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) Jay Ajayi, RB MIA
Much has been said about the amazing back-to-back 200+ yard games put up by Miami RB Jay Ajayi. It was so impressive that his teammate, RB Arian Foster chose to retire rather than compete for touches. I say that tongue in cheek, but the surprise announcement from Foster clears the way for Ajayi to continue to see plenty of touches and gain even more dynasty value. Ajayi’s big games led to consecutive weeks as the fantasy RB3.
2) Spencer Ware, RB KC
Jamaal Charles is back for the Chiefs, but that isn’t slowing down RB Spencer Ware, who is the RB10 on the year, even after his bye week earlier this season. Ware has weekly ranks of RB7 and RB9 since Charles returned to the field and even when he is fully healthy again, Ware has earned a large role in the offense. At just 24 years old, Ware is for real and it’s not too late to buy him at a reasonable price. It should be another big week as he faces off against the Saints soft run defense.
3) Michael Thomas, WR NO
After starting the season reasonably slowly, rookie WR Michael Thomas has been the Saints best and most consistent playmaker. Despite the presence of WR Brandin Cooks, TE Coby Fleener and others, Thomas has been a key target for QB Drew Brees, especially the past month. Over the past four games, Thomas has finished no worse than WR22, including last week’s WR8 game in which Thomas caught ten balls for 130 yards on a team high 13 targets.
4) Cordarrelle Patterson, WR MIN
The Saints aren’t the only team with a new look top WR. Over the past two games, WR Cordarrelle Patterson has been given opportunities in the Vikings offense he hasn’t seen since his rookie season. In Weeks Six and Seven, Patterson has seen 13 targets, catching 11 of those for 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It seems the Vikings would like to still be a run heavy offense, but with Adrian Peterson out for the year, that hasn’t worked out. Instead, QB Sam Bradford has flip flopped from favoring WR Stefon Diggs early this season to TE Kyle Rudolph and now it is Patterson’s turn.
5) Devontae Booker, RB DEN
Throughout the season, rookie RB Devontae Booker had been gaining on starter C.J. Anderson in both snaps and carries. By Week Seven, Booker earned more carries than Anderson and the Denver backfield looked like a full on committee. That outlook would only last a few days though as we just learned of a knee injury for Anderson that will end his season. The Denver running game now belongs to the former Utah back who is setup perfectly to gain a huge amount of dynasty value. I would caution you not to overpay for Booker though, who had trouble staying healthy throughout his college career. Also, it’s not a bad idea to add Kapri Bibbs in deeper dynasty leagues.
6) Jacquizz Rodgers, RB TB
The Buccaneers backfield has not been a good place to be this season. Starter Doug Martin went down early in the season with a bad hamstring and still has yet to return. Backup Charles Sims was next, with his season ending early due to a knee injury. Enter Jacquizz Rodgers. The former Falcons bust has looked like a different player for Tampa Bay. In two games serving as the starter, he’s finished RB12 and RB13, respectively. He’s also showing he can handle a very heavy workload, carrying the ball 56 times in two games. The Bucs don’t seem interested in rushing Martin back, so Quizz could be a fantasy starter for the next few weeks.
7) Melvin Gordon, RB SD
One of the top stories of the season so far has been the scoring prowess of Chargers RB Melvin Gordon. It’s not just that he’s scoring a lot (he leads all RBs with 10 touchdowns) but that is even more impressive after considering he failed to score a single touchdown during his rookie year. Gordon has weekly fantasy ranks of RB11, RB7, RB15, RB2, RB18, RB27 and RB1 last week, thanks to three touchdowns. The only concern is a large portion of Gordon’s fantasy production is coming via the touchdown, as he’s had over 100 rushing yards just once this season. If Gordon’s reverts to his rookie form in the red zone, his fantasy points will disappear.
8) Jack Doyle, TE IND
Through seven weeks, only one TE has multiple overall TE1 finishes this season. The name might surprise you. Not Rob Gronkowski, or Greg Olsen, but Colts TE Jack Doyle. Doyle entered the season as a virtual unknown, playing behind Dwayne Allen. Doyle has outplayed Allen from Week One though and now that Allen is out with an injury, Doyle is playing the majority of the snaps. He finished as the TE1 in Week Seven thanks to nine receptions, one of those going for a touchdown. He’s a weekly starter who until just recently could be found on the waiver wire. Can’t ask for much more than that.
Others considered: Ty Montgomery, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, T.Y. Hilton, Kevin Hogan, A.J. Green, Jeremy Hill, Golden Tate, Jamison Crowder, Michael Crabtree, Marqise Lee, Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Tyrell Williams, Rob Gronkowski, David Johnson
1) Carson Wentz, QB PHI
The Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz started his career off right as he was leading the team and scoring well for fantasy owners, finishing as a top 12 QB twice in the first three contests. Since then though, the best Wentz has managed is a QB13 performance and he’s coming off back-to-back games of QB28 and QB29, which is even worse when considering teams were on bye those weeks. The Eagles are still winning, including their upset of the previously undefeated Vikings and Wentz is certainly not in danger is being benched, but he’s not really a strong fantasy option at this time.
2) Eli Manning, QB NYG
Much has been made of the disappointing stretches of play by the Giants top two WRs, Odell Beckham and rookie Sterling Shepard, but QB Eli Manning seems to be getting a free pass. In seven games this season, Manning has thrown for zero or one touchdown five times. He’s finished among the top 12 fantasy QBs just once, in Week Six when Beckham went crazy, making Manning look a lot better. Manning has had down years before and has bounced back, but at age 35, this could be the beginning of the end. He’s not a safe start barring a very favorable matchup.
3) Jordan Matthews, WR PHI
In Week One, Eagles WR Jordan Matthews was the WR6 among all wideouts. Since then, he’s failed to crack the top 35 fantasy receivers. Philadelphia is slowing things down and their entire offense is putting up modest numbers. Matthews is also not the target hog he was a year ago, averaging just over five opportunities in the past five games. As a young wideout who is likely to remain his team’s top option, Matthews represents a good buy low in dynasty leagues, as long as you can afford to wait on him to return to the player we’ve seen the past two years.
4) DeVante Parker, WR MIA
Dolphins WR DeVante Parker missed Week One and dynasty owners were quickly giving up on him as a long-term asset. Those feelings might be coming back again after he’s posted weeks of WR81, WR42, WR67 and WR67 in the past four games. The Dolphins have turned into a run heavy team and when they are passing, WR Jarvis Landry is the top target by far. I still like Parker as a long-term asset, but outside of the running game recently, this offense is a mess. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Parker, Landry and the rest of the offense playing alongside a new quarterback next season.
5) Matt Jones, RB WAS
Redskins sophomore back Matt Jones had been running well entering Week Seven, finishing among the top ten scorers at his position twice in the previous three games. Then in Week Seven against the Lions, Jones struggled to get going, gaining just 27 yards on ten carries. His day got even worse after he lost a fumble, his second in three weeks. Jones barely saw the field again as Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley shared the load the rest of the way. Following the game, HC Jay Gruden confirmed we could see less of Jones moving forward due to ball control issues. Adding injury to insult, Jones has missed practice much of the week with a knee issue. It’s clear the team will look to upgrade the running back position this off-season, so Jones’ chance of earning any real dynasty value is fading.
Others considered: Jordan Howard, Alshon Jeffery, Sterling Shepard, Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce, Jerick McKinnon, Ryan Mathews, C.J. Anderson, Joe Flacco, Bilal Powell, Torrey Smith, T.J. Yeldon, Allen Robinson, Blake Bortles, Tajae Sharpe