The Hot Sheet looks at which top prospects are excelling and which ones are struggling on a week-to-week basis. The consensus top-flight players may not always appear on this list because we are trying to help you find the next group of breakout players before your leaguemates do.
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.
1) George Kittle, TE SF
Entering the league with the rare combination of being a SPARQ freak, yet receiving little attention from fantasy players, 49ers rookie TE George Kittle was overlooked while fantasy owners battle and maneuvered to acquire O.J. Howard, Evan Engram and David Njoku. Kittle’s role in San Francisco has quickly grown though, which was signaled by the pre-season trade which sent TE Vance McDonald from the Niners to the Steelers. The door to playing time, and a lot of it, was wide open. Kittle enjoyed a breakout game in Week Five, finishing as the TE2 thanks to seven receptions for 78 yards and his first career touchdown.
2) Alvin Kamara, RB NO
It is not easy to gain dynasty value during your bye week, but Saints rookie RB Alvin Kamara managed to do just that. Dynasty players were already buzzing after Kamara’s Week Four performance in which he caught ten passes and totaled 96 yards, good enough to make him the RB6 on the week. Evidently, that was enough for the Saints brass as they traded underperforming veteran RB Adrian Peterson to the Cardinals for a condition late-round 2018 draft pick. With Peterson’s seven touches per game now likely to be split between Kamara and Mark Ingram, there is cause for excitement for dynasty owners of both talented backs.
3) Aaron Jones, RB GB
You probably know this story well by this point. The Packers drafted rookie RBs Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones, along with Devante Mays. When starter Ty Montgomery suffered a rib injury in Week Four, the rookies had their opportunity. It began with Williams, but he too suffered an injury, which left Jones, the Pack’s fifth-round selection. Jones responded with 49 yards on the ground and then drew the start in the following game. Against the Cowboys, Jones dominated on the ground and totaled 134 yards and a touchdown, finishing as the RB4 for the week. This was enough to create a running back controversy, at least in the minds of dynasty owners. I recently took to Twitter to gauge the value of the Packers RBs in a dynasty league and was shocked by the results. With well over 2,000 votes, over 50% of respondents chose Jones over Montgomery (and Williams.) Things change quickly in dynasty fantasy football.
4) Will Fuller, WR HOU
In 2016, Texans rookie WR Will Fuller burst onto the scene, posting 100+ yard performances in his first two career games. He wouldn’t come close to reaching that number again last season and managed just one touchdown in the season’s final 15 games. Fuller’s dynasty value spiked and then fell flat. After a pre-season injury that would cause him to miss the beginning of this season, dynasty owners seemed to give up on the former first-round pick. In just two games played, Fuller is proving he is no fluke. While his yardage and volume has remained low, he’s totaled four touchdowns through two games, doubling his season-long output from last year. Fuller will obviously not maintain this touchdown rate (four scores on six receptions) but his big playmaking ability should help him to see more opportunity and the Texans are desperate for someone to take some pressure off of WR DeAndre Hopkins, who is second in the NFL in targets, behind only Antonio Brown.
5) Marlon Mack, RB IND
Rookie RB Marlon Mack entered the league in what looked like an ideal situation, landing in Indianapolis to play behind a “nearing the end” Frank Gore and alongside one of the top QBs in the game in Andrew Luck. Things have not gone well for the Colts this year though as Luck has still not made his debut after off-season surgery and could be weeks away even still. Gore, as he has done for years, refuses to go away. After a pair of respectable games to kick off the season, including an RB24 finish in Week One, Mack was forced to miss the next two games with a minor shoulder injury. Back in action in Week Five, Mack stole the show, totaling 93 yards, including two long runs, one of which resulted in a touchdown and another that looked like a score, but was overturned. This appeared to be the beginning of a transition for the Colts backfield, but HC Chuck Pagano later said that while Mack has earned a larger role, he is not ready to be an every-down back or even a third-down back. This could be a frustrating roller coaster of a season for Mack under Pagano, but something tells me we won’t have to worry about that much longer. This could be Gore’s final season and Mack showed a burst that was enough to get fantasy players excited and his value is on the rise as a result.
Other players considered: Zach Ertz, Cam Newton, Jerick McKinnon, Chris Hogan, Carson Wentz, Andre Ellington, Nelson Agholor, Leonard Fournette, Juju Smith-Schuster, Melvin Gordon, Jacoby Brissett, Matt Breida, Devin Funchess, Ricardo Louis, Duke Johnson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Deshaun Watson, Kareem Hunt
1) Tarik Cohen, RB CHI
After averaging nearly 100 yards from scrimmage in the season’s first three games, the Bears have dialed back the role of rookie RB Tarik Cohen. Over the past two weeks, Cohen has just 60 total yards and his opportunity in the passing game has greatly declined. After 25 targets through three games, Cohen has just five in the past two contests. While this dropoff coincides with the return of veteran third-down RB Benny Cunningham, it makes little sense in the big picture, considering the Bears are lacking for options in the passing game. Although Cohen proved what he could offer in the offense, we have to presume the past two games, with Cunningham playing a larger role, is what we can expect going forward from the John Fox led Bears.
2) Carlos Hyde, RB SF
Dealing with a hip injury, there was some question about how effective 49ers RB Carlos Hyde could be in Week Five. That’s why, when he spent much of the afternoon on the sidelines, no one seemed to question the situation. In his place, rookie RB Matt Breida led the team in rushing, totaling 71 yards and finishing as the RB24 for the week. Following the game though, HC Kyle Shanahan suggested the RB usage had nothing to do with Hyde’s injury and was just a matter of sticking with the “hot hand.” This is bad news for Hyde and his fantasy owners. In a contract year in which it is widely assumed Hyde will be with a new team in 2018, the Niners have little motivation to even play him, unless they are planning to shop him at the trade deadline. Until we see how the backfield usage plays out going forward, Hyde is nearly unstartable and will need a new plum situation next season to recoup some of his dynasty value.
3) Eric Ebron, TE DET
This was going to be the year, finally. This was supposed to be the year Lions TE Eric Ebron finally broke out and lived up to the hype and expectations fantasy owners have placed on him since he entered the league. With yearly fantasy finishes of TE40, TE13, and TE14, Ebron was heading in the right direction. He’s taken a step back this season though, posting only one game inside the top 30 weekly TEs, his Week Two game against TE-friendly Giants defense. Other than that, he’s finished as the TE37, TE32, TE36 and TE48. In the past two games, he’s even been outsnapped by blocking TE Darren Fells. It seems that the Lions don’t trust Ebron and former Detroit WR recently revealed his thought that Ebron simply isn’t that good.
4) DeShone Kizer, QB CLE
All of the signs were encouraging for Browns rookie QB DeShone Kizer. When HC Hue Jackson announced Kizer as his Week One starter, he also suggested he’d stick with the Notre Dame product no matter what. Even through an up and down start to the season, Kizer was producing fantasy numbers, thanks to his running ability. Through the first three games, he posted QB9 and QB12 performances, but he also led the league in turnovers, throwing nine turnovers through five starts. Kizer was benched at halftime of the team’s Week Five matchup and reserve Kevin Hogan instantly looked like a better option, leading the Browns to a pair of touchdown drives. This week, Jackson made the tough decision to sit his struggling rookie in favor of Hogan and Kizer’s value has taken a tumble. Kizer was going to need to play lights out in order to convince the Browns not to use one of their expected high draft picks on a QB in 2018 and that is obviously not happening so far.
5) Tyler Eifert, TE CIN
Few will debate the talent possessed by Bengals TE Tyler Eifert, but it is not his play on the field that has landed him on this list. Once again, Eifert’s season has been cut short due to injury and dynasty owners are clearly growing frustrated with the cycle. Eifert missed all but a few plays of the 2014 season after suffering an elbow injury early in Week One. In 2015, he missed games due to a stinger and a concussion. Last season, he missed six games after off-season surgery related to a Pro Bowl injury and then sat out another four games with a back injury. It is that bad back that has again cost him much of this season as he opted for surgery. With injuries mounting up and many considered serious, Eifert’s dynasty value is fading away. I’ve even seem him being dropped in some leagues.
Other players considered: Latavius Murray, Mike Gillislee, O.J. Howard, Blake Bortles, Martavis Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Jay Ajayi, Eric Decker, Derrick Henry, Brandon Marshall, Zay Jones, Ameer Abdullah, Isaiah Crowell, Breshad Perriman, Marshawn Lynch, Amari Cooper, Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, Sammy Watkins