to a fantasy FA a couple times a year.
Thank you for the feedback and checking out the rankings. The positional rankings can be inferred from the 250, so I’m not sure how useful an additional post would be breaking that out more explicitly. I thought about adding an additional column, but a fifth column squeezes the screen too much.
Regarding my RB comment about acquiring cheap starters – I only play in deep dynasty leagues (13 – 14 teams, keep 28-30), so my frame of reference tends to be the deep leagues you’re referring to. The cheap adds may not necessarily happen on free agency. Last year just among rookies Duke Johnson, Ajayi and David Johnson were second round rookie picks, Jeremy Langford was a third round pick and Karlos Williams and Thomas Rawls were 4th round picks and/or undrafted. And then among non-FA’s Dion Lewis and Spencer Ware were waiver adds even in deep leagues, because people had Knile Davis and Chark West pegged as the handcuff to Charles.
My strategy for dynasty is to beef up at non-RB positions, stash as many 2nd string RB’s as I can and then wait for the carnage, supplementing that with an occasional waiver add to get me through a week (like Antone Smith this week) or sometimes all season, like Ware last year.
Meanwhile my opponents pay significant capital for starting RB’s, an advantage that is neutralized by my superior non-RB’s and neutered entirely when the injuries inevitably strike. It’s an effective strategy for redraft and it’s even more valuable in dynasty, because my advantage grows year over year as their high-priced RB’s depreciate in value. The moment my RB’s look like they’re “proven” workhorses, I trade them for a profit, rinse and repeat. (That’s how you end up with a WR core in a keep-30, 13 team league of DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Kelvin Benjamin, Allen Robinson, Donte Moncrief, Corey Coleman, Willie Snead and Martavis Bryant.)
Sorry for the Russian novel response, but I hope that provides more clarity regarding how and why I rank the way I do.
On Ware and his eventual replacement – I think some Chiefs fan must have made a deal with the devil after watching Donnell Bennett and Tony Richardson lead their backfield for 3 years after Marcus Allen retired in ’97!
Best guess as to who starts at QB in Cleveland (or at least starts game 1) in 2017? Draft pick, one of the Vikings QBs, Romo, other? Picked up Coleman and am hoping they do SOMETHING!
Great work as always Tom!
Kessler has played well and deserves to start the rest of the year and try to prove to Cleveland’s FO that they don’t need to take a QB at 1.1 or 2.1 next year, but I’d guess they’ll use a top pick on a quarterback regardless.