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) Allen Robinson, WR JAX
I included Jaguars’ second year receiver Allen Robinson on last week’s Hot List, but he continues to produce at a surprising rate. In his Week 13 matchup against the Titans, Robinson picked up the slack for the missing Allen Hurns, dominating the Titans for over 150 yards and three scores, the best game of Robinson’s short career. His current dynasty value is off the charts. I mentioned last week he could sneak into the middle of the first round, but I have since seen him compared to Julio Jones and Odell Beckham, when it comes to dynasty value.
2) David Johnson, RB ARZ
Cardinals’ rookie running back David Johnson was a great speculation play last week with both Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington out of action, and the rookie delivered. Johnson was just one yard shy of the 100 rushing yard mark and added 21 receiving yards and a touchdown. The Cardinals are currently the best offense in the league and Johnson looks like their best option at running back for the rest of the season and heading into 2016.
3) Brandin Cooks, WR NO
The New Orleans Saints gave undefeated Carolina a real scare last week, thanks in large part to wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who broke the 100-yard barrier for the second time this season. Cooks had his doubters entering the season, but he’s proven valuable in a variety of ways. In some weeks, he’s been a volume receiver, catching six or more balls on four occasions. Other times, he’s scoring touchdowns, (he has seven on the season, including two multi-score games). Cooks has proven his value and is solidly among the top 15-2- dynasty wide receivers.
4) Javorius Allen, RB BAL
Things were not looking good for the Baltimore Ravens. Essentially all of their offensive skill players have suffered serious season ending injuries and they are left with Matt Schaub and running back Javorius Allen. Allen, the rookie from Southern Cal, had disappointed in earlier opportunities this season. In his second game as the team’s starter though, he gave the Ravens, and fantasy teams, a major boost. Allen ran for a solid 63 rushing yards, but really made his mark in the passing game, catching 12 passes for 107 yards and a score. Those 12 receptions are the high mark for any running back in a single game this season and represent a surprising aspect of Allen’s game that wasn’t always on display in college. With the injured Justin Forsett already over 30 years old, Allen is in position to claim the Ravens’ starting job going forward.
5) DeVante Parker, WR MIA
With breakout receiver Rishard Matthews out of action for the Dolphins, rookie DeVante Parker has finally gotten a chance and he’s produced, scoring a touchdown in each of the past two weeks. Parker has a total of 143 yards in those two matchups, after only 49 through the season’s first 10 contests. The Dolphins’ receiver depth chart remains crowded and it will be interesting to see if Parker can overtake a healthy Rishard Matthews.
6) Dorial Green-Beckham, WR TEN
Speaking of rookie receivers breaking out, the Titans’ Dorial Green-Beckham exploded in Week 13, catching five passes for 119 yards and his third touchdown on the season. Unlike the Dolphins, there are few roadblocks standing in Green-Beckham’s path to becoming the Titans’ top receiver. With fellow rookie Marcus Mariota showing more consistent play at quarterback, this duo should continue to thrive, helping increase the dynasty value of both.
7) Cam Newton, QB CAR
Few players have seen their dynasty value increase this season as much as Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. Following a disappointing season in 2014, Newton had many doubters and that number grew once his top receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, suffered a season-ending injury, but Newton has overcome all of that to become one of the top players in the league, leading the Panthers to a 12-0 record and putting himself into the MVP conversation. Last week, Newton threw five touchdown passes for the second time in three weeks, along the way to one of the highest fantasy scores from a quarterback this season. Even with few, if any, quality options to throw the ball to, Newton continues to thrive and is now in the conversation with Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck to be the top-valued quarterback in dynasty leagues.
8) Sammy Watkins, WR BUF
After a season filled with up and down performances from the Bills’ top receiver, second year man Sammy Watkins is finally putting it all together. Watkins just posted back-to-back 100-yard performances for the first time this season and he’s now regaining some of the value he’s lost since the season began. There were concerns about Watkins reaching his upside once the team made coaching and quarterback decisions in the off-season, but those seem to be working out well and Watkins is back in consideration as a second round startup dynasty pick.
9) Will Tye, TE NYG
Every year, the Giants seem to take an underwhelming or even unknown tight end and squeeze some quality production from him. From Jake Ballard to Larry Donnell, the Giants have a thing for turning nothing into something. With Donnell done for the year, the next ‘nothing’ might be rookie Will Tye, the rookie from small school Stony Brook. If the trend continues, Tye will not maintain any dynasty value for long, but is certainly worth considering on a weekly basis for the remainder of this season. After playing sparingly through much of the season, Tye now has back-to-back games with at least 70 yards receiving.
10) Scott Chandler, TE NE
When Patriots all-everything tight end Rob Gronkowski went down with a nasty leg injury, one common reaction was the expectation that backup Scott Chandler could be a season-saver for some fantasy teams. Not only was Gronk out, but several other key Pats are on the shelf, making Chandler one of the top targets for quarterback Tom Brady. That proved true in Week 13 as Chandler caught four balls for 61 yards and a touchdown. We all hope that Gronkowski can return soon, but until then, Chandler is a starting-level tight end for fantasy teams in the playoffs.
Others considered: John Crockett, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Odell Beckham, John Brown, Jameis Winston, Thomas Rawls, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Ryan Griffin, Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles, Marcus Mariota, Shaun Draughn, Seth Roberts, Martavis Bryant
1) Eddie Lacy, RB GB
I have a confession. I nearly included Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy on last week’s Hot List. After all, he was coming off his first two 100-yard games of the season and finally looked to be back to his normal ground-and-pound self. Then, Thursday night football happened and Lacy was reportedly punished for a curfew violation. Lacy touched the ball just six times and managed just one total yard of offense. Now, the rumors of the Packers parting ways with Lacy are popping up again. Honestly, I’m not sure what to expect of Lacy this week, but in the playoffs, I’m not risking anything by using him in my starting lineup.
2) Martellus Bennett, TE CHI
Bears’ starting tight end Martellus Bennett, normally a reliable fantasy option, has been struggling for a few weeks. With a nagging injury, Bennett has not scored since Week Nine and hasn’t had more than 60 receiving yards since Week Four. Bennett is signed for one more season in Chicago, but after he landed on the injured reserve list this week, many are speculating that his time in the Windy City is over. Bennett is already 28 years old and will be 29 before the 2016 season begins. Combining that with the likelihood of playing on a new team has Bennett’s value plummeting.
3) DeMarco Murray, RB PHI
Despite a few big games over the course of the season, Eagles’ starting running back DeMarco Murray has struggled in his first season with Philadelphia. After a Week 13 game that saw the Eagles upset the Patriots, which has to be considered the high point of Philly’s season, Murray carried just eight times, behind both Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner. Following the game, head coach Chip Kelly essentially let us know this is what we can continue to expect going forward. Considering the result of the game, it’s hard to blame him, but it also makes Murray impossible to use for the remainder of the season. There are already rumors popping up that the Eagles will try to dump their top free agent acquisition from a season ago. In the meantime, Murray’s dynasty value is in flux.
4) Alfred Morris, RB WAS
Like Murray in Philadelphia, Alfred Morris can’t be happy with his touches in Washington. The Redskins lost a nail-biter against the Dallas Cowboys and Morris carried the ball only six times, compared to 18 for rookie Matt Jones. This has been the story of the season for the Skins, who have flip flopped between the two backs. One thing has become nearly certain though, Morris will not return to the Redskins in 2016. A free agent, he is likely to seek out a deal where he will have a more certain role, though it’s doubtful that will mean Morris is a starting back next season.
5) James Jones
Packers’ receiver James Jones looked like a waiver wire hero early in the season, both for Green Bay, who scooped him up after the Giants cut him, and for the many fantasy teams who found him on the wire. Jones scored six touchdowns in the team’s first six games and was adequately filling the void for the injured Jordy Nelson. Since then though, Jones has just one score and has a pair of games where he has failed to even record a catch. In five of the team’s 12 games this season, Jones has either one or zero catches and is quickly fading as the season goes forward. He’s basically not a fantasy option for the playoffs and at 31 years old, he doesn’t have much dynasty value left.