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) Jarvis Landry, WR MIA
Amidst the amazing play of so many rookie wide receivers a year ago, the Dolphins’ Jarvis Landry was often overlooked. Fast forward to 2015 and many of those ballyhooed receivers are struggling and not living up to their pre-season value, while Landry continues to put up big weeks for the Dolphins. He did just that in the team’s Week Seven blowout win over Houston, catching five passes for 83 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Landry is currently the WR19 in PPR leagues and is outscoring many of his fellow sophomores, including Brandin Cooks, Donte Moncrief, along with Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins, both of whom have dealt with injuries in the early going of the season. Landry continues to be underrated, as he doesn’t fit the mold of current fantasy WR1s, making him an excellent trade target.
2) Amari Cooper, WR OAK
One young receiver who is living up to the hype is Raiders’ rookie Amari Cooper, currently a mid-range WR2 in fantasy PPR leagues. In what many viewed as a tough matchup against the Chargers defensive backs, Cooper posted the best fantasy numbers of his short career, posting a 5/133/1 stat line. These numbers on what has traditionally been a poor Raiders’ offense have dynasty owners in a frenzy and many are considering Cooper a top ten overall dynasty asset. Expect Cooper to be a first round startup pick in the off-season, making him nearly impossible to acquire in trade.
3) Tyler Lockett, WR SEA
After a few quiet weeks, the Seahawks’ rookie receiver and return man reminded us why he was known as one of the most explosive playmakers in the 2015 NFL Draft. Lockett led the team in receiving with 79 yards and caught his first career touchdown to go along with his punt return and kickoff return scores earlier in the year. Lockett is pretty clearly the most talented receiver on the Seattle roster, though he is likely to continue to be an inconsistent weapon as Russell Wilson spreads the ball around and doesn’t really have a favorite target from week to week.
4) Robert Woods, WR BUF
After being a player I was initially very high on, I kind of turned on Bills’ wide receiver Robert Woods after the team drafted Sammy Watkins in 2014 and then added Charles Clay and LeSean McCoy last offseason. After all, how many pass catchers could the Bills’ offense really support? With both Watkins and McCoy missing time, there have been targets to go around and Woods has taken advantage. On the season, his numbers are not overwhelming, but in games Watkins has missed, he’s been a flex option, including last week when he led the team with nine catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. While Woods does not have a huge amount of dynasty value, he is proving he’s worthy of a roster spot and maybe even a starting spot with Watkins out of the lineup.
5) Jameis Winston, QB TB
Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, the top overall draft pick from the 2015 NFL Draft, has had somewhat of a rough start to his NFL career. After badly losing a showdown of rookie signal callers in Week One, Winston has struggled, throwing seven interceptions through the team’s first four games. Over the past two games though, admittedly against poor secondaries, Winston might have turned the corner, or at least can see the corner. Last week against the Redskins, Winston fell just three yards short of his first career 300-yard game and more importantly, didn’t give the ball away for the second straight week. Winston isn’t safe enough to be considered a weekly starter, but he has shown enough to maintain his dynasty value at his young age and with, presumably, many years ahead of him.
6) Jordan Reed, TE WAS
Redskins’ tight end Jordan Reed is the TE6 on the season, which is even more impressive considering he missed a pair of games with yet another concussion. The worry about Reed’s extensive history of head injuries is not going away and it seems Reed is at the point where any hard hit he takes could be his last. With that said, he’s one of the most talented tight ends in the league and his team is desperate for playmakers at the pass-catching positions. If Reed is on the field, he’s a must-start and his value is increasing by the week.
7) Mark Ingram, RB NO
We’ve heard and read a lot about the breakout running backs of the 2015 season, including Devonta Freeman and Dion Lewis, but another surprise is the RB2 on the season, Mark Ingram of the Saints. Through seven games, Ingram has five weeks as an RB1 and one other week in the RB2 range, with only one down week on the season. As a key cog in what was once viewed as a high-powered offense, Ingram’s workload should continue throughout the season as the Saints are involved in shootouts. He’s quietly gaining a ton of dynasty value.
8) Orleans Darkwa, RB NYG
At this point in the season, coming across a total surprise name, barring an injury, is rare. That’s just what has happened in New York during the Giants’ Week Seven game though as Tom Coughlin added one more running back to the rotation already including Shane Vereen, Andre Williams and Rashad Jennings as Orleans Darkwa led the team in carries and scored the Giants’ lone rushing touchdown. It has been difficult to project how New York will manage their running back rotation from week to week and with the arrival of Darkwa, it will only be more of a challenge. Darkwa played sparingly for the Dolphins a year ago and has rarely seen the field for the Giants since they signed him away from the Miami practice squad, but after his solid and surprising play against the Cowboys, he’s reportedly in line for a larger role, and potentially, some real dynasty value.
9) Crockett Gillmore, TE BAL
I mentioned the volatility of the tight end position this year. There have only been a few consistent and reliable options and outside of those, dynasty owners are left to try to fill their starting lineup on a week-to-week basis as they attempt to find the next Rob Gronkowski, or at least the next Tyler Eifert. Although he’s missed a pair of games due to injury, second year man Crockett Gillmore has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy players and he had another solid week against the Cardinals in Week Seven, catching five passes for 53 yards.
10) Eric Ebron, TE DET
Another tight end returning from injury to provide a boost to fantasy teams is Eric Ebron on the Lions. Like Gillmore, Ebron missed a pair of games, but he returned to the field in Week Seven to have his best game of the season, catching five passes for 89 yards and a score. With the Detroit running game struggling, Matthew Stafford will continue to throw the ball all over the field to the benefit of Ebron and others. He’s easily a top ten dynasty tight end thanks to his talent, age and upside.
1) Knile Davis, RB KC
Chiefs’ backup running back Knile Davis has been a dynasty favorite for years and prior to this season, has performed well when called upon. This year though, things have not gone well for Davis and Charcandrick West overtook him on the depth chart just days before starter Jamaal Charles suffered his season-ending knee injury. Once Charles went down, it was assumed Davis would get another shot at significant playing time, but things have only gotten worse, as he’s even losing snaps to newly signed back Spencer Ware. Kansas City clearly has no faith in Davis and dynasty owners shouldn’t either. He’s not even worthy of a roster spot in most dynasty formats.
2) Joseph Randle, RB DAL
It looked like things were finally going Joseph Randle’s way. With DeMarco Murray gone from Dallas and no surefire replacement available, the starting running back job was Randle’s to lose. Since then, Randle’s play has been up and down, but mostly down, but he’s maintained a large role in the Cowboys’ backfield rotation. That may have changed this week though. After suffering an injury, Randle missed much of the team’s Week Seven game and his replacement, Darren McFadden surprised most with his solid running. Randle was subsequently demoted and effectively went AWOL following the announcement. As if that wasn’t enough, then it was revealed that Randle would be facing a one or two game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy. At this point, Randle is lucky to even have a job and if Christine Michael finally delivers on his upside, Randle will be all but done in Dallas.
3) Jordan Matthews, WR PHI
Expectations were high for Eagles’ wide receiver Jordan Matthews entering his second season, but Matthews, like most of the Philadelphia offense, has flopped. Through the first two weeks of the season, Matthews was the WR10, but in the five games since, he’s only WR48, behind many players who have missed time due to bye weeks or injuries. With the play of Sam Bradford and the drops by Matthews, there is little reason to expect change. Matthews still has some solid dynasty value due to his age and what we saw from him a year ago, but he’s not a startable fantasy player right now.
4) Colin Kaepernick, QB SF
After some electric late season play in 2012, Colin Kaepernick looked like the future of the quarterback position. He quickly vaulted to the top five quarterback dynasty ranks that paid off with a top ten finish in 2013. Things have been downhill since then though and Kaepernick’s play has been horrid through most of the 2015 season. From a fantasy perspective, Week Seven may have been his worst performance, throwing for only 124 yards and no touchdowns as the 49ers failed to compete at all against the Seahawks. With Kaepernick missing in 20 point fantasy games with single digit performances, he is not really a fantasy option, and the 49ers’ offense will likely continue to struggle throughout the season.
5) Justin Hunter, WR TEN
Young, talented receiver Justin Hunter had a rough offseason, dealing with an off-field issue that nearly cost him his roster spot with the Titans. After the assault charges went away, Hunter played well enough to make the final roster and his dynasty value looked to be on the road to recovery. That wasn’t really the case though as Hunter has been a complete non-factor with only 13 receptions through six games. With Kendall Wright playing well and Dorial Green-Beckham waiting in the wings, there’s no room for Hunter.