Mon Jun 21st 2021
Ten Players Moving Down My Rankings
Last week I wrote about players who have risen slightly in my rankings based on the previous month of news and team activities such as recent trades, contract extensions, coach-speak, and camp reports. This week I'll write about players who are falling in my rankings due to the same.
Two weeks ago, I conducted a rankings sweep based on recent news and updates. I don't make major changes this time of year when reports are primarily puff-pieces, but I reconsider my position on players after reviewing teams' overall offseason moves.
Here are some of the players who have fallen in my rankings over the last month of news and my reassessment of their current situations.
- Matt Ryan lost the best weapon he's ever had, Julio Jones. The two have formed an incredible connection over the last ten years. After being traded to Tennessee, his absence will be felt, even if the Falcons added Kyle Pitts in their rookie class. It takes time to develop the kind of chemistry Ryan had with Jones. It's unreasonable to assume a rookie can step right and create the same cohesion, especially in a new offensive system with a new head coach, Art Smith. Ryan is 36 years old and has two years left on his contract. I kept him ranked relatively high in my rankings, giving the possibility that they would keep Julio and add Pitts to remain competitive in the next two years. Since trading Jones, I have dropped Ryan back to QB #15 behind Ryan Tannehill, Matt Stafford, and Tua Tagovailoa, who have moved up a bit in recent weeks. I still believe in Ryan for this year and next, but his value has diminished for those two years and beyond after Atlanta was willing to trade Jones. Ryan is one of my most owned quarterbacks, but I will offer trades this week for Tannehill, Stafford, and Tua to see if other managers have him ranked higher than I do.
- It depresses me to write this, but as a Miles Sanders further, I have to back off my love at this point. Sanders was my #2 ranked rookie in the 2019 class, a good bit ahead of where most analysts had him ranked. The end of his rookie year proved me right but since then, I have had to concede. Philadelphia has a new coach that did not draft Sanders, and they added a running back in free agency and the draft, Kerryon Johnson and Kenneth Gainwell, respectively. Teams speak with the moves that they make, so these moves look bad for Sanders. I still believe in his talent and believe he's far and away the best back on their team, but the team has spoken by their actions causing me to pause and move Sanders back down to my RB #16 after being ranked as high as #9. The Eagles's experiment this year with Jalen Hurts at quarterback also creates a big question mark, given that Hurts will take a lot of rushing yards and rushing touchdowns away from Sanders. Sanders' falling is the most depressing news of the offseason for me, a guy who has him on many rosters and loves his talent but not his new situation.
- Dobbins was my second-ranked rookie last year behind Jonathan Edwards, even after getting drafted by Baltimore, who likes to run by committee and has a quarterback who steals rushing yards and touchdowns. He flashed his elite talent last year, but I'm afraid Baltimore's offseason moves will limit his fantasy production for years to come. As I wrote last week, Gus Edwards signed a two-year deal, meaning he will be a very active part of the offense. Plus, Baltimore drafted two star wide receivers in the draft, Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace. They have drafted receivers in recent drafts, but not with the talent of this class. I believe Baltimore realizes that they need a more dynamic passing game to compete with AFC teams like Kansas City and Buffalo, so they drafted according and will change their scheme accordingly, at least to a reasonable degree. This news spells less touches for the supremely talented Dobbins, who will share the load nearly equally with Edwards. I moved Dobbins down to my RB #15, just ahead of Sanders.
- I moved DeAndre Swift down to RB #18 after, as I wrote last week, it became clear that Jamaal Williams will see a fair share of touches next year in Detroit. Smith is far younger and more talented, but Williams will cut into his workload next year and the year to come while Williams is on the team. The new coaching staff in Detroit has spoken by their actions, and they did not draft Swift but did acquire Williams in free agency. All signs point to the Lions being a defensive-minded run-first team, but the runs will be split pretty evenly between Swift and Williams. Add to that the fact that the offense should struggle more with Goff at quarterback instead of Stafford. I think the offensive output in Detroit will be worse than in previous years, and time will be split between all of the new additions on the team.
- Mostert was already falling down my dynasty rankings after the 49ers traded up to draft Trey Sermon. Still, I did not drop him too much in my rankings because he is so good and efficient when he's healthy and playing. I still believe he will be their week-one starter for San Francisco, but Sermon's positive reports from minicamps and the fact that Shanahan will split carries between backs make me more concerned for Mostert's dynasty value. This news stinks because he is one of my most rostered players. I don't see any way that Sermon becomes the lead back on the 49ers because I don't see any way that Moster will be either. I would not be surprised to see Wayne Gallman or Jeff Wilson (after he returns from his injury) in the mix as well. I am down on all San Francisco running backs, even though I have Sermon (#24) ranked seven spots ahead of Mostert (#31).
- I love Robby Anderson's opportunity this year, but I am concerned about his long-term status in Carolina, especially after they drafted Terrace Marshall in the second round of his year's draft. When he signed with Carolina last year, I banked on his connection with his former college coach, Matt Rhule, to make him a vital part of the offense. I was right. Now I fear Marshall was drafted for the same reason - a connection to his college coach, Joe Brady. Curtis Samuel departing the team in free agency makes for more opportunities for Anderson and Marshall. I'm just worried that this might be the last year for that to be the case. Carolina may opt to hold his rookie contract and let Anderson walk in free agency if Marshall plays well. As a result, I moved Anderson down to my 43rd ranked wide receiver.
- His new coaching staff did not draft Chark, and they added a lot of wide receivers to their team in free agency, the draft, and as UDFAs. Add to that the fact that first-round draft pick, Travis Etienne, is running routes like a receiver, and Laviska Shenault is being hyped as the best outside weapon in minicamp. Coach Meyers also commented on Chark's need to add weight. The bottom line is that Chark was not part of the players added to this roster under the new coaching regime. Jacksonville has a stellar new quarterback, the first pick of the draft, Trevor Lawrence, but it remains to be seen who will benefit from his play and the new coaching staff's schemes. In my opinion, Chark has the most to lose. I moved him down to my WR #47 between Antonio Brown and Marquise Brown.
- Last year, I was far lower on Mims than most analysts and managers. He was drafted in the late first and early second round of my rookie drafts last year, but I had him ranked as my #19th ranked rookie. Anyone can be wrong, but this feels like a bit of an "I told you so" moment. Mims did not have the overall receiver traits coming out of Baylor that I like to see, whereas Elijah Moore absolutely does, and he's blowing up camp. Corey Davis, while injured during camp, is far better than Mims by draft capital and NFL play. Jamison Crowder agreed to a pay cut, so he is still on the team, leaving Mims the odd man our, especially since Keelan Cole has played so well and was signed by this new coaching staff. Mims looks to be among the other Big XII busts like Josh Doctson and Corey Coleman. He's not my 64th ranked wide receiver, behind Tylan Wallace, who was a fourth-round pick in this year's draft.
- As noted above, I believe Baltimore is aiming to develop their passing game in the coming years. Their 2021 wide receiver draft picks speak for themselves. I am confident that the pass-catching shares Andrews enjoyed the last two seasons will decrease. The primary thing dynasty managers look for among elite tight ends is target share. I'm convinced that Andrews's target share will drop next year as the Ravens seek to expand their offense. I've moved Andrews down to my #9 ranked dynasty tight end, which is still high but far further down than most analysts. He's a wonderful talent, but he's not going to have to be the focal point of the passing offense like he has been the last two years. If I had Andrews on a roster, which I don't, I'd look to sell him high right now.
Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith
- Henry and Smith are awesome players, but I don't believe either will maximize their fantasy value while they are in New England together. Smith's value spiked for a day when New England signed him right away in free agency, but he and Henry's dynasty value fell days later when the Patriots also signed Henry. There are too many question marks with the New England offense as a whole. They added too many players in free agency and drafted Mac Jones in the first round of the NFL draft to compete with Cam Newton. It appears that they plan to run a lot of 12 personnel and run the ball, which will not help Henry and Smith from a fantasy standpoint. Plus, the offense will look very different depending on which quarterback is playing. Smith and Henry will strengthen the Patriots but not provide consistent value on dynasty rosters. I am confident that they will each have great games, but it will be hard to know which one and which week. That can be said about all but the top-tier tight ends, though. Even so, I moved Henry and Smith down to 17th and 20th (respectively) in my rankings. They'd be ranked much higher if they were not on the same team.
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