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) Melvin Gordon, RB SD
If you are one of the dynasty owners who spent a top three rookie pick on RB Melvin Gordon a year ago, you are now reaping your reward after a tough rookie season. After being outplayed by veteran Danny Woodhead last season and failing to score a single touchdown, many were giving up on Gordon too soon. Following an early season injury to Woodhead, Gordon was handed the keys to the backfield and hasn’t looked back. Gordon had a career day in Week Nine, with a total of over 260 yards and his league-leading eleventh touchdown. Gordon is nearing the top tier of dynasty running backs, being valued similarly to a fellow second-year back, Todd Gurley.
2) Michael Thomas, WR NO
Once again, Saints rookie WR Michael Thomas looked like the team’s best receiver in Week Nine, catching five passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns, all team highs for the game against the San Francisco 49ers. Brandin Cooks is a playmaker in his own right, but Thomas leads the Saints in targets and receptions and is tied with Cooks for the touchdown lead. Thomas also leads the team in fantasy points. As a rookie already establishing himself as a fantasy force, Thomas’ dynasty value is skyrocketing. I won’t be surprised if he is being valued as a top 20 overall player by the beginning of the off-season.
3) Ty Montgomery, RB/WR GB
The loss of RBs Eddie Lacy and James Starks might be the best thing that has ever happened to Packers WR Ty Montgomery. Left with few options, Green Bay turned to Montgomery to carry the load out of the backfield a few weeks ago and he’s responded with the best performances of his NFL career. Even with a missed game due to an illness, Montgomery is still the WR17 over the past month. In those three games, Montgomery has 321 yards, playing both running back and receiver. Considering the current state of the RB position, if Montgomery is eligible at that position in your league, he carries even more value. With Starks due back soon, we will learn a lot about how the Packers want to use Montgomery going forward.
4) Jimmy Graham, TE SEA
After his season-ending injury late in the 2015 season, many dynasty owners gave up on veteran TE Jimmy Graham, myself among them. The torn patellar tendon looked like it could even be a career ender, but Graham is not only back, he was ready to go in Week One. Graham already has five top ten weekly TE finishes this season, including his Week Nine TE1 game. Facing off against the Bills, Graham caught eight passes for over 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The question becomes how do we value Graham after his huge fall last season. Graham is behind only Greg Olsen among TE scorers on the season and Olsen is valued as a top five dynasty tight end, and maybe Graham should be, too.
5) Rishard Matthews, WR TEN
Titans WR Rishard Matthews got off to a slow start with his new team, catching ten total passes through the first three games. After Week Three, Matthews was only the WR77 and seemed buried on the Tennessee depth chart. Since Week Four though, Matthews has stepped up and become a pivotal part of a suddenly flourishing Titans offense. Matthews is the WR14 over the past six weeks, proving his production is no fluke. Matthews is still being severely underrated and could make for a sneaky trade target for playoff contenders in the final weeks of the fantasy football regular season.
6) Jay Ajayi, RB MIA
After his Week Eight bye, Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi was right back at it last week. No, he didn’t rush for 200 yards for a third consecutive game, but he did total 130 yards and a touchdown, good enough to rank him RB6 on the week. All of this recent production is swaying dynasty owners too as the most recent ADP data from Dynasty League Football ranks the Dolphins back as the RB8 with an overall rank of 43 in startup dynasty drafts. It appears that Ajayi is here to stay.
7) DuJuan Harris, RB SF
Last season, 49ers starting RB Carlos Hyde suffered an injury that gave veteran journeyman Shaun Draughn a chance to shine. This year, history is repeating itself, but now the veteran enjoying the spotlight is DuJuan Harris, who totaled142 yards and a touchdown in Week Nine, rewarding owners who wisely scooped him off the waiver wire. Heading into Week Ten, Hyde has yet to return to practice, so it could be another week of Harris seeing the majority of the action. I don’t think Harris, at age 28, becomes a viable dynasty option, but this is showing me it is a good idea to roster Hyde’s backup, whomever that may be.
8) Golden Tate, WR DET
Through the first five weeks of the season, Lions WR Golden Tate was looking like a major bust, failing to eclipse 50 yards in any game and clearly playing second fiddle to his teammate Marvin Jones. Over the past month though, something has shifted. Tate has exploded, averaging eight receptions per game, while Jones has hit the Cold List. Over the past four games, Tate is the WR2, behind only Julio Jones. With the volume enjoyed by QB Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense, Tate is back among the weekly starts at his position and his dynasty value is rebounding from an early season dip.
Others considered: Matt Ryan, Mike Evans, Terrelle Pryor, Dak Prescott, Eric Ebron, Marcus Mariota, Kendall Wright, Antonio Gates, Tyrell Williams, Davante Adams, Frank Gore, Andrew Luck, Kapri Bibbs, Tyrod Taylor
1) Devontae Booker, RB DEN
A couple weeks ago when Broncos RB C.J. Anderson went down with a season-ending injury, rookie Devontae Booker looked like he could be a difference maker down the stretch for Denver and fantasy players. Booker had been playing well in a limited role behind Anderson and that role had been steadily increasing. Fantasy owners began to extrapolate those performances over full games for the remainder of the season and suddenly Booker was being valued as a first round rookie pick. The past two games have revealed that Booker may not be ready for a major role though. He’s averaging less than 30 rushing yards per contest as the full time starter and was outgained by backup Kapri Bibbs last week, who coaches reportedly plan to use even more going forward. It’s not time to give up on Booker, just a rookie, but we do need to lower our expectation and valuation.
2) Christine Michael, RB SEA
Earlier this season, it looked like RB Christine Michael had finally arrived, living up to expectations dynasty owners had for him a couple of years ago. Over a three game span, Michael posted weekly ranks of RB7, RB11 and RB8 and had taken over the Seahawks backfield with Thomas Rawls injured. Now, change of pace back C.J. Prosise is eating into Michael’s snap count and according to coaches that will continue. Prosise is expected to play even more beginning this week and we may be seeing a quick end to the CMike era.
3) Charcandrick West, RB KC
When Jamaal Charles went down with an ACL injury in 2015, it was RB Charcandrick West who got the first crack at the starting job for the Chiefs. He played well until he too suffered an injury. It was then that Spencer Ware claimed the job and never relinquished it. With Ware out with a concussion in Week Nine, expectations were high for West, who was hoping to earn a large role in the potential post-Charles era. West flopped, even in a nice matchup against the Jaguars, rushing for just 39 yards on 13 carries and failing to find the end zone. With Ware expected back this week, West’s dynasty value is fading fast. I would still keep him on my roster, especially if I owned Ware, but he has little to no standalone value.
4) Ryan Mathews, RB PHI
The questions surrounding Eagles RB Ryan Mathews have always centered on his health, not his talent. Mathews has often looked like one of the most talented and explosive backs in the league, though injuries have plagued him throughout his career. While he has been nicked up a bit this year, his bigger worry is simply failing to perform and now he’s lost his lead back role to a 5’6” 33 year old pass-catching back in Darren Sproles. None of that is meant to be a knock on Sproles, who continues to amaze NFL fans, but it is a clear sign the team doesn’t trust Mathews as their future starter. Like West, he is still deserving of a roster spot, but that may not be the case much longer.
5) Rashad Jennings, RB NYG
I saw Giants starting RB Rashad Jennings dropped in one of my dynasty leagues this week. I quickly logged into the site, hoping to grab Jennings before someone else got to him. While considering which of my end of bench players to drop in exchange for Jennings, I began to really dig into his numbers. I knew Jennings had been a disappointment this year and even understood that rookie Paul Perkins is expected to see his role increase in the next few games, but still presumed I could find a spot for the veteran. The thing is, I couldn’t. I didn’t want to drop any of my players, even on a team with fairly deep 26 man rosters. Jennings best weekly performance this season is just 12.9 fantasy points and he’s exceeded 30 rushing yards just once. Not only can we not trust Jennings in our starting lineups, with the expected uptick for Perkins, Jennings belongs on the waiver wire.
Others considered: Sammie Coates, Isaiah Crowell, Gary Barnidge, Jeremy Maclin, Ryan Tannehill, DeVante Parker, Carson Wentz, Marvin Jones, Jerick McKinnon, Cam Newton, Todd Gurley, Tavon Austin, Jeremy Kerley, Tyler Lockett