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) Terrelle Pryor, WR CLE
With so many of his Browns teammates out of action, including QB Josh McCown, WR Corey Coleman and WR Josh Gordon, converted QB turned WR Terrelle Pryor stepped up and played the best game of his career, nearly leading the Browns to an upset win over Miami. Pryor was the clear go-to option in the passing game, catching eight of his 14 targets for 144 yards. He also chipped in with 35 passing yards and 21 rushing yards, including a touchdown. This was impressive, but things changed late in the week as we learned that Gordon would not be returning to the team in Week Five as we all expected. Instead, he’s entered a rehabilitation facility and his future with the Browns is unclear. This is bad news for the team overall, but excellent for Pryor and his fantasy owners. He should continue to be the top offensive weapon, at least until Coleman returns to the field in a few weeks. His dynasty value should continue to climb, as a result.
2) Christine Michael, RB SEA
Another player taking advantage of an injury is Seattle RB Christine Michael, who set a new career high for rushing yards in a game as he played in place of Thomas Rawls. Although Rawls had given it a shot in the first two games of the season, this has been Michael’s backfield all season and with a leg injury likely keeping Rawls out for the next few weeks, it will remain that way. Michael scored two quick touchdowns in the first quarter last week against the 49ers and the Seahawks didn’t look back. Michael finished with 106 rushing yards and added a couple of receptions as well. With quite a few disappointing performances at the running back position, Michael is quickly rising up the RB dynasty rankings.
3) Mike Evans, WR TB
It’s no surprise to see Buccaneers WR Mike Evans performing at a high level, even after his somewhat disappointing 2015 season. Evans has begun this year on a tear and he’s the only WR in the league to score as a top 15 fantasy receiver in each week this season. It took an all-world Week Three performance from Lions WR Marvin Jones to move ahead of Evans, who now ranks as the fantasy WR2 in the league. Evans doesn’t have much room to grow as he was already considered a top ten dynasty WR, but I’ve already seen some mention of him moving into the top three overall players in dynasty leagues.
4) Cameron Brate, TE TB
Evans isn’t the only Buccaneer playing well. New starting TE Cameron Brate played the best game of his career last week, catching five passes, two of those going for touchdowns. Of course, Brate now has the tight end job to himself after Austin Seferian-Jenkins was arrested and then waived by the Bucs. It’s not the first off-field issue for ASJ, so this sealed his fate in Tampa. QB Jameis Winston often looks to his tight end, especially near the end zone, so this opportunity could be all Brate needed to make a big impact for his team and our teams.
5) Jordan Howard, RB CHI
There had been reports leading up to Week Three that the Bears would consider using rookie Jordan Howard in the backfield in place of the struggling second-year RB Jeremy Langford. That was in fact the case, as Howard was already getting significant snaps before Langford went down with an ankle injury. Howard finished with a solid 45 rushing yards on just nine carries, but what got my attention was his usage as a receiver, catching four balls for 47 yards. With Langford due to miss up to six weeks, this is the opportunity Howard needed. The team’s other backup, Ka’Deem Carey is also missing time with an injury, forcing the Bears to sign veteran Joique Bell.
6) Wendell Smallwood, RB PHI
After some early game struggles and a flare up of his ankle injury, Eagles starting RB Ryan Mathews played sparingly for much of the game against the Steelers. With key backups Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner more suited for a role in the passing game, Philadelphia turned to rookie Wendell Smallwood, who responded with a nice game in his first significant action. Smallwood had just three carries in the season’s first two games before toting it 17 times for 79 yards and his first career touchdown. Following the game, Eagles HC Doug Pederson explained that the Eagles would continue to use a backfield rotation, even when Mathews is healthy.
7) Kyle Rudolph, TE MIN
One of the surprises of the early season has been the Minnesota Vikings, who despite injuries to QB Teddy Bridgewater, RB Adrian Peterson and LT Matt Kalil just keeping winning in impressive fashion. In the Vikings' win over Carolina, their leading receiver was TE Kyle Rudolph, catching seven passes for 70 yards and a score. Rudolph is the TE3 through three games and is on pace for the best season of his six-year career. Many dynasty owners have given up on the Minnesota tight end after years of subpar performances and injury-shortened seasons and he even landed on many waiver wires. With new QB Sam Bradford, this looks like a different team and Rudolph looks like a different player.
8) Carson Wentz, QB PHI
One of the surprises of the season early on is the play of the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles and rookie QB Carson Wentz. The Eagles put the Steelers away early and it was never a game as Philly handled their in-state rival by a score of 34-3. In the game, Wentz posted his first career 300-yard game, throwing two more touchdowns to give him five on the season. Most importantly, Wentz has yet to throw an interception this year. Wentz already has two top 12 fantasy QB performances in his first three starts and he has to be considered a top 12 dynasty QB going forward.
Others considered: LeGarrette Blount, LeSean McCoy, Jace Amaro, DeMarco Murray, Kenyan Drake, Duke Johnson, DeVante Parker, Dennis Pitta, Matthew Stafford, Marvin Jones, Dwayne Washington, Jamison Crowder, Adam Humphries, Charles Sims, Travis Kelce, Jack Doyle, Tevin Coleman, Michael Thomas, Hunter Henry, Sterling Shepard
1) Randall Cobb, WR GB
It has been a slow start to the season for Packers WR Randall Cobb and early on in Week Three, it appeared that things might be changing. On Green Bay’s first possession, Cobb caught a 33-yard strike from QB Aaron Rodgers and the team went on to take the lead on that drive. Unfortunately, that was Cobb’s first and only catch of the game. Through three weeks, Cobb has posted weekly fantasy ranks of WR40, WR53 and WR85. The expectation was the return of WR Jordy Nelson this season would help all of the Packers return to their 2014 form, but that hasn’t been the case with Cobb.
2) Russell Wilson, QB SEA
One of the biggest dynasty risers of the off-season was Seattle QB Russell Wilson, who many elevated to the overall QB1 in dynasty leagues after his high level of play to end the 2015 season. The expectation that the Seahawks would look to throw more added to the narrative that Wilson was the QB to own in all formats. Unfortunately, Wilson has been one of the bigger letdowns through three weeks. He’s accumulating passing yards, but due to some hard hits and a bum ankle, Wilson isn’t doing much as a runner. He has only two passing touchdowns on the season. Until he proves he’s fully healthy, it is hard to envision things turning around.
3) Michael Floyd, WR ARZ
After proving to be one of the most explosive offenses around in 2015, fantasy owners wanted any piece of the Arizona Cardinals they could get and WR Michael Floyd was high on every list. While he has plenty of competition for snaps and targets in the form of Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown, Floyd was still expected to play a major role this season. He’s seen 24 targets through three games, second on the team behind Fitzgerald, but Floyd has struggled to do much with those looks. He’s hauled in just nine passes and has yet to crack the top 36 fantasy wideouts in any week, meaning he hasn’t given a performance worthy of a fantasy starter yet.
4) Latavius Murray, RB OAK
The Raiders seem intent on moving to a running back by committee attack as they continue to spread the weekly carries out almost evenly to veteran Latavius Murray and a pair of rookies, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. While both Washington and Richard are seeing their dynasty value increase as a result of this earlier than expected playing time, Murray’s stock is dropping. The good news for Murray is that he continues to see most of the action in the red zone, scoring in each game so far. Those who were counting on him as a weekly starter might be out of luck.
5) Eli Rogers, WR PIT
Steelers WR Eli Rogers started the season out right, looking like the second-best option on that team behind WR Antonio Brown. Rogers finished Week One as the WR16 and many dynasty owners went rushing to their waiver wires to add the new weapon in Pittsburgh. Then, over the past two weeks, Rogers has bene nearly invisible, with just three receptions in those two weeks combined. On top of that, Rogers suffered a toe injury that will likely keep him out of action in Week Four. If things don’t turn around soon for Rogers, who has bene losing looks to Sammie Coates, he may not even be worthy of a roster spot much longer.
Others considered: James White, Jaelen Strong, Carson Palmer, Tajae Sharpe, Jay Ajayi, Blake Bortles, Breshad Perriman, Kevin White, Golden Tate, Jared Cook, Jonathan Stewart, Thomas Rawls, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Phillip Dorsett