With the 2023 fantasy football season in the past, Several players’ dynasty outlooks are rising and falling with the 2023 fantasy football season in the books. Luckily for dynasty players, the season never sleeps.
These highlighted risers and fallers are some of the most significant movers that are included in my recent Superflex Dynasty Rankings update. A couple Buy/Sell candidates from January’s trade value charts are included here as well, highlighting what still makes them a buy/sell even after their rise/fall.
CJ STROUD/ NICO COLLINS/ TANK DELL, HOUSTON TEXANS
With the drafting of Stroud, the Texans offense was set to begin it’s growth.
But I don’t think very many expected it to take just a few weeks, rather than a few years.
And the two main beneficiaries look like Collins and Dell.
That receiving duo finished WR6 and WR16 in half-PPR PPG, respectively, joining the Dolphins, Eagles, 49ers, Raiders, and Chargers as the only teams to have two receivers finish as WR1 or WR2 in PPG (though Mike Williams only played three games).
Rookie hype kept Stroud from being too much of a riser, but the instant chemistry made it a different case for his receivers.
Nico went from Tier 9 (2nd+) in the preseason to Tier 5 (two 1sts-), Tank from Tier 12 (3rd) to Tier 8 (1st-). I believe the trio mentioned here is not just talented enough to keep their rise from being a one-year wonder, but that, as the Texans, were one of the best-coached teams in the NFL. Head coach DeMeco Ryans can keep his team grounded even if OC Bobby Slowik were to leave for his own head coaching gig at some point, which isn’t looking like 2024.
BAKER MAYFIELD, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (UPCOMING UFA)
After Tom Brady retired, with Mayfield taking over, no one would have been surprised if the Buccaneers offense became a mediocre liability.
Instead, Tampa Bay paralleled its success from last season and hung with the Detroit Lions up until the final drive in the divisional round.
How much of Baker’s success can be attributed to OC Dave Canales‘ scheme? Time will tell now that Canales has moved on to head coach the Panthers.
But Baker made a great case to remain a starting quarterback in the NFL and may score a multi-year deal with a team in free agency — including the Bucs.
From a fantasy perspective, QB10 overall, but QB20 in ppg, doesn’t inspire a mountain-moving deal. But, pardon my inner Cris Collinsworth when I say now, here’s a guy whose preseason outlook was shaky, to say the least.
He couldn’t keep his job with the Panthers and was relegated to backup duties behind Matthew Stafford if he had signed back with the Rams in free agency. He didn’t generally seem very sought after by NFL teams, getting arguably his last chance at a starting job in Tampa, and accordingly entered the 2023 season in Tier 10 (2nd-) of my rankings.
But his ’23 has him trending up into Tier 7 (one 1st).
DAK PRESCOTT, DALLAS COWBOYS
With Cowboys Mike McCarthy bringing Brian Schottenheimer in as OC after letting go of Kellen Moore because he um, likes scoring too many points, or something, it seemed like their offense was going to take a big step back in the fantasy department. It also looked like Prescott was certainly not to be the first-round playoff-exiting, regular-season fantasy darling that we’d come to know in the Kellen Moore. And my rankings reflected that.
Well, it’s 2024, and it’s the same old Cowboys, taking playoff Ls and Dak finishing as the QB3.
So, the rankings have to reflect that, too.
It’s difficult to imagine the Cowboys moving on from Prescott, one reason being that they didn’t move on from Tony Romo despite his similar lack of playoff success.
As a result, Dak gets treated much like the fantasy darling he was with Moore once again, up from Tier 6 (one 1st+) in the preseason to Tier 3 (two 1sts+).
KYREN WILLIAMS, LA RAMS
The dynasty community at-large counted Kyren out for 2023 for being too slow. Cue the “We know nothing” tweets that surface occasionally.
And this fun fact: Kyren Williams is the first 1,000-yard rusher with Matthew Stafford.
Kyren rose from Tier 12 (future 3rd) in the preseason to Tier 5 (two 1sts-) in my latest dynasty rankings, and I may still be lower than many on the market.
Something about just how far off the market was on Kyren gives me a little bit of pause on the idea of him keeping up the level of success he saw in 2023 for a few more years.
PUKA NACUA, LA RAMS
With no established WR2, the opportunity was available for Puka to get snaps and contribute as a rookie, as one of the best rookie sleeper candidates heading into 2023.
He had a play style that could mesh with what the Rams’ offense was set up for, and a head coach in Sean McVay that is as good as anyone at getting the best out of his players. So the ceiling was there.
But without raw athleticism and just fifth-round draft capital, dynasty players were largely not buying to that ceiling. But he hit it and exceeded all expectations.
Now, the NFL’s all-time leader in rookie receptions has a chance to cement himself as the Rams’ WR1 alongside an aging Cooper Kupp, sitting in Tier 4 of my rankings (two 1sts-), after being in Tier 12 (future 3rd) during the preseason.
TREY MCBRIDE, ARIZONA CARDINALS
Taken as the first tight end of the board in the 2022 NFL Draft, the second-rounder immediately seemed set up to be the heir apparent to veteran Zach Ertz.
Year two may have been sooner than some expected, but here we are. Ertz was released by the Cardinals, and McBride went on a heater, finishing with six double-digit games — highlighted by two monster games against the Ravens and 49ers. Dynasty owners should feel comfortable with McBride as their TE1 for years to come.
TREVOR LAWRENCE, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Lawrence started this preseason with six other QBs in Tier 1 of my rankings: Mahomes, Allen, Hurts, Burrow, Lamar, and Herbert.
TLaw was another year removed from Urban Meyer and getting Calvin Ridley added to his receiving core. It was time to start realizing his potential coming out of Clemson.
However, he finished 2023 just outside the QB1 range, as the QB13, on the year, QB17 on a per-game basis.
Without his play mirroring his previously immense hype, Lawrence falls to Tier 4 (two 1sts-).
DANIEL JONES, NEW YORK GIANTS
It’s hard to imagine someone going from signing a multi-year, $40 million-per-year contract to falling out of a starting quarterback position in the NFL, but Daniel Jones was in danger of doing that.
General Manager Joe Schoen has verbally committed to Jones as next year’s starter, but time will tell if that’s GM-speak or the truth.
For a moment, it looked like Jones had a coach in Brian Daboll who could bring out the best in him, becoming efficient and reeling in bad decision-making. But as Dan Orlovsky points out, bad offensive line play in 2023 is not enough to make up for Jones’ substantial downturn.
A QB who faltered under pressure like Jones did in ’23 called for one of the most significant drops in value in my rankings from the early part of the season, as I had originally pictured his 2023 to be better than ’22. As a result, he dropped from Tier 5 (2 1sts-) to a player you likely can’t currently sell for more than a 2nd.
JK DOBBINS, BALTIMORE RAVENS
Dobbins’ Achilles tear in week 1 made an already heart-breaking career due to injury woes that much more heartbreaking. There is so much talent there, yet his career is now questioned because of his serious injury history.
Cam Akers was to serve as a litmus test to see if sports medical science had progressed to a point where Achilles tears were no longer next-to-guaranteed career enders.
That was until he…tore his other Achilles.
Now, anyone who had JK on their dynasty has been basically put in a place to hold him or sell very low.
As someone who was high Dobbins in the preseason, he went from Tier 6 (1st+) down to Tier 11 (2nd-), and even 2nd- is probably being gracious as to how much you’d likely be able to get for him in a trade right now.
MILES SANDERS, CAROLINA PANTHERS
Sanders was set up nicely to be a featured back in a Panthers offense that, while expected to see growing pains, could still make him a volume-based RB2 as he could realistically play through three years of his newly signed 4-year, $25.4 million deal.
Then, he got beat out on the depth chart by Chuba Hubbard.
And the growing pains haven’t been short stingers, more like chronic, long-term ailments now that Frank Reich is fired, with Bryce Young struggling mightily behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, and David Tepper repeatedly making his case for the worst owner in the league.
You might be happy to get a 3rd for Miles right now (Tier 12), for someone who started off this season in Tier 8 of my rankings (1st-)
MIKE GESICKI, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (UPCOMING UFA)
Gesicki is one of those cases where he climbed my rankings based on personal conviction. Top-tier athleticism, reuniting with college coach Bill O’Brien, and in an offensive system that looked to utilize him instead of being gradually phased out in Miami. These things had Gesicki trending up for me as he joined an offense that I figured must improve after the Joe Judge/Matt Patricia experiment in 2022.
Instead, the Patriots offense took a step or three back, and I’m left returning Mike Gesicki’s place in my dynasty rankings to somewhere non-contrarian, Tier 13 (a 4th rounder). Oof