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) Marcus Mariota, QB TEN
It has been a challenge to leave Titans QB Marcus Mariota off the hot list each week as he is in the midst of his breakout season. After starting the season slowly while the Tennessee offense focused on establishing the run, Mariota has caught fire. Since Week Four, he is the top scoring QB in the league, averaging over 26 fantasy points per game. In Week Ten, Mariota was once again the top scoring QB in the league, the second time he has accomplished that in the past six weeks. In a game that was expected to be very competitive between Mariota’s Titans and the Green Bay Packers proved to be a blowout. Mariota threw for just shy of 300 yards, along with four touchdowns. You have to ride this hot streak and it’s time to begin considering just how highly we should be ranking Mariota among dynasty QBs. The top four of Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson has been impenetrable in recent years, but it might be time.
2) Davante Adams, WR GB
Dynasty owners had completely given up on young Packers receiver Davante Adams after his miserable year in 2015, which was filled with dropped balls. Still just 23 years old, Adams has come alive this season and looks like he could be challenging Jordy Nelson for the role of Aaron Rodgers top target. Adams has finished as a top 14 fantasy WR in four of his past six games, making him a weekly automatic start, especially considering the Pack has had trouble establishing any kind of run game. Adams was viewed as a top 15 dynasty WR not too long ago. Maybe we were just too early.
3) Ryan Mathews, RB PHI
Just last week, Eagles RB Ryan Mathews appeared on the Cold List after the Eagles coaching staff named undersized veteran Darren Sproles as the team’s lead back. That certainly seemed like a head scratcher and after Week Ten, we know it wasn’t really the case. Mathews carved up the Falcons defense as the Eagles got a surprise win. Mathews rushed for 109 yards and added another 30 as a receiver, also scoring a pair of touchdowns, which was all good enough to rank him the RB3 on the week. I’m still not ready to trust the Eagles in general, but Mathews does seem to have earned the lead back role going forward and could be a valuable asset down the stretch.
4) Allen Robinson, WR JAX
The first six games of the season for Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was filled with frustration and inconsistency. After Week Seven, Robinson ranked as the WR42 and dynasty owners who had invested a first round pick in the young pass-catcher were uneasy about his future. Since Robinson’s QB Blake Bortles sought outside help to improve his passing mechanics, things have turned around. Since Week Eight, Robinson is the WR3 and looks to be himself again. On a side note, using those same timelines, Bortles has moved from QB17 to QB4. Robinson is back to being a key piece in weekly fantasy lineups and a top ten dynasty startup pick.
5) Ezekiel Elliott, RB DAL
Cowboys rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott is another player who could demand a weekly inclusion on the Hot List, but he couldn’t be denied after his Week Ten performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Zeke totaled over 200 yards and had two late touchdown runs that sealed the Dallas victory in a back and forth contest that some called the game of the year. Elliott’s numbers were good enough to make him the fantasy RB1 for the week, the first time he has accomplished that feat. Elliott has yet to be outside of the top 24 backs in any week, sporting finishes of RB24, RB14, RB14, RB6, RB2, RB11, RB9, RB5 and now RB1. Elliott is among the elite players in dynasty leagues, valued by many as the top overall back already.
6) Tyler Eifert, TE CIN
Although Bengals TE Tyler Eifert missed the first six weeks of the season, he is quickly reminding dynasty owners why he was valued so highly after his breakout season last year. After being eased back into action in Week Seven and positing just a TE34 finish, Eifert has scored as the TE1 and TE8 in the past two games. Surprisingly, despite Eifert’s impressive 2015 season, he was never once the overall weekly TE1, but now has broken that streak. Since his return, WR Brandon LaFell and pass-catching RB Giovani Bernard have seen their numbers dip at Eifert’s expense. He’s already back among the second tier TEs, arguably behind only Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots.
7) C.J. Prosise, RB SEA
Seattle rookie RB C.J. Prosise gave us a taste of what he could do back in Week Eight, when he caught four passes for 80 yards and led the team in receiving. Strangely enough, he was used sparingly the following game, but the Seahawks coaching staff came to their senses last week, giving Prosise the start and the majority of the backfield touches, rushing 17 times for 66 yards and catching seven passes for 87 yards, giving him nearly 200 receiving yards in just three games. With Thomas Rawls due back and Christine Micheal ousted, this backfield is being shaken up in the back half of the season, but it seems clear that Prosise has earned a role going forward, making him a valuable dynasty commodity.
8) Colin Kaepernick, QB SF
Last season, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick flopped so badly he eventually lost his job to Blaine Gabbert. After Gabbert too struggled to begin the season, HC Chip Kelly and the Niners returned to Kaepernick, hoping a change was in store. Since he regained the starting role in Week Six, Kaepernick has posted weekly finishes of QB14, QB16, QB8 and QB5. Kap’s fantasy numbers are held up by his rushing totals. He’s averaging 57 rushing yards per game in his four starts, the same number Rams RB Todd Gurley is averaging in his nine games this year. I’m not sure what Kaepernick’s future holds as he’ll almost certainly be with a new team in 2017, but he could be playing himself into a starting job for some team.
1) Kenneth Dixon, RB BAL
When rookie RB Kenneth Dixon made his NFL debut back in Week Five, many dynasty owners were confident that not only would he take over the Baltimore backfield, but also that he could be a major contributor in his first season. Things have not exactly worked that way though. While Dixon’s role is expanding and he is coming off a career best RB14 rank in Week Ten, largely boosted by his passing game role, Dixon has disappointed. He’s failed to really take any carries from veteran Terrance West, who has been an inconsistent producer. I still like Dixon as the future starter for the Ravens, but his rookie season has been a downer for dynasty players.
2) Gary Barnidge, TE CLE
After his breakout season in 2015, many dynasty owners had high hopes for Browns TE Gary Barnidge and while he has been a solid producer, including three top ten games this season, he is now trending down, losing targets as rookie WR Corey Coleman has returned to the field. Barnidge’s two lowest weekly ranks of the season have come in his last two games, finishing as TE26 and TE41 the past two games. With Coleman and WR Terrelle Pryor locked in as the top two options, there simply is not enough fantasy production to go around in this offense for Barnidge to be a reliable fantasy option. Factor in that he is already 31 years old and has only one productive season, and Barnidge’s dynasty value is sinking.
3) Ty Montgomery, WR/RB GB
Just last week, Packers hybrid player Ty Montgomery appeared on the Hot List and considering his usage as both a runner and receiver out of the backfield, looked like not only a safe bet, but a major contributor to both the Packers and to fantasy teams. Dynasty owners quickly warmed to him, drafting him as a top 100 player in the November dynasty draft at DynastyLeagueFootball. Now, a week later, veteran RB James Starks has returned and looks to be the starter and the team also claimed former Seahawk Christine Michael, meaning Montgomery’s time as a running back might be over. If that’s the case, and it appears that it is, Montgomery’s dynasty value is also shot. As simply a receiver, he’s behind Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb and can’t be used.
4) Alshon Jeffery, WR CHI
What has been a rough 2016 season for Bears WR Alshon Jeffery has gotten even worse. Jeffery followed up a pitiful performance in a prime spot against the Buccaneers, the NFL announced the Bears WR would be suspended four games for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy after reportedly testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Jeffery’s season has been a disaster for the team and fantasy players alike. He has just two top 20 weeks on the season and no finishes higher than WR17. He’s expected to return in Week 15, possibly to finish out his Bears career. Set to enter free agency following the season, the team could be ready to wash their hands of the disappointing star.
5) Matt Jones, RB WAS
Maybe it is not fair to label someone “cold” when they don’t even play, but considering Redskins RB Matt Jones recovered from his minor knee injury only to find himself a healthy scratch in Week Ten, I’d say his dynasty value is in trouble. Surprisingly, Jones has a pair of top ten performances in his past four games played, but according to Redskins beat writers, he may not see the field much going forward. Undrafted free agent Rob Kelley has played well as the starter, though his weekly upside is limited. This is a team that will almost certainly use an early pick on a running back and I don’t really want any Redskins RB on my current roster.