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 league mates 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.
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1) Martavis Bryant, WR PIT
Thanks to a four game league-imposed suspension, second year wide receiver Martavis Bryant didn’t see the field for the Steelers until Week Six this season. Once he hit the field, he’s been dynamite. Since Week Six, when Bryant made his season debut, he is the WR9 in PPR leagues. After a string of big plays last season, there were some who tabbed Bryant as a deep threat only and not a reliable fantasy asset. This season, his yards per target and yards per reception are both down, which might even be viewed as a good thing, considering he’s being used all over the field. While he has had some high and low games this season, his ceiling (he has two games with over 29 fantasy points) is worth the risk of a single digit output. Bryant is easily in the top 20 dynasty wide receiver range and on the rise.
2) David Johnson, RB ARZ
While he’s been the third running back for much of the season, it’s hard to disagree that rookie David Johnson has been the Cardinals’ most impressive back, scoring seven touchdowns from scrimmage, along with a special teams score as well. This week, and potentially for the next few weeks, Johnson has a chance to prove he can continually produce that level of playmaking on a full-time basis with both Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington out of action. Johnson could miss the rest of the season, while Ellington has a toe injury that could cost him multiple weeks. Like Thomas Rawls and Jeremy Langford before him, Johnson will have a chance to prove himself in the spotlight.
3) Allen Robinson, WR JAX
The knock on Jaguars’ receiver Allen Robinson last year was his lack of touchdowns and his inability to stay healthy. This year, he’s answered both of those questions, scoring eight touchdowns, and barely missing a snap. Each offseason, dynasty owners fall head over heels for a young wide receiver and Robinson is the prime candidate this year. Don’t be at all surprised if Robinson is a regular pick in the first round of start up drafts, being valued ahead of Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas, to name a few.
4) Odell Beckham, WR NYG
After his amazing rookie season, many ranked Odell Beckham as the top overall player in dynasty leagues and were actually disappointed after a relatively slow start to the season. That has all changed though as Beckham has averaged over 27 fantasy points per game over the last four games, again establishing himself as one of the top dynasty assets around. Beckham is only getting better and is close to breaking Marques Colston’s record for most receptions over his first two seasons. Considering he’s several years younger than his fellow top-ranked receivers, such as Antonio Brown and Julio Jones, Beckham could easily end the season once again as the most valuable player in all of dynasty.
5) Kamar Aiken, WR BAL
In the three games since the Ravens lost veteran Steve Smith for the season, they’ve leaned heavily on Kamar Aiken. Over those three games, Aiken is the PPR WR7, averaging over 10 targets per game. At 26 years old, Aiken is a bit of a late bloomer and while I expect Baltimore to overhaul their pass-catching group, Aiken may have earned himself a role going forward and he’s still very underrated in the dynasty format. The move from Joe Flacco, who is out for the season, to Matt Schaub had little effect on Aiken, who had his highest scoring game of the season on Monday Night Football, with a 6/80/1 line. He’s a safe start heading into the fantasy playoffs.
6) Spencer Ware, KC RB
For the second consecutive week, Chiefs’ running back Spencer Ware was a top five fantasy performer, eclipsing 100 total yards yet again. Ware has been a pleasant surprise with Charcandrick West out of the lineup and with West due back this weekend, coaches claim the team will use a full running back by committee attack. Ware has done enough with West sidelined to earn a significant role in the offense going forward and this upcoming game against the Raiders will tell us a lot about exactly which back, if either, we can trust going forward. The true test will be when the 2016 training camps open and star Jamaal Charles is back in action. All three runners are clearly capable and all have dynasty value as the fantasy regular season comes to a close, but the presence of the three could hurt the value of each one.
7) Doug Martin, RB TB
One of the hottest players, not only over the past few weeks, but throughout the season, is Buccaneers’ back Doug Martin. Martin quickly gained dynasty value in his rookie season, but has been labeled as a bust since that time. After rushing for more than 1,400 yards during that 2012 season, Martin failed to break the 500-yard mark in each of the past two seasons. This year though, he already has over 1,000 yards and only Adrian Peterson has more on the season. Martin looks like he’s back and he’s a safe bet for continued production this season, but he also turns 27 years old next month and that has proven to be the beginning of the end for many running backs, making Martin a strong sell in dynasty leagues.
8) Shaun Draughn, RB SF
Who would have thought that Shaun Draughn would be a player that many fantasy teams would be relying on as the season winds down? No one, not even Draughn himself. Draughn began the season with the Browns, but couldn’t get on the field. He was signed by the 49ers after they lost Carlos Hyde and Reggie Bush in a span of a few days and quickly ascended to the starting role. Over those two games, Draughn is just outside the top 12 and has been heavily involved in the 49ers’ passing game. Draughn has 16 targets over the past two weeks and is a solid RB2 or flex in PPR leagues.
9) Ameer Abdullah, RB DET
Lions’ rookie running back has seen ups and downs in his short career. He flashed in the preseason and began the season with a touchdown on his first NFL carry. Things went downhill from there as the Lions’ offense struggled and Abdullah’s role shrunk. Since Detroit changed offensive coordinators, Abdullah has been playing the role of lead back and while the stats aren’t there yet, he is clearly showing improvement. Abdullah is a great player to target for those in leagues with no trade deadline. By the end of the season, Abdullah could be one of the hottest names on the market.
10) Doug Baldwin, WR SEA
Would it surprise you to learn that the Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin is a top 25 fantasy wide receiver on the season? Yeah, it surprised me too, and he’s actually WR21 as we enter Week Thirteen. Of course, a large portion of that fantasy production came just last week as he caught six passes for 145 yards and three scores, matching his previous touchdown total for the season. In fact, his 38.5 fantasy points last week represents nearly one-quarter of his total points on the season. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable fantasy option in the season’s final few weeks though. As the Seahawks are faced with some must-win games, the team will be forced to continue to throw the ball and Baldwin has been the team’s best and most consistent receiver. With that said, I don’t see Baldwin as a valuable long-term dynasty asset and wouldn’t be investing in him over the offseason.
1) Davante Adams, WR GB
Once Jordy Nelson suffered a season-ending ACL injury, the value of second year receiver Davante Adams shot up, with the speculation that Adams would start and see a huge increase in volume. That increase has come, but Adams isn’t doing his part. Heading into last night’s game, Adams had seen double-digit targets in three of his past four games. Among those was a two-catch game on Thanksgiving night when he repeatedly dropped balls in crucial spots. Two weeks prior, Adams was targeted a massive 21 times and managed 10 receptions, but for only 79 yards. Adams is throwing away his prime opportunity to show he can be a starting NFL receiver. With the hands he’s shown, or hasn’t shown I should say, dynasty owners should be worried about Adams and his future.
2) Todd Gurley, RB STL
Oh, it pains me to include Rams’ rookie running back Todd Gurley on this list, but it’s plain to see he’s trending in the wrong direction lately. For five consecutive weeks, Gurley’s fantasy points have declined from a season-high 32 against the Browns in Week Seven all the way down to a paltry four fantasy points last week against the Bengals. Gurley is being used less as a receiver, with just two targets in the last two games and with no threat of a passing game, teams are focusing their defense on stopping Gurley. Gurley’s talent hasn’t changed and even with this rough stretch, it seems his value hasn’t been affected either. He’s still likely to be a first round dynasty startup pick this off-season.
3) Teddy Bridgewater, QB MIN
Sitting atop their division at 8-3, it’s hard to argue with what the Vikings are doing, but quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been the definition of a game manager, making himself completely useless for fantasy players. Bridgewater has just two games with more than 20 fantasy points, which is even worse than it sounds considering the second year quarterback was a trendy breakout pick for many dynasty players. Bridgewater was edging ever so close to the top five quarterback range based on dynasty ADP over the offseason, but now he’s not even scoring among the top 20 signal callers. He’s lost a ton of dynasty value over the season and it’s hard to see the trend changing anytime soon.
4) Mike Wallace, WR MIN
One reason Bridgewater is having a hard time is the lack of options in the passing game. Rookie Stefon Diggs has been a nice surprise, but the team is filled with disappointments, namely Charles Johnson and Mike Wallace, whom the team traded for last offseason. After some struggles in Miami, it was thought that a fresh start could be just what Wallace needed, but he’s been a complete non-factor, especially over the last month. In the past five games, Wallace has three goose eggs, failing to even record a reception. Over that span, he has just two catches total. Expect Wallace to be with yet another new team in 2016, but he won’t be on any of my fantasy teams.
5) Jimmy Graham, TE SEA
Rob Gronkowski, TE NE
Tyler Eifert, TE CIN
Last week was a terrible week for star tight ends around the league and it had nothing to do with their fantasy production. In fact, all three of these top tight ends, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Tyler Eifert were in the midst of having very good games for their teams. Unfortunately, all three also suffered injuries, which is what has them on this list. For Graham, his season is over and his future is in doubt as he suffered a torn patella tendon. Gronkowski suffered what looked like a similarly gruesome injury, but should only miss a couple weeks, according to recent reports. Eifert came out of the week in the best shape, it appears, suffering a stinger late in the Bengals’ win over St. Louis. He’s not looking good for this week, but should be back in time for your fantasy playoff matchup. In the meantime, fantasy players are left to hit the waiver wire for the likes of Scott Chandler, Luke Willson or similarly uninspiring options. For the record, I do like Chandler with Gronkowski out of action and Willson has some long-term potential, but losing your stars at the end of the season always stings a bit more.