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Columns - Magazine

Dynasty Hot Sheet: Week 4

by Ryan McDowell
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

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)  Calvin Ridley, WR ATL


Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week One: WR106

Week Two: WR29

Week Three: WR1


The Falcons made it a point to get rookie WR Calvin Ridley more involved after a quiet Week One. Despite playing over 65% of the snaps in the opener, Ridley saw just two targets. Things changed quickly as Ridley scored his first career touchdown in Week Two. Finally, we saw a huge breakout last week when Ridley caught seven of eight targets for 146 yards and three touchdowns. Ridley is already the WR10 on the season and has another juicy matchup coming this week. Ridley has moved up and can be considered the top-valued rookie receiver in dynasty leagues.


2)  Christian McCaffrey, RB CAR


Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week One: RB21

Week Two: RB3

Week Three: RB6


There were many doubts about Panthers second-year RB Christian McCaffrey, namely his ability to consistently run the ball. As a rookie, McCaffrey ran 117 times for 435 yards, doing most of his damage as a receiver. Once the Panthers parted with veteran Jonathan Stewart during the offseason, McCaffrey’s usage possibilities were looking up. As a rookie, McCaffrey played just over 70% of the team’s snaps, touching the ball 26% of the time. This year, through three games, those numbers are up to 93% and 36%, which has led to his RB6 fantasy rank on the season. McCaffrey has likely worked his way into the elite tier of fantasy backs.


3)  Juju Smith-Schuster, WR PIT


Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week One: WR23

Week Two: WR2

Week Three: WR12


Three weeks into the season, sophomore WR Juju Smith-Schuster is the WR4 in fantasy scoring. Perhaps more interesting is that he’s outscoring his teammate WR Antonio Brown by nearly four fantasy points per game. Smith-Schuster broke out as a rookie thanks to a high-powered offense and the off-field issues of former Steeler Martavis Bryant. Despite his finish as the WR23 last season, people still doubted, calling him the third option on his own team. It is still early this season, but Smith-Schuster leads the Steelers in receptions, yards, yards per target and yards per catch. The expected “bounce back” for Brown only means good things for Juju and the rest of his teammates, but Smith-Schuster might be considered a top five dynasty WR already. 


4)  Adam Thielen, WR MIN


Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week One: WR24

Week Two: WR2

Week Three: WR6


Much of the offseason talk surrounding the Vikings centered on the expected breakout of WR Stefon Diggs. While Diggs is off to an excellent start to his season, ranking as WR13 entering Week Four, it has been consistently underrated WR Adam Thielen who has served as the Vikes top option. Thielen is averaging nearly 15 targets per game, leading the league in looks through three weeks. Thielen is consistently devalued due to his lack of draft pedigree, but over the past two seasons, he’s shown he’s no fluke and is doing it again with a high-end quarterback. 


5)  Baker Mayfield, QB CLE


Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week One: N/A

Week Two: N/A

Week Three: QB24


Week Three was the moment many of us had been waiting for. Not only did we get to see the debut of top overall draft pick QB Baker Mayfield but he also led the Browns to a comeback win over the Jets. Mayfield threw for around 200 yards and no scores, showing poise and leadership that has Browns fans and dynasty players very excited. Mayfield’s performance, playing just over a half, was good enough to rank him as the QB24 for the week and the former Heisman winner was later announced as the Browns starter moving forward, pushing veteran Tyrod Taylor to the bench. After the initial look at him, many around the fantasy world are already pushing Mayfield into the top ten dynasty QB ranks.


Other Players Considered: Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Tyler Boyd, Cam Newton, Tyler Eifert, Saquon Barkley, Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Mike Williams, Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Kerryon Johnson, Kenny Golladay, Ben Roethlisberger, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Ryan Fitzpatrick


Cold List: 


1)   Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARI


Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week One: WR29

Week Two: WR81

Week Three: WR93


This is clearly all about the offensive system, but veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald simply isn’t getting it done this season. The Cardinals OC Mike McCoy has been the subject of much criticism early this year and for good reason. He has failed to get the best out of Fitzgerald, as well as RB David Johnson. Perhaps the change at quarterback, inserting rookie Josh Rosen, will jump start things, but it is hard to imagine a sudden impact. Factor in Fitz’s age, already 35 years old, and his dynasty value is plummeting quickly. 


2)   Mitchell Trubisky, QB CHI


Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week One: QB17

Week Two: QB25

Week Three: QB31


After the addition of multiple pass-catchers along with bringing in a young offensive-minded head coach in Matt Nagy, many spent all offseason drawing parallels between the 2017 Rams and 2018 Chicago Bears. So far this year, that looks like a cruel joke. The Bears rank in the league’s bottom five with just 178 passing yards per game. Starting QB Mitchell Trubisky, who drew comparisons to Rams QB Jared Goff, is the QB27 for the season and seems to be getting worse by the week. 



3)   Amari Cooper, WR OAK


Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week One: WR82

Week Two: WR13

Week Three: WR87


This one pains me. I’ve been a huge supporter of Raiders WR Amari Cooper over the years, especially after his first two seasons in the league were so promising. Last season, Cooper was just a tease, posting three top 12 games spread out throughout the season. Cooper had seven games finishing outside of the top 36 fantasy wideouts. This year has begun with similar frustrating, alternating between WR80something ranks with a 10 catch, 100-yard performance in Week Two. There are questions about Cooper’s coach and his quarterback and whispers are starting that Cooper may not even get that long-term contract that many assumed was a sure thing. Maybe that would be a good thing for his fading dynasty value. 



4)   Derrick Henry, RB TEN


Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week One: RB58

Week Two: RB45

Week Three: RB48


It seems that RB Derrick Henry just can’t catch a break. Or maybe he’s just not that good. The Titans surprisingly spent a second-round pick on Henry soon after signing veteran RB DeMarco Murray, who would lead the team in rushing for the next two seasons. With Murray gone following the 2017 season, dynasty players thought it would finally be Henry’s time to shine, as he did late in the season last year. Instead, they signed former Patriots RB Dion Lewis and Henry has yet to finish inside the top 40 fantasy backs in any game. 



5)   Sam Darnold, QB NYJ


Recent Weekly Fantasy Finishes:

Week One: QB18

Week Two: QB27

Week Three: QB34


Jets QB Sam Darnold was the first rookie quarterback to start this season and the beginning of his career looked promising as his team dismantled the Lions in Detroit. While Darnold didn’t post huge passing numbers, he did lead his team, focusing heavily on WR Quincy Enunwa, to a big win. Since then, the Jets have struggled, Darnold has taken a slight step back and his head coach is rumored to be on the hot seat. Obviously, Darnold has a long time to figure this out, still just 21 years old and playing with a subpar offense. Now is the time to make a play to get Darnold on your dynasty roster, as long as you don’t have high expectations for this season. 


Other Players Considered: Case Keenum, Royce Freeman, D.J. Moore, Evan Engram, Marcus Mariota, Corey Davis, Jimmy Garoppolo, Pierre Garcon, Mike Gesicki, Kenyan Drake, LeSean McCoy, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines, David Johnson, Sam Bradford, Dak Prescott, Rashaad Penny, Ronald Jones, Tom Brady, Peyton Barber