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) Chris Ivory, RB NYJ
One of the biggest surprises of the season is Chris Ivory, the starting running back of the Jets. With the moves they made this off-season, including the signing of Stevan Ridley and trading for Zac Stacy, I presumed the Jets had some concerns about Ivory as their starting back. I could not have been more wrong as Ivory has been one of the true workhorse backs so far this season. He’s currently the RB11, even though the team has already had their bye week. The great thing about Ivory is that he still seems to be relatively cheap in dynasty leagues if you can find him on the roster of a non-contender.
2) Martavis Bryant, WR PIT
Dynasty owners have been patiently awaiting the return of young receiver Martavis Bryant, who was suspended for the first four games of the season. In Week Five, the Steelers made the choice to keep Bryant on the sidelines for an additional week, but in Week Six against the Cardinals, the wait was rewarded. In his first game of the season, Bryant went off, catching six passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns and that was with the combination of Michael Vick and Landry Jones throwing him the ball. With Ben Roethlisberger due back soon, Bryant’s future is bright and his dynasty value is on the rise.
3) Stefon Diggs, WR MIN
It’s only taken two games for Vikings’ rookie receiver Stefon Diggs to thrust himself into the limelight. After not playing an offensive snap during the season’s first three games, Diggs stepped in for an injured Charles Johnson and may have overtaken him on a permanent basis. In that short period of time, Diggs went from spending the game on the sidelines to leading all receivers in snaps and targets. With the struggles of Johnson, Cordarrelle Patterson and even Mike Wallace, Diggs is taking advantage of his opportunity and quickly gaining dynasty value.
4) Travis Benjamin, WR CLE
I have to admit, I’ve been sleeping on Browns’ receiver Travis Benjamin, even though he is the WR12 on the season. Benjamin broke out during the game and a half he played with quarterback Johnny Manziel and I had my doubts if that strong play would continue with Josh McCown under center. Obviously, it has as Benjamin has established himself as the team’s top receiver. At just 25 years old and no real competition on the Cleveland wide receiver depth chart, there’s no reason to think Benjamin’s production slows anytime soon.
5) Lamar Miller, RB MIA
What a difference a couple weeks can make! After losing in London, the Miami Dolphins opted to part ways with head coach Joe Philbin, naming tight ends’ coach Dan Campbell the interim head coach. The assumption was the Dolphins would try to run the ball more and that’s just what happened. The team had a 50/50 split between run and pass plays in their win over the Titans and Lamar Miller was the key beneficiary, toting the ball 19 times, tying the second-highest total of his career. Miller took those 19 carries for 113 yards and a score and suddenly feels like a safe weekly starter with the new head coach and offensive game plan.
6) Michael Floyd, WR ARZ
Again, what a difference a week makes. Just last week, I mentioned Michael Floyd as part of the Cold List after he was unable to break through and had another disappointing game in Week Five. He followed that up with the best game of his season, catching five passes, one of which went for a touchdown. With Floyd’s value still deflated, I would suggest checking on his cost in your dynasty league
7) Theo Riddick, RB DET
I’ve mentioned Lions’ pass-catching back Theo Riddick on the Hot List previously, but he continues to play a major role in the Detroit offense and with the struggles of rookie Ameer Abdullah and the injury issues of veteran Joique Bell have opened the door for an even larger role for Riddick. Through six weeks, he’s the RB15 on the season, thanks almost exclusively to his receiving numbers. Riddick has just nine carries on the season, with seven of those coming in Week Six with Abdullah riding the pine after another lost fumble. With the Lions behind in most games, they will continue to throw the ball early and often, giving Riddick even more of an opportunity for production.
8) Ronnie Hillman, RB DEN
One of the major disappointments of the season has been Broncos’ running back C.J. Anderson, who some projected as the top overall running back this season. Anderson has struggled and Ronnie Hillman has essentially overtaken him, carrying the ball 20 times to Anderson’s 13 in Week Six against the Browns’ porous defense. While Anderson managed just 41 yards on his 13 touches, Hillman racked up well over 100. Although Week Six marked the first time this season Hillman has earned more carries than Anderson, the former has easily outproduced the latter on the year. I’m not all that confident in Hillman’s long-term value as I expect the makeup of this team to greatly change in the next couple of years, but Hillman is clearly the back to own going forward this year.
9) Allen Robinson, WR JAX
One of the most consistent receivers through the first six weeks of the season has been second year man Allen Robinson of the Jaguars. Robinson threw up a dud in Week One, catching just one pass for 27 yards, but since then has finished as a top-14 receiver in three out of five weeks and currently ranks as the WR10 on the season. Robinson has developed a nice rapport with fellow sophomore quarterback Blake Bortles and even has another receiving threat playing across from him in Allen Hurns, keeping defenses honest. Not only should Robinson keep this up, but he has top ten wide receiver potential for years to come. If you can get him on your team, do what you can to make it happen.
10) Dorial Green-Beckham, WR TEN
The box score doesn’t look like rookie receiver Dorial Green-Beckham would deserve a spot on the Hot List, but things are trending in the right way for the former Missouri receiver. Beckham’s snap count has increased in every game this season and even in limited time, he’s tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns, reminding us of his playmaking skills. Coming up this week, there’s a chance starter Harry Douglas could miss the game, which would open the door wide for a DGB breakout game.
1) Melvin Gordon, RB SD
One of the most promising rookies entering the season is now counted among the most disappointing. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon just can’t seem to get anything going, he’s had fumbling issues and has been thoroughly outplayed by veteran Danny Woodhead all year. I knew it was a bad sign in Week One when the diminutive Woodhead was getting goal line carries. In Week Six, Gordon was even benched in favor of another pass-catching back, Branden Oliver. There are certainly better days ahead for Gordon, but I’m not comfortable putting him in my fantasy lineups until he shows some consistency and fixes those fumbling issues.
2) Mike Wallace, WR MIN
Veteran receiver Mike Wallace was brought to Minnesota to anchor a young recovering corps and give support to second year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Wallace has been a disappointment so far, scoring as a mid-range WR4, which is a problem since most fantasy leagues don’t start four receivers. He followed his best game of the year in Week Four where he posted an 8/83/1 stat line with a stinker, catching just two of nine targets from Bridgewater. Meanwhile, rookie Stefon Diggs is outplaying the veteran and based on word from Vikings’ faithful, this could be Wallace’s first and last season wearing the purple.
3) Isaiah Crowell, RB CLE
In this year’s version of the Cleveland offense, there is a clear ball-carrying back, second year man Isaiah Crowell and then there is rookie Duke Johnson, the team’s pass-catching back. This is nothing new, as many teams employ this basic setup, which can often create two viable fantasy running backs. That is not really the case with Crowell, who has been just average as a running back this year. He’s been saved with a couple of touchdowns on the season, pushing him up to RB24 rank currently, but his season high in rushing yardage is just 72, back in Week Two. In fact, he’s only broken the 50 yard mark twice this season, despite receiving double-digit carries each week. The Browns are again struggling this season, forcing them to pass more often than they run the ball, which is a benefit to Johnson and hurts Crowell’s value.
4) Charcandrick West, RB KC
Things looked good for second year running back Charcandrick West. He had the starting job to himself following the season-ending injury to superstar Jamaal Charles. While the Chiefs did shop around a little, they made no significant move to add a running back and entered Week Six with a backfield of West and Knile Davis. Unfortunately, both backs struggled, as did the entire Kansas City offense. The Chiefs were being shut out for the majority of the game, before putting up 10 fourth quarter points to make the game respectable. It was widely known that Charles was pretty much the entire Kansas City offense. Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce are both off to solid starts to their respective seasons, but with no real running game threat, defenses can key on those two. I’m sure West will have a couple of solid games throughout the remainder of the season, but I can’t see him being a valuable dynasty asset moving forward.
5) Thomas Rawls, RB SEA
The Thomas Rawls hype train was getting crowded for a couple of weeks while starter Marshawn Lynch was out with an injury. Now that Lynch is back though, Rawls has reverted to a minor role, carrying the ball just seven times in the past two games, including last night’s win over the San Francisco 49ers. Many projected Rawls to be the future starter for the Seahawks and even thought Lynch might be done, but I’m not ready to assume either of those is true. Rawls making the team over Robert Turbin and Christine Michael is impressive, but that alone does not make him a dynasty commodity. For now, he’s worth hanging onto in deeper dynasty leagues, but don’t expect him to be the 2016 starter for Seattle.
Others considered: C.J. Anderson