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Columns - Magazine

Dynasty Hot Sheet: Week 11

by Ryan McDowell

The Hot Sheet looks at which top players are excelling, and which ones are struggling on a week-to-week basis. Following the latest on-field trends can make our weekly lineup decisions easier, while allowing dynasty players to always understand the current value of players around the league.

 

The value of the players mentioned on the Hot List is rising, thanks to their performance on the field. On the other hand, Cold List players are struggling, and losing dynasty value as a result.

 

Hot List:

 

1)  Christian McCaffrey, RB CAR

 

Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week Seven: RB18

Week Eight: RB9

Week Nine: RB3

Week Ten: RB2

 

Even after the Panthers coaching staff boldly shared their plan of drastically increasing the workload of RB Christian McCaffrey, most fantasy players scoffed. Now ten weeks into the season, this was clearly not a case of “coach speak.” McCaffrey has averaged 14 carries and six receptions per game. While that might not meet the outlandish 25-30 touches per game projected by both HC Ron Rivera and OC Norv Turner, it is also not too far off. McCaffrey’s worst fantasy game of the season came in the opener when he was the RB21 and he’s currently riding a three-game streak as a top ten fantasy back. This has impacted his dynasty value also. In each of the past two months, McCaffrey’s dynasty ADP has placed him in the first round, the top 12 overall players. Expect that to be his cost this offseason as well.

 

2)  Zach Ertz, TE PHI

 

Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week Six: TE3

Week Seven: TE2

Week Eight: TE10

Week Ten: TE1

 

Just when it appears we might be losing an elite tight end option (looking at you, Gronk) another steps in. It can be argued that Eagles TE Zach Ertz joined that list a year ago when he finished as the TE3 and he’s solidifying that status this year. Ertz has been a top ten fantasy scorer in every game this season and is running away with the TE1 crown. Just to show how much of a force Ertz is for fantasy players, his 183.9 fantasy points would currently rank him as the WR7, above Julio Jones and Odell Beckham. That’s a huge edge to have on your opponent. 

 

3)  Odell Beckham, WR NYG

 

Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week Six: WR46

Week Seven: WR1

Week Eight: WR11

Week Ten: WR7

 

After a slow, by his own measures, start to the season, Giants WR Odell Beckham is showing fantasy players they had nothing to worry about, including frustrating QB Eli Manning. Beckham has overcome Manning’s play as of late to break off three straight WR1 games, finishing as the WR1, WR11 and WR7 in the past three contests. Of course, Beckham didn’t need much help when it comes to his dynasty value but a little surge never hurts. After being the unquestioned choice at 1.01 in dynasty startups for months on end, there is now a reasonable debate as to which receiver should hold the dynasty WR1 spot, Beckham, DeAndre Hopkins or Michael Thomas. The good news is you can’t really go wrong with any of that trio. 

 

4)  Andrew Luck, QB IND

 

Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week Six: QB10

Week Seven: QB4

Week Eight: QB8

Week Ten: QB9

 

I have to admit, I was completely off the Andrew Luck dynasty bandwagon. Of course, this had nothing to do with his talent and everything to do with the shoulder injury that cost him a full year of on-field play. Even when Luck returned to the practice field this offseason, there were lingering concerns about his ability to bounce back from this serious injury that was, at one point, considered career-threatening. All that is in the past now and Luck is thriving. After six straight QB1 games, Luck is back in the conversation as a top-five dynasty quarterback. The injury, a new coaching staff, an unproven running game and a collection of no-names on the receiver depth chart. Luck hasn’t let any of these issues slow him down.

 

5)  Chris Herndon, TE NYJ

 

Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week Seven: TE9

Week Eight: TE17

Week Nine: TE13

Week Ten: TE21

 

Like most late-round rookie tight ends, fantasy owners weren’t giving Jets TE Chris Herndon the time of day. After all, young tight ends typically take up to three years to assimilate to the NFL and the Jets have traditionally not even used their TE in the passing game. That has changed this year. In fact, it has changed over the past month. In the four most recent games, Herndon has either scored a touchdown or led the Jets in receiving. Herndon is now tied for the team-lead with three receiving scores and leads with four red zone receptions. Herndon was essentially worthless through the offseason and now is a high-upside TE2 in dynasty leagues.

 

Other Players Considered: Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Carson Wentz, Matt Breida, Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett, Brandin Cooks, Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, Eric Ebron, Donte Moncrief, Nick Chubb, Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, Kerryon Johnson, Theo Riddick, LeSean McCoy, Elijah McGuire, Chris Herndon, David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Marcus Mariota, Julian Edelman, Jonnu Smith, Ben Roethlisberger, James Conner, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Saquon Barkley, George Kittle

 

Cold List: 

 

1)   Devin Funchess, WR CAR

 

Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week Seven: WR14

Week Eight: WR69

Week Nine: WR41

Week Ten: WR55

 

After his breakout season a year ago, Panthers WR Devin Funchess seemed to be in an ideal position to repeat, or even improve on his long-awaited success. RB Christian McCaffrey has been used more as a runner, rookie WR D.J. Moore was slow to develop, WR Torrey Smith and TE Greg Olsen have been hurt. None of that has boosted Funchess to fantasy relevance. Funchess has yet to finish as a WR1 in any game this season and in six of his nine games, he’s finished as WR34 or worse. 

 

2)   Tom Brady, QB NE

 

Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week Seven: QB5

Week Eight: QB20

Week Nine: QB16

Week Ten: QB22

 

We hear this talk every year but maybe this time, it’s true. Patriots QB Tom Brady has lost it. The Patriots are struggling this year, especially on the road, including a disappointing loss in Tennessee last week. Brady has shown the ability we all are very familiar with, finishing as a top ten fantasy QB on three occasions this season but he is currently riding a three-game streak as the QB16 or worse. Of course, a lot of that might have something to do with the injury and absence of TE Rob Gronkowski and Brady will have more big games. This has more to do with Brady’s age. Every time he struggles, dynasty players become concerned that they might be left holding the bag. 

 

3)   David Njoku, TE CLE

 

Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week Seven: TE6

Week Eight: TE46

Week Nine: TE15

Week Ten: TE33

 

It has been a roller coaster of a season for Browns second-year TE David Njoku. Playing alongside veteran QB Tyrod Taylor early in the season, Njoku was a non-factor, catching nine balls for 69 yards combined in the first three games. The insertion of rookie QB Baker Mayfield was a difference-maker for Njoku, who broke off four straight top 15 fantasy finishes. He’s hit a wall over the past three games though, including a goose egg game in Week Eight and a pair of weekly performances outside of the top 30 tight ends. His draft pedigree and age will keep his value high but we should be looking for more consistency from the talented Njoku. 

 

4)   Isaiah Crowell, RB NYJ

 

Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week Seven: RB39

Week Eight: RB39

Week Nine: RB35

Week Ten: RB26

 

In the first five games of the season, Jets RB Isaiah Crowell had a pair of two-touchdown games and a third with over 200 rushing yards, the best single-game performance in the league this year. In the other seven games though, Crowell has finished no better than the RB26, including a current five-game streak of RB34, RB39, RB39, RB35 and RB26 games. The loss of veteran RB Bilal Powell didn’t seem to help Crowell while the return of second-year RB Elijah McGuire has seemingly pushed Crowell down the depth chart. McGuire has out-snapped Cro for two games running and the veteran’s value is quickly fading. 

 

5)   Carlos Hyde, RB JAX

 

Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week Five: RB33

Week Six: RB52

Week Eight: RB62

Week Ten: RB71

 

When the Jaguars surprisingly traded for veteran RB Carlos Hyde, there was some confusion on exactly what that meant. Maybe the Jaguars didn’t trust RB T.J. Yeldon as an every down back? Or perhaps it was bad news for starter Leonard Fournette and his injured hamstring? Now, a few weeks into Hyde’s tenure, it appears that the move was simply an insurance policy. Yeldon retained his role. Fournette returned in Week Ten, as expected, and Hyde has only touched the ball nine times as a Jag. If Hyde is lucky, Jacksonville will dump him following the season, allowing him to find a new situation. Until then, his dynasty value will continue its downward spiral. 

 

Other Players Considered: Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, Cooper Kupp, Kenny Stills, Mike Gesicki, Brock Osweiler, Kenyan Drake, Randall Cobb, Austin Ekeler, Derek Carr, Doug Martin, Martavis Bryant, Jordy Nelson, Jarvis Landry, Andy Dalton, Matthew Stafford, Kelvin Benjamin, Isaiah Crowell, Christian Kirk, Chris Hogan, Alex Smith, Adrian Peterson, Mike Evans, Jordan Reed, Cameron Brate, Chris Thompson, Marquise Goodwin, LeVeon Bell, Tevin Coleman