Dynasty League Football


Dynasty Top 250 Fantasy Football Rankings: Movers and Shakers

We look at some players who are – or should be – on the move in dynasty rankings.

DeVonta Smith

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Welcome to Movers and Shakers, a new in-season series from DLF. Each week we choose a different ranking category; top 250 (one quarterback and superflex), devy, and IDP. We then review players from that group who may have risen or fallen substantially from the past month’s ranks and alert you to any relevant changes. Let’s get right to it.


We will avoid the no-brainer changes each week. Instead, we will focus on the more subtle shiftings amongst the ranks.

Deshaun Watson, QB CLE (Current QB11)

It has been five games since Watson returned to action from a nearly two-year-long suspension from the NFL. The former Texan finally earned his first QB1 finish in week 17 versus the Washington Commanders. We knew there would be some rust to shake off, but should there be cause for concern?

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Gamelog App.

He barely cracked QB2 territory in the games before and threw more touchdowns (three) in that game than he had in the four previous contests combined (two). The interceptions have been somewhat limited, but the passing attempts and yardage totals are worrisome.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Coaching History App.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski doesn’t have a history of producing studs at the quarterback position. Granted, he hasn’t had a player of Watson’s caliber. Still, it is also worth noting that Kirk Cousins had his worst fantasy finish as a Viking once Stefanski took over as the offensive coordinator in 2019. In today’s pass-happy NFL, Stefanski does not throw the ball much.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Coaching History App.

We see the offense runs at approximately a 50/50 rush versus pass clip. That is not conducive to fantasy success in the quarterback position. To put that in perspective, former head coach Bill O’Brien passed at 55% and 62% in 2019 and 2020 when Watson finished as the QB4 overall in consecutive seasons. Making matters worse, Watson will be 28 years old when the 2023 season kicks off.

Should Fall Behind:

We have no problems moving Tua Tagovailoa or Trey Lance (Brock Purdy?) in front of the Browns quarterback at this point. The concern is genuine with Watson in that run-heavy offense. Those other signal-callers offer more youth and upside and play in a much better-coached offense for fantasy purposes. The playmakers around them are far superior to those in Cleveland.

Running Back

Injuries and age will make running back the most volatile of all the positions, and we won’t be dropping the obvious fallers due to injury. Instead, we will focus more on opportunities and performances.

James Cook, RB BUF (Current RB26)

Don’t look now, but Cook is working his way into the lead-back role for the Buffalo Bills. For fantasy purposes, that is an excellent place to be. Since week 13, the rookie has been narrowing the gap in the number of snaps played between the duo. Nyheim Hines has been a non-factor since being traded from the Indianapolis Colts.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Snap Count App.

We can see from the Snap Count app that there has been a shift to a share of approximately 60/40 for Devin Singletary and Cook since the contest versus the Patriots. Week 17 stats have not been added due to the unforeseen postponement of the Monday Night Football game. To make matters more interesting, Cook is doing more with less than Singletary, averaging 0.5 points per game more in PPR formats (12.2 to 11.7).

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Data Courtesy of Draft Buddy.

The future appears bright for Cook, especially if Singletary opts to go elsewhere in 2023. He becomes an unrestricted free agent once the season ends for the Bills. Buffalo thought highly enough of Cook to draft him in the second round in 2022. This latest trend appears to be them prepping him for a much larger workload next season.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Scoring History App.

The DLF Player Scoring History app shows us that Cook has been a better rusher and nearly as good in the receiving game as Singletary. Cook currently sits as the RB44 but, with a more significant workload, should flirt with RB2 territory in 2023.

Should Move Ahead Of:

We can quickly provide arguments for Cook to move ahead of Ezekiel Elliott (age) and David Montgomery (injury and landing spot in free agency). Alvin Kamara‘s recent struggles also have us wondering if he should be ranked ahead of the Buffalo Bills’ up-and-coming dual-threat back.

Wide Receiver

DeVonta Smith, WR PHI (Current WR22)

AJ Brown gets all the hype and media attention in Philadelphia, but Smith should be getting more love. Since week 13, Smith sits as the WR3 in PPR formats, just four points behind his more highly touted teammate.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Game Log App.

Smith has been a model of consistency in 2022, finishing as a WR1 in three of the past five weeks and as a WR2 or better in ten of 16 contests on the season. Add all that up, and we have a WR9 overall in PPR formats. This comes on the heels of a WR31 finish in his rookie season. That is not too shabby for someone ranked as the WR22.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Coaching History App.

Head coach Nick Sirianni is targeting his receivers at a record pace, and rightfully so. These are the best weapons he has had since he coached TY Hilton at the end of his prime in 2018. There is no reason to think that will change, nor should it. Brown and Smith make one of the best pass-catching duos in the NFL. If it is not broken, do not fix it.

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Data Courtesy of Sports Reference.

Smith is no stranger to high-volume work. During his senior season at Alabama, the 6’0″ receiver hauled in 117 receptions to pair with 23 touchdowns, all in just 13 games. The Eagles did not draft him with the tenth overall pick in 2021 to not heavily utilize him throughout his career. The arrow is pointing straight up.

Should Move Ahead Of:

Treylon Burks and Michael Pittman both currently rank ahead of the 24-year-old. The question marks at quarterback in Tennessee and Indianapolis comfortably place Smith ahead of them going forward. Terry McClaurin could be surpassed for the same reasons.

Tight End

Hayden Hurst, TE CIN (Current TE25)

Hurst is currently positioned as the TE18 in PPR formats, yet he has not played a snap since week 13. That should tell you all you need to know about the state of the tight end position. Fantasy managers still appear to be clinging to hope that the veteran can recapture the magic of that 2020 season in Atlanta when Hurst finished as the TE10.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Gamelog App.

It’s not happening. No matter how bare the cupboard gets at the position, a soon-to-be 30-year-old tight end is not cracking the top ten, or top 20 for that matter. He is a free agent at season’s end, and there is no guarantee he will re-sign with the Bengals.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Yearly Player Data App.

Hurst is fighting for targets amongst the elite in league with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins in town, and when he gets those opportunities, there is little being done with them. He is performing near a career-worst in terms of points per opportunity, as evidenced by the chart above.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Yearly Data App.

We just cannot trust the former first-round pick any longer. There is as much of a chance of him finishing as a TE3 or worst than there is for him collecting a TE1 or TE2 finish for your team. For his career, there have been 35 finishes at 24 or better and 34 at 25th or worse. Take a flier on a player with more upside.

Should Fall Behind:

There is no reason to rank the aging veteran ahead of youngsters Cade Otton and Chigoziem Okonkwo at this stage of the game. The Bucs and Titans tight ends are both 23 years old and have flashed plenty of upside in their rookie seasons that merit the rankings adjustment.

Wrapping It Up

We aim to tip you off as to who the movers and shakers are weekly across our different ranking platforms. During the season, they will fluctuate on the regular. The best way to stay abreast of how a particular player you are tracking is performing is to head directly to our rankings pages. Thank you for following along — best of luck in your fantasy endeavors.

Dynasty Top 250 Fantasy Football Rankings: Movers and Shakers
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