Mon Jun 14th 2021
Ten Players Moving Up My Rankings
Last week I updated my overall rankings for the first time since I added the rookie class just after the NFL draft. While doing so, I noticed players who moved up in my rankings over the last month. Trades, new contracts, OTA reports, and coach speak have all contributed to the rise in the value of these players. In some cases, I just realized I was too low on these players and moved them up a bit.
These are ten players that moved up my rankings after my second rankings adjustment since the NFL draft.
- Tannehill has moved up to #12 in my quarterback rankings after the Titans traded for Julio Jones. He finished last season as the 8th highest scoring quarterback, but his fantasy value was mainly based on his 33 touchdown passes and seven rushing touchdowns instead of passing attempts and yardage. He lost two weapons during the offseason, Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis, the recipients of 13 of Tannehill's touchdowns. More importantly, he lost his offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith, who Atlanta hired to be their head coach. Tannehill looked like a regression candidate given these circumstances, but the Titan's willingness to trade for Julio Jones signaled to me that they plan to increase their passing volume under their new offensive coordinator, Todd Downing. Jones is on the backend of his career, but his presence on the team makes the offense much more difficult to defend over the next few years. Defenses will not have three bona fide studs to contain - Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and Julio Jones. Tannehill will benefit. He's had an up and down career but now has the highest dynasty value of his career by far.
- I moved Stafford up to my 13th ranked quarterback after reconsidering the excellent receiving options on the Rams and the gushing reports from his receivers and coach during OTAs. Sean McVay knew what kind of quarterback he needed to unleash his offense and get his team back to the Super Bowl, so he made the bold trade to get him. Stafford has always been one of the best pure passers in the NFL. He can make every kind of throw. He was a sneaky top-twelve quarterback in almost all of his complete seasons in Detroit, even though the team lacked weapons apart from Calvin Johnson. While ranking quarterbacks this week, I realized that I'm more excited to see him in McVay's offense with the Rams' weapons than I previously thought. Stafford is 33 years old, but he has plenty of good years ahead of him, and I believe he will have the best fantasy and NFL years of his career in Los Angeles.
- Davis moved up in my running back rankings after the draft since Atlanta did not draft a running back as everyone expected. I moved him up even more this week based on some coach speak from Arthur Smith and some PFF stats I discovered a few days ago. It was not the picture of Davis's massive thighs that caused me to move him up even more, though the photo was impressive. Coach Smith reiterated his confidence in Davis, and Smith was the offensive coordinator who unleashed the beastly talent of Derrick Henry. Ian Hartitz, on the PFF podcast this week, said that Davis has the second-best PFF grade for missed tackles last year, behind only Nick Chubb. That's good company to keep. While Davis's fantasy production slowed down the back of the season last year, he was a top-twelve running back almost every week to start the season. He's proven he can do it, and now he's the starter for a team that chose him above several other free agent running backs this year and did not draft anyone to compete with him. He's now my 25th ranked dynasty running back.
- Williams was already my second-highest ranked backup running back, just behind Kareem Hunt, but the gap between him and DeAndre Swift continues to narrow as Detroit coaches talk him up and discuss their offensive philosophy. New offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn talked about going with the "hot hand" approach at running back and discussed his philosophy or having a two-back system with different roles. In addition, I've learned more about William's character and leadership over the last few weeks by listening to podcasts and beat writers. Coaches and teammates love Williams and want to see him succeed in Detroit. In the new NFL, where most teams rotate running backs, Williams can be a reliable RB-2 in dynasty lineups. He's now my #31 ranked running back.
- Gus Edwards received a two-year ten-million-dollar contract extension this last week, even though he was already under contract. This move seems like an obvious statement by the Ravens that Edwards will compliment J.K. Dobbins in the backfield for the next two years. Edwards was incredibly efficient when doing the same the last few years alongside Mark Ingram, averaging more than five yards per carry. I moved Edwards up to my #32 ranked running back, just behind Jamaal Williams and the third-best backup running back behind Hunt and Williams. He's going to get between 150 and 175 carries. He averaged 138 carries the last three seasons while Ingram was on the team. He'll get more this year, even though Dobbins will lead the team in carries. Edwards will be a reliable RB-2 in dynasty lineups for many weeks next season.
- I added Booker to several of my teams this offseason after signing with the Giants, and Wayne Gallman signed with the 49ers. He was on the waiver wire in several of my leagues, even though he's the most competent and experienced backup on the team behind Saquon Barkley. Barkley has a history of injuries and is recovering from ACL surgery from his week two injury last year. This week coaches hinted that Barkley might be on a "pitch count" early in the season. Those concerns were enough for me to move Booker up a little further in my rankings, up to a modest #55. Booker was one of my targets in the 2016 rookie draft because I loved his college tape, but he never became a permanent starter in Denver. Last year in Las Vegas was his best season since his rookie year. It was enough for the Giants to sign him to a two-year 5.5 million dollar contract. Wayne Gallman was a startable running back while Barkley missed time last year. Booker could do the same.
- Golladay has been one of the most challenging players to rank over the last calendar year. He was as highly ranked as he ever was headed into the start of the 2020 season, but his injury-riddled year was very disappointing, and many first and second-year wide receivers passed him by in my dynasty rankings. Once the Matthew Stafford/Jared Goff trade occurred, his value dipped again. Then he was signed by the Giants during free agency, and dynasty analysts didn't know if that was positive or negative for him. Daniel Jones has a lot to prove, and the Giants added to their wide receiver corps when they drafted Kadarius Toney in the first round. I've had some time to consider all of these factors and believe that all of the Giants additions this offseason (including a healthy Saquon Barkley) will make the offense better and help Daniel Jones be more effective as a passer. Golladay is the most talented wide receiver on the team and will be the most targeted pass catcher. He spoke this last week about the chemistry he and Jones are building in OTAs, which is encouraging to hear. I'm back in on Golladay and moved him back up to #23 in my wide receiver rankings.
- I was already higher on Moore than most dynasty analysts. He was my #8 ranked rookie and the third-ranked rookie wide receiver, ahead of Jaylen Waddle and Rashod Bateman. OTA reports and the continued speculation that Jamison Crowder will get cut have caused me to move Moore up even higher to #27 in my wide receiver rankings. The Jets have a new coaching staff, and Moore is the only player they drafted. They also added Corey Davis and Keelan Cole in free agency. Davis has was injured during OTAs, and Moore and Cole are making the most of their opportunities. Beat reporters said that they are the two most impressive pass catchers. Zack Wilson has time to develop rapport with his new receivers, so Moore will likely become his favorite target. Denzel Mimms has the most to lose right now, while Moore's dynasty value passes him by already.
- As my interest in Matthew Stafford grows, so does my interest in Higbee. Higbee's dynasty value reached its peak at the end of the 2019 season when he won dynasty managers championships with his stellar play during the last five games of the fantasy season. His value dropped considerably after he scored only 21 more points in 2020 than in the final five games of 2019. He finished as the 18th ranked tight end last year, so I dropped him in my rankings accordingly. Gerald Everett signed with Seattle in free agency, so Higbee should have more opportunities this season. More importantly, he has a new quarterback, Matthew Stafford, who will raise the level of the offense altogether. The tight end position is hard to rank and very mirky beyond the top eight, but I've ranked Higbee at #11, behind Logan Thomas and ahead of Cole Kmet. I think he will establish himself as an every-week starter in dynasty lineups this season.
- The Saints didn't add any pass-catching weapons in the free agency or the draft, so Trautman's value rose a good bit immediately after the draft since he's the clear starter at tight end on a team that needs more receiving options. I moved Trautman up a little more in my rankings last week after hearing hints that Jameis Winston is the favorite to win the starting job in New Orleans. Winston made tight ends fantasy-relevant while he was at Tampa Bay. Some of that may have been scheme-dependent, but Winston targeted tight ends a lot at Florida State too. If Taysom Hill wins the starting job, I will move Trautman down my rankings again, but for now, I moved him up to #16. Trautman was my #1 ranked rookie tight end in the 2020 rookie class. I still believe in him, even though I have Cole Kmet (my #2 ranked rookie tight end in 2020) ranked ahead of him now at #12.
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